I don’t think, or hope anyway, that Ms. Wood meant the use of the words Socialism or Capitalism literally in an either/or Gestalt sense. What I got from her writing is that Capitalism is failing many people, which is very true and in the ascendant. And don’t forget America, the bastion of capitalism, is running the largest deficit in the history of the world due to the back end looting of the treasury, which will someday need to be painfully confronted, probably via default. So all is not well in America from any angle.
What I synthesized from this visceral piece is the rage that capitalism is not taking care of all of its citizens even with the basics, which is undeniable. I favor a capitalistic meritocracy whereby those who can play better in the capitalist system have more. However, I also believe that we can’t be a great or moral nation without guaranteeing all of our citizens the basics. Those being food, shelter, medical and education. Not supplied at a luxury level, but in a basic humane way. And the burden of doing so should fall upon the citizenry on a tax basis scaled by wealth with no loopholes with the rate assessed to float with the amount of funding needed for the mission. Also, whether citizens receiving basic assistance work or not makes no difference. For many there is no work to be had, which will become more acute with computers and robotization. And even for those who just want to be lazy, give them the basics too. That number won’t be too vast as most people are deeply motivated to obtaining much more than the basics and they will work hard to obtain the many material items, services, travel and wealth accumulation that only capitalism can supply on a large scale.
For the genius, the risk taker or lucky sperm club benefactor who obtains wealth they should have it. Only insure that everyone has the minimum too. If you don’t see the appeal of this idea from a moral perspective consider it from universal society benefit perspective in that when we provide all citizens the basics our country will grow richer and more successful from a healthy, educated and enfranchised populous not driven by hopelessness into crime and depravity which hurts everyone. We’d certainly close a lot of prisons, which would save enormous amounts of money. And make no mistake about it, anyone can become disenfranchised, especially in capitalism. It’s part of the risk of it. So the safety net is for everyone. In fact, knowing that there is a safety net will motivate more entrepreneurial risk taking which will further enrich the country. As for Socialism, it certainly doesn’t work on all levels of society, but with Socialism at the base and Capitalism at the mid and pinnacle levels of society we could have the best of both worlds: Social Capitalism.
In parting, what would you think of a tribe whereby only the hunters and chiefs ate after a hunt and the rest of the tribe starved? You’d say this is not a good tribe I think. The point is, sure the hunters and chiefs should get the best cuts of the kill, but for god’s sake give everyone something to quench their hunger. Otherwise you won’t have a tribe at all….or a country either.