There aren’t any other options. It’s all either one form or the other of each of the two types of systems. This article refers to it as “old binaries” and intimates that there will be some future option so much better than either. There won’t be. You can tell the author isn’t on solid ground when you read statements like this, “…not all experiments with socialist principles have gone so horribly wrong [referring to the USSR]. Take the social democracies of Sweden and Finland, for example, or even post-war Britain and the New Deal in the U.S. There are many systems that have effectively harnessed the economy to deliver shared prosperity.” Holding up the New Deal as a success doesn’t exactly speak to the author’s economic credibility. It signals to the reader that really what, in the author’s mind, is to come next, will be based on the success of those programs. It will just be that part which worked leaving off that stuff that wasn’t so good. Sound familiar? It’s the old “true socialism hasn’t been tried” routine. How quaint.
No, I say the binaries are all there is.
There are variations on the themes of course but they distill back to one of the two ideas.
Either we have voluntary trading of resources or we have involuntary redistribution of resources.
There is no third option.
As always it comes down to what I say time and time again, what do you do with the man who says “no”? He’s the key to understanding any proposed system of governance in relation to liberty. Because only the man who says “NO”, as Herman Melville put it, is truly free.
Only in capitalism do we find a satisfactory answer to that question.
“I want that corn. I’ll give you dollars for it.”
“But I really need it.”
What then? In capitalism the man can make an offer “I’ll give you more dollars!” or for something else besides dollars “I’ll give you dollars and my watch” until the “No” becomes a “Yes”. Or if that NO is unmovable he goes on his way to find someone else with the corn he so desires. A, delicious buttered elote on a stick! How he wants it.
In socialism and its variations the corn is taken from the man who has it. He can’t say no. Perhaps the man is compensated an amount, the fairness of which is determined by committee, or perhaps he’s told his payment is doing what’s right to help society. He is not, however, free to say no. Then there is the clever new system known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) where each person is given a bit of money. Why, then everyone has enough to go buy that corn! It fails to recognize that the man with the corn is now paying himself, from his own money, to give away his corn (likely at a controlled price). Since his money is given to the government – who gives it to that man – who then buys his corn – he might as well just being giving his corn away. UBI is not a system in which the man has the right to say “no”.
Yet people seem happy with this system because the other fellow has some corn of his own.