American Future X: Is Socialism Inevitable?

by S.A. Prince

At the current rate of technological advance and government policy or lack thereof, socialism will soon be the only viable governing system.

Ask yourself, why is universal healthcare reform a “hot button” issue now?

Think about it.

Why is universal healthcare being discussed at a clip that we haven’t seen since the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration?  Did it take 75 years for people to once again “feel for,” or be concerned for their fellow man?

No, it is completely related to jobs, specifically the availability of jobs where a person can earn an income that will sustain their lifestyle. Universal healthcare is being argued due to job scarcity, and that should give you pause. Jobs haven’t been this scarce since the Great Depression.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs applies here. According to Maslow, a person’s potential to reach self-actualization, which includes morality and creativity, is dependent on their most basic needs being met first. The below pyramid is representative of this hierarchy, and its base level “physiology” contains the most basic needs of humans: food, sex, breathing and like functions.

Maslows-Hierarchy-of-Needs.jpg

For the purposes of this article, we want to focus on the “Safety” stage. This stage includes law, order, stability, and security. It is precisely at this “Safety” stage where the needs for employment satisfied, and not just any employment, but consistent and secure employment.

This kind of employment is becoming less and less available. Unemployment numbers are staggering, and the people that are employed aren’t earning the income that they once did. Without a consistent job there is no consistent money, which means that healthcare becomes unaffordable as less people can pay for it. Healthcare and job availability go hand in hand, which is why as good jobs become scarce, we in turn hear more about universal healthcare.

If you continue to follow the pyramid to the top, we go through the “Love/Belonging” (Friendship, Family) and “Esteem” (Self-Esteem, Confidence, Respect of Others) stages before we get to “Self-Actualization” at the highest rung.

Paraphrasing Maslow, one must reasonably satisfy one stage before moving up the pyramid to another, therefore; self-actualization (morality and creativity) cannot be realized until the aforementioned lower stages are satisfied.

Maslow’s Hierarchy insinuates a dark theory about human nature as it relates to needs. Without the “Safety” stage reasonably satisfied, meaning without feeling secure in one’s employment and health, reaching a level of progressive thought is improbable, if not impossible. Maslow’s theory sheds light the rampant violence plaguing America’s inner cities where poverty is king.

The onset of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s set a new precedent for production. Before its Industrial Revolution, Americans were directly connected to labor. Society was more agrarian then, so physical labor was needed for production. Having enough laborers was an issue, however; with the emergence of the Industrial Revolution this reality was altered. Overproduction became the predominant issue for companies.

For the last 200 years, the Industrial Revolution (late 1700s to early 1800s) has decreased the need for human labor. Companies traded in human labor for machines, as machines could not only do the work quicker than humans, but also didn’t need any of the benefits. In a sense, the Industrial Revolution allowed companies to indulge in their desires for the inhumane. There are no “machine” labor laws.

With the rise of labor unions, power was in part shifted back to the worker. Labor unions helped workers get benefits contractually awarded to them by their employer. Labor unions still wield power today, but not like they once did. Technology has leveled the playing field. If a company doesn’t want to deal with labor law or labor unions, all they have to do is leave the country or increase their machine usage.

In other countries like China, Mexico, and Indonesia, it is still considerably cheaper to use physical labor instead of machinery. This is because the workers in those countries don’t have labor laws or labor unions to protect them. Companies that produce products or goods and services in America, are readily overhauling their business model to incorporate more machine use.

The American worker is being phased out. Watch what happens closely with the “Fight for $15” movement. As people who work at places like McDonald’s are awarded government enforced pay raises, McDonald’s and other companies will likely respond two ways.

First, they will decrease the amount of employees they have, putting more responsibility on smaller crews. Secondly, when the smaller crews can’t produce at the rate of their current crews, they will phase out the human worker and mechanize their process.

Maybe it won’t be McDonald’s, but a fast food chain will phase out the human worker and mechanize their process, and all it takes is for one company to do it. Other companies will soon follow.

Go into the stores in your city. Cashiers and baggers are being phased out. Sure, there are still cashiers in stores, but every year we see less and less. Now the customer is the cashier and the bagger, utilizing a machine to facilitate the money transfer. About six of these machines are monitored by one person at a computer. Six cashiers have been traded in for one monitor.

There’s an excitement and buzz around self-driving technology. I’ll admit, the idea of not having to drive is appealing, but the residual effects of such a change will be appalling. Every method of transportation will be effected. Name the industry, and it will be effected by self-driving technology. Thousands of operators will lose their jobs. If cab drivers think Uber and Lyft are taking away their jobs, wait until the self-driving technology is complete. Those services won’t completely disappear, but people will need them a lot less.

Technology isn’t the only issue though. Government policy is one too. Food, Media, Entertainment, and many other industries are oligarchies. They are run by a handful of large corporations that control the majority of those industry’s market power. These conglomerates are often vertically integrated, controlling not only production but also distribution. In the world of conglomerates there’s barely any room for the small business to operate, and the small businesses that do excel are typically targeted to either be bought, or run out of town. After working as a broker in the food industry for four years, I’ve seen this occur time after time.

I don’t have the answer as to what government policy is specifically failing us. That’s a topic for discussion in another article, but I do know that more government protection is needed.

I do touch on issues regarding government policy in my article, “How Our Favorite Dems Ruined America.”

What does all of this equate to? Socialism. How can humans make money if human labor is becoming obsolete due to the rise of machines? And, if humans don’t make money then how can they take care of themselves? They can’t. As individuals become increasingly incapable of providing for themselves, the government has to step in to fill in the gap.

That government “stepping in” to provide for the masses is socialism. Food stamps, housing, and the aforementioned universal healthcare are all types of public social welfare.

Technology isn’t going to move backwards. We aren’t going back to an agrarian way of life. Therefore, without government intervention I don’t see how America avoids becoming socialist.

It is imperative that market power is evenly distributed.

The only other way to achieve this even market power distribution is through public choice. People have to choose to stop doing business with conglomerates. That means getting rid of Time-Warner and Comcast. It means not shopping at Wal-Mart or at Nike, or with any company that benefits from cheap foreign labor.

That’s difficult though. I’m not going to lie, I own Nike shoes and do rarely shop at Wal-Mart. In my home we use Time-Warner as an internet provider. So, the onus is also on myself to make the necessary changes.

To conclude, so many of my Millennial peers are captivated with Bernie Sanders, and with good reason. He is charismatic. It’s easy to get behind the guy, but I must caution Bernie supporters. Be careful what you wish for. Socialism championed the people, and was key to the Russian revolutions of the early 1900s. It experienced a romantic period, but not long after it became oppressive. Could that happen again? Maybe so. Socialism is like doing the dishes. You like it until your parents force you to do it.

Are we ready to hand over more power to the government?

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