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2/4/2012 1:31:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This is based on my personal observation of self-avowed Socialist states. This is more than anecdotal but less than scientific. I'm going a little Charlesb here, but these are my musings while on vacation in a socialist country:
After living in, studying and having vested interest in this sort of country, I can tell you without any hesitation that the ideals of socialism have been long forsaken, except in political and propagandistic applications.
In most ‘Socialist' states, E.G. China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, there are varying degrees and interpretations of ‘the state controls the means of production'. Those countries who have an understanding that any success of their economy will depend on some capitalist venture have managed to survive, and in the case of China thrive as a state. Whereas the overriding value of central power to a ruling elite be both preserved and expanded is dependent on a certain level of economic prosperity, and betterment of the society, even if at a bare minimal level.
Most members of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) have a love hate relationship with forces of capitalism. A ground level application of capitalism is required for the sustenance of its people in the forms of small business, and in most cases individual entrepreneurial ventures, from shining shoes to driving a taxi. And at the upper level, huge corporations work in concert with the government ensuring protection of their monopolistic goals and a very considerable stream of income to the ruling elite. It is important to understand that a mid-level business is near impossible to sustain without the blessing of a government official, and are often unable to compete with the ruling class of corporate leaders. It is also important to understand the criteria in which a capitalistic enterprise must conform to for their success. There is a symbiotic relationship between government and industry where both make considerable sacrifice for the other, and that only those who are supportive of the political party in power will succeed.
It is important to understand what has been sacrificed in their socialistic goals for the partnership between government and corporation; such basic assurances for the workers of these countries and its overall citizenry is gone. Propaganda that instils a façade of a liberation of the common man is ubiquitous, but hollow. There are no laws that prevent children from working, there are no minimum wage laws, there is no benefit of health insurance or protection from arbitrary dismissal, there is nothing at all to distinguish the plight of the worker at this point in time, to that of an earlier time when such conditions were considered an offense to any society of social conscience. This is not even addressing the obvious poverty that is sustained and managed, while the leaders become some of the wealthiest men in the hemisphere.
It is interesting to note that the basic rights of the workers, that fuel the great communist and socialist revolutions are almost without exception the first to be discarded, and replaced with oppressive restrictions, curbing any attempt at free expression and a legitimate right to redress grievances.
To the socialist, government involvement in big business in the form of regulation is good, and that the government should be a heavily controlling factor of these entities necessary. However they're short sided understanding of human behaviour is once again the error in their calculations. A close relationship with government and corporations is only good for those who benefit, and since big corporations control the money, who will control whom? Such a relationship is one that will lead to a feudal system with a corporation getting an unconditional blessing from that which it has invested so much in, the government. The government gets immeasurable amounts of financial support to promote and sustain their position of power.
The ironic and important thing about this is the parallel that exists in the so called western democracies which supposedly carry a far greater measure of capitalism.
There is an ellipse for both the left and the right where government and big business gravitate toward an unholy marriage. The 'useful idiots' that the right would point to now exist and dominate on both sides for the benefit of the ruling elite.
I know tl;dr - but I just felt like spewing out my thoughts. Actually they're heavily edited from what I was writing on earlier today.