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Please put new text at the end of this page, not on top or in older edits!

top (2004 & 2008)[edit]

By the way, when did this article turn into a stub? Looks like a number of people decided they'd rather erase whole paragraphs instead of correcting them. I'll revert to my last edit, from before this mess started, and then we can work from there, alright? - Mihnea Tudoreanu

TDC, why exactly did you erase the article again? If you have a problem with the version I've reverted to, then EDIT IT and let's discuss it - don't massacre the entire article for it! I don't believe this page should be restricted to a mere definition of statism. This is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. - Mihnea Tudoreanu

Yeesh. Ideologues with an agenda are taking over Wikipedia. Funny that.

Frankly, I'm glad for the comments written below: they reveal the mindset of the author of this article. You aren't interested in defining a concept: you're interested in using Wikipedia as a platform to advance your agenda.

Can we please try to be a little more objective in our articles? That would help everyone out: users and editors alike.

Thank you.

I agree, the libertarian rant below says a lot about some people's "objectivity". And just to show this guy how weak his arguments are, I've posted a rebuttal of his rant.

To find out if you are a statist, ask yourself:

- Is there any human activity that is more efficiently carried out under threats of violence and force than under liberty?

- Is it the case that human beings cannot be trusted to produce milk and bread for the children unless they are threatened with prison terms by "the government?"

- Is it really true that Americans cannot manufacture and distribute computers, clothing, housing, groceries, without "the government?"

- If the government were to be abolished, would entrepreneurs and businessmen make sure that I had access to the best quality at the lowest price?"

If you answer no, for example,

"No, businessmen are greedy and immoral and would only manufacture shoes of low quality and sell them at rip-off prices, unless bureaucrats were regulating them,"

and you added,

"And consumers are stupid, and would always buy low quality at a high price and wouldn't care for their family unless federal bureaucrats were making sure that didn't happen,"

then you have a religious faith in the State and its regulators, and believe that when greedy businessmen and stupid consumers are elected by their greedy and stupid peers to government positions, these human beings suddenly lose their greed and stupidity and become altruistic and intelligent overseers of others. "Statism" is a religious belief in the depravity of human beings and faith in the sanctified state.

Do you actualy even have a job? Have you ever worked for anything more than a coffee shop in your entire life?

Come up with some new criticisms when you stop living in your parents basement. TDC 00:50, May 8, 2004 (UTC)

  • Is it unethical to delete rude comments like this one personally attacking the above critic? (talk) 02:58, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Funny that YOU should talk of "dogma" and "religious belief", libertarian. Your kind are the ones who raise the concept of private property to a Godlike status. Your kind are the ones who believe that a businessman is entitled to money that he never worked for, while those who DID work for that money don't have any food to put on the table.

Tell me, is there any human activity that is more efficiently carried out under threats of poverty and starvation than under the guarantee of a decent life?

Is it the case that human beings cannot be trusted to produce milk and bread for the children unless they are threatened with hunger and misery by capitalist bosses? (let's not forget that in a libertarian society, your boss can fire you for any reason - or for no reason whatsoever - and if you're unemployed you'll start going hungry as soon as your savings run out, because there is no such thing as welfare)

Is it really true that American workers cannot manufacture and distribute computers, clothing, housing, groceries, without capitalist parasites (known as "bosses") ordering them around and making a profit off their backs?

And answer me, libertarian, is it not in the "rational self-interest" of entrepreneurs and businessmen to make the highest profit? And is the highest profit not achieved by selling the lowest quality goods they can get away with, for the highest prices they can get away with? Why would a businessman raise the quality of his goods any more than he absolutely NEEDS to? Why would he lower the price any more than he absolutely NEEDS to? And if competition drives quality up and prices down, how long do you think it will be until businessmen realize that they can band together in huge monopolistic corporations?

And as for the State, you seem to have forgotten about that little thing called DEMOCRACY. You think anyone trusts the State's regulators on FAITH? HA! The only reason we trust them is because we know that we can kick them out of office in 4 years' time if they don't do a good job.

Comment from Statist0 How can you talk like that! Not everyone contributing to this article is Libertarian. First of all I believe in big government. Second of all etrepeneurs and bussinessmen make the most profit because they are more fit. Can you think of a group that slacks off more than the average worker. The government should subsidise bussinesses to cover the cost of replacing them with machines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Statist0 (talkcontribs) 23:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Comment -- Yes, belief in the State (you can call it a valenica orange if you want, but it is still the State) is central to all forms of collectivism.
Define "collectivism". Judging by the root of the word, I'd say "collectivism" has something to do with a collective of some kind. So tell me, when you have an absolute monarch or totalitarian dictator - in other words, an individual - who holds absolute power, how is that "collectivism"? Conversely, when you have a small collective society (an anarchist commune, for example) where all people hold all property in common, but there are no rulers or hierarchy, where is the "state" in this collectivist community? It seems to me that collectivism and the state have little or nothing to do with each other -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, libertarians believe all property belongs to individuals while collectivists (you seem to be one) believe an abstraction (the State) rightfully owns all property.
First of all, you have no basis on which to tell me what I think. I can speak for myself, thank you very much. Second of all, you seem to believe that extremes like "all property belongs to individuals" and "all property belongs to the state" are the only possible options, with no shades of gray in between. That's a ridiculously absolutist view, of the "you either agree with me or you're a Nazi" type. Please get a grip on reality. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In practice, ownership is in the hands of whichever bureaucrats grabbed control of the mechanisms of the State/collective/"common resource"/means of production and theytreat it as personal property.
...which means that such a system cannot be considered "collectivism" of any sort. Thank you for proving my point.
Belief in the virtue of these systems resembles religion quite a lot in that it is held, usually, as a matter of *FAITH*, and unbelievers (such as the above writer) are to be stoned.
Uh, what? Perhaps you've been living under a rock for the past 5000 years, but we have a mountain of historical facts and data about all sorts of societies and all sorts of states. Nobody simply "believes in the virtue" of a certain system without supporting evidence and logical arguments (at least I hope nobody does, but you libertarians come pretty damn close). Also, you're doing the "you either agree with me or you're a Nazi" thing again. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The State is humanity's savior to these people, and any failures in people are the result of "capitalist roaders" (to use an old socialist phrase).
So, in your view, anyone who doesn't agree with you (and your belief that the State is an evil scourge which must be obliterated) must automatically believe that "the State is humanity's savior"? Are you aware of the existence of any other possibilities besides total anarchy and complete totalitarianism? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
To understand Statism is really rather simple, although there are many flavors. Simply substitute The State for God in almost any religion and you will have an analog to some form of Statism. It is a belief that bureaucracy breeds virtue, in and of itself, and is the True Path.
The above (just like all other things that person has posted) is the perfect example of a Straw Man fallacy. First he imagines an enemy ("Statism" as a real ideology, rather than the vague term it is in reality), he builds up that enemy the way he would like it to be, then tears down this imagined enemy. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:51, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Statism has killed more people in the past 100 years than you could dream of. Just think -- all of those "liberated" "virtuous" Russians, Cambodians, Jews, Gypsies, Tutsis. Mass graves are found only in "worker's paradise" systems. All collective States crush someone. That is their reason for being. Taking care of the common man??? Jeez. Go to Moscow and try to sell that tripe.
Actually, there's no need to dream. We have body count statistics to rely on. And although the estimates may vary somewhat, most historians put the total number of people who were killed "by the government" during the 20th century (including the victims of all wars and tyrants) at between 150 and 200 million. That's nothing compared to the total number of people who lived and died during the 20th century. There were 6 billion people alive at the end of the century alone, and many more lived and died during the century itself.
And, of course, "worker's paradise" systems have nothing to do with it. The vast majority of common graves are found in - you guessed it - war zones. The remaining mass graves are found in just about any system you can think of - including some of the most diehard anti-communists and anti-collectivists (i.e. fascists and nazis), and some of the most diehard individualists (mass graves were a common way to bury poor workers in the laissez-faire capitalist systems of the 19th century).
Also, incidentally, mass murders tend to happen where the state has little or no authority, too. You mentioned an example yourself: the Tutsis of the Rwandan Genocide.
And finally, for your information, I have actually been to Moscow. In the working-class neighborhoods, every person you meet curses the regime of the past 15 years and dreams of getting the Soviet Union back. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:13, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

question (2004)[edit]

How is pure democracy statist?AndyL 17:38, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

Pure democracy, as in the Greek sense, is majority rule correct? A pure majority rule can place deny rights to minorities by a simple vote. Correct me if I am mistaken here. TDC 17:48, May 6, 2004 (UTC)

So? Using similar logic, you may conclude that Anarchy is "statist" since it does not believe in the mythical concept that human rights somehow exist independently of the will of the people. Hell, by the libertarian definition, "statism" means anything that doesn't conform to libertarian dogma - no matter if the "statist" system in question actually has a state or not. - Mihnea Tudoreanu

Depends? Left wing (Marxist) anarchism would most certainly be statist but right wing anarchism would be the furthest thing form statism. TDC 23:19, May 7, 2004 (UTC)

You, sir, need to study a lot more history and political theory. Since when is left-wing anarchism "Marxist"? Poor Bakunin would be turning in his grave! And I wish to remind you that anarchists (I mean left-wing anarchists, because they appeared over 100 years before the silly idea of "right-wing anarchism" was ever taken into consideration) utterly DESPISE the state, and that their entire political theory is centered on opposition to authority - and therefore opposition to the state. Calling anarchists "statist" is not only ridiculously inaccurate, it's just plain idiotic.
Since private property is a form of authority, anarchists oppose it just as much as they oppose the state. In your so-called right-wing "anarchism", any man who owns a piece of land effectively becomes "the state" over that piece of land. Right-wing "anarchism" is, in fact, just another name for feudalism - there is no central authority to speak of, while the land is divided into millions of tiny little private "states". Just like feudal lords, right-wing "anarchist" property owners would have unlimited dictatorial powers over their domain.
- Mihnea Tudoreanu

Just like feudal lords, right-wing "anarchist" property owners would have unlimited dictatorial powers over their domain.

Now whats the operative word in that statement which shreds your point?

powers over their domain

They have no power over anyone who does not freely choose to enter their zone of authority. TDC 00:42, May 8, 2004 (UTC)

Right back at you - The state also does not have any power over anyone who does not freely choose to enter the state's zone of authority.
What's that you say? What happens if people are born within a state's area of authority? Well, what happens if people are born within a right-wing anarchist's area of private property?
Also, notice that you can't really "choose" not to live under a state, since the entire surface of the Earth is divided between states. Similarly, in right-wing anarchism, you can't really "choose" not to live under an anarcho-feudal lord, since the entire surface of the Earth is divided between anarcho-feudal lords.
And when someone claims X thing to be his private property, you should always ask yourself whether his claim is legitimate, before blindly defending his "property rights". Medieval kings claimed entire countries as their private property. Slave owners claimed human beings as their private property.
- Mihnea Tudoreanu

Well, something said that makes sense. The trouble is that nasty word "Left" which misleads and corrupts. There is no difference of "right" and "left" in anarchism. It is a meaningless distinction introduced by Statists. "We have your best interests at heart! So obey you slime."
[sarcasm] Riiiight, because, as we all know, everyone who isn't an anarchist supports a totalitarian police state. [/sarcasm] -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:13, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Most countries *OWN* people -- you are CALLED a citizen, but you are more like a cow to the State. You need to be milked for the benefit of ... the State. Private property must be maintained by main force, just as collective property must. Anarchism brings disorganized violence, while Statism keeps better records of their violent acts.
I guess you have been living under a rock for the past 5000 years - and missed the development of those things called human rights and democracy. Why don't you go visit Somalia? There's no State to "milk" you there... -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:13, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I realize that anarchist think that anarchy is such an involved and deep philosophy, but its basically the product of kids who did not get enough discipline when growing up, and realizing that aint the real world. TDC 00:42, May 8, 2004 (UTC)

Not that I necessarely disagree with you, but do you realize how ignorant and stupid you sound? If you want to refute a certain political theory, then do so with arguments, not silly ad hominem rants. And while I certainly agree that Randites are idiotic, there is a very big difference between them and classical (left-wing) libertarians and anarchists. Read some Proudhon or Bakunin and you'll see what true anarchists are all about. Nowadays they don't make 'em like they used to...
- Mihnea Tudoreanu

That reminds me of a film I saw a few years ago on followers of Ayn Rand. Its thesis was that Randites specifically and Libertarians in general suffered from arrested development and were stuck in the self-centred mindset most people grow out of by the age of 16 (coincidentally, Ayn Rand books are most popular with people in their early teens). AndyL 00:48, 8 May 2004 (UTC)

Andy, the reason I object with putting criticisms into this article is because it is a definition, not a subject. It would be like criticizing Marxist theory on the Proletariat (arguing the practical meaninglessness of the proletariat) or dialectic pages (which is a can of worms no one wants to open), when clearly criticism of Marxism belongs on the Marxism page, just as criticisms of libertarianism belongs on its respective page. TDC 18:20, May 6, 2004 (UTC)

Well then take out the Libertarian propagada. AndyL 18:29, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

NP TDC 18:49, May 6, 2004 (UTC)

I've added monarchism, colonialism and imperialism to the list. AndyL

Deleting content from the article (2004/5)[edit]

Should this article be a page-long overview of the concept of statism (A good article and NPOV, as far as I can tell) or a 4-sentence definition? Is there a reason you keep deleting most of the content from the page, TDC? Rhobite 23:11, Jul 19, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the discussion that's currently there is particularly helpful. There must be a better (NPOV name) article where this discussion can be placed, which in the long run will lead to a better discussion, and "Statism" just be a description of the term and its usage. Rd232 18:38, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Also, "Statism" is a pejorative term; nobody self-identifies as a supporter of statism (even if some end up defending it when opponents insist on using the term). A comparison with "capitalism" (RJII) is silly. Capitalism is an incredibly well-established and fairly-well-defined term used very widely across the social sciences; and there are plenty of people who self-identify as supporters of capitalism. Neither is true of "statism", which is well-established only as a pejorative term. Rd232 18:38, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"Statism" is not a "pejorative term." Some just use it pejoratively at times in the same way people use "socialist" or "communist" pejoratively. If you're not familiar with seeing "capitalist" used pejoratively, take a trip to some of the more socialist-leaning countries in Europe and talk to the leftists. RJII 19:12, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
A "pejorative term" is one that is only (or very predominantly) used pejoratively. Statism fits the bill. Capitalism does not. Of course the latter can be used pejoratively as well, but that's different from being a "pejorative term". Rd232 19:20, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Calling it a pejorative term is a biased statement on your part in an apparent attempt to dissuade people from using the word. The word represents a real concept. Whether people want to use it pejoratively or not is their decision. But there is nothing intrinsically pejorative about it. Many people do advocate centralized economic planning by the state. Whether all of them realize it or not, there is a word for that. RJII 19:32, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Groan. It's a simple statement of fact that "statism" is a pejorative term, if it's only used by opponents of the idea - which I believe is the case and you've not substantially denied. Whether the term can be reclaimed at some point in the future to also be used by supporters of it (like "queer") is neither here nor there. (The way it is used by opponents - see some of the ranting up the Talk page - suggests this is unlikely.) It is currently a pejorative term. Which, BTW, says nothing about the validity or otherwise of what the term describes. Rd232 19:55, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Many people do speak against statism and denounce it vehemently (same for the term "communism"), but I don't think that given that, that it logically follows that term itself is a pejorative. I think you're mistakingly making a leap of logic to conclude that. RJII 20:08, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
This is to your point about the term only being used by opponents of the idea. It's not true. I just did a quick search in google, and some guy says "As a rather ambivalent fellow towards democracy and an advocate of statism and centralized authority, I can still see the merits of the American balance." It's at if you want to verify that. RJII 20:25, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
And there is no shortage examples where it's not used as a "pejorative" but merely to describe economic systems. RJII 01:02, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Show, don't tell. I haven't seen any cases where "statism" is used neutrally or positively by someone who is not a clear opponent of it. Rd232 01:09, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Articles are not that hard to find. Here's some just from a quick look with Google:

I could go on and on. Look up uses of the word yourself. Someone having an opinion on whether statism is good or bad is not the same thing as saying that "statism" is a pejorative. Like any political stance, if you look up the term, mostly what you're going to find is people making value judgements on whether it is good or bad. Not suprisingly, most commentary on statism is why the writers think it's bad. But does that make the term a pejorative? I don't think so. I put up a book on the web page called "The Ideal of Statism" from someone who thinks it's good. The only reason I can fathom that you want the article to say statism is a pejorative is because you're biased against capitalism, you don't like the word "statism" and want to give the impression that it's biased so it can't be used in discussions of economic systems. Again, don't equate opposition to "statism" as meaning that "statism" is a pejorative. That's quite a leap. RJII 01:58, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

One of your links is the Cato institute; another, the NCPA ("The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control..."); the third is a review of book described as "no less credible and instructive for the unconcealed commitment of its authors to market principles". All three must be considered opponents of "statism". "The Ideal of Statism" was written in 1968 in Urdu. We are not talking about the meaning of "statism" in other languages 40 years ago. Rd232 10:28, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
As I've said before, the word "statism" is only used by people who are in favour of a strongly free market economy and want to paint an economy with more intervention than this as "statist". People who support a greater role for government do not use the term. This is not because they are not prepared to defend the concept (eg social contract and human rights and the need for regulation because of firms' market power) but because they are not interested in adopting a term coined and used by opponents. QED - it is a pejorative term, because it is only used by opponents. Rd232 10:28, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Is the term "centralized economic planning" a pejorative too? You're going to be just as hard-pressed to find a lot of people saying they believe in "centralized economy planning" as well. People just aren't much into it anymore. Just fact that there aren't a lot of people around who say they are into "centralized economic planning" or "statism" doesn't equate with those terms being pejoratives. Again, I think it's an irrational leap you're making.
So? Statism lumps a vast range of economic/political approaches together, ranging from "centralised economic planning" to market economies with government regulation. Rd232 22:59, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
For it to be statism it has to be a significant amount of planning, whereas in capitalism such planning is not significant in contrast to the overwhelming amount of economic freedom of the system, which is why they're opposites. But yes, it does "lump together" a lot systems and that's exactly why the term is useful, but so does "planned economy." Whenever you can have a term that is a broader classification it helps communication. Pretty much anything that isn't statism is going to be capitalism. "Statism" sums up everything supporters of capitalism are against, but that doesn't make the term a pejorative. RJII 23:13, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The lumping together is pejorative, just as if I invented a term to lump together libertarians and muppets (muppetarians?) and then used constantly, it would be a pejorative term I wouldn't expect libertarians (or muppets) to adopt. And why are European economies frequently described as "statist"? Rd232 09:08, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
If they have a relatively large amount of government-intervention in the economy then are statist. If they don't then they're not. There's always the possibility of someone mislabeling. At some point of liberalizing an economy it starts becoming capitalist. Where is that point? It can be a matter of subjectivity. For example, extreme free market advocates would not even grant that the market is free enough for the US to properly be called capitalist. There is a continuum from capitalism, through mixed economy, through statism. Just as there are arguments whether particular nations are statism, so there are arguments whether a situation can rightfully be called capitalism. Why not put a section in there called "Which economies are statist?" like in the Capitalism article called "Which economies are capitalist?" if it's a concern?
I don't give a flying monkey's which nations are labelled which. The issue is the label itself. "Statism" is not the opposite of capitalism except among US "free market advocates". Rd232 10:58, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Morality of Statism (2005)[edit]

This section seems to be a ridiculously protracted attempt by someone trying to morally justify statism. Considering this, I think the article is weighted too much toward the morality of statism over practical justification for it.

It's not even about statism - it's about the nature of society and (implicitly) the state. As I said before, this whole discussion isn't appropriate here; but I'm not sure exactly where it should go. People who use the term "statism", of course, aren't likely to make helpful suggestions on this point... Rd232 19:59, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Maybe we should just wipe it out. RJII 21:44, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Social contract (2005)[edit]

Why was the social contract paragraph removed from this article? It's relevant, and should be replaced. Rhobite 04:47, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

See the above section "Morality of Statism" for a little discussion on that. I think it was too far out of the scope of "statism" and rambled on too long. So I think I condensed what might have been important into the one paragraph. Even then, it still seems inappropriate to me. Seems like a discussion of this type should focus a little more on economics at least. RJII 03:07, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

NPOV (unsigned and unknown date)[edit]

This article violates the principle of NPOV. The paragraph on "Support and Criticisms of Statism" contains only criticism. The paragraph on "Discussion on the Morality of Statism" contains only a few words about the arguments of supporters of statism, but ample explanations of the arguments of anti-statists.

statism is commonly meant to refer to an economic system (2005)[edit]

Statism is first and foremost an economic system that contrast with a private market system. I feel that Minhea's edits are misguided and rendering the term meaningless.

From Merrian Webster.. Main Entry: stat·ism Pronunciation Guide Variant(s): or state·ism \std.izm, -ti-\ Function: noun Inflected Form(s): -s Etymology: 1state + -ism; translation of French étatisme

concentration of all economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government <abandoned her former reliance on statism in favor of private enterprise -- World> -- compare

RJII 18:55, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

that weight of that definition rests entirely on the word "highly". Minhea's version, with my amendments, was a good basis for explaining this. As far as I can see only your particular POV on this (which I'm familiar with) explains a complete rejection of these improvements to the article, rather than taking it as a basis for future changes. Rd232 19:17, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
NB given that you cite MW, which notes the relationship with French étatisme, you should look at that term on French wikipedia (you can translate it in Google if necessary). Rd232 19:28, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
It's important to present how it's most commonly used refer to an economic system. That's what the previous version did. And then move on to lesser used meanings. And saying it's a "derogatory" term is just insane. What the hell source did he get that from? I've had dealings with Minhea before. He puts in his own arguments and definitions etc. He still doesn't understand that this stuff has to have a source. But, you're right; I should edit instead of reverting. RJII 19:54, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for revising instead of reverting. However, saying it's often a derogatory term (or at least largely used by anti-statists, which ends up being the same thing) is accurate, and is noted on the French wikipedia ("ce sont les anti-étatistes (allant des libéraux, aux anarchistes, jusqu'aux communistes) qui font le plus usage du terme"). Try asking 1000 Americans whether they're in favour of statism - I'll be impressed if you get one that says yes. Does that mean that they're all anarchists - hardly. If you really care about finding references for the obvious, feel free; I have better things to do. Rd232 20:18, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Of course it doesn't mean your an anarchist if you oppose statism. If you're using it in the most common sense (a planned economy), then it means you favor a market economy. The use of "statism" to mean belief in a state is pretty's only used that way in discussions about anarchism. RJII 20:23, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
The term is derogatory. I don't know of anyone who calls himself a statist. Look up statism anywhere (including on Google) and you find things written by anti-statists. Also, in English, it is used to refer to any kind of state intervention, not just economic. I will try to merge our two versions by removing my qualification of statism as a "loose" term, explaining that it is most often used to refer to economic intervention (though I disagree with this - provide source), but mentioning that it tends to be used for any kind of intervention. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:14, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
That reasoning is really screwed up. Not many people call themselves statists because not many people are for planned economies anymore. The idea is kind of out of fashion. But, that doesn't make the term a derogatory term at all. RJII
You claim that the term refers to a "Planned economy" in a Soviet sense. But a lot of the time it is used much more loosely by free-marketeers who are being derogatory about the level of state intervention in, say, US, UK, Sweden. Rd232 22:32, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Not many people ever called themselves statists. Do a Google search and see what you find. Also, I tried writing a version that incorporates both your ideas and mine. List your objections here. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 08:30, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Do you see people ever saying they support a planned economy? If not, does that make "planned economy" a "derogatory term"? You need to provide a source that says it's a derogatory term before I'm going to let that in. That's one of the most preposterous claims I've ever heard. RJII 15:07, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually, yes, there were (and are) many people who say they support a planned economy. Example: [3] -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 09:05, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
The article now clearly states that "statism" is most often used to refer to state intervention in economic matters, but it does not exclude the use of "statism" to refer to other types of intervention. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 21:32, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

Getting away from the laughably pathetic MW "reference":

  • there are 10 hits on Swetswise ( for academic papers with "statism" in the title. One of these relates to "neo-statism", which is a sort of East Asian approach to development (eg South Korea). One relates to discussion of anarchy in a legal context, and another to feminism; another to "the post-statism of cyberspace"; another to Turkish national identity; another to community and social integration in modern diverse societies. The others refer to statism in the Asian context, which another author describes as "Market intervention by the state—a "statist state" as it may be called because its interests override private interests or a "developmental state" because it controls the market in order to make it "develop"..."
  • OK, 5 papers with "statism" as a keyword. Nope, the only one using it in an economic sense is referring again to South Korean "developmental statism".
  • OK 21 papers with "statism" within the abstract. Duplicates of previous ones (and non-economic usages) aside, we have "welfare statism"; a discussion of "statism" relating to Greek privatizations (!); another uses the political definition that "Statism is in place when interest groups have no significant role in the [government's] decision making." (One, interestingly, refers to "anti-statism", "as reflected in the desire to pay less taxes".).

Actually, on the basis of those references (the totality found on Swetswise), the primary meaning of statism is socio-political, not economic! In any case, the equation of statism with "Soviet-style planned economy" looks insupportable. Instead, Mihnea's emphasis on the looseness of the term looks amply justified. And once a precise definition (for the economic sense) goes overboard, its derogatory usage in much (non-academic) practice is harder to ignore. Rd232 22:17, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

That's a pretty haphazard way of trying to find the typical usage isn't it? The best way to find the most common usage is to consult the most popular and respected mainstream dictionaries and encyclopedias. The original research as already been done by them to determine the typical use. Then we just report it. RJII 23:59, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
By the way here's another dictionary entry from Webster's New Word Dictionary (not as respected as MW, but..) "the doctrine or practice of vesting economic control, economic planning, etc., in a centralized state government." RJII 01:39, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
It isn't haphazard at all, it's systematic! In any case, very short dicdefs aren't necessarily helpful. Happily, the second one you cite proves my point. Gracias. Rd232 08:02, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
Your 1968 (!) Islamic reference also doesn't really help you, since it relates to "Islamic perspective of regulatory and participatory role of the state", implying ("regulatory") that it is discussing a mixed economy, not a planned economy. [4] Rd232 08:02, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm getting pretty tired of this, RJII. I remember you wanted coercion defined exactly how it suited your libertarian free-market whatever ideology, and now you're doing the same thing here. You have adduced no solid evidence for your interpretation. (Ambiguous dicdefs do not qualify.) In any case, the statement that statism has a range of meanings is quite adequately demonstrated. I would expect if you tried you could show that some people use it in your sense - but currently we don't even have that, and it would only underline the "range of meanings" point, which I fail to see why you dislike so much. Rd232 16:47, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

You and I are no authorities in presenting the definition of statism. Feel free to put any other uses, but unless you can find official definitions don't screw with the definition. RJII 16:49, 29 July 2005 (UTC) I don't know why your accusing me of a libertarian POV, when I'm arguing for the classic, strict definition --something libertarians veer from. RJII 16:55, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
For someone who's been on Wikipedia so long, you give a very good imitation of a troll. There are no definitive authorities. THAT'S MY POINT. There ARE a wide variety of usages in academic and non-academic contexts. Ergo range of meanings. Ergo revert. Rd232 17:13, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
You're wrong. There are indeed authorities on the meanings of words. They're called dictionaries. If you try to come up with a definition yourself, you're doing "original research." That's not allowed on Wikipedia. You can present some various USAGES that you find scattered around, but do not represent them as being proper usage. We must consult sources on what proper usage is. Those sources are called dictionaries. Wikipedia policy says that one of the things an article should begin with is a "good definiton." Recognize what that means. It doesn't meant it should begin with a guy like you scouring around for different ways people are using the term and presenting USAGES. That's fine to do in ADDITION to a definition. But a definition needs to be there. RJII 17:21, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
People always shout "original research" to deny plain facts they don't like. The dictionary is not helpful, not least because it isn't unambiguous, and dictionaries quite disagree (Webster's 1913 says "The art of governing a state; statecraft; policy."). The definition you offer could cover the US and the Soviet Union - how is that helpful? OK, you want authority for disagreement? How about President Truman: "Mr. President... would you give us your definition of "statism"? - THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I can, because the dictionaries are in disagreement as to what it means. I don't think anybody knows what it means. It simply is a scare word. [emphasis added] Q. Did you look it up? - THE PRESIDENT. Yes. There are two or three definitions for it, none of them in agreement."[5]
You give a dictionary from 1913 as a source? That's ludicrous. The meaning has changed from that, as is evidenced by modern dictionaries. What's that Truman thing for? A reporter says there are two or three definitions and none of them in agreement. Ok, what's his source? One only has to consult a dictionary, and there it is --the definition of statism. An article should begin with a definition. A dictionary is where you go to get a definition. After that, you can go into various uses you've personally found, if you wish. What are you afraid of? Can you not set aside your POV to be objective and just report the definition? I can. RJII 22:59, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
I give the 1913 example as how different definitions can be; I'd seen nothing like that one before. But I'm tired of this; you can't even bloody read - it was the president who said there were 2 or 3 competing definitions, not the reporter. There is no single authoritative definition. There is absolutely no reason to start the article with an allegedly definitive definition based on RJII's unsourced interpretation of an ambiguous dicdef. "What am I afraid of?" F***ing cheek, it's you who insists on your unsourced POV, when I want to report the range of POVs. Rd232 23:24, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
So a former president says that there are 2 or 3 competing definitions. What's your point? Look up those definitions and report them here. RJII 18:23, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Calm down, Rd, he's not worth it. We all know RJII is a POV-pusher (and not a very bright one at that). WP really needs harsher policies towards this sort of thing... *sigh*.
Let me try to explain this to you one more time, RJII: Wikipedia is not a dictionary. It's an encyclopedia. We must report all uses of a word, not just the one you think is "correct". How many WP articles begin with a dictionary definition? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 09:29, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, well, the first personal attack on me by Minhea Tudoreanu. You know I actually had a lot of respect for you. I thought you were able to disagree without getting personal. Now you attack me by saying i'm not very bright. I had you all wrong. My respect for you is completely shot. Thanks for showing your true colors. Ok, welcome to my grudge list. Now, as far as Wikipedia not being a dictionary, that's correct. Do you know what that policy means? It's saying that an article should not consist of a definition and nothing else, "but an article can and should always begin with a good definition or a clear description of the topic. [6] I am absolutely not opposed to presenting various usages of the word. If you were bright enough you would have understood that from reading my comments above. But, obviously you're a dope. Now, if the article is going to begin with a good definition, we can't conduct original research on what the definition is. We have to present a sourced definition. You may say "well the policy says a good definition OR a clear description of the topic." Ok, but I think the best choice is to present a good definition, and I'm going to pursue that. This article, due to the obvious controversial nature of it, should begin with a good definition. Then, it should move on to various modified usages of the the term. Read and get a clue so I don't have to repeat myself. And, you call me a "POV-pusher." What POV am I supposedly trying to push? Please humor me. RJII 18:23, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Intro you reject is neither vague nor bizarre. Nor is statism a recognised economic system. Rd232 23:50, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Oh my God I lost RJII's respect! I'm devastated! If only I had been more careful not to offend his sensitive feelings!
Ok, sarcasm aside, RJII, your "grudge list" is just going to keep growing if you behave like this all the time. From my experience, you are a brick wall in every dispute, and you simply refuse to compromise with others or even consider their points for a few minutes. In all seriousness, you should try to become more open-minded and at least tolerate other people's views rather than dismissing them out of hand. That's the wiki way. Now, tell me, what exactly is wrong with the intro you reject for this article? We can't give a very precise definition because there is no universally accepted definition for statism. Regardless of what your dictionary says, most people don't use the term "statism" to mean "an economic system with a high degree of state intervention". -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 10:47, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
No, my grudge list grows very slowly. Most people don't insult others just because of disagreements. You're one of the few immature individuals who can't handle a challenge. Grow up. And, you've accused me of pushing a POV. I ask again, what "POV" is that? RJII 17:12, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Your view that "statism" only refers to economic systems, even though most people don't use the term that way. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:07, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Don't you get it? You haven't conducted the research requisite to assert what the definition of "statism" is. Pulling up 10 or 11 uses you've found around isn't enough. I'd say you'd have to find a few thousand uses at least. Hence, our rule against "original research" on Wikipedia. There are professional researchers who do engage in the determination to how a word is used most often, and present it in definition form in what are called "dictionaries." What we as Wikipedia editors do, to present a definition of a word is to consult these authorities and report the definition(s). We don't engage in original research. Sure, go ahead and find a few uses you've found, but don't present them as the definition. As Wikipedia policy says an article "should begin with a good definition..." then it had better be good, and not original research that accords with your or my POV, whatever that may be. It looks to me like you want to find so many various uses that you want to present the illusion that the word doesn't mean anything. Now, that is POV. This reminds me of another article you were working on to try to show that another word doesn't mean anything. Get over it, all words have meanings. And, this article is going to start, per Wikipedia policy, with a "good definition." RJII 18:19, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Not that I care, but what was the other article you allude to? Whilst we're on the subject, your behaviour on coercion and natural monopoly some time ago was much the same - desperately insisting that your poorly-supported belief was the gospel truth, and disparaging or denying evidence to the contrary. Do you actually care about the quality of the articles? Hardly. The crappy paragraph you wrote on natural monopoly (which your insistence on including killed my interest in developing that article further, since it's quite inappropriate and wouldn't make featured with it) has for the last six months included the nonword "soonly". I deliberately left it to see whether you'd ever fix it. Nope, you don't seem to give a monkey's about anything other than defending your POV. Rd232 22:13, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
The rule against original research does not mean that one is not allowed to discuss things so obvious that they stare you in the face - such as the fact that "statism" is not used with an exclusively economic sense. The reason why your dictionary calls it an economic term is because it is derived from the French étatisme, which was originally an economic term. Haven't you ever heard of the fact that dictionary definitions may not keep up with the common usage of words? The word "cool" was used in slang for many years before dictionaries accepted that it may mean something other than "cold". As for your objection that the article doesn't have a "good definition" - as Rd232 pointed out, "a system that involves a significant role for the state in economic or social affairs" is an excellent definition. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 20:37, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

FYI: Wikipedia:Requests for comment#Miscellaneous. Rd232 19:27, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

FYI, see my reply, there, to your dishonesty. RJII 19:43, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
And mine to your baseless accusation of dishonesty. NB aren't rfc replies supposed to go on the article's talk page? Rd232 22:13, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Statism is the advocacy of the existence of controls by the state. It constitutes advocacy for anything other than anarchy or minimal government (and some, especially those within the anarchist movement, may claim that it constitutes advocacy for anything other than pure anarchy). As such, statism is not simply an economic concept. Even those who support absolutely no governmental direction of the economy whatsoever can be statists if they do advocate such things as genocide, government regulation of marriage, regulations on gun ownership, bans on the use of various drugs, or execution of political dissidents.
I have seen the term used extensively, and have used it myself extensively, and have never heard of it referencing economic controls solely.
I have never heard the term used in a non-derogatory sense, and I have never heard anyone refer to herself as a statist, although I suppose it's not impossible. Likewise, although there is some tiny minority of people who refer to themselves as racists, virtually everyone wishes to distance herself from the term. Nevertheless, I disagree that statism is "simply...a scare word." Is it used derogatorily? Yes. But it is a real concept, a real tendency in perspective. (talk) 01:09, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

RFC Comments go here (2005)[edit]

From the RFC page: Talk:Statism one editor insists on his interpretation, and refuses to engage in serious discussion, or adduce evidence for his view. Prompting this rfc is that recent reversions of his also remove the usage of "statism" in areas other than economics (the subject of the dispute), and also the inappropriate addition of "statism" to another article (economic system) whilst the point at issue had not been settled. Rd232 18:32, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Comment from FuelWagon (2005)[edit]

searching several online dictionaries, the definition of statism in every case refered to a "centralized government". The word "centralized" isn't even in the article intro anywhere, which is disconcerting. just a quick look at the intro, compared to the dictionary definitions feels like the intro is skewing "statism" to mean anything relating to a state/government, wheras the dictionaries seem to tend to point to centralized government versus local governments. I'm no political expert, so I can't really comment on the details of the topic, but something feels slightly amiss here. FuelWagon 01:37, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

I've seen a number of a different definitions in dictionaries and elsewhere (I could cite some, but I don't have time now) and can't place the same emphasis on needing the word "centralized"; "state intervention" covers that quite adequately for me, and I don't think you want to give the impression that local or regional government can't be "statist" (see eg Kerala). Also, I have to disagree that the article makes statism sound like it can "mean anything relating to a state/government"; the wording is quite precise that there is one usage relating to "significant" intervention (which people can and do interpret as they wish, reflecting the range of usage and of possible interpretation of various dictionary definitions) and one relating to the existence of states. Rd232 09:26, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Comment by Dragons flight (2005)[edit]

Rd232 solicted my comment when first posting this on RFC, but I have not had a chance to review the matter until now. Let me begin by saying that I do not recall having ever encountered the term before this, so I can honestly say I am entering in to this with no preconceived notions, but also potentially with a large dose of naivete.

In looking at the definitions, this discussion, the link blurbs on the first hundred or so usages found on google, and a couple dozen of the 134 statism references in the ISI Web of Knowledge, I find myself in at least partially in agreement with RJII. The usage of statism in reference to an economic system does seem to be the most formal and most prominent, and I believe should receive weakly preferential placement in the introduction. However, it is also very clear that statism has acquired broader meaning which must be acknowledged and discussed.

Also, I am not clear about the extent that the term has acquired derogatory overtones. It is certainly evident that individuals with an anti-state POV use it this way in rants, but based on its presence in recent scientific publications, I would suggest that it is not neccesarily considered a derogatory term when used in formal contexts.

Given this, I would propose that the introduction look something like the following:

In its most formal usage, statism refers to an economic system in which policy and planning authority is concentrated in a centralized government. In common usage, the term has been expanded to include any example of the state exerting significant control over the social, political or economic lives of its citizens. In certain social science contexts, statism may also be used to reference the mere existence of a state, such as in discussions of globalization, modernity, and nationalism or in contrast to anarchy or individualism. Lastly, when used colloquially, statism is often imbued with a derogatory tone and meant to indicate too much state control.
There is no firm definition for how much state control is neccesary to constitute statism. In academic contexts, it has been used with great flexibility to refer to both the very tightly regulated systems of Soviet style planned economies and also to the fairly modest state interventions present in many nearly free market economies (e.g. the US or UK). In the present day, the economies of East Asia are the most commonly cited examples of statism.

I think this puts everything together in a nice package, while still providing some deference to the economic usage, which I believe is appropriate. I do have a question however. I included the East Asia bit based on the current introduction, but it is unclear to me which countries you are refering to. The range of circumstances between say China and Japan is fairly enormous. It would be valuable in my mind if you would include something like "(e.g. China, South Korea, Vietnam)" after the East Asia reference in order to provide an illustration of the range of conditions that are intended (whatever range that happens to be).

Hope this helps. Dragons flight 15:22, August 3, 2005 (UTC)

Definitions (2005)[edit]

Incidentally, RJII misquoted the Merriam-Webster definition he treats as canonical: it actually says "concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government". [7] Note the absence of the crucial "all" RJII slipped in above (near the top of the previous section) in front of "economic" in order to give the impression that MW supports his contention that statism=planned economy. MW's actual definition is quite flexible, since the degree of concentration is not specified and "highly centralized" is not defined. (Is the US "highly centralized" because of the commerce clause?) Rd232 09:26, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
You're not saying that I dishonestly slipped the word "all" in the definition are you? I quoted the Merriam-Webster Unabridged definition above. The abridged definition leaves out the word "all." The editors thought it was clear enough to leave it out of the abridged version. Once again..
I made the reasonable assumption (since you didn't specify) that it came from MW Online. Sorry. Rd232 17:50, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

statism ": concentration of all economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government <abandoned her former reliance on statism in favor of private enterprise -- World> -- compare GOVERNMENTALISM 1" -Merriam-Webster Unabridged RJII 13:24, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

By the way, I notice that you added the following to planned economy in January 2005: "Any economic system that is centrally-planned by a government is commonly referred to as statism. " Rd232 17:50, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
Also, here's a source of statism being "pejorative". [8] Rd232 17:50, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
Where does he say it's a pejorative term? (Also remember, that one guy can't change the definition).
Sigh. CTRL+F + "pejorative". Also, the guy isn't "changing" the definition, he's trying to translate from Hebrew into English, and complaining that the otherwise adequate translation of "statism" is problematic because in English it has "a pejorative nuance absent in the Hebrew". This is a peer-reviewed study, and it is not a passing mention, it is evidently an object of the research in question; nor is it in any way part of an argument that it's pejorative, it is an inconvenience. As single sources go, it's nearly as good as a dictionary, I'd say. Rd232 20:40, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Dictionary definitions[edit]

  • Merriam Webster Unabridged: "concentration of all economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government"
  • Compact OED: "a political system in which the state has substantial central control over social and economic affairs"
  • Collins Concise: "the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state"
  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy."
  • Webster's 1913: "The art of governing a state; statecraft; policy."
  • Encarta: "centralized political control: the theory, or its practice, that economic and political power should be controlled by a central government leaving regional government and the individual with relatively little say in political matters"[9]

None of these unequivocally imply a planned economy, and most fit well with the description I had - "a system that involves a significant role for the state in economic or social affairs." (Possibly that should be 'economic, political, or social'.) The economic usage could perhaps be reworded slightly, but reflecting the range of definitions and usage, not RJII's narrow, "definitive" usage. (Incidentally, if you define statism=planned economy you exclude, for example, postwar western Europe from being "statist", something I imagine few US rightwingers will agree with.) Rd232 17:50, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Of course it should be expanded if you've found other definitions. The problem is that we only had the one definition from M-W before. It's a good thing you've looked up others. The definition presented should be a synthesis of those definitions or some kind of list if necessary. I'd toss out the 1913 dictionary ..meanings change. This is all I've been demanding ..that definitions be sourced. If you have only one source, then that's the only definition that should be reflected as the definition. RJII 18:04, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
Later comments, added by other editors in 2012, have been moved to bottom of page.--S. Rich (talk) 15:40, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Usage in academic economics[edit]

  • "a political economy that prevails in many East Asian countries", such as South Korea.[10]
  • Turkish statism as defined by Ataturk: “the government takes an active interest especially in the economic field, and to operate as far as possible in matters that lend themselves to the safeguarding of vital and general interests.”[11]
  • "the essence of French statism lay in the norms inculcated in the Grand Corps, rather than in the specific mechanisms for financial control and targeted investment."[12]

Uses other than economics[edit]

  • politics / international relations: "statism – the absolute right of states to represent their people in international law and international relations"[13], seen as deriving from the deriving from 1648 Treaty of Westphalia [14] and sometimes said to be weakening under the influence of globalization.
  • sociology: "...statism, or nationalist loyalties focused on the state. Statism demanded that all Japanese subjects obey and serve the state as the highest object of their allegiance." [15]
  • social theory: statism or "embedded statism" - "the state-centered understanding of the social world implicit in social theory"; "the explicit or implicit assumption about the nation-state as the container of social processes and the national as the appropriate scale for studying major social, economic and political processes." [16]
  • politics / policy-making: "formulating policy unilaterally but allowing societal interests in at the implementation stage"[17]

Adjectival uses[edit]

  • "corporate statism"
  • "economic statism"
  • "fascist statism" , "socialist statism"
  • "anti-statism"

a pejorative? (2005)[edit]

Minhea, you keep trying to say in the article that statism is a pejorative term. I don't know how you're concluding that. It's very easy to see find the word statism in use in papers, and they're not using it as a pejorative. They may be saying that they don't like it. Statism is not an insult! RJII 16:05, 19 August 2005 (UTC) For example, look at this entry in the encyclopedia Britannica on Margaret Thatcher: "...the only British prime minister in the 20th century to win three consecutive terms and, at the time of her resignation, Britain's longest continuously serving prime minister since 1827, she accelerated the evolution of the British economy from statism to liberalism..." Now where do you see a pejorative in that or "negative connotation"? Maybe the negative connotation is all in your head because you don't like statism. RJII 16:08, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Incidentally, I gave an very good source above for it being considered pejorative, at least by some. Forgotten already? It's just above dictionary definitions subsection. Rd232 18:33, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Go read my text again. It does not say that statism is a pejorative term. It merely says that it is most often (NOT always) used by opponents of statism. This is self-evident from a simple google search. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:30, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
"Negative connotation" whatever. Use some logic. If most people today who speak of statism are opposed to statism, then most papers you come across that mention statism are going to be by those who oppose statism. But, that does not mean that the word "statism" has a negative connotation. I don't see a negative connotation in it AT ALL. RJII 16:32, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Ok, maybe I haven't made my point clearly: There are many people who do support state intervention, but don't call themselves statists. Communists, for example. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 16:37, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
State communists have called themselves statists. But, it looks like you're using the term to refer to intervention itself, while I'm using it to refer to an overall statist system, as the Encyclopedia Britannica is using the term above. RJII 16:48, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
"Statism" is used to refer to intervention itself: [18] [19] [20] [21] Notice this last link defines "statism" as "the idea that a centralized government could somehow be better than private initiative". Notice also that all articles talk about statism as a label for a wide variety of state interventionist policies. Again, I have to point out that Britannica derives its definition from the French Etatisme. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:16, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
No kidding, statism is used to refer to intervention itself. It also is used in the classic sense (probably more common sense). So, that's the source of our problem here. I've separated the two uses in separate paragraphs. RJII 17:21, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I have not seen "statism" being used in the "classic sense" anywhere outside various dictionaries and editions of Britannica. This is a fate shared by many other words: How many people still use the word "pussy" to refer to cats, for example? In any case, I see no reason for separating the two economic uses of "statism" in two paragraphs, since they are related. Do you have any actual objections to my version as it stands now? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:28, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I for one, can tell you, that I've come across the term much more often to refer to an economic system, than to invervention itself. I can't fathom why you would want to conflate the two uses. Is there some kind of POV you're trying to push? If there is I can't figure out what it is. I'm not pushing any POV here. RJII 17:30, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
You can't figure out what it is because I'm not trying to push any POV - I just think my definition is more accurate. But I've just written a compromise version now, separating the two issues you want separated. Have a look. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 17:49, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Where have you ever seen a definition of statism that specifies that it necessarily has to be absolute control over an economy? RJII 17:51, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I haven't, but I was under the impression that you insisted on including this definition... -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 18:19, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Apparently, that's because you haven't been reading carefully. I never said that for a system to be statism it has to be absolute all-encompassing control. If you look at what you deleted it said "totally or mostly centrally-planned by government." You're the one that deleted that and changed it to simply "entirely" which is wronng interpretation of the term. RJII 18:37, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, an amusing example of how RJII actually is only interested in getting his own way. Consistency, accuracy, rationality seem to be optional extras. Or has he forgotten repeatedly reverting the idea that "Statist economies are also referred to as command economies."diff Rd232 18:28, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Having said that, for the sake of my own sanity, I have stopped caring about this article. There's enough here on the talk page to indicate what's going own, so interested readers can go elsewhere, to sources not controlled by RJII. Rd232 18:28, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Good riddance. RJII 18:31, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

"Advocates typically do not refer to it as statism, preferring to call their views by other labels, depending on the methods and the goals they support." That doesn't make sense when the preceding sentences are talking about an action (intervention). All off a sudden you're equating intervention as a "view." I don't get it. RJII 19:07, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

Ok, the "view" I'm talking about is the view held by advocates of intervention - in other words, the view that such intervention is good. How would you like me to rephrase it? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 19:22, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't know how you could rephrase that to make any sense. You're talking about two different things --1) statism is the act of intervening in an economy 2) Some favor intervention. I don't see how you could make a connection. RJII 19:28, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
You're not much help... fine, let me think... how about "Advocates typically do not refer to it as statism, preferring to call the intervention they support by other names, depending on their specific methods and goals."? -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 19:41, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
That's what I changed it to to fix it, but you changed it back. Here's what it said: "Advocates typically do not refer to it as statism, preferring to refer to intervention by other names, depending on the methods and the goals they support." Or close to it. What you just said is fine. RJII 19:44, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
Ok. I edited the article to include that sentence and replace the previous one. This was the last disputed issue, so now we have a consensus on the article, yes? Excellent! See, we can work together after all. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 14:07, 20 August 2005 (UTC)
Apparently. But it's still kind of strange. I'm rewording it. Because, it's not just advocates of intervention that don't call it statism, but also those that oppose it don't call it statism either ..looks like just a few isolated cases to me. Most people just call it regulation. RJII 01:42, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Outright Lies, Sophistry and Contradictions (2006)[edit]

"Nearly all forms of socialism are opposed to state intervention in matters of personal freedom (though some forms of socialism favor a strongly regulated or even entirely state-controlled economy; see planned economy)."

What an oxymoron - supposed opposition to state intervention in matters of personal freedom, while entirely controlling the economy? How does that work?

"How does that work?" Just like the vast majority of states work: You see, the vast majority of states intervene in some matters but not in others. There never existed a state that did not intervene in anything at all, and states that intervene in everything are extremely rare (depending on your definition of "everything", they might have never existed either). Since most existing states can manage to intervene in some matters but not in others, it makes sense to expect a socialist state to manage the same thing. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

If you really wanted to, you could make a sophist argument that slaves in the pre-Civil War South had this sort of freedom - they were forced to work by threat of a gun, and couldn't own much more property than they could carry, but since our collective labor should rightly be the property of the state anyway, and personal property is theft under socialism, that wasn't immoral apparently and they were "free".

No, I really don't see how you could make that argument. Slaves are unfree not because they don't own any property (if owning property were the essence of freedom, then we would have to conclude that the rich are the most free, the poor have limited freedom and the destitute homeless are just as unfree as slaves); slaves are unfree because they themselves are owned as the private property of other people. That's a very useful point, by the way: Slaves were, and always have been, private property. Not collective or state property. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Freedom to trade with others as you see fit doesn't qualify as a right when you're a slave to the state. And there are many other inherent natural human rights that one takes for granted that you would also be denied in the name of communist freedom. That's the problem in discussing "freedom" with collectivists, who don't believe at all in any such thing, but use the word to describe concepts of control and command. Exactly as Orwell described in _1984_.

I find it highly ironic that you cite the works of a well-known libertarian socialist (George Orwell), who fought as a volunteer in the name of Marxism in the Spanish Civil War, as part of your condemnation of socialism. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

"There are branches of socialism that reject state intervention altogether, such as libertarian socialism."

This is said hinting that statism is not a necessary component of socialism, but this is just dishonest redefinition of terms. If voluntary socialism worked on any large scale, we'd have historical examples of it. The only socialist nations that have come into existence have done so using military force and massive centralized government.

The argument "if X worked on any large scale, we'd have historical examples of it" is a fallacy, because everything must have a beginning. Before the 18th century, one could argue that there were no historical examples of large-scale democracy, and therefore democracy "couldn't work". The same could be argued against capitalism in the 16th century. And even civilization itself had a beginning, some 5000 years ago. Thus, we could imagine a tribesman from 6000 years ago being presented with an outline of civilization, and rejecting it because "if cities and division of labor and all those things worked on any large scale, we'd have historical examples of it". -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

All you really need to do is look at the huge mess of divergent and tangential material masquerading as the "libertarian socialism" article to realize that it's not just a sloppy concept, but is in fact a contradiction in terms. Libertarianism's core is individual freedom, while subservience to the collective is part and parcel of any socialist system. They aren't compatible.

I would argue that the "individual freedom" advocated by capitalist libertarians is a self-contradictory sloppy concept that can't even stand on its own, let alone be compatible with anything. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

"The final goal of communism is a classless, propertyless and stateless society. Communists see the state only as a necessary evil until the creation of that society is possible."

You don't speak for "communism" or all "communists," no matter how much you despise the fact of individual existence.

I do believe that Marx, Engels, Lenin et al. can claim to speak for communism. And their view is that the final goal of communism is a classless, propertyless and stateless society. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Anyone who uses political rhetoric rather than tangible effect as a basis for analysis is a mark. (As in, a rube; a dupe; a sucker.) As far as history is concerned, the final goal of communism appears to be a tightly-knit centralized slave empire controlled by a ruling elite.

You seem to be defining communism as "anything that people calling themselves 'communists' do". By the same logic, democracy is "anything that people calling themselves 'democrats' do". So the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, which is the only legal party in Turkmenistan and holds absolute dictatorial power, would be an example of real democracy according to your way of defining things. Also, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would be true democratic countries by your logic. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

As for the so-called "necessary" evil of communist statism, what sort of worthwhile philosophy encourages the development and use of what communists like yourself openly admit is *evil*? It's odd how every single example of communist ascension to government power in history has only managed to get to the "evil" part of the ostensible plan, then it plateaus and stays evil for the remainder of its existence... I guess that's just coincidence rather than by design?

Arguably, if an "evil" is necessary, then it's not really "evil"... but that's just nitpicking. "Necessary evil" is a perfectly acceptable English phrase meaning "something we have to do but wish we could avoid". And you are obviously ignorant of the many instances of Communist parties coming to power democratically (and preserving democratic institutions) in countries such as Moldova or the Indian province of Kerala. -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

"Opponents of statism often use the term as a synonym for collectivism. However, there is no necessary connection between the two. It is possible to have a commune or some other form of collectivist society that is entirely stateless (indeed, this is the kind of society advocated by most anarchists, and the final goal of the communists). Conversely, it is possible to have a strong central state which does not implement any policy that may be regarded as collectivist."

The final goal of the communists is a slave empire controlled by a ruling elite.

It's possible to have a stateless collectivist society. The apparatus of a complex government isn't necessary to force others to become your slaves, if you can muster sufficient motivation/threat without it. Bandits have terrorized town-dwellers into offering tribute since the dawn of civilization. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 04:29, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

Isn't collectivism supposed to involve power by some sort of collective? If a bandit or tyrant enslaves people, where exactly is there a collective in that? -- Nikodemos 05:38, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

It is because the people let it happen. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

LaRouche concepts (2006)[edit]

Please find a non-LaRouche source to reference edits that tie Hamilton and the American System to this subject. -Will Beback 21:04, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm still not seeing any sources to support the "American System" edits. -Will Beback 01:41, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you. The American System is a fringe view, and I do not see any direct link between it and concepts of statism. -- Nikodemos 03:03, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

The additions I made are to balance the article out. The American System is not a fringe view, it was the dominant philsophy of the GOP in its early years (1861-1940's). It's philosophy and historically coined phrase stem from Henry Clay and his supporters in the National Republican and Whig Party's, in addition to support from Jefferson, Madison, and others all of which are documented online. Further, Statism discusses a topic that is loaded with keywords and not balanced without my additions. It is not relevant to have a page on Statism unless it considers all views, especially those it is engineered presently to debase. MY intent and purpose is accuracy. As to Will Beback and SOURCES, I have plenty as I am a history buff and lover of my country's ideals, so I collect and read all I can on my country, its roots, in addition to anything else that interests me. That said...Nikodemos is not getting the point, the statist page is attacking the very ideals found in Clays and Hamilton's philosophy on protection of industry and internal improvements to infrastructure. A balanced view presents all the relevant facts, not just one sided facts loaded against a particular group of ideas. What I added did not take away from the article in the least, it still has its flavor (unprofessional flavor) to it and style very much like the style of other pages I've seen edited by it seems the same group or persons from with an intention. That is only my thought since my editing adventure began and since Will Beback a user by another name earlier has been stalking my edits questioning every last particle of word and pronouncement. Though we should discuss, this is inappropriate behavior and quite obvious. The unfortunate thing is that the truth is lost to the unsuspecting soul in the cyber universe who wants to use Wikipedia for accurate information that is informative and rightly neutral (banning LaRouche web links while not doing so to similar organizations is just how off this place is)...I grew up loving the World Book Encyclopedia and oddly reading it at a young age, THANK GOD they did their job and were fair, honest, non-political, and neutral...let alone balanced in their presentation. No matter what I say, Will Beback and his comrades will continue to stalk persons like myself who disagree with them and misuse their privledges to forward a cause they believe in that (goto the Cbert links and the websites he is associated with) conjures up conspiracy theories about anyone who they claim is right-wing (even LaRouche who is not by any honest observer out there, in the same point of view as Bush or even Buchanan on some issues)..this approach is made on those websites and here refurbished to virgin eyes (god the kids who stop by) as somehow legitimate. Again there is no point going further, have your way Mr. Will Be-Back all you like. Continue on your merry way. My editing on statism is done. Wikipedia is no place for the average joe who just wants the FACTS (which cannot be presented by an author of a page of his own views!). It is certainly not an honorable place considering what was done and is being done to Mr. LaRouche by a group associated with marxist leanings and other leanings well documented elsewhere... Enough said... --Northmeister 06:09, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
So the American System was the dominant philosophy of one political party in one country some 60 years ago... I'm sorry, but that counts as fringe. Regardless, I don't see how any of this is relevant to statism, and I certainly don't see how you can defend your edits when they include such utterly biased statements as "[collectivism is] the inherent nature of socialism and communism", "[statolatry comes] closest to a defininitive definition of statism", "modern trends and historic example make this [laissez-faire theories] highly unlikely", etc. I like to be conciliatory, however, so I will edit my own version of the article to include mentions of the American System. -- Nikodemos 06:48, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Nikodemos--First off---to say that those in politics expressing a support in something they call "the American System" are among the fringe may be true. But the American System was a historically important program, part of a larger economic philosophy that dominated in 19th century america often refered to as neo-mercantilism. Its not obscure at all to students of American history, Henry Clay defined economic policy in America for a long time. As for the relevance to the present day---a large amount of people can be described as supporting the same general viewpoint--ie they oppose to free-market/free-trade politics--look at poll numbers--but any positive ideology to describe it has sort of fallen from political discussion because of what you might describe as a partisan disenfranchisement of this point of view. Instead, people who still lean towards that type of thought are just slurred as 'protectionist'--which would label a very large amount of Americans, certainly not fringe in terms of numbers. I am not a LaRouche supporter, but I see what he is trying to do, in trying to identify in the common sentiment a philosophy that has been identified as passé.--but how its used is still spin---and I agree with you---that to try to insert references to the American System in every article on politics is a little silly---I didn't see the edits, but I don't immediately see why the article on 'statism' has a reason to mention the American System, other than to add a LaRouchian spin to things --Brianshapiro 6 May 2006

I posted that under the wrong heading here is my response again under the right heading: Nikodemos, I am interested in your new edit and I will watch for it, which includes what you say. I do hope you understand that Statism is a 'libertarian' coinage mostly that attacks what that point of view doesn't believe in. It is ok to present what it means thats the point of Wikipedia, but to offer the opposing view from those who are 'called' statist and group with others through association by people who use that word. The above EDITS you refer to well above the above are not mine, check the history. My edits can also be seen there. I will stay away from editing this page for now to allow you to offer your edits for fairness and to concentrate on the American System page. --Northmeister 00:29, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Also, the Ludwig Von Mises Institute is a partisan 'libertarian' organization and it not proper to put them in the article other (it sounds like and advertisement for them), maybe in the links of those who propose this theory of statism, should have links for those it affects or oppose this theory. This might help. Will not edit it as I said for now. --Northmeister 00:31, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I am fully aware that "statism" is little more than a libertarian insult towards non-libertarians, but, as you might expect, this article attracts a constant stream of libertarian POV warriors, and the current version is the result of several compromises between a particular such libertarian and other editors (including myself). Everything was documented on this talk page, so you can read it above. -- Nikodemos 18:24, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the reason nobody today in American politics calls themselves a "statist" is because its a loaded term in that it implies the person's political philosophy is an aim to empower the state, which nobody wants to imply. I think most people described as "statist" just simply believe the state has a natural role in society, don't necessarily want it to control anything, or support the state vs. a private capital system, and would object to the characterization that their main political aim is to empower the state versus prive capital. Its been brought up on this page that even though "capitalist" has been used perjoratively that people identify themselves as capitalist so it isn't merely a perjorative term. Whats interesting though is that originally there was no real philosophy of capitalism (even though the term had been used before, like the term "statist" has been used before) and the term was Marxist coinage as a way to attack who they saw as their opponents. So you might say its a -reclamation- like of the word "queer" by gay activists. But really what capitalist means today is the same thing that Marxists meant, most people don't want laissez-faire capitalism, and what statism might mean in the future would probably be the same. I find similar problems with the "producerist" article btw, where I think producerist seems mainly used as a perjorative even though some people seem to like using the term for themselves. Even if people accept using statism or producerism as positive terms, like capitalism they probably will never be popular as positive in absolute terms. I think this is sort of the problem; its about creating dichotomies (and reminds me of a free-will/determinism debate or a nature/nurture debate). All of these words have political and academic "use" even if they are never or just not at the moment absolute political ideologies that people hold. I think the article as it is deals with this in a just way, describing the contexts in which the word 'statism' is given certain meanings. Part of the use is the politics of libertarianism which again is just in mentioning. (By the way, from my view Italian fascism does but only awkwardly fits into contemporary use of 'statism', as the Fascist ideology was organized around the idea of a corporate council--see the talk pages on Fascism---making it hard to distinguish from private capital). I don't think the page as it is necessarily needs major edits but maybe my comments can help with some of the debate on this talk page. Brianshapiro 7 May 2006

"No necessary connection between collectivism and statism" (2006)[edit]

This section is monstrously slanted. Here's a choice passage:

"Opponents of statism often use the term as a synonym for collectivism. However, there is no necessary connection between the two. It is possible to have a commune or some other form of collectivist society that is entirely stateless[…]. Conversely, it is possible to have a strong central state which does not implement any policy that may be regarded as collectivist."

Aside from the fact that these statements don't hold up to any serious logical scrutiny, they're slanted and unencyclopedic. There are plenty of people who would disagree with comments like this, so to state them with phrases like "there is no connection" and "it is possible" is entirely unencyclopedic. I don't think the section serves any informative purpose beyond that of collectivist propaganda. Retaining this section is like including a paragraph about why murder does not necessarily entail immorality. Even if there were some philosophical defense for such a statement (there isn't), it is only one arbitrary opinion and does not belong in an encyclopedia. -Sean Parmelee 08:57, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Nikodemos's revert (2007)[edit]

I undid Nikodemos's revert, as it replaced vast swathes of text with an older version with no justification. If some people want to go ahead with Nikodemos's revert then please post your justification here. BriKaBraK 11:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

I will list my objections to the "new" text point by point:
1. "The level of Statism in the world's countries exists along a continuum from most to least statist. Thus, although any country possessed of a state could be described as "Statist", countries are Statist to different degrees (for instance, North Korea would be considered more statist than Singapore)." - That is misleading. Not everyone would agree that the level of "statism" in a country can be measured with any degree of precision, or that "statism" is a valid or meaningful concept.
The passage does not imply that "levels of statism" can be measured "precisely", it says that countries can be placed along a continuum in terms of their levels of statism. This is already done in academic studies, such as this one: . Whether or not you think statism is a "valid or meaningful concept" is irrelevent - it is in respected dictionaries, so it is accepted as a valid and meaningful concept to a sufficient degree to warrant inclusion in an encyclopedia. BriKaBraK 12:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The study you quoted only claims to measure "freedom" in the world. It does not even use the word "statism," and it does not claim that freedom and the state are incompatible or at odds with each other. And yes, of course the concept of statism should be included and discussed in an encyclopedia - that's why this article exists. I was merely saying that it is a vague concept used in a variety of different ways by different people. -- Nikodemos 12:51, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Statism and "freedom" in the classical sense are interchangeable. There do exist other definitions of freedom that are not compatible, but they arent used by that study. You have not demonstrated that countries cannot be placed relative to each other in order of levels of statism. Are you honestly trying to say that it is impossible to determine whether North Korea is more or less statist than Switzerland? BriKaBraK 15:39, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
2. The satellite image of Korea proves nothing. First, it is not necessarily true that the amount of light used at night in a country is a good indicator of living standards. Second, there is no logical connection between statism and use of electricity (or lack thereof), and I don't think anyone has ever claimed the existence of such a connection. Third, one example (that of Korea) can never be used to infer a general trend. I'm sure that, say, Kenya has more lights at night than Somalia, and Kenya is clearly more statist than Somalia (who has no state at all).
The satellite image makes the article look a lot smarter. Since the relative economic performance of North Korea and South Korea is used in academic discussions on the effects of Statism, it is relevant. The caption does not claim that it implies a universal trend, and the level of lighting most certainly is indicative of a country's relative prosperity unless there is a vast population disparity - are you trying to imply that North Korea is richer than South Korea? [Given that Somalia is de-facto run by an oligarchy of repressive warlords the country's level of statism is debateable but there's no need to get into that here.] BriKaBraK 12:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, there is a population disparity between the North and South - South Korea has 49 million people whereas North Korea has only 23 million (numbers taken from the CIA World Factbook). But in any case, as far as I know, there are no academic sources implying that the level of lighting is indicative of economic performance, and most discussions of the Koreas deal with much more detailed subjects (such as specific government policies) rather than the vague concept of "statism." Of course South Korea is richer than the North, but it may be argued that (1) this disparity is due to historical factors that have nothing to do with statism, or (2) there is good statism and bad statism, and North Korea is simply an example of the latter. -- Nikodemos 12:51, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
The 120% or so population disparity cannot explain the vast disparity in lighting (much greater than 120%). The presense and use of electricity most certainly does rise in proportion with prosperity in a given population. Whether or not that are other explanations is completely beside the point - the caption only claims that the disparity in electricity use is used as evidence of the effects of statism, not that the conclusions that it is used as evidence to support are absolutely valid. I don't understand your objection to this image, which is already used elsewhere in Wikipedia. BriKaBraK 15:39, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
3. I also think the new wording was generally poor, though I can attempt to tweak that myself if you wish. -- Nikodemos 11:33, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I am replacing all of the wording that you did not raise specific objections to. If you want to raise further objections then you are free to do so, but you cannot justify reverting the whole article on the basis of having specific objections to only a tiny proportion of it. BriKaBraK 12:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. There is nothing else I completely object to, but I will go ahead and change some of the wording a bit. -- Nikodemos 12:51, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Confused. Extremely biased or am I missing something? (2008)[edit]

Under the criticism section, it seems that this article is stating that either statism or capitalism are the only two choices. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. -- (talk) 00:18, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

- response to "confused" - capitalism refers only to the use of money as a medium of exchange. "Free-market" capitalism, a la Adam Smith, has various other aspects meant to prevent or counter market control, which is presumed to be bad for everyone. Socialism is sometimes referred to as "state capitalism" because it is an economic system that does not do away with the use of money as exchange medium. Rather, the state uses mandatory spending, in the form of taxation and government expenditures, as a means of ensuring the circulation of money - or that the circulation of money reaches certain nodes of the system. Any form of capitalism in which market control is present can be called "socialist," from the assumption that the market is being controlled in the direct benefit of some or all of the players, without regard to the efficiency of the system (this may be a difficult concept since many people may see no other purpose to an economic system other than benefit to its users).

Aristocracy, in which an economic elite controls markets and/or production for their own benefit, may thus also be described as a form of socialism. Using "socialism" and "communism" synonymously is a mistake since communism is not necessarily supposed to rely on money-exchange or redistribution to achieve economic goals. The basic stipulation of communism is that everyone in an economy come to view themselves as simultaneously workers, in that they perform labor, AND capitalists, i.e. the owners of the means of production. Hence the term, "the workers own the means of production." Further, Marx thought that if all the workers would "produce as much as they can and use as little as they need," that there would always be more than enough to go around. If communism actually worked in this way, there would (at least in theory) be such an abundance of products that there would be no need for money (everyone could just take what they needed).

Socialism is more clearly the evolutionary child of aristocracy in that, by mandating expenditures, the market positions of established companies are protected. No company is put under pressure to compete. Instead it is assumed that companies (and workers) whose positions are protected, will operate in a beneficial manner as the result of government regulation. Hence the notion of public monopoly. Companies and workers need not be explicitly associated with "the state." The state/government may instead provide rules and regulations that protect their market positions and, by doing so, have the same effect as employing them directly and using state force to protect them.

Hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion that I have noticed in the discussion. The main problem, it seems, comes from the assumption that capitalism means more than it means. This may be the result of ethnocentric bias leading people to fetishize the particular version of capitalism that they identify with their economy (which I'm sure they love dearly). Remember, ANY form(s) of market control in a capitalist economy constitute some form of socialism (since the controls are going to favor one sub-group or another, whether it be a particular industry, company, class, ethnic identity, etc etc.

Also be sure that the most effective way to obscure social interests in an economy is to insist on calling it "pure free market capitalism" and attacking other forms constantly. If the social group benefiting from social control of the market can afford to keep itself hidden, calling the market "free capitalism" will serve very well as a cloak. Politically, however, the question is whether there is more possibility of free-market progress when an ideology of free-market capitalism is held and revered, or when state capitalism (or communism) is accepted. Once people have come to be convinced that the free-market is a fantasy and that state-centered economics are a better bet for achieving economic good, then it may become more difficult to work toward a truly free market, since by that point people have dispensed with distrusting socialism at all, since they have been "put on the payroll" so to speak.

So the conundrum is whether to dispense with ideals because they seem to have been corrupted in practice, or maintain them at the risk that corrupt interests will continue to insist that the system is working perfectly to achieve its ideals (and attacking anyone who claims otherwise). Arguably, it is more fruitful to pursue the democratic ideal of free discourse and dissent without being subject to persecution than it would be to seek an alternative system, such as state-capitalism (i.e. socialism) because once the state is working explicitly in the interest of some or all of the people, democracy becomes a threat to the people and their interests. I just happen to like democracy a lot (I also think it is more ethical than any alternative), so I would prefer to see it flourish rather than give way to popular authoritarianism or dictatorship.

Which one is it, is socialism or communism, is State capitalsim, you have yet to make up your mind. Also you listed Socialism as a "public monopoly" which is only the cause if there is only one producer. Under Socialism, there is more then of producer, but the most work together, meaning that you have a number of private monopoly. If the state produces everthing then you thn have a "public monopoly" or communism. You seem to be losed on the differnce between the two system, your self.

Terrible page, really (2008 comment)[edit]

It has been a while since I visited this particular shrine for so-called 'libertarians'. This article reads like part of an FAQ for that far-right American political party rather than a serious academic article. The talk page makes me cringe - do you people not have your own forums in which to rail against the great socialist enemy, instead of spewing your ideological rants over a bloody encyclopedia.

If this article can't be seriously, and I mean seriously improved, it should be deleted. As it stands, it doesn't inform at all, it merely preaches. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Damburger (talkcontribs) 16:45, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Seems this article could be articulated better (2010)[edit]

i did some searching and there are no groups like "statists of New jersey", or "women statists of north carolina". It seems to me that this is a term like "gook" or "kraut". A term not used by people, except as a accusation. I can't find any articles anywhere on the web where people are promoting themselves as statists, and the term seems to only be used as a slur.

Also, this article seems to be giving "objectivists" or the followers of ayn rand too much deference. I mean, if you wanted to structure the article to be about this being a term pushed by the followers of ayn rand, that would be one thing, but to quote ayn rand followers as if they are some kind of authoritative group seems bad to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RichGriese (talkcontribs) 03:23, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

statism is the opposite of limited government (unsigned comment added 2012)[edit]

There are so many distortions and inaccuracies in this article that I’m not sure how to begin to fix it. For starters, the line “Limited government…make(s) up the middle territory of the scale of statism” is preposterous. Limited government is the opposite of statism. Statism is the belief that the chief purpose of government is to “plan society” in a way that will improve the state overall. (Hence the term “state-ism”.) Limited government is the belief that the chief purpose of government is to protect the rights of the individual—in spite of the wants and needs of the state.

The article is trying to deliberate frame political philosophy as if the only two options are anarchism and statism. Or in other words, that the only two options are no government or authoritarianism.

Dictionary definition (October 2012)[edit]

Examples (not isolated uses, but examples of a type):

Along these lines, the follow explanatory sentences seem dubious:
Statism is effectively the opposite of anarchism. Statism can take many forms. Minarchists prefer a minimal or night watchman state to protect people from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud with military, police, and courts. Some may also include fire departments, prisons, and other functions. Totalitarians prefer a maximum or all encompassing state. Limited government, welfare state, and other options make up the middle territory of the scale of statism.
When minarchism (which is effectively the weakest argument for government outside of anarchism) is considered "statism", that means that statism isn't the opposite of anarchism, but its negation. I don't see how that is consistent with the actual definitions of statism stated here. -- KarlHallowell (talk) 19:38, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

The current opening paragraph is inconsistent with the dictionary definitions above, to the point of being (perhaps unintentionally) misleading, particularly when including minarchism and libertarianism as forms of statism. Only arcane, secondary usages of statism as "the support of the sovereignty of the state" would allow libertarianism or minarchism to be considered statist. The modern usage refers to the half or third of a scale farthest away from minarchism and libertarianism, and specifically excludes them. Stretches to incorrectly classify minarchism and libertarianism as forms of statism in defiance of straightforward interpretations of the main definitions may result from confusion over the existence of the older/uncommon near-homonym.

It might be better to acknowledge in the article that a separate, less common, broader definition exists than to attempt to artificially synthesize two disparate definitions in a way that is at least partially contradictory in meaning to mainstream usage. If I can figure out a way of rewording the intro concisely and with minimal disruption, I'll attempt to Be Bold about it, unless someone beats me to it. RCypher2012 (talk) 11:36, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

I completely agree. Somebody please fix the opening paragraph. -anonymous reader

There is no "statist" ideology[edit]

It seems that "statism" is a pejorative Libertarians use to describe all other political ideologies. It's almost exclusively used by Libertarians. I have found no groups or organizations that are "statist" or support a "statist ideology". --Frybread (talk) 17:35, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

It is pejorative in other uses too. My understanding of one mainstream use of the word is to express the idea that a state can take on a mind of it's own in a democracy by acting against the interests of a population to the point where it can dip towards pseudo authoritarianism. Any ideological component would be in support of such a tendency, say according to a belief that an action or concession will bring a benefit when it will not. Perhaps there is a better term or expression for this. The idea of an imbalance is somewhat expressed in this definition:

1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to the government

--JamesPoulson (talk) 06:27, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Out of curiosity I also looked up the term in French as I've heard "étatiste" used a few times. The definition of étatisme or statism is as follows.

Doctrine advocating state intervention in economic and social fields.

--JamesPoulson (talk) 06:52, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

I am a libertarian, and I agree with you. 'Statism' is a general pejorative which we use to refer to any notion that the state should take primacy over the rights of the individual. The term is never used to simply mean 'the opposite of anarchism' (although I think the opposite of anarchism does need a proper name). This page needs to be either removed or highly revised. (talk) 10:30, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

"although I think the opposite of anarchism does need a proper name"
Wouldn't that simply be wiktionary:hierarchism? Hierarchy implies some form of government when it involves exercising power. --JamesPoulson (talk) 05:37, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree, the term as it is used in the lead paragraph presents a highly biased point of view that presents any state or governmental activity as "statism". This is misleading; statism is usually a pejorative used by anarchists or libertarians to refer to political ideologies that favor state action to achieve specific social/economic outcomes. There are multiple continuums being discussed (no-welfare - welfare state; democracy - totalitarianism; non-state - state ownership; non-state planning - state-led economic planning; free markets - state interventionism, et al.) The lead needs to be completely re-written.
The concept of "state capitalism" and "state socialism" are actually fleshed out concepts that can be mentioned in this article.-Battlecry 07:55, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Thoughtful Perspective improves the conversation and leads to understanding.[edit]

Just a suggestion: please avoid hyperbole. It serves no good to either side. It's not hard to avoid, just reread your comments. To those whose comments are in defense of "statism," please, stop apologizing for it, and don't pick and choose between which you like and don't like. If you can defend statism, then you probably are more happy with what it does than what it does not do. Also, a word's definition can often be found in the way it's spelled: Statism is related to government regulation. Thus, a little history (start with seventeenth century France) would lower the temperature of this argument. The proper question is "how much" government, not "whether." So, Libertarians, please take a breath. While you're at it, read Flannery O'Connor's short story (very short) "The Barber." HopeHume 4-14-2014 — Preceding unsigned comment added by HopeHume (talkcontribs) 18:09, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Introduction on statism is overly broad[edit]

The entry on statism is overly broad. According to the opening statement all government is statist. Statism implies central planning and control not minarchism. See: Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). James Berg 47 (talk) 21:57, 3 November 2014 (UTC)James Berg 47 It is commonly held that statism is the belief that the state is fairer at distributing goods and services (wealth) than the free market (capitalism). Therefore the opposite of statism is capitalism. The political science belief, that statism is government control of any kind, is meaningless. Governments are established to provide law and order therefore, according to political science, any government is statism. The term government seems adequate we don’t need another tem for it. On the other hand if statism means opposition to capitalism, there is no other term that applies to all of the different means of state controlled distribution of wealth. We can’t call fascists communists or socialists because they all employ different means to their ends but they are all statists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Stop pushing an agenda[edit]

Please stop using this article to push an agenda, especially by characterizing "statism" and "statists" as authoritarians in the Ayn Randian tradition. Statist is not and should not be a pejorative directed to anyone who disagrees with Ayn's "philosophy," keep this article neutral. Perhaps the neutral definition upsets alleged "right-libertarians" and "minarchists" who dislike that their ideology falls under statism but that is only because they have deluded themselves into thinking that statist is a pejorative term, mainly because they use it so often to insult other political philosophies. Regardless of your political beliefs, it is possible to articulate them in a technical and neutral manner, and it is possible to critique other ideologies without resorting to heavy-handed generalizations and insults. Many political scientists have done so without having to co-opt otherwise neutral terms in order to make certain beliefs sound scary. For example, if you disagree with any and all government intervention into economic matters, you can express that without calling people who disagree "STATISTS." Likewise, if you believe that the means of production should be controlled by the workers you can say that without calling your opponents "FASCISTS."

So for all the Objectivists, who believe that the state should exist, who call people who disagree with them on other points "STATISTS," but who then get upset when their beliefs technically fall under the umbrella of "statism," well, stop calling people statists just because they disagree with you or because they believe that governments may have a role in regulating the economy. CronoDroid (talk) 07:44, 20 August 2015 (UTC)