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AIBU?

To think that if you want to know why socialist ideals don't work....

26 replies

somebrightmorning · 13/12/2019 18:42

just visit a school playground or, in particular, a nativity play and observe the behaviour of the parents......

that is all really.

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greenlynx · 13/12/2019 18:45

Could you explain a bit what you mean? Interested genuinely

ThisIsSanta · 13/12/2019 18:48

Those are not socialist ideals at work though are they. Rather they are self serving self centred ideals at work.

Perhaps if socialist ideas were held in higher esteem and modelled world wise they would be more respected and used.

Pilipilihoho · 13/12/2019 18:50

I think OP means that they'll always be undermined by human nature and human behaviour...

somebrightmorning · 13/12/2019 19:13

Hi Greenlynx, yes, I mean exactly what Pilipilihoho says.

Most playground parents are prepared to be "nice" about other people's children right up to the point where there is a chance - even a tiny scintilla of a chance - of that child doing better than their own child or even getting close to being able to compete with their own child or reducing by any amount the resources devoted to their own child.

An audience of parents filing into a nativity play (and it's the same at secondary even) and doing all those sharp-elbowed behaviours that they do at nativities is like human nature with its mask off really . I honestly think it's why socialism doesn't work.

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greenlynx · 13/12/2019 21:02

Oh, I see now. My DC has additional needs so my feelings at the playground and at the school events are very different and usually too much issues to notice other parents.
I agree - human nature stays the same all the time. People are selfish, and greedy, and very self-centered, and scared of changes. (me included)
If it’s about election results I don’t think that it was about failure of socialist ideals only, much more complicated and they’re not so socialist anyway.

Snowjive2 · 13/12/2019 21:11

The observation that people are venal and protective of their nearest relatives is banal. That’s one of the baser aspects of human nature. It’s normally the product of fear.

But people are also altruistic, and capable of compassion. Socialism, like many other systems, seeks to encourage those tendencies. To say that it will never work is to write off the best sides of human nature.

greenlynx · 13/12/2019 21:13

I think that socialism works but more like government regulated society which helps people to see beyond ideas of profit and their selfishness. But gradually people would see advantages of this. To be honest I don’t want to be surrounded by hungry and angry people who are pushed beyond their limits. We all know what happened during French and Russian revolutions.

pointythings · 13/12/2019 21:13

Just because it doesn't work in a play ground full of young children doesn't mean it won't work in some form. Scandinavian countries have political and social models we would consider 'socialist' and they work pretty damn well.

Maybe it's more a matter of national culture.

RaiseaGlasstoFreedom · 13/12/2019 21:14

Not so true op, parent at our school has young child with glaring obvious needs and instead of triggering help, asking /fighting for support and help, she's more worried about the schools budget 🤔🙄...

RaiseaGlasstoFreedom · 13/12/2019 21:15

Green what a load of utter rubbish!!

kittykatkitty · 13/12/2019 21:18

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money

Theknacktoflying · 13/12/2019 21:19

But things would run better if it was more of a carrot than a stick. I just don’t see why I have to be punished and bullied and legislation has to made to make things equal. Equal doesn’t mean equitable.

pointythings · 13/12/2019 21:23

Theknack I don't understand why people are unhappy with the idea that everyone should have a warm home, enough food on the table, good healthcare and good education. What happened yesterday makes me feel a majority of British people just want others to have less than they do.

Kitty I refer you once again to Scandinavian countries. Socialism comes in many forms - it's not all North Korea and Stalin. The policies many UK voters viewed as 'far left' are actually pretty mainstream and standard in much of the rest of Europe.

joolzfromyork · 13/12/2019 21:35

pointythings said

The policies many UK voters viewed as 'far left' are actually pretty mainstream and standard in much of the rest of Europe.

^ This ... very much this ...

Theknacktoflying · 13/12/2019 21:38

I never said the basics shouldn’t be covered, but looking at the issue from an economic point of view, there is no guarantee that socialism is an effective way of ensuring that people get the basics ... and what is ‘good’ and ‘adequate’ and who determines these benchmarks? Socialism takes the market forces away and delivery and cost is determined by other factors. And who wants to be the one paying ££££ for a service others get free of charge? And what would be the incentive to provide services or improve if the profit incentive is removed?

Theknacktoflying · 13/12/2019 21:41

But Europe don’t have a winner takes all, FPTP politics ... it has to be compromise

ChristmasSpirtsOnTheRocksPleas · 13/12/2019 21:43

@pointythings @joolzfromyork and the policies view as centrist and normal in the U.K. are viewed as left wing in other parts of the world. The Tory party (maybe not now with BJ at the helm but certainly under Cameron and may) looked very much left of centre to me.

Socialism does work in a very narrow set of circumstances where there is a strong sense of commonality and reciprocation amongst the population. Post WWII Britain or a country like Finland are both examples of this. This can be achieved through tremendous disaster, a small and culturally homogenous population, policies which encourage patriotism like mandatory military service or state control education with a patriotic curriculum etc. Obviously a lot of people would object to living under such circumstances and these circumstances no longer exist in the U.K. so socialism wouldn’t work here in the foreseeable future but it would be incorrect to say that socialism never works, more that it rarely works in open and liberal societies in times of peace and prosperity.

Sandra2010 · 13/12/2019 21:50

It's why true Socialism can't work. Socialist ideals can still work, though. Loads of countries have socialist policies, and make them work incredibly well. Public transport in Germany is second to none - state owned. The NHS - socialism in it's most basic form, and when funded appropriately, works very very well. We will always have true capitalists and greed and power-hungry suits, though, who do all they can to oppose socialism because they can't make money out of it.

somebrightmorning · 14/12/2019 11:32

Thanks for these thoughtful responses! Food for thought.

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FoamingAtTheUterus · 14/12/2019 11:36

Seems to work in Scandinavian countries........and aren't their children polled as being the happiest in the world ? 🤔

somebrightmorning · 14/12/2019 12:09

“Socialism does work in a very narrow set of circumstances where there is a strong sense of commonality and reciprocation amongst the population”

That makes sense and makes me think it’s best to point out things that no one is immune to (overcrowded A&E departments)

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pointythings · 14/12/2019 12:22

This can be achieved through tremendous disaster, a small and culturally homogenous population, policies which encourage patriotism like mandatory military service or state control education with a patriotic curriculum etc.

I have to take issue with the above - much of it does not apply to those Western European countries which have a social democratic model. The Netherlands is a mixed model with much better welfare and social care provision than the UK and certainly does not have either mandatory military service (abolished in the early 90s) or a patriotic state curriculum (quite the reverse). You seem to imply that for a political model with socialist aspects to work, the population must be indoctrinated like sheep. That is simply not true in this part of the world, though clearly it does apply in places like China and North Korea.

Applying socialist principles isn't a zero sum game in the way some people on this thread seem to think.

As for the 'spending other people's money' concept - that is typical selfish thinking. It's also dangerous, because it presumes that the person thinking it is immune to illness, hardship or misfortune. And no-one is. I am happy for my taxes to go to people who have been less fortunate than I am in life, because one day I may be in that situation and need help.

corythatwas · 14/12/2019 12:29

I grew up in Scandinavia, seemed to be working pretty well in those days. My parents, siblings, nephew, and nieces still live in Scandinavia, still seems to be working pretty well. Not saying it's utopia with no problems, but they don't have children going hungry or working families using foodbanks.

The difference you do notice is that there isn't the same feeling of people from different classes not being able to meet and cooperate over common goals. There is a very strong sense that all children and all vulnerable people belong to the whole of society. And (I think largely due to the proportional representation system) there is a strong sense that people with different views have to compromise and work together.

Those nativity play-attending parents don't exist in a vacuum: they have been formed by a society where we are constantly told that competition is all that matters and that the idea of your children sinking into a lower class is a fate too horrible to contemplate. Doesn't mean it works the same way everywhere or that it has to work that way.

psychomath · 14/12/2019 13:01

Scandinavian countries aren't 'proper' socialism, where the workers own the means of production - they're capitalist systems with high public spending and a large social safety net, i.e. social democracy. I'm not sure which one OP was referring to in their initial post.

Regardless, I don't think you can transplant the Nordic model wholesale into the UK and expect it to work in the same way. As a PP said, Nordic countries are very culturally homogeneous, and they have very small populations compared to the UK - Sweden is the biggest with about 10 million people and the others have about 5 million, apart from Iceland which has less than half a million. A much higher proportion of residents live in villages where everyone knows everyone, and even their cities are on the whole much smaller than ours - Stockholm, which is the biggest, has a population of less than 1 million.

There's a far stronger sense of community in the Scandinavian countries than in ours, where we have nearly 70 million people from all different cultural backgrounds, largely living in urban areas where most of us hardly know anyone outside of our own friend circles and maybe immediate neighbours. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; I like living in a place where there's all sorts of different cultural influences, from culinary to musical. But it's harder to form a single cohesive vision for society in a country like the UK, and I think that's what's needed for a Nordic-type model to work - people need to feel that the money they're paying in higher taxes is going to be spent on others who share their values.

In our country it's much easier for people to point at (what they see as) 'themmuns', whether that's families where no-one's worked for generations, fundamentalist Muslim groups, students doing PhDs in gender studies or whatever, and think "I don't want my hard-earned money going to people like THAT". You only have to look at the recent election threads to see how deep the divisions are between the 'condescending London elite who have no idea what life is like for ordinary families' and the 'poor ex-mining communities where everyone's too thick to know what's good for them'. In a climate like this, of course people are going to be resentful of wealth redistribution, if it means 'their' wealth is being redistributed to people they see as having fundamentally different values.

Incidentally I think that's one reason why Scotland is so much more left wing than England as well - a much smaller population, combined with a strong sense of national identity that just doesn't seem to exist in the same way south of the border.

somebrightmorning · 15/12/2019 09:32

I meant Proper but enjoyed your post

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