Regarding capitalism and socialism, each system has its advantages and disadvantages, it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses, it’s accomplishments and it’s failures. Some people cling to one economic system or the other with religious-like zeal. However we probably need a balance of both, and how do we achieve the best balance, is probably the real question.
Capitalists believe that an economy, unfettered by laws and restrictions, will naturally balance supply and demand, while providing incentive for innovation. They claim to be in favor of a small government, or even no government, preferring to rely on an unregulated marketplace to destribute goods and services. The weaknesses of capitalism are that wealth tends to become extremely unequal between the extremely wealthy and the extremely impoverished, and also that booms and recessions alternate with extreme peaks. Critics of capitalism point out that capitalists do want certain regulations, but only regulations that benefit themselves.
Socialism places more resources in the hands of the government. The military, police, schools, libraries, postal service, transportation, civic centers, courts, jails, bodies of lawmakers, elections, and many other aspects of modern life, are run, entirely, or in part, by governmental bodies or agencies. The dichotomy between private ownership and public ownership has become a constantly changing mosaic, where privatization occurs under some administrations, and socialization occurs under others. For instance lately, a traditionally socialized school system has been contracting with private charter schools to educate some of it’s students. The weaknesses of socialism are bureaucracy, government overreach and the suppression of individual initiative. Authoritarians fear that if people are allowed to do their own thing, they will do something harmful to others or to the environment. Thus we have zoning laws that suppress individual initiative. You need the county board to decide whether you can put in a driveway, and you must pay hefty fees and wait for inspections and decisions before you can start.
Medicare for All would put the management of healthcare in the hands of the government. Although some people distrust this idea, others realize that a change is necessary, even overdue. Private management of healthcare has placed even small professional health interventions out of the reach of far too large a segment of the American public, while our neighbors to the north in Canada, to the south in Cuba, and in many countries across the Atlantic, are cared for with an efficiency that puts basic care, and many specialized procedures, well within the reach of everyone. Because private health insurance companies have proven to be inefficient profiteers, the U.S. government is being called upon, by a growing majority, to take over the health insurance business.
Also on the horizon is the Green New Deal, an idea that seeks to stop us from contributing to climate change, while borrowing some public works ideas from the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt. Children are panicked about coming of age on a Venusian landscape here on Earth. They are screaming for us to do something! This is their world! Private industry has increasingly revealed itself as being completely incapable of curbing it’s carbon excesses. We are stuck in a petroleum using world. Overnight we must transform ourselves into a green energy using world. Got to Stop This Train to Venus Now! But how?
We can restructure our communities to provide lodging, employment, educational and cultural opportunities in the same neighborhood, reducing or eliminating long, carbon emitting commutes. Private developers, by their very nature, are incapable of doing this. They want to ramp up rentals and land values to increase their profits. The growing segment of poor are increasingly being left out.
In order for a necessary restructuring to occur, each neighborhood community, of 1000 persons or less, will need to become it’s own governmental unit. The ideal of private land ownership can expand to an idea of the land being owned by a small cooperative community. The community will require about half an acre per person. Perhaps the community will have a communal garden and a communal orchard, or perhaps each family will receive a land assignment, and be encouraged to grow their own fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, flowers, fibers and fuel. Housing will be simple, for instance cottages or condos. Community life will be enriched as members live and work together for the benefit of all. Schools, clinics, meeting halls, libraries, and factories will be run under the auspices of the community and it’s elected council, perhaps in cooperation with neighboring communities. Given the free dissemination of knowledge, the gadgets we have come to love can be manufactured in small lots near the point of consumption. Eco-communities might evolve out of existing communities, or they may evolve from existing corporations that produce green products or services. Interested people can come together to plan their community. They can sell their current properties and purchase enough land to build their eco-community. No matter what your ethnicity, if you go back far enough, your ancestors lived in tribal communities. Perhaps the industrialized world is just a temporary aberration in our natural tribal lifestyle. However in today’s world, pluralism and freedom from xenophobia have become essential. Laws can be changed to facilitate the emergence of the cooperative communities that must develop in order to mitigate a destructive climate change.
We can grow our own food and other botanical products. Communities can be planned with dwelling, garden, orchard, light industry, library and culture within walking distance, and what is used locally can be produced locally.
The vegan diet is healthier and better for the planet. It is an important part of the plan to mitigate climate change. Less labor, less land and much less water is required for growing food directly from plants, rather than growing feed for animals, caring for, milking and butchering them. Plant based foods can be as satisfying and nutritious as anything.
We have the need for defense. We citizens of the world need someone to defend us against the military industrial complex based in the United States. How can we dismantle this horrible monster? It loses trillions of our tax dollars, or spends it on projects so secret that there is no accounting. In concert with the corporate media, it propagandizes us that yet another regime change is necessary: Korea. Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Iraq, Afganistan, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Libya, Syria, Yemen, . . . Venezuela. The monstrosity has no good news to report about previous coups, except for stellar plundering by the war profiteers, yet the beast has convinced a substantial minority that we need more of it’s ozone layer destroying, and human being destroying, warfare.
We don’t. And we need to stand up to the excesses of the banking-corporate-military war machine. This is actually our greatest priority for saving ourselves and our planet. As long as we stand ready to handle attacks and allow every community to compassionately police it’s own citizens, but stop the wars of aggression, we can live well and within our means. We can reframe our lifestyles with green ideals for efficiency, joy and a lasting planet to pass on to the precious next generation!