, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
THIS. Left & right alike need remedial education in these basic terms of political economy.

THE definition of “socialism” Is what @RadioFreeTom put between quotes.

Sweden, Denmark et al? See “social democracy.”

US/UK in progressive phases like New Deal? See “welfare state” /1
“Welfare state” doesn’t go over well because of our colloquial use of “welfare” (in the US) to refer to public assistance payments. In social science it refers to measures taken in a market economy to improve welfare of the people (e.g., Social Security or Medicare). /2
Healthcare is the best example. Obamacare is not socialism. Nor is Medicare (status quo or “for all”). “Socialized medicine” would be employment of medical professionals by the government. Single-payer systems like Medicare exist that are most definitely NOT socialism. /3
We also lazily conflate centrally planned, command-and-control systems of commerce (as in the old USSR) with socialism (government ownership of means of production). The former always fails because it’s *implossible* to allocate resources as efficiently as markets do. /4
Capitalism ≠ unregulated free markets. People railing against it on the left ( *cough* AOC) are mislabeling what they should be calling laissez-faire, crony capitalism, plutocracy, corporate welfare, etc. — examples of political failure to rationally regulate markets. /5
People like Devin Nunes referring to environmental regulation about straws as “socialism”? That’s just staggeringly stupid, disingenuous, or both. But in fairness, right-wing media have been playing that game so long it make be impossible for those steeped in it to escape. /6
Explain to a RWNJ that the US military is one of the purest forms of socialism in existence in America and listen to the crickets. /7
Granted I may have majored in economics, but this is stuff I still remember from a *high school intro econ course* an embarrassing number of years/decades ago. (Shout out to Mr. Wright. Go Vikings!)
Asterisk: US military is actually a great example of our *mixed* economy: Predominantly capitalist, with a few sectors like mil over which govt holds a monopoly — but even then, defense contractors have long played a major role. Planes and tanks aren’t made in gov factories. /8
Virtually every debate on these subjects boils down to A) the extent of govt participation in/regulation of economic activities or B) tradeoffs between maximizing individual liberty & achieving communitarian goals like equality, justice, or integrity—in a capitalist framework. /9
Those are points on a spectrum (two distinct axes), not a shouting match between cartoonish “socialism” on one side and “capitalism” on the other.

/soapbox
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