[WHINE]Democratic society was created on the
'egalitarian' society model. The commoners besieging Bastille had
the anthem 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' – one that would
become the motto and modeling block for free society everywhere. The
was clear, society could no longer be divided along the hierarchical
the haves – the kings and nobility and the have nots – the
merchants, the traders, the peasants and the common man. The hierarchy
had to make way for a society – where everyone was free.
All men are created equal and have equal rights, is
resounding principle that reverberates in every Democratic constitution.
Throughout the evolution of modern society people have fought hard to
the concept of equality and equal opportunity. Society agreed that all
had the right to vote. We prohibited separation and segregation. People
the right to education, the right to own property, the right to
is evident that without 'egalitarianism' most of us would be second
class citizens in an hierarchy with no rights and no opportunity.
Yet despite the history of 'egalitarian' society
and how every human is dependent on 'egalitarianism', many modern
societies have developed a tendency to balk at 'egalitarianism' as
a dirty taboo word. Despite all the equity we support and continue to
and actually depend on as humans – many seem to be averse to the concept
of socioeconomic equity and parity.
So what is the reason we are averse to such equity?
One of the primary reasons is that people do not
such equity programs as 'fair'. In fact they perceive it as an
'unfair' system that tries to give 'special treatment'
to some people. The argument is that the free market economy runs on
demand and supply mechanisms that set everything competitively. People
to enter and leave as they wish, put as much as effort as they wish and
the just rewards. Everyone invests a share of time and effort and gets
monetary rewards they deserve for that investment. Anyone who falls
is unsuccessful is of their own accord. They have not invested the time
effort that is needed to get the monetary rewards they desire. Any
with this system encourages people to be lazy and incompetent. It
holds back the people who are making economic progress to provide
the incompetent population.
Ideally this is the economy we want. A free market
level playing field without monarchs and nobility or governmental
any sort. A pure meritocracy where everyone gets their dues on their
Unfortunately, a meritocracy is not we have here. The monarchs and
yesteryear who exploited people to create rigid hierarchies have now
replaced by modern day conglomerates who function similarly. There are
barriers built into free trade that prohibit fair competition. The
classes are kept suppressed beneath a certain level while the rich get
richer. Wages, prices, employment, business – nothing is conducted
Taking the Nike example – people in third world
countries are willing to work long hours in sweatshops for a dollar a
simply to make ends meet. Why would Nike want to pay anyone else $15-$20
hour for the same job? The demand is cheap labor, the supply is cheap
– that's where the curves meet and that's where Nike
is. However, in a free market there is not a large amount of displaced
labor. The equilibrium should be where a large quantity of workers work
minimum they would wish to receive to make basic expenses – while a
quantity of workers work at the maximum they can expect to receive and
comfortably. We have an equilibrium price where most employees cannot
afford to work at equilibrium price as it falls far below the basic cost
living. Most employees working at equilibrium are working at extreme
minimum which they are compelled to accept as equilibrium. This
nowhere close to being the equilibrium as defined by market economics.
supply are microeconomic principles to explain smaller markets and
Global society and economy is a macroeconomic market where varied
regional inflation, cost of living, unemployment rate, price indies etc
the economics in a way that cannot be simply determined by demand supply
Also let us remember that this is a system where
careers and certain jobs cap off at a level no matter how much effort an
employee puts in. Let us take a social worker, non-profit lawyer etc.
have advanced degrees, many put in almost 60-80 hours in a week, yet
earn far less than others who work less and have less education. Of
career is a choice and we can say they made the choice of not choosing a
pay career. But at the same time should there not be a base level of
welfare/sustenance affordable to all equitably. The higher wage earners
always have access to their luxuries, but can we not have a base that is
It is the same egalitarian concept that said human
are not slaves, the rich cannot abuse the poor, you cannot exploit one
However, despite awareness of inequalities and
within the system – most people would rather the system have its unfair
flaws rather than fix it. The perception is that the cure is worse than
disease. What is the rationale for this?
The failure of communism: One of the biggest
most people averse to social equity is the failure of communism. The
system was the biggest failure on its promise. People were further
and suffered much more than under free market systems. Leaders usurped
and control for themselves and were ignorant as to the needs of the
other flaw with Communism was equity without meritocracy. It tried to
flat equal wages, benefits, lifestyle completely ignoring different
and needs of people. Clearly it was a poor economic choice system, that
failure – it does not support equity or merit.
However, comparison to communism is unfair because
and social equity are two completely different ball games. Communism is
extreme system. It was almost medieval in the fact that government
(like how corporate is king in extreme capitalism). It completely
difference in human merit. Social equity tries to bring balance and
Skepticism of Eurosocialism: Europe is often
as the role model for free markets balancing social equity. Scandinavian
countries are the most liberal models, while the other countries serve
moderate models. Labor laws, market laws, business laws all put checks and balances on businesses and prevent imbalance. There are many base economic benefits afforded to all citizens. Overall the result has been successful, citizens mention being happy and satisfied with economic opportunities and outcomes. The economies have been relatively stable.
However, Europe has not been infallible to market
shifts. EU countries have not been known for 'growth' really, they tend to be more 'static' economies and for more people 'dips' are better than no growth. Even India, Brazil etc have been attributed in being faster growing to watch economies. Moreover, the crashes in Iceland and Greece, and the more recent Euro value crash proved that even Euro socialism is as susceptible to capital market crashes and is impacted by it.
Most skeptics also feel that Eurosocialism is a temporary Utopia bubble that will soon break and crash just like its predecessor communism did. The security and satisfaction cannot be sustained long term or modeled elsewhere.
Eurosocialism is still a nascent idea. To call it a failure or success is too early. Only in the long run can the merit of an economic model be truly assessed. I'm positive and optimistic of the economic models, especially in Scandinavian countries. However, only over the next decade or so after this recession will we be able to better call on that model. For now it is too early for either side to call.
Fear of big Government: The primary fear for any social equity model is that lawmaking and decision making goes in the hands of the government. Considering a country like India or other similar countries, governments are so corrupt, vote driven and apathetic that it is virtually impossible to implement such models. There are also excessively large mismanaged public sectors which are actually hindering market economy and growth in India.
In the United States people have always been averse to government. Each state is constitutionally a separate part of the union and they prefer decentralization. The country was built on somewhat anti singular central power. Centralized ventures are always deemed as failures and anti-people. I can understand the case against government in India; however, USA government has achieved more and can be pushed for more.
Where there is a Will: A lot of people, especially those who have succeeded coming from humble beginnings do believe that anything can be achieved with hard work and effort. They feel that if they can attain their success and wealth then anyone can do that too. They perceive themselves as the norm rather than an exception. Due to their success they tend to feel that the barriers, limitations and exploitation are exaggerated.
It is true that where there is a will there there is a way. We have plenty of rags to riches stories to be inspired from. These people truly deserve recognition for their achievements. And yes barriers have fallen as more people do rise to the top. However, the fact is a lot of these people are either exceptional or lucky. For ordinary Joe Schmo even wills and ways, lead to dead ends and concrete ceilings.
Either way all is not lost. There is still hope. Despite how averse people may appear towards egalitarianism the spirit of equity still remains within most communities. Rags to riches people like Oprah are always giving back in many ways. More importantly so is the average person. Despite the recession - Americans donated generously to the Haiti funds. Americans still comprise the largest percentages of volunteers in groups like Peace Corps, Red Cross and other charities. Every day more and more people startup side charities which rather than monetary donations actually go to various places and countries and perform service to improve. And a lot of these people are middle class. People still believe in egalitarianism - the only problem is they believe in it only if they have the control - not a government. We have to find a way to channel this faith into concrete actions towards equity.
Of course there are major challenges in the way that we have not resolved for years
1) Over population
2) The trailer park syndrome: The syndrome where the economically actually prefer to be economically backward so that they do not need to exercise fiscal responsibility and good citizen ship. There have been several instances in India where slum dwellers have sold their houses received in government schemes and moved back to slums. African Americans have been known to harass and abuse African Americans who excel at school or compete with the white kids for being too white and tarnish their success as 'race traitors' (I do that for Bobby Jindal
3) Moral imperialism: The sweat shop situation is iffy. A lot of people feel that shutting down sweatshops and forcing Nike and co to pay more is the solution. The problem with this which many Asian social workers have expressed is that sweat shop children now forced into sex trade and prostitution - if there are no sweatshops. Many live in a world where sweatshop is a lesser evil. Parents can be abusive and/or alcoholic. There are issues due to lack of education. There are a lot more issues to be fixed along with economic parity. It is a long road ahead. [/WHINE]
@G And Qwerty - do you plan to carry your ridiculous language back and forth here too?