I’m a little bothered by the notion that the economic system that actually made America great in the first place has such a stupid name: Democratic Socialism. It bothers me for two reasons: One, it’s too easy for weak thinkers to think “Communism”. Two, it’s just wrong. It SHOULD have been called ‘Social Capitalism’.
During the 2016 primary, every time Bernie Sanders or one of his supporters mentioned Democratic Socialism, some whiz would post a photo of Stalin, Marx, or Lenin. Sometimes they’d post a picture of all three. See, it has the word ‘socialism’ in it and that word scares the bejeezus out of a certain segment of our society. But it’s not Communism – in which the government owns…pretty much everything.
More importantly, though, is that it’s wrong. The ‘Democratic’ part makes it sound like it’s about a government system, not an economic system. But Democratic Socialism is not a government system, it’s Capitalism – it’s just controlled Capitalism or more properly, true Capitalism.
To my mind, the most important single element of Capitalism is that every party to a transaction MUST enjoy a legitimate opportunity to say “no”. If you can’t say no, it’s not genuine Capitalism. It’s extortion. When some business predator manages to corner the market on, say, fresh water – as Nestle intends to do – people no longer have the ability to say no. We HAVE to have water so we would be forced to pay whatever Nestle demands. That’s not a Capitalist transaction. My favorite example says that it’s not Capitalism to hold life saving medication up in front of a dying man and ask, “NOW how much would you pay?”
Social Capitalism (Democratic Socialism) only moves those not-Capitalist transactions to what is known as the Commons – that which “belongs” to all of us. It doesn’t seek to own and build your cars or service your washing machines. It leaves Capitalism in place for Capitalist transactions and protects people from pseudo-Capitalist transactions.
I’ll tell you this: Democratic Socialism actually IS the best option for the largest number of people, whatever you call it. But it SHOULD be called Social Capitalism…
One thought on “A Proposed Name Change…”
One of the clearest discussion of these issues I have ever read. Thank you.