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No system is perfect, so it should not be necessary for us to create an idyll in order to change the system. Just something that is much better than exists now. In a time of rising output working class incomes and working conditions have been falling since the 70s. The current system is a fail for all but the wealthy elite and those who are servicing them.
This looks like another of your very dodgy statistics. Are you really saying that the incomes and working conditions of working people have fallen between the 1970's and the present day? If so, let's have the data on which you make this incredible assertion. Frankly I don't believe it, as it runs completely counter to common observation and general knowledge. The only thing I would grant is that there has probably been a drop in real incomes since 2008 following the banking crisis, and some sectors fared worse than others, but as far as I am aware the trend in rpdi is now upward.

Tulse said:
Private enterprise has only one aim, which is to earn money for the shareholders. Anything else is irrational and often illegal. As such, the government need to regulate the sector where it is necessary (or threaten to do so).
This is a one-eyed view of private enterprise if I ever saw one. Of course, private businesses are primarily interested making profits. But most of them do so by competing with other to win customers, and this involves a wide variety of beneficial spin-offs like innovation, driving down costs by improving efficiency, all of which is to the customers' benefit and to their workforces. The proof of the pudding and all that, but you only to look at the far greater wealth creation and overall prosperity achieved in countries where private enterprise has flourished than in more avowedly socialist regimes.
 

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The proof of the pudding and all that, but you only to look at the far greater wealth creation and overall prosperity achieved in countries where private enterprise has flourished than in more avowedly socialist regimes.
Good grief, that's pretty far from the truth. Private enterprise flourishes in Somalia. Until recently, there was very little government there at all. And very little prosperity. One website I found (Peerform) listed the ten "most socialistic" countries in the world: China; Denmark; Finland; Netherlands; Canada; Sweden; Norway; Ireland; New Zealand; Belgium. Another (World Economic Forum) lists the 10 countries with the highest standard of living: Finland; Canada; Denmark; Australia; Switzerland; Sweden; Norway; Netherlands; United Kingdom; tie Iceland / New Zealand.
Not very scientific, I admit, but those are two very similar lists.
 

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Good grief, that's pretty far from the truth. Private enterprise flourishes in Somalia. Until recently, there was very little government there at all. And very little prosperity. One website I found (Peerform) listed the ten "most socialistic" countries in the world: China; Denmark; Finland; Netherlands; Canada; Sweden; Norway; Ireland; New Zealand; Belgium. Another (World Economic Forum) lists the 10 countries with the highest standard of living: Finland; Canada; Denmark; Australia; Switzerland; Sweden; Norway; Netherlands; United Kingdom; tie Iceland / New Zealand.
Not very scientific, I admit, but those are two very similar lists.
I'm astonished that you see fit to refer to such a highly dubious source of information purporting to identify the world's 10 most "socialist" countries, "Peerform".

The specfic blog you refer to, Top 10 Most Socialist Countries in the World, is utterly unconvincing. Take a look at the many highly cynical comments under the article where it was heavily criticised by many reviewers. Virtually no-one had a kind word to say about.

Peerform itself is not in any way an authority on matters concerning socialism. It says of itself that is a privately run lending platform that connects people who want to borrow money with investors, offering 3-year terms personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 online. It was created in September 2009 by a "solid team of professionals from financial services, strategy consulting, technology, and consumer products".

It is most unclear what the blog in question has to do with lending. The blog is utterly flawed in so many ways. There is only country on the list that's socialist and that's the first one, China. All of the rankings are based not on the degree of socialism adopted in the country, but on the extent and generosity of their welfare systems, e.g. education, health care and out work assistance. This kind of thing is a different thing altogether from socialism.

As for the list from the World Economic Forum, it's just a list of wealthy countries mesaured by gdp/head, and has nothing whatsover to do with degrees of socialism.

Therefore, it would seem that you have badly misconstrued the situation in quoting from such a silly source, just as you did earlier with your highly dubious assertion that the "Arts" constitute a "public good" (evidently, the whole range of "Arts".)
 

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I'm astonished that you see fit to refer to such a highly dubious source of information purporting to identify the world's 10 most "socialist" countries, "Peerform".

The specfic blog you refer to, Top 10 Most Socialist Countries in the World, is utterly unconvincing. Take a look at the many highly cynical comments under the article where it was heavily criticised by many reviewers. Virtually no-one had a kind word to say about.

Peerform itself is not in any way an authority on matters concerning socialism. It says of itself that is a privately run lending platform that connects people who want to borrow money with investors, offering 3-year terms personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 online. It was created in September 2009 by a "solid team of professionals from financial services, strategy consulting, technology, and consumer products".

It is most unclear what the blog in question has to do with lending. The blog is utterly flawed in so many ways. There is only country on the list that's socialist and that's the first one, China. All of the rankings are based not on the degree of socialism adopted in the country, but on the extent and generosity of their welfare systems, e.g. education, health care and out work assistance. This kind of thing is a different thing altogether from socialism.

As for the list from the World Economic Forum, it's just a list of wealthy countries mesaured by gdp/head, and has nothing whatsover to do with degrees of socialism.

Therefore, it would seem that you have badly misconstrued the situation in quoting from such a silly source, just as you did earlier with your highly dubious assertion that the "Arts" constitute a "public good" (evidently, the whole range of "Arts".)
You miss my point here entirely. Poor third-world countries often have weak central governments, frequent internal violence and unrest, and lack of regulation, including of business, as well as lack of modern infrastructure and lack of a strong education system. I cited Somalia, but you could consider other sub-Saharan African countries, the wealthiest of which, South Africa, still has poverty on a staggering scale, and of course the war-torn Middle East. Most of those countries do have flourishing free enterprise, but it flourishes in a vacuum of proper governmental support and control. A brutal war lord is a classic free enterprise entrepreneur, but not a desirable one.

You go on about my suspect sources for my "top ten" lists, but all such lists, much as they are loved here, are inherently suspect, based as they must be on arbitrary criteria. I cite them here in good part ironically, yet those who respond almost always rise to the bait and never question the wisdom of relying on such things. Here, the standard of living list obviously has more legitimacy than the most socialist countries list, but it makes little sense to complain about the source of either.

But you really reveal yourself with your comment that of the countries on that list, only China is socialist. Your definition of socialist, whatever it is as you don't give it, is as arbitrary as any other. Lists like this nearly always focus on the gross size of the government sector in the economy, and perhaps, for the more sophisticated efforts, income and capital gains tax rates, government social welfare spending, and even the degree of regulatory control over industries that are not fully nationalized. I could have cited data from a more legitimate source than a financial news blog, but it almost certainly wouldn't have been titled "the world's most socialist countries".

But however you define "socialist", the countries with the proportionally largest government sectors, most extensive regulation of private business and legal system generally, highest taxes, and most social welfare spending are often the ones with the highest standard of living. I knew that before I looked at any online top ten lists, and just picked the first two such lists I found regardless of source or legitimacy, which nevertheless predictably supported my point.

You could argue that those countries have those things because their strong private economies make them possible and affordable, and that would be a much better argument than the one you try to make. But it works both ways. Those countries have and maintain over the long term strong private economies because they also have strong public sectors, good infrastructure and education and social welfare systems, and strong legal and regulatory systems to prevent commercial and financial as well as actual raping, looting and pillaging.

You don't have to try to teach me about the efficacy of private free enterprise. China, your shining example of socialism, has plenty of it these days and a rapidly growing economy. Perhaps some day they will look to Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, New Zealand et al. for guidance on improving their standard of living.
 

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You miss my point here entirely. Poor third-world countries often have weak central governments, frequent internal violence and unrest, and lack of regulation, including of business, as well as lack of modern infrastructure and lack of a strong education system. I cited Somalia, but you could consider other sub-Saharan African countries, the wealthiest of which, South Africa, still has poverty on a staggering scale, and of course the war-torn Middle East. Most of those countries do have flourishing free enterprise, but it flourishes in a vacuum of proper governmental support and control. A brutal war lord is a classic free enterprise entrepreneur, but not a desirable one.

You go on about my suspect sources for my "top ten" lists, but all such lists, much as they are loved here, are inherently suspect, based as they must be on arbitrary criteria. I cite them here in good part ironically, yet those who respond almost always rise to the bait and never question the wisdom of relying on such things. Here, the standard of living list obviously has more legitimacy than the most socialist countries list, but it makes little sense to complain about the source of either.

But you really reveal yourself with your comment that of the countries on that list, only China is socialist. Your definition of socialist, whatever it is as you don't give it, is as arbitrary as any other. Lists like this nearly always focus on the gross size of the government sector in the economy, and perhaps, for the more sophisticated efforts, income and capital gains tax rates, government social welfare spending, and even the degree of regulatory control over industries that are not fully nationalized. I could have cited data from a more legitimate source than a financial news blog, but it almost certainly wouldn't have been titled "the world's most socialist countries".

But however you define "socialist", the countries with the proportionally largest government sectors, most extensive regulation of private business and legal system generally, highest taxes, and most social welfare spending are often the ones with the highest standard of living. I knew that before I looked at any online top ten lists, and just picked the first two such lists I found regardless of source or legitimacy, which nevertheless predictably supported my point.

You could argue that those countries have those things because their strong private economies make them possible and affordable, and that would be a much better argument than the one you try to make. But it works both ways. Those countries have and maintain over the long term strong private economies because they also have strong public sectors, good infrastructure and education and social welfare systems, and strong legal and regulatory systems to prevent commercial and financial as well as actual raping, looting and pillaging.

You don't have to try to teach me about the efficacy of private free enterprise. China, your shining example of socialism, has plenty of it these days and a rapidly growing economy. Perhaps some day they will look to Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, New Zealand et al. for guidance on improving their standard of living.
Interesting but I'm afraid that I'm bamboozled by most of it.

As for all the countries listed in the Peerform blog as the "Top 10 Most Socialist Countries in the World", I'd like to ask a question of those who have been pushing the anti-market and pro-socialist rhetoric in this thread.

It's whether or not they consider these 9 countries (leaving aside China) have economic/social regimes that they (the members here) consider to be "socialist", in the sense that if the same regime was adopted in their own countries, wherever they may live, this would be fully adequate to meet their requirements in terms of the amount of social owndership of the means of production/supression of the profit motive.
 

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Interesting but I'm afraid that I'm bamboozled by most of it.

As for all the countries listed in the Peerform blog as the "Top 10 Most Socialist Countries in the World", I'd like to ask a question of those who have been pushing the anti-market and pro-socialist rhetoric in this thread.

It's whether or not they consider these 9 countries (leaving aside China) have economic/social regimes that they (the members here) consider to be "socialist", in the sense that if the same regime was adopted in their own countries, wherever they may live, this would be fully adequate to meet their requirements in terms of the amount of social owndership of the means of production/supression of the profit motive.
Many people (in the US, anyway), fiercely argue that those nine countries are indeed socialist, and have a system of government that must be avoided at all cost. Sweden in particular is often the poster child of all that is supposedly wrong with the socialist form of government, or as it is sometimes called by the more sympathetic, "democratic socialism". But there's no point in getting into semantic debates. I tried to outline some of the economic features of a country that many consider socialist, especially a large government sector or public economy relative to the economy as a whole. Some also consider high marginal tax rates, a high level of social welfare spending and a high level of governmental regulation or control of private economic activity.

Perhaps you associate socialism with an extreme lack of political freedom, and therefore think of China, or worse yet, North Korea. I associate such regimes as resulting in small wealthy ruling elites and masses living largely in poverty, though as I said above, the greatest poverty is often in countries that have weak central governments and frequent violence and civil wars, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world's poorest countries despite its considerable natural resources. As I said, such countries have a lot of free enterprises, but those are often bad enterprises.
 

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NPR and PBS still survive in 2018 with their Arts funding that robs every man, woman and child of public funding from the current $4 trillion US Federal budget that could be spent on ditch digging, atomic submarines, billion dollar jets, $50 toilet seats, cheap roads, bullets and wars. It's just too bad that the Art cheapskates and skinflints, who apparently can't tell the difference between doing the public good and socialism, can't put a stop to this, especially Art education in public schools that brings a little culture into the lives of the students that their private homes can't provide. Must try harder. Must try harder. Must try harder.

On the other hand, NPR and PBS go into 23 million homes in rurals areas that might otherwise not receive it without being publicly funded. Much of the programming is excellent. Watch Artconomy that shows how important the Arts are in Kansas City that help generate millions of dollars of revenue each year because the city is friendly to the arts and artists. That's what can happen with enlightened leadership. Is it just a matter of political systems and money, or is it more a matter of cultural priorities and civilized peacetime activities? The Arts in Kansas City generate local tax revenues and tourism dollars.
 

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Many people (in the US, anyway), fiercely argue that those nine countries are indeed socialist, and have a system of government that must be avoided at all cost. Sweden in particular is often the poster child of all that is supposedly wrong with the socialist form of government, or as it is sometimes called by the more sympathetic, "democratic socialism". But there's no point in getting into semantic debates. I tried to outline some of the economic features of a country that many consider socialist, especially a large government sector or public economy relative to the economy as a whole. Some also consider high marginal tax rates, a high level of social welfare spending and a high level of governmental regulation or control of private economic activity.

Perhaps you associate socialism with an extreme lack of political freedom, and therefore think of China, or worse yet, North Korea. I associate such regimes as resulting in small wealthy ruling elites and masses living largely in poverty, though as I said above, the greatest poverty is often in countries that have weak central governments and frequent violence and civil wars, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world's poorest countries despite its considerable natural resources. As I said, such countries have a lot of free enterprises, but those are often bad enterprises.
I'm afraid you are barking up the wrong tree with all this. I do not accept that a country with generous and extensive welfare benefits is the appropriate yardstick for determining whether or not it is "socialist". A high degree of welfare spending may be a characteristic of socialist systems but it's not a defining feature, in the manner you suggest.

The kind of "socialism" that some of the members in this thread appear have been advocating is of a different form than the "social democracy" type of systems that you are referring to, as typified by the Nordic countries on your list. There is, and for a long time always has been, a high expenditure in the UK on various social budgets, but it is hardly regarded as a "socialist" country, except perhaps briefly for a few years after WW2, but those were highly exceptional times due to the country having been knocked to bits and impoverished very severely by the ravages of war.

As far as I can tell, these members are hankering after something a lot more left wing and radical than merel greater social democracy than exists at present. To them, "socialism" means the complete destruction of the capitalist system based on private ownership and the profit motive, and the substitution of a political and economic sand social organisation under which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

They may differ among themselves as to the fine details of their desired regimes, but that's basically what they mean by "socialism". This is very different from the milder form exhibited, for example, by the Nordic model, which is underpinned by a free market capitalist economic system that involves generally high degrees of private ownership, with the possible exception of Norway where public ownership is more extensive, which may have something to do with the relatively high importance of natural resources in that country's GDP.

These members appear to have clammed up in giving us their further thoughts on all this. I can only imagine that they prefer to discuss these issues in the relative safety of their regular hidey-holes somewhere deep in the underground labyrinths of this Forum. Up here, their views are open to scrutiny from a wider section of the membership. It's somewhat of a pity they have clammed up because I'm still looking for a reply from one of them regarding some highly dodgy looking statistics he referred to in alleging that the working classes have suffered impoverishment since the 1970s in the UK.
 
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That's just an overactive imagination.

Personally, I stopped posting here at #415 and gave my reason. Plus, I'm not really interested in being involved in further deletions and lockings.

This is my last post in this thread.
 

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There are various sorts of hidey-holes down in the catacombs. Some are very clearly labeled as "Religion" or "Politics". People of vigorous enthusiasms are welcome to post and debate there--which is where such discussions are intended to take place. The wheel keeps getting reinvented upstairs by newbies to TC, when we perfected it downstairs long ago in our wheelwrights' shops.
 

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There are various sorts of hidey-holes down in the catacombs. Some are very clearly labeled as "Religion" or "Politics". People of vigorous enthusiasms are welcome to post and debate there--which is where such discussions are intended to take place. The wheel keeps getting reinvented upstairs by newbies to TC, when we perfected it downstairs long ago in our wheelwrights' shops.
Why do you keep going on about moving this to the "groups"? You are out of order as the moderators have quite clearly stated that the present discussion is within the bounds of the original purpose of the thread. I have no wish to pursue the matter in any of the groups.
 

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Why do you keep going on about moving this to the "groups"? You are out of order as the moderators have quite clearly stated that the present discussion is within the bounds of the original purpose of the thread. I have no wish to pursue the matter in any of the groups.
You have wandered very far indeed off the original topic. Whether the moderators choose to rein you in or not is of no interest to me. But a reading of the ToS and any sort of familiarity with the Groups should make it clear to the meanest understanding that the Political and Religious forums in Groups is the natural home for posts such as your most recent one. I'm afraid you will just have to get used to my repeatedly pointing this out.
 

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I'm afraid you are barking up the wrong tree with all this. I do not accept that a country with generous and extensive welfare benefits is the appropriate yardstick for determining whether or not it is "socialist". A high degree of welfare spending may be a characteristic of socialist systems but it's not a defining feature, in the manner you suggest.

The kind of "socialism" that some of the members in this thread appear have been advocating is of a different form than the "social democracy" type of systems that you are referring to, as typified by the Nordic countries on your list. There is, and for a long time always has been, a high expenditure in the UK on various social budgets, but it is hardly regarded as a "socialist" country, except perhaps briefly for a few years after WW2, but those were highly exceptional times due to the country having been knocked to bits and impoverished very severely by the ravages of war.

As far as I can tell, these members are hankering after something a lot more left wing and radical than merel greater social democracy than exists at present. To them, "socialism" means the complete destruction of the capitalist system based on private ownership and the profit motive, and the substitution of a political and economic sand social organisation under which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

They may differ among themselves as to the fine details of their desired regimes, but that's basically what they mean by "socialism". This is very different from the milder form exhibited, for example, by the Nordic model, which is underpinned by a free market capitalist economic system that involves generally high degrees of private ownership, with the possible exception of Norway where public ownership is more extensive, which may have something to do with the relatively high importance of natural resources in that country's GDP.

These members appear to have clammed up in giving us their further thoughts on all this. I can only imagine that they prefer to discuss these issues in the relative safety of their regular hidey-holes somewhere deep in the underground labyrinths of this Forum. Up here, their views are open to scrutiny from a wider section of the membership. It's somewhat of a pity they have clammed up because I'm still looking for a reply from one of them regarding some highly dodgy looking statistics he referred to in alleging that the working classes have suffered impoverishment since the 1970s in the UK.
Sigh. The topic of this thread was cutbacks in government spending on the arts. I wasn't trying to turn it into a left v. right political debate, though you seem to be trying quite strenuously to put it in those terms.

Look at it this way: What would Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner have done without the kings, princes, archbishops, archdukes, and at least one margrave who funded their projects and/or gave them regular employment as musicians and composers? A lot less of the great classical music we enjoy today, no doubt. That was government funding of the arts, and it sure wasn't socialism by any definition.

European royalty disappeared or was marginalized by the early 20th century, but at least in America, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the government stepped in with considerable funding of the arts. Now we see this government funding being challenged on a very basic level, though it has long been far less in America than in many European countries.

That's all. I don't see this as a socialism (bad) versus free enterprise (good) issue at all. I don't think it's useful to look at it in those terms, and I've tried to explain why. If you disagree, fine, but I must agree with others here that I'm not interested in engaging in that sort of debate any further.
 

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Sigh. The topic of this thread was cutbacks in government spending on the arts. I wasn't trying to turn it into a left v. right political debate, though you seem to be trying quite strenuously to put it in those terms.

Look at it this way: What would Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner have done without the kings, princes, archbishops, archdukes, and at least one margrave who funded their projects and/or gave them regular employment as musicians and composers? A lot less of the great classical music we enjoy today, no doubt. That was government funding of the arts, and it sure wasn't socialism by any definition.

European royalty disappeared or was marginalized by the early 20th century, but at least in America, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the government stepped in with considerable funding of the arts. Now we see this government funding being challenged on a very basic level, though it has long been far less in America than in many European countries.

That's all. I don't see this as a socialism (bad) versus free enterprise (good) issue at all. I don't think it's useful to look at it in those terms, and I've tried to explain why. If you disagree, fine, but I must agree with others here that I'm not interested in engaging in that sort of debate any further.
Sorry but it's you who has made incorrect assertions and introduced all manner of irrelevancies to this discussion.

It is simply incorrect to argue, as you have done, that a sufficient condition for a country to have a "socialist" regime is merely because it spends a large part of its GDP on public welfare programmes.

I really cannot see why you persist in making this incorrect claim. As I have said, "socialism" means the transfer of the ownership of the means of production from the private sector to the public sector, and the complete elimination of capitalist trading principles.

Various advanced countries around the world spend a good deal on welfare (the UK included) but they remain largely based on capitalism, albeit with quite large public sectors in some cases. These countries would probably describe themselves either as "mixed economies" or "social democracies", not "socialist".

I have asked the left wing proponents in this discussion whether or not they regard high welfare spending as a sufficient condition for the kind of socialism they envisage, and none has answered. The reason is probably because they would not accept that proposition, but it would be probably awkward for you.
 

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You have wandered very far indeed off the original topic. Whether the moderators choose to rein you in or not is of no interest to me. But a reading of the ToS and any sort of familiarity with the Groups should make it clear to the meanest understanding that the Political and Religious forums in Groups is the natural home for posts such as your most recent one. I'm afraid you will just have to get used to my repeatedly pointing this out.
Your assertion is incorrect. I have remained largely within the broader discussion on subsidies that was introduced by others.

If you disagree, perhaps you should take up the matter with the moderators, rather than single me out for comment.
 

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I'm afraid you are barking up the wrong tree with all this. I do not accept that a country with generous and extensive welfare benefits is the appropriate yardstick for determining whether or not it is "socialist". A high degree of welfare spending may be a characteristic of socialist systems but it's not a defining feature, in the manner you suggest.
Contrast that statement of yours with the point I have been making, as in post no. 318, where I said:

To me, government funding of the arts is especially appropriate when it leads to a general social benefit, as it surely does when there is a significant educational benefit, for example.

Now, reread, or read for the first time, post no. 1. Which one of us is responding to the topic of this thread? I don't find it "awkward" to respond to your question of what is the proper definition of the term "socialist", in fact I did that, off-topic though it was, and you are welcome to disagree with me, as you have done.

But derailing this thread while trying to call people out for declining to engage with you any further is trolling, pure and simple. I'm not saying that the topics you raise are unimportant or the points you make unintelligent, just that you should start your own thread and make them there.
 

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The Free Market works extraordinarily poorly to provide America with up-to-date working infrastructure: water supply, sewers, reliable electricity, bridges, tunnels, railroads. If something does not provide either immediate cash or votes, it is either not attempted or it is executed in the quickest, cheapest, most slipshod manner. The works which best reflect the enduring strength of a civilization, at least here in the USA, are/were largely executed by government entities, sometimes in partnership with enlightened private companies led by exceptionally visionary entrepreneurs.
I thought I would look back in this thread to find the first reference to subsidies outside the Arts area. The member who is now complaining that the thread has gone off the rails made the one above on 23 May on page 10.

As may be seen, this post citicised the efficacy of the "free market" in providing decent infrastructure in the USA across a wide of industries, a topic that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Arts.

This apparent red-herring then sparked off a discussion about the merits of subsidising the rail industry. In the case of the UK, some of the socialist members argued that privatisation of British Rail in 1990s was a bad thing. This was challenged by another member on the basis that the prior situation under nationalisation was no better and possibly even worse. Exchanges then began to get quite heated, with all manner of name-calling.

Then, the socialists their extended their argument in favour of extensive subsidies by claiming that capitalism needs to be overthrown before we will get decent services. At that point, I joined in the discussion.

I have not resorted to any insults, unlike one or two others. And I do see how it can possibly be argued that I have taken the discussion into an irrelevant area. As far as I am concerned, I have remained close to the discussion that others have initiated.

For example, if others wish to claim that "social democracy" = "socialism", they deserve to be corrected, and that's all I've tried to do. On this matter, it's very interesting that none of socialists have confimed that they consider that high welfare spending is a sufficient condition that the regime in question is "socialist", despite several requests made by me for them to speak up on this matter. Of course, they can't do that, because it wouldn't be true that this is what they believe. They know it's not true but evidently they find it difficult to say so.
 

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Martin D: "I thought I would look back in this thread to find the first reference to subsidies outside the Arts area. The member who is now complaining that the thread has gone off the rails made the one above on 23 May on page 10.

As may be seen, this post citicised the efficacy of the "free market" in providing decent infrastructure in the USA across a wide of industries, a topic that had nothing whatsoever to do with the arts."
I am unmasked (yet again!) as a sinner. Alas, I lack the strength of character to confine my political/religious commentary entirely to Groups where I and the ToS preach that they belong. Instead,"since everybody else is doing it", I join in the fray up here, while repeatedly cautioning that we really shouldn't be doing this here. I do not know what excuses others have for their actions. Perhaps there are better ones than mine.
 

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I thought I would look back in this thread to find the first reference to subsidies outside the Arts area. The member who is now complaining that the thread has gone off the rails made the one above on 23 May on page 10.

As may be seen, this post citicised the efficacy of the "free market" in providing decent infrastructure in the USA across a wide of industries, a topic that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Arts.

This apparent red-herring then sparked off a discussion about the merits of subsidising the rail industry. In the case of the UK, some of the socialist members argued that privatisation of British Rail in 1990s was a bad thing. This was challenged by another member on the basis that the prior situation under nationalisation was no better and possibly even worse. Exchanges then began to get quite heated, with all manner of name-calling.

Then, the socialists their extended their argument in favour of extensive subsidies by claiming that capitalism needs to be overthrown before we will get decent services. At that point, I joined in the discussion.

I have not resorted to any insults, unlike one or two others. And I do see how it can possibly be argued that I have taken the discussion into an irrelevant area. As far as I am concerned, I have remained close to the discussion that others have initiated.

For example, if others wish to claim that "social democracy" = "socialism", they deserve to be corrected, and that's all I've tried to do. On this matter, it's very interesting that none of socialists have confimed that they consider that high welfare spending is a sufficient condition that the regime in question is "socialist", despite several requests made by me for them to speak up on this matter. Of course, they can't do that, because it wouldn't be true that this is what they believe. They know it's not true but evidently they find it difficult to say so.
Oh, enough already. Here's what Merriam-Webster says about the definition of socialism, which is consistent with what I've said (though I added some nuances). We can all agree with that, or if you don't agree with it, write your own dictionary. The point I was trying to make in this thread does not depend on such semantic nitpicking.

In the many years since socialism entered English around 1830, it has acquired several different meanings. It refers to a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control, but the conception of that control has varied, and the term has been interpreted in widely diverging ways, ranging from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal. In the modern era, "pure" socialism has been seen only rarely and usually briefly in a few Communist regimes. Far more common are systems of social democracy, now often referred to as democratic socialism, in which extensive state regulation, with limited state ownership, has been employed by democratically elected governments (as in Sweden and Denmark) in the belief that it produces a fair distribution of income without impairing economic growth.
 
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