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Socialism Strikes Back


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I was talking about the left wing party with a dose of nationalism in Germany in the 1930s called the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Wiki describes the National Socialists as "far-right".

Why else did western capitalists love Hitler?

The Führer’s Teutonic brand of fascism, like every other variety of fascism, was reactionary in nature, and extremely useful for capitalists’ purposes. Brought to power by Germany’s leading businessmen and bankers, Hitler served the interests of his “enablers.” His first major initiative was to dissolve the labour unions and to throw the Communists, and many militant Socialists, into prisons and the first concentration camps, which were specifically set up to accommodate the overabundance of left-wing political prisoners.

This ruthless measure not only removed the threat of revolutionary change — embodied by Germany’s Communists — but also emasculated the German working class and transformed it into a powerless “mass of followers” (Gefolgschaft), to use Nazi terminology, which was unconditionally put at the disposal of their employers, the Thyssens and Krupps. Most, if not all firms in Germany, including American branch plants, eagerly took advantage of this situation and cut labour costs drastically. The Ford-Werke, for example, reduced labour costs from fifteen per cent of business volume in 1933 to only eleven per cent in 1938. (Research Findings, 135–6)

Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Essen increased its profitability considerably because, in Hitler’s state, workers “were little more than serfs forbidden not only to strike, but to change jobs,” driven “to work harder [and] faster” while their wages “were deliberately set quite low.” 7

In Nazi Germany, real wages indeed declined rapidly, while profits increased correspondingly, but there were no labour problems worth mentioning, for any attempt to organize a strike immediately triggered an armed response by the Gestapo, resulting in arrests and dismissals. This was the case in GM’s Opel factory in Rüsselsheim in June 1936. (Billstein et al., 25) As the Thuringian teacher and anti-fascist resistance member Otto Jenssen wrote after the war, Germany’s corporate leaders were happy “that fear for the concentration camp made the German workers as meek as lapdogs.” 8 The owners and managers of American corporations with investments in Germany were no less enchanted, and if they openly expressed their admiration or Hitler — as did the chairman of General Motors, William Knudsen, and ITT-boss Sosthenes Behn — it was undoubtedly because he had resolved Germany’s social problems in a manner that benefited their interests.

Profits über Alles! American Corporations and Hitlers

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We cannot prove the counterfactuals here. Would Norway be better or worse off if it had a smaller or larger social welfare system? Would the United States be better or worse off if it had a smaller or larger social welfare system? There is no way to know the answers to these questions. Comparing prosperity and the size of the social welfare systems across countries without effectively controlling for things like the skills of immigrants, the relative ROI of social welfare spending beyond subsistence living for those who are able to work and a comfortable standard of living for those in true need etc is really rather pointless.

What we can do is test the claim that a society that provides decent healthcare and welfare for it's people cannot at the same time be prosperous.

The Nordic states provide empirical evidence that this claim is not true.They manage to do both.

We can also observe that those states that followed the 'greed is good' amoral path unleashed a tidal wave of greed and corruption that destroyed their economies.

So maybe greed is not good and social cohesion and justice actually work better?

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What we can do is test the claim that a society that provides decent healthcare and welfare for it's people cannot at the same time be prosperous.

The Nordic states provide empirical evidence that this claim is not true.They manage to do both.

We can also observe that those states that followed the 'greed is good' amoral path unleashed a tidal wave of greed and corruption that destroyed their economies.

So maybe greed is not good and social cohesion and justice actually work better?

865968812508e2c01032c5.jpg

You might as well say royal dictatorship is the way to go because the saudis seem better off then their neighbours.

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What we can do is test the claim that a society that provides decent healthcare and welfare for it's people cannot at the same time be prosperous.

The Nordic states provide empirical evidence that this claim is not true.They manage to do both.

We can also observe that those states that followed the 'greed is good' amoral path unleashed a tidal wave of greed and corruption that destroyed their economies.

So maybe greed is not good and social cohesion and justice actually work better?

actually USA spends on the health care more than Nordics. also for example Czech republic spends less than Nordics and it is still a prosperous country ...

800px-International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

Edited by Damik
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What we can do is test the claim that a society that provides decent healthcare and welfare for it's people cannot at the same time be prosperous.

The Nordic states provide empirical evidence that this claim is not true.They manage to do both.

We can also observe that those states that followed the 'greed is good' amoral path unleashed a tidal wave of greed and corruption that destroyed their economies.

So maybe greed is not good and social cohesion and justice actually work better?

well we have tried that in the Eastern Europe and after 60 years of destroying the economy and lifes we are quite sure that the "greed" capitalism is the way to go forward ...

e.g. in 80s a coal miner would be earning 3 times more than a small company director and the director would be living in a 2b flat. I can tell you that people were risking their lifes, when they were running from this social justice paradise.

Edited by Damik
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actually USA spends on the health care more than Nordics. also for example Czech republic spends less than Nordics and it is still a prosperous country ...

800px-International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

They may spend more in total, but I very much doubt they spend more per capita ;)

Regardless, their spending seems wasteful when you look at life expectancy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

37th, behind Cuba, Greece, Italy, Canada, the UK and every country in Scandinavia.

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They may spend more in total, but I very much doubt they spend more per capita ;)

Regardless, their spending seems wasteful when you look at life expectancy:

http://en.wikipedia....life_expectancy

37th, behind Cuba, Greece, Italy, Canada, the UK and every country in Scandinavia.

if you can comprehend the graphics you will see it is % of GDP; not total spending

USA life expectancy is 78; Norway is 80 - not a significant difference

are you suggesting that UK NHS does not waste money ???

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if you can comprehend the graphics you will see it is % of GDP; not total spending

USA life expectancy is 78; Norway is 80 - not a significant difference

are you suggesting that UK NHS does not waste money ???

What about taking the CIA's figures, on the grounds that the CIA is hardly likely to do the US down.

Health expenditure

United States 16.2% of GDP

Denmakr 7% of GDP (2009)

Norway 9.7% of GDP (2009)

Sweden 9.9% of GDP (2009)

United Kingdom 9.3% of GDP (2009) (2009)

Life expectancy at birth

United States total population: 78.49 years; male: 76.05 years; female: 81.05 years (2012 est.)

Denmark total population: 78.78 years; male: 76.39 years; female: 81.31 years (2012 est.)

Norway total population: 80.32 years; male: 77.65 years; female: 83.14 years (2012 est.)

Sweden total population: 81.18 years; male: 78.86 years; female: 83.63 years (2012 est.)

United Kingdom total population: 80.17 years; male: 78.05 years; female: 82.4 years (2012 est.)

The US isn't getting much bang for its buck, is it? Looks like misapplication of resources to me.

Edit: Found health expenditure per capita in US dollars in 2010

United States 8,362

Denmark 6,422

Norway 8,091

Sweden 4,710

United Kingdon 3,503

So the UK spends 4849 US dollars per capita less than the US on health, and yet still has a higher life expectancy.

Edited by Snugglybear
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What about taking the CIA's figures, on the grounds that the CIA is hardly likely to do the US down.

Health expenditure

United States 16.2% of GDP

Denmakr 7% of GDP (2009)

Norway 9.7% of GDP (2009)

Sweden 9.9% of GDP (2009)

United Kingdom 9.3% of GDP (2009) (2009)

Life expectancy at birth

United States total population: 78.49 years; male: 76.05 years; female: 81.05 years (2012 est.)

Denmark total population: 78.78 years; male: 76.39 years; female: 81.31 years (2012 est.)

Norway total population: 80.32 years; male: 77.65 years; female: 83.14 years (2012 est.)

Sweden total population: 81.18 years; male: 78.86 years; female: 83.63 years (2012 est.)

United Kingdom total population: 80.17 years; male: 78.05 years; female: 82.4 years (2012 est.)

The US isn't getting much bang for its buck, is it? Looks like misapplication of resources to me.

Edit: Found health expenditure per capita in US dollars in 2010

United States 8,362

Denmark 6,422

Norway 8,091

Sweden 4,710

United Kingdon 3,503

So the UK spends 4849 US dollars per capita less than the US on health, and yet still has a higher life expectancy.

the argument is that if you spend more money in the health care you are better off than USA. this argument is incorrect as actually USA spends more money in the health care

we can also argue that USA in this area is more socialistic than Nordics

Edited by Damik
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The reason US healthcare costs are so high is because of distortions and gouging in their system. E.g. It's insurance based so that's an extra layer of profit, drug costs are artificially high because it is illegal to re-import the drugs sold more cheaply overseas and because the .gov pays for those that cannot pay they get screwed. Plus there are monopolies aplenty. See Denninger for more details.

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the argument is that if you spend more money in the health care you are better off than USA. this argument is incorrect as actually USA spends more money in the health care

But so much of that spend is on administration because of the paper-pushing between insurance companies and health care providers - over $1,000 per capita in 1999. This compares to around $300 per capita in Canada

New England Journal of Medicine Report:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa022033

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Seriously, trying to ascribe the success of Scandinavian countries to some sort of racial superiority is ridiculous.

Depends how you measure success. I do think my quality of life would be improved if I was surrounded by more blonde babes.

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You might as well say royal dictatorship is the way to go because the saudis seem better off then their neighbours.

Or you could take ten seconds on google to find out that Sweden is an importer of crude oil, not an exporter- which means another reason must be found as to why a country the US label as 'socialist' seems to be doing better than they are.

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Before we start to worry about the implications of the results, it would be useful to understand the construction of their results and the possible conflict of interest between their results and the interests of those who fund their results. This is a potential problem that is not at all unique to left wing statists. The right wing statists are potentially just as guilty.

Agree. Plus these things are highly political. I would always take these surveys with a grain of salt. Live there yourself for a few months then make up your own mind.

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Or you could take ten seconds on google to find out that Sweden is an importer of crude oil, not an exporter- which means another reason must be found as to why a country the US label as 'socialist' seems to be doing better than they are.

Nah, you are immune to all evidence.

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But the whole point of this thread is that those Nordic states that have far more extensive social welfare models than the US are more prosperous than the US.

How is this to be explained? Surely the US with it's more limited welfare system should be the most prosperous?

There is something wrong with your notion that a large welfare system automatically leads to economic failure.

Countries with relatively small populations and lots of natural resources can be quite wealthy despite the system

At the end of the day, the 'success' of the Nordic states can't wipe out 100 years+ of repression, mass murder and complete economic failure.

As many people have pointed out many times

if Socialism is so fantastic how come millions of people risked death trying to escape from paradise to the evil capitalist west?

:blink:

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Countries with relatively small populations and lots of natural resources can be quite wealthy despite the system

At the end of the day, the 'success' of the Nordic states can't wipe out 100 years+ of repression, mass murder and complete economic failure.

As many people have pointed out many times

if Socialism is so fantastic how come millions of people risked death trying to escape from paradise to the evil capitalist west?

:blink:

It wasn't for money.

It was freedom.

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It wasn't for money.

It was freedom.

When people are free they generate wealth

when they are slaves they do as little as they can get away with.

This is why they end up holding a gun to people's heads

and why people risk death to escape these societies

:blink:

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Since Scandinavian countries have been topping these indexes for the last twenty-odd years, is it so unthinkable that they generally have a better quality of life than the average US citizen?

Does The Economist have a political axe to grind by listing the USA 13th in 2005? (Notice also the Scandinavian countries in the top ten then).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_Index

Ever actually lived in a Scandinavian country - salaries are about 1/3 higher, or the perhaps similar in many cases - food, cars, alcohol, are all about double the price, taxes are higher, houseprices are the same as the UK. A can of beer in a supermarket will cost 3 pounds in a supermarket, eating out is expensive and there is much less choice of restaurants, supermarkets, less competition to keep prices lower - not exactly paradise.

I'd say your average Scandinavian does not earn much more than similar in the UK after tax- but with less spending power, perhaps better pensions and sickness and unemployment benefits. Simply a case of paying more taxes for more benefits.

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When people are free they generate wealth

When people are free they may generate wealth. Or they might go to sleep under a tree.

The thing people want is freedom to choose which one.

when they are slaves they do as little as they can get away with.

This is why they end up holding a gun to people's heads

and why people risk death to escape these societies

:blink:

To become free.

Humans aren't that bothered about wealth. Never have been.

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Ever actually lived in a Scandinavian country - salaries are about 1/3 higher, or the perhaps similar in many cases - food, cars, alcohol, are all about double the price, taxes are higher, houseprices are the same as the UK. A can of beer in a supermarket will cost 3 pounds in a supermarket, eating out is expensive and there is much less choice of restaurants, supermarkets, less competition to keep prices lower - not exactly paradise.

I've never lived there, but have spent quite a lot of time visiting Norway - I have an old friend who moved there and started a family. I didn't find alcohol (or food) in supermarkets hugely expensive. Eating / drinking out, yes. Buying in a shop, not so bad. Most of them seemed to get half cut at home and then head to the pub later on. Alcoholism is a big problem, so I think the "sin" taxes are there to try and curb that, but they largely fail due to homebrew / moonshine.

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if you can comprehend the graphics you will see it is % of GDP; not total spending

USA life expectancy is 78; Norway is 80 - not a significant difference

are you suggesting that UK NHS does not waste money ???

So what you're saying is that many countries like France, Italy, Finland and UK do more with less.

And this is somehow bad?

Sure the NHS wastes money. If you think of the NHS like a leaky tap, drip drip dripping money down the sink, the US system is like someone with a fire hose, pumping money out the window and into the arms of health insurers, the medical profession and big pharma.

In the US the spending will be hugely skewed, with the poorest 60% of the population probably accounting for about 20% of healthcare spend, and the top 40% probably accounting for 70-80% of the spend.

I lived in the US, and the heathcare system was a major reason I didn't stay.

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I've never lived there, but have spent quite a lot of time visiting Norway - I have an old friend who moved there and started a family. I didn't find alcohol (or food) in supermarkets hugely expensive. Eating / drinking out, yes. Buying in a shop, not so bad. Most of them seemed to get half cut at home and then head to the pub later on. Alcoholism is a big problem, so I think the "sin" taxes are there to try and curb that, but they largely fail due to homebrew / moonshine.

Your weekly shopping bill, most of the items will cost you double vs the UK - Running a car about the same price as UK - buying a car twice the price of UK - so a new bog standard hatchback will cost you maybe 18-20K, or try running a 4 x 4.

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When people are free they may generate wealth. Or they might go to sleep under a tree.

The thing people want is freedom to choose which one.

To become free.

Humans aren't that bothered about wealth. Never have been.

Left to their own devices humans work hard to accumulate the necessities of life

And if they can produce a surplus they will generally do this in order to cover themselves against unforeseen shortages in the future

In Socialist states there is no incentive for anyone to work harder than the absolute minimum they can get away with

which is why Socialism inevitably fails.

You are talking to someone who gave up work because the state took so much from me that I was better off not working

and there are 8 million people economically inactive in the UK now

Failure is built into this type of system.

:blink:

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