Pakman Does Socialism — The Swedish Syndrome

Tube show host David Pakman unsurprisingly mentioned Sweden as the model of Social Democracy. Socialism by itself, he said, is authoritarian but within the frame work of capitalism, as it is in Sweden, it is useful. This is Social Democracy. Like most individuals, he understands the label of Sweden as the most balanced and successful capitalist society. Social Democracy is best of all possible worlds. It is the beautiful love child of socialism and its supposed master capitalism.

The ruling class abhors reality.

In fact Sweden is not doing very well. It is like the U.S. in many ways. Years of cuts implemented by the Social Democrats (the liberal party) have destroyed their legacy. On top of that, around 2015, Sweden, with a population of some ten million, received 163,000 asylum seekers in one year. Cuts and refugee trafficking has led to the increased popularity of the so-called “extremist” anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats. This sounds familiar.

2018 was the Social Democrats their worst showing since 1911. Though they still held onto power, it is apparently a sea change in Swedish politics. But you wouldn’t know it by reading the establishment headlines or watching establishment media. Most chalk up the about the rise of “right wing” sentiment and disgust with the liberals to the stinginess and racism of a country, that not a few years before was the model of civilized capitalism. Suddenly Sweden is going “fascist” because it hates immigrants, not because capitalism is dominant?

But Pakman evidently doesn’t know this. In fact, social democracy should be called social capitalism. But that wouldn’t sound good. It would remind everyone that capitalism without the “social” is a barbaric system. As Sweden demonstrates if you prioritize capitalism as you framework then socialism is nothing more than a prop. But it works for the members of the Preservation Society, and We will even fight for it. Kenyesianism and Social Democrats fail to understand capitalists will use them and spit them out. It’s happening right in front of their face since the beginning of, well, capitalism. But liberals still propose government programs without eventual cancellation by ruling class forces. This is ingrained thinking as promulgated by pro-ruling class ideology.

He says he doesn’t believe in socialism because it can only be administered in an authoritarian way while capitalism allows entrepreneurialism to flourish. It seems to be okay, since he didn’t mention it, that business under capitalism concentrates power till there are five or six companies that own telecommunications industry, big media, dominate food, etc. That is the natural outcome of capitalism. Liberals will understand this as the actions of bad actors. Conservatives are taught to see bad actors as well, but most they see the all powerful hand of socialism at work.

Pakman seems to think that socialist don’t know that individuals have different skill levels, drives, ability, etc., says Pakman in Democratic Socialism Isn’t What You Think It Is. He thinks socialism, because it is authoritarian in his mind, must stifle entrepreneur. At 5:46 Pakman tells us that we can work with different skill levels and abilities if we can “set up a system that will let the innovation flourish as much as possible towards the top, while also raising the baseline for everyone, which is what Social Democracy wants.”

It is interesting to see just how ingrained the ruling class ideology is revealed by his words and actions. With one hand he indicates a certain level and then he raises it as he mentions “let the innovation flourish”. Then he does the same with the other hand on mentioning “baseline for everyone”. In other words “innovation” and “baseline for everyone” are two different things, two different sectors of the economy, two different classes of society. The word “while also” emphasizes the distinction. You can allow success to flourish while also take care of the losers and helpless. Perhaps that’s not what he means but it is a distinctly capitalist perspective. Wouldn’t a socialist put it thusly, while indicating a flat surface with their hand, “socialism would provide a baseline foundation.” Then raising their hands upward from the surface, they continue, “out of which entrepreneurialism and innovation can flourish”.

Capitalism by any other name is still capitalism. Sweden, along with the dismantling of the New Deal, shows unfettered, unaccountable private accumulation is the problem. Maybe some one should tell David Pakman.

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