Young Americans for Socialism

by John Quiggin on April 23, 2009

American adults under 30 are almost evenly divided on the question

Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?

37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. For the US population as a whole, only a bare majority prefer capitalism (53% prefer capitalism, 20% socialism, and 27% are undecided.)

Granted that socialism can mean anything from “Policies adopted by Joe Stalin” to “Policies deplored by Joe the Plumber”, these are quite striking results, and certainly help to explain why the invocation of the socialist bogy by JTP and other Republican hacks has been so ineffective (to the point that JTP has recently taken to adding a “neo” prefix, which certainly made both “liberal” and “conservative” scarier).

Update SNAP!

A couple of random observations. First, I’ve seen occasional (both pejorative and positive) uses of the term “social democrat” in the US context, but it hasn’t got anywhere near establishing itself yet.

Second, this is yet another observation that suggests to me the end of US exceptionalism. My impression is that Americans aged under 30 are much more like young people elsewhere in the developed world in terms of political, social and religious attitudes than were previous cohorts. More precisely perhaps, the large group clustered around evangelical Christianity/traditional Southern white values that makes the US so exceptional doesn’t seem to be replacing itself.

{ 51 comments }

1

Mike 04.23.09 at 12:26 pm

I think you are correct about the end of US exceptionalism, but I don’t see what it has to do at all with evangelical Christian and white southern values.

2

Paul 04.23.09 at 12:50 pm

Just what kind of socialism are you talking about and do you favor it ?

3

Zamfir 04.23.09 at 1:09 pm

If someone asked me that question, I would be completely baffled. “Both” seems to be answer of choice even if you are far, far to the left of the American center.

You might interprete the question as “Do you want more socialism in this country than there is at the moment”. But if people read in such a way, than th econclusion would be that people under 30 want, by a small margin, to make the country less socialist than it currently is.

A more likely reading is that people answer this question as if it said “Do you vote Republican” Yes/Not last time/I would never, in which case the results match quite well with election results for the age group.

4

Zamfir 04.23.09 at 1:26 pm

If someone asked me that question, I would be completely baffled. “Both” seems to be answer of choice even if you are far, far to the left of the American center.

You might interprete the question as “Do you want more soc1alism in this country than there is at the moment”. But if people read in such a way, than the conclusion would be that people under 30 want, by a small margin, to make the country less soc1alist than it currently is.

A more likely reading is that people answer this question as if it said “Do you vote Republican” Yes/Not last time/I would never, in which case the results match quite well with election results for the age group.

The filter appears to work again… Can’t you make a rule that allows all words, including the s-word, in the comments as long as it was in the original post?

5

Steve LaBonne 04.23.09 at 1:33 pm

I think this just indicates that the respondents are hearing Obama constantly denounced as a socialist by the wingnuts, and they LIKE Obama and his policies; so while they don’t have much of a clue what socialism is, if Obama is for it then it must be something good.

The next wingnut trial balloon seems to be calling Obama a fascist, so don’t be alarmed when a future poll shows strong support for fascism among younger voters…

6

harry b 04.23.09 at 1:46 pm

Could this be a result of the Republicans’ invocation of the socialist bogeyman (“well, if Obama is a socialist, socialism must be pretty good”)? Or, since Rasmussen didn’t define the terms, might under-30s simply have no idea what either capitalism or socialism are?

7

john b 04.23.09 at 1:50 pm

@2: the figures for the US population as a whole would, based on your interpretation, have yielded a McCain landslide this year. This suggests possible flaws.

8

robertdfeinman 04.23.09 at 1:53 pm

Badly worded polls produce bad data. This reminds me of the recent Pew poll on religion where 30% of those claiming to be atheists said they believed in god. The Poll deliberately didn’t define the word, and all it showed was a lack of understanding.

This is the same thing. I would imagine that many think of “socialism” in terms of the social democrat model of Europe, that is increased government-administered social safety net programs. But the poll would have to give this as an explicit option and compare it with the south American style current where major industries are being put under the direct control of the government.

Actually worrying about capitalism, socialism and communism is fighting the 19th Century philosophical wars all over again. All the groups were mistaken. It turns out the who “owns” the means of production really doesn’t matter, it is governance that is the important factor. We have “public” ownership of large corporations, but the “owners” have no effective say in how the enterprises are run. As recent events have shown they have been run for the benefit of the managerial class.

During the heyday of the USSR it was the nomenklatura that benefited even thought the enterprises were owned by the state. What all large enterprises have in common is a lack of democratic governance. In no cases does the public have a say. The closest cases to real democratic governance are to be found in worker’s cooperatives and mutual benefit societies. Notice that mutual savings banks and insurance companies have all but vanished in the US.

At least in a few places, like Germany, workers get a seat on the board and are guaranteed some role in managing the enterprises, but the public is still powerless. There is a lot of work to be done, but first one has to stop arguing about things which don’t matter.

9

harry b 04.23.09 at 1:59 pm

My comment with the offending word in it needs moderating, too…

10

GK 04.23.09 at 2:17 pm

We may be less exceptional in attitudes than we have been, but we’ve still got exceptional institutions — weak parties, the Senate, etc. So it seems a bit soon to declare “the end of exceptionalism.”

All the same, I agree–something is afoot. Think too of the way Obama was able to laugh off the “you’re a socialist” charge last year. That would have been hard to imagine in, say, the 1980s.

On the term social democracy: People who know about these things have told me that part of the reason Americans don’t use the term is that because of the (thankfully defunct) Social Democrats USA, the term has had a very distinct meaning within the US labor movement–the very place you’d think to discover people who’d find the term useful–and it’s an unsavory meaning to many of the people who, absent SDUSA’s history, might have found it an accurate label for their politics.

11

Sarah Palin 04.23.09 at 2:17 pm

This is yet another observation that suggests to me the end of US exceptionalism. My impression is that Americans aged under 30 are much more like young people elsewhere in the developed world in terms of political, social and religious attitudes than were previous cohorts. More precisely perhaps, the large group clustered around evangelical Christianity/traditional Southern white values that makes the US so exceptional doesn’t seem to be replacing itself.

12

CJColucci 04.23.09 at 2:36 pm

I’d be willing to bet large sums of money that most of the people answering this question have no idea what anything we might reasonably call “socialism” is, and I doubt the poll tells us anything about whether socialism, properly so called, is in better favor than it used to be.
But I suspect that this has always been true, and yet such poll results as these would have been inconceivable even a decade ago, so I’m sure that this poll measures some real change, even if we’re not sure what change it measures. Harry b. may be on to something. Any other ideas?

13

harry b 04.23.09 at 2:40 pm

Steve — snap!

14

Zamfir 04.23.09 at 2:57 pm

I think that should be Fasc1sm, Steve, or F4scism

I am waiting for the poll that says 30% of American under 30 think they are black.

15

dave 04.23.09 at 3:09 pm

@Zamfir: don’t they, though?

16

AcademicLurker 04.23.09 at 3:49 pm

Perhaps the shift is partially due to the fact that, for the last 8 years or so, the most visible and vocal advocates for no-holds-barred muscular capitalism have been utterly pathetic wankers, i.e. libertarians.

17

Salient 04.23.09 at 3:57 pm

I think this just indicates that the respondents are hearing Obama constantly denounced as a socialist by the wingnuts, and they LIKE Obama and his policies

I imagine the insistence that
Universal Health Care = Socialized Medicine = Socialism
was the fallacy that broke the camels’ brains, so to speak.

don’t be alarmed when a future poll shows strong support for fascism among younger voters

Nah, I think they’ve pretty much sealed up the ‘Islamofascist’ auto-compounding. I wonder how many well-meaning people have learned to suppose that fascism is (by definition) the stuff that’s in the Koran.

18

JohnM 04.23.09 at 3:59 pm

The Republican “everything is socialist except what believe” strategy is so poorly thought out. While I’m sure it stirs up some of the Republican base, I think the more common effect is going to be that those who oppose Republican policies are going to become more and more comfortable with the idea that either (a) they are at least mildly socialist themselves or (b) socialism is not a bad thing, it’s just something Republicans don’t like. When Obama policies start being labeled as socialism, all that will do is make socialism seem more and more moderate (i.e., “sometimes there are socialist policies in America and they work out okay,” which involves the decline of the stereotype that socialism = Stalinism). This is good for socialists and anti-capitalists, but very bad for Republicans, so I wonder why they stick with it.

19

Bill Gardner 04.23.09 at 4:09 pm

Americans aged under 30 are much more like young people elsewhere in the developed world in terms of political, social and religious attitudes than were previous cohorts.

Which is also what we believed in the early 1970s.

20

Keith 04.23.09 at 4:32 pm

Republicans and conservatives all across the board have spent the last 30 years decrying everything left of Genghis Khan to be “Socialism”, so there’s a hefty percent of the population who have grown up with this meme buzzing in the background. This was intended to associate Democrats and all non-conservatives as being in league with the evil Socialist Hegemony of the Soviet Block. But then, 20 years ago, they disappeared. But the rhetoric of Democratic reform = Socialism didn’t.

So, now here we are in 2009, with a large percentage of the under 30 population having been convinced that 1) the capitalist GOP kinda screwed things up and 2) the Socialist Dems are trying to fix things and talking about a lot of ideas many Americans approve of. So, the GOP tactic of associating Democrats with Socialism has backfired. Instead of making Democrats scary bogeymen, it’s made “Socialism” seem like a viable alternative.

Nevermind that this word you keep using doesn’t mean what you think it means. In the minds of most Americans, Socialism now encompasses Healthcare that, if not outright Universal, is at least affordable, a sensible foreign policy, more transparency in government and a transcontinental high speed rail network.

21

Steve LaBonne 04.23.09 at 4:57 pm

I think that should be Fasc1sm, Steve, or F4scism

Is THAT what triggered the bad-word-moderating nanny? Well, f@#$ that s&*^. ;)

22

watson aname 04.23.09 at 5:29 pm

random under 30: “old people still think ‘US exceptionalism’ means something. lol”

news at 11.

23

Matthias Wasser 04.23.09 at 6:06 pm

Which is also what we believed in the early 1970s.

Maybe people believed that and maybe they didn’t, and I don’t know what European youth believed in, then, but political attitudes are remarkably resilient within cohorts, being basically fixed by late high school. Today’s boomers believe in the same thing they ever have; and only a small minority were ever meaningfully left.

24

Lee A. Arnold 04.23.09 at 7:10 pm

I’ve always thought that since the U.S. is the most insanely capitalist country, democratic socialism would finally make its strongest showing there, too.

The under-30’s are just responding to language usage, but the general population results are significant.

I think the reasoning goes right back to Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: innovation happens mostly in large corporate settings, and so profits will become disconnected from individual merit. Then the natural inequality resulting from the structure of production is exacerbated and finally becomes too ugly.

It’s been a slow process but it is accelerating. In the U.S., technological change and the current round of globalization have introduced unacceptable incomes volatility into a social structure that had been getting fatter, happier, stupider at almost all levels. At the same time, the financial crisis has revealed the enormous corruption that keeps the top in power. Merit and profit are becoming disconnected.

25

Bill Gardner 04.23.09 at 7:23 pm

Matthias @ 23:

…boomers believe in the same thing they ever have; and only a small minority were ever meaningfully left.

Matthias, I do not have data, so bear with me. I’m recalling early 70’s Harvard undergrads, where I was to the right of those whom (I am guessing) you would consider meaningfully left. I’m still in touch with some of those leftists. I doubt any of them view themselves as Leninists now, or even think about a socialist revolution. Yeah, there are counter examples, but as the man said “You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on, into the dustbin of history!”

26

John Quiggin 04.23.09 at 11:10 pm

Bill, I think youthful extremism of all kinds is a counterexample to the general point that political attitudes are fixed early – it is frequently followed either by moderation/disengagement or by a swing to some entirely different form of extremism.

If you looked at the people at Harvard who shared your views at the time, I guess you would find that most of them are still moderate leftists of one kind or another, and similarly for the group (large I’m sure, even at Harvard in the Vietnam years) who shared the views of their conservative parents.

But the bigger point is that the youthful leftism of the 60s and 70s was always a minority phenomenon, largely confined to the college-educated, and that radical leftism was a minority within that minority.

27

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 12:39 am

But the bigger point is that the youthful leftism of the 60s and 70s was always a minority phenomenon, largely confined to the college-educated, and that radical leftism was a minority within that minority.

Considering the objective conditions at the time, income distribution, union power, the 60s expansion & momentum of social programs, it seems the the youth of around 1970 were starting from a much wider & deeper leftist position.

Are you really seriously saying that the youth, of all demographics inclusing labour and minorities, in for example Anglophone and Western Europe, are more left now than they were in 1968? On some issues perhaps, perhaps, but on economic issues?

What has really happened is that the definition of the “moderate left” has moved so far to the right Eisenhower could be called a social democrat by your current standards, and Nixon a commie.

28

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 12:47 am

I don’t know Quiggin, explain this to me.

For example, I grew up in a time when much electricity production in America was publicly owned and managed. Are you saying that youth today is more left than that, or just willing to de-privatize and re-socialize American electricity production, as left as they were in 1960? Are they willing to tax themselves to pay compensation to current owners, or just seize it via eminent domain?

They are selling off the bridges and tollroads. What are you talking about?

29

John Quiggin 04.24.09 at 3:03 am

I take your point, Bob, and it’s true that, in important respects (not all, by any means) the notional centre has shifted to the right in the decades of neoliberalism. Still, a quick search found this from
Lipset, S. (1987), ‘Comparing canadian and american unions’, Society, 24(2), 60-70.

A
1975 Cambridge Rcports, Inc., poll asked, “‘Some pcople
ha~e proposed nationalization–or governmcnt takeover–
of particular industrics which they feel ha~e too
much influence o~er U.S. lilZ- and should be controlled.
Would you favor or oppose government takeover of an}’
of the lbllowing industries’?” Respondents were asked how’
the}’ felt about nationalization of each of eight major industries.
In every case, decisive majorities were opposed:
television and radio networks (87 percent), automobiles
(81 percent), banks (79 percent), steel (76 percent), teDphone
(72 percent), electric powcr (70 percent), ralh’oads
(67 percent), and oil (61 percent). Similar results to other
related questions have been reported by a number of pollsters.
Louis Harris has repeatedly found in the 1970s and
1980s that only a tenth have favored “the federal governmcnt
taking o~er and running most hl~,, businesses in this
country.

As compared
to the 1942 Roper poll, which lbund that 25 percent
felt that “some form of socialism would be a good thing,”
less than half this proportion, 10 percent m 1976 and 12
percent in 198l, told pollsters that they would ” f a v o r . . .
introducing socialism in the U.S.'”

30

Zamfir 04.24.09 at 6:16 am

Steve: Is THAT what triggered the bad-word-moderating nanny?

You didn’t know? Soc1alism contains the word c1alis, and therefore it triggers Crooked Timber’s spam filter. Has been that way for ages, so I suspect they keep it that way just for lols. Because, well, it is extrely funny.

31

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 6:47 am

I seem to be moving beyond mere disagreement with Neo-Keynesians to something much more suspicious.

What the heck does “social democracy” mean anyway? If it is welfare-state capitalism, then wht don’t they say so?

After watching the Romers and DeLongs when they attain power, I am becoming convinced that the social democracy they seek is an economic system of well-fed, healthy passive workers, and economic system that an enlightened Frick & Pullman would be enthusiastic about. Fordism without thise meddlesome unions and politicians.

32

Henri Vieuxtemps 04.24.09 at 7:36 am

Right, it’s managed welfare-state capitalism. The ship of state is steered by enlightened experts like DeLong and wisdom-loving intellectuals like Yglesias. The media popularize managers’ decisions and actions, and every couple of years voters get a chance to approve. It’s a very old idea, most recently reincarnated as Lenin’s NEP.

33

John Quiggin 04.24.09 at 9:47 am

Bob, your general question about social democracy needs a post rather than a comment in reply, but I’m puzzled as to why you would think social democrats, or even old-style US liberals, might welcome a system without “meddlesome unions”. The growth in wage inequality and its association with the decline in unionism has been a standard element of the liberal-social democratic critique of developments in the US in particular over the last three decades, and was covered here by Lane Kenworthy only last week.

The much bigger problem for social democrats is how to bring back unionism from its current state of near-extinction.

34

novakant 04.24.09 at 10:17 am

What the heck does “social democracy” mean anyway?

Here are a few pointers, Bob:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy#Ideology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_economy

While the concept might seem odd to many in the US, it is still pretty much the default assumption in most EU countries, even though the “Third Way” has made some inroads.

35

Zamfir 04.24.09 at 11:17 am

It seems that Americans sometimes use “social democracy” as a description of the actual economic/political system in Europe (or parts of it), and not as as the political ideology of social democrats. That can be unnecessarily confusing, IMO.

36

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 1:12 pm

33:John, I will reread the Kenworthy, which I only skimmed, but I associate “social democracy”. at least as described in novakant’s first link and as practiced since the early 80s, with New Keynesianisn.

The growth in wage inequality and its association with the decline in unionism

See, I consider this a consequence of or contradiction within the New Keynesian paradigm. The focus on central bank inflation control or inflation targeting + deficit hawkishness will mean in practice that every negotiated wage or benefit increase will be matched with an increase in the NAIRU, and a loss in union jobs and negotiating power. The disinflationary policy will also mean an ever increasing capital accumulation and inequality. Any compensating safety net increases will put pressures on deficits.

The New Keynesians arose in part as an attempt to create a counter to both the New Classicals and the inflationary 60s and 70s, but I think their failure is staring at us from the abyss right now.

There are, I think, possible answers: a higher acceptable rate of inflation, say 3-5%, or a higher accepted level of deficits, or a much larger government footprint in the economy including more control, not regulation but ownership, of production and pricemakers, but these ideas, as far as I can see are in direct violation of the social democrat/New Keynesian paradigm and/or practical politics.

But this is obviously an old, heated, and complicated argument. But I am very pessismistic about how we will come out of this current recession.

37

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 1:33 pm

Okay, so I skimmed the Kenworthy, and I see the argument I have seen at Yglesias about reducing inequality by increasing social services.

I can’t say I really understand it or have counterarguments, but my first impression was this will level out say the bottom four quintiles and leave the top in charge. IOW, the poorest will be bbetter off at the expense of the upper-middle class (VAT taxes), and the rich will get richer.

As I said above, a social democracy that will leave the Fricks and Pullmans secure & content.

38

bob mcmanus 04.24.09 at 1:54 pm

Finally, and I didn’t mean to take this thread, but since Ireland and the UK have better safety nets than the US but have had their Minsky moments, I might speculate that the stability of the Western EU might have less to do with the social spending and more to do with a tighter control of the “commanding heights”, especially FIRE & energy.

But I am over my head and out of my league.

39

novakant 04.24.09 at 4:02 pm

Bob, the founder of Ikea possesses infinitely more wealth than your average Swede, but I don’t think your average Swede is all that bothered, since they seem to be pretty happy with what they’ve got. Which is to say, that the existence of a rich upper class is not per se incompatible with a broadly egalitarian society.

40

JoB 04.24.09 at 7:10 pm

novakant, whilst I can agree to your conclusion – I don’t think the evidence is so very straightforward on the average Swedish happiness: not if suicide rates are a measure.

By the way, are you European? In 34 you seem to have an odd view of Europe: whilst it is certainly the case that there is on average more social security than in the US, it’s odd to see this as anything else than a difference in gradation. Isn’t the US economy a mixed economy? The third way is, by the way, just a little game socialists played here, in Old Europe, whereby the elite of the socialist parties adopted neoliberal policies – & specifically low tax policies – in an attempt to get elected given socialism was – and still is to a large extent if the electoral voting is a measure – dramatically unpopular.

If anything, the young European has proven to be very conservative of late (one might be tempted to temper the Obtimism here: young Americans are closer to Europe for an accidental reason: Europe has become much more American since Reagan).

41

virgil xenophon 04.24.09 at 7:39 pm

robertdfeinman@#8

You are quite right about the disappearance/conversion to stock companies of this nation’s mutual insurance companies. Perhaps the preeminent standout example of a company resisting this unfortunate trend, and an exemplar of the best in that original concept is the Northwestern Mutual Ins. Co, Milwaukee, Wisc. An examination of the fine print of it’s policy provisions will find that almost all advantages (in terms of provisions for legal disputes, definitions, etc.) go to the policy-holder and not the company, in the best traditions of the “mutual concept–a rare example in these days. (They even have a policy-holder advisory committee to recommend improvements in policy provisions) Their cash-value policies are almost always #1 or within the top three in terms of rate of return for policy-holders. A very fine and ethical company. (And no I do not work for them, nor, for various reasons, am I insured with them–but would not hesitate to). That the trend has been away from the Mutual Ins. concept to conversion to stock companies where the interests of the stock-holders, not the policy owners are paramount, is a very unfortunate trend.

42

virgil xenophon 04.24.09 at 7:45 pm

PS to my coments @40

I should add that GE, no bleeding-heart charitable institution, when it surveyed the entire insurance industry to find the best company to fund it’s key employee deferred compensation agreements , did so by choosing cash value contracts from NW Mutual–and so openly noted in it’s proxy statements.

43

virgil xenophon 04.24.09 at 7:52 pm

John Quiggin @26

In the best academic tradition, there is hardly anything you write that I wholly agree with, let alone even weakly endorse. However I would not find a single word in your comment@26 to disagree with.

44

virgil xenophon 04.24.09 at 8:07 pm

PPS–I should have added the same with your other posts as well–not that you exactly are breathlessly awaiting for, or feel the psychic need for approval from types like me.

I also second your comments about unions. Strangely to some, this “man of the right” feels that the only thing that will ever restore even a sembelance of a level-playing field world-wide is the presence of a healthy union movement in developing countries as well as the industrialized ones. (The Wobblies were premature!)

In fact, US union leaders would do their members the most good by taking union dues and using them to fight for unions in foreign countries. However I realize they fear charges of not directly helping their domestic membership and are thus loath to do so–but if properly explained I feel it could be done. No amount of union organizing in the US will keep a single American job safe as long as there is a Bolivian tin miner left alive willing to leap at the chance to double his dollar/day salary (exaggeration for emphasis) assemble washing-machines for Whirlpool.

45

Scott Martens 04.24.09 at 9:04 pm

I’m taking this as the ultimate victory of the Second International as savoring the irony that the RNC is responsible for it.

46

Lupita 04.24.09 at 10:57 pm

US union leaders would do their members the most good by taking union dues and using them to fight for unions in foreign countries.

No, please, leave us alone!

47

virgil xenophon 04.25.09 at 12:52 am

Lupita@45

I’m a man of the right who is barely tolerated here, and I would be very interested if you would flesh out your alarm at my proposal. I am of the opinion that at a certain stage of development unions do a great service to a nation by raising overall wages enabling consumers to purchase more and thereby growing the over-all national GDP. This was Henry Ford’s secret who, although he despised and broke unions and union strikes, nonetheless unilaterally raised the worker’s wages and shortened the work week (and effectively achieving many of labor’s goals) realizing that vast numbers would thereby have the wherewithall and time to buy and drive his cars.

Do you feel that unions will simply make whatever country you live in non-competitive, and thus result in an absolute loss of jobs as business/industry flees to as of yet unionized realms? Or do you have other concerns?

48

Scott N 04.25.09 at 3:18 am

I don’t think it is about people following Obama, about ideas of socialism. I think its more about people looking to other countries, such as England, Canada, Sweden etc., to see how there style of socialism has become successful for them. Hopefully, right-wingers will open their minds and look how to solve problems, rather than point fingers or use scare tactics.

49

Lupita 04.25.09 at 3:28 am

What I meant is that it is the epitome of arrogance to suggest that a country that does not have labor unions, a socialist party, or even a left to speak of has anything to contribute to the vibrant Latin American labor and anti-neoliberal movement, especially after you sent us all your IMF geniuses who conditioned loans on making labor markets “flexible” to begin with.

50

Jim Bouman 04.25.09 at 5:02 pm

The right wing assault on and re-naming of any progressive idea as “Socialism” began with the perversely effective response to Harry Truman’s proposal for a National health Plan to the “Damn, do-nothing 80th Congress”.

The AMA and the AHA mounted their campaign to name anything new in health care as “Socialized Medicine; and it was amplified by the McCarthy ascendancy and red scare of the early 50s.

That we have spent sixty years with the witless sobriquet of Socialized Medicine attached to any change is long-overdue for a counter-assault.

I suggest we abandon all talk of “reform of the health care system”. This is easily done, since there is NOTHING about what we have that can be accurately described as SYSTEMIC.

Time to rebut every accusation of socialism by an insistence that it is time for Democratized Medicine.

51

Julius Beezer 04.27.09 at 12:51 am

M. Salient argues that it is a fallacious to claim that ¨Universal Health Care = Socialized Medicine = Socialism¨

I am not so sure. Those who have not worked in healthcare .are perhaps less aware of the instrinsically political decisions taken daily by doctors. For example, good health care might dictate that the patient rests, but managers are judged by the rate at which their underlings take sick leave. The resulting conflict plays out in the doctor´s office. There are many examples of this kind of thing, and it is inevitable.

The academic mind often makes the error of assuming that because things can be needly categorised they are indeed so. A socialist health system cannot exist outside of a socialist society. Whether either is a desirable thing is of course open to debate, but one thing is sure: the Americans could certainly look harder abroad, for their own ¨system¨ is lamentably broken on so many objective indices.

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