Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 8, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 08/08/2012

Free market & socialism

It is interesting that instead of attacking the economic policy, some detractors attack the person by labeling the individual a Socialist. Such individuals seem to not be aware that some strands of socialism have evolved to support capitalism and protect people from its potential negative effects.

Socialism sought to make subsistence independent of the marketplace and guarantee a minimum of support to all. They sought to maintain high levels of employment to support the working class. When the formally purely socialist countries adopted capitalism, they did it without protecting their citizens from the negative aspects of the free market, for example Russia with pollution and China with unsafe consumer goods.

On the other hand, democratic capitalistic countries not only supported free markets, but also protected their citizens from the inability of the markets to provide a safety net. Most democratic capitalistic countries provide universal health care, pensions and labor laws to protect the worker from poor working conditions.

Democracy has protected its citizens from the inherent negative aspects of the free market by using so-called socialist approaches.

Ronald Marshall

Petoskey

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