Communism is an idea. Ideas don’t kill people; People kill people.
Stalin, Hitler and Mao killed millions in the name of their respective utopian ideals and further. Such ideas are inherently fatal. They instill a religious fervor in their followers as they try to create their idea of ”Heaven on Earth”. Anyone who gets in the way of “heaven” is denying future generations the priceless good and is therefore evil and can be killed without question. As the German philosopher Friedrich Hölderlin observed, “What has always made the state hell on earth is man’s attempt to make it heaven.”
Socialism prevents the formation of corporate monopolies.
Why is the monopoly of corporations – which must satisfy their customers to survive – bad, while the monopoly of governments – which can use deadly force to survive – is good?
Without government intervention, a company can maintain a dominant market position only by satisfying its customers to discourage competitors.
Under socialism, goods are distributed fairly.
Probably not. The issue is one of incentives. What incentives do the following economic actors have?
- Commodities are being confiscated by producers for redistribution
- Government employees are confiscating
- Government employees are redistributing
- People receiving redistributed products
Producers want to minimize their losses, so their incentives are:
- Hide some or all of what they’ve created.
- Produce less.
- Bribing people trying to confiscate the fruits of their labor.
Those who are seizing are “human” and subject to temptation just like anyone else. They seek to improve their own material well-being and that of their families and loved ones. So, their incentives are:
- Confiscate more than necessary so they can “skim from the top”.
- Accept bribes from people trying to keep their goods.
People who redistribute goods also want to improve their well-being, so their incentives are:
- Scheme closed above.
- Accept bribes from those who wish to obtain confiscated goods.
- There’s always stuff for important people (ie, people who can affect their well-being), so they…
- Skip the goods given to “non-important” people.
Incentives for people taking the product include:
- Exaggerate their needs.
- Bribe those who are redistributing the product.
- They can get whatever products they want; Even things they don’t need can be sold or bartered on the black market.
Real socialism has never been attempted.
True, if by “real socialism” you mean “perfect socialism”. By the same token, “perfect capitalism” has never been attempted. Since humans are imperfect, perfect society is not an option. What we’ve found through experience, though, is that imperfect capitalism works pretty well – enough to lift billions of people out of poverty. In contrast, imperfect socialism always fails miserably and often fatally.
The claim that genuine socialism has not been attempted rests largely on the definition of socialism. Certainly, many forms of socialism have been attempted over the past two centuries – both on a large and small scale.
Although Senator Bernie Sanders enthusiastically supported Venezuela’s socialism until the country’s economy collapsed, he claims that what he wanted was the “socialism” practiced in the Scandinavian countries. But none of the Scandinavian countries are socialist. All are capitalist welfare states that in many cases regulate business more lightly than the United States
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which claims to be “the largest socialist organization in the United States” and which supports the Maduro dictatorship. Article II of the Constitution of the DSA reads:
We are socialists because we share a vision based on a humane social order Popular control of resources and production, economic planning, Equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality, and non-oppressive relations. [emphasis added]
The highlighted text is more consistent with the regime brands of Venezuela, Soviet, Cuban and North Korean economies than any Scandinavian country.
Richard Fulmer has worked as a mechanical engineer and systems analyst in industry. He is now retired and writes freelance. He has published about fifty articles and book reviews in Muktbazar magazines and blogs. Robert L. Along with Bradley Jr., Richard wrote the book, Energy: The Master Resource.