Socialism vs Capitalism
Since being on dialysis, I have had to sit for long periods of time attached to a machine and I watch a lot of television. I have noticed a major difference in television programming between socialist countries and capitalist countries.
The same with movies,
and newspapers articles,
and business educational programs.
Capitalist countries still follow Adam Smith’s thesis that if everyone takes care of his or her interests, somehow the invisible hand of the market will perform a miracle, and social interests will be optimized.
This thesis legitimized competition and adversary relationships. You do your own thing and do not worry about social welfare. It will be taken care of by the competitive nature of the market.
As a result of this value system, movies demonstrate how personal goals over communal goals dominate our behavior and how greed works. Television features programs where people beat the hell out of each other on a stage that looks like a cage. Adversarial relationships are all over the place.
The pursuit of your own interest first, above all others, penetrates relationships. In families, it breeds divorces. In business, the internal disintegration of organizations prevents companies from being as effective and efficient as they could be otherwise.
Philanthropy and social endeavors are in the “nice to” category as opposed to the “need to” category. To succeed in a capitalist system, you need to be self-centered and competitive.
Conversely, in communist countries, the movies are about individual sacrifice for the benefit of all. About loving your country, sacrificing yourself for the good of all. The newspapers regularly feature stories about such heroes.
There is no question in my mind, communists have propaganda in their media, while capitalists show reality. Communism as well as fascism focus on what SHOULD be while in capitalism we focus on what IS.
I prefer the propaganda. It is not done in capitalist societies because it does not sell as well as the negative news. How many people will watch a building being built versus how many will watch a building being destroyed?
Disintegration excites. It sells. Integration is arduous, slow, and unprofitable in the short term.
I see a trend in America to become increasingly socialist and to transform itself from a purely capitalist orientation. Trump is a temporary relapse. The socialist trend started, the earliest I could identify, with John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his inaugural address. He said, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
Bernie Sanders is fully into leading the trend. He even calls himself a socialist. Obama was accused of being a socialist, and, yes, in my appraisal of his actions, he was moving toward taking care of social interests even at the cost of individual or corporate needs.
So, what will be next?
The socialist trend will continue. It is inevitable. Vulgar, unconstrained capitalism is dead in a world of highly, intensely overlapping social interests. These are too complex for the invisible hand of the market to deal with. A government with a socialist agenda is inevitable.
Socialism and communism have their disadvantages. Lack of competition causes inefficiencies. Lack of flexibility and innovation causes stagnation.
The answer for me is somewhere in the middle. Taking the best of socialism and of capitalism. The answer for me is a market economy with a social conscience in art, education and in economic decision making.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes