The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

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Interesting thoughts.

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.

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.

If I understand the language I've used my entire life, you make a case against democracy too.

"I'd be really leery of handing over control of absolutely everything to democratic vote."

Taking certain decisions away from majorities is the chief function of the Bill of Rights.

I understand your words as saying you want you to decide for everyone. Lots of people for lots of centuries have done that. They have been less than successful; many were assassinated. World War Two ended the attempts of a few.

If responding to 9/11 had been in the hands of the public in the days after the event, the response would probably have been nuclear. How much democracy do we want. The idea (though granted it doesn't seem to work according to theory) is that we elect representatives and administrators who take the time to understand and select among the options that the general public hasn't the time or inclination to do.

Unseen, please consider changing your screen name to one that suggests you have much to learn about politics.

I've been doing politics for forty years, some of it best described as hardball (or economics-in-action) in which politicians contact employers of activists and these activists find themselves suddenly unemployed. In a more extreme case, an Arizona newspaper I knew was killed by a bomb placed under his car because he was reporting on political corruption. I have yet to see evidence that democratic nations go to war as quickly as top-down forms of government.

BTW, America's founders created a top-down government, an oligarchy not a democracy, and in December of 1941 the Japanese caught us by surprise.

Got lots of money? Want favorable laws passed?

Then finance the elections of your elected representatives. This kind of bribery is how politics in the USofA has long worked. If you are a legislator you can extort money from people or organizations with money. It works best if you chair a legislative committee or are a leader in a legislative body.

Lots of active and voting citizens can beat the money, but it requires much hard and unsalaried work.


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