That Socialist Country to the North

2129924_f520I’m still trying to convince a graduate student from Columbia that Canada is not a socialist country. There’s one property of socialism (literally) and one property only: the government owns private enterprise (or the “means of production” in Marx-esque terms). This is NOT Canada.

Canada has a stock exchange, private banks, CEOs that get paid lots of money, and I’ve yet to meet a doctor or a lawyer in Canada that’s receiving government assistance because they’re too poor.

The biggest difference between Canadian Capitalism and U.S. Capitalism is that Canadian Capitalism is based more on the European model of social responsibility. That’s a far cry from the government owning the means of production.

Banks are very much more heavily regulated than the U.S. In other words, banks are allowed to keep their profits, and distribute dividends to there share holders, as long as they don’t gain their profits from stealing them from unsuspecting customers (like issuing subprime loans). How did these regulations happen? Through the democratic process of Parliament; a representative government that was freely elected (look Ma, no Communism!).

Having regulated banks, a regulated stock exchange, and government transfers to help people in need isn’t socialism; it isn’t even communism. What Canada is, is a social democracy that has a capitalist economy.

As I move to a new University (in Canada, no less), should I stay in touch with my new friend from Columbia, I imagine I will spend years convincing him that Canada is not a socialist country. Until then, I’ll say “hi” to Karl Marx for him.

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