What is socialism, how is socialism related to the GFC? What are the indications that America – historically considered a land of freedom, opportunity, and capitalist competition – could disperse into a socialist state?
Socialism? What’s that?
What is socialism?
Within the framework of this review, we understand socialism as – a social system characterized by collective ownership, welfare, and the ‘spreading of wealth’, which is managed by a collective representative – the state.
Socialism is similar to communism in their shared focus on the collective.
Collectivism? What’s that?
Socialism – because of its theoretical limitations on personal return relative to private investment and the free opportunity for an individual to rise in rank and create oneself – may, for our purposes, pose a threat to freedom. The concept of ‘socialism’ can be exchanged for other social systems that also focus on the collective before the individual.
Furthermore, we find that therein lies the essence of what these words and concepts hold – not necessarily ‘socialism’, ‘communism’, or vice versa – rather, collectivism and even more so, freedom. Collectivism is a social system that focuses on the collective before the individual and is thus a reflection of individualism. Collectivism proposes that the collective has a power that denies the individual and that the individual must in most, if not every case, be sacrificed to the collective.
Individualism proposes that the collective is made up of individuals and as such, has the same power as the individual and has no more priority than the individual.
Socialism, communism, fascism, feudalism, collectivism – within the scope of this review, are social systems that seem to show stability and emphasis on the collective, and operate in close proximity.
Freedom, within the scope of this review, reigns in social systems that seem to show fluidity and emphasis on the individual.
It seems that collectivism and socialism can be accurate examples of fixed collective social systems. It seems that individualism and capitalism can be accurate examples of fluid individual social systems. Capitalism and the sought-after magnificence of the opportunities and individual freedoms it can represent, are of concern.
US Socialism Crisis?
What about the United States? The American Crisis of Socialism?
The United States, one might say, has become a field of capitalist competition and a canvas for capitalist creation. Is there any indication that US capitalism could turn into socialism? To what extent?
Could the US transformation from capitalism to socialism – given the free market aura that has enveloped the United States and its historical status as a beacon of capitalist potential – be considered a crisis of US socialism?
Where we can see signs of US capitalism – a creative, lighter, ‘get mine’ system and what might, perhaps, be considered darker, competitive, ‘take your side’ – evolving into US socialism – ‘get ours or maybe not get ours, because “ours” might be more accurately described as state property?
In short, there are three main areas that we look at socialism in the United States; massive rights programs, an education system that relies more heavily on state dependence and employment by and conformity to big business than self-reliance, and a growing wealth gap.
Many might say the growing wealth gap is an effect of capitalism, not socialism. On the surface, they seem right, although when we look deeper we find that as the gap widens between the rich and the poor, the result that grows gradually is a social system characterized by a ruling class and a working class.
The ruling class, being the most powerful and resource-rich, becomes a source of strength and resources for the working class. The ruling class assumed the role of the state in the socialist system and the working class relied on this hybrid of the country’s financial elite to meet collective needs.
It’s happening now, isn’t it?
Which side are you on?