Comparative Criminal Justice Systems Essay
The goal of socialism is to minimize people’s suffering through public control of industry and social services; socialism rejects class-based society (TheFreeDictionary, 2010). Socialism promises prosperity, equality, and security to the people. However, in many cases socialism has brought poverty, misery, and tyranny to the people; equality is achieved in the sense that everyone is equal in misery (Perry, 1995, June). Key characteristics of the socialist system in Sweden and Russia are described in this paper, and advantages and disadvantages of the system are discussed.
In 1917 the Russian Revolution overthrew the czarist regime that ruled the Russian Empire. The new leaders created the Soviet Union and attempted to establish a socialist state based on the writings of Karl Marx. However, Marx did not explain how the socialist system would function. Without a blueprint for establishing the socialist system, the leaders of the new regime of Russia struggled to invent one. Under its socialist system, the government of Russia declared its ownership of most businesses and forced peasants to turn over a share of their output to the government.
This “war communism” allowed the government to take control of production and distribution of goods (Rittenberg & Tregarthen, 2009, April). The new government replaced elected officials with its own, “took over” land, banks, insurance companies, and large factories. The new regime destroyed the pre-revolutionary legal structure of the Russian economy. The program of “war communism” devastated the economy and the people lived in poverty, tyranny, and misery.
In 1921 Soviet communist leader Vladimir Lenin restored the legal basis necessary for the Russian economy to function, and he ordered that the government draft and enact a civil code based on western European civil law (Maggs, 2010). Russia and Sweden are socialist countries governed by European civil law. Socialism is an economic system that exists in environments where resources are plentiful, or populations are extremely small. Advantages of socialism include (Free, 1995): •Socialism provides every member with survival needs, creating a stable social environment. Members who cannot participate economically because of disabilities, age, or illness are provided with survival needs by the government. •Mandatory paid sick leave for an indefinite amount of time (Cooper, 2009, April 23). •Unemployment rates low because of active labor market policies – including subsidized employment, training, and job search assistance (Card, Kluve, & Weber, 2009, February). Providing members with “cradle to grave” benefits includes free universal health care, dental care, free education, and child-care; however, these benefits are not “free. Sweden, commonly known as a “welfare state” levies a 57% income tax on its workers to pay for these benefits (Cooper, 2009, April 23). Although Swedish hospitals rank among the best in the world, waiting times are also the longest in Europe. In August 2007, approximately 33,000 people had been waiting more than three months for surgery or other major treatments. Waiting times for emergency care in the overcrowded hospitals was approximately four hours. Medical resources in Sweden are strained by the continued rising demand.
More than 5% of Swedes are at least 80 and receiving pensions, and the overall population of Sweden has increased by 9% in the past 20 years (Magnusson, 2008, January 24). Swedes receive 80% of their salary while on sick leave. Abuse of sick leave is rampart, and at any given time at least 10% of Swedes are on sick leave. Over three-fifths of these workers tell pollsters they take leave when they have no health issues (Cooper, 2009, April 23). In 2006 Sweden had an official unemployment rate of 6% mainly because of active labor market policies.
The government provides training to the unemployed, assist with job search, and sometimes creates jobs in the public sector for the unemployed (Cooper, 2009, April 23). However, this “coddling” from the government creates a lack of incentives for workers to work harder and to “fend” for their selves. The socialistic system provides no inherent incentive to participate; therefore, this makes the socialism internally unstable. The lack of incentives tends to make the socialistic system non-competitive, making them externally unstable (Free, 1995).
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