The US and most non-communist countries have always embraced some amount of socialism. For example, the government controls the military and owns many public lands and controls many institutions at the state and municipal levels. So this is another one of those bogus divisive and not very useful questions. The real question is what should the government control and what should it not? That's not so easy to answer, and requires debating specific issues rather than this general, abstract question of socialism vs. Capitalism.
The theoretical idea of Communism isn't really that bad. A classless society in which the government shares the wealth. Its because of people like Josef Stalin who gave communism a bad name. Part of the reason why many Americans (forgive me if I am wrong on this part) think of Socialism and Communism in a bad light.
Capitalism as said before has its pros and cons. Pro being that it leads to strong economic development, Meiji Japan (Japan after the Feudal Era but before the Taisho Period) is a great example of how capitalism can succeed. Its many cons are the many problems within American Politics.
Part of the cons being:
- It's a very materialistic philosophy. Associating success with how much stuff you have. You may not notice it now but Capitalism at its core is about making money or getting rich.
- Its very hard to control and sustain.
- It is actually far more Hierarchical than you think.
And et cetera,
Socialism has a more controlled and easier to sustain economy. Lets look at Canada for a second. While Canada is a capitalist country it is still considered to have some socialist tendencies. For example a government controlled health care. Health care that's free but indirectly paid through taxes.
This is just touching the surface of this subject. With the right leader, Socialism can succeed in America.
The main reason of US economic might is the collective effort of its people who are the powerful players in nation building within the framework of the US constitution where freedom, liberty and equality is the basic foundation of its existence. Therefore, socialism which controls the will of the people weakens the very essence of countries existence.
If you were to look at history, you would understand that pilgrims back in the early 1620s tried socialism back in the day, but it failed pretty bad. In fact the settlers nearly starved to death. So they tried capitalism, and it worked! You wonder why we are a capitalist nation from the beginning this is why.
Firstly, I'd like to criticize the inclusion of Adolf Hitler on the graphic. National Socialism is in no way similar to Marxian socialism. In fact, National Socialism, is, by its very nature, anticommunist.
Now, my argument is not in favor of capitalism, but corporatism. If you weren't already aware, corporatism is a system in which production and development is controlled by large monopolies who are each controlled by the state.
This ensures that wealth is used to benefit the working class as well as giving plenty profit incentive.
The modern nation who uses this economic structure would be Russia, I believe. They have one of the best, and fastest growing economies in the world.
The idea that the government should own the means of production is flawed for several economic reasons mainly the allocation of capital and the expansion of capital (as there is no price system). This leads to slower economic growth than the capitalist counterparts.
When the government owns all the capital goods such as radio networks and printing presses there can be no free speech as the people in power will ultimately censor it. Most socialists and capitalist economists say people's demands are infinite, some socialists want to change human nature through childhood education but I personal think this cannot happen and the most greedy and power thirsty will desire the unlimited power of the socialist government.
People are not ants. We desire power in the form of money, control, fame which is why concentrated power (governments) will ultimately be abused. There will be difficulties with challenging the governments (as I mentioned with censorship) lead to some power hungry, ideologically stubborn people telling the rest what to do. They have armies and a near totalitarian control over the citizens who they can use overwhelming force on.
There are historical examples of socialist countries and whether or not you call them truly socialist or warped by greed, there were many problems.
Power is limited in the current US system with a semi free market, due to government regulation nowhere near free, because unless the people who own capital can offer a cheaper product at a lower price they are replaced leading to efficiency and innovation.
The US system is full of crony capitalism as the government keeps giving out free stuff and government contracts which businesses bid for by giving campaign donations. My idea of a better US is a much smaller government that is less regulated. This way there will be no benefit from lobbying the government as they have very few resources to offer.
In some US cities (New York) the lobbyists have made it nearly impossible to start a taxi company as there are taxi licenses that cost literally hundreds of thousands of US dollars to buy one. This increases the barrier of entry which is an example of crony capitalism.
Basically Socialism is very flawed even if you are egalitarian this is not the way to benefit the most people. The US is not as bad but could be much better with a less intrusive govt.