Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 26, 2009


Phillip Bannowsky, News Journal DE - No less a "capitalist tool" than Forbes Magazine let a red cat out of the bag with a report this month that the happiest countries tend to be Scandinavian socialist democracies. High per-capita GDP certainly plays a role in their felicity, but even social democratic New Zealand, with per-capita GDP only 64 percent of the United States', ranks with the 10 democracies above us in the happiness index. They pay high taxes in these pinkotopias, but folks enjoy entitlements like free college, extensive elder care, and 52-week paid maternity leave.

The 2005 poll measured personal reports of enjoyment, pride in achievement and learning, being respected, among other things. Forbes suggests that such happiness derives from family, social and community networks, and a decent work-life balance, noting that the average workweek in Scandinavia is 37 hours.

Most of these countries dumped capitalist exploitation long ago and instituted mixed economies with socialist ideals. More contemporary models are the 11 Latin America countries pursuing "Socialism in the 21st Century." They too reject top-down Leninism for a system based on participatory democracy and solidarity. . .

The economies of Latin America's red eleven are improving, although none of them has instituted a socialist utopia. They are still subject to the slings and arrows of egotism, error, and internecine conflict. But they have overcome the greatest impediments to their advancement, including the U.S.-based bankers who are draining our treasury now. And the civil society they created in the struggle is the guarantor of their democracy. . .

What could we do with socialism? Well, take banks for starters: take them, so instead of private scams that go broke gambling with money they don't own, they'd become public utilities that finance production, infrastructure, and homes. And treat aging industries like autos: instead of dumping, we'd transform them according to a national plan for green jobs and a healthy environment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the perpetual fantasy: just let the government spend all your money for you and you can be happy, happy, happy all your carefree life . . . unless you want to grow up and live your own life and build your own dreams. Then you find out the state doesn't welcome competition in its Lowest Common Denominator Utopia.

May 26, 2009 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, this rapacious capitalism seems pretty good as crushing peoples dreams. Not to mention all the people we've actually killed so that pro-captialism rhetoric like yours can be spouted on TV without any challenges.

When you grow up for real, you'll learn to give a damn about your fellow humans. "Rugged Individualism" is a juvenile idea at best. Real grown ups don't think it's okay to steal, exploit, cooerce, or murder.

And maybe you'll learn to do some math and you'll figure out that there isn't any difference between banks and ponzi schemes.

May 26, 2009 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Hey 331, there are a number of places that're totally free of socialism and even of the slightest regulation. Everything goes, there. So why aren't you over there making a fortune?

Could it be that you know you're a petty scavenger who needs something like government to hold your victims down while you rob them, and that in a real free-for-all you'd be nothing but an inanimate sack of leaking body fluids before the sun went down?

May 27, 2009 5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The record of concern for individual life, liberty, and property in highly state-controlled societies versus democratic capitalist societies is pretty clear: the more power the state has, the more likely it is to murder its own citizens. Consult R.F. Rummel on "democide" for details. The worst problems America has are caused by the feedback loops of government trying to control things that only individuals can really control . . . and when government fails it gets angry and breaks things . . .

May 27, 2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the differnece between state tyranny and private tryanny? Is it OK for Wal-Mart and Citibank to stomp all over individual liberty? As long as abuse isn't government themed abuse you're cool with it?

Blackwater Inc, or Xi, or whatever they call themselves are breaking a lot of things right now. Does that count?

The worst problems we have are from an executive class that thinks it's somehow above benevolent and above the law.

May 27, 2009 11:02 AM  

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