Thursday, 6 December 2012

Where Socialism Works

After a number of years traveling around....when the question comes up....can socialism work?  The general answer is that you can run a 50-50 mix with capitalism and socialism....in a small tight society.  The thing is....you have to have some general rules at the beginning of this....to glue the mess together.

First, you need to have a limited number of special interest groups: the arts society, the educational elite, the library folks, the school teacher squads, the bicycle trails mafia, etc.  You simply put a bucket of money on the table and tell everyone that this is it....split it twelve ways or sixteen ways or forty-four ways....but that's all you get for this year.  Once you establish this rule....the special interest groups are careful about not getting creative and adding more folks at the table.

Second, the tax rules are set down into stone and you don't go back and change rules every two or three years.  There might be a bump-up here, or a bump-down there....but the taxation rate is pretty much set so that everyone plays on the same field together.

Third, the evils of society.....smokes, booze, and entertainment....is going to be fairly taxed and you just aren't going to be happy if you are a chain-smoker or a heavy boozer.

Fourth, the TV crowd and newspaper folks.....are all pretty good friends of each other, and the political establishment.  So, there's rarely any corruption that gets reported.  You could breeze through national nightly news in sixteen minutes, or read all of the national newspaper in thirty minutes.  Things typically don't get exciting...mostly because it damages the trend of a society if you start in this direction.

Fifth, you get used to the idea of not inventing anything new or radical.  Remember....it's a blend of socialism and capitalism.  Taking risks usually isn't a great feature in a society like this.

Sixth, folks get used to the idea of a fairly limited house, a limited tool shed, a limited barn, a limited garage, and a limited car.  If you have to pay nineteen percent sales tax on everything....then you limit your tool-chest to just six good screwdrivers....which might be around for twenty years.  In your closet?  There might be six pairs of shoes for the four seasons.  When one pair of shoes wears out...you go and price up the most economical deal for a replacement pair....which you hope they last seven years.

Seventh, looking and acting rich in a 50-50 society....means you have to spend money to gain that status-look.  Wannabe rich guys eventually figure that this is a waste of time, money and effort....so they don't pretend to be rich anymore in such a society.  The rest of these folks?  They generally hate the idea of looking rich because it always means more taxes are taken in some fashion.  So it's best to look remarkably limited in your 'richness'.

Eighth, and final....at the heart of the matter, you never allow any capitalistic trends to start up where credit cards are handed out like candy, and folks start to get $100k in plain simple debt by age forty.  You also ensure that government worker salaries stay at a low level for the first ten years, and only start to perk up by age forty.  The truth is....you already know that a 50-50 mix doesn't produce much wealth that you can tax and hand out to folks, so you don't get stupid and start spending money you don't have.

Yeah, it does sound like Denmark....doesn't it?

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