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Forum LockedSocialism Vs Meritocracy

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Poll Question: What do you think is the best economic system for your country?
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    Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 08:25
I don't know if I'm amused or surprised by all the things I notice some people consider "socialism" and what a negative value connotations the word has to most people writing to this and other forums. Explain, what "socialism" means for you.

wikipedia :
and Old statement for me.
Socialism is an ideology with the core belief that a society should exist in which popular collectives control the means of power, and therefore the means of production.

My definition of the new socialism is bringed by the idea of democratics countries like Finland. Economic freedom but with personal high-taxes with a good healt-care system, a good education model, social security benefits, etc.

meritocracy is strictly speaking a system of government based on rule by ability (merit) rather than by wealth or social position. In this context, "merit" means roughly intelligence plus effort. However, the word "meritocracy" is now often used to describe a type of society where wealth, income, and social status are assigned through competition, on the assumption that the winners do indeed deserve (merit) their resulting advantage

Also it could be defined as liberalism   in some countries (Spain for example) :  voucher system is very popular now in some countries like US and now in Spain.

What do you think?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 10:35

The defintion of Socialism you give seems more like a definition of Communism than Socialism.

Socialism is best described as Capitalism with a conscience. It's a less harsh Capitalist system with a safety net for the losers.

Socialism is also more Meritocratic than Capitalism.

In a Capitalist system wealth is horded and passed down generation to generation, about forming arisocratic castes that work together and trade together to keep wealth amongst themselves.

In a Socialist system these castes are broken up, inheritance challenged and money made more available to those at the bottom so they may engage and challenge in competition too.

 

As for Meritocracy, this I think depends on levels. Are you talking about total social Darwinism or a healthy competition within a state where everyone starts out even.

Everyone starting out even is always the problem with Meritocracy, inheritance would have to be abolished, large corperations regularly broken up. All education made standard, all people hearded into similar life choices. True Meritocracy would be something like ancient Sparta.

Social Darwinism is anything but Meritocracy, it's more like Feudalism. A system where 90% of the population start poor and when they fail are described as failing because of their own lack of merit and 10% of the population start out rich and when succeed are described of succeeding because of their virtues.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 13:33

The myth that most of the wealth in the united states is passed down from generation to generation is patently false, 80% of American millionaires did not have parents who were millionaires.  It's also contradictory how people accuse Americans of not saving and then accuse us of hording wealth.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 13:46
Originally posted by Genghis Genghis wrote:

The myth that most of the wealth in the united states is passed down from generation to generation is patently false, 80% of American millionaires did not have parents who were millionaires. 

Their parents weren't paupers either. Your more typical example is Bill Gates who started out with middle class parents who could afford to send him to Harvard.

It's true of course that the US isn't alone in this. Privilege passing along hereditary lines is typical of most societies, even most 'communist' ones. It even in many cases crossed the revolutionary barrier, though I only have anecdotal personal experience of that. East European postgraduate students I met in Britain in the 60s and 70s virtually all had parents who had previously been middle-class professionals, bankers and the like.

Quote

 It's also contradictory how people accuse Americans of not saving and then accuse us of hording wealth.

At the moment most Americans are dis-saving (running down their capital). That's not a moralistic accusation, just a statement of fact. However most Americans who have capital pass it on to their children (or try to). Again, that's not a moralistic accusation, just a statement of fact.

It isn't contradictory, because some Americans do one and some do the other. And, of course again, it's not just true of Americans, it's pretty much universal.

What is hypocritical is to pretend that it is any easier for a poor boy to make a fortune in the US than anywhere else.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 13:55

I think the words like 'socialism', 'capitalism', 'communism', 'liberalism' are now so thoroughly debased that it isn't worth using them any more: we should start again with some new ones.

In fact the best thing of all is to stop the silly Socratic habit of saying 'what is socialism' or 'what is capitalism' or asking questions like 'is socialism better than capitalism' or 'is communism evil or good', and turn to some real issues.

Like 'what should government be trying to achieve with regard to health care, and how can it be most efficiently achieved over the next few years?'

Give up on the unreal universal ideologies, and tackle individual problems in the best way you can as they arise - or, of course better, as you foresee them arising. Whether your solution should be called 'socialist' or 'communist' or 'anarchist' or whatever makes no difference whatsoever.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Herodotus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 14:36

Originally posted by sdavidr sdavidr wrote:


My definition of the new socialism is bringed by the idea of democratics countries like Finland. Economic freedom but with personal high-taxes with a good healt-care system, a good education model, social security benefits, etc.

Those are usually the results of socialism in practice; I think a more effective definition would involve the principles behind those sort of institutions. I can't say that this is the correct definition, because they are subjective, but this would be my definition of socialism as I have understood it: the beleif that individual interest is of less importance than that of society as a whole, and that the purpose of the state should be to provide the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

Meritocracy is not the opposite of socialism, as you seemed to imply. Meritocracy actually has much in common with socialism, as it assumes that people deserve certain privilages from their co-citizens, though in meritocracy competance is the qualification, not simply being human.

My philosophy of the state is best described libertarianism, though it differs in some points from the official libertarian party rhetoric. The purpose of the state should be to maintain the total personal freedom of its citizens, up to the point where the freedom of another citizen is harmed. Generally, this is the basic principle from which all the others of mine derive.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 17:36
But the idea of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is directly opposed the meritocratic idea "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his abilities" with which I would agree.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 18:50

Only on a level playing field.

But how would achieve one outside of a Communist society?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sdavidr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2005 at 21:15
Don't think about the "pure" term, but the "real".

Quote Meritocracy is not the opposite of socialism, as you seemed to imply


Socialism requires cooperation from the participants. People will cooperate to give money for other people. In a meritocracy you don't have to give anything( you gained all the merit, so the money is yours)

Meritocracy is looking for competition everywhere ( a society with winners and losers, where losers couldn't protest but they can gain the "winner" mark in the future):

A friend of mine from Michigan have said :
"The voucher system is a device to subtract whatever cost the private school would incur off of their taxes. And consequently, public school would have to compete with the quality of private schools to maintain their students. It's all win, win. But of course it's the educators screaming bloody murder. Ironic isn't it?"



Quote As for Meritocracy, this I think depends on levels. Are you talking about total social Darwinism or a healthy competition within a state where everyone starts out even.


within a state where everyone starts out even
You have defined exactly what I mean as pure socialism. In a improved "socialism"( not pure) inheritance is permitted but the education is equal for every person in the country( it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor).


From my point of view, social darwinism is the pillar of Meritocracy. Meritocracy started with the first tribes in history. Where someone was stronger than other, where someone was ill so he/she was "eliminated" from the group, etc. After all, Meritocracy it's always inherited. If your surname is Kennedy you will have more opportunities than if your surname is Gonzalez in the USA (that occurs everywhere, not only in US)

Of course there is a good meritocracy and a bad meritocracy.


    Gary Becker,
who in 1992 won the Nobel Prize in Economics :
My belief is that affirmative action is bad for any country that aspires to be a meritocracy, as the United States does, despite past slavery and discrimination that are terrible violations of this aspiration. The case for a meritocracy is that achievements based on merit produces the most dynamic, innovative, and flexible economy and social structure. Encouraging promotion or admission of less qualified applicants because of their race, gender, or other characteristics, clearly violates this principle, and produces a less progressive economy, and a distorted social structure…

Quote

In fact the best thing of all is to stop the silly Socratic habit of saying 'what is socialism' or 'what is capitalism' or asking questions like 'is socialism better than capitalism' or 'is communism evil or good', and turn to some real issues.

Like 'what should government be trying to achieve with regard to health care, and how can it be most efficiently achieved over the next few years?'

Welcome to the real world. First, think about a health care system that works for everyone in your country. After that, you will talk about socialism, meritocracy, liberalism .. Things are not so easy...





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mosquito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2005 at 20:36
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

Socialism is also more Meritocratic than Capitalism.

In a Socialist system these castes are broken up, inheritance challenged and money made more available to those at the bottom so they may engage and challenge in competition too.

Complete nuissence. Socialism was invented when Roman state begined to give grain to the plebs, first for cheap and next for free. So they didnt have to work anymore to get their daily bread - and as history showned - they didnt work. Soon Rome became a place where being a parasite became a job for over half million of people. All they wanted was bread, games and races and it was socialism in pure form. Poor Roman citisens always could have join the army and became relativly rich after their service or go to the province and open buissnes there or even do any profession in Rome. But even those who had profession were working no longer than 2-4 hours a day. When the state cares for people's stomach's and free time it completelly kill any initiative and merit. Sad but truth is that the power and glory of Rome was achieved by the rich who were working to feed the poor.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 02:44
As in most instances of history, it was typically the very poorest who did join the Roman army. Though that is a generalisation regarding Rome and the various military establishments of history generally, it is one which so often holds true.

It is tricky, the whole business of social welfare. How do we give people enough to ensure they can work their way into becoming productive, law abiding and self sufficient members of society without giving them too much that they become bloated and uncompetitive? The truth is there is no absolute answer. The government of the day can only provide as best it can with its current resources while examining the environment in which it is in and gearing the nation to being competitive and adaptable enough to that environment.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 07:10
Originally posted by Mosquito Mosquito wrote:

Socialism was invented when Roman state begined to give grain to the plebs, first for cheap and next for free. So they didnt have to work anymore to get their daily bread - and as history showned - they didnt work. Soon Rome became a place where being a parasite became a job for over half million of people. All they wanted was bread, games and races and it was socialism in pure form.

You're confusing the welfare state with socialism. Rome generated a considerable economic surplus: why shouldn't that be shared around? It's not even as though the surplus was earned by the rich. When the state needs to spend more than it has, you get taxes. When it has more money than it really knows what to do with, you get negative taxes.

Rome just shows how possible it can be to have a welfare state in a non-socialist context, just as some of the oil-rich Middle Eastern undemocratic states do today.

Quote

Poor Roman citisens always could have join the army and became relativly rich after their service or go to the province and open buissnes there or even do any profession in Rome. But even those who had profession were working no longer than 2-4 hours a day. When the state cares for people's stomach's and free time it completelly kill any initiative and merit. Sad but truth is that the power and glory of Rome was achieved by the rich who were working to feed the poor.

Not at all. For one thing the rich were not 'working to feed the poor', they were working for their own comfort and aggrandisement. For another, Rome's riches were earned mostly by its soldiery, not by the rich. And the reason behind the provision of welfare and entertainment, as in most societies, was simply to keep the lower (working or non-working) classes contented, and therefore avoid the kind of uprisings you had, for instance, under Catiline.

 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 07:48

I believe we have some members from Scandinavic countries. They can shed some more light into the whole "meritocratic socialism" system - truly, meritocracy is not the opposite of socialism.

Those countries are operating on what in USA would be called "a socialist economy" - they have ample welfare, a rather high social safety net, free education, healthcare and a host of other more or less impressive ways to redistribute wealth. In the same time, they operate on a full-fledged capitalist market, their companies are private owned,  they have extremely high income levels and extremely competitive economies and extremely high standards of living.

It's not like someone has to reinvent the bloody wheel, just follow what those guys did. They combine the best of two worlds (socialist-capitalist).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sedamoun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 07:52

Meritocracy and Socialism are NOT contradictory... In many countries there is a co-existence of both...

Socialism is about the redistribution of wealth in order to get a very large middle class being the backbone of the society.

Meritocracy, advancement by merit. The system that should be (but is not always) used in companies, organizations, factories... This exists to some extent, eventhough a very marge part of advancements and employment in companies are the results of contacts (personal relations).

Cheers

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sdavidr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 10:02
I will expose an example, you may agree or not with that :

Think about personal tax burden, there are countries like Sweden or Finland where the personal income tax rate is approximately 60 %.

For every 100$ you have gained with your merit you have to pay 60$.
A person that has no worked in a year but has problems with alcohol doens't pay anything but he receives part of the money paid by another person who has worked sharply.  That's the argument meritocratics use defending their interests.


A liberal meritocracy is where you can decide if you want to pay taxes ( so you have a welfare state included in your rights) or you may decide to stay out of the socialist system and become a free-rider,so you pay for the services you need.

I'm noy saying which one is the correct position, but I'm trying to show
what's going on in the actual politics.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 10:09

An actual meritocracy would be a state where everybody would have the same chance at gaining more than everybody else. Capitalism is not meritocracy, it's exactly the opposite: enables people of little or no value to have more (in some cases 1.000X more) than the next man, just because they were born in the right environment, got lucky or were ruthless enough.

That ain't merit, you know!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 10:51
Originally posted by Alkiviades Alkiviades wrote:

An actual meritocracy would be a state where everybody would have the same chance at gaining more than everybody else. Capitalism is not meritocracy, it's exactly the opposite: enables people of little or no value to have more (in some cases 1.000X more) than the next man, just because they were born in the right environment, got lucky or were ruthless enough.

That ain't merit, you know!

The wages people get are the market price of their labor and skills, why would an economy full of people out to maximize their own self interest sustain such a class of people?

Furthermore, you all are talking about how bad it is that some people inherit large sums of money.  If I made millions by developing a new aircraft or something and want to give that to my children when I die, that's my right.  I earned that money and can do what I want with it, and the only legitimate reason the government can take it from me is to provide goods for the benefit of the entire nation like roads, a police force, an army, and schools.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sedamoun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 10:57

So you are opposing socialism to ultra liberalism? Am i wrong sdavidr?

If that is the case, i am all for socialism... As a swede, i can tell you that everybody doesn't pay 60% of what they earn... we have income levels...

Approximatly:

If you earn 3200$/month or less you only pay about 30% of what you earn.

If you earn more than 4000$/month you pay 50% (maximum fee). If you earn huge sums of money you may have to pay tax on wealth.

There is a different tax system (in every country) if you are an employee or an employer.

I do not see the problem with paying more if you earn more, often society survives thanks to hard working blue collars and low income employees (1000-3000$/month) in the Service sector. Why not give them more social benefits ? Better schools for the children ? Good healthcare ? Equal chances to an education ?

Cheers.

P.S Eventhough this type of system works in small counrties like Sweden, Finaland, Norway and Denmark, I can see the problems with such a system on very large scale. It might not work as well (but it can still work).



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AlbinoAlien Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 11:28

 

What is hypocritical is to pretend that it is any easier for a poor boy to make a fortune in the US than anywhere else.

 

[/QUOTE]

what about oprah winfrey? lol before.. the....surgery.....when she was a...........

 

(this "surgery never really happened iam just saying this for humor so dont sue me oprah.)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sdavidr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2005 at 11:43
I add some information,

Source : http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-liberalism.htm

The debate between equality vs. merit is one of the oldest in our society. When merit is rewarded, competition becomes supreme, the fittest survive, and people get what they deserve. When rewards are given out equally, people become more pleasant and civilized to each other, but incentive falls, since trying harder doesn't get you anywhere.

For classification purposes, there are three types of societies: egalitarian, moderated meritocracy, and unrestricted meritocracy.

Socialism is the best example of an egalitarian society. When Marx wrote "From each according to his ability, and to each according to his needs," he was acknowledging that people are certainly born with different abilities, but they should be rewarded equally.

Libertarianism is the closest example of an unrestricted meritocracy, where there are the fewest constraints on the fittest reaching the top. Unfortunately, we have no historical examples of such a government.

Conservatism and liberalism are examples of moderated meritocracies. In a moderated meritocracy, the most successful continue to be rewarded the most, but a percentage of their power or income is redistributed back to the middle and lower class. Liberals, who lean more towards equality, believe the degree of redistribution should be rather high; conservatives, who lean more towards merit, believe that it should be rather low. In our economy, a progressive tax code achieves this effect, and liberals and conservatives argue over how steep its progressivity should be.


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