Jim Key said, “Socialism permits private ownership of Property.” The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines socialism as:

"1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

"2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

"b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state"

The United States and most Western European nations are mixed economies. Private enterprise controls the production and distribution of goods and services within regulatory boundaries set by the government — capitalism. The government, through taxation, provides a social safety net — socialism. Debate focuses on the extent of regulation and government-provided provided social services.

Socialist governments that take over production of goods and services usually fail for two reasons:

1. Government-run production is not nimble and cannot adapt rapidly to new technology as can the private sector, the Soviet Union being a prime example. Their intricate 5-year plans could not adapt to new technologies and locked them into inefficient older technologies.

2. Allowed failure in the private sector weeds out companies with inefficient methods, out of demand products or poor management. Governments continue to subsidize these practices until they run out of money — think Venezuela and their failure to efficiently operate their oil industry despite very large petroleum reserves.

This distinction is only important because of the heated rhetoric around the words “capitalism” and “socialism.”

Charles Allen

Idaho Falls

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