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3 years ago

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With CSA's ( community supported agriculture) being popular the last few years, and with Bernie Sanders running for president , does anyone here consider CSA's a form of socialism? I think most conventional agriculture now days is socialist. The government funds a lot of cost share , beginning farmer loans , government crop insurance etc. etc. Does anyone think we are there and getting worse?

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-04-30 19:11:31 (CST)

Dusty, it is all a question of perspective and definition. If you apply the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary's definition of socialism then all the examples you referred to have nothing to do with socialism, because that definition would point to " governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods", and as you know a CSA is in deed just a subscription contract for farm produce and/or animal products which people pay in advance and then get a weekly/monthly allocation of what a farm produces. The members agree to share risks of the farm and will not be compensated should weather or other circumstances outside the power of the farmer keep him/her from fulfilling the obligations.
If you refer to socialism as any kind of mutual assistance organized by private or public organizations, then insurance plans of any kind, for example, also fall into that category, because nobody can demand that all contribution be paid back, but everybody , in case the insurance case occurs, can expect to get much more out of it than in most cases was contributed.
A third case of socialism exists in all projects that an individual cannot undertake alone, but depends on for life such as public education, public transportation systems, such as roads for example, fire districts and so on.
In short, any society, any collection of human beings( and for that matter many animal species) depend for their welfare to a certain degree on social cohesion and actions, which in a wider sense may be considered "socialism". There is not a single system of human beings living together that wouldn't have to depend on some form of socialism in the wider sense. Even warfare needs the willingness of certain people to commit their lives for the greater good of their communities, and there you get another trigger word for sentiments and resentments when you look at the root of the word and its connotations.
By the way, it is pretty much established knowledge that the first Christian communities, followed by many others later, shared their property in a communal way.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-04-30 19:17:32 (CST)

I should have added that one can always discuss the desirable extent of any kind of "socialism", and that there will always be different views on that. Among farmers I have found many who have no problems claiming governmental assistance for crops , low prices, weather related problems etc. , but who can get livid about" welfare for takers".

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Carl says 2016-05-01 11:54:45 (CST)

Of course, we are rapidly becoming socialistic and socialism has failed miserably wherever its been tried. But look at what happens, in order to get elected, those running for office have to promise more and more and spend more and more money on people's pet projects. Anyone who fails to promise the moon can't get elected. Young people follow politicians like Bernie Sanders because they have no idea of history and have been lead to believe that they can get something for nothing. Tirades against wealth is just saying that "I want what you have and what I have been too lazy to work for." Look at the many many millionaaires that computers and programs have created. Instead of holding those people up as role models, the socialistic politicians want to condemn them as being some kind of three headed monster. I could go on and on but I think you get my drift.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2016-05-02 06:29:36 (CST)

So Klaus, do you believe we have a "free market" in agriculture. This is the definition of capitalism . And you say?

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-05-02 08:37:45 (CST)

No, Dusty, I do not believe that when it comes to commodities we have a free market in agriculture. The market has for a long time been hi-jacked by big corporations, not without the assistance of various administrations. Farmers have aided and abetted that development by defending unfettered capitalism without understanding and/or acknowledging that any economic system needs limiting rules and regulations to protect itself against its own excesses. Corporations on the other hand were not shy to protect their own interests.
The basic difference exists in the following: While there are people who want to see a nation merely as an accumulation of individuals in which everyone fends for themselves and all expressions of social compassion are relegated into the realm of private activities such as charities, churches, donations. etc. there are others, I include myself, who see a nation as a community with conjoined fates, who are in this enterprise of life together and therefore understand the need for laws and regulations that enable that community. The extent of such community will always be a matter of discussion.
It is not helpful in that discussion to denounce one system while extolling the ostensible virtues of another one blindly .

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-05-02 10:26:23 (CST)

By the way, what is a "free market " anyway ? Markets can only exist where certain rules are accepted, such as definition of property, price and quantity, what happens in cases of insolvency , cheating, monopoly. Markets can only happen in an atmosphere of trust. Such trust usually in human society was the result of societal agreement= regulations , which had to be enforced by some kind of governmental entity. The question is only who constitutes that governmental entity.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2016-05-02 21:57:24 (CST)

More supply and demand instead of government and large corporations controlling all production and sales , this would be free market. I have mostly been in livestock mostly and I am involved in a meat business, and transportation. 4 large packers is not free market, few chicken processors, pork etc. , I have never registered with FSA to tell them what I'm growing and how much, so I'm not in their system. We have a semi so I know what regulation is. Terrible.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-05-03 08:14:17 (CST)

Dusty, you are exactly right: Four large packers is not free market. But any capitalistic system tends towards concentration because of the economy of scale principle which favors the large enterprise to the disadvantage of the smaller one, therefore it would be necessary through regulations to limit the size of an enterprise. Exactly such limitations have been decried as government interference with free enterprise.
By the way, the intellectual father of capitalism, Adam Smith, wrote his theories and observations about " The Wealth of Nations" at a time when many small businesses were competing with each other and there were no big corporations or supersized enterprises. He did not foresee the excesses of the system which we have to deal with nowadays. And if people like it or not, capitalism as a system has to be protected against its own demise by SMART rules and regulations. We are far from having reached smart rules and are still on the road towards self-extinction( As row-crop farming has sufficiently proven! Fewer and fewer viable farms need larger and larger acreages to eke out a small margin of profit for survival. Here we see the absolutely wrong government interference by supporting production instead of income, which favors the large producer over the smaller one. But since income support on all levels, especially small ones, was denounced as socialism by the farming community, they got what they deserved, the relentless war of competition: get big or get out!)

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2016-05-04 15:17:10 (CST)

Thanks Klaus for your input. Just trying to see how others look at this, you are well informed. Take care.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Mike in MI says 2016-05-04 21:27:27 (CST)

Klaus, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Thank you for being such a clear thinking and articulate voice of knowledge. Many blessings to you and your farming enterprises.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Sharon says 2016-05-05 13:28:56 (CST)

As usual, I also agree with Klaus, particularly the parts about insurance being a form of socialism and about some farmers being the first in line for the subsidies but also being the first to denounce the providing of welfare to the needy. When I hear people start bitching about Obamacare and having to pay for someone else's healthcare, my answer is what do you think private insurance is? The only difference is private insurance is a third party making billions of dollars off of your healthcare premium that does nothing to further advances in the medical field or provide healthcare to the payer of the premium. And that applies to every form of private insurance, not just health insurance.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Todd NE WY says 2016-05-05 16:56:19 (CST)


You are partially right in your comments about Obamacare.

But, being in healthcare as my primary income I can tell you it is the most misunderstood term out there. Obamacare is still the private insurance companies that you describe, they are still the ones making the most money. The only difference is that a portion of the premium is paid by government tax credits and the rest by the individual and the government sets the amount they can charge for premiums both for individual plans and plans under Obamacare. Here in WY the only insurance company that meets the criteria to be approved by Obamacare is BlueCross BlueShield. When we submit claims all BCBS goes to the same address, Obamacare or regular insurance. Many people are under the impression that if you have Obamacare then your claims go the government for payment.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2016-05-06 05:23:56 (CST)

Klaus, thanks for your insight and for sharing.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-05-06 08:30:34 (CST)

Thanks for all the positive responses.
When it comes to the health care discussion and international comparisons there is a treasure trove of information on the Internet when you look up Wikipedia sites for that topic. Anybody with an open mind will see that our country can learn from others how to improve access and even outcome.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Sharon says 2016-05-06 08:59:00 (CST)

Todd, I do understand that under Obamacare there is still private health insurance and they are still the ones making the most money. And I do believe that it is very misunderstood. I think that most people think it is a step too far in the direction of the dreaded "socialized medicine", when in reality, it is in part an attempt at regulating the private insurance companies as well as making it possible for lower income people to afford health insurance. Many people also do not realize that there is a "low end" to qualifying for Obamacare, and if you fall under that level, state Medicaid is supposed to pick up that individual. As far as I understand it, there is nobody getting "free" health insurance under Obamacare. Greatly reduced premiums, yes, but not free. Re-reading my comment I can see how it could be interpreted that under Obamacare, private insurance no longer applies. But thank you for clarifying, because there are many that misunderstand

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Fort Causeway says 2016-05-11 08:57:56 (CST)

Dusty, I sure don't think CSA's are socialist. It is a business arrangement between two parties, and each side carries risk.

As a Canadian here for 20 years, it used to be fairly common to get ribbed about being a "socialist Canadian with your socialist health care and all" I am getting less and less ribbing from Americans on this all the time.
I see a great hazard that the new health care in America puts extra burden on the employer, on the private sector. It would be one thing if everyone put money in a pot so everyone could access health care, but the federal government mandating that the private sector must provide this to employees is ridiculous. As an employer I can't keep employees from drinking beer all night, eating poorly, or getting good amount of sleep, but now I have to give them more time off and supply them with health care benefits? Sorry, not an employer obligation, in my opinion.
Beware the Fabian agenda, yes, socialism in America is increasing, as incentive based opportunities seem to decrease with a consistently rising burden on private sector business.
My neighbours still plant sugar beets, though the silos are full of white sugar that can't be sold, as Pepsi and Nestle are matching consumer demand for non GMO cane sugar. But the commodity credit corporation sold $660 million in sugar to the ethanol plants (subsidized by the taxpayer) for $6 million. Instead of retooling the plant or growing sorghum sweeteners, they keep planting sugar beets. Socialists? Nope, I call them communists right to their face, smiling. They leave no hope for supply and demand markets for my children with their methods and I have no patience left for them.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2016-05-11 17:08:21 (CST)

With 47% of the American populace on some form of government dole and the other 53% providing that, I'd say that is pretty much socialism ,because the 53% cannot opt out of paying for it with out severe consequences from the government.So I would interpret that as the government owning them.

As for Obamacare enabling many poorer to be covered, people forget the outrageous premiums and deductibles people who are barely above the poverty level must pay or be penalized . My wife must pay $9600 a year in premiums and a $5000 deductible to be covered under the same plan that use to cost her half that much and $500 deducible. In order to afford that, I had to take a Medicare Advantage Plan HMO and see doctors that I had never seen before and then rely on a referral and only hope I can get reasonable care. Obama care is failing miserably because the younger generation that was suppose to signup found that they could pay the penalty and it would be far less than the premiums, They don't think they need the insurance anyway, Remember the " You can keep your Doctors and your premiums will be less"Yea Right.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2016-05-11 18:59:47 (CST)

As to the healthcare, as many countries show, it is possible to cover everybody within a single payer system. Germany has a combination of " statutory sickness insurance" for all ( by the way ever since 1883) and private insurance .
As I pointed out earlier, Vince and Kevin, it seems that in the USA "socialism" for big corporations and enterprises in the form of subsidies, tax breaks , write-offs, etc. meets with less resistance than forms of mutual assistance for ordinary people.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2016-05-11 22:26:31 (CST)

Thanks Kevin. We are socialist , the government "shares " in the production of almost everything. All my neighbors are socialist farmers whereas they get the government to share in their production. The government bailed out the auto industry so they shared in the production . I think we have to accept the label of socialist to keep from becoming communist. Funny you say that Kevin because I do the same thing! Other countries may be socialist because they want to be , but we are socialist through regulation, imo. Hope you are well Kevin, how's the year around grazing treating you?

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2016-05-12 05:14:15 (CST)

Thanks Kevin, I think we are socialist as that means that the government "shares" in the production and of course controls the price. Agriculture is socialist as my neighbors run to the government to apply for share programs in irrigation and everything else. The government shares in the production of automobiles ( the bailout) , the banking etc. We need to admit we're socialist to keep from becoming communist. All of my neighbors think they are conservative capitalist republicans , while in fact they are liberal socialist republicans ( there are no democrats in my county).
How is your grazing going Kevin? Hope all is well.

Most socialist countries are socialist because they want to be, we are socialist through regulation, and it's getting worse.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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