Letter: Capitalism and socialism need each other | VailDaily.com

Letter: Capitalism and socialism need each other

Recent political commentary discusses capitalism and socialism as either-or-choices. This is dishonest and misleading but reflects our polarizing culture that continues to divide us. The truth of the matter is that capitalism and socialism need each other. The activism and innovation of capitalism compensates for the limitations of socialism while the equality of opportunities and compassion of socialism compensates for the limitations of capitalism.  

Consequently, modern economies are a mixture of both. For example, the highly capitalistic USA has socialistic programs (social security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.) while the highly socialistic People’s Republic of China has capitalistic programs (privately-owned companies, etc.). The more equitable societies (Germany, Sweden, Denmark) have a better balance between the two.

Any country that goes too far with either system courts reaction and chaos. For example, excessive capitalism (extreme economic inequality) produced revolutions in Russia (1917), China (1946), and Cuba (1959). Excessive socialism (total government control) produced a collapse in the USSR (1991) and in Venezuela (now).  

At the extreme, capitalism says, “I’ve got mine, the rest of you are on your own.” Socialism says, “Let’s save everybody.” Neither attitude is workable. So the real debate should be about the best balance between the two systems. That leads to a dynamic economy and more equal opportunities for our citizens.

So, whenever anyone says we must have either capitalism or socialism, realize that’s a lie. And if a commentator or politican is promoting only capitalism or only socialism, realize that you’re being subjected to propaganda rather than the fair and balanced discussion that we need. 

Bob Croteau

Vail