Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, April 05, 2019

More Soshulisum

I mentioned in an addendum to my previous post on this word that the U.S. is in fact already a socialist country, it's just a matter of what we do and do not socialize. You don't have to take my word for it:

“The roads hold such a special position in our brain that we use logic around them that we would never use around everything else,” [Prof. Michael] Manville said.
Other countries have socialized health care, parental leave or housing, Jeffrey Tumlin, a transportation consultant at Nelson\Nygaard, pointed out. In America, we’ve socialized driving — and housing for our cars.
“We don’t let people put their self-storage containers in public parks, but it’s just fine to store their cars on other public land for free,” Mr. Tumlin wrote in an email. . . .
Industry publications [in the 1930s] linked the need for “free” roads to patriotism, the Bill of Rights, even the Minutemen.
Today, because most people seldom pay directly for roads — or because general funds do — it can seem as if no one does.
In other words, we think of socialism as freedom in the case of highways. But in this particular case it doesn't work well in major cities because it leads to overuse and congestion. However, different markets work in different ways. We don't think of education as being overused -- we want all children who have the basic intellectual capacity to at least get a basic education and be prepared for employment. In health care, because of provider induced demand, we get overuse with a fee for service system.

Socializing health care -- or at least health insurance, we're really talking about a Canadian system in which providers are still private operators --  is a way to reduce overuse and yes, make everybody more free. Let's link free health care to patriotism, the Bill of Rights, and the Minutemen.

Update: Comment thread from Lawyers, Guns and Money

  • Avatar
    I've been having a discussion on my own blog about socialism as a dirty word. It's unbelievable how obtuse people can be about this. "Socialism means Stalinism, therefore if you advocate something that I want to label as socialist (or that you so label yourself) you want us to all live in the Soviet Union, because that's what socialism means." They can't be made to see that this is not an argument. Just like the guy who claimed that the concept of "organic food" is meaningless because organic means carbon compounds and all food is carbon compounds.
    The Nazis used the word "socialist" too. Anyone can take a word and mis-use it. And anyone can take something too literally on purpose to make it ridiculous. Do people who do this think they are super clever?
    "Just like the guy who claimed that the concept of "organic food" is meaningless"
    I wouldn't say it is a meaningless concept, just a grossly mis-named one.
    "It's unbelievable how obtuse people can be about this..."
    Most are just trolling, how the RW in this country use and used the word "socialism" bears very little relationship to how anyone else uses and defines it.
    It encompasses most everything everyone else has called socialism and quite about more covering everything from
    "zoning laws I don't like"
    "safety regulations I don't like"
    "government provided garbage pickup"
    "Welfare" (as defined by them)
    you get the idea
    So since Socialism=Stalinism, therefore the law requiring you to buy liability insurance when you buy a car is Stalinism and un-American.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

The meaning of words is so often just etymology. For instance, a "radical" is someone who wants to get to the "root" of a matter--to see and explain what it's truly about.

In its simplest form, "socialist" refers to a person who thinks that social matters--things that concern the health and welfare of people--are of primary concern. It's just that simple. A capitalist is, simply put, someone who prioritizes "capital"--or money. And the USA is a country that prioritizes money, property, and power over social welfare--i.e., over people, animals, the environment. You know, living things. That's a big reason why we're in the mess we're in, facing extinction and with so many people mistrusting others. Look at socialist countries and you generally find a greater social contract--an agreement, both official and unspoken, to prioritize life and existence over possessions and power.