: Therefore, its hard to say if it works or not.
: I guess I'll have to believe it when I see it.
: Calling Europe or the United States socialist or
: part-socialist (respectively) is, to my knoweldge,
: I never actually called them socialist or part-socialist.
: I just said that they co-opted many socialist ideas
: and incorporated them into their economic structure.
: They're not part-socialist, but heavily socialized .
"Socialism" and "capitalism" are the absolute extreme points of a continuum of economic freedom (in the sense that the government is not controlling money, not in the sense that you are financially independant). They do not exist in nature; such systems almost immediately self-destruct, they are so unstable. Every functional economy in the world is a mix of the two. "Capitalist" and "socialist" simply mean in the direction of those extremes; one can have a "partly socialist" economy and still have a "mostly capitalist economy at the same time.
My personal favorite economic theory is one which I call fractal semisocialism, which could just as easily be called semicapitalism except that absolute capitalism seems to be considerd the "default" viewpoint of most people, and this is halfway to socialism from there. It's probably been thought of somewhere before but I haven't heard it discussed and I thought it up under this name myself, so nyah. P
Basically, take a fractal tier structure, which is the basis of all my socio-political-economic theories. People are the base units of small communities, which are the base units of cities, which are the base units of counties, and so on (in the complete constitution I'm writing, these units are dynamically determined every election based on population, and don't necessarily have a name per each level). In each tier level, take a base unit (person, city, etc)'s total income in profit and gifts recieved, subtract the total loss in operating expenses and gifts given, and call that value Net.
Now take 1/2 of each unit's Net value, add them, subtract the operating expenses for that tier's government (very low, due to the way I have public services set up elsewhere in the system), divide that by the number of units in the tier, and subtract that average amount from 1/2 of each unit's Net. Now take the amount they have worked and/or schooled that tax period, divide the number of hours considered "full time" by that, and multiple the amount we got last calculation by that number. That is how much they owe the system; negative values (which many people will have) are what they are owed from the system. In the end, what the government collects should exactly pay their operating expenses and what other people are due. This is effectively the only form of welfare in the system, aside from public services which are run separately and I will discuss elsewhere. I know conservatives and republicans the world over are screaming "redistribution of wealth!" and indeed it is, but that is not in and of itself a bad thing. Everything in moderation.
The effective end result of this system is that it takes exactly what you would have in a pure capitalist system, exactly what you would have in a pure socialist system, and averages them. The richest people would still be the richest people; they just wouldn't be as much richer than the poorest people. It applies a constant medium pressure toward make everybody middle class, while allowing enough room for growth or failure to motivate people to actually get off their asses and work for what they want.
Now, as for public services, the inclusion of gifts given in the tax calculation provides for a nice way to do this. See, if you work full time (hours worked are verified, of course, so you can't just inflate them to cheat), and make absolutely no money, your result from the tax calculation is that you get what you would have recieved if you were being paid EXACTLY average wages. Now, say you formed a non-profit organization, and did some big public service out of your own pockets. This public service would, of course, have to be accepted by the public in order for you to pay for it, because you're giving people things for free, which means to them that there is going to be something sucking up their tax return money if they accept the gift, so if you don't want it, don't take it. Therefore on that company's tax sheet, they would show a huge net loss, and therefore get money in return out of the system, at an exactly average rate.
That means that unless they priced everything exactly at average too, they actually lost some money - but wages are always pure profit, which compensates for that, and they should in the end neither gain nor lose much if anything at all, just be compensated for their expenses and time. In effect, the public service WAS funded by the taxes, but the public themselves got to decide in aggregate, directly, by accepting the service or not, whether they wanted it or not.
The good thing that a lot of rich conservatives in favor of pure capitalism (with major tax cuts for the rich) will be happy about is, If you're rich, and you decide that instead of funding some stupid charity who's probably hoarding all the profit for themselves, you're going to directly help out some poor friends in need of a hand... well, you've effectively just gone and made yourself a charity there, and the tax system will reflect it. Besides which, under this system is a charity ever turned a profit they would be taxed on it like any other corporation, so giving to charities doesn't have that risk anyway.