From HUSTLER Magazine
Will Socialism Save Us?
For most of our history, socialism has been a dirty word and an almost un-American concept. But a recent Gallup poll shows that for a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds, socialism is viewed more positively than capitalism. This is a sea change, with candidates like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushing for Medicare for All, subsidized college tuition and a Green New Deal—once fringe ideas now front and center in the Democratic Party.
It’s really no great mystery why young people are disillusioned with our capitalist system. It has not served them well and holds no great prospects for their future without serious reforms. Corporations and the extremely wealthy have poured billions into the political system to rig the whole game in their favor, from bankruptcy laws and college admissions to taxes and a monopolistic concentration of power. Students graduate from college with astronomical debt and face diminishing job prospects, while the cost of living skyrockets out of sight and unmitigated climate change threatens our very survival on this planet. The game has been rigged to fatten the portfolios of our Wall Street aristocrats, while the middle class slides ever deeper into debt and misery. Robert Reich’s book Saving Capitalism explores how corrupt modern capitalism has become in great, shocking detail.
Even hedge fund manager Ray Dalio agrees, writing that he’s seen “capitalism evolve in a way that it is not working well for the majority of Americans because it’s producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots.” He notes that America’s “economic mobility rate is now one of the worst in the developed world” and suggests the current inequality is nothing less than a “national emergency.” Higher taxes on the wealthy and other reforms are needed, Dalio insists, or we will risk repeating the disastrous history of the Great Depression.
Increasing automation further complicates the issue: Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are displacing more and more workers and not only blue-collar ones—AI is already doing white-collar work once performed by human engineers, doctors, journalists, lawyers and even artists and musicians. Kai-Fu Lee, an artificial intelligence expert, told CBS News’ Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes that AI will replace up to 40% of jobs in the next 15 to 25 years. This will concentrate wealth in ever fewer hands while more and more people are forced into unemployment.
Socialism, of course, has a mixed history. Conservatives like to point out the failures of Venezuela today or the old Soviet bloc countries of yesterday, while ignoring the Scandinavian successes of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, whose citizens consistently rank as the world’s happiest populations. Some have called FDR’s New Deal a socialist revolution. Maybe so, but it was absolutely necessary, with a full quarter of Americans unemployed during the Great Depression and conditions ripe for a communist or fascist revolution.
Now it may take a Green New Deal and other semi-socialist policies to save 21st-century capitalism from itself. The only other option is a nightmarish future of devastating, chronic unemployment and millions of homeless, starving Americans, all while the one-percenters own more wealth than they know what to do with.