The following is a slightly edited version of my response to a fellow commenter on who uses the screen name pieceofcake when he commented on my description of genuine socialism as opposed to the economic system he is more familiar with: "social democracy," i.e., liberal capitalism, which is often mistakenly referred to as "socialism." The original version of this comment of mine was posted in the letters section of Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald's article, "Harry Ford's Warped Understanding of 'Capitalism,'" circa January 15, 2010. Pieceofcake's comments are in bold face.

a fine idea —cmysticism [...]

"A genuine socialist system, in contrast, would have no private ownership of the industries and services, no need for 'nationalization,' no need for social services as we know them today, no money, and no bureaucrats at all. Every worker would do a modest share of the useful work in a vocation of their choice that was in harmony with their individual talents in exchange for the full fruit of their labor'."

I couldn't agree more (in theory) - but as somebody who spents most of his time in a[n] 'acceptable Social democracy' (Germany) - I would prefer it - if your theory first would be 'tested' somewhere else -before I wholeheartedly would embrace it!

Understood. The thing is, a genuine socialist system was never intended to exist in one country alone. It was intended to be a global system, just as capitalism--in one variation or another--currently is. A single genuinely socialist nation existing amidst a predominantly capitalist world order would not have an easy time of things, because it would be operating in a world stage in which production for profit and the use of money was important everywhere else. It would lack support from other nations, whose still existing ruling classes would be hoping to see it fall, and it would be lambasted in the corporate controlled or state controlled media of all the other nations in the world. It might even suffer a military invasion by one or more of these capitalist nations. Granted, the movement for it would have to be established in at least one First World nation before starting anywhere else, but such a movement would ultimately have to be international among the working classes of the world. Socialism has an inherently internationalist ethos about it, unlike the nationalist attitudes of the capitalist nations that exist today.

I agree that social democracy has indeed been tested, and that it works much better than the variant of capitalism that we have in the U.S. today, and because of this I would be thrilled to the gills to have the U.S. adopt a more liberalized and humanitarian version of capitalism over in America. The problems with it, however, are two basic things:

1) the main reason for production under a "social democratic" system is still for the benefit of the private profit for the owning few, which gives them the edge over the rest of society despite their acquiescence to higher taxes to pay for the social welfare programs that make life easier for the working class; and,

2) the government that serves the capitalist class under social democracy perodically complains that the social programs are too expensive and thus must be rolled back, sometimes quite fiercely, and the U.S. has a lot of influence on these other nations. As long as capitalism in any form exists in the world, and production for private profit therefore remains the main reason for production to occur, the socio-economic security of the working class in any nation will never truly be secure at all. This is especially true when you consider that conservative politicians in nations other than the U.S., though much less powerful and respected, nevertheless sometimes make inroads into the parliment of these other countries, as was the recent case with Canada.

Hence, though I understand that genuine socialism is currently "only" a theory (even if we agree it's a good one) I still support its eventual establishment in the future as preferable to all variants of capitalism even as I also support any immediate measures within the context of the existing system that may benefit my fellow workers--but the latter only as immediate goals, and not as ultimate goals.

Thank you for listening :-)