My Point of View: Difference between socialism, communism and capitalism

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

My Point of View by Brad Kramer

Over the past few columns, capitalism and socialism have been big discussion points.

Brad Kramer

I know of several local Democrats who love to say, “Don’t you love our socialist post office?” or “Don’t you love how our socialist snow plows keep our roads clear?” So, what is a social program, and how do socialist programs differ from a socialist economic system? A socialist economic system has the state owning the means of production, but not all property (that would be communism). Capitalism means individuals, or groups of individuals, own the means of production. Economic systems are going to be somewhere in between, as there really are not purely socialist or capitalist economic systems. It’s where most of the production is done in a society that determines this. We have many social programs — such as our welfare system, military, Social Security and much more. I tend to agree that some of the basic social programs are necessary. Emergency response departments operate best for most people when they are run by local government, for example.

However, even though many programs are socialist in nature, they rely on capitalism to be effective. Think about how our highways are maintained. Much of the road work is performed by private businesses. That allows for work to be completed much more economically and efficiently than by government. In many industries, government is simply too bureaucratic and unresponsive to be able to provide the best value. While I’m not arguing the value of the post office, they are absolutely feeling the competition from private businesses like UPS and FedEx because they are more efficient, better run, responsive to the market’s needs and utilize technology to improve operations.

Social programs do not make us socialist, but social programs depend on a strong economy to fund them. We’re spending, borrowing and printing outrageous sums of money while economic uncertainty looms more and more. We’re seeing a lot of dramatic changes to our economy. While supply and demand are critical components in capitalism, a lot of the price increases we’re seeing are too dramatic and artificially controlled to be good for our economic system. With the spending spree that the country is on right now, much of it being simply pork and not building infrastructure or anything of value, our economic future is on shaky ground.

The frightening thing about the push for socialism is that Democrats have relatively few business owners in their ranks. About half of all businesses survive the first five years, in part because it takes several years to learn to run a business, even with a strong business background. When you put the means of production in the hands of people who did not sweat, bleed and gamble their financial futures on starting a business, but rather through boards or bureaucratic ownership, that is a model of how to tank a business. If you do that with enough businesses, you will tank an economy. Capitalists are nothing more than people like you and me who saved, learned, worked and invested in a business, and then reap the benefits from that business if it’s profitable.

When the Democrats keep pushing for socialism, and not just social programs, it is a scary road. They frequently point to Nordic countries as models, but even they have too many privately-held companies to be primarily socialist, and oil sustains their economies.  While the Soviet Union, Venezuela, Cuba and other communist and socialist failures are not the “Democratic socialism” that is being promoted (supposedly), the communist and socialist governments they have are excellent models of human nature taking the ability of government to control people, and for corruption to hand that ability over to individuals who should not have it. Communism is not socialism, but it is the next step. Our fight should be to keep improving the capitalist system we have. Capitalism has been the source of so much prosperity for all — a better standard of living, better healthcare, technological advancement and much more. I clearly choose capitalism.

When I have conversations with good friends who are more liberal than myself, I find that we both want the same results, in most cases, but differ on how we believe we should get there. We both want people to have access to quality healthcare that doesn’t bankrupt the patient or the system. We both want schools safe from lunatics who want to shoot kids. We both want good jobs and a strong economy. The list of what we agree on is probably longer than what we do not, if we can actually listen to each other and hear what is being said.  We don’t need to bankrupt our economy to achieve those objectives through unsustainable social programs, but rather, let a capitalist system fix them.

Brad Kramer is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.