When does Sharing become Socialism?

3 May

A couple of days ago, a colleague of mine posted a short quip on Facebook saying something like “we all should share with each other” to which I responded with something along the lines of how I agree and it’s good to share positive humorous moments.  Another colleague responded by making a derogatory remark towards the current president and finished with a snide “there’s already too much sharing – it’s socialism!”

As I was contemplating what this Facebook “friend” meant by his snide remarks, something struck me:  Somehow, while we teach children to share incessantly, there must be a fine line between sharing and socialism… but where exactly is that line could be worth pondering… if sharing is socialistic, is it all bad – or are we doing our children a disservice by insisting on childhood sharing when as adults we reject the very philosophy of doing so?

As early as pre-school, children are taught to share. Youngsters are given positive reinforcement when they share toys with others whether they be siblings or children they don’t know.  In fact, when such generosity and sharing ends with a toy getting broken, most adults dismiss their child’s hurt and encourage ongoing sharing despite the child’s loss.  If sharing as we teach our children is socialistic, when does that end for us as adults?  Where is the boundary between being a good global citizen sharing the earth ‘s resources with billions of others, and being a socialist?

The dictionary defines socialism as
–noun 1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Hmmm… maybe it’s the notion of community or sharing ownership or simply “giving up control” that is what hit a nerve with the Facebook respondent.  Recounting and sharing humorous moments with others seems to be outside of socialism one would think, and I am puzzled where the ownership of a humorous encounter or conversation fits in with a definition that focuses on vested ownership by a community in goods and services. I just cannot get how the idea of sharing – whether it is oneself, one’s ideas, or one’s possessions – as the owner chooses to do fits with the definition of socialism. Perhaps the writer was simply an only child who never learned how to actually share?

Have a great week,
Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.


Read Carol Dekkers’ other blog (Musings about Software Development) at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com.

——Copyright 2009 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————


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