Here’s a fun one for you folks – Explain the difference between socialism, communism and anarchy. Yay! Political Science FTW.
As an American, I am rather partial to Democracy – but then it seems that capitalism can’t help but become entwined with any free market system. Socialism, communism, and anarchy are all systems that discourage capitalism; socialism by allowing the government to distribute wealth, communism by removing the class structure, and anarchy by removing the power of government overall.
In a romantic sense, I also appreciate the ideals of laissez-faire capitalism – but I think it is apparent that this theory does not hold up under close scrutiny. Indeed, none of these concepts do. I remember Alan Greenspan being questioned in court as to why his cherished Randian theory had failed him, and the country – to which he replied “I don’t know”.
I’m sure many folks got a chuckle over the humbled confusion of the country’s eminent economist – I kind of felt bad for the guy. But as always, it is my personal cynicism that will explain away the fallibility of nearly all philosophies, which is simply, human nature.
Capitalism doesn’t work, because businessmen (& women) are greedy. Socialism is highly suspect because the government can’t be trusted to distribute wealth to the population fairly, and communism was a bust because, instead of removing the classes, it simply seemed to limit the options (really rich and powerful, or super poor and exploited).
So we see that the folks in control often cannot help themselves and end up drunk on their power – the answer to this may seem to be anarchy, but I believe that this simply skirts the issue. A person does not become corrupted simply by holding a government office – it is my belief that humans, overall, are locked in a fear-based survival mode. As individuals we are desperate for a sense of control over our own lives and sense of security, but put us in a mob, and we are a regular herd of lemmings. Without some sort of leadership, the only direction we can agree on going is straight off the cliff! It’s sad, really.
I suppose that is what has always appealed to me so well about Rand’s objectivism (which would never do as a government policy either), is that she asserts that you can be held accountable for your own actions and decisions. And not in the negative sense so much as you will be punished – but rather that you can create this world as you go. You can make things better, you can invent and innovate.
But it seems to me that that inner core of integrity is a dormant feature in so many of the world’s populace. And I’m not blaming anyone, per se – though it is frustrating to wonder how we will ever learn to govern ourselves.
I think that the most romantic notion would be one of personal autonomy – sovereignty over one self… but it seems that society is a far ways off from that ideal.
And even if such sovereignty were attainable – I still appreciate the concept of government to maintain roads, utilities, and public services. I also think that education and healthcare ought to be paid for via taxes… So perhaps we could just throw all these concepts in the blender and see what political smoothies might be made of the mess?