“Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.”
In the traditional, European views of socialism, the government takes control of major industries and attempts to run them at a profit. With industrial profits going to the state rather than capitalists, so the theory goes, they can be better purposed to serve the general welfare and create public goods. Often this is done with an eye to controlling the commanding heights of a country’s economy, so that even issues such as resource utilization, infrastructure development, and labor force issues can be controlled by the state.
Obama is not a socialist in this sense. people who claim he is are wrong and misguided. It is unfair to Obama and to our country to claim the President is a European-style socialist.
In the contemporary, Chinese view of socialism, the government acts as both a regulator to and a competitor in major industries. For instance, Xinhua is a large news bureau and a regulator of news bureau. The old Ministry of Communications both ran a large national cell phone system, and regulated portable telephony. In this way, the government can subject the economy to national control while avoiding some of the inefficiencies (such as labor protection) that come from turning workers into public servants.
Obama is a socialist in the Chinese sense.
The US government is not a regulator and a competitor in industries as diverse as insurance, banking, and automobiles. Obama is planning to deepen the government’s rule both as a regulator and competitor in health care, and some even want him to expand this into the news media. As a country, we support single family public housing projects. Just as in China, the American government (and its apologists) use vague, opaque, behind-closed-door methods to regulate and compete in our increasingly socialist economy.
These methods allow apologists for the administration to defend its policies, by simply denying that non-existant bills have non-exisstant clauses. The health care debate is one example. Obama has provided only vague guidance for the new system. Therefore, when critics of the plan note that the only way you can increase coverage and decrease costs is through rationing, bloggers and columnists call these critics liars.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics is no more honest in the United States than in China.
Many reasons are used to support our Chinese Socialism. It is important to give jobs to Michigan. Health care to the unemployed. Fight terrorism. Keep people in their homes. It is not that these aren’t valid reasons, but that using socialism with Chinese characteristics as a tool is a new & dangerous trend in American politics.
And it is happening almost without public debate, except for misguided accusations against Obama for some EuroSocialism that he surely does not hold.
Obama is a socialist with Chinese characteristics.