We share the criticism of the excesses and ignorance of untamed turbo-capitalism. It is like a fire. You can burn your fingers or warm yourself. Money is fire power, and it carries commitments. Pope Francis denounced ruthless capitalism in his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” in October 2020. He speaks of a “loss of social feeling” (11.), a “freedom of economic powers without borders” (12.), “the interest of economic powers only in quick profits” (17.) and “economic rules for growth, but not for overall development” (21.).
We do indeed need a better Policy 4.0 with a social heart and mind.
What is the best economic concept simultaneously achieving social justice?
Socialism as a Dead End
What about the alleged blessings of expropriations, nationalization, redistributions and state capitalism, as praised by the Left worldwide?
The ideology of Marx and Lenin contradicts the nature of man and his desire for self-realisation and maximum freedom. In the end only a few red rulers are rich and the people poorer than ever before. Why? Socialism has already been tried out worldwide in 100 years by over two billion people in 50 variants and has always failed dramatically. Never and nowhere has the socialist model ever worked. 48 socialist nations have gone bankrupt. Only China has succeeded, because it introduced turbo-capitalism in 1978, as did Vietnam. Two capitalist Black Red Swans.
Worse still: Like maggots in bacon, all socialist functionaries everywhere have shamelessly enriched themselves. Granting themselves the luxury that was denied to the starving people. In real socialism, criticism is forbidden. Dissenters are imprisoned or even murdered. Environmental protection is disregarded. Armament expenditure is increased. People are poorly paid. There is no genuine worker participation, but instead brutal planning. Socialism is synonymous for brutal dictatorship of a few officials over the broad masses. It is just another form of exploitation amounting to turbo-state monopoly capitalism with red functionaries exploiting their impoverished people. What is supposedly better about if only the type of exploiter changes? Especially if the state at the same time resembles a large prison and the living conditions are worse than under capitalism?
Have people learned nothing from the dark red practice? Do they now want to take this dangerous path of illusion again?
Turbo-state socialism is not a new solution, but instead a dead end with a known bitter end.
A poisoned soap bubble with rubber truncheons and handcuffs. This brand of socialism devoid of humanism and freedom for the people is a perversion of thinking. No political model with heart and mind. Pope Francis would agree.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was therefore right to bid farewell to this deep-red socialism in its Godesberg Programme in 1959: In a democracy, “man has the opportunity to develop his personality and to live in cultural diversity, beyond need and fear. In his hands lies the “responsibility for a happy future. Only “a new and better social order opens the way to freedom”. The SPD was striving for a society in which every person could develop his or her personality in freedom. “Freedom and justice are mutually dependent. For human dignity lies in the right to individual responsibility as well as in the recognition of the right of fellow human beings to develop their personality and to participate in shaping society on an equal footing.” The SPD decided more than 60 years ago in its visionary ‚Mission Zukunft Deutschland‘ (Mission Future Germany) that it was a party of “freedom of the mind” and “rooted in Christian ethics, humanism and classical philosophy in Europe”.
We must tame XXL capitalism like a wild horse and need a balanced mix of capitalist and social elements, a Social Market Economy.
After the country lay in ruins and 12 million Germans had fled from the eastern territories to the West, Professor Alfred Müller-Armack and Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard developed a new economic model. It was revolutionary – a ‚Mission Future Germany‘ in 1949. The promising new socio-economic structure emerged from the ruins of a failed old model. At its heart is a constant balance between the free market and the social needs of the people. A pragmatic and sound symbiosis of the harmonious middle rejecting both unbridled turbo-capitalism as well as a socialist state economy.
The social market economy made the citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany prosperous and the socialist planned economy made the citizens of the GDR poor. That is a fact. Since 1950 the gross domestic product in the FRG has increased sixfold. In 2017, united Germany ranked 18th in terms of per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power) among the world’s most prosperous 195 countries.
The state bears responsibility both for the prosperity of the economy and the well-being of its citizens.
Promoting the economy is the basis of an efficient state. Without it everything is nothing.
Without a flourishing and globally competitive economy there is no work or sufficient tax revenue for the state to provide social security for its citizens. A prosperous economy is indispensable for a prosperous nation.
The citizen should not be exploited. He or she should be given the right of co-determination at work, good pay, capital accumulation, adequate provision in the event of illness or unemployment and a decent pension.
Today’s Social Market Economy requires a permanent balancing and re-vitalisation of these two supporting pillars. This is a core task of every mission future.
What could a new Social Market Economy look like today?
Redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor?
What is “socially just”?
The social democratic and socialist parties place “social justice” at the heart of their policies. They rightly denounce inhumane working conditions and demand fair wages and care for the poor. For this they deserve thanks and recognition. But their fortunes are in decline everywhere. Why?
Their redistribution dogma has already reached the middle class, which has to work hard for more money. Who is “rich”? Everyone earning more than the average wage?
According to the 2018 Global Wealth Report of Credit Suisse, assets of only $ 93,170 are enough to be richer than 90 percent of the world’s population. The richest one percent of the world already has $ 871,320, and with only $ 4210 you are better off than half the world’s population. Consequently, every convinced socialist is “a rich individual”. If he or she remained true to their conviction, they would have to donate their entire private fortune to the poor in the Third World. Do you know a socialist likely to act accordingly?
“Social justice” means adequate social security compatible with economic performance, not strangulation of the free market economy.
Social market economy means: a committed policy for the silent and the weak as well as social responsibility. Balanced with the freedom to shape and promote the economic basis. Everything depends on it. Without a free-market-economy well-paid work, high pensions, good housing, happiness for the wealthy and the poor would be non-existent.
- We need a re-vitalisation or introduction of a balanced Social Market Economy. In the 21st century it needs a sensible and acceptable overall view and a balance between basic social services, moderate taxes and maximum personal and entrepreneurial freedom. The state must provide adequate care. This includes the highest possible tax-free pensions, a functioning health system, affordable housing in the cities, but also fair taxes for all and wealth accumulation. Relief, more support and appreciation for top performers in the middle class are the indispensable basis for all these measures.
In the 21st century it needs a sensible and acceptable overall view and a balance between basic social services, moderate taxes and maximum personal and entrepreneurial freedom. The state must provide adequate care. This includes the highest possible tax-free pensions, a functioning health system, affordable housing in the cities, but also fair taxes for all and wealth accumulation. Relief, more support and appreciation for top performers in the middle class are the indispensable basis for all these measures.