A Political/Economic Rant: Why Holding an Absolute Position is Absolutely Wrong

Many people these days would categorise a government/economy as one of four types: Capitalist, Socialist, Communist or Fascist. These are well known to be completely different and assumed by many to be incompatible with one another, and conclude that any particular nation would fall into one, and only one of these categories. Some people choose a favourite and form very strong opinions to defend their position.

For the unprimed, I’ll try to describe each as a TL;DR bullet point.

  • Capitalism: Private, corporate ownership in a deregulated and competitive environment where the fittest survive. The poor are slaves to the rich.
  • Socialism: State ownership in a regulated and level playing field without competition. The rich support the poor.
  • Communism: Community ownership where everything is divided up fairly. No rich or poor – everyone is equal.
  • Fascism: Total state control. Do what the leader says without criticism, opposition or question. You give your money to the state, and in turn they tell you how to behave and what to think.

The problem as I see it, is that if you were to apply any single one of these ideals to an entire government, it will absolutely fail. However, a system can be divided into sectors, for which each can be assigned one of the above.

Divide the system into the following components:  Health, Education, Infrastructure, Social Security, Defence, Corporate and Church. Many would divide a system into Government, Corporate and Church – I’ve broken government into sectors. The reason being is that all of these components stand independently of each other.

Now, here’s how I’d put it all together. First, I would declare this solitary constraint:

Corporate and Church shall not contest Government.

Simple, yes? This basically means that corporations shall not own competing infrastructure such as train lines, toll roads, hospitals, or gas/water/electricity/data networks; and churches shall not own competing education or social security systems.

Secondly, I would run each component under a different ideal :

Health: SOCIALIST The health system is owned and run by the sate, and used by everyone. Doctors and nurses are state employees. Each taxpayer pays a fair share, knowing they will get treatment should they ever fall into ill health. Without private hospitals, there will be no private health insurance. It will be impossible to sell alternative medicine, because it would be considered competing with the public system (which does buy into bullshit quack hippy cures). However, things like private cosmetic surgery clinics would not be considered competing.
Education: SOCIALIST All schools are to be owned run by the state, and receive the same funding per child and run the same curriculum. All staff will be employees of the state. The rich will not abandon the public system to fund their own. Churches will not establish private schools which actively and openly enforce religious discrimination, while taking government funding and delivering less than the state curriculum while acting in the interests of the church rather than the students.

Government funded universities would mean government funded research. Privately funded research has been shown to act in corporate interests time and time again.

Infrastructure: SOCIALIST The state shall own all physical infrastructure, but may allow a private contractor to operate it. For example, a private company may hire staff to drive trains and maintain the tracks, but the trains and tracks remain the property of the people, and the state reserves the right to tender at the end of the contract.

Toll roads and private rail show that private infrastructure is always more expensive. Private telecommunications companies servicing only the more profitable areas while the public infrastructure has to cover everyone else shows how private entities competing with public infrastructure ruins taxpayer investment.

Social Security: Socialist A minimum living wage must be guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of their earning ability. This should be enough money to survive without resorting to homelessness or a life of crime, but low enough to entice someone to earn more to live more comfortably. Doing this will effectively enforce a minimum wage, as nobody would work for less than what they get to sit at time. The class of “working poor” would not exist.
Defence: Fascist If the military were to run a state, it would be considered a fascist state. This is because a military operates as a dictatorship by nature. The soldiers will follow orders and their pay is not negotiable. If you don’t like it, leave.
Corporate: Capitalist These are all private enterprises, after all. However, the state will set regulation and taxes as required. Government regulation is important to ensure products are safe, taxes are collected, workers are not exploited, price-gouging monopolies are not formed and there’s no “race to the bottom”. A privately run charity could not exist if it competes with social services (in modern society, most private charities are scams anyway).
Church: Fascist Remember where I described fascism as controlling your money, and in return telling you how to behave and what to think? Yeah, it’s not just the military. However, you can’t ban religion. To have a truly free society, people need to be able to think and act as freely as possible. Religion may be fascist, but denying someone the right to practice their religion is equally fascist. However, religious recruitment programs disguised schools and charities are not a good thing. Let the government provide the schools.

So, we can see that while these ideals are somewhat incompatible, they can be assigned to a segregated component without conflict, and the components can exist alongside in an ecosystem due to them not interacting.

On Charity…

Oh, this may come off as a little antisocial at first, but hear me out.

Charities should not exist.

The need of a private charity is a sign on an under-performing government. Oh, there’s a church running a soup kitchen? People should get enough in their welfare check for a hot meal each day. Oh, is that a private charity putting people on direct-debit plans to feed  starving African children? Surely enough of our tax dollars are already going to foreign aid. Again, it’s been well and truly proven that government-run social security programs deliver with far lower administrative overhead than any non-government charity. If a group of people are falling through the cracks, lobby your local government member about it rather than fund some CEO’s superannuation or the Pope’s golden throne. If the burdens of the few were supported by every person unconditionally, the impact on any single individual would be negligible.

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