Letter: Capitalism and socialism already successfully co-exist to make lives better


Recently (August 9) The Verde Independent printed a letter about the failure of socialism. The writer presented the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, & North Korea as proof of socialism’s failure. With the exception of Venezuela, the examples of the evils and failure of socialism are communist countries. What the writer didn’t make clear is that communism is an extreme version of socialism.

Most socialists concur that communism, with the exception of China, has failed. The verdict on the Chinese version is still out.

In railing against socialism, the writer didn’t explain that socialism is a broad range of economic and social systems of public ownership and also workers’ involvement in the management of work.

By focusing solely on communism, he, as do most opponents of socialism, ignored places where socialism is not a failure and has successfully partnered with capitalism.

Excluding Cuba, China, and North Korea, there are no countries that are 100-percent socialist, but there are a lot of countries with successful socialist programs. Some examples are Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and New Zealand. I am not aware of vast numbers of people fleeing from any of these countries because of their socialist welfare programs and the accompanying high taxes.

Opponents of socialism say that free is “a false paradise;” that “sooner or later a price has to be paid.” Yes, socialism will fail as will non-socialist programs if citizens aren’t willing to pay. Is free though a false paradise? Look at Finland where there is no tuition fees for education, and students also receive free meals. The Finnish literacy rate is near 100 percent, and the nation has one of the highest standards of living in the world. This is a failure, a false paradise?

Look at New Zealand. Its welfare system provides support for housing, unemployment, healthcare, child care, & education, and yet the country maintains a free market economy. The country’s socialism is a failure?

Even in the United States. we have examples of various degrees of socialism. Some examples at the national level are the GI Bill, our national parks & monuments, the postal service, Veterans Healthcare, social security & disability insurance, Medicare & Medicaid; at state & local levels, there are public libraries, public K-12 education, and public utilities, such as the TVA and Seattle City Light (which has provided lower electrical rates than comparable private utilities), and state & city ferry systems.

Socialism is also practiced outside the realm of government with employee-owned companies, such as WinCo Foods, Publix Super Markets, Stiefel Labs, Herman Miller, and Bob’s Red Mill. There are many, many more.

Readers need to keep in mind that people who demonize socialism will point to its worst examples while ignoring the successful. It is totally wrong when the naysayer says, “Socialism by its very nature embodies government control of the lives of the citizenry. There is no freedom of choice.”

There are plenty of examples of capitalism and socialism successfully co-existing and making lives better.

Joe Stack



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realestatereality 5 months, 3 weeks ago

“Socialism by its very nature embodies government control of the lives of the citizenry. There is no freedom of choice.” Did you catch that? "There is no freedom of choice.” Without that choice this would not be America. The only difference between Socialism and Communism is one is at the point of a gun and the other is the people "choose"it. The end result is the same. Just because some countries have not played it out to it's inevitable economic and civil destructive end is no reason to follow in their footsteps. Please do not try to change America. If you want socialism move to one of those countries you name, or China for that matter, PLEASE.


centurion75 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I see the simpletons like realestatereality are still terrified of the word socialism. What about Social Security? I suppose we should get rid of that. Geez this ignorance is exhausting.


bgoike 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's be clear. Socialism and Capitalism are economic terms. Communism and Democracy are political systems, although Communism usually demands a socialist economy. Democracies often choose a mixture because people vote for what is best for them, such as what Joe enumerated. Have we not voted for Medicare and the Post Office in order to be more efficient?
And public education was proffered because a public must be educated to participate in Democracy. Right? Americans choose and they have chosen efficiency. Thanks, Joe, for a well thought out letter.


realestatereality 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Speak of ignorance. Lets get down to basics and shed a little light on how educated some of the commenters are. We are not a democracy. We are a republic. If you can't get that right how can you understand what socialism and communism really are?


Pfalbo 5 months, 3 weeks ago

As Zorba frustratingly noted after he had unsuccessfully encouraged his shy friend to speak to a woman the friend had shown interest in: "On a dead man's door you can knock forever."

If it's nits you want to pick, the US is also referred to as a Constitutional Federal Republic; a Constitutional republic or representative democracy.

That you are as partially correct/incorrect as those you question in no way erases your delusions, misrepresentations and misunderstanding of "Socialism."

You strain at gnats while swallowing horseflies.