Socialism is a collective effort to provide for the common good and general welfare of all people within any given society. The scope of the application of socialist principles can range from a collective as small as the family to that of an entire nation state. In fact, the general welfare clause appears two different places in the US Constitution; including Article 1 Section 8 where Congress is commissioned with the responsibility to provide for the common defense and the general welfare. That the term “general” was by no means intended to be an all inclusive term is evident in that even as those words were being penned, the slavery of human beings was an instrumental practice in the early development of the US economy. Clearly, the framers of the Constitution envisioned a select application as to who exactly should provide for the welfare of whom. A scenario that has only changed so far as concerns institutional logistics over the course of the last 230 years.
For from the founding of the US, the laboring class has always provided for the welfare of the capitalist class. The relationship between each class has consistently been that of the exploitation of the former for the primary benefit of the latter. And there is little doubt that this arrangement is by design and strategically managed to that end. The fact of the matter is that capitalism is an amoral system whose primary purpose is to exploit labor for the welfare of wealthy oligarchs. Now this is not to imply that all capitalists are amoral people; however as the basic purpose of capitalism is to maximize profits and accumulate capital, there is simply no code of humanist ethics incorporated into the system itself. And so when the controlling class accumulates wealth, claims personal possession of, and assumes control over the surplus which is produced by the working class, they are acting in accord with the fundamental principles of an amoral economic system. Hence the primary objective of capitalism is to provide for a concentrated, rather than the general welfare. Capitalism ultimately then is the systematic process of a well orchestrated oligarchy.
Socialism on the other hand is a collective effort for the common good and the general welfare of any given society. In essence socialist values are based upon the concept that any society is a family. And just as in a family the ultimate objective is to provide for the general welfare and for the good of every one in the family, so likewise socialist values are based upon a natural incentive for exercising collective efforts for the benefit of everyone within any given community. Furthermore, just as any family which operated by the exploitation of the weaker by the more powerful would clearly be regarded as dysfunctional, similarly any collective which so operates merits the same assessment.
In conclusion, although the US was never intended to actually operate so as to provide for the general welfare; nonetheless the farmers of the constitution laid the groundwork for a society which functions in accord with socialist values by twice referencing the general welfare as an intended objective of our sovereign nation state. Ultimately the interpretation of and the application of the general welfare clause is rather telling as to our social values. The issue then becomes whether our collective values are such that we as a people would prefer to continue to provide for the concentrated welfare of wealthy oligarchs, or whether we would exercise our collective efforts for the common good and the general welfare.