Socialism in different countries

What would you characterize economic systems in the following countries as: poor in S America: Venezuela, Cuba; rich in W Europe: Sweden; Germany; rich in Oceania: Australia? What share (%) of socialism in the economy do they have? Why some of them present themselves as capitalist while being to a sufficient degree socialist in essence? How about some from another end of the spectrum: Bangladesh, Philippines? It seems that all capitalist countries in the poor half of the world are strikingly similar to one another. Why not start implementing some the initiatives there? Are you involved in collaboration with socialist parties internationally?

Official response from submitted

To answer this requires defining what one means by "socialism." If, as often happens, socialism refers to the extent of governmental intervention in an otherwise private capitalist economy, then almost all countries have "some socialism." In the list of countries you mention, only the degree/extent of such government intervention varies and that variation mostly depends on the specific history, politics and culture of each country.

However, if by socialism is meant a fundamentally different organization - at the micro level - of enterprises/workplaces, the answer to your question would be very different. In none of the countries your email mentions, has there been a large-scale transformation of workplaces from the top-down, hierarchical capitalist model (corporations with shareholders, boards of directors, mass of employees) to the radically other worker-cooperative model where all the basic enterprise decisions are made democratically by all the workers interacting with the democratically determined interests of the residential communities and customers that interact with such enterprises. That kind of socialism is what is emerging in the 21st century and will challenge all the countries you mention and indeed many more.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-02-07 10:22:07 -0500
  • reader 58
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-02-06 19:30:42 -0500