Socialism vs Capitalism

Aictos

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As the title explains, please feel free to discuss both the pros and cons of both systems here.

For example, is the socialism model favoured by Corbynites actually feasible and what does it mean for the UK.

Equally is the capitalism model favourited by the Conservatives actually good for those in low paid jobs etc and what does this mean.
 
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RailUK Forums

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As I mentioned in the previous thread, I'm more pro socialist as I've seen that the Conservatives and capitalism only punishes the poor, forcing people onto the streets and into foodbanks.

However I'm young and have a limited knowledge of politics, so I may be wrong. I'm willing to accept that socialism has flaws, but I fail to see how capitalism is a good way to run a country when there are people literally starving to death.

I'd like to see a government implement the best ideas from both sides, although that's highly unlikely.
 

NoMorePacers

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As I mentioned in the previous thread, I'm more pro socialist as I've seen that the Conservatives and capitalism only punishes the poor, forcing people onto the streets and into foodbanks.

However I'm young and have a limited knowledge of politics, so I may be wrong. I'm willing to accept that socialism has flaws, but I fail to see how capitalism is a good way to run a country when there are people literally starving to death.

I'd like to see a government implement the best ideas from both sides, although that's highly unlikely.
Clearly from what some posters have said inequality is a brilliant thing and those poor scum need to be pushed into worse and worse conditions.

And before any of you libertarian corporatist fanatics start, the U.K. isn’t a meritocracy.
 

cactustwirly

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Clearly from what some posters have said inequality is a brilliant thing and those poor scum need to be pushed into worse and worse conditions.

And before any of you libertarian corporatist fanatics start, the U.K. isn’t a meritocracy.
It is, but that has nothing to do with capitalism, but poor government policy.
Would you prefer equality where everyone has poor living/working conditions?
 

NoMorePacers

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It is, but that has nothing to do with capitalism, but poor government policy.
Would you prefer equality where everyone has poor living/working conditions?
Not really, no. I am aware complete equality is a practical impossibility. I simply want less inequality.

Also, point of clarification, do you think the U.K. is a meritocracy or that it isn’t l? I’m not sure what your answer is supposed to mean, that is all.
 

yorksrob

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Clearly a mixed economy is the only sensible way forward. The private and public sectors both have their place.

Arguably the balance has shifted too much in the last thirty years, but that's just my opinion.
 

Failed Unit

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As I mentioned in the previous thread, I'm more pro socialist as I've seen that the Conservatives and capitalism only punishes the poor, forcing people onto the streets and into foodbanks.

However I'm young and have a limited knowledge of politics, so I may be wrong. I'm willing to accept that socialism has flaws, but I fail to see how capitalism is a good way to run a country when there are people literally starving to death.

I'd like to see a government implement the best ideas from both sides, although that's highly unlikely.
The foodbanks thing is interesting.

I comment I have see written that is worth discussing.

Have people going to the food bank really got no choice? Do they still have sky? Mobile phone contracts? I think the person that wrote it was a moron (the one on GMTV) but it still raised an interesting point. Why cancel sky when you can get food from the foodbank?

Many people consider pay-tv, broadband and mobile contacts as essential. More essential than food.

worth putting it out for discussion.
 

cactustwirly

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Not really, no. I am aware complete equality is a practical impossibility. I simply want less inequality.

Also, point of clarification, do you think the U.K. is a meritocracy or that it isn’t l? I’m not sure what your answer is supposed to mean, that is all.
No but I think in a democracy, meritocracy is difficult to achieve
 

bramling

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Seemed to change rapidly in two years, then! Or did that thing called Brexit have an influence?
I think it was more that everyone thought May was going to get a landslide in 2017, so some people felt they could lend their vote to Labour as a protest, without the risk of Corbyn actually getting into power. Add on top of this May’s disastrous campaign and social care proposals.

Fast forward two years, plus a little more exposure to Corbyn, and clearly people really didn’t fancy the idea, even - or perhaps especially - in traditional Labour areas where one might ordinarily expect left-leaning policies to be more popular.

The wobble in 2017 cost us collectively a cool £1 billion, and arguably made our parliament a laughing stock on the world stage during much of that time. Actions have consequences and all that...
 

Failed Unit

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Not so much pay TV, but it's almost impossible now to claim benefits and look for work (which you have to do for 35 hours per week if unemployed) without internet access.
knowing people in rural areas, they have to go to the library. Not saying this is right, it is just that broadband is not actually available at a speed good enough to fill in job applications.
 

Starmill

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I think that almost everyone realises, with a little thought, that completely free markets and completely government controlled economies both fail intolerably for the humans who have to make their life within them. There aren't any counter-examples that I'm aware of.

The answer lies in a free market subject to just the right level of regulation and taxation. It's exactly where that sweet spot is that's difficult. (Hint: we definitely haven't found it here.)
 
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The foodbanks thing is interesting.

I comment I have see written that is worth discussing.

Have people going to the food bank really got no choice? Do they still have sky? Mobile phone contracts? I think the person that wrote it was a moron (the one on GMTV) but it still raised an interesting point. Why cancel sky when you can get food from the foodbank?

Many people consider pay-tv, broadband and mobile contacts as essential. More essential than food.

worth putting it out for discussion.
I actually volunteer at a foodbank, and the reasons for people using them vary. I can't claim to know for sure, as most of the time I'm in the back making parcels and sorting through donations.

What I do know is you can't just decide to go to a foodbank. You have to go to the citizens advice bureau or a similar organisation, and they assess whether or not you actually NEED to use a foodbank. So I doubt anyone coming in will have a netflix subscription, or similar luxuries.

In 2020, I'd argue that Internet and phone contracts are more of a utility than a luxury. It was enough of a hassle to claim universal credit online, it would probably be hell doing it any other way. And that's not mentioning that without the internet you're going to have a much harder time looking for jobs.

Speaking of universal credit, that is one of the primary reasons why people are forced to use foodbanks, it's a very flawed system, mainly as you only get paid once a month. I do wonder if it wouldn't be as bad if you were paid weekly or even fortnightly. However, that's a failure of the government, not necessarily of capitalism.
 

DynamicSpirit

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As the title explains, please feel free to discuss both the pros and cons of both systems here.
Summary:
  • Capitalism: Brilliant at creating wealth, and almost useless at distributing this wealth in a fair way.
  • Socialism: Almost useless at creating wealth, but much better at distributing it.
You need to take the best bits from both systems to have a decent and prosperous society.
 

Puppetfinger

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Forgive my ignorance, but surely centralism, which was by and large attempted by Blair and Brown was the best effort we have seen to balance Socialism and Capatalism for the good of all?

It's clear to me, that the modern world cannot function without Socialism and Capatalism, but controlled and directed in the right manner, and siding to the extreme of either side will not work.

People have mentioned food banks here, and an awful situation it is that people find the need to use them, but they cannot be blamed on Capitalism alone, nor indeed can problems surrounding universal credit.

To me, we have become far more polarised, willing to blame, and extreme in our views in the last 10 years, and our culture has changed. This has seen a large scale swing to one view or the other, neither of which will succeed long term.

I want to see a society (not just a Government) that allows Capitaliam to generate wealth, and provide opportunities, whilst employs Socialism to look after those that require it, but all the while helping them to move forward. However, this requires a cultural shift and more moderate thoughts. I won't be drawn upon the links to main stream politics in the UK of the last few years, other than to say it's pretty clear that no party has embraced the above.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Summary:
  • Capitalism: Brilliant at creating wealth, and almost useless at distributing this wealth in a fair way.
  • Socialism: Almost useless at creating wealth, but much better at distributing it.
You need to take the best bits from both systems to have a decent and prosperous society.
Actually not a bad summary.
 

AlterEgo

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Clearly from what some posters have said inequality is a brilliant thing and those poor scum need to be pushed into worse and worse conditions.

And before any of you libertarian corporatist fanatics start, the U.K. isn’t a meritocracy.
Nobody has said that “scum” need to live in worse conditions, and your fatuous insistence insinuating people have is exactly why people who think socialism is great are derided as lunatics by the majority.
 

AlterEgo

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In 2020, I'd argue that Internet and phone contracts are more of a utility than a luxury.
Yes, they’ve reached this level of necessity because of capitalism. This free to use and free to discuss board exists because of capitalism, because companies pay to advertise on it.

The main benefit to living in a (restricted) capitalist society like the UK is freedom of choice. Despite coming from a very modest - dare I say - traditionally working class background, I’ve been able to choose my careers fairly freely and I’ve been able to take personal life choice risks without interference. So far, I can see that society has rewarded my life choices - and my general attitude of self reliance and owning my own destiny - with a good standard of living.

Not everyone is so lucky; many people are full time carers, or have disabilities, or other personal responsibilities. Society should protect these people, and people who make money should be taxed to ensure a minimum standard of dignified living. What I don’t like paying for is people’s unwise life choices. For those people, the hand of government should always be extended but should never reach right down - everyone who wants help should be prepared to reach up a little to grab the hand to give them a lift up, if you catch my analogy.
 
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TrafficEng

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As I mentioned in the previous thread, I'm more pro socialist as I've seen that the Conservatives and capitalism only punishes the poor, forcing people onto the streets and into foodbanks.
On the other thread you started by suggesting you were a "naive young person". I don't think you are, but you've probably been fortunate/unfortunate [delete as applicable] not to have lived (as a politically aware person) under a proper socialist government. Therefore your perception may be skewed through your experience that the Conservatives "do bad stuff" without having that true socialist experience to provide balance.

People living on the streets is not a post-2010 invention, although in the past it was called something else (usually "vagrancy"). Food banks are not a post-2010 invention, although in the past they were called something else (e.g. "Soup kitchens" or "parish relief").

The reality is there has always been homelessness and there has always been hunger. What tends to change is how much people notice it and the extent to which people are tolerant of measures designed to combat it. The problem is a societal one, and goes far deeper than the soundbite of anyone or anything "punishing the poor".

...but I fail to see how capitalism is a good way to run a country when there are people literally starving to death.
Literally? You mean people who are so undernourished that their life is in imminent danger cannot walk (or be carried) into an NHS hospital to seek urgent medical help?
 
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On the other thread you started by suggesting you were a "naive young person". I don't think you are, but you've probably been fortunate/unfortunate [delete as applicable] not to have lived (as a politically aware person) under a proper socialist government. Therefore your perception may be skewed through your experience that the Conservatives "do bad stuff" without having that true socialist experience to provide balance.
You're probably right. I have no intention of relocating to Russia to find out for myself!

People living on the streets is not a post-2010 invention, although in the past it was called something else (usually "vagrancy"). Food banks are not a post-2010 invention, although in the past they were called something else (e.g. "Soup kitchens" or "parish relief").

The reality is there has always been homelessness and there has always been hunger. What tends to change is how much people notice it and the extent to which people are tolerant of measures designed to combat it. The problem is a societal one, and goes far deeper than the soundbite of anyone or anything "punishing the poor".
I know it's been around for a while, but it's awful that foodbanks have to exist in the first place. It's even more horrendous that people are still in poverty in a developed country. I personally feel that we should be doing more to address this.

Literally? You mean people who are so undernourished that their life is in imminent danger cannot walk (or be carried) into an NHS hospital to seek urgent medical help?
According to the office for national statistics, 726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018. Granted, not all of them will be due to starvation, but it's still an alarming figure. I can't claim to know the exact reasons why so many people unfortunately lost their lives, but surely action should be taken to prevent it?
 
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433N

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I tried to start this discussion in the other thread by posting the following ...

Although the term 'Marxism' is used as a perogative by the ignorant, Marx recognised that capitalism was very good for developing economies ; but disagreed that it was good for developed economies. In fact if you look around, you may argue that many of the woes of Western economies are due to the endless search for the capitalist obsession with economic growth (dotcom boom and bust, banking crisis destroying capital, endless consumption causing climate catastrophe).

Since 'young naïve people' don't see the benefits of capitalism in modern society or at least question them, it is perhaps incumbent on you to point out what those are rather than disparagingly dismissing people's valid concerns.
It seems particularly pertinent since it is relevant to which way the Labour Party, and consequently its leader, might decide to go. To dismiss followers of Corbyn (or Marxism) as 'young and naive' neglects the fact that Marx understood the nature of labour, and people's relation to it, perhaps better than anyone and modern British society looks to be a direct result of his ideas of alienation.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, the level of debate was poor. Apparently, the benefits of capitalism are that you can post on a message board with a £1000 phone (well that's really worth the climate catastrophe) and apparently I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer for not seeing the benefits of capitalism. Ironically, socialism gets roundly condemned for suppressing individual freedoms but capitalism too has an in-built mechanism for doing so. Anyone seen Invasion of the Bodysnatchers ? Evidently, to raise (or rather re-iterate) the idea that capitalism may be inappropriate for our modern economy is a heresy which must not be spoken. In fact, it appears that many people have great difficulty in expounding its virtues (I could, but that's not the point - everyone should be able to).

Another heresy that must not be spoken, is that Marx envisaged communism as a system for developed, not developing, societies. The main criticisms stem from its application in countries which are developing and so, therefore, seem to be missing the point. Even within those criticisms, there is an innate neglect of what socialism (since communism cannot be achieved on a short timescale) achieved. Prior to the October revolution, Russia was an agrarian, feudal society. Within 50 years, it was a superpower on the world stage - almost America's equal ; and that despite being dragged into the Second World War (anyone who thinks 'we' won the war should consider Russia's contribution - it was Russia that really put in the hard yards). It really was an astonishing achievement. Similarly, you might look at China. Of course, no one is denying that individual freedoms were/are suppressed to achieve this but you might also consider what the plight of those people would have been under the rule of a brutal Tsar.

The idea that we need a mix of the two seems to be common ; that capitalism has its flaws. Yet it would seem to me that we are far from that. Since Thatcher famously banged Hayek's Road to Serfdom on the table, there have are right wingers who believe it to be the bible and that markets are the most efficient form of government (as opposed to the US where the markets ARE the government). This, as I say, despite the fact that such an approach essentially led to the destruction of the value of capital in the financial crisis. The idea of austerity (which went against Keynesian economics which even previous Tories had been happy to sign up to in the past) was rammed down our throats as the panacea for the ills of the country's finances. Yet, rather beneficially for the aforementioned right wingers, this meant smaller government and less intervention and more 'government' by market forces. Is it a surprise that we are where we are now ? Food banks, failing NHS and corporations creatively dodging paying tax ... and a populace obsessed with low taxation (and dodging thereof) as though the NHS will somehow find a magic money tree. Bring in private medical insurance, see how people feel about paying that.

In any case, the economic system that we have now is far removed from capitalism. We have a few megacorporations running monopolies and setting their own pricing ; the ideas expounded in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations seem quaint in comparison.

The Labour movement was born out of working people educating themselves. Does it not strike anyone as ironic that the quality of state education might not be great. I'm reverting to the 'not like in my day' approach although I don't believe my 70s school education was as good as the 50s school education that my parents received, though I did go to uni at a time when working class kids could get grants to do so. Considering the mechanisms for self-education, libraries are closing left, right and centre and access to higher and further education is becoming a costly endeavour. The Open University is pretty much on its knees at a time when it should be thriving. Why do state schools no longer strive to provide an education equivalent to private schools ? It is almost like working people are not supposed to educate themselves - or at least only do so by clicking links on a phone and reading information which hasn't been subjected to any rigorous scrutiny. The argument 'but look what happened in Russia' is not the definitive argument against socialism.
 

433N

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Which asks the question....How did Corbyn come across to the electorate over the matter of Brexit?
Corbyn was caught in a paradox.

He understood that the EU provides a constant source of cheap labour undermining the pay and conditions of the local populace. However, the Tory party were sacrificing the benefits to business of such labour by pampering to the, shall we say, 'concerns' of the electorate over immigration (which, of course, had nothing to do with and were entirely unconnected with, xenophobia).
 

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