By: Adam Luscombe, Student Voices writer
Can Socialism Work?
There is no doubt that the rise of Jeremy Corbyn since the start of his first Labour leadership campaign has woken up the silent arguments for socialism and more extreme left wing politics and created many more, but is socialism really going to revolutionise society and destroy the political elite?
So what is Socialism?
It is described as the first step to a new society, as sort of the toddler years before it takes the leap into a new fully nationalised communist state. It refers to the distribution of wealth and goods in a similar way to Communism yet just not as extreme and thus probably a more viable alternative to Capitalism for those who really want change. In Marxist theory it is called the ‘ transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism’ This gives the sense that it was an ideology born by the early communists (Marx and Lenin ect) to attract the rest of the war – torn world and say that there is a solution that will provide you with the care you need, the money you need, the jobs you need, yet will not destroy everything you know and will allow you to maintain some control over your life.
Socialism is the approach that nationalises industry sectors such as railways and energy and thus, in theory, provides better public service rather than just provide a money making machine in which investors will pump in as little money as possible in return for the highest profit. It means that these sectors will be owned by the people and society as a whole. The fact that there is an absence of a multi-millionaire owner means that there will be cheaper consumer costs and as any profit made should (in the absence of corruption) be reinvested back into the sector, better quality. This means the end of overpriced train tickets for a train that is going to be late and the end of scruffy old train stations that really need renovation. Although, they are still producing a hefty profit and so the owner is happy and will invest no more to get these issues fixed. It does therefore look like a utopian alternative to capitalism. It is idealistically the perfect solution for poverty in a society as the government would be in full control of public services and so would provide free healthcare, education and other items deemed essential to living would be provided. The advantages of a socialist society seem undeniably attractive, yet like every political system before it, it does have his problems.
The biggest hint of the failures in Socialism is the fact that there are no proper examples of successful Socialist countries. It is just too idealistic for a society in which everyone works the same and the government provides them with everything they need. Firstly, people are lazy. Everybody would rather not work, and socialism only fosters that ideology. You would not have to do anything your entire working life yet still know that you will get everything you need, including food on the table every day. This results in a lack of a workforce and thus a lack of consumer products such as food. This means that nobody would really be producing the food you need and so there wouldn’t be enough. That wouldn’t work. People would then be forced to work, and they would need an incentive, which can only really be money and thus you are back to a capitalist society. This ignores the huge economic issue that arises from providing everybody with everything. This being the simple fact that it would be ridiculously expensive. Tax rates would be far higher than they are now and there would just be a lack of money in the state. The argument earlier about lower train costs would not be achievable as the government would have to charge more to be able to maintain the service and cover other costs. With all of this you get the picture of a very poor and inefficient society.
So really, in the 21st Century, Socialism seems to be the opposite of the society we should want to be creating. We should be nurturing aspirations, helping people do the best we can, not just be another ‘brick in the wall’. We should be making people work as best they can and help those who can’t. We should be providing personal freedom, after all, nobody knows better about their lives than the people who live them. We should be helping people who are in poverty, not just providing them with money, really helping them, giving them life skills and training so that they can prosper. So ask yourself, can a Socialist society really provide that?
Socialism: Not the answer to 21st century problems Reviewed by Student Voices on 16:32 Rating: