Why a Moral Capitalism (Social Democracy) Is Hardly Even Possible

A rightwing capitalist from India posts:

So the problem that you have is basically with the ideals and goals of capitalism, which are to make money. I really don’t have a problem with talented and deserving folk making money with the sweat of their brows or the tapping of their keyboards or whatever.
I also realize that some sort of socialism is necessary, say, for making public parks, public roads, public hospitals and schools and so on.
But you need to weigh practicalities of each system. While I applaud the lofty ideals of Marx and Engel, I agree with the far more practical considerations of Machiavelli, who considered humans to be motivated by selfishness and greed. That selfishness and greed are what drive the economy, at least in capitalist countries.
Want more money? Work harder, work smarter, find out new ways to get the shit done, indulge your selfish fancy and think up new stuff that plugs in a wall socket… so on. Thing is, such systems tend to have a better overall life quality, because opportunities are inherently legion. It’s no wonder that while nobody would want to cross jungles full of poisonous snakes and swim dangerous waters for getting to India, a whole lot of Indians would cheerfully do so to get to the US.
Let’s consider a country still mired in socialistic ideals: India (China cannot be considered, thanks to Deng Xiaoping). In the 1990s, things got so bad they had to ship their gold bullion to the Bank of England just to meet the deficit. They then realized they had to get rid of their over-bloated behemoths of Public Works companies. These companies were a direct result of socialist practicality: they devoured huge amounts of money to feed their officials and never got anything done.
How did things go that way? I call it “crony socialism”. The government officials, perpetually in power, simply did not give a shit about anybody or anything, and answered to no one. The socialist government reveled in its poverty and penurity, and wore it like a crown.
The mindset of the government, upon acquiring power, became so draconian that a for-the-people, socialist state saw major uprisings, like the Naxalite movement and later secessionist movement in Punjab and the Jayprakash Narayan Movement in Uttar Pradesh and Behar. And these weren’t exactly occupy wall street stuff, these were very serious and sometimes armed insurgencies, and resulted in actual bloodshed and thousands of deaths.
Coming from an inherently socialist state, I say socialism is evil, having experienced it myself. Coming from an inherently capitalist state, you say capitalism is evil, having (I assume) experienced its excesses yourself.
No system is perfect, I suppose.
PS> I’ll give you a good point of attack: you can say that since Indians suck, their version of everything sucks, even socialism. However, socialism has been abandoned the world over. China abandoned it, and later USSR states abandoned it too.

We do not think that they ever had any real socialism in India. Indian socialism was a sick joke. It was “crony socialism.”
The world is not giving up on socialism. Most countries on Earth are a mixture of socialism and capitalism. A place like the USA has too much capitalism and not enough socialism, and a place like Cuba has too much socialism and not enough capitalism.
China is still a very socialist country, but they have gone much too far in the capitalist direction. It’s been a catastrophe. For instance, millions of Chinese are now dying for lack of healthcare. THIS is what the capitalists all over the world are cheering about! All those people dying!
You can’t have any kind of functional state under capitalism with public roads, schools, health care, parks, etc. because the capitalists hate all of that stuff and will always try to dismantle it. Most capitalists are not like you. Most capitalists do not even believe in public schools, health care, roads, parks, etc. They want to get rid of all of that stuff, especially the roads, schools, etc. So the media and the state in capitalist society soon get captured by these capitalist radicals, which are the super-rich and their bought politicians and owned media outlets. So the schools, health care, roads, and parks in a capitalist state gradually start to wither away and get destroyed.
Examples:
Schools: Since 1980, conservatives have declared war on public schools in the US. They have defunded public schools at all levels out of ideology. The want it to that only the rich can afford to go to college. They are also ideologically committed to privatization of schooling and they oppose public education out of ideology. Since 1980, countless public schools in China have been closed down. Many of these were opened during the Cultural Revolution. In most of the 3rd World, public eduction is defunded and the rich send their kids to private schools.
Health care: Since 1980, there have been continuous attacks on the NHS, the British health care system. That is because the Thatcherites and the neoliberal rightwing “Labor” are ideologically opposed to the NHS because they don’t believe in public health care.
Austerity has been delightfully pushed by the capitalist classes (the very rich) all over the world since 1980. It ruined Africa and Latin America for decades. Now they are pushing it in Europe and the US. There is no real reason to engage in austerity, but the rich simply see this as an opening to destroy the public sector which they hate, so they are using this opportunity. In any fiscal crisis under capitalism, the rich and the capitalists will use this crisis to engage in austerity to destroy the hated public sector.
Roads: US roads are falling apart because the rich and the capitalists do not believe in funding them out of ideological opposition. They simply think it is a waste of money.
Parks: US parks have been defunded for many, many years now, ever since Reagan. The rich and the capitalists always hate public parks and they always try to defund them and shut them down. Here in California, many of the parks have shut down. They probably do this out of sheer ideology. You can’t make money off a park, and the capitalists and the rich only care about things that make money. If you can’t make money off something, it’s worthless by definition.
I actually think that capitalism is absolutely evil, but I also agree that it works better than its alternatives. It’s the worst system on Earth, except for all the others, something like that, borrowing from Churchill.

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11 thoughts on “Why a Moral Capitalism (Social Democracy) Is Hardly Even Possible”

  1. Dear Robert
    Let’s be clear about one thing: capitalism is an economic system, not a political system. The 2 essential features of capitalism are private ownership of the means of production and market pricing. capitalism is compatible with many political systems. The antebellum South was capitalist but so was the antebellum North. The fact that slavery was permitted in the former and forbidden in the latter was due to politics.
    In my opinion, the best arrangement is an economic system that is predominantly capitalist with a social-democratic government. That way we can benefit from the productive dynamism of capitalism while the social-democrats will insure that all members of society can share in the fruits of capitalism. Every capitalist country needs a social-democratic party.
    The worst set-up is capitalism with a government of hard-line neo-liberals who not only abjure all leveling by the state but who are also hostile to all macro-economic stabilization by the state.
    Regards. James

  2. While capitalism is bad, it comes with many variety. Some good and some not so good. The USA style of financial capitalism is suicidal. Today, who benefit most from USA capitalism? They are the financier, who did nothing more than pushing papers.
    Look at the video below.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vBwNhtcUMI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiWW7w-Crrs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_D6P1IIdtQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxhH7Hyw_Yg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuAhlUTLPgk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7CBM1RejD8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTFkr1HpvvU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP_bxY9PeDo

  3. 90% correct, but the real answer is the entire human “Civilization” itself is abnormal. Civilization was started off in Asia around 5000 years go. Westerners copied this and modified it. Asians & others are now copying it back. Its impossible for 6 billion people (projected to rise to 12 billion in 30 years) to have a Western type lifestyle without the entire planet & ecosystem being destroyed. Its a vicious cycle that was stared off in Asia long ago and is going to drag down the whole world soon.

  4. You see, I can give a blow-by-blow analysis too, but I’ll mainly be focusing on my country, as I am sure you can understand.
    Hospitals/Healthcare:
    The Indian state provides the best salaries, biggest funds and pretty decent infrastructure for its numerous public hospitals located all over the country and counted in hundreds of thousands, where any citizen can get treatment (theoretically) for mere pennies. In return, crony socialism makes sure that the more equal doctors collect salaries but never show up, support staff is negligent and callous, and the funds are all embezzled. Out of fairness, I’ll have to say that about a dozen hospitals (out of a hundred thousand, mind you) are very good, like AIIMS at New Delhi.
    On the other hand, privately owned hospitals and clinics are considered much better and much safer for the health of the patient, however costlier they might prove to be. These hospitals are owned by private individuals, run at a profit and are usually better equipped and better staffed. Some of these have since developed into highly reputed franchises (like Apollo) and are considered world-class. Anybody (let me emphasize that) who can afford private health care, uses it.
    Schools
    They suck everywhere, I must say, but that is because of the national curriculum which schools are forced to follow and is decided by the state. Again, public schools operated by the state are all (ALL) considered to be half-assed and disreputable, although the state gives the best salaries to the teachers and the support staff, and large amounts of funds for buildings and labs. Again, teachers and staff don’t show up or don’t care about the kids, the buildings go derelict and the funds are eaten up.
    The only schools your kid will be taught well (I use that phrase objectively) are all privately owned, and again, some have formed reputable franchises. Sure, they are all cramming establishments, but the kids can learn at least some thing, rather than nothing at all. The teachers get shitty salaries and the staff are all temps, but they are all hired for some kind of competence, rather than their political pull or ability to suborn hiring personnel.
    Colleges/Grad Schools
    I’ll sum it up in very simple sentences: a whole lot of government professional degree mills are considered the best (like IITs, NITs, IIITs, IISc, IIST, PGI, AIIMS), receive the best students for that reason, and get very good grants and buildings. With the exception of a single engineering institution (BITS), all premier engineering institutes are state-owned. Postgrad schools of good repute (IIMs, IISc, PGI) are all state owned. Not one single private institution of medical sciences exists that has a good reputation.
    This seems like an anomaly, but it gradually dawned on me that the state regulates the creation of such professional institutions, and can probably nip some in the bud as it pleases. Also, the good reputation of an established institution is self-fulfilling: because of it, good students can be attracted, which in turn serves the institution’s rep…
    Roads
    Roads over here suck. Period. They are all maintained by the state, and the state bureaucracy uses bad quality material to construct roads (or doesn’t construct them at all in some more backward areas) so it can eat up the funds. Of late, some national highways have been delegated for construction to private companies, leading to erection of toll booths where you stand in line to get ass raped, but hey, at least the roads exist.
    Parks
    Don’t even exist, except in “bureaucratic hostels” like NCR, Chandigarh, Chennai etc, for the sole pleasure of the officials.
    Excellent response by james schnipper.
    Big thanks for a comprehensive reply, Robert. But no thanks for labeling me a “rightwing capitalist”.

  5. Capitalism and Socialism will never work in India
    Because Indians are Survivalist’s
    Indians exhibit survivalism to extreme –Basically Survavalism is an evolutionary strategy adopted by humans in Bronze age.
    Perhaps Bronze age cult Hinduism might have played strong role in creating this life style among indians
    Basically survivalists dont care about others, for them their own survival and survival of their offspring is paramount.
    For most indians a sense of nation hood comes last, for them nationhood is a matter of projecting their own EGO and PRIDE
    This is the reason why Most this Hindus Emphasize of PRIDE,Extreme Pride is manifestation of your EGO.
    For most indians their own Family,Caste,Tribe counts..A sense of strong Nationhood never existed,ofcourse it gets manifested in their hatred towards Others, like pakistan, china,or White people
    But without strong Hatred or Greater EVIL, you cannot unite indians under one umbrella as for them ,Opportunism,Self interest,Interest of caste,family is more important than Nation hood
    This strong survivalism is shown by indians when in Danger, they just care about their own family first, nation and others never come in picture–You might say all humans to an extent do this, yes , every human exhibits survivalism to an extent,but once Humans started trade,Commerce,Mingling with others–These tendencies have disappeared.for the most part
    You can see how indians rush to save their own and give a flying fuck to others in danger..
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Influential-people-exert-pressure-on-agencies-to-rescue-their-kin-first/articleshow/20692201.cms
    This is why your average indians doesnt give a flying fuck about other indians, for him family and caste comes first, unless an external threat comes into picture
    Why socialism will fail in India— Basically in socialism you need to care about less privileged , lend them some helping hand, this philosophy is completely alien to Hindu life, for his only he and his genetic offspring or his caste comes first
    Why capitalism will fail or eventually will end up becoming cronyism in india?— Because in capitalism the wealth that you make and power that you acquire comes with responsibility
    Your average indian is highly irresponsible, for his responsibility is only towards feeding this genetic offspring and may be his caste.
    So capitalism eventually will end up becoming cronyism or nepotism in india, interests of only certain families get served and rest of population will end up in misery.
    What will succeed in india then?, harsh it may sound–I think india is eternal chaos
    Chaos is everywhere in India,you see in traffic,family ,interpersonal relations-you never know ,when your indian friend will stab you.
    Nothing succeeds in india, Indian mind is still stuck up in Bronze age cult of hinduism, the national character never changed.
    Everything that indians do, looks so fake..it doesnt look natural.
    The roads,the buildings, architecture, People’s dress,Accent,their social relations
    Almost everything in India looks so fake, it looks as if Development,Globalization is forced on them .
    For most western societies..Language,social life,Civic duties,Art,music all of them took time to evolve,in west all the stuff you see ,is for the most part a natural evolution
    But for india, its an artificial growth, Perhaps this is why Industrial revolution never took place in India
    India is still knitted by strong Family,caste lineage, even in 21st century they follow survivalism, for them Feeding and breeding is what counts
    Even in dirty unhygienic Surroundings they continue to breed, whole nation is driven by blind opportunism
    Hinduism even offers many remedies for the sins you committed and opportunism you exhibit.. just dipping in Ganges or Giving Gold ornaments to GOD will white wash your Sins towards your fellow humans
    Seems hinduism has invent a Ritualistic means of Escapism from all social responsibilities and indulge in pride ,ego boosting and exhibitionism
    This is why your average hindu is extremely blind to everything that happens around him and continue to live in past
    Neither socialism, communism,Capitalism will work in India
    India is an eternal chaos,it might continue to evolve or will eventually destroy itself..

        1. ILOR – Hey good point ILOR, I agree Indians are great with Rote Learning (memorization)… But lack Critical Thinking (outside the box) – In my company we have about 20% of our IT Dept is Indians (mainly foreign born Indians but some US Born) – One thing I noticed is that they can code well so long as the Technical Spec is Exactly how the program should be, because these dude LITERALLY copy exactly as per the Tech Spec…. They cannot think outside the box… And come to you with 100 questions…A Non-Indian US Born Programmer will fill in the gaps based on logic / common sense and what the program is about and give it to you…. Obviously not all indians are like this and lack any critical coprehension and thinking skills but I would say at least 85% are like this of heavily like this!

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