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The contemporary usage (or expectation) of the term socialism or socialist state differs from the textbook definition. The textbook definitions generally assert that a socialist state exists when the means of production are controlled by the people; in practice, this means controlled by the government (e.g. BBC, British Airways, Vickers). True socialist states are rare and have varying degrees of success depending upon the discipline and wisdom of the ruling class (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela).

Popular socialism refers not to collective ownership of resources, but to a ‘social services state’: that irrespective of the ownership of resources, the state will provide free or low cost services (ok, no direct cost) not found in a purely free market society; examples of social services states include Sweden, Denmark, and Great Britain.

As a “social services state”, America has failed in spectacular fashion when measured by cost/benefit. The total tax burden (cost) to the consumer in the United States is within five to ten percent of EU countries. The services provided (benefit) are nearly non-existent (yet represent the single largest line item in the federal budget – go figure).

The three pillars of the social services state are Education, Healthcare, and Retirement. Students are bamboozled into accepting crushing debt to obtain worthless degrees in a wage-stagnant economy. PPACA (Obamacare) has increased healthcare costs exponentially while driving volume and quality of service into the dust, and the unfunded liabilities of government-mandated retirement in America (Social Security and Medicare) are well-documented, extending into the one-hundred trillion dollar range.

You are paying for a social services state, but not getting one. Cue the outrage.

Here in this post post-modern world, I would say we are looking at a new kind of ism not described previously. A unism, if you will (Unknown Ism of Interest).

A convergence of interests not unparalleled, but unparalleled in breadth and depth of power and influence. The corporations that c̶o̶n̶t̶r̶o̶l̶ exploit the world's resources and information continue to dwindle in number but increase in scope, concentrating a continual expansion of power in a continually decreasing number of hands.

This power translates to untoward influence in global governments (to wit: Monsanto convincing the FDA that GMO foods are not substantially different from non-GMO thus not requiring labelling, while simultaneously convincing the USPTO that GMO foods are intellectual property) and recreates in function, if not design, the monolithic power structures of prior centuries that combined economic, political, and social powers into a single-minded force. Thus, the Unism marches toward a facsimile of pre-20th century society, before the monarchies fell and the capitalists were reigned in. 

The perennial struggle between the haves and havenots has always hinged on the control of the peasantry. How does one balance the formula of subjugation and distraction, such that the peasants will continue to produce (perhaps grudgingly), but are not so disenfranchised that they are motivated to challenge the status quo (vis-a-vis Yellow Vests, Brexit)?

Having learned from previous attempts that top-down subjugation and unmitigated genocide are not effective long term solutions for control, the Unism has settled on a strategy of peasant self-regulation through designated prefects, factionation, and planned opposition. While the peasants are busy calling each other names and blaming one another for the impending collapse of modern society (when not distracted by imaginary people flying around in brightly colored leotards), the Unism is consolidating its power globally across banks, corporations, and governments.

The political discourse of the peasantry devolves into pointless debates of abstract ideologies not unlike school children arguing on the playground about Batman fighting Superman. There is nothing moral, just, or inherently superior about any of the arguments being presented by the factions, but they do serve a purpose: Mass distraction of the peasantry.

The peasantry will continue to decline in prosperity and influence unless and until it learns to stop fighting itself and focus on the real oppressors – but the clock is ticking.

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