Is Democratic Socialism the way forward?
Growing up in Chicago with Croatian parents in the Real Estate business, I have witnessed the ups and downs of the market. I was born in 2000 and even remember when I was little my parents talking about how their buildings values increased. Then came 2008, when the market crashed. Thankfully, my parents investment properties were unaffected by the crisis due to them having fixed rate mortages. However, my uncle and many other Croatian-Americans almost lost all of their properties because they could not afford their mortgage. My father bailed out my uncle, because that is what family does. But what about the people who didn’t have family members or financial institutions bailing them out or even the government? The big, multibillionare banks and corporations got bailed out by the government, but why did the government not bail out the people?
The distaste for billion dollar corporations and the idea of the 1% being exclusively elitist, greedy, classist and all other adjectives that fit was accelerated by our own government’s response. So many younger people at the time, now millenials and zoomers (gen-z), witnessed the ugly side of what capitalism could do and saw that you only truly matter in the eyes of the government is if you are a millionaire or billionaire.
No wonder why so many people are done with our system. However, is enacting socialistic policies via democracy the answer to so many problems? Is socialism a guarantee that every single American will get free, universal healthcare and a free college degree? I do not think so. If each US State was it’s own country, the top 11 list would include #1) China, #2) Japan, #3) Germany, #4) California, $5)India, #6) UK, #7) France, #8) Italy, #9) Texas, #10) Brazil, #11) New York. China, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Brazil all have universal healthcare. What I take from both of these lists is that I do not think the affordability of healthcare is the problem, the problem is how and what states spend money on? If other countries who have comparable GDPs can afford it, what is the problem? Why would you want to demand higher taxation first before looking at how each state and the federal government allocate money? And I mean thoroughly look through it, not just reading pie charts and diagrams.
Also, will Democratic socialists like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Bernie Sanders find a legitimate alternative to drive innovation without succumbing to the fact that the competitive free-market is the reason why humanity, as a whole, has advanced from technology to medicine? Will they also find alternative incentives to make people work harder and have goals? What I mean by my previous question is that with inequality, one does have incentive to work harder to get to the same level. Example: A starting intern then working 20+ years to become CEO.
Democratic socialism also pretends to be safeguarded by it being tyrannical or overly governmental by claiming it has to go through a democratic system first. Yet, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected and look at the state of Venezuala today. Is democracy truly strong enough against socialism? The Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States is esconced with the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can socialism and a constitutional republic like ours co-exist? How free can we truly be with socialist policies regulating almost everything, at least with the free market, we can be free.
Of course capitalism has its flaws. No system on Earth is perfect. However, Capitalism does what socialism can not, actually work. The beloved statement by many socialists is “That is not real socialism!”. However, what is real socialism then? If “fake socialism” has been tried and practiced 10–15 times, and it still is not real socialism, then what is? No one can truly claim nordic countries like Sweden and Denmark as socialist because they have market economies and private property. Sure they have social programs for their people but that is not enough to say they are socialist.
Now there pundits on the left trying to disprove socialism’s involvement in the downfall of Venezuela. What people do not realize though is of course socialism is not 100% to blame for their fall, but it played a major role that still affects it today and capitalistic initiative could save them. Venezuela fell because their country started nationalizing every sector of the economy one by one, eliminating competition and innovation by doing that. Also, Chavez created numerous anti-private property laws that decimated the potential of benefiting from a prosperous real estate market.
What many millennials and zoomers do not realize is that you would not be reading this article on your phone or laptop without the means of capitalistic entrepreneurship and the competition within capitalism to make products better. You would not be able to order your clothes, food, etc. from your phone or other devices without the capitalistic ideals of finding demands within the market and supplying those needs.
Of course Capitalism has its problems of its own. But that does not mean completely abandon it. Why go directly towards socialism? Historically and Economically speaking, it has not worked, all ended with overwhelming government interference. But socialism does have one thing too learn from capitalism. If reforms enacted inside capitalism to fix its problems works to keep us from enacting socialism, it only proves that competition can better anything.