Socialism – The Best Economic System?
Today, more than ever, there is great debate over politics and which economic system works the best. How needs and wants should be allocated, and who should do the allocating, is one of the most highly debated topics in our current society. Be it communist dictators defending a command economy, free market conservatives defending a market economy, or European liberals defending socialism, everyone has an opinion. While all systems have flaws and merits, it must be decided which system is the best for all citizens. When looking at both the financial well being of all citizens, it is clear that market economies fall short on ensuring that the basic needs of all citizens are met. If one looks at liberty and individual freedom, it is evident that command economies tend to oppress their citizens. Therefore, socialism, which allows for basic needs to be met and personal freedoms to be upheld, is the best economic system for all of a country’s citizens.
Market economies, as a whole, inherently and inevitably lead to poverty and a large class disparity. In a capitalist society, the ones who supply labor, the ones who work the hardest, are the ones who are paid the least. The owners, who are already rich, receive most of the profit and accumulate large masses of wealth. “Under capitalism workers receive only a small fraction of the wealth that they alone produce, while the lion’s share goes to the capitalist owners and to the bankers, landlords, insurance companies, lawyers, politicians, and all the other parasites who live off the back of labor and perform no useful work.”. Thus laborers are paid much less than the value of the labor that they contribute. As Karl Marx said, this is stealing, or exploitation of labor. The wages for these laborers are often too small to live off of. While capitalism may be more competitive and encourage innovation more than other economic systems, this is outweighed by the fact that capitalism neglects the foundation of society; the working class.
“The population of unemployed and underemployed explodes. There is a vicious circle here. Because so many seek work, wages are very low. Because one wage cannot support even a small family, more and more family members must seek employment. This move adds to the pool of labor and further depresses wages.” Further, if wages begin to rise in one country, other countries seize the opportunity and lower their wages even further. With this cycle of falling wages and more and more people needing jobs, poverty increases drastically. With wages so low, the owners of these large companies get richer and richer—the vast majority of wealth in a country becomes concentrated in one small group of people. While this is good for those few, the vast majority of citizens are shorthanded. Capitalism is an excellent system for the elite and for increasing efficiency, but as far as providing for the needs of all of its citizens, it falls short. Thus, capitalism is a system that causes and perpetuates poverty, and exploits its lower class.
Capitalism, or market economies in general, are systems of greed, and therefore support and commend corruption. In a capitalistic society, everything is based off of greed and self interest. People are forced to provide their own means, because no one else is going to do it for them. While this may encourage more efficient business, it also encourages corrupt business practices. Everything is based around profit, not quality, equality, honesty, or generosity. Larger companies strive to stifle new, smaller ones—destroying innovation.
“Under capitalism the industries operate for one purpose—to earn a profit for their owners. Under this system, food is not grown primarily to be eaten. It is grown to be sold. Cars are not manufactured primarily to be driven. They are made to be sold.” .
With companies aiming for quantity and marketability rather for quality, the consumers suffer. Further, with business having to meet not demand, but what people can buy, both the consumers and the companies can lose. If many in a country need a specific good or service, but none can afford to pay for it—not unlikely with the poverty caused by capitalism—everyone loses. Not only do the people not receive the good or service that they need, but the company providing it goes out of business, further exacerbating the situation. Further demonstrated with health care, striving solely for profit is extremely detrimental to the vast majority of citizens. Companies treat every health case that they pay for as a loss, and therefore strive to avoid giving their customers what they pay for. In a socialist health care system, the goal is not profit, but increasing the health of the citizens. While some argue that socialist health care systems are inefficient—which has merit— providing for all is more important than efficiency, especially with something as important and needed as health care. Even though it may be slower or more costly under a socialist system, it is still better than having people dying in debt due to their dropped coverage or lack of health insurance. With everything being for the purpose of profit, the people lose and corruption, paired with neglect of citizens, abounds.
Socialism solves many of the problems of capitalism, while introducing advantages of its own. Under a socialism system, things are not based entirely upon self interest and profit. Many systems and businesses are set up by the government for the benefit of the citizens. “Under socialism the factories and industries would be used to benefit all of us, not restricted to the creation of profits for the enrichment of a small group of capitalist owners. Under socialism our farmlands would yield an abundance without great toil; the factories, mines and mills would be the safest, the most modern, the most efficient possible and productive beyond our wildest dreams—and without laborious work. Our natural resources would be intelligently conserved. Our schools would have the finest facilities and they would be devoted to developing complete human beings, not wages slaves who are trained to hire themselves out for someone else’s profit. Our hospitals and social services would create and maintain the finest health and recreational facilities.”.
“Socialism is not driven purely by profit, allowing for the basic needs to be provided to all citizens. There is still a drive for profit in areas of the economy where it is beneficial, allowing for increased efficiency and innovation.”
Socialism combines many of the advantages that capitalism holds—namely freedom, liberty, efficiency, and self determination—while adding benefits that command economies can provide, such as providing for all citizens and the ability to ensure that everyone is kept healthy. While socialism can be more prone to government corruption, inefficiency, and higher taxes, all of these things are less important than the benefits that socialism provides. The people can mitigate government corruption through their votes, encourage efficiency through the same, and the higher taxes are made up for by the things that people no longer have to pay for out of pocket.
Under democratic socialism, the people are allowed to decide how much they want the government to do—how socialist they want their economy to be. In comparison, command economies allow little input from the people, letting corruption run rampant. Under a command economy, greed is once again paramount. While socialism may bring its own flaws and disadvantages, these are outweighed by the wealth of benefits it provides. Even though socialism is not capable of being as efficient as a market economy, socialism is able to provide for the needs of the people, an area in which market economies fail.
When considering the well being of all citizens, socialism is the best economic system. Command economies do not work, market economies only provide for the needs of a small elite group of people, and traditional economies are impossible in a world of this size. While there are certainly arguments against socialism, the arguments for it outweigh. Socialism is better because it allows for the government to provide for the basic needs of all citizens—this is impossible in a market economy, and outweighed by the negative aspects of a command economy. In time of great national economic and political turmoil, it is important that a consensus be made as to the best economic system for the U.S. and the rest of the world. In my opinion, this best system is socialism.