Socialism vs Capitalism

Table of Contents

  1. Socialism vs Capitalism
  2. Socialism and Capitalism ARE NOT Welfare Statism and Libertarianism
  3. Capital Goods
    1. Factors of Production
    2. Capital Goods
    3. Capital Goods owned by US federal, state, county, and city governments
  4. ‘Nationalize’ vs ‘Privatize’
  5. Democratic Socialism?
  6. Socialism vs Communism
  7. Definitions of Socialism

Socialism vs Capitalism

  • Socialism is an economic system where the government owns and controls most capital goods (goods used to produce goods and services).
    • Socialists want to nationalize industries.
  • Capitalism is an economic system where most capital goods are privately owned; and prices, production, and distribution of goods and services are determined primarily by the operation of markets.
    • Capitalists want to privatize industries.

Socialism and Capitalism ARE NOT Welfare Statism and Libertarianism

  • Welfare Statism is the doctrine that human beings have a fundamental right to an adequate standard of living, insuring them against the risks and uncertainties of life; thus the state should guarantee its citizens such a standard of living.
  • Libertarianism is the doctrine that human beings have a fundamental right to life, liberty, and property; thus government services, social programs, taxes, and government regulations should be minimal.

Capital Goods

Factors of Production
  • Factors of Production are the resources people use to produce goods and services
    • Land, including natural resources
    • Capital, aka capital goods or means of production
    • Labor
    • Entrepreneurship
Capital Goods
  • A capital good is a durable good (one that does not quickly wear out) used in the production of goods or services. (Wikipedia)
  • Capital goods are used to produce goods and and services.  Consumer goods are used by consumers.
  • Examples of capital goods
    • Office buildings, furniture and fixtures
    • Musical instruments used by professional musicians
    • Delivery vans and trucks
    • Hair clippers used by hair stylists
    • Tractors, combines, and other farm equipment
    • Infrastructure such as railway lines, roads, and bridges.
    • Kitchen appliances and utensils in a restaurant
    • Business computers and networking equipment.
    • Business Software, e.g. for accounting, inventory control, and payroll
    • A public school’s textbooks, desks, and whiteboards
    • Medical and dental equipment
    • Machinery
Capital Goods owned by US federal, state, county, and city governments
  • Public buildings, libraries, museums, prisons
  • Public infrastructure, e.g. public roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, dams, canals, reservoirs, ports
  • Public parks, e.g. National Parks
  • Municipal airports
  • Police cars and firetrucks
  • Capital goods owned by the armed services and government agencies

Nationalize’ vs ‘Privatize’

  • Socialists want to nationalize industries, e.g. “nationalize the steel industry”
    • ‘Nationalize’ means to convert from private ownership and control to governmental ownership and control
  • Capitalists want to privatize industries, e.g. “privatize public education”
    • ‘Privatize’ means to convert from governmental ownership and control to private ownership and control

Democratic Socialism?

  • Bernie Sanders
    •  “I think [democratic socialism] means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship all of our people have healthcare; that as a right, all of our kids, regardless of income, have quality childcare, are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big money interest.”
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    • She explained that, according to her vision of democratic socialism, “in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live.”
    • “To me, that means every working-class American in this country should have access to dignified health care — should actually be able to see a doctor without going broke,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
    • “It means you should be able to send your kids to college and trade school if they so choose, and no person should feel precarious or unstable in their access to housing as our economy develops,” she added.
  • Bernie Sanders Isn’t a Socialist: But he plays one on TV. That’s a problem, Paul Krugman, New York Times, Feb 13, 2020
    • “The thing is, Bernie Sanders isn’t actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn’t want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark.
    • So why does Sanders call himself a socialist? I’d say that it’s mainly about personal branding, with a dash of glee at shocking the bourgeoisie.
    • But if Sanders becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, his misleading self-description will be a gift to the Trump campaign.”

Socialism vs Communism

    • “Communism, political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of at least the major means of production (e.g., mines, mills, and factories) and the natural resources of a society. Communism is thus a form of socialism—a higher and more advanced form, according to its advocates. Exactly how communism differs from socialism has long been a matter of debate, but the distinction rests largely on the communists’ adherence to the revolutionary socialism of Karl Marx”

Definitions of Socialism

    • social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources.
    • any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    • Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
    • Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management of enterprises.
    • a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.
    • A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.