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[–]Canbot 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

What is your favorite/most convincing book on democratic socialism?

[–]theFriendlyDoomer 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

I think if I were to recommend one to get someone started, I think it'd be David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years. To get a feel for you like him, perhaps read this piece.

I should hasten to add that I don't consider myself a democratic socialist, however. To your point earlier, one of the reasons the left is less accurate in predicting the views of the right (I'd need a real source for it being by "orders of magnitude") is that there are so many flavors of the right. There is a powerful, but mostly forgotten, religious tradition against usury, for example. In Putin's Russia much more is done to support families and child-rearing than we do in the U.S. And Tucker Carlson has pointed out the absurdity of running on "Keep America Great" when young people are priced out of the goods necessary to start a stable family. Here's a article from The American Conservative one strain of conservative thought from last century:

Distributism is the rather awkward name given to a program of political economy formulated chiefly by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, two of the most prominent English writers of the early 20th century. Both Catholics, they sought to turn the social teaching of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI into a concrete program of action. They rejected socialism, believing that private property was an essential component of human flourishing, but they also rejected the existing capitalist system as concentrating private property in far too few hands.

I can get on board with that. If I had to put a label on my beliefs, they would be a kind of localism -- perhaps closer to what Chesterton is saying, perhaps closer to Small is Beautiful, perhaps more like Wendell Berrry. If you don't accept any need for distribution -- the whole "taxation is theft" crowd -- then your proposed mind-opening reading list could start with Chesterton instead of Graeber. Reading Chesterton has the added benefits of reading one of the best prose writers of all time.

[–]Canbot 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

They rejected socialism, believing that private property was an essential component of human flourishing, but they also rejected the existing capitalist system as concentrating private property in far too few hands.

I mean... this is about right. However, welfare or redistribution has to be done right. We have many welfare programs already and they are abused and fail to achieve results. The first step is to reform the welfare system, not to keep dumping more money on the problem. That means holding welfare recipients accountable for some kind of contribution to the system. It means cancelling programs that do not achieve results.

Do you think we need more welfare? Why?

[–]theFriendlyDoomer 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Do you think we need more welfare? Why?

Oh, let's see how bad this economic downturn gets. After that, let's see how many jobs automation and AI take away on net.

As long as unemployment gets back to a relatively low number, it makes some sense to prefer people to work. But as we hit these potentially cascading crises, I'm going to be less amused by people who just move the goal posts because they want to pretend everything is fine and they'd rather protect some idea for a grand moral order. Bad things can happen to decent people . . . even good people.

It would appear that healthcare is what will really crack this country, however. Fixing that is well above my pay grade. And I mean that in a very real way. Whoever fixes it will need not just the right ideas but management skills and the ability to sale a vision to the public. Trump has only one of these abilities (salesmanship) and with that only to about half the country. I doubt Biden has any of these abilities. So, things are going to be bad until someone has the skills and power. This last bit is more a prediction than a wish list.

But I try not to get too worked up either way.

[–]Canbot 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

But we don't need new welfare programs to accommodate an expanding unemployed group. The current system does that. All those people can claim unemployment, and stay on welfare for as long as they are unable to find work. Yet there is always someone demanding more welfare. Why are we giving people free cell phones and internet? Why would they ever go to work when every luxury is provided to them? This is toxic and dysfunctional.

The problem with healthcare is fraud. Hospitals do it. Doctors do it. Medical companies do it. Researchers do it. Dumping money on the problem makes it worse, not better. I am for healthcare reform, not taxpayer funded highway robbery. I am also for free market solutions over government regulations that get side stepped by the big guys and are purposefully worded in a way that kill competition from the little guy.

Legalize uncertified health providers. There are thousands of cases where someone sets up an underground dental office to serve a poor community. They make money, the community gets dental care they couldn't otherwise afford. It's a win win. Until the government finds out and destroys it, and arrests the unlicensed dentist. Legalize importing of drugs. Make government funded research publicly available. After that is done we can see who is still falling through the cracks and have specific programs for those cases.