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Is socialism ethical? Show more Show less
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Socialism is the political belief the government should redistribute wealth to close the economic gap in society. Many argue that this is a far better way to live, as all citizens can life with the secure knowledge that they will be protected by the state. But is it ethical for this to happen because the state took money away from another citizen?

Asking if an economic system is ethical is highly reductive Show more Show less

To ask if socialism is unethical is problematic given the fact that socialism encompasses a large number of political ideologies
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Economic systems are neither good nor bad but manipulated for personal gain

Economic systems define how an economy is managed. They're used to help understand and track how money flows through an economy. An understanding of these systems can allow people to manipulate the market and economy to their benefit.

The Argument

To understand why economics is so morally ambiguous, take a look at the three well known economic structures, Socialism, Capitalism, and Communism. Socialism, in simple terms, is when a group or society controls the ownership, administration, production and distribution of goods.[1] It's designed to be responsive to the needs and desires of the general public. Capitalism, on the other hand, is centered on private ownership rather than government ownership. Owners make use of workers to gain the most profit in a competitive market. Communism is when the government primarily controls the distribution of property and resources. Goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.[2] All three of these systems have benefits in theory, but when implemented, they start to show their flaws. This is why most places have a mixed economy that uses a blend of these systems.[3] As they are, people will exploit the flaws of each system. America is one such example of capitalism being taken advantage of, with large private companies growing bigger, despite massive wealth inequality in society. Economic systems define who holds the power of the market and how money in the economy flows. However, they are just that, systems. What truly matters with the economy is the use of these systems.

Counter arguments

If economic systems are morally ambiguous, then why does each have serious ethical implications? In the case of communism, the lack of private property means that workers are virtually unable to earn their true value. Since the means of production are controlled centrally, private citizens have no means of entrepreneurship. They are completely reliant on the government, which in many cases, such as the USSR, does not have their best interests in mind. The same goes for capitalism, which perpetuates inequality within society. While some are incredibly wealthy, more suffer from crippling poverty. With millions of struggling families, it's difficult to paint capitalism without moral implications. Lastly, socialism suffers from the same issues as capitalism and communism. Each system has moral failings, and can't be separated from them. Economic systems are central to society, and to paint them as systems without moral implications is inhumane.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] It is those who control the system that define if it's good or bad

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/socialism
  2. https://www.ushistory.org/gov/13b.asp
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/socialism.asp
This page was last edited on Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 23:19 UTC

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