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The Pros and Cons of Socialism

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy concerning socialism that included a lot of misconceptions by all sides. So, I would like to clarify what is socialism, as well as the pros and cons of socialism.

First, the definition of socialism is fairly wide and open for interpretation. The most common definition of social is a form of government that owns, regulates, and administrates the production and distribution of goods and services. Another common definition of socialism is a form of government that attempts to reduce social, economic, medical, and political inequalities among its’ people. In capitalistic societies, inequalities are the norm. Some people consider this inequality to be unfair; thus socialism is used to try to minimize these inequalities.

That is a lot of information to process all at once. I strongly recommend that you think and understand both of these definitions before continuing to read this article. Here are the reasons for and against socialism.

Reasons For Socialism
  1. Social Equality: Public education is an example of attempting to equalize the minimum education for all people.
  2. Economic Equality: Minimum wage, food stamps, social security, and public housing are just some ways to reduce absolute poverty.
  3. Medical Equality: Socialized healthcare means that everyone receives the same minimum healthcare, even if unemployed and unable to pay for medical needs.
  4. Political Equality: Socialism increases workers rights and is more likely to allow more than only two dominate political parties.

Reasons Against Socialism
  1. Higher Cost: Obviously socialism has a higher cost than other forms of government, thus taxes are high in socialistic countries. Socialistic countries tend to have a much higher debt ratio per citizen.
  2. Less Entrepreneurships: Higher taxes means it is much harder for entrepreneurs to start new companies and/or restrict existing companies from being very dynamic. For instance, a company that is undergoing economic troubles may not be able to lay off their employees in order to save the company from bankruptcy thus saving the jobs of all of their employees.
  3. Less Rags-to-Riches: Socialism reduces the desire of the poorest people to work harder, get a higher education, and innovate, since they are guaranteed a minimum standard of comfortable living. As a result, fewer people that are born poor become rich.
  4. Big Government: More taxes means a bigger government, bigger bureaucracy, and more power in the government’s hands. Since governments are slow to change, big government tends to mean stagnation and less innovation that individual small companies could more easily attempt or adapt.
  5. Communism: Some believe that socialism is the first step to communism (basically equal pay, no rich or poor). Historically communism has failed in every country that it was attempted because of lack of motivation to produce goods, and most socialistic countries do realize the fact that communism does not work. Moreover, communism is not the guaranteed outcome of socialism. Rather, communism is an extreme form socialism. For instance, in the capitalistic country of the United States of America, they have Social Security for their retirees, yet the USA has almost no desire for communism to speak of. As a result, socialism does not imply communism.
  6. Inequalities are the Norm: It is impossible to completely remove all inequalities via socialism. As a result, socialism does not work completely. Socialism only attempts to reduce inequalities.

Whether you think inequalities are the norm or everyone should be fairly treated and equal, now you know the advantages and disadvantages of socialism.

by Phil for Humanity
on 06/07/2010

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