I'd like to discuss the core issue underlying the capitalism/socialism debate: the issue of property 'ownership'. Up front, in the interest of full disclosure, I've always leaned strongly libertarian, strongly free-market. And while I have issues with a few of the fundamental rules framing corporate capitalism (limited liability, etc..), I see private control over resources and the 'means of production' as preferable to control by a compulsive state government. That said, unlike many of my libertarian/free-market friends, I don't see the concept of some alternative to private property 'unthinkable'. We already handle many other aspects of our environment communally and it doesn't seem crazy to us. In fact, the alternative might seem worse; do we really want to treat the air we breath as an ownable property? We've agreed to hold significant swaths of real estate and resources (roads, parks, etc) as 'public' property and this seems to work ok. So, why not the 'means of production'? I'd like to avoid the usual partisan vitriol here, and actual discuss the issue in good faith. Even if you are adamantly opposed to socialism, I'll ask that you work with the assumption that it might work. The other thing I'd like to avoid, from both 'sides' of the argument, is the reliance on historical data. The problem with using historical examples is always the lack of complete information and the lack of any possible counterfactuals to understand the situation. Did socialism fail in the USSR because it was implemented by a totalitarian government, or did it become totalitarian as a logical progression of socialism? Are modern socialists states succeeding because of socialism, or in spite of it? We can't really know the answers to these kind of questions. In any case, the contexts of these other nations are all different than ours. I'd like to discuss how we might work without private property here, in the U.S., with our situation, and our values as a people.