Socialism: Why Does or Doesn't it Work?

Does Socialism Work?

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Dec 2017
The United States
People who believe in modern socialism constantly bring up this argument that socialism is great, and that it's only gotten a bad reputation because "Nobody's ever done it the right way"

On paper, socialism sounds wonderful! Everybody is equal and shares resources in a collective pool, everybody gets free healthcare, and the government gets to take care of everything for you, including food production and distribution.

BUT, time and time again, dozens of countries have tried forms of socialism, and, ironically, the only ones that last are the ones that choose to embrace forms of globalization and capitalism into their systems, the best example being China.

So, if socialism is such a great system, why does it constantly fail and cause the country using it as its system to fall on its face?

What is the "Right" Way to use socialism?
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Dec 2017
The United States
This a good debate but your question isn't really historical.
You're partly right, I could've phrased it better for a more historical context, but from my point of view the historical part comes from the fact that, historically, dozens countries have used it, but only 2 use proper socialism today.


Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
Capitalism has its failings, massive failings. Without a degree of Socialism it fails.

Those countries with socialist healthcare systems have much better healthcare at a much lower cost,

The Development of software tools has become almost totally under various open source licences. The tech giants support a socialist version of software development, contributing and funding open source development because it more cost effective way of developing software. (Thrown systems remained closed generally but all there tools are generally open source, where companies, individuals contribute as they like but everyone gets to share the results)


Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
appalacian Mtns
In a nutshell greed. Human nature is human nature. Someone's going to be in charge. They will be looking out for #1. I do agree somethings need to be more socialist. Capitalism & health care are a very bad mix.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Any government needs to have a degree of socialist polices to keep a check on unbridled capitalism, and an individual must be allowed to prosper without unnecessary restrictions on his business. In short a hybrid system works best. it is finding and maintaining that balance that is the tricky part.
Oct 2016
imho it is all about greed, but in a different way.

1)we are all motivated by self-interest.
2) society needs people to work, to produce food, build houses, and produce fuel, clothes, consumer goods, etc.
3) few people want to work. the best way to get people to work is to offer wealth/money. if you tell ten people they will all get equal pay there will be no motivation to work hard; they will probably do the minimum work required.
if you scale pay--by hour, by piece--most people will be motivated to work harder, which benefits society. more production, more wealth. everybody wins.

most people define Socialism as when government(s) run businesses. governments generally do not have a profit motive, which leads to poor productivity. also, producers must produce what their government masters tell them, so there is little incentive to innovate.

the Stalinist method is to motivate productivity by sending non-producers to Siberia or otherwise punishing. this leads to cheating, political infighting, and people more concerned for their careers than getting the job done.

the stick works better if there's some carrot involved.

I agree that capitalism needs some limits, but it's been proven repeatedly to be more efficient and productive. no coincidence former communist states like Viet Nam and China began to prosper when their leaders set aside their communist ideology for the practical benefits of (at least some limited) capitalism and economic freedom. (as opposed to Cuba and North Korea, ideologically pure and materially impoverished.)

that summarizes things I think.


Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
Health care should go to people who can afford it, it's to be privatized.
Education should go to people who can afford it, it's to be privatized.
Housing should go to people who can afford it, it's to be privatized.
Food should go to people who can afford it, it's to be privatized.
Those who cannot these are just lazy and drag down society.
To disagree is to be a socialist, communist, and a traitor.
Capitalism is most compassionate system and all win.
Get out of my country and never return, dam Reds!
Jun 2017
First let's grasp what Socialism actually is in the modern context cause so many especially in the US don't understand what it is.

Socialism started out as being largely Marxist. It was the same as Communism and Socialist parties were the same as Communist parties wanting a revolution and a borderless world.

Then once these Socialist Parties starting winning majority's they started to change their tune and over time the Marxist parts of these party's became minority's and the majority's became advocates for reforms within the existing structure who didn't think revolution was necessary. The major Socialist Parties except Italy supporting their countries WWI efforts also saw a turn away from the Marxist principle of a borderless world. After the war, the Marxists now "Communists" were mostly purged from Socialist parties with one very notable exception where the Marxists had managed to take over not only their party but their country.

Socialism is now almost inherently Social Democracy as Socialism no longer requires overthrowing anything and is all about reform. Social Democracy tends to advocate for more fair taxation, a larger welfare state and workers rights. That's socialism in the modern context and certain politicians using "democratic socialism" is really just to ease the concerns in backwards places like large swaths of my country where people think Socialism and Communism is the same thing and other use them interchangeably. Socialism can have control of certain vital industries where private companies running it is counter to the public interest. For example health care, for profit companies in my country put on a yearly murder clinic(it's an expression) as demonstration to the rest of the world why corporations should never be allowed to have a say over whether people live or die(regardless of regulation, it's still horrible). Other areas of the economy the free market woks just fine if it's just regulated to protect workers and consumers.

In terms of Capitalism IMO Capitalism's cancer is the profit motive(shareholder profit motive to be specific because many Americans think profit=making money) and most of Capitalism's problems go away if you remove it as all the problems with Capitalism are directly tied to profit motive and dealing with it. I think non profit's are the best form of Capitalism.
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Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
What does the OP mean by "work" ? And for whom ?

Obviously many countries are some shade of socialism, so in so much as it is not a laboratory construct but has been applied in various shades in many places, the answer is "well, yes it works"... "maybe not very well, but it works"