Describe why a poor person in a socialist country might reject capitalism and prefer a socialist state.
8 Answers | Add Yours
There is security in being guaranteed basic needs. Socialist countries provide for their citizens - there is no concern about unequal access to housing or food or other basic requirements. There may not be a wide variety of goods, there may not be easy access, but there won't be the great gulf between the "haves" and the "have nots" that is growing wider every year in the US.
Capitalism, in order to be a truly capitalist country, requires a great deal of involvement and education and acceptance of responsibility on the part of its citizens. For those who have lived under a socialist system, this is a huge and sometimes downright intimidating proposition. It's easier to allow the government to make hard decisions for you than to have to research the facts, consider the possibilities, and make and defend your point of view yourself.
A socialist state is more apt to find his basic needs met in a socialist state without the competitive element which capitalism by its very nature creates. Those in a Capitalist state are largely incapable of competing for scarce resources with the wealthy and powerful; although the proponents of capitalism often speak of "economic freedom," they never speak of economic equality, which is considered anathema. If one reads The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which was originally written as a socialist manifesto; one grasps immediately how capitalism fails those at the lower end of the economic ladder and how socialism thus becomes appealing. When one understands this, the rejection of capitalism by the poor is almost reflexive.
Look at the 20th century rebellions in Latin America, which were, for the most part, socialist or communist ones. Tell a rural, indigenous poor person in El Salvador that under socialism, their children will receive education, medical care, work, and most importantly, land. In the desperate (and long term) economic state they were in, what did they have to lose? Capitalism only functions when there is a reasonable belief on the part of the population that they, too, can participate in the success and progress that the system has to offer. The larger the gap between rich and poor, the smaller the middle class, the more class conflict and rebellion is going to take place.
During the Cold War, the US tried to build up economies around the world (through, for example, the Marshall Plan) in order to reduce poverty and the risk of the spread of socialism/communism. The reason for this is that poor people often feel abused by capitalism and think that a socialist system where everyone is equal is more fair.
Capitalism tends to create winners and losers. The poor are the losers in capitalism. If you are losing under some particular system, it makes sense that you would want a different system. Since socialism promises to create greater equality, it would be attractive to those who are in a subordinate position in a capitalist system.
I remember visiting the former Yugoslavia and speaking to friends of mine who had lived under the communist regime and now had also experienced the capitalist system. I was surprised to hear that they thought that life was wonderful under the communist system. There were clear entitlements that every citizen had: the right to a job, the right to study, the right to medical care and attention. According to them, life had only gone downhill after the end of communism for them. As #2 observes, there were more safeguards for the people of socialist regimes regardless of their own level of income.
Simply put, the poor person in the socialist state has more amenities than the capitalist state. If a poor person existed in the capitalist state, they would have more challenges to face in that the government and the privatized nature of business would not offer up as much support than the socialist one. The private nature of economic growth and the ownership of the means of production allows businesses and government, to an extent, in the capitalist state to not really be too concerned with the plight of the poor. In the socialist state, the public ownership of businesses and the means of production is configured so that there are more amenities and safeguarding measures for the poor person. Presumably and in theory, the nationalized and public nature of businesses and government allow more to be offered to all people. For example, nationalized health care in socialist countries give health care to all people. This includes the rich and the poor. Capitalist nations, in contrast, feature private health care providers, and with such a business model, it stands to reason that poor people could be denied health care coverage. It stands to reason that the poor person in a socialist state would live a better life, from an economic standpoint, than one in the capitalist state.
We’ve answered 319,622 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question