My Progressive Novel
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I'm a social worker and I'm tired of helping one person at a time. I have a masters in national social welfare policy, and have my own economic model to reconcile socialism and capitalism. Instead of a dissertation that nobody reads, almost nobody, I wrote it into an action novel with enough sex, drugs and violence to keep 'em turning the pages. It's called The Firewall Sedition" and it's on Amazon Kindle. You don't need a Kindle to read it and I'll send you guys one for free if you send me an email address. My protagonist is an economist who starts a viral movement to nationalize the oil companies and runs for his life. What timing.
I'm intrigued. Is this an actual national economic model that you think would actually work in "the real world" that you've built a fictional story around?
to nationalize the oil companies
Most oil companies are nationalized. As David Brooks pointed out today (source):
"In America, we use the phrase Big Oil to describe Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and others. But that just shows how parochial we are. In fact, none of these private companies make it on a list of the world’s top 13 energy companies. ... (Private companies) produce just 10 percent of the world’s oil and gas and hold only about 3 percent of the world’s reserves."Meanwhile, nationalized energy companies--Aramco, Gazprom are all deeply emeshed in politics as a prop for the political elite in repressive countries to stay in power.
#2: As to how fictional the premise is, like with what Tim points out with the nationalized oil companies, the idea of combining socialism with capitalism is something we already have now. In the history of most western countries, capitalism was tried first and it served to build up the wealth and well-being of the population. Socialism came afterwards when the populace was wealthy enough to not become too bothered about some of their wealth being stolen (and then cranked up little by little like with the frog in the pot allegory). Every parasite benefits from a healthy host. Many third-world countries, on the other hand, erroneously tried to put socialism before capitalism and have thus had a much more bumpy ride towards modernity.
Capitalism was tried and failed that is why is we have socialism and post free market liberalism. Adam Smith's utopia never arrived with bare capitalism--the history of the 19th Century is object proof of that assertion. Today's liberals are yesterday's classic liberals. They have come to realize that equality and justice cannot be realized by capitalism. Adam Smith promoted free markets as a means for eventual equality (not the equality of starting the race from the same place but the egalitarianism of the French Revolution) hence the title progressive.
It is a modern misconception that Adam Smith and John Locke were conservatives. They were progressives as the term is presently used.
And as for socialism being theft the robbery began with the capitalist trusts and slave owners. The "redistribution of wealth" is a misconceived phrase. It is actually returning the wealth from the thieves who stole it in the first place and in a just socialist society you will not need a "redistribution of wealth" because "the wealth" will never have been stolen by the rich. In the mixed market economies of Western Europe wealth redistribution (high taxes) are used to keep the classes from civil war by providing services to the poor and maintaining a high standard of living for the working class. The people there are happier and more prosperous than Americans--which makes sense seeing how paranoid Americans are over their welfare in a society that despises freedom in the name of privilege.
The product of 19th Century laissez-faire capitalism was a deep reaction to its injustices in the form of socialism and unionism. Americans have yet to learn this lesson as they are still in the thrall of religion and patriotism. By the way privatization has not to bettered the prospective enterprises but worsened them. BP was owned by the British government until Thatcher privatized it and since then it has become more and more corrupt and inefficient. The utilities of California were privatized in the 1990s which led to rolling blackouts in the 2000s. Arizona's prisons were privatized they have become worse than the State owned prisons.
You cannot reconcile capitalism with socialism or mix the two, that is what the fascists and communists of the 20th Century tried to do and you see how those experiments turned out.
The just society and human progress can come about only with the annihilation of capitalism and its replacement with socialism. Western Europe is closer to that reality than America but even those societies are to some extent flawed to the extent of the capitalism mixed in.
The reason the Scandinavian countries are so liberal is that those countries have a tradition of continuous democracy longer than England and the U.S. Women played a great role in those societies and the various "Things" or parliaments that were practiced by pre-Christian Germanic societies (which find their like in some of the pre-Columbian societies of the Americas) have led to the growth and acceptance of socialism even as the societies discuss (politically) how to reach the aims of society in terms of health care, prosperity and sustainable growth.
In capitalist/fascist/communist dictatorships these are not seen as goals but inhibitions. The reason Right Wingers like Penn & Teller hate environmentalism so much is that their capitalist philosophy blinds them to problems of pollution. They would rather ignore the research of independent scientists and call it a "conspiracy" than admit the failure of their philosophy. For them to accept that would mean ditching their capitalist ideology. Just as Creationists cannot accept Evolution because it negates their fundamentalist ideology. Reality has a way of putting conservatism on shaky ground.
It is impossible to establish an online forum in which to discuss liberal-progressive ideas, because they are invariably swamped, disrupted, and destroyed by right-wing ideological spammers posting off-topic. #4 is an example --
". . . . In the history of most western countries, capitalism was tried first and it served to build up the wealth and well-being of the population."
-- and as usual without a shred of substantiation.
"Socialism came afterwards when the populace was wealthy enough to not become too bothered about some of their wealth being stolen . . . ."
As invariably, such know-nothings present themselves as being aligned with the Founders -- the actual views of whom on these issues are clearly and unequivocally opposite:
IX. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and therefore, is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto . . . .
First constitution of Vermont, Established by Convention July 2, 1777.
X. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property; and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service, when necessary, or an equivalent thereto . . . .
Second constitution of Vermont, completed in convention July 4, 1786; adopted by legislature March, 1787.
Bill of Rights, Article I.
III. When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others . . . .
XII. Every member of the community has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty and property; he is therefore bound to contribute his share in the expence of such protection, and to yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent. . . .
New Hampshire constitution, in convention, at Concord, October 31, 1783, implemented June 2, 1784.
Contrary to the know-nothing myth, the Founders were FOR gov't; that's why they are called FOUNDERS. And, as the above writings by them illustrate, they KNEW that the means to support the gov'ts they founded was that of TAXATION.
And, as invariably, the know-nothings reveal their "values" --
". . . . Every parasite benefits from a healthy host."
Several individuals, well known to history, were expert at divisiveness, and determining who the "parasite" is. One of those individuals was named Adolph Hitler.
"Many third-world countries, on the other hand, erroneously tried to put socialism before capitalism and have thus had a much more bumpy ride towards modernity."
It never fails that the know-nothings leave out particular realities which are directly relevant. One of those is the process of underdevelopment imposed by, as example, the US on Central and S. American countries, in furtherance of US capitalism and corporate power.
Another example is the numerous "mini"-wars imposed by the US on those countries whenever their legitimate sovereign interests interfered with those of the US's capitalist/corporate powers. Was the US's 1954 overthrow of the democratically-elected democratic gov't of Guatemala intended to further the interests of Guatemala? Or of United Fruit?
How about that of the democratically-elected gov't of Chile? How about the imposition of the Shah on Iran?
And what of the on-again off-again alliance with "oppressive" "dictator" Sadam Hussein?
All of which interventions had negative economic consequences for those countries -- for which consequences the defenders of privilege blame the victims of those consequences.
Who democratically elected the US to determine for other sovereign nations what "self-determinations" they will be allowed?
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