Social Question

josie's avatar

Is the left running out of socialist Utopias?

Asked by josie (30931points) March 1st, 2011
21 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Soviet Union-gone

Western Europe-broke

Social Security, Medicare-doomed (but currently in denial)

Public Employees Unions-getting pushed hard by taxpayers who want to fund their own retirements, and pay their own medical expenses instead of somebody else’s.
And legislators in Wisconsin running in fear, rather than making a stand.

Once people believed that they could make gold from lead. They tried for centuries, realized eventually that they could not, and, perhaps reluctantly, gave up.

Similarly, is this about it for the hapless socialist Utopia?

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CaptainHarley's avatar

One can only hope. : )

iamthemob's avatar

Sure – but the right is running out of totalitarian and theocratic regimes a whole lot faster.

Nullo's avatar

@iamthemob The Right has never had a theocratic regime.

the100thmonkey's avatar

I seem to recall that it was rightist policies that led to the financial problems which have near-bankrupted Western Europe.

Funny that.

Perhaps when you realise that partisan bickering doesn’t help, and that it’s the whole political economy of the West that’s broken, a fruitful conversation might have a chance.

tedd's avatar

Since when is Western Europe broke?

A handful of countries (out of some 40–50) needing to be bailed out during the biggest financial melt down since the great depression… does not imply a system is entirely broken.

Hell if anything the “Socialist” (And btw you’re a fox news listening tool for even calling them that) are doing a helluva lot better than the Amazing United States of America at the moment.

Qingu's avatar

@josie, what do you mean when you say “Unions-getting pushed hard by taxpayers who want to fund their own retirements, and pay their own medical expenses instead of somebody else’s.”

Public unions pay 100% of their own retirements and medical expenses.

But please, don’t let facts get in the way of your liberal-bashing.

josie's avatar

@Qingu Are you sure you didn’t mean this? This is the taxpayer push in my state. Maybe I’ll be able to take a vacation this year, and join my statie friends at the beach. I doubt it though.

cackle's avatar


Actually, Public unions do not pay 100% of their own retirements.

But please, don’t let facts get in the way of your republican-bashing.

6rant6's avatar

You want to know whether Socialism is alive any place? I think maybe so.

China (1,331 million people) . It’s still around right? Seems like they’ve got some steam left.

How about Mexico (112 million people)?

Vietnam (90 million)?

Brazil (201 million people). Elected a Marxist president, right? They look to be headed toward Socialism.

Socialism is far from dead in Europe.

Just in the interest of balance, is there any place you’d be willing to name a “Capitalist Utopia”? I could use a good laugh.

ragingloli's avatar


iamthemob's avatar

I’d actually like to see someone point out a single government, economic structure, etc., that could be reasonably qualified as a “Utopia.” A real one, mind you.

ragingloli's avatar

The government in Star Trek. Of course, they have overcome Major Obstacle by inventing M/Arc and Matter Synthesisers.

ragingloli's avatar

In all seriousness, there has never been a country in history that was actually socialist, despite calling themselves that. The eastern bloc were all dictatorships with the economy being controlled and owned by a small political elite. The actual working class had no influence whatsoever, neither directly, nor indirectly by elections. Democracy is an integral and essential part of socialism.
It is true that western Europe has incorporated many social policies, it is doing actually a lot better than the US.

6rant6's avatar

@iamthemob Yes, of course. That was the point.

Qingu's avatar

@cackle, your article is from the National Review. Unsurprisingly, it is stupid and misses the point. The point being that pensions and benefits aren’t treated as “free money from taxpayers” but as negotiated parts of compensation, just like private employees negotiate their salary + benefits.

“Retirement benefits are based on both employee and employer contributions, and are usually paid as a monthly annuity payable to you for life.”
from the horse’s mouth

If your point is that taxpayers pay public employees’ salaries and compensations… um, no shit, sherlock. They’re public employees.

By the way, that is the last time I will pay attention to an NRO article.

@josie, I have no idea what your point is, or what that article’s point is beyond screaming “OMG BUDGET TROUBLE.” Of course the budget is in trouble. There was recently the second largest recession in modern history. Recessions tend to do violence with pension funds.

So, maybe in order to make ends meet, public employees should take a pay cut. Because that is what we are talking about—middle-class employees taking a pay cut. You can drop the sanctimonious BS about your poor wasted tax dollars.

tedd's avatar

I just have a hard time figuring out where the Republicans get off fighting for a tax cut for the richest 2% of Americans.. that will cost us like 500 billion dollars…... But they’re all on board and fighting socialist agendas when they want to cut pay and benefits from hundreds of thousands of middle class workers across the country.

Heaven forbid care for the people actually doing the work in this country.

tinyfaery's avatar

Socialism has never been practiced in it’s pure form.

cackle's avatar

@Qingu wrote, “If your point is that taxpayers pay public employees salaries and compensations um, no shit, sherlock. They’re public employees.”


flutherother's avatar

Socialism has always been about living in a fair society, not living in a utopia. Its principle message is that each human being has value and that we should look after each other in a harsh uncaring universe. It is not very different from the Christian message.

ETpro's avatar

@josie Your question is difficult to answer because of the misuse of the word Socialism. I understand. It’s been deliberately twisted FAR from its true dictionary meaning by right wing ideologues who are inspired by talking points and clever bumper-sticker slogans cranked out of right wing think tanks. The message always appeals to human greed, and tells you that leftist are wasting all the good you should be getting on poor people, and it’s time to grab the pitchforks and take it back. But the reality always ends up cutting what goes to the working class and poor and funneling almost all increase to the top 10% with the lion’s share going only to the wealthiest 1%. If we follow that road long enough, we will be not end up in utopia but in a banana republic akin to Haiti.

The people funding the think tanks and PR firms that have been generating the BIG LIE political agenda for 30 years now are billionaires like the Koch Brothers who already are worth $43 billion but feel they deserve and absolutely must have at least 2 or 3 times that much, and figure the only way to get it is to convince enough Americans we have to tighten the belts of the middle class and the poor so all financial wealth in the USA can trickle up to the top. The top 1% now holds 42.7% of all financial wealth in America and thinks its not enough.

The US is not now, and never has been a socialist state. We are very far from it. Our government does not own all means of production and distribution of wealth. That is what socialism means. Only a couple of the 27 EU member states are social democracies. These are Scandinavian countries that are far from bankrupt and whose people are very happy with their current form of government. Can you say as much for the USA?

China is the biggest Socialist nation still around. They are trying to slowly add in more capitalism and private enterprise, but are still largely socialized. They are working to scale their GDP growth back to 7% right now so they can concentrate more on quality of life issues and ecology. Our GDP is hovering around 2.8%us-4q-gdp-growth-revised-down-to%2B28. China just passed Germany (another country with some social democracy) as the world’s largest lender nation. The USA is the world’s largest debtor nation. So I cannot agree with your premise that our system beats every other one in the world and we should take ours further in the direction that crashed it not once but twice in the last 70 years.

You’ve gotten good solid rebuttals on a number of the “facts” that you’ve been fed by the right. Take them to heart. Check to see if they are true. If you want to honestly see the other side of this issue, please take the time to fully read this rather detailed article titled, Who Rules America: Wealth, Income and Power. Hint. It ain’t you, me or a bunch of socialists.

Chomskola's avatar

Thats true, just to adress the leading and loaded question posed. Whats being run out of is excuses to keep the 1% in its current position, essentially insane borrowing has been undertaken to try to preserve and increase a divide without causing too much political backlash. The wealthy are not stupid, they know if people start to be seriously affected by economic depression and US cant borrow its way out..the attention will turn to the billionaires and the Greed is Good philosophy. The end of colonialism was proclaimed before the end of the 19th century..only to explode in the 20th..dont be so sure that wont happen with socialism. And incidentally, I dont think the Swedes, the Danes and the Norwegians would appreciate being called a failed utopia.

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