An Anonymous Coward writes:
The Guardian reports that "socialism" was the most looked-up word on Merriam-Webster's site this year, a change the American dictionary publisher attributes to US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has positioned of himself as a "democratic socialist".
As a socialist (or communist) myself, I personally think it's great that especially people from the United States try to figure out the meaning of the word beyond McCarthyism. I'm glad that people show interest in politics and finding out about positions of candidates.
Past years winners are available on Wikipedia.
a government takeover
It appears that you think you're describing Socialism.You're not.You're describing Totalitarianism.
All the Cold War "information" you absorbed was propaganda.You need to forget it and start over with a clean slate.
Here, I'll get you started.A Socialist system has the workers making all the decision via a democratic vote.Everyone's vote is equal to anyone else's vote.Any "government" structure is only a proxy for the people and is easily recalled/replaced.No actual power is vested in "government"; they're just hired hands to make sure the scheduling gets done.
I’m pretty sure businesses ran by the state is the defining factor of socialism.
If your system traded 1 set of overlords for another set of overlords, you still have Capitalism.In this case, that would be called State Capitalism. [wikipedia.org]
The defining element of Socialism, once again, is collective ownership of the means of production.Ownership means that you get to make the decisions about that stuff you own.
In Socialism, those decisions are made by The Workers via a Democratic vote--1 worker, 1 vote (with every worker's vote equal to any other worker's vote).If you arrive at your workplace and leave Democracy outside the door, you don't have Socialism.
Unless you're starting from a clean slate, where no one owns anything -- for this vote by the workers to have power, the means of production must first be taken away from someone else (namely, whoever owns it). How is this different from ordinary totalitarianism?
You've never seen a **new** business start up?You've never seen a e.g. lawn care business spring from nothing except what folks already have?
You've never heard of Uber or Lyft?The workers own the means of production.Those *could* have been set up as a worker-owned cooperative and we'd have a fine example of how it works.Notice how the owners of the central computers have instead fallen into the greedy, deceitful model so familiar with Capitalists.
I have previously posted an item about how home healthcare workers formed a cooperative.Minimal stuff needs to be supplied by the workers there; they supply labor and mostly use the clients' stuff.
I mentioned in another thread the other day that Finland had an idea to use a small portion of tax money to fund new collectives.If you had followed my links about Italy, you would have seen that they have had a startup funding scheme since the 1980s.
The fixation of you and your ilk on top-down paradigms shows narrow^W no thinking.Your limited life experiences and lack of imagination are depressing.
Most of the bits you're saying at the end are in the US Constitution. With safe guards in place (2nd Amendment) to ensure that the government doesn't get too big for it's britches. Though, really, the government is way past that point. The government is trampling all over the Constitution and no one cares enough to do something about it. Why? Money, is about as good of an answer as I can see. Assuming we actually stuck to the ideals of the US Constitution, we would be in a better place than we are now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_service [wikipedia.org] There's a reason why they are called Civil Servants. The ideal behind it is that they are working for the people, but that fact seems to get lost in the shuffle all too quickly. In reality there can't be a perfect form of government, but no form of socialism that I have seen has been any better than the Capitalist mentality of the US. There are plenty that are worse off though.
Socialism is an *economic* system.The governmental system is Democracy.Until people understand that, progress on the discussion of Socialism will remain a case of determining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
are in the US Constitution
I suggest that you get a copy of that and compare it to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Be prepared to be thoroughly shocked at the contrast.
no form of socialism that I have seen
You could have mentioned an actual EXAMPLE so that someone could make an actual analysis.In this (meta)thread I have mentioned the Mondragon cooperative and the thousands of worker-owned cooperatives in northern Italy.Mondragon doesn't have layoffs; during lean times, the worker-owners adjust work schedules so that everybody still has a job and an income.Your **not any better than Capitalism** statement is easily rebutted and shows your narrow view of the world (due to Lamestream Media, I'm betting).
...and we're getting into the DPRK thing again where entities call themselves 1 thing and actually are quite another.Cuba *calls* itself Socialist, but is hardly a workers' paradise.Cuba's gov't DOES have 1 guideline that I rather like:An individual is allowed to own a (Capitalist, obviously) business BUT he is not allowed to franchise or make that into a chain operation.In Cuba, (abusive) megacorporations are clearly not a thing.
N.B. USA.gov keeps trumpeting how it is "opening up" Cuba.That remains to be seen.When USA megacorporations butt heads with the mandates of Cuba's revolutionary framework, I foresee a giant stall in the USAification of Cuba.