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Economic participation should be meaningful

A strong economy is the foundation for an enlightened society. It is illogical to invest heavily in higher-level goals like leisure and the arts before people are fed and roads are built. But once the economy is robust enough to meet the basic needs of every citizen, it become necessary to examine how to incentivize the economy to ensure that those needs do indeed get met.

Beyond the False Dichotomy

The false dichotomy between capitalism and socialism that is presented in many political debates is a ridiculous oversimplification, a straw man argument coming from both sides. We have never had a system with total communal ownership of all industry and property, nor have we ever had a fully privatized anarcho-capitalist dystopia.

Capitalism is by far the best economic system for promoting innovation, increasing efficiency and production, and distributing the goods produced with fair prices. However, this system breaks down when the incentives created by the profit motive are in conflict with promoting happiness and well-being in society. The quintessential example of this is health care, where it is more profitable to treat symptoms than cure illnesses and people have little choice about when and how they consume health care services in an emergency.

Socialism, in terms of State Ownership, is more appropriate in systems that are "natural monopolies" like utilities and roads that are consumed by everyone and would require unnecessary redundant infrastructure to allow competition. Education benefits everyone in society who prefers not to be surrounded by idiots, regardless of whether you have children yourself. The social safety net cannot be privatized without leaving out the poorest people who need it the most, and for many reasons charity will never be able to make up the difference.

However, Socialism actually refers to Worker Ownership. State ownership is how the means of production has been ostensibly transferred to the workers in the most commonly referenced historical examples, but modern socialist movements tend to promote worker equity and board representation, worker cooperatives and other alternative forms of incorporation. This gives workers a fair share of profits and an equal say in their own working conditions without reverting to a command economy and losing the flexibility and efficiency of capital markets.

What Do Happy Countries Do?

The world's happiest countries all have strong socialist institutions that serve the public interest while allowing for free-market capitalism in industry and commerce. We can have good faith arguments on the margins about whether certain specific parts of the economy could be privatized or socialized, but anyone advocating for 100% one of the other has fallen for the fallacy of the moral trump card and chooses ideology over reason.

What you consider best practices for things like monetary policy, trade and taxation, your conclusions depend on the overriding goal of the economic policy. Metrics like GDP which only correlate to improvements in quality of life will never improve quality of life as directly as it would if quality of life itself was the metric.

Detailing an authoritative list of economic best practices is far beyond the scope of this wiki. But their development should be approached from the perspective that we should start out by studying and emulating those economies that have resulted in the highest quality of life, and use happiness and well-being as the metric by which we judge our economic success.

Evolution, Not Revolution

By changing the incentives and metersticks by which we measure economic success, the economy will use this new generating equation to self-organize into one that is more just, offers better jobs for higher wages, more leisure time, worker ownership, a strong social safety net, and all the other practical things that people who talk about socialism want.

This does not require the overthrow of capitalism or even the current political class. It simply takes a sustained effort at the ballot box to change the incentives of the politicians. Once you have a significant majority in favor (which will be easier with incrementalist policy), these changes can be easily implemented by changing incentives in the tax code, resuming antitrust enforcement, and adjusting a few labor regulations.

For example, if you tax corporations that have a higher percentage employee ownership at a significantly lower rate than those with less worker control, capitalists will have very strong incentives to restructure accordingly. Either they offer significant ownership to workers just to optimize their tax liabilities, or they face competition from companies that do who have significantly lower overhead.

Yes, the capitalists will turn the propaganda up to 11 in order to prevent such reforms, but they will have the wide public support necessary to enable them democratically that will not be possible with more confiscatory approaches that would lead to significant upheaval.

It's not socialism. It's just better capitalism.

Money Music

When people create music about capitalism it's not usually because they are happy about it. Not what you would expect if it's working as well as some people say it is.

Anti-Flag - The Economy is Dying ... Let it Die