Very well said, SteveInCO.
It's what Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the other Federalists in the 1787 Constitutional Convention intended.
Hamilton said he wanted the "rich and well-born" to govern. Madison said he wanted the government to protect "the opulent minority from the majority".
Several in the Convention said monarchy or aristocracy would result. The word "fascism" came along a century later.
I wish we could do away with money altogether. My idea is that we change the system to one of earning work credits instead of money. The harder you work the more credits you amass and the sooner you can retire.
Everyone statrs out equal.. which means that everyone earns their own work credits.. No getting a head start from daddy.
More skilled jobs means more work credits per hour earned. The incentive is built into the system.
There wouldn't be any wellfare. Everyone would have to do something. Community service, picking up the highways, answering telephones, advertising etc... whatever you could do. Those that actually couldn't do anything would be taken care of. (by those needing 'work credits')
Education wouldn't stop at high school but would continue through college, technical and trade schools.
Healthcare would also be available to everyone.
When you reach retirement age..everything is free.. You can continue to earn work credits for extras if you want to...but it wouldn't be necessary for survival. OR...there would be a different type of work credit that everyone does after they retire.
This is my moneyless socialism idea.
I know its a silly little idea full of flaws and limitations.. but that's what makes it fun to throw out there and play with.
Money would be extremely difficult to do away with. It's far too useful as an intermediary "bookkeeping" or "scorekeeping" device. If I have two pumpkins and you have a dozen eggs, and I want a dozen eggs but a pumpkin is worth eight eggs, we have a problem... unless we can trade some sort of marker as well, for example an IOU. If the marker itself has some value and can be made arbitrary sizes, and won't rot or waste away, so much the better--hence precious metals made into coins; the first money (a far cry from money that has no actual value other than the fact that you can expect someone else will accept it).
It seems to me your work credits would simply function as money does today, since you can buy "extras" with them--except you wouldn't be allowed to inherit them, and a lot of things would be provided for "free" that today you would spend money on.
By the way, would you be allowed to inherit tangible items? If so what's to prevent your rich daddy from buying a bunch of stuff and giving _that_ to you when he dies? And if he isn't allowed to leave tangible items--what's to prevent him from giving you the stuff before he dies?
For everyone to start off equal, it's going to take a LOT of heavy handed government watching to ensure your relatives don't give you a leg up.
But let's leave that aside. Some people are far more able than others, and will end up wealthier as a consequence even if they start from the same place. Do you see that as a problem?
I don't know the answers.. I just think that someday we may find something other than wealth and power to motivate us.
I was hoping some of the smart folks could take my idea and add some viable options or that it would encourage them to relate
their own ideas about what might be a better system.
Wesley, wealth, power and sex seem to work.
I'll play. How does business fit into your idea? Suppose I have an idea for a revolutionary new widget. Where is the incentive in your system for me to produce it, especially if it will require a lot of time and effort to do so? It seems business is entirely replaced by government in your idea. Is that the case? What would happen to people who can't contribute due to ill health or physical/mental limitations?
I don't know.. My idea is completely open source. You are free to add your own widgets! How did star trek do it? They did away with money didn't they?..(except when dealing with the Ferengi)
How do you do it with money today? I think you encourage investors to work on your project... you are all earning work credits on one level while your product is in development...with a potential for profit of higher work credit as the widget becomes more popular.
You'd have to have safety nets for those who couldn't contribute.. I think you could do away with much of the sit on your butt do nothing with this system. Everyone would work..even if it was just wearing advertising, or picking up the roadsides or the parks.. or helping to take care of those who couldn't take care of themselves... etc..
I know this is full of holes.. but I expect you smart folks to fix them or come up with something much better.
Remember that Star Trek is fiction, their system only had to actually work on the TV screen. They can sweep inconvenient problems with it--that we'd see if we actually tried to practice it--aside.
Well if that was your intent, then fun it was! Sorry I mistook it for a serious argument.
I'll play, too. This is an interesting idea (but not really a new one).
Consider the concept of economies of scale, and the coming technological singularity. By way of explanation:
Economy of scale refers to the cost of production and how mass production reduces cost per item. For example, it would cost a lot more to build one chair yourself at home than it costs to build one chair in a chair factory.
A technological singularity is essentially a machine capable of building (and potentially improving upon) other machines and objects. It's a machine machine.
Now, combine the two concepts and economy of scale is destroyed. That is, if you have a machine that can make anything, then the per-item cost of making one chair with that machine is no lower than the per-item cost of making one thousand chairs with it.
This is how the economics of Star Trek could work. They have replicators-- machine machines-- devices that can make anything. Human labor is no longer required. All you need is power, raw material, and a good idea.
Sound far-fetched? Take a look at 3D printing. Imagine what this technology will be like in 100 years. Everyone will have one, like having a refrigerator or a washing machine. You won't need to go to Wal-Mart and buy a chair. Find the chair you want online, press a button, and the 3D printer makes it for you on the spot.
A couple (maybe more) of things are missing here. SteveInCO added another.
One of what's missing are descriptions of the various kinds of socialism. The amount of control by government makes for different kinds. When the government owns the resources and the means of production and distribution, those in the government would have maximum control. When the people, as shareholders, own the the resources and the means of production and distribution, and when they elect and oversee the people who negotiate for fire protection, et cetera, the "government" would have minimum control. Those are the endpoints of socialism; there are arrangements between those that can all be called socialism.
In America, from its start, the "rich and well-born" (Alexander Hamilton's term; we might say "well-connected) had a form of socialism we can call "subsidy enterprise" and everyone else had degrees of competitive free enterprise (no subsidies to help them and prisons for debtors). Until the 1930s and FDR, the people who ran the government were hostile to working people. Unions were illegal restraints on trade; the Army shot and killed strikers and even their families.
The word itself was used to stir political opposition to efforts to amend state constitutions to provide what we today call the initiative and referendum. In short, the people who ran the government called democracy socialism.
You are conflating the issue of how government is to be controlled (e.g., by democratic vote, vs. by an oligarchy) with what the government should be doing, with what its proper purpose is. You are implicitly assuming government should be allowed to do whatever it wants to but it will be OK if it's democratically controlled.
Incidentally, to follow your analogy, how much power does an individual shareholder actually have over the corporation? Not much. Are you sure you want all decision making power over what you purchase and what you produce to be taken away from you and left up to a vote of everyone else in society? Even if that vote perfectly reflects the will of the majority (which it won't--we already vote for politicians and rarely is anyone satisfied with the result, much less a majority!) it won't reflect your will in the slightest but it will control your life. You are just another means of production, controlled by society through the government. For example what if the majority votes to require everyone to tithe ten percent to whatever the most popular religion is? It's a majority vote, right? It's democratic, right?
I'd be really leery of handing over control of absolutely everything to democratic vote. It turns everything into a political decision. Do you want your right to an abortion (much less getting government to pay for it as well as allow it) settled by whoever manages to get the most votes?
And THAT is what is so f***ing terrible about socialism.