If the evolving meaning of socialism strikes you as an inventive bit of rebranding, Mr. Stiglitz believes the conservative idea of American capitalism as an unfettered free-market system is itself a myth.
“There is no Darwinian capitalism,” he said. “Everybody would say you need some degree of regulation of banks. I mean, no one is talking about real laissez-faire banking.”
Even the word “capitalist” has evolved, Mr. Stiglitz said. It is only since the late 20th century and the rise of the economist Milton Friedman, he contends, that “capitalist” stopped being a dirty word. It was once used in what he called “a pejorative way.”
Capitalists were “people who were exploiting workers,” he said. [Source]
Well, he's completely wrong about when capitalist stopped being a dirty word. It was long before Friedman. Plus, it was never a dirty word with everyone when used the way Adam Smith actually meant it, not laissez-faire, but regulated. It was always a dirty word in the eyes of socialists.
Joe is afraid of socialists, the real ones. He doesn't want the capitalists to lose. He'll claim its because capitalism when done Joe's way is better at lifting the People than is pure socialism. I disagree with him profoundly.
Here's how to think about real socialism, which is when the People collectively own the means of production.
Most people who are reasonably educated know about employee ownership. There are companies owned by the employees. Most of those same people know about democracy in the workplace. When employee ownership and democracy in the workplace are combined, that's democratic socialism on the company scale. Now, scale that up to the nation-state, and you have democratic socialism on the national scale. That's really all there is to it.
Do all employee-owned companies do well? No. Do all capitalist-owned companies do well? No. Does democracy in the workplace guarantee success? No. Does the absence of it guarantee success? No.
What causes success? Wise investments, good decisions, and proper effort.
What are the main arguments against socialism? You hear it all the time. Socialism has never worked and can't work. The reason given is that workers will be lazy. However, if that's true, why are there successful employee-owned companies where decisions are made democratically? Those companies are successful because everyone employed by them has an equal share in the ownership and hence the profits. They are incentivized. The same holds for a democratic-socialist nation-state. Every citizen has an equal ownership in the proceeds and is thereby incentivized just as with the employee-owned company and just as with the capitalist in a capitalist-owned company. To top it off, the socialists are further incentivized by their ethic of giving and sharing, their inherent altruism. It isn't just profits to themselves that drives them.
So you see, the issue isn't which form works or doesn't. The issue is the spirit. If we raise up the right spirit, socialism at the nation-state level can't fail simply for being socialism. It only fails due to capitalist greed (such as Donald Trump's) coveting what the whole People own together under socialism. That greed drives capitalists to violence and lies and all manner of wickedness to take from the People what is there's by God.