My friend in this story is kept anonymous, so he will be referred to as Jack
My very close friend is a socialist. I decided since I have shown my side of the perspective that it is only fair that we look at the other side. This will not be a commentary on his answers, and it is just another view. I attempted to keep this as unbiased as possible in my questions.
This man is purely brilliant. He is a Mathematics Major and a future Insurance Actuary. No matter what beliefs we differ on, we are still best friends. We constantly debate over this and always reach stand stills.
Now that that is out of the way. Let's get onto the questions.
Andrew: What does socialism mean to you?
Jack: Socialism means equal distribution of the factors of production, and as an extension of that, equal distribution of income. On a more philosophical note, I believe socialism means financial equality. It means no Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett being richer than half the US. It also means no unemployment, no beggars in the street, and no one having to worry about earning less than the person next to them.
A: Why do you personally believe in socialism?
J: I believe in socialism because it is a truly equal economic ideal. It also guarantees to each citizen that they will have a chance to earn a living. Finally, socialism allows people to find motivation from something other than money.
A: How are communism and socialism different?
J: Communism gives people a communal goal to achieve, whereas socialism merely controls the means of production, leaving people to set their own goals and decide what to do with what they are given. Basically, in a communist economy, many more choices are already made for its members than in a socialist economy.
A: What is a living wage?
J: A living wage is the amount of money it takes to live, and it depends on different circumstances. In general, I'd say a living wage should provide comfort, but not excess.
A: Why do you think that?
J: I prefer to leave that answer fairly general because comfort and excess appear to be highly subjective concepts. However, I believe if one were to investigate these deeper I think one would find that there could easily be a universally accepted definition of comfort, as well as excess.
A: Okay, so what's democratic socialism, and is it different from socialism?
J: Democratic socialism is a form of socialism. In this form of socialism, there is a democratic process to deciding how and what the government distributes among its citizens, but it is still socialism. I think democratic socialism one of the more appealing forms of socialism because it does not entirely hand control over to the government.
A: Do you believe socialism is the key in the United States?
J: The US government, unfortunately, has spent the last 70 years training its citizens to believe socialism is pure evil. Therefore, I do not believe socialism could be implemented in the US without devastating uproar. No, socialism is not the key in the US simply because too many people already believe it is the devil and cannot be convinced otherwise.
A: Who is your favorite politician? Why?
J: FDR. He created more positive change than any other president, got elected more than any other president, won a war, and did it all from a wheelchair.
A: Is an increase in minimum wage a good thing?
J: For an increase in minimum wage to work, the economy around it must also be adjusted. I am not foolish enough to believe that simply saying "no one can be paid under $20/hr" can improve everyone's lives.
A: Does superior ability suffer under socialism?
J: It doesn't have to. I believe those with superior ability, in a socialist economy, can find non-monetary motivation to use that ability.
A: Will there still be an incentive to innovate in socialism?
J: Did Edison pioneer research and development processes just because he wanted to get rich? Innovation is not incentivized by wealth. It is incentivized by the need or desire for something which does not yet exist.
A: How much economic freedom do you believe is appropriate?
J: I think freedom to spend how one chooses is important. Simply put, no one should be forced to eat chicken and rice their entire lives. Socialist economies do not force people to spend in a certain way.
A: How expansive should healthcare be?
J: Healthcare should be free and universally available
A: Thanks so much. I appreciate your comments.
J: It's my pleasure. I hope I've convinced at least one person that socialism isn't pure evil.