Real world examples of capitalism/socialism

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
8,905
The People's Republik of Kalifornia.
#1
It seems to me that a lot people erroneously conflate socialism with welfare. To me, an example of welfare would be giving someone food stamps. And an example of socialism would be government control of some commodity or service. Maybe in the US, something like the Post Office would be an example of socialism?

As for capitalism, I think that's something that's more prevalent and easily recognized. Capitalism just means that commerce and business is in private hands, a kid on the street corner selling lemonade is capitalism, no? And hasn't capitalism pretty much been around since day one?

A friend sent me this meme the other day...



I thought it was missing the point, perhaps a straw man of sorts? But at the same time, I agree that there haven't been any successful "socialist," countries, because, even the usual countries that people like to label as socialist, Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries come to mind, are still capitalist markets, albeit, with perhaps more of a welfare state than we have here in the US.

So, can anyone give me some real world examples of these things? The examples don't have to be limited to the US.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,380
Dispargum
#5
Yes, in America in recent years the conservative movement has abused the word 'socialist,' applying it to anything left of center. I would not describe the Postal Service as an example of socialism. Even President Reagan acknowledged that the government should perform those necessary functions that the private sector does not want to perform. The Post Office is one of those functions. Socialism is when the government performs those functions that could be done by the private sector but society instead decides it wants the government to do them. A socialist government can gain ownership of private property violently, as happened is Russia in 1917 or it can peacefully acquire control of private companies simply by buying up a controlling interest of that company's shares. Another way is to legislate companies out of certain businesses. For instance, a country can implement national health insurance by simply telling people to get their health insurance from the government instead of private insurance companies. Most insurance companies also sell life insurance, property insurance, car insurance etc, so they are not put completely out of business.

An example of socialism would be Britain's taking control/ ownership of its coal mines shortly after WW2.
 
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Likes: Ichon

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,617
Portugal
#6
The Soviet Kolkhoz and the Israeli Kibutz are (or were) probably the best examples of socialism in practice.

As for capitalism we probably have more samples, as the UK and the USA in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.
 
May 2015
1,000
The Netherlands
#7
It seems to me that a lot people erroneously conflate socialism with welfare. To me, an example of welfare would be giving someone food stamps. And an example of socialism would be government control of some commodity or service. Maybe in the US, something like the Post Office would be an example of socialism?

As for capitalism, I think that's something that's more prevalent and easily recognized. Capitalism just means that commerce and business is in private hands, a kid on the street corner selling lemonade is capitalism, no? And hasn't capitalism pretty much been around since day one?
Modern welfare provided by the state (as opposed to religious charities) might have its roots in socialism, but is mainly a correction mechanism of the capitalist system. Government control of a commodity or service is not socialism either, but state capitalism (or state socialism, according to others). Under socialism/communism the means of production are not privately owned or state owned, but collectively owned by society (i.e. the workers or citizens).

A kid on the street corner selling lemonade is not the best example of capitalism, given that the principles of supply and demand predate capitalism. It also omits the role of capital in capitalism, of which the accumulation of capital to maximize profit is the essence. Under capitalism, having capital leads to private ownership of the means of production and paying workers not according to the productivity of their labour but according to the price dictated by the market.

I'll let someone more knowledgeable take it from here.
 
Likes: Tulius
Nov 2018
66
Denmark
#8
Denmark is by no means the utopia that some American politicians are trying to fake to the American people.

Nor is it the socialist hell that others try to make them believe.

And as far as I remember it was Otto von Bismarck who created the forerunner of modern welfare states in Europe, and no one will blame him for being a socialist.

The part of the infrastructure in Denmark, which consists of water supply, heat supply, postal services, public transport, schools and health care, can consist of anything from publicly owned to privately owned, and various constructions of partly public, partly private owned.

And the Danish politicians' goals, whether they are on the right or left of the center, are that as much as possible of what state and municipalities are responsible for must be outsourced to private contractors.

Likewise, an employer can fire an employee at any time. If the employee is a member of a trade union, there are different warning periods and there must be a valid reason.
In any case, a Danish employer is not in for his employees in the same way as in France, for example.

As for the dream of socialist states, it has been tried, it did not go well.

The Danish workers have in any case never jumped in that glue.

It has generally been the highly educated Danes who believed that the Soviet Union was the workers' paradise.

The Danish workers dreamed of villa, Volvo and vovhund (doggie).
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,380
Dispargum
#9
Government control of a commodity or service is not socialism either, but state capitalism (or state socialism, according to others). Under socialism/communism the means of production are not privately owned or state owned, but collectively owned by society (i.e. the workers or citizens).
Can you provide an example of a situation where society owned a commodity or service and someone other than the state acted as society's executive agent to manage that commodity or service?
 

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