Another letter warning us about the dangers of socialism. But what is socialism? It is better to ask, “What is an ‘ism’?” An “ism” is a system of beliefs based upon values. Think fascism, totalitarianism, humanism, nudism, racism, Hinduism, etc. The root of socialism is society, hence it is a constantly evolving system that values society and people. Stewardship, democracy and fairness are essential principles that drive this belief system. While income is highly taxed, much is returned in the form of services, the surplus of their productivity being returned to them as a member of society.

In contrast capital, or money, is the core value of capitalism. Dominance, exclusion, extraction of wealth, and a large population subjected to subsistence living are the essential principles that enable the concentration of wealth. While income taxes are lower, business owners and executives take ownership of the productivity of employees for their own purposes; it is the upward distribution of wealth, an unofficial tax, the wealthy tax, the dirty tax. As little as possible is allocated for the benefit of society.

To state it more briefly, socialism uses capital as a tool to improve society and the lives of people while capitalism uses humans as a tool to increase the wealth of a small minority. If you compare the various economic systems over the ages — monarchy, feudalism, mercantilism, communism, capitalism, oligarchy, dictatorship — there are always a small number of powerful people taking most of the excess wealth for themselves to do with it as they please. They are all a form of elitism.

Socialists aren’t against making money and don’t advocate for state ownership of industries, despite what you have been taught. It is how you earn your income and what you do with it that matters.

 

Brad Sherwood

Waterville


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