That said, the system that has been most successful thus far at achieving the highest standard of living for the greatest percentage of its citizens has been that of socialized democracy. What do the First World nations have in common?
(1) Legal protection for the disadvantaged and taxpayer-funded opportunities to enable the poor to better their station in life.
(2) A legal system in place to help level the playing field in business and commerce.
(3) Taxpayer-funded schools to help ensure a highly-educated population.
(4) Legal protections for the rights of the people in their private lives and in the workplace.
Each of these costs a great deal of money, and so each non-OPEC First World nation also has a fifth commonality: higher taxes. This is perhaps the biggest bugaboo of conservative thought, that high taxes are bad for a nation’s economy. If that were indeed the case, then (again) the non-OPEC First World nations would not be continuing to maintain their status as First World nations. Indeed, as I pointed out in in this article, unless the money is stolen by corruption, very few of a nation’s taxpayer dollars that are used within that nation’s borders are wasted. the taxes that are wasted are those that are sent outside that nation’s borders. When taxes are used for education, emergency services, infrastructure development, or business support, those taxes are much more beneficial to a nation than are tax cuts; indeed, a sixty-five-year study found that tax cuts do not lead to a nation’s economic growth.
There is one more factor that helps ensure the viability of all of the above factors: a strong defense. Today, America is still the arsenal of democracy, though most readers will agree that we are spending far too much on defense. In my opinion, we have since the 9/11 attacks had a form of national insanity (which has now evolved into Obama Derangement Syndrome) and we have as a nation been much too trigger-happy; however, nearly all the other democracies of the world have remained largely at peace, and peace is always a good thing for national development. Indeed, it might be that socialized democracy has proven to be the most peaceful, or perhaps it would be better called the least warlike, of successful governmental systems.
The above six factors are what that have led to the attainment and maintenance of what we see today as First World status for non-OPEC nations. Are there other governmental systems which might lead to the same status? China has many engineering and technological marvels that surpass those of the West; however, the living standards of their average population still severely lags behind that of any of the First World nations. China has unrivaled potential for growth, but her peculiar brand of communism lacks several of the factors I listed above, particularly those having to do with rights and freedoms and protections. It is for that reason that it could be said with some justification that China’s government is communist only at the highest levels, that her economic system is not only extremely capitalistic, but even includes a not-so-healthy dose of libertarianism.
What other governmental systems are there in use today that could lead to First World status? There are none that I can see. This of course does not preclude the possibility of such, but I strongly suspect that any such government would necessarily be what today’s conservatives and anarchists decry as big governmen, for only a big government can have the logistical wherewithal to achieve and maintain the six factors containing the rights, protections, and benefits I listed above.
There is one last factor to consider: nearly all the residents of BC Politics hail from First World nations, which means that it’s easy for us to see all the problems that come with our form of government, and this exemplifies Aesop’s maxim, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Just as a rich kid is often unable to appreciate his or her freedom from material want, we who live in First World nations are often unable to appreciate just how good we have it. We’re so busy complaining about how terrible things are that we don’t realize that historically speaking, the mere ability to complain about the government is the exception to the rule. We might complain about how terrible our taxes are, or how Big Brother is creeping up on us with traffic cameras, but there are literally billions of people who would give a great deal to have the opportunity to live here and pay those taxes and dodge those traffic cameras. For those who bitch, moan, and complain about how bad things are in socialized democracies, have at it! Cry havoc to your hearts’ content! Tell all the world how the president is a traitor! Just remember how precious is the right to do so, and ask yourselves how many successful forms of government have ever existed that not only tolerated dissent to the point that not only could you publicly accuse the head of state (king, dictator, chairman, whatever) of treason, but the state would spend taxpayer dollars protecting your right to do so even if you’re lying through your teeth!