“For myself, I want no advantage over my fellow man, and if he is weaker than I, all the more is it my duty to help him.” —Eugene V. Debs
You're no Socialist Will if you won't join the party and pay your dues...gotta accept party discipline else your Bourgeoisie dilettante...a Parlor Socialist...
I'm a redneck red. I keep checking out the socialist parties in the US, and I don't find any that seem like a good fit to me. My current theory is things'll get bad enough that either the Republicans or the Democrats will have to become socialists to keep the US going. (The Dems may seem the more likely to go that way, but a form of libertarian socialism could be viable among Republicans, I suspect.)
Joel, as soon as you allow inheritance of great wealth in your system, you end up with class structures and unearned privilege. Now, what the precise solution is, I dunno. But neither did Marx; he expected us to work it out messily through democracy.I'd like a system where, on a person's death, personal wealth went back into the communal pot, so everyone could start equal.
"I'd like a system where, on a person's death, personal wealth went back into the communal pot, so everyone could start equal." I'm uncomfortable with that idea because not everyone is equal. What about those who will need that wealth? Even the rich have children with special needs. Talk about an unearned privilege - strangers deciding what should happen to my estate upon my death. (I know about what happens when there is no will).
Why should one child with special needs get a disproportionately greater share and 99 children with special needs get a disproportionately smaller share? That's our current system.Louis Blanc's "To each according to need" means that more goes to those with special needs. Regardless of whether they were lucky enough to be born to rich parents.
Socrates recommended beginning every discussion with a definition of terms- define "great wealth". It takes relatively little wealth to create a priveleged class- it can be as little as enough to have a home computer and the ability to take your kid out of government schools.Define "equal". If you'd like, I can email you a story about equal access to prenatal healthcare as a local election issue a few years back.
Speaking very broadly, I think if you have twice as much as the average person, you're rich, and if you have half as much, you're poor. But I also think getting obsessed with precise numbers is a mistake, as the value of money changes from place to place--someone living in a cold climate needs more than someone in a warm climate, someone whose home has been hit by a hurricane needs more than someone whose home is secure, etc.
I wasn't asking for numbers; I was asking for a definition. Am I to understand that you'd have an inheritence tax of everything over an adjusted (adjustments including all conditions mentioned above, plus whatever else seems reasonable) average of twice one's peers?
In Willtopia, there's no inheritance tax, because everyone inherits equally. When you come of age, you get a chunk of the wealth to experiment with, or combine with that of partners, or whatever you wish. When you die, your share goes back in the pot for the next players. What you give your children is a world where no one is desperate and everyone is valued.The question of rich and poor applies to life--when do taxes kick in, if they kick in, and how large should they be. In Willtopia, if there are taxes, they're paid by the people who have more than the average person. (The original income tax was only paid by the richest 4%, I think, and I'd happily go back to something like that.)
Who determines need? I don't have the right to determine that for someone else and vice versa.
Toonhead, if you think Bill Gates only has what he needs and a homeless person doesn't need a home, if you have no idea of the difference between a luxury and a necessity, your philosophy and mine are hopelessly incompatible. I think people need homes, health care, food, and education. Call me wacky.
Toon, you stated it as an absolute. Since you acknowledge the extremes, you might begin to narrow the range now.How those who inherit wealth are enjoying the fruits of their labor, I will never understand. But I do agree that the children of a nation should enjoy the fruits of their nation's labor--and then share those fruits freely.