This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
Socialism is one of those things that is hard to explain and define for many people. Which is why it means different things to different people sort of like liberalism. But to put it simply socialism is anything provided by government for the people that is funded by public revenue. Generally through taxes, but not always and it can financed through state-owned enterprises as well. Which was common in Cuba before they moved to a state form of capitalism a few years ago.
When people tend to think of Socialists, they tend to think of people who are Marxists. Named after the famous Far-Left philosopher Carl Marx. And a Marxist is someone who believes in state-owned economics. And believes the state meaning the central government for whatever given country should own and operate the economy and all of it’s enterprises on behalf of the people. To see that no one has too little or too much. I guess that would be what I would call a Classical Socialist to go along with the big welfare state. And all the social services that would come from the central government.
But anyone whose familiar with the developed world as it is called that is the wealthy countries of the world that have large middle class populations and even a decent number of wealthy people, but even the fast developing countries of the developing world like Mexico, China and India to use as examples, know that these countries don’t have state-owned economic systems. And that most of the industries in these countries are in private hands subjected to taxes and regulations by government.
But these countries aren’t completely capitalist either and have large and expansive welfare states. That provide most of the services that people need to do well in life. Like education, pension, health care, health insurance and other services. A lot of these countries tend to be social democratic and run by Social Democrats on the Left. Or people on the Right who even though they might not be Social Democrats aren’t interested in dismantling the welfare state. But in many cases there to see that it doesn’t expand and that these programs are run better. And even getting competition from the private sector to perform these services as well.
The future of Democratic Socialists or Social Democrats especially in America, but the developing world and Europe as well I believe is not the Marxist Socialist approach of government trying to do everything for everybody. But it is the Bernie Sanders wing of the socialist movement. Bernie Sanders the senator from Vermont the only self-described Socialist in the United States Congress.
Senator Sanders is someone who believes in capitalist private enterprise economy. But that is highly taxed and regulated to protect workers and consumers from capitalist predators, but also so the central government has the resources to provide most of the services that people need to live well in life. Which is the type of Socialist that gets elected in America, but also in Europe as well.