Having lived and worked in England for the last two years, I believe I can make a comparison between capitalism and socialism based on my experiences in these philosophies, both politically and economically.
This isn’t meant as a political statement, saying one is better than the other. In my opinion, both have some good points as well as their bad points. I’m just speaking as a person who has worked for over 40 years and has grown in my thoughts about what it takes to be a good employee and citizen as well as what it takes to be a good employer and caretaker of the nation.
What I have found to be the most difficult part about working in a socialist society for the last two years is that I’m not entirely working for my own benefit. I don’t mind helping others. I did it in America by donating to the Salvation Army throughout the year, with monetary gifts as well as quality second hand products. In the UK, some of my taxes goes to help others, which again I don’t mind, but the “helping” others get can amount to more than what a full time job offers. So in the end, why work?
The people that work in England – work. Than you have a group that works because they have too, yet they do just the bare minimum and rely on the government to fill in the shortfall. In America, there were two major times in my life where I was unemployed. The first time I ended up homeless. The second time was because of being made redundant.
The first time I didn’t have enough of a work history to get government help. The second time, I was offered classes to help find a job but I never received a penny in unemployment compensation. I didn’t receive food stamps or any help with rent or to help pay the utility bills. In England, I could have had a nice “paycheck” with all the benefits I would have received.
This part of socialism I don’t like. If I work, I should be paid a good wage and it is mine to do with what I want. I shouldn’t have to support those who don’t want to work. If I work to support others, what is the incentive to work? It is a part of American capitalism I agree with. You work to better your life. If that means you have more money than your neighbour than so be it. And vice-versa, if my neighbour has more than you have, it means they have worked for it and have earned it.
The part of capitalism I don’t like is health care. If you have money you can afford insurance, prescriptions, hospital care, doctors, and everything else. If you don’t have the money you won’t be able to take care of yourself medically without some kind of outside help. And to get that help means getting government assistance which is filled with shame and guilt. So people wait as long as they can before seeing a doctor. Sometimes the wait is to long and feeling better is no longer an option.
Years ago America used to offer free breast cancer screenings. It was a great idea to help poor people get checked for cancer for free. The problem was that after being diagnosed with cancer the patients didn’t have the resources to get treatment. So, nothing got done. The person knew they had cancer, yet the government wouldn’t help them without jumping through hoops and sacrificing whatever little they had just for a chance to receive therapy.
Recently I was sent a notice for a free bowel (colon) cancer screening. Everything turned out to be normal and that is the end of it for two years. If there was a problem I would have been sent for a colonoscopy and whatever else needed would be done without anyone asking how you would pay for it.
Something is wrong in a society that judges healthcare with the amount of money you have in your bank and what kind of job you have. Part of my taxes in England go towards health care, not just for me but for those who can’t contribute. This is part of human decency, anything less of being treated as equal we should feel ashamed.
I’ll quit there before I turn this into a political speech...