Socialism again.... In an effort to keep it out of the thread on poverty, I'm going to go ahead and start a "new" discussion here. "New" is in quotes because, of course, we've had the discussion before. I'm going to try to focus this on one specific part of the discussion: socialistic policies in western nations. Please note: all western nations have some socialistic policies and the problems they face in trying to make them work are the same in every country. So the only relevance of comparing one country to another is for measuring how more or less socialism affects the economic development of countries. The individual issues, though, are the same. Specifically: The primary problem with socialism, and we've all discussed it before, is that it rewards failure and it is human nature to become complacant if there is no pressure to succeed. Examples abound throughout the west, but the US provides a rare recent example of a scaling-back of a major socialist policy (again, human nature makes that extremely difficult: see France's labor problems). I am, of course, talking about welfare reform. I'm frankly amazed that Clinton wasn't drummed out of the party for his welfare reform because it is so specifically against the core ideals of his party. And I'm amazed he did it. But the effects on the US economy and the perspectives of the people directly affected by it cannot be ignored (and I posted this in a previous thread...): http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-07-17-welfare-reform-cover_x.htm These are individual perspectives on the effects of being forced out of welfare: Quotes from other people affected: These are the overall effects: The point of all this is that self-interest, greed, or whatever you want to call it is a fact of life. It's a survival instinct adapting to modern life, and it can't be ignored. An economic system must either harness it or be damaged by it: In a capitalistic system, it drives people to achieve. In a socialistic system it lulls them into complacency and mediocrity.