Socialization of Children
The first change that needs to be made to address the problem of poor socialization of children is abandonment of the capitalist mode of production which promotes individualism, competitiveness and exploitation. In its place I propose a system known as anarcho-syndicalism. Anarcho-syndicalism, although strictly speaking a structure for labor organization, promotes values of collaboration and grass-roots based consensus building, and opposes exploitation in any form. I am convinced that the collectivist ideas behind anarcho-syndicalist labor organizations can be applied in the social arena as well.
Children should be with their parents as much as possible during their early years. Mothers should be entitled to two years' paid maternity leave. Mothers may choose not to work and in return receive a modest stipend from the state. Institute a 25-hour work week in order to maximize the amount of time parents have available to spend with their children. Use the tax code to discourage working beyond the standard work week. Use the media to change from intense consumerism to one that promotes family and community. Also use the media to promote the idea of family dinners not only as beneficial but desirable. Encourage multi-generational households, and liberalize laws concerning who may be claimed as a dependent on a tax return.
Children should be given opportunities for socialization beyond the family, and this can be accomplished through community-based, state-subsidized day-care, pre-school and kindergarten. This system of pre-schooling is proposed so that local neighborhoods may develop the programs appropriate to meet their unique set of needs, while they are state-subsidized in order to ensure that minimum standards are met. Standards must be met in order to receive subsidies.
Make "parent training" programs or parenthood mentors readily available. Mentors can provide ongoing guidance and assistance. Many parents had poor role models themselves, so they can use guidance in becoming the most effective parents possible. This is not merely Lamaze training, but, rather, more comprehensive training on how to be an effective parent for children at a minimum from age zero to six, and preferably zero to 18. This should be part of a broader national program of free health care, which includes pre-natal care, and ensures that children grow up in the healthiest environment possible. It is particularly important to make drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs available for their parents, and such programs must be part of any national health care program.
Abandon the Welfare to Work program and resume funding and liberalize requirements for participation in Aid to Families with Dependent Children. No child should live below the poverty level in this country. Institute living wage policies so that a minimum wage worker's earnings would be at least at poverty level. Devote resources to enable more aggressive programs to ensure that fathers pay court-ordered child support. Children who are not living in poverty are better candidates for successful socialization.
Children are impacted strongly by their surrounding environment while growing up. For appropriate socialization to take place, it is critical that households develop an accommodation between men and women acknowledging and accepting shifts in power. Ensure parity of pay for men and women. Use the media to promote the idea that women who chose to become homemakers should be celebrated rather than denigrated. Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and ensure that it is implemented and enforced. We must do everything possible to foster an attitude of equality between the sexes, especially because women play such a large role in the socialization of children.
I already have suggested adoption of anarcho-syndicalism as an alternative governance structure. Other measures are possible that promote a healthy economic and political environment for the socialization of children. One of the first steps that should be taken is the elimination of political action committees and the institution of public campaign financing. PACs have served only to coarsen political discourse, not make it more expansive. End corporate welfare and bring the multinationals under control. Use the tax code to disincentivize such large disparities in pay between top executives and entry-level workers. Bring fairness to the political system by replacing the winner-take-all system with proportional representation and instant run-off voting. Eliminate the Senate, and replace the Electoral College with direct election of the President by popular vote.
A few miscellaneous ideas: provide incentives for voting/disincentives for not voting; use the media to promote a move away from a patriarchal culture of individualism to one that is more equitable and based on family and community. Pay for some of these suggested programs with windfall profits taxes, increasing marginal tax rates, reinstating inheritance taxes, instituting a consumption tax (with food items excepted), and treating capital gains as ordinary income for tax purposes.
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Last revised: June 5, 2015.