Why Not Democratic Socialism?
B y Rana Odeh
Can you imagine getting paid 100% of your salary for 18 months of maternity leave? What about never stressing over health care costs when you, your child, or your family members get sick? What about free college education, free childcare, and subsidized (healthy) food and housing? Does it sound too good to be true? This is not a utopian dream; this is the life that Scandinavians enjoy and Americans have come to fear. What if you could have that life with the added benefits of democracy and freedom? Well, this is what the Scandinavian economic systems looks like. Socialist policies such as universal health care, free college education, paid maternity leave and free childcare, do not take away democracy and freedom, but rather enhance the quality of life.
For a better understanding of Scandinavian systems, I interviewed Dr. Janet Spitz, Professor of business and expert on globalization and international economic systems. “When we hear that the Scandinavian socio-economic system would reduce democracy and freedom, we have to ask, in what ways are the Scandinavian people (Swedes, Finns, Danes, Norwegians) less free and less democratic than people in the U.S.? In all of these lands, people are well-educated in public schools and, indeed, can take advantage of universities that are free of cost or cost a very minimal amount. Since a well-educated and informed electorate is essential to democracy, the Scandinavians are, in that sense, better off democratically than are we in the U.S.” Dr. Spitz said.
The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 has reignited anti-socialism sentiment and has caused many right-wing Tea Partiers to fear the rise of socialism. For those who accuse Obama of being a socialist; do not worry, there is not a single ounce of socialist ideology in his system or his administration. Obama has done a great job of continuing on the same path of free market corporatist capitalism like most of his predecessors in the White House since the 1980s. With the post-crisis handouts to big banks, and tax cuts to corporations, the Obama administration has