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That has nothing to do with socialism.

You don't have to "believe" what socialism is, because it's a specific, defined economic theory, specifically in which the community - not private owners or investors - own the "means of production" (basically the supply chain and the overall business infrastructure).

For example, here's what happens with guns in a socialist system:

People say "we need guns", so they decide to build a gun factory. Then they say "does anyone know how to build guns?" and a couple of people say "I do", so they start making guns. Then, the guns are distributed to everyone, who don't need to buy them because they *own the gun factory*. Now you have socialists with guns.

In the modern world, this process tends to need some degree of central management - *someone* has to get the factory built - and so socialist economies are centrally planned. Historically, the trend has been for authoritarian governments to manage centrally-planned economies, although they *could* theoretically be democratic or even anarchic (witness Christian monastic communities, which are bound by common ideology, in this case, religion).

The *problem* with socialism isn't public ownership - I mean, do you hate your neighborhood farmer's market? or your farming co-op? - but rather *central planning*, which by its nature (1) doesn't respond to information in the marketplace and (2) is anti-competitive.

For example, Joe suggests to his community "hey, we need a coffee shop" and everyone says "great idea, Joe!", and so with Joe's guidance, the community builds a little coffee shop with a nice terrace or whatever, and now Joe makes coffee for folks - his fellow owners - who come by for a visit. Nice. But then *Mary* decides *she* wants to run a coffee shop ("mine will have an open mic night!"), but the community says "well, we already have Joe's, Mary... can you do something else?"...

... poor Mary. She just wants to make a great cuppa.

And maybe she decides to open one anyway, and now the secret police are burying her in the woods. Yeah... central planning. Sucks.

Socialism? Eh. Nothing intrinsically evil there. Central planning? That tends to go bad, fast.

Realistically, so-called "mixed economies" are probably the most viable - a discussion for another time - but I really can't think of *anyone* of significance in modern American public discourse who's an actual *socialist*.

DH
The Road to Serfdom by Frederick Hayek, is a good practical explanation of the flaws in dhaller's presentation, above, which is not the way socialism has ever worked by anybody who actually tried it. Centralized planning, which he disassociates from socialism, in reality becomes a necessity once you get out of socialist-utopia-dreamworld where the lefty dreams something and thinks that makes it happen and move into the real world, with its practical implications and things like incentives and disincentives.

In fairness to dhaller, he did not completely separate socialism and centralized planning (and he did accurately point out some downsides to socialism), but my point is that socialism and centralized planning go hand in hand. You cannot really have one without the other. Mary's coffee shop being suppressed is how it necessarily must work because otherwise there would be less need for the "quota" of coffee determined to be produced by the "community." Now we have a community coffee shop with no purpose but excess, unneeded coffee. This is why central planning is necessary with socialism. Not only do they determine what is produced but how much and when and how. Then those determinations must be changed, later, when reality slaps the community in the face. With price and voluntary contract no longer being the determinants of production, the planner is always changing his plans, in a way that seems arbitrary and frustrating to those who must produce.

I am reading Lenin by Robert Service right now, and it is hilarious watching reality slap the socialists and communists in the face in late 1917 and early 1918, as they very swiftly realize that their idealistic plans aren't going to work effectively without authoritarianism. Very soon, not working hard at the job to which you are assigned is a crime. Lenin was very adept and changing his "principles" to suit the new circumstances. I was laughing out loud reading how he thought the "workers," that is, those he ostensibly was in power to benefit, had becoming excessively "self indulgent."

Just about every economic idea on the left requires moving away from objective rules that merely permit individuals to plan and predict, and apply to everyone equally, and move into the area of preferring one individual or group to another, sometimes moving in the direction of subjective rules that use words like "reasonably" and are subject to "interpretation."

I submit that socialism does not work in the absence of centralized planning. It is inherently defective outside of an authoritarian system.
 

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I submit that socialism does not work in the absence of centralized planning. It is inherently defective outside of an authoritarian system.
Certainly once you have more than about a dozen people, you've run into a "need" for centralized planning.

"Utopian" is a good term for it; "socialism", like "feminism", is essentially a utopian philosophy (feminism is a direct descended of the ideas of Charles Fourier, a French utopian socialist).

I would say what makes *me* a "liberal" (using quotes to denote the modern usage, versus simply an adherent to classical liberalism, though I'd say I'm "that" too) is that I believe there *are* certain outcomes which are important enough to merit being "forced", ie. against market forces. Health is one - I just think people need to be healthy, even if market pressure identifies an acceptable segment of the population that can be allowed to become sick and die. Education is another. Basic infrastructure, I guess (like having bridges which stand up even when market forces decree it's okay for them to collapse.) But obviously capitalism is the best engine for wealth creation and innovation, and on balance for the betterment of the human condition, IF one has a thread of socialism present to catch those who fall through the cracks (ie. fail to compete for some reason.) Ergo, a "mixed system".

DH
 

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All men created equal...by Col. Colt.
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dhaller is more eloquent than me. But it doesn't require eloquence to notice problems in all ideologies, forms of government, or any other creations of man. Do we deal with problems with open minds? Or shut off possible solutions because of rigid, inaccurate views? Social programs such as those used in countries with higher "quality of life" than America, may illustrate some possible solutions.
 

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I believe there *are* certain outcomes which are important enough to merit being "forced", ie. against market forces. Health is one - I just think people need to be healthy, even if market pressure identifies an acceptable segment of the population that can be allowed to become sick and die.

DH
You think you can force people to be healthy? I don't think that is going to work, especially when the people pushing for socialism are the same people that are anti body shaming, saying fat is healthy etc.... It may work out though, if they achieve their socialist dream we will all probably be standing in bread lines at some point and the unhealthy fat people will either lose weight or die.
 

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I have no problem with social programs to help the truly needy in our society. What i have a problem with is helping the ones that won't help themselves.

What really gets me is seeing someone in line at the grocery story wearing $200 pair of Nikes, having the latest Iphone and then seeing them take there stuff to a car that is nicer than mine using those food stamp cards for food.

OR someone claiming a disability in order to not work which most self respecting adults would just deal with it.

that is the stuff that pisses me off and why we have a $27T deficient. And the progressives want more of that shit.
 

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that is the stuff that pisses me off and why we have a $27T deficient. And the progressives want more of that ****.
That's also because we give out billions of dollars to other countries. No other nation on earth comes close to the amount of taxpayer money we send overseas. That has got to stop, this does not benefit Americans.
 

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You think you can force people to be healthy? I don't think that is going to work, especially when the people pushing for socialism are the same people that are anti body shaming, saying fat is healthy etc.... It may work out though, if they achieve their socialist dream we will all probably be standing in bread lines at some point and the unhealthy fat people will either lose weight or die.
I say "force" a bit metaphorically, but if you have access to whole foods, preventative medical care, and fitness opportunities, you'll be pretty healthy. Basically, provide the basis for a culture of health and fitness.

I live part of the year in Japan (well, when there's not a pandemic - hope my house is still there!), and I am constantly impressed at the degree to which the Japanese actively care about their health... but every aspect of the country is conducive to it: quality of food, lack of poverty, access to fitness opportunities, and even just the culture itself. And admittedly, the Japanese fat-shame like no one else (indeed, you basically just cannot be hugely obese there, you won't fit, literally... I mean, I'm 6'1" and 175lbs and *I* can't buy clothes there!)

I could go on and on, but I will take this opportunity to plug Stan LeProtti's "La Sierre" physical fitness program for schools, which was trialed in California in the 1960s but for some reason never caught on... but it's *awesome*. I recommend reading up on it. I've gently suggested to my daughter's school (private) that they implement it, but... unlikely. Definitely the norm in *my* socialist utopia, though! ;)

DH
 

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All men created equal...by Col. Colt.
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You think you can force people to be healthy? I don't think that is going to work, especially when the people pushing for socialism are the same people that are anti body shaming, saying fat is healthy etc.... It may work out though, if they achieve their socialist dream we will all probably be standing in bread lines at some point and the unhealthy fat people will either lose weight or die.
How is the availability of quality health care at good prices "force(ing) people to be healthy"? For the record, I'm all for worthless citizens getting the boot. If the 14th amendment can be used to grant "personhood" to corporations, let's just say that corporate subsidies outnumber welfare recipient dollars 50:1. You want to work on the deficit? Start there. Then we can discuss military wastefulness.
Also, characterizing people who fat shame or otherwise try and shape social discussion are NOT all of one political party.
I sure would like to begin with 100% requirement for transparency in all legislation and political acts. But in any case, there's lots to do.
 

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All men created equal...by Col. Colt.
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Helping other countries with acts or infrastructure upgrade can have benefits for the United States, in that stability achieved overseas can create more chances for peace. The greatest $ outlay for our foreign policy are arms sales. Try to convince a Republican that it's a good idea to limit that.
 

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That's also because we give out billions of dollars to other countries. No other nation on earth comes close to the amount of taxpayer money we send overseas. That has got to stop, this does not benefit Americans.
It really does benefit Americans.

"Soft power" is the word for it.

Just as an example, back in the mid-90s, some partners and I wanted to set up cell towers in Southern China. So we flew to Bangkok, where the US Commercial Service had a field office. We went there, and said "hey can you hook us up?" and they have a network of attorneys, local politicians, business people, investors, whatever that they could plug us into. It gets a ball rolling. (We eventually decided the region was too politically unstable, but it was cool that "US interests" were there to serve us.

For example, the commercial service might introduce you to a Coca Cola executive at the Bangkok HQ, and his cousin is a real estate guy in Chiang Mai, and his sister will drive you there and... you get the picture. This is an almost exclusively American privilege, the ability to go to nearly any country and they're friendly and helpful because you are Coke, Stetson, and Ford all rolled up into a human package. 'Murica.

I don't know how much every dollar in aid gets multiplied as return wealth, but it's by a large factor. Certainly it's a better way to spend money, in terms of net US influence, than military spending... even better, it really just greases the wheels for US firms to build a local presence and "take over" the application of soft power. Big Macs are out there, marching, spreading the American Way.

It's even more important now, because Trump jettisoned quite a lot of US soft power (for example by exiting the WHO), bad timing because China is currently on a very, very aggressive program of soft power expansion (especially in Africa).

Do you want Chinese military bases in Africa? I don't.

DH
 

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In the big scheme of things related to the budget. foreign aid is minuscule vs social and welfare programs here at home.

That being said. We need to take a hard look at them as well to make sure they really are in out best interest.
 

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I wouldn't say all foreign spending is wasteful, but if you've seen the US government spend money you know that fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant. I would bet that more than half of our foreign spending could be characterized as wasteful. Just one example from the recent bill is the millions of dollars for gender studies in Pakistan. That will in no way benefit Americans, and I highly doubt that a single dime of that will actually be spent as intended.
 

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How is the availability of quality health care at good prices "force(ing) people to be healthy"?
Once the government sets prices, it is engaging in force. Period. There is no other way to do it.

"Health care" is a service.

Services are provided by servants who provide the service to those who want it.

Health care can also be manufactured goods, such as, for instance, insulin.

"Good prices" are subjective. You are asking somebody other than the seller and buyer together making the determination to set a "good price" subjectively and then to enforce it (force). That subjective determination has all sorts of additional consequences beyond merely a "price," because "price" is an incentive. It causes innovation, competition, and self rationing. When you remove the price signal, other things are set into motion. This is why there are shortages of things like gasoline after a hurricane (price gouging laws, set into Georgia law by Republicans actually cause and prolong such shortages, because a "good price" is being set subjectively by somebody who cannot possibly control for all of the consequences of his choice, but rather only one consequence, the "good price" at the pump).

Setting a "good price" by government force in health care likewise has consequences far beyond merely the "price" that is set.
 

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Once the government sets prices, it is engaging in force. Period. There is no other way to do it.

"Health care" is a service.

Services are provided by servants who provide the service to those who want it.

Health care can also be manufactured goods, such as, for instance, insulin.

"Good prices" are subjective. You are asking somebody other than the seller and buyer together making the determination to set a "good price" subjectively and then to enforce it (force). That subjective determination has all sorts of additional consequences beyond merely a "price," because "price" is an incentive. It causes innovation, competition, and self rationing. When you remove the price signal, other things are set into motion. This is why there are shortages of things like gasoline after a hurricane (price gouging laws, set into Georgia law by Republicans actually cause and prolong such shortages, because a "good price" is being set subjectively by somebody who cannot possibly control for all of the consequences of his choice, but rather only one consequence, the "good price" at the pump).

Setting a "good price" by government force in health care likewise has consequences far beyond merely the "price" that is set.
its precedent for authoritarianism, if government can determine pricing or what one would provide a service for that would be the end of a free market system, we already have it, overreach by government to regulate the free market in many ways
 

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I would argue the exact opposite of dhaller. Health care is so important that it cannot be trusted to government to deliver. The free enterprise system delivers more and better goods and services to more people than any other system in history, regardless of what types of goods and services we are talking about. The more that government force distorts this system, the less effective it is. Socialism is the very definition of government forcibly distorting the free market. By definition, it cannot deliver anything but shortages and rationing. Any system, physical, economic, etc. must have a control system that takes into account feedback from the system being controlled. Our bodies have pain receptors to keep us from damaging them excessively. Industrial processes have a PID loop to provide control and stability so systems work as desired. Socialism's feedback is intentionally disconnected from those both creating and receiving goods and services, with predictably disastrous results. Most of our current woes with the health care delivery and funding systems are due to government forcibly disconnecting the providers and the consumers.
 

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So I subscribe to a theory that we’re ultimately moving towards a closed system. We’re really already there, but we have some buffers that deprive us of the sense of urgency immediacy that will be needed one day. Talking about it with respect to the globe is too big for viable conversion. The state of Georgia is too big for that as well. Heck, even the Atlanta metro is too big, so the best I can do is a hypothetical.

The hypothetical is this: Put 10,000 people on a large space ship and point them at a nearby star. It’ll be a 300 year journey. Plan a functional government and constitution that suits the needs of The People so that 12 generations later there are still individual rights but equally food is still being grown, waste is reprocessed, reactor maintenance occurs, and the population remains healthy and stable (also in a genetic sense).

Now bridge the gap from where we are now to that sort of society. No, we won’t need a superbly managed genetic plan and we won’t have constraints so tight as “if one of these teens doesn’t grow up to be an air handler engineer then we all die” but we will eventually face a degree of resource limitations that we’re not so good at handling today. I suspect we’ll see changes similar to when nomadic herdsmen displaced hunter-gatherers and then when agrarian economies displaced nomadic herdsmen and again when industrialized economies displaced agrarian ones. There are distinctly different societal norms for each as well as distinctly different “most optimal” governments for each. I posit that we’re in the throes of crossing a threshold where it all changes again.
 
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