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Nonprofits vs Socialism – Maxie Carpenter

What of Nonprofits vs Socialism?

Nonprofits vs Socialism is Maxie Carpenter’s take on the cultural and political revolutions we face as a nation in uncertain times. Here’s what Maxie has to share:

Definition – Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and workers’ self-management of enterprise as well as the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective, or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

The chief reason the socialist system fails is that there are no incentives to work hard to better one’s self. The government-run economy might seem reasonable to some, but what it’s really doing is averaging everything, among those salaries, benefits, products, and most important, people. In the socialist system, everything’s pushed into a mediocre middle. That’s what kills incentive, whether you do well, or are lousy at your job, the outcome is the same, so why bother. The lack of incentive eventually leads to a poorly performing economy. Therein lies the crux of the issue for Nonprofits, especially those with a specific focus on helping those that are at risk for hunger, mental health, homelessness, divorce, rape, single mothers, and the needs list goes on and on. It’s my view that most Nonprofit organizations doing this work think they’re just doing good work for their fellowman. However, I’ve seen some amazing things happen when the underlying reason for the work is clarified, which is to help those at risk achieve personal independence and sustainability. In short, lead them to a place where they can not only stand on their own but are motivated to continue doing so. Another continuing challenge for Nonprofits is a lack of focus and understanding with how capacity and resources are allocated based upon one simple premise: there are limits to both. In short, most of them are writing checks with their passion and hearts that their limited capacity and resources can’t cover. Now, if you take what I’ve shared so far and combine that with the influence of Socialism, here’s what will happen in short order:

1. Massive Government Spending: If you think we’ve seen the largest national debt in history (which we have), in those infamous words, You ain’t seen nothing yet! If you think the Nonprofits job of raising money now is difficult, especially with the already burdened grant system regardless of who’s administering the grant, strap in! You ain’t seen nothing yet!

2. Massive Tax Systems that Reduce Incentives. We have a tax code so complicated and long that few can do their own taxes. Not satisfied, politicians threaten massive income tax hikes, wealth tax confiscation and penalties for those who want to leave the country. There goes any money Nonprofits can expect from wealthy donors or Corporate resources they’ve had in the past.

3. Reduced GDP and Economic Stagnation: If there’s no growth in the marketplace, there’s no growth in money. If there’s no growth in money, there’s no ‘extra’ for anyone doing anything. Nonprofits will most certainly be at the bottom of the pecking order if the question comes down to simple survival.

4. Deficits: The US debt ratio right now is 106%. That’s like having credit card debt that’s literally 3 times your income. What do you think it will be when spending explodes, as it most certainly will with the influence of Socialism? How much debt is being carried right now by Nonprofits?

5. Government will keep on doing what it is now; printing more money: What do you think will happen with inflation (when the supply of money exceeds the economic need) then? All that money won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on. No one on the planet will honor it. Then it won’t matter how much or how little money Nonprofits have at all.

6. Government will fix prices and declare when goods will be sold: Anyone remember the gas shortage and rationing in the 70’s? We had long lines at all the gas stations and only on fixed days of the week. You think that was bad, You ain’t seen nothing yet! Nonprofits that have innovated by creating profit centers within the construct of the Nonprofit, will see those revenues shrink to nothing.

7. Underground Economies will proliferate: When money becomes worthless, a bartering system takes its place. This underground will be one large flea market for even the most critical of needs like medical supplies, food, water, etc. If you think the number of at risk served by Nonprofits is unacceptable now, You ain’t seen nothing yet!

8. Class warfare will do what it’s doing right now; tearing at the fabric of our society: If you think it’s worse than you’ve ever seen now, strap in because You ain’t seen nothing yet! If you think about it, Nonprofits have always supported those suffering from class warfare, meaning those simply left behind for lack of capacity or resources.

9. Total society discord: Today, Venezuela is in near total societal breakdown as tens of thousands seek to flee the country amidst a socialist dictatorship, a growing police state, empty store shelves, little medicine, and even less order. We’re seeing traces of that now in parts of our country, where the police have been overwhelmed with the unrest.

Nonprofits all over the US are responding to the need, as they always do when a crisis arises. First with the Pandemic and now with the riots and protests across the nation that are leaving families in need in their wake. They’re responding, even with limited capacity and resources.

What do you think will happen with the advent of Socialism?

Well, I can tell you one thing. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

What of Nonprofits vs Socialism? was first posted at NANOE News

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  1. DJ McCormick says:

    You are right on the money! I worked in Russia shortly after the collapse of the communist system. The communists, toward the end, were attempting to associate pay with production, but they really messed up. If you were a factory worker you, by definition were adding value. So you were high on the pay scale for non party workers. Doctors, nurses etc. were low on the scale as they did not contribute directly to production. If you had to go to the hospital for surgery, you bought your doctor a gift, usually vodka, and you arranged for your own bedding including a pillow. Also family would need to provide your food. I was told many doctors were alcoholics. So much for the socialist paradise.
    In line with what you are saying, non-profits need to have the end result in mind. That is why I insist on outcomes with every effort. Without measurable outcomes, “any path will get you there.” And it doesn’t matter where there is, because we are doing good.

  2. This is absolutely eye-opening and jaw-dropping. I am absolutely in loss of words after reading this right now! I never would have thought we’d come to witness and see these days come but they sure are creeping in and closing in on us and possibly coming along soon. I don’t know what more to say, I just hope everything will come to a better end if not now then hopefully sooner and fast!

    • Maxie Carpenter says:

      That is my hope, as well! Happy New Year!

    • Maxie Carpenter says:

      The upside gets lost in spending so much time dwelling on the downside! It’s a balancing act between focusing on a viewpoint vs a point of reference! Thanks for the comment!

  3. While this was a tough read for those of us committed to serving through our nonprofit palette. Ms. Carpenter did an excellent job of giving us a reality check through ALL that is taking place with the Coronavirus, Protests of Police Brutality, loss of income with few or NO “new” jobs on the horizon.
    The truth is that times are much more challenging for those of us managing nonprofits than we may actually realize. Things are very tight with continued funding due to the focus and tremendous need to fill the gaps in healthcare services for those working in healthcare or the FRONT LINE Workers as well as the low to marginal income communities we serve who are often saddled with a history of Health & Income EQUITY Issues.
    We in nonprofit have a huge responsibility to find solutions without the fanfare of the media nor the resources $$$$ to really make it happen. The work is enormous for each of us. My focus has been in finding ways to support the TRUE First Responders through all of our current events and circumstances — PARENTS! Yes, the publicly stated First Responders are the Police, Fire and EMS professionals. My world is focused on the one’s that make the initial Health, Economic and Social Assessment which triggers that all important telephone call or 911 call. It is universally the “PARENT” getting everything started or the Parent calling the doctor, hospital or taking their loved one’s to the hospital. (I admitted I’m a bit biased)
    My challenge is hat I CARE. I know You CARE too. Let’s pull thing thing together despite our knowledge that no one or few will consult us seeking remedies. We may need to hold some type open forum to explore solutions to address and serve our various HUMAN markets.
    Thank you for tolerating this missive.

    • Maxie Carpenter says:

      Not at all, Gregory! All perspectives are appreciated, for sure! There can be no shortage of feedback to help us all.

  4. […] Happens When You Give Everyone Everything? is Maxie Carpenter’s addendum to his last post What of Socialism & Nonprofits? I’d ask all of us doing the work of human and social services to consider the […]

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