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World Politics thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Erotic Adventures of S, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Stenstyren

    Stenstyren Groundskeeper

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    I don't think it's quite fair to say that everything 0,1% to the right of full out communism is a capitalist society. For reference, the social democratic in Sweden party refers to themself as being democratic socialists. In the 70's they tried to start a fund that would buy up large parts of the means of production by adding an additional fee that all employers had to pay (32% of the salaries they pay).
     
  2. Imariel

    Imariel Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Yes, that party has socialist tendencies, especially in that period. Had the Swedes not reacted as harshly as they did to that proposal and the introduction of a mild version of it, we might've been a socialist country today. In my opinion that proposal was the single most important one for the break of the Social Democrats hegemony.

    However, the way the swedish economy is modelled right now is, in my opinion, a capitalist construction which is heavily burdened by the high taxation meant to support the welfare state - along with typical regulation and aforementioned state owned companies in certain areas. If you wish to use 'socialist' to describe such a state, by all means, go ahead. It's not like I don't agree with the intent, I just don't think the muddling of terms is needed in order to prove or argue for what system is good or bad in what aspects.
     
  3. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Using the 70s as a metric for left-of-centre parties now feels awkward given the general shift in the 90s for social democratic parties. (If not more generic drift.) It's fine as a historic measure and as an indirect comparison, but doing so directly without modern messaging showing that they still want to is approaching apples and oranges territory IMO.
     
  4. Imariel

    Imariel Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    We have another party, Vänsterpartiet (The Left Party), formerly Vänsterpartiet Kommunisterna (i.e. our communist party) which since has dropped the communist label but still in its party programme has a goal to abolish private ownership and explicitly espouses socialism today. This is the reason the distinction is viewed as important in Sweden in particular and I suspect the other nordic countries as well. Our politics is still infested with real socialism, thus Americans (though somewhat understandable, as Revan elucidated) describing us as socialists grinds our gears.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    Almost all of the center-left and left parties that have Socialism in their name but basically just defend welfare state can be easily explained as legacy names from back when they did actually spouse Marxism in their programmes, because back before WW2 and the Cold War, basically all of the left was Marxist in it's core.

    How so? Basically due to the very strong influence of the German Social-Democrats, basically the party that is responsible for the creation of the welfare state (during Bismarck's chancellorship it was their pressure and threat that made Bismarck enacts some of their ideas) and then create the first modern social democracy, due to Weimar.
     
  6. cucio

    cucio Second Year

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    There may be some of that for very old parties, but some of those I listed were founded in the 70s, at a time where stalinism had already showed how twisted communism could become.

    At least in Spain, it is exactly as Darth_Revan describes: "socialism" has evolved to become the layman's term for "social democracy", whereas "communism" is used in its traditional sense. Nobody uses the expression "social democracy" in casual conversations, only when very fine distinctions are called for.

    I can tell you that when Spaniards read USA-centric political commentary we must always be careful of literal translation. Words like "socialism" or "liberal" carry different connotations around here. Even our concepts of "right" and "left" are culturally different.

    It is a big, wide world out there, perspectives vary and context matters.
     
  7. Longsword

    Longsword Third Year

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    The problem with attaching the name "socialism" to a system with welfare spending is that it is functionally no different from the standard fare where taxation is used to fund things that governments want.
    It just happens to be the case that the state, far from its origins, has expanded from navies, armies and roads to a lot more things.
    The system is still capitalist, but attaching -social has influence over the voting masses.
     
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    That's due to the influence of the aforementioned German Social-Democrats, the evolution just didn't happen overnight. That's a very American view on things. Such Socialist parties appeared with these name on purpose, to emulate the German party and the ideas associated with it.
     
  9. Elly

    Elly Squib

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    Ok, diving in here, because I have to - first of all - Hello, I'm new and Danish and a college professor teaching politics here in Denmark.

    I just have to weigh in, I want to weigh in on plenty of the points made but some comes down to political disagreements and I'll let those pass for now.
    Others however are misunderstandings about the way a socialist country's foundation is build and the biggest problem in this thread is the misconception that welfare is one easily defined thing.

    There are three different forms of welfare in Europe - the universal welfare model (or Scandinavian model) the liberal welfare model (UK) and the conservative welfare model (South Europe).

    The Scandinavian model is based on socialism - this is why we call ourselves socialist. The foundation of our society is based on socialist views. Our taxes (from 39%-70%) pay for much more than just healthcare - free education (all the way to a masters degree), parts of public transportation, pension, unemployment, daycare (from ages 6months-18 if needed), public television, arts, public housing, sports - I could go on. Some things are completely paid for other things are partly covered.

    Yes we do have capitalism seeping in here and there, we do have private property as well (with taxation), but the main goal is to make sure that everyone has equal opportunity no matter their background.

    Equal opportunity is not always the same as equal rights (in a socialist perspective at least)

    I hope I'm making sense and I just want to say what a joy it was to find a thread like this on a fanfic forum, I am pleasantly surprised thus far.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  10. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    I'm curious, what definition of socialism you're using? What views are that, you're referencing? Taxes and socialism, in its classical definition, are actually anathema things, for taxes implying private profit.

    From Wikipedia's page on Tax and Socialism.
    That also applies to plenty of non-Nordic states that are perfectly characterized as market economies, like Brazil. Forbes itself describes Denmark as a "thoroughly modern market economy features a high-tech agricultural sector, advanced industry with world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, maritime shipping, and in renewable energy, and a high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food, oil, and gas and enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus, but depends on imports of raw materials for the manufacturing sector. Danes enjoy a high standard of living, and the Danish economy is characterized by extensive government welfare measures and an equitable distribution of income.", while calling it the #7 Best Country for Business. Tax Burden wise, it rates way above than Australia and South Korea, countries that do not have nearly such extensive welfare programs.

    For example, regarding the Universal Welfare System and Liberal System, where do France and Belgium, countries that spend a lot more, %GDP wise, than either Sweden or Norway on welfare, and have the same extensive government investments? Would it be that socialist view related less to the economy and means of production, but related to what types of services the state provides? Something closer to Fabianism and Christian Socialism than classical socialism in opinion.
     
  11. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    We've been over this.
     
  12. Invictus

    Invictus Totally Sirius

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    Not really? Elly wasn't in that discussion. She came and in and brought new information, and changed the scope somehow. I'm interested on seeing the elaboration of her point and what she has to say and show. If it's derailing this thread, then I or the mods can move it to a new one. But I think it's not a closed and shut thing, specially since what she brought is very different from what I know as socialism and what was "agreed" in the discussion.
     
  13. kinetique

    kinetique High Inquisitor

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    Anything can be "based on socialism" but so long as (arguably) the most important part of the economy is based on private enterprise, it still isn't socialism. Keep fighting the good fight though, comrades.
     
  14. Innomine

    Innomine Order Member Prestige DLP Supporter

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    And you're the one that gets to make that call are you? The one to definitively answer the question.
     
  15. kinetique

    kinetique High Inquisitor

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    Got anything to add outside of a smug throwaway line? The key tenant of Socialism is workers owning the means of production. The key tenant of capitalism is economic freedom. They're mutually incompatible economic and social policies. It's an inane talking point by people exclusively trying to showcase socialism as successful, it's not now and won't be for a long while (if ever).

    Edit: Just for laughs, as of 2018 the heritage economic freedom index ranks Sweden above the United States. Exactly what people generally think of as socialistic.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  16. Innomine

    Innomine Order Member Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yet reality is rarely as black and white as you depict it here. There has never been an implementation of socialism as defined above. There have been attempts that have gotten close, but never absolutely. Just as there are no pure free market capitalist countries. What we have is a scale, where some countries adopt policies that are more redistributive for the public good (Scandinavia), some in the middle (Aus/NZ), some not so much (the US). There are positives and negatives to each approach.

    Since the red scare/Cold War, the US has labeled any kind of welfare spending as dangerous socialist ideas, the term has come to mean left wing redistributive economic policy. Thus, the meaning of the term colloquially has shifted towards these meanings, from its pure ideological origins.
     
  17. kinetique

    kinetique High Inquisitor

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    That's blatantly wrong, there have been attempts at command economies over the years, and all have brutally failed. The constant redefining of the term is weird as well; every other idea which fails every single time it's even remotely implemented just gets forgotten about. Why does Socialism get to redefine itself to be close to the opposite of what it actually is?

    The only reason the welfare state in those nations works is the incredible productivity generated by the free market, productivity which was there before it's change to a welfare state. Take a look at nations with command economies, they still exist after all, and if they worked we wouldn't be defining them as capitalistic because you could decorate your house how you wanted.
     
  18. Elly

    Elly Squib

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    I did read the thread back, but I thoroughly disagree with the consensus about socialism - not because it's wrong as such it is just lacks perspective that goes beyond 1960.

    It is true that socialism is based on communism, but it has grown and evolved since it's conception. The definition I use is what you refer to as Democratic Socialism.
    When using democratic means to try and make the best society for your voters, you have to compromise. So even though Nordic countries started out with a philosophy of a closed economy, they (we) ended up with a much more complex solution.

    This leads me to my next point - Brazil. I am glad you brought that up. Brazil has a regressional taxation system, where everyone pays the same procentage of their salary to the government (I think it's around 37%) whereas socialist countries such as Denmark has a progressive taxation system, this is a very modern socialist mechanism. This means that a factory worker pays minimum tax of 39% and let's say the shipping magnet you were referring to before pays a tax of 70%. This ensures the distribution of wealth between classes - sure, Marx would say that it is not enough, that the state should claim all wealth, but modern socialism has moved far away from the more extreme views of Marx.

    Other than taxation on personal income there are taxation on all purchases on all companies (unless they weasel their way out - I'm looking at you McDonald's), taxation on cars, on items that pollutes and so on.

    The aim of modern socialism is not to close a country off and be self sufficient it is to spread the wealth throughout the classes and make sure everyone benefits when the county as a whole benefits.
     
  19. kinetique

    kinetique High Inquisitor

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    Redefining capitalism with a high taxation rate and increased public utilities to "modern socialism" is a good one. I'm also interested in how far back you want to go with the closed economy. The Nordic model has used free trade now for decades, and Sweden famously got wealthy off being neutral in World War 1 and avoiding high tariffs to other nations. For reference that was before the U.S.A had free trade agreements with anyone.

    In the Social Democratic model, what genuine 'Socialist' policies are implemented? Grandstanding on something as baseless as "trying to make the best society for your voters" is laughable. Also, progressive taxation was in ancient Rome, there's nothing new about it.

    The most generous way I can possibly think of the Nordic model (relative to how you want to interpret it) is a capitalist system with progressively increasing elements of state capitalism.
     
  20. Innomine

    Innomine Order Member Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, you aren't responding to any of the points Elly or I made, you are just regurgitating the same tired old lines. Socialism isn't redefining itself, it's being redefined by people terrified of public spending. Not to mention, you are completely ignoring the Cold Wars role in demonising the concept.

    Regardless, this definitional issue is hardly unique, as with all complex ideologies, what the label actually constitutes changes and evolves over time constantly. This happened with the current neoliberal flavour of capitalism, and it's Keynesian forebear. It's happening right now with the word resilience, which is being adopted as a visionary goal across many different sectors.

    I honestly don't know what point you are trying to make here. You seem obsessed with limiting the use of the word socialism to its ideologically pure meaning... which is simplistic. You also seem to like free trade. That's all I understand about your point of view now.
     
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