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Socialism's 100 Percent Record of Failure


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https://fee.org/articles/you-cant-argue-against-socialisms-100-percent-record-of-failure/

You Can't Argue against Socialism's 100 Percent Record of Failure

After more than two dozen failed attempts, Socialism has proven itself to be a disastrous philosophy.
Monday, April 16, 2018
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Socialism is extremely in vogue. Opinion pieces which tell us to stop obsessing over socialism’s past failures, and start to get excited about its future potential, have almost become a genre in its own right.

For example, Bhaskhar Sunkara, the founder of Jacobin magazine, recently wrote a New York Times article, in which he claimed that the next attempt to build a socialist society will be completely different:

This time, people get to vote. Well, debate and deliberate and then vote—and have faith that people can organize together to chart new destinations for humanity. Stripped down to its essence, and returned to its roots, socialism is an ideology of radical democracy. […] t seeks to empower civil society to allow participation in the decisions that affect our lives.

Nathan Robinson, the editor of Current Affairs, wrote in that magazine that socialism has not “failed." It has just never been done properly:

It’s incredibly easy to be both in favor of socialism and against the crimes committed by 20th-century communist regimes."

When anyone points me to the Soviet Union or Castro’s Cuba and says “Well, there’s your socialism,” my answer […] [is] that these regimes bear absolutely no relationship to the principle for which I am fighting. […] The history of the Soviet Union doesn’t really tell us much about “communism” […]

I can draw distinctions between the positive and negative aspects of a political program. I like the bit about allowing workers to reap greater benefits from their labor. I don’t like the bit about putting dissidents in front of firing squads.”

Closer to home, Owen Jones wrote that Cuba’s current version of socialism was not “real” socialism—but that it could yet become the real thing:

“Socialism without democracy […] isn’t socialism. […] Socialism means socializing wealth and power. […]

Cuba could democratize and grant political freedoms currently denied as well as defending […] the gains of the revolution. […] The only future for socialism […] is through democracy. That […] means organizing a movement rooted in people’s communities and workplaces. It means arguing for a system that extends democracy to the workplace and the economy.

And Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig wrote an article with the self-explanatory title It’s time to give socialism a try:

Not to be confused for a totalitarian nostalgist, I would support a kind of socialism that would be democratic and aimed primarily at decommodifying labor, reducing the vast inequality brought about by capitalism, and breaking capital’s stranglehold over politics and culture.

Despite differences in style and emphasis, articles in this genre share a number of common flaws.

Socialists insist that previous examples of socialism were not “really” socialist, but none of them can tell us what exactly they would do differently.

Flawed Arguments 

First, as much as the authors insist that previous examples of socialism were not “really” socialist, none of them can tell us what exactly they would do differently. Rather than providing at least a rough outline of how “their” version of socialism would work in practice, the authors escape into abstraction, and talk about lofty aspirations rather than tangible institutional characteristics.

“Charting new destinations for humanity” and “democratizing the economy” are nice buzzphrases, but what does this mean, in practice? How would “the people” manage “their” economy jointly? Would we all gather in Hyde Park, and debate how many toothbrushes and how many screwdrivers we should produce? How would we decide who gets what? How would we decide who does what? What if it turns out that we don’t actually agree on very much?

These are not some trivial technical details that we can just leave until after the revolution. These are the most basic, fundamental questions that a proponent of any economic system has to be able to answer. Almost three decades have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall—enough time, one should think, for “modern” socialists to come up with some ideas for a different kind of socialism. Yet here we are. After all those years, they have still not moved beyond the buzzword stage.

Secondly, the authors do not seem to realize that there is nothing remotely new about the lofty aspirations they talk about, and the buzzphrases they use. Giving “the people” democratic control over economic life has always been the aspiration, and the promise, of socialism. It is not that this has never occurred to the people who were involved in earlier socialist projects. On the contrary: that was always the idea. There was never a time when socialists started out with the express intention of creating stratified societies led by a technocratic elite. Socialism always turned out that way, but not because it was intended to be that way.

Contemporary socialists completely fail to address the deficiencies of socialism in the economic sphere.

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Socialists usually react with genuine irritation when a political opponent mentions an earlier, failed socialist project. They cannot see this as anything other than a straw man, and a cheap shot. As a result, they refuse to address the question why those attempts have turned out the way they did. According to contemporary socialists, previous socialist leaders simply did not really try, and that is all there is to know.

They are wrong. The Austro-British economist Friedrich Hayek already showed in 1944 why socialism must always lead to an extreme concentration of power in the hands of the state, and why the idea that this concentrated power could be democratically controlled was an illusion. Were Hayek to come back from the dead today, he would probably struggle a bit with the iPhone, Deliveroo and social media—but he would instantly grasp the situation in Venezuela.

Thirdly, contemporary socialists completely fail to address the deficiencies of socialism in the economic sphere. They talk a lot about how their version of socialism would be democratic, participatory, non-authoritarian, and nice and cuddly. Suppose they could prove Hayek wrong and magically make that work. What then?

Economics Matters 

They would then be able to avoid the Gulags, the show trials and the secret police next time, which would obviously be an immeasurable improvement over the versions of socialism that existed in the past. But we would still be left with a dysfunctional economy.

Ultimately, the contemporary argument for socialism boils down to: “next time will be different because we say so.” 

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Contemporary socialists seem to assume that a democratized version of socialism would not just be more humane, but also economically more productive and efficient: reform the political system, and the rest will somehow follow. There is no reason why it should. Democracy, civil liberties, and human rights are all desirable in their own right, but they do not, in and of themselves, make countries any richer.

A version of East Germany without the Stasi, the Berlin Wall, and the police brutality would have been a much better country than the one that actually existed. But even then: East Germany’s economic output per capita was only one third of the West German level. Democracy, on its own, would have done nothing to close that gap.

A version of North Korea without the secret police and the labor camps would be a much better country than the one that actually exists. But even then: the North-South gap in living standards is so vast that the average South Korean is 3–8cm taller than the average North Korean, and lives more than ten years longer. Democracy would not make North Koreans any taller, or likelier to reach old age.

Ultimately, the contemporary argument for socialism boils down to: “next time will be different because we say so.”

After more than two dozen failed attempts, that is just not good enough.

Reprinted from Capx.

 
Kristian Niemietz
 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Spartan said:

 

They're not a socialist country.

They provide healthcare for all.  That's far more than what this country provides.  As slideman pointed out, their economy is mixed.  They make the average citizen priority (instead of the wealthiest citizen) by providing a robust social safety net for the working poor.  That's all those who describe themselves as democratic socialist want (this includes me).  

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4 minutes ago, slideman said:

They have a mixed economy which is what most people on the left in the United States are advocating. I don't know anyone who is advocating for soviet-style or North Korean style communism

 

 

1 minute ago, RollingRock said:

They provide healthcare for all.  That's far more than what this country provides.  As slideman pointed out, their economy is mixed.  They make the average citizen priority (instead of the wealthiest citizen) by providing a robust social safety net for the working poor.  That's all those who describe themselves as democratic socialist want (this includes me).  

 

They have a capitalist government with a vast, as Rolling Rock calls it, "robust social safety net"; paid for by high taxes.  That does not make them socialist.  I believe in a safety net for the working poor and a focus on the average citizen instead of the wealthiest citizen, just as RR does.  But socialism, at its core, is a totalitarian philosophy and incompatible with a free society.

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Context matters. What predates most, if not all, of these failed attempts at socialism.... stark, long term poverty that turns into hopelessness. Socialism in these situations is a made-for-tv miracle cure to their ills and as expected, it fails. France, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Austria have implemented various degrees of socialist policies and have not "failed". However, they were not poor, destitute, and starving before hand either. 

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1 hour ago, RollingRock said:

They provide healthcare for all.  That's far more than what this country provides.  As slideman pointed out, their economy is mixed.  They make the average citizen priority (instead of the wealthiest citizen) by providing a robust social safety net for the working poor.  That's all those who describe themselves as democratic socialist want (this includes me).  

 

AOC says that I can have  free college to study marijuana horticulture.

And free marijuana while I go to college.  And free f/stamps for when

I get the munchies from smoking too much.

And a free living wage to buy bongs set up 'grow-rooms'.

And a free Corvette on Graduation Day.

 

Who will pay for all of this?  Who cares??  

When you are as high as me and AOC, little details like that...…..are irrelevant.                          😊…..🍺.

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5 minutes ago, Taipan said:

 

AOC says that I can have  free college to study marijuana horticulture.

And free marijuana while I go to college.  And free f/stamps for when

I get the munchies from smoking too much.

And a free living wage to buy bongs set up 'grow-rooms'.

And a free Corvette on Graduation Day.

 

Who will pay for all of this?  Who cares??  

When you are as high as me and AOC, little details like that...…..are irrelevant.                          😊…..🍺.

She did NOT say this.

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2 hours ago, Spartan said:

 

 

They have a capitalist government with a vast, as Rolling Rock calls it, "robust social safety net"; paid for by high taxes.  That does not make them socialist.  I believe in a safety net for the working poor and a focus on the average citizen instead of the wealthiest citizen, just as RR does.  But socialism, at its core, is a totalitarian philosophy and incompatible with a free society.

OK, agreed.  Now please explain who actually wants Venezuela-style socialism here in the US?  Nobody I'm aware of....

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6 minutes ago, Spartan said:

 

Bernie was all about praising Venezuela.... until Venezuela imploded.

 

True that.

 

Hell, he's been in a mutual praise loop with the recently ousted Democratic Socialist dictator of Ecuador just this last month, despite Morales openly trying to steal an election for an illegal 4th term

 

Sanders has no respect for democracy.

 

Bill

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8 hours ago, RollingRock said:

OK, agreed.  Now please explain who actually wants Venezuela-style socialism here in the US?  Nobody I'm aware of....

 

He called Venezuela under Chavez and Ecuador under Morales the models for the New American Dream.

 

Who are you trying to fool?

 

Sanders loves these dictators and Daniel Ortega as well.

 

BS is a total demagogue. 

 

Bill

 

 

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8 hours ago, Vegas said:

Libs always default to Denmark when socialism is brought up. Why cant these retards understand that they are not socialist? 

 

Not liberals. Far-leftists. Liberals know full well that Denmark isn't a socialist country.

 

Bill

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10 hours ago, TrumpBGoneSoon said:

Socialism as a sole method of economy will fail.  However Dialysis has been essentially free for all Americans for decades.   That is socialism working. 

 

Socialism is the ownership of the means of production and distribution by "the collective," which almost always means by "the state."

 

Health programs that offer free dialysis treatments are not a example of "socialism."

 

Bill

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11 hours ago, slideman said:

They have a mixed economy which is what most people on the left in the United States are advocating. I don't know anyone who is advocating for soviet-style or North Korean style communism

 

 

There isn't a major industry that Bernie Sanders wouldn't like to nationalize.

 

Bill

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12 hours ago, slideman said:

Tell it to Denmark

 

Denmark isn't socialist, GED.   It's very capitalist.   How many times do we have to tell you this.   Are you incapable of learning.   Is that why you flunked out of high school?

 

Even the Danish Prime Minister scolded Bernie Sanders, telling him "we're NOT socialists".   And they aren't.   Unlike socialist countries, Denmark has relatively few rules on businesses.   Danes embraces free trade, competition and there is little government ownership or involvement in business. That's just the opposite of what you American socialists (communists) push for the US.  In fact, if we could learn one lesson from Denmark,  it would be "leave the economy alone".   The REAL lesson of Denmark is that if you socialists/communists want Danish style social spending, then you need a relatively unfettered capitalist economy ... not the sort of highly regulated, socialist one that you, Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Perez, AOC, and almost every modern day DemocRAT seems to want to force down the throats of all Americans.

 

According to the OECD, Denmark has the least amount of government red tape and the shortest start-up time for new businesses in the EU.  There is no minimum wage (which you Democrats push for all the time here in the US).  Danes don't even have have our Social Security (SS) nightmare to deal with because they contribute to individual accounts that move with them from job to job.   Accounts that they OWN.  That's something that the socialists in the US voted against doing when Bush tried to allow Social Security contributors to divert just 4% of SS receipts to individual accounts that they would own.  Were you one of those who argued against Bush's plan, GED?    Do you even know this or has your *education* kept you in the dark?   Did that *education* tell you that SS will make contributors poorer than they otherwise would be were they allowed to REALLY invest their own money in accounts they own?

Oh ... and by the way, just how successful is Denmark anyway?  Or more precisely, how successful was it before Obama came along and began to slow our economic growth through socialist interventions?  Back in 2010, an article ( http://www.tino.us/2010/01/dynamic-america-poor-europe/ ) pointed out that "if the US adopts European policies and immediately decreases to the levels of EU15, its per capita GDP would fall by 26.5%, 8 times worse than The Great Recession!" (in practice the convergence would probably happen through years of reduced growth).    It pointed that if we compared the "latest publicly available per capita GDP of 18 western Europeans countries and the US, we see that the US per capita GDP is $45,500, compared to $33,500 for EU15.  Each American produces 36% more than each member of the EU15." Truth is, most of those supposedly *socialist* European countries you leftists keep name dropping weren't all that successful compared to the US, anyway.   And still aren't.   Denmark, for example, would have barely inched ahead of Kentucky, one of our poorer states, in terms of per capita GDP.


 

There's another aspect of Denmark that you conveniently overlook. It's not just the economic system that has led to Denmarks *success* ... *success* measured as them being happier than us.     You see, maybe Danes are happier because they don't have to deal with all the ethnic problems we do because of your leftist agenda? Maybe it's because Denmark has some of the strictest immigration policies in Europe (which as a rule are almost draconian compared to ours).  Just 0.5% of it's population in 2009 was foreign born, including legal immigrants.  In comparison over 3-6% of our population (probably closer to 6% now) is now deemed illegal, much less foreign born. In fact, a top Mexican government official stated years ago there were 30 million illegal hispanics in the US and you'd think he might know. That would be almost 10% of our population.   Think how much happier we'd all be if we didn't have the overcrowding that all those illegals have brought us? Think how much happier we'd be if they weren't such a drain on our resources. If they weren't causing so much crime? If they weren't Balkanizing our culture and society? Yet, it is you UNIPARTY DemocRATS and RINOS who insist of flooding our country with even more illegals ... over a 100,000 a month recently.    

 

And related to the above, maybe Danes are happier because they have a common language? Almost all Danes speak that common tongue. They also share a common heritage and culture, and have basically one religion ... something you leftist despise.   Maybe that's why they are happier ... more successful? Almost 91% of Denmark's populace is native born (compared to our much smaller percentage) ... and they don't hand out Danish citizenship to the babies of illegals born in their country. Maybe we'd be happier if we didn't? Whereas Danes are working hard to maintain their culture, religion, and language ... and are proud of their country ... the Democrats/socialists/communists in the US (people like you and Oprah) seem intent on destroying whatever common cultural roots, bonds and language we still share.  Maybe the lesson we should really take from the Danes is to stop catering to people who refuse to learn English and share OUR values. Who bash America constantly. Maybe we should all stop listening to Democrats and socialists like you. Then we'd be happier.  And more successful.

 

Maybe Danes are happier because they rarely hear the word "racist". It's not a matter of luck. It's because there essentially are no other races in Denmark. Because the racial mix has remained constant for decades, they aren't worried about an ethnic group with completely different values taking over or changing their society. They wouldn't allow it if they tried. Go look at how they are dealing with the muslim influx. Whereas here in the US we have leftists (like you and Oprah), crying racism at the drop of the hat.    That's bound to lower happiness and success.

 

And maybe Denmark's happiness is because far fewer Danes go to college (about half as many, per capita) as Americans. Colleges in the US are major bastions of liberal power and group think ... so avoiding them is likely to make people happier, because polls show that conservatives are happier in general. Colleges help maintain liberal power by inculcating the next generation in liberal ideas ... by making them unhappy and unsatisfied.  Colleges in the US actually strive hard to make students UNHAPPY and UNSATISFIED with America ... to think of America as unsuccessful no matter what the condition of the country.  To make them hope for change (ala Obama and AOC). Maybe that's the Dane's secret? They haven't let socialist/communist progressives take over their society in this way. They've remained pragmatists and aren't handing out degrees in ethnic studies, community organizing, communications, or political science ... occupations that disrupt society and make people unhappy. That make people view their country as unsuccessful.   You might understand this one, GED.

 

Or maybe Danes are happier because central planners decide how many doctors, engineers, lawyers (maybe even entertainers) the society needs. More people go into trades than here. They don't import their labor (i.e., use illegals). Now if we were honest with ourselves, perhaps a lot of Americans would be happier and more productive after learning a trade than being a community organizer, or a lawyer, an ethnic studies major, working in the media ... or being a paid DemocRAT activist. But I honestly don't think you Democrats and leftists would stand for government forcing individuals into certain occupations rather than others. Would you? Especially occupations that have traditionally been seen as "redneck".   It goes against everything you liberals claim to represent.  I think that would make you leftist even more happy. And you'd view the country as being even more unsuccessful than you already do.  But maybe that's one of the things we have to do to eventually achieve Denmark's level of happiness.

 

Then again, maybe Danes are happier because they have one-fourth the number of lawyers in their society as ours. They aren't anywhere near as litigious as we are ... especially Democrats who seem to sue someone at the drop of a hat and for the slightest slight.  Yes, lawyers primarily support the Democratic Party in this country. Do you know that?  And the whole impeachment scam against Trump is being run by lawyers.   Maybe that's the lesson we should take from "successful" Denmark is kill the lawyers.  Because their job is to make someone unhappy. Their being DemocRATS would just be a twofer.

 

Or look at Denmark's welfare system. Yes, it's pretty generous, but it's time limited. A Dane can exhaust his lifetime allowance in less than four years so they are strongly motivated to find a job and work. Psychologists say that people need purpose ... that work makes people happy. That's a far cry from what you Democrats/liberals/progressives/socialists/communists want to create here in the United States ... a nanny state that makes people life long dependents of the government ... and therefore lifelong socialists/communists. Maybe that's why Denmark is happier and more successful ... because they have forced their populace to work to survive, rather than live on the dole forever like Democrats appear to want for the United States.

 

So seriously, GED ... do you really want us to be like Denmark? Because I'd be ok with almost all of the above ... but I doubt that you and most DemocRATS would be. Those changes would threaten your leftist hold on this country ... the very existence of your most important constituencies. In fact, the only thing you leftists really seem to like that the Danes have done is increase taxes. Indeed, according to http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/can-u-s-learn-denmark/ , "Denmark's taxes came to 48.6 percent of the country's economic output in 2013, nearly double the United States' 25.4 percent that year and highest in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) group of wealthy countries.   This article ( http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26327114 ) from 2014 said Denmark taxes workers at 60% on earnings over $60,000 (in comparison to 25% in the US at the time). You ready to give another 35% of your income over $60000 to the government, just to provide for those who don't work (and many who don't want to work) all that "free" stuff that you leftist think is a right? JUST SAYING ... B)

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10 hours ago, SpyCar said:

 

Socialism is the ownership of the means of production and distribution by "the collective," which almost always means by "the state."

 

Health programs that offer free dialysis treatments are not a example of "socialism."

 

Bill

I really disagree.  The collective is the state which funds dialysis so people don't need to pay for it.

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21 hours ago, slideman said:

They have a mixed economy which is what most people on the left in the United States are advocating. I don't know anyone who is advocating for soviet-style or North Korean style communism

 

They had to go to a mixed economy because their socialist economies were failing...big time.

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On 12/11/2019 at 9:31 PM, SpyCar said:

 

True that.

 

Hell, he's been in a mutual praise loop with the recently ousted Democratic Socialist dictator of Ecuador just this last month, despite Morales openly trying to steal an election for an illegal 4th term

 

Sanders has no respect for democracy.

 

Bill

 

Agreed!

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