LTE: A Response to “Socialism Is the Solution”

“Citizen service is the very American idea that we meet our challenges not as isolated individuals but as members of a true community, with all of us working together. Our mission is nothing less than to spark a renewed sense of obligation, a new sense of duty, a new season of service.” – President Bill Clinton

When the United States was created, it was created with a new form of government, a democratic-republic, where the people have a great deal of power but not the final say. As one should remember from the last election, that those with the most popular support do not always win. While in this case, the majority people’s opinion was right, one easily could create a case in theory where the popular opinion is wrong and should not be supported by the government. In the article, it is stated that it would best for corporations to be owned and operated by employees, where the employees would all have an equal final say, “one voice, one vote.” But this is not true even in the USA’s democratic-republic, so to work towards that goal is unreasonable. What the article is arguing is that workers, executives, and customers need to be more connected to each other and be willing to assist each other so that the economy acts in a more just way. This lack of connectedness is not just present in the workplace but in the society as whole as well.

The specific suggestion that cooperatives are the best way in which to create a more democratic economy is misguided because it provides a solution that is too simple and inapplicable. Co-ops could certainly work in many conditions, but the better overall solution is to use the current options available to increase the connectedness among the executives, employees, and customers. This could be achieved for example through strengthening labor unions, or through forcing corporations to have more local governing structures or through breaking up larger corporations. Co-ops are not the only way.

In Dr. Putnam’s book Bowling Alone, one sees that a current problem in society as whole is that people are increasingly focused on themselves and less on others and groups. The American system was never supposed to work under these circumstances where employees and employers are completely disconnected and do not care about each other’s well-being. The answer is not more government involvement but more community involvement. Government involvement can certainly be useful especially for those in the middle and lower classes, but it will not fix the problems that exist in society. If the government takes more of a role in caring for others without the society first gaining increased connectedness and compassion, then the government will only make the problem worse. For example, people will not see how their taxes are benefiting others and then question why are they paying taxes at all for people who they do not know. When people know about and care for each other’s life more, then the economy can work for all people, and one can create a system that is more democratic.

Kenneth Goetz, MCAS ’20