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> Does "More Socialized= Less Freedom"
Bikerdad
post Nov 4 2008, 06:23 AM
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One of the major concerns of most conservatives is that an Obama victory will result in a sharp move towards greater socialism, which of appears to be one of the major attractions of Obama for those on the Left.

At the heart of the conservative's concern is the contention that "more socialism = less freedom".
The question for debate is

Does more socialism equal less freedom?

To be clear, the question for debate is not whether or not Obama is a socialist, so please don't go there.
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Christopher
post Nov 5 2008, 10:26 PM
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QUOTE
I would suggest that freedom nor free not be used in in the context you have used them. Words like convenience or facilitation would work. But please to not help to destroy the value of the word freedom. The convenience you are supporting may sound good to you but the cost is high. That cost is freedom and liberty.

hello Kettle -- you're black.
How do they cost freedom and liberty. Seems it would indeed have the effect of more freedom to me. The cost of my health care comes out of my paycheck already. What is the difference if the money goes straight to the government or to CIGNA. CIGNA changes their policy at a moments notice and I can do nothing about it. Go to another company? why? they'll do the same thing. no freedom there.
To get the coverage I have to sign paperwork saying they can do that to me whenever they want.
They ALL do that.
Go without coverage?
Insurance companies have made sure I can never do that. They have set the playing field to their advantage so that I have no choice to actually get by. I have to play their game to get by. Lack of insurance in some cases is illegal.
The Gambino family is jealous as all hell.

QUOTE
Oversight and regulation are words which have lost specific meaning. Can you use words which still have a specific meaning?

Puckey squared. oversite has been gutted to make sure that people aren't accountable for their actions. Speculators were just forced to play by new rules in regards to oil and surprise surprise gas prices dropped like a freakin rock.
I love transparency in business don't you?

for millions of Americans UH would indeed add to their liberty and for many many small businesses as well. UH has many other flaws that make it a bad idea but its effect on Liberty is very much up in the air. Great for some bad for others. Same as market based health care. great for some bad for others.

This post has been edited by Christopher: Nov 5 2008, 10:29 PM
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lederuvdapac
post Nov 6 2008, 12:33 AM
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Does more socialism equal less freedom?


The definition of freedom is essential to this debate. If you take the view that freedom is a negative term, that it means that you should be free from coercion and the impositions of others, than yes more socialism is less freedom. If you believe that freedom means freedom from want or the right to certain things, then no, more socialism would mean more freedom.

We must also distinguish between classical socialism and the modern welfare state. Socialism as it is traditionally understood is a dead ideology. It is intellectually bankrupt and has been defeated by the great theorists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The welfare state is its heir. It is a social democratic movement that tries to position democracy in such a manner that it brings about social change desired in socialism. Socialist hijacked the concept of liberalism in the late 19th century and early 20th century, culminating in the new liberalism best displayed by FDR. By that time, the very things that were anti-liberal became termed liberal.

This debate is grand in scope so I will only offer a few comments (and I will use the welfare state when talking about socialism). The tenets of the welfare state is to redistribute wealth in such a way as to create equity among individual citizens. The idea is that because the individual benefits from being a member of society, that any gains made are a consequence of that fact and thus belong to the state. Private property is allowed but closely regulated. In order to give to one person, you have to take from another. At its very core, the welfare state is a society of coercion and violence. The individual is not an autonomous being, it is a subject of "society." And in this sense, state and society are two concepts confused. Because the socialist experiment is for the betterment of society and intended to bring about social change, any actions that are contrary to that objective are treasonous. The modern welfare state suffers from some if not all of these flaws (and many more). It intends to tax production without any understanding as to what production is or how wealth is created. In layman's terms, it plans on biting the hand that feeds.

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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 12:55 AM
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Does more socialized = less freedom?

No. The American fear of socialization seems a little non-sensical at this point because we have incorporated more socilization into our system since at least the late 19th century.

More socialized does not mean less freedom. I profoundly disagree with Leder's approach to this issue. I believe that an expanded welfare state is a logical, well-thought out response to democratic industrial capitalism.

All things are not improved if society puts in place a stronger role for the government.

But all things are not more free if laissez faire is the rule of the land. I agree with Julian than Marx had a pretty effective critique of capitalism. This does not mean that capitalism does not have its strengths. But a good remedy for the things he predicted to come from capitalism is a mixed economy.

Just like forcing a politician out of office is not an act of violence, putting taxes in place through a representative legislature is not an act of brutality.
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Ted
post Nov 6 2008, 01:02 AM
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QUOTE
Eeyore
I agree with Julian than Marx had a pretty effective critique of capitalism.


In what way? I have read every word the man wrote and he was clearly wrong. He looked at extremes, that never came to pass, and gave no place for capitalism as it might evolve.

To this man Capitalism was a step on the road to Communism – he was wrong and over 80 million people died proving it.

This post has been edited by Ted: Nov 6 2008, 01:03 AM
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lederuvdapac
post Nov 6 2008, 01:06 AM
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QUOTE(Eeyore)
I agree with Julian than Marx had a pretty effective critique of capitalism.


I hate to derail this thread but...no. Marx did not understand economics. He was unable to refute the tenets of capitalism (a term he coined) so he didn't even try. All he did was set up a a doctrine of polylogism. He did not discuss the pros and cons of socialism because it was "inevitable." His critique of the capitalist mode of production is entirely wrong. Marx was deemed some prophetic bringer of truth. All he really did was create a ridiculous doctrine with no foundational basis.
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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 01:12 AM
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Maybe this is more along the Marx for dummies digested area, but Marx saw that in free capitalism industrialists compete and push competition out of the field and wealth gets consolidated in fewer and fewer hands. He encouraged this process and opposed remedies to it short of a violent revolution. It was his communist utopia that he was wrong and ill-defined about. I stand by my statement that he had a valid criticism of capitalism and a don't agree with the idea that Marx was idiotically stupid when it comes to economics.

Others reacted to Marx's criticism with by pushing for reforms including trade unionism and socialist legislation.

This post has been edited by Eeyore: Nov 6 2008, 01:13 AM
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overlandsailor
post Nov 6 2008, 01:17 AM
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Years ago I had the opportunity (thanks to the U.S. Navy) to visit Israel. There I got the chance to spend a day at a Kibbutz , which is a classic example of Socialism in action. The basic concept is that everyone lives equally while giving what they can to the community. Those capable of being doctors take care of medical needs, others take care of farming, etc. It is a system that worked for several generations but was on the decline when I visited.

Talking to people in the community I learned that the issue was trying to compete with capitalism. There were those, who could be doctors, engineers, etc but chose not do go to school because to them, all the hard work and schooling seemed to not be worth the effort when the end result was that they'd be living at the same level as farmers, shop keepers, etc. Of course there are those that do it anyway. Some because they are passionate about the career, others because they want to give all they can to their community, but they were not the majority any longer.

The other issue with competing with capitalism was those younger folks who would see how people lived and all the material positions they had in the cities. Many who went to school to become skilled tradespeople or professionals left the community to seek their fortunes in Haifa and other places.

Ultimately, that particular Kibbutz was struggling because of a decline in population and a sharp decline in skilled residents.

Selfishness is human nature and it is opposed to the goals of socialism. In America, it seems to me that our public is extremely "me" focused and self-centered making the idea of becoming a true socialist state highly unlikely at best. It is difficult to imagine a successful Socialist movement that did not limit people's access to information. However, that only holds true if there is a path to success for the average person. If a capitalist system is not tempered with compassion, the likely lack of opportunities for many in that population can fuel the creation of a socialist state.

We can use government to help improve society, assuming we could actually design, implement and police government programs properly which is something we rarely see in government in America.

For example, we can use the government to raise funds to help fund job training programs. Government could also police those programs to be sure they are properly run and regularly audit and examine those programs to ensure they are functioning as designed as well as make improvements as needed. Is this socialism? Tax dollars taken from Americans would be used to support the program, the government would control it so to some this would be socialism. However, not having programs like this likely means more people likely left to live of various types of public assistance. Welfare programs and the like are certainly seen as socialism to detractors. Can a program designed to help people more off of a "socialist" program and into the capitalist American dream be socialist in it's own right? And more to the point, should we really care if the program is successful? Is a "socialist" program like this limiting or expanding people's freedoms? Is someone unable to pay for education / training and unable to get a job that allows them to support their family more "free"?

Socialism can be limiting of individual freedom but it doesn't have to be, as others have said, it is a matter of implementation (and perspective to a degree). It is also a mater of semantics since the definition of the words socialism and freedom themselves are much broader that many choose to accept.
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Ted
post Nov 6 2008, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore @ Nov 5 2008, 08:12 PM) *
Maybe this is more along the Marx for dummies digested area, but Marx saw that in free capitalism industrialists compete and push competition out of the field and wealth gets consolidated in fewer and fewer hands. He encouraged this process and opposed remedies to it short of a violent revolution. It was his communist utopia that he was wrong and ill-defined about. I stand by my statement that he had a valid criticism of capitalism and a don't agree with the idea that Marx was idiotically stupid when it comes to economics.

Others reacted to Marx's criticism with by pushing for reforms including trade unionism and socialist legislation.

The main Marx thesis on Capitalism was that it would drive workers (his heroes – the proletariat) salaries to subsistence levels and bring on the violent revolution that would usher in Communism/Socialism.

Certainly this did not happen – and his ideas, after much murder and mayhem, were proved to be unworkable in an industrial society.

No Capitalism is not perfect – just the best we have at this point. And certainly we need to regulate capitalism to insure fairness and t o achieve social goals – such as hiring free of discrimination.

That said I believe, and do others, that we should leave to capitalism as much as we can of the delivery of goods and services in out economy – for a very simple reason – competitive Capitalism is better at delivering same.
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CruisingRam
post Nov 6 2008, 07:03 PM
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I have been to Europe, many times. Social democracy works pretty good over there, I reject the notion that they are "socialist"- simply because thier companies have CEOs and boards of directors and they have a stock market of thier own. Some of the most welfare state of the European countries have some of the best corporations and export businesses. Germany is still the #1 exporter of good, period, in the world. That includes US, Japan and China. With less than 90 million people.

Like Leder said- we have to define what "freedom" is a little better.

America's right wing ideology is FAR FAR FAR more anti-freedom than ANY liberal ideology I have seen in my lifetime.

Let's look at Holland for instance- more personal freedom than we can even imagine in the US- smoke what you want, sex what you want, gamble what you want- no goverment interference, by comparison with the US.

"Social conservatism" is very, very anti-freedom. Nanny-state ism at it's worst. Entire beaurocracies created- Homeland security, ATF, DEA etc etc- far more of a threat to freedom than some taxes on an oil company, really.

We have millions of US citizens in jail. How free is that?

So no, social programs have NOTHING to do with decreased freedom in reality.

"There ought to be a law, what about the children" type mentality is far more of a threat to freedom.
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lederuvdapac
post Nov 6 2008, 07:55 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore)
Maybe this is more along the Marx for dummies digested area, but Marx saw that in free capitalism industrialists compete and push competition out of the field and wealth gets consolidated in fewer and fewer hands.


Well Marx completely misunderstood then. In a free market, monopolies cannot exist without the sanction and protection of government. As long as there are no arbitrary barriers to entering the marketplace, then there is not a monopoly situation. If one company out-competes another based on the wishes of the consumer, than that is a good thing. If that company gains a significant portion of the marketplace than that also is not in and of itself a bad thing. If that company then takes advantage of the situation and raises prices too high, then other entrepreneurs will be able to enter the market (again assuming no arbitrary barriers) and make profits.

QUOTE(Eeyore)
It was his communist utopia that he was wrong and ill-defined about. I stand by my statement that he had a valid criticism of capitalism and a don't agree with the idea that Marx was idiotically stupid when it comes to economics.


Marx did not have an understanding of economics which is why he never attempted to refute the classical economists. He could not do it. So instead of refuting it, he tried to change the ballgame and attack the very foundations of our understanding of human nature in a completely normative enterprise. When the classical economists observed both empirically and a priori that humans acted in a certain way, they based their economic laws on that. Marx just said well people will act a different way given the same set of information. He assumed that individuals en masse will forgo their individual utility for some utopian commonwealth. Also, as mentioned earlier he was under the ridiculous contention that entire groups thought a certain way. All of the proletariat thought one way and the bourgeois thought another way. If a member of the proletariat questioned communist logic, they were obviously corrupted by the bourgeois. If a member of the bourgeois started to buy into communism, then they were enlightened. It is a ridiculous doctrine of polylogism with no logical basis.
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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 08:50 PM
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Leder I find your approach to this subject overly academic and doctrinaire. You seem convinced that there is a hard science of economics with iron laws.

Monopolies can occur in a free market. Marx held his own in his theories. Refuting this with a theory that economics is a hard science doesn't make his observations any less valid. It just makes a debate between you and I a pointless exercise. All government action in an economy does not equal wasteful inefficiency.
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Ted
post Nov 6 2008, 08:55 PM
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QUOTE(Eeyore @ Nov 6 2008, 03:50 PM) *
Leder I find your approach to this subject overly academic and doctrinaire. You seem convinced that there is a hard science of economics with iron laws.

Monopolies can occur in a free market. Marx held his own in his theories. Refuting this with a theory that economics is a hard science doesn't make his observations any less valid. It just makes a debate between you and I a pointless exercise. All government action in an economy does not equal wasteful inefficiency.

QUOTE
eeyore
All government action in an economy does not equal wasteful inefficiency


Not if by “action” you are referring to regulation and oversight which is a proper role for government. But if you mean the delivery of goods and services its clear, that government is relatively poor at doing this. Try thinking of a good or service where government is equal to or better than private enterprise.
Good luck.




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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 09:25 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Nov 6 2008, 02:55 PM) *
QUOTE(Eeyore @ Nov 6 2008, 03:50 PM) *


Monopolies can occur in a free market. . . .All government action in an economy does not equal wasteful inefficiency.

QUOTE
eeyore
All government action in an economy does not equal wasteful inefficiency


Not if by “action” you are referring to regulation and oversight which is a proper role for government. But if you mean the delivery of goods and services its clear, that government is relatively poor at doing this. Try thinking of a good or service where government is equal to or better than private enterprise.
Good luck.


Ted, I mean this in the sense of regulation and oversight and I agree about these being proper roles for the government. And of course the oversight needs to be overseen.

I think the theory that the government does all things less efficiently and worse than the private sector is an old wives er capitalist’s tale. It is like the theory that the media exercises and obvious and self-defining bias against conservatism.

Granted, I am a capitalist and I recognize it as being the best working system in history. I am no communist, but I believe in an industrial social welfare net and a progressive taxation system (which I don't believe we have if you look at all taxes that Americans pay) to alleviate some of the negative side effects of democratic capitalism

In the new gilded age there are many cautionary tales about private businesses doing things poorly and creating catastrophe. That said I am cautious and pessimistic when it comes to government playing an expanded role in society.

But I definitely don't think private industry does war and security better than government. I think the TVA has held its own, with its own problems, providing low cost energy for years. Examples of successful government spending programs include the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, the CCC, the Interstate Highways Act, and Medicaid and Medicare.

While I know flaws exist in all of these systems, that have provided benefits for American society that outweigh the costs.
And if we list the flaws, just remember especially in this day and age, that examples of flaws in the business sector abound and they pay their executives billions of dollars to get this efficiency.
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Ted
post Nov 6 2008, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE
Eeyore
I think the theory that the government does all things less efficiently and worse than the private sector is an old wives er capitalist’s tale. It is like the theory that the media exercises and obvious and self-defining bias against conservatism
.

Have you been to the RMV lately? If you can please show me anywhere you feel a “government” entity provides a better good or service I will be shocked. This is no “capitalist tale” this is reality. Even entities that have been fully regulated by the government, such as airlines were, show us what a horrible idea it is.

QUOTE
I am no communist, but I believe in an industrial social welfare net and a progressive taxation system (which I don't believe we have if you look at all taxes that Americans pay) to alleviate some of the negative side effects of democratic capitalism
.

I believe in the safety net to some extent as well – and we have a good one. I also believe in progressive taxation but also believe that if extended it will hurt us badly – as it has Europe.

QUOTE
In the new gilded age there are many cautionary tales about private businesses doing things poorly and creating catastrophe. That said I am cautious and pessimistic when it comes to government playing an expanded role in society.


Some stories yes – far more for government entities. The biggest polluters in our history have been the military and the DOE.

QUOTE
But I definitely don't think private industry does war and security better than government. I think the TVA has held its own, with its own problems, providing low cost energy for years. Examples of successful government spending programs include the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, the CCC, the Interstate Highways Act, and Medicaid and Medicare
.

Private industry does not, for the most part do “war” just the tools of war – which they do better than any country on earth. And I have no problem with government spending programs as long as “government” is not providing the services directly.

Medicare and Medicaid are a fraud ridden disaster and are most likely the primary reason our health care costs are so high. If this is liberals idea of good health care – just leave me a way out. – please.

QUOTE
And if we list the flaws, just remember especially in this day and age, that examples of flaws in the business sector abound and they pay their executives billions of dollars to get this efficiency.


No one says the business sector is perfect – just one hell of a lot better than government at most things. And no 99.99999% of the businesses in this country do not pay their executives billions. To paint the whole private sector with the current crisis issues is just wrong.
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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 10:43 PM
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QUOTE(Ted @ Nov 6 2008, 03:55 PM) *
QUOTE
Eeyore

No one says the business sector is perfect – just one hell of a lot better than government at most things. And no 99.99999% of the businesses in this country do not pay their executives billions. To paint the whole private sector with the current crisis issues is just wrong.


Well, I respectfully would argue that the large companies in this country do pay their executives billions if recent reporting can be believed.

I also would retort that a complaint about painting business with a blanket statement seems contradictory when you are doing the same thing to government programs. If excessive regulation wasn't good for the airline industry and banking industry (to look at another Reagon era deregulation program) than these industries have definitely found some troubles on their own.

My point, all government action is not inefficient. To believe this would force one to conclude that all tax monies to be withheld from the government. The business of governing is different than the business of business. Both areas need proper oversight. Who or what best oversee these entities varies.

But I digress. I think you underestimate the amount that large companies pay to their executives. I found this article eye-opening when it appeared in my local paper this Sunday. Banks Owe Billions to Executives

While 99.999 percent of businesses to not owe this level of money, the companies that do represent much much more than .001 percent of our GDP
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Ted
post Nov 6 2008, 11:03 PM
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QUOTE
Well, I respectfully would argue that the large companies in this country do pay their executives billions if recent reporting can be believed.


WADR you are speaking of large Wall Street firms and not “large companies”. And this is an issue for the Boards and not us. I am still not happy we had to bail out some of them.

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Ch...er_(CEO)/Salary

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5264

QUOTE
I also would retort that a complaint about painting business with a blanket statement seems contradictory when you are doing the same thing to government programs. If excessive regulation wasn't good for the airline industry and banking industry (to look at another Reagon era deregulation program) than these industries have definitely found some troubles on their own.


To be clear I am not speaking of “regulation” per se but government actually running the business. But for airlines it is clearly true that a regulated industry cost consumers about 5 billion $ a year more than it should have. Under (price) regulation the airlines justified price increases nearly every year. The year that airlines were deregulated prices dropped 50% and have never reached the price level they were at 20 years ago. And service is better today than it was then – I know because I fly a lot and have for 25 years.

QUOTE
My point, all government action is not inefficient. To believe this would force one to conclude that all tax monies to be withheld from the government. The business of governing is different than the business of business. Both areas need proper oversight. Who or what best oversee these entities varies.


Well I have read GAO reports that compared government entities to private firms and they are relatively inefficient. That said certain functions – like the military need to be government run. No all government is not inefficient – just most of it – and deliver me from “government run” anything.

Would you really like to have government run grocery stores, gas stations, or restaurants, with no competition? Not me. How about health care?

This post has been edited by Ted: Nov 6 2008, 11:03 PM
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Eeyore
post Nov 6 2008, 11:14 PM
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Ted,

I share your basic assumption but I differ when if comes to health care and the board issue probably. See, to me the board system is a crony system that helps protect its own (very inside the beltway like) so that with any outcome the result is their high compensation. Boards need to be more accountable to shareholders and I don;t think the mutual fund movement has done anything to help accountability. As someone who holds tens of thousands of dollars of stocks in a retirement account I do not see any recource or influence in the process of reining in any of these practices. And yes, I know I'm a small fish, but I don;t think the law of supply and demand rules executive pay.

As for health insurance, the government is already in. The service of healthcare is not very well handled as a for profit industry. We either need dramatic government led reform of the healthcare system, a partial takeover of the industry, or a national healthcare system. The present system is broken seven ways to Sunday and the bill keeps showing up as a piece of my shrinking pie. So yes I do specifically mean healthcare.

The present system misdirects consumers of government paid for or mandated health coverages. (Mostly to the emergency room) This is similar to the way our past and present welfare systems shephard individuals toward inefficient economic decisions with its rules.

Edited to add: no I don;t want the government running gas stations etc. especialy without competition. I didn't like the state run liquor stores in Alabama, I don't think nationalized industries that fit the usual supply and demand models benefit their societies. Evidence shows they are a tax on industries like China's iron rice bowl.

This post has been edited by Eeyore: Nov 6 2008, 11:22 PM
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Ted
post Nov 7 2008, 02:36 AM
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I share your basic assumption but I differ when if comes to health care and the board issue probably. See, to me the board system is a crony system that helps protect its own (very inside the beltway like) so that with any outcome the result is their high compensation. Boards need to be more accountable to shareholders and I don;t think the mutual fund movement has done anything to help accountability


Boards answer to shareholders not the government and I would not change that. It is purely a private decision that can affect the value of the shareholders investment and totally up to them.

As for healthcare I am firmly against a government run system. Medicare is a financial disaster as well as lousy coverage – add to that it is universally hated by doctors and you have some idea why not even Obama will take us there (I hope).

What we need imo is a system, something like the one here in MA where everyone must buy insurance (spreads the risk) and everyone is covered. Competition will keep prices far lower and services better than any government run system.

Thus all are covered and we don’t have a government run disaster that has no competition. If you don’t want the government running gas stations – trust me you don’t want them running your healthcare system – without competition.

This post has been edited by Ted: Nov 7 2008, 03:05 AM
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Bikerdad
post Nov 7 2008, 02:52 AM
Post #39


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If you believe that freedom means freedom from want or the right to certain things, then no, more socialism would mean more freedom.


Freedom from want is not freedom, it is security. Right to healthcare? That's an attempt to secure good health, to protect one's health agains the vagaries of life. Its about reducing risk. All of the benefits of the social welfare state are aimed at this goal, increasing security. The mechanisms for doing so reduce freedom.

One perfect example is helmet laws. Helmet serve to reduce risk for the individual, but the law is designed to reduce the risk to society. The individual's freedom to assume the risk is tossed out the window. That's the "Nanny State" side of socialism reducing freedom. Whether the trade off is a good or a bad thing is a value judgement, whether the trade-off occurs is simple enough to determine.

The other side of socialism, the "fair" side seeks to increase security for those "most at risk", based on the idea that its not fair that P'Boy has less security than Daddy Warbucks. It does so by redistributing security (i.e. wealth) from those who have more to those who have less. When this happens, the net "freedom from want" across society changes little. Remember, the rich guy now has less freedom from want than he had before his wealth was appropriated to increase the orphans' freedom from want, i.e. security. The net of "negative freedoms" across society however has decreased. The poor guy doesn't have any more freedom to be left alone to do what he wants with his stuff than he had before, although he may have more stuff to do it with. The rich guy, however, has less freedom to do what he wants with his stuff. Over time, the disincentives of this equation results in the rich guy not working as hard to generate security, which results in less security for society overall.

How much freedom to trade for security is a fair question, but since I that's not the one I asked, I'll pass on answering it. thumbsup.gif mrsparkle.gif
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