...when the robber barons ran roughshod over the populace, child labor was rampant, corporate thugs were in high demand to quell and kill those who objected to corporate tyranny, industrial workers were forced to work in unsafe conditions for long hours and below poverty wages, unsafe food and drugs were common, the environment was exploited with impunity, consumers were lied to with impunity, debtors were exploited through exorbitant interest rates and terms, etc.
And we could go back to that, too, it those liberal commies would just go back where they came from!
First of all, the word "socialism" is not an evil word. It has nothing to do with the putrid atrocities in countries such as the former Soviet Union, any more that capitalism has anything to do with what went on the archenemy of communism, fascist Germany. Pure socialism is the ownership of the means of production by the government; that does not include the extermination of opponents.
Second of all, while socialism may work well in small groups such as monasteries and religious communities, it has proven a failure as a way to govern nations. There is no major nation that practices pure socialism, if there ever was. All modern nations recognize that the market system, with restraints and controls, is necessary to compete in today's world.
Third, even before pure socialism showed itself to be a failure, pure capitalism showed itself to be a failure. The present economic system of the United States bears little resemblance to that of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the robber barons ran roughshod over the populace, child labor was rampant, corporate thugs were in high demand to quell and kill those who objected to corporate tyranny, industrial workers were forced to work in unsafe conditions for long hours and below poverty wages, unsafe food and drugs were common, the environment was exploited with impunity, consumers were lied to with impunity, debtors were exploited through exorbitant interest rates and terms, etc.
All civilized nations now practice various forms and degrees of socialized capitalism.
"To socialize" means, among other things, to make fit to live together in a civilized society. Thus, we socialize, or at least try to socialize, juvenile delinquents and all forms of law-breakers, as well as pit pulls.
Hopefully, no one today would claim that the raw, predatory capitalism of those earlier days was fit for a civilized and peaceful society. Certainly, you will not hear any Democrat, Republican, or otherwise advocating that we go back to those days.
It became necessary to socialize capitalism, to make it fit for everyone and not just corporate executives and their cronies. We did this by enacting various laws which controlled and restricted the practice of capitalism, made unlawful the former practice of raw, predatory capitalism.
Food and drug laws.
Industrial safety laws
Child labor laws
Wage and hour laws
Social security laws
Deceptive advertising laws
Consumer protection laws
Racial discrimination laws
Fair labor practice laws
These laws are not evidence of raw capitalism; they are evidence of socialized capitalism.
What has happened is that capitalism has been socialized, that is, made fit to exist in society without being allowed to continue the immoral and greed-driven practices inherent in raw, predatory capitalism. Man?s greed is omnipresent; it cannot be eliminated. So capitalism harnesses that greed to produce goods and services at a greatly accelerated level. But left unattended, it is like a like a campfire that reaches out to devour the forest because no one is controlling it. Capitalism, that is, man?s greed, needs to be reined in and controlled. It is like a wild horse that can be of service only if it is socialized, that is, only if reins are put on it to control it. Capitalism has been a blessing, but only after it was made fit for a civilized society, that is, only after it was socialized. It is time we told ourselves the truth.