These days, ‘Socialism’ is a word bandied about like a knife in the dark. Even as society yearns for sustainable solutions to its present malaise, the red dread of Socialism lingers from years long past, and hearts are turned away from any consideration that is not entirely beholden to the dominant theory of Capitalism.
Capitalism alone has long been held as the only acceptable means of governing fiscal policy. With its general ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality, it has often proven over the years to stimulate the growth of businesses big and small, acting for the benefit of all consumers.
But it must also be noted that Capitalism is strictly a consideration of economic affairs. More specifically, it is not concerned with managing social affairs. Rather, it is (as the name implies) concerned strictly with the managing of Capital. This system made perfect sense when there was so much building and work to be done that there was enough work for all—work and be paid, take part!
But such is no longer strictly the case. In a world of ever increasing automation of labour, combined with scarcities of non-renewable resources, the system of Capitalism works only to strangle out the ‘excess’ in humanity, not to foster anything new. This is why it behooves us to consider changing to a system which more accurately reflects our present situation.
It’s not an easy thing to consider however. As discussed in our article ‘The Constitution is America’s Bible’ (Link), society harbours a terrible reticence to ever change what has worked for it in the past—even if it clearly no longer functions as intended. In a world where more and more people are falling below the poverty line—where infrastructure is failing, and where the rich take an ever growing portion of domestic product, it may well be that the aims of Capitalism are as outdated and ineffectual as many of the clauses in the constitution itself.
As established, the domain of Capitalism is relegated to Capital alone—money, and the making thereof. But when the woes of the world are increasingly tied to the misappropriation of wealth—a policy fully enabled by Capitalism in its present form—it shouldn’t be such a stretch to see the inherent value in the notion of Socialism, which places its value rather on society and social balance. That is, of course, if you can take off your red-tinted glasses long enough to consider our need.
True, Communism doesn’t make sense in a system with countless jobs, but nobody motivated to do them. Conversely, Capitalism once made sense in a system where jobs needed to be created for the expansion of a nation. There were bridges and roads to build, cities to design, etc. So it made sense that the opportunities should be open to all, and that the hardest working and most innovative and industrious should be justly rewarded. This was a situation of natural opportunity and abounding incentive.
Now, with populations swelling worldwide and the increase of technology reducing available jobs, this system simply no longer seems quite so pragmatic. Our society must be retooled to allow for anyone working a job—be it CEO of a Corporation or shoveling snow off the streets—to be provided for sufficiently to raise a family with another stay-at-home partner. This would allow for true growth in society: smarter, healthier, better behaved children, less crime, better/ happier citizens, and far greater hope for the future than the current approach of shovelling all of societies spoils into the coffers of the elites—as set up through the dated Capitalist system—and allowing the rest to starve or rot.
If Capitalism, and the assumptions it entails, no longer fit, then there is a clear and pressing need for a radical paradigm shift not only in politics, but in our fundamental assumptions about society in a global world. This notion has already been discussed in some detail in our article, ‘On Saving the World 101’ (Link).
But this is not a new idea by any stretch, and an attentive viewer can already see the desire for change growing in the disenfranchised masses the world over. At the head of this charge is one man who stands out from all other politicians…the justifiably lauded Bernie Sanders (Link).
Risking the wrath of the socially-entrenched, Bernie pulls no punches…openly labelling himself a ‘Democratic Socialist’—a term which to many seems a contradiction at best, and often something more akin to a full on assault of social-normative values.
But Bernie sets himself apart from so many others wailing atop their soapboxes about change and hope (this writer notwithstanding). First of all, among politicians he is a rarity by the sole virtue of his sterling voting record (Link), which shows a long history of voting in favour of his constituents on issues ranging from access to Healthcare, to promoting peaceful resolutions of conflict, to increasing social supports for society’s most disadvantaged. Further still, Bernie raises his money from the independent contributions of actual voters—taking little to no money from banks, lobbyists, ‘think-tanks’, or others of their ilk.
On top of this, Bernie’s platform (Link) reveals the truth of his definition of ‘Democratic Socialism’. The focus here is on improving access to resources for all, on creating greater equity in our world, and preventing the powerful from emptying the pockets of society through market manipulation and lobbying for changes which benefit only themselves. Bernie seeks to put an end to the bastardized system which Capitalism has slowly morphed into, and design instead a system which represents the current needs of our waning culture.
Everyone talks about change and hope—such words are little more than devalued political currency to be cast about to the naive masses in exchange for votes. But among all of the traits which make Bernie an exemplar among political figures is not only the evidence of his true character, but his unyielding belief that the world can truly be a better place if we only work together.
Still, no measure of earnest intention can quell the fears so closely associated with Socialism, and more specifically, Communism. The media is quick to paint Bernie as a devilish red commie—determined to strip us of all we own and hold dear. He’ll take our money, take our Gods, and take our self-worth, spreading it all so thin as to somehow leave everyone worse off than they started. It’s a twisted view of his platform (and math) to be sure, and even a cursory consideration of facts would reveal the falsity of these fears (Link). In fact, Bernie’s ideas are not wholly unique, and many countries in the world have already found great reprieve by turning their own values away from Capital, and towards Society.
But we would be remiss to ignore the entirely justified fear of Socialism. Collectivist paradigms in the past have certainly proven to be a dangerous precipice to cross over. But no matter the danger of the journey, when we are pressed by dire need, more dangerous still is the risk of inaction.
The most common attack on Communism is that if a comfortable life is provided for all citizens, then no one would ever be motivated to do anything. This is a fallacy. People are naturally, biologically driven to produce and achieve. To provide not just for their children, but for their community. This is an evolutionary trait, which is not switched off based on societal circumstances.
The drive is natural and insatiable, like our biological drive towards sugars and fats which are now counterproductive yet ongoing even in this unnatural environment. If the basics of life were assured, and none were prevented from contributing according to their talents and proclivities, the benefit would surely be to society and civilization as a whole. Arts and the humanities would flourish, and the human spirit, unbounded to the threats of poverty and death, would finally be able to realize its highest potential.
To clarify, what I am talking about here—and what Bernie proposes—is far from the Communism of old. Money would still be earned, and not all wages would be entirely equal. Jobs would not be done away with entirely, but rather revalued regarding their need and impact. Rather than a CEO seeing unlimited riches from selling an increasingly insufficient and potentially hazardous product (such as evidenced in the fast food or tobacco industries), we would find a wealth of jobs created in areas of healthcare, infrastructure, education, arts and myriad other opportunities to better society.
There is, even now, no shortage of work to be done or of people willing to do it. What exists instead is a devaluation of any work which does not benefit a table of shareholders—no matter what the social impact of their product is. This is because current priorities for labour are not aimed at satisfying the needs of the many, but rather the pocketbooks of the few.
This is modern Capitalism—and that is precisely what needs to change. It is a shift in values, not in ambition. For despite the tired times we find ourselves in, we must hold to the promise of morning, when light shall come again and illuminate a world better than any we have before imagined.
With all the present hype and cynical gusto around the reality TV show called ‘politics’—Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who rises above the din. He has passion, honesty…and most importantly, an actual plan for saving the world. While candidates such as the infernal Donald Trump bellow hollow promises about making America great again to boisterous applause, Bernie alone offers the actual tools to do so. And if we were smart, we would take them happily, and work with his momentum to achieve what we must all surely hold to be our ultimate goal—the betterment of society, of culture and of our shared lives on this Earth.
-Brad OH Inc.