Sunday, 3 November 2019

Socialism

The Kanji Ghost Character
Lots of my friends post memes decrying Capitalism as a damaging thing. The way the world is currently ordered, so that some people have so much and so many people suffer such a lot is clearly wrong and immoral.

The big issue I have is that the standard definition of Capitalism is something like "allowing private ownership and trade". The standard alternative is Communism defined as "property and trade controlled by the government". Or something like that. Maybe industry instead of property. That definition of communism is straight Marxism, which is that the means of production should be owned by the workers.

And that's a failed ideology. Soaked in blood. Disaster capitalism with self-righteous clothing.

Every Capitalist state in the world has some degree of state ownership and welfare system etc. So effectively every government is Socialist to some degree. The question is just how much, but Socialism operates within Capitalism.

So I really equate Capitalism with free market economics. And that is actually a science, a study. There's only limited rules, and places where you can change things at a macro level. International trade, interest rates etc. I don't see "Capitalism is bad" as a very useful contribution to understanding our situation.

The most useful GCSE I took for helping to understand the real world was GCSE Economics.

Personally I espouse voluntary socialism as a life philosophy rather than a political philosophy. I despise partisan politics. As for the evil which is clearly there, well consumerism is a good name for part of it. Or just plain greed.

Speaking as a Jewish socialist; when I was growing up Jewish and socialist were synonymous. But my grandparents were poor academics. So I guess socialist was a given anyway really.

My Grandfather left and rejoined the Labour party a whole bunch of times when I was a kid. He would leave in protest at something or other, and then rejoin so he could leave again in protest about something else.

It's one of the reasons I can't be bothered to close my Facebook account as a protest.

When I use the word socialist I guess I use it a whole lot like my Opa used the word socialist.

As a sixth form student at St George's School Harpenden, doing Maths, English, Physics and Further Maths A-Levels, I gave political speeches to the school as a socialist. In a safe Tory seat I was unusual, again. I wasn't the candidate for the mock election as I was considered unelectable, but the candidate was unwilling to do the speeches. He was the son of the head of sixth form. Mr Grenfell-Hill. Short and eccentric he reminded me of Willy Wonka and I also had public speaking lessons with him and some sixth form girls. We entered the local Round Table public speaking competition and didn't win. Third round I think, or second I forget.

The son of the head of sixth form was the boy who gave me a copy of Plato's Symposium in a coach on a school trip. He went on to become a purveyor of fine wines and a Tory councillor.

St George's was one of the few remaining state boarding schools, although there weren't many boarders. Mostly children of army folk. As I'd joined the sixth form I didn't have to wear a school uniform, for the first time. My mother bought me a green woollen suit, secondhand originally from Harrods, I abhorred it.

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