Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Second Wave

I love good technology. Conversely, I hate bad technology. As such, I try to avoid faulty technology. To do so, I rarely purchase first wave releases of devices. These are the initial models available to the public after testing has completed. However, that testing cannot account for all possible situations. Thus, invariably these first wave devices can be buggy in terms of hardware and software. The software is generally not a big deal, as an update can fix it. The concern is the hardware that would be much more difficult to correct. For this reason, although new devices can sound very appealing (yes, the ugly head of consumerism exists in me as well) I tend to wait until at least the second wave. I may be a month or more behind on the technology, but at least my chance of faulty equipment is considerably lower.

This also applies to other areas of my life. To ensure I am not wasting time or money, I do not go to newly opened restaurants or movies or whatever else without plenty of reviews by others. I typically will only forego this rule if it is a chain I know I enjoy or a sequel of a movie I loved. I take risks in other parts of my life, such as bike commuting in the Midwest. Obviously, this methodology is not a guarantee. Chef's abilities vary even if the recipe does not and movie sequels can absolutely flop.

Outside of personal life, I believe this can apply to public in a broad sense. Specifically, I am thinking of democratic socialism. Many that I know treat it as the plague, something to avoid at all costs. However, even if we do not approach the level of democratic socialism seen in Europe, it already exists in the USA. Public schools, emergency services, military, social security, and others are all examples of socialism, which are generally widely accepted. What is primarily fought against in the USA is socialized healthcare (which the ACA failed to be, and which, based on my experience with German healthcare is wunderbar) and free college. It is understandable that people would not want to increase taxes to cover the costs of the programs (even if they don't agree with my disagreement on expenditures such as military spending.) The great thing is we have a huge benefit over European socialist societies.

We wouldn't be the guinea pigs! We wouldn't be the first wave. We wouldn't even be the second wave. Would making a full(er) switch to socialism be risk free? By no means! As we've seen, if done improperly you get disasters like Grexit. However, just as we are to learn from our own mistakes, so too can we glean from the mistakes of existing socialist societies. Then, we pick and choose the best strategies from those succeeding. The current top 20 economies in the world are a majority socialist. Surely they're doing something right. I think it's time the USA admitted it's great capitalist experiment has failed (though certainly not all aspects of capitalism are bad.) It is time we make a change for the good of our present and future. Just like many advocate a hybrid usage of computers and humans for better results, so too do I believe a melding of the good aspects of socialism with the good aspects of capitalism is necessary for the financial future of the USA and other countries.

Time magazine once had a letter to the editor that seemed to summarize my thoughts on this, from a man named Richard Pichon:

Isn't it amazing that the top 10 most prosperous countries are those typically reviled by the right wing as “socialist” or “welfare” states? Many of them have publicly funded guaranteed health care, generous unemployment benefits and social-security systems, and social safety nets. The conservative right has maintained that this level of social welfare increased taxes and destroyed jobs, individual character and self-reliance. The proof may be in the pudding.”

I have plenty of friends and family that are conservative. My beliefs don't mean I don't love them. However, I believe there is a different way that we can take to care of the most people, here and abroad. In my next post, Desperate Living Wage, I will elaborate on the consequences of our current economic system. 

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