Wednesday, 1 October 2008

When is socialism not actually socialism?

How bizarre that in America, the country of hyper-capitalism that brought the world massive inequality and the current economic crash, a revolt is stopping the proposed $700 billion (that’s $700,000,000,000) bailout for the American financial industry.

It’s fairly obvious that members of the U.S. House of Representatives (the lower house, like the House of Commons in the U.K.) are not voting on principal but to save their political skins ahead of their own election this November.

What’s bizarre is to hear people calling the bailout “socialism”. Okay, socialism generally means government and state running industries and providing support to, or interfering with, private industry. But to me socialism means the government and state providing services for the public. The BBC and the NHS are two examples of mild socialism, and ones that I think are both morally right and provide excellent services.

So it seems crazy to me to think of bailing out massive financial institutions and their managers for bad, stupid decisions they made as “socialism”.

Don’t get me wrong – although I think a deal is required to stabilise the financial system we all rely on, I think this originated as one last scheme from Bush & the Republicans to bail out corporate America and screw the American taxpayer (not to mention scuppering the next president’s time in office), and doesn’t seem to have changed much since. (I also have a childish eagerness in watching the suffering of the masters of voodoo economics and their bizarre corrupt world, where massive riches are thrown about and huge bonuses given for providing very little benefit to society. Not to mention a slight morbid fascination in the possible end of the world.)

I just don’t want us lefties getting a bad name!

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