Socialism, and her inevitable offspring Communism, are gaining popularity once again. Visions of Che Guevara swell in the hearts and on the T-shirts of the ‘working class’. Students flock to the local Leftist “Equality” rallies, iPhones and Starbucks Gluten-Free-Mocha-Frappa-Caramelitos in hand. Disgruntled workers, not feeling the love, covet their CEO’s bonus payout last year without the slightest clue of what it takes to run a company that may employ tens of thousands of workers.
And why not? On the surface, there’s some appeal to the idea of Socialism. Why wouldn’t we want everyone to have guaranteed food, shelter, education, medicine, clean air, pothole-free roads, high paying jobs, time and money for vacations on the beach, USDA Prime filet mignon for dinner every night, or blazing fast wifi? Unless you’re a real sociopath, no one wants to actively prevent someone from having these things.
The problem is that in reality, everyone can’t simply have all of these things just because we want it to be so. As I’ve written previously, the fundamental truth of economics comes down to 2 basic, opposing forces – the insatiability of our appetites vs. the scarcity of available resources. You cannot completely satisfy even a personal insatiability because of the scarcity of resources, much less the desires on a national or global scale.
Don’t misunderstand. That’s not to say individuals cannot find contentment in their situation. We may resolve to be content with what we have. But tomorrow, we will be hungry again. We will need shelter again. We will want electricity and heat and water again. That’s what it means to have an insatiable Demand over time.
Despite these fundamental truths, modern Socialists want you to believe that it IS possible for a central planner to gather up all of the resources and equitably parse them out to the masses. They also want you to believe that in this fairy tale, individuals will choose to work, not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity.
Can a central planner actually accomplish this better than the free market?
This clip from Milton Friedman explains why no one can even build a pencil on their own.
What is Socialism? How do they propose to distribute all these goods and services for everyone to enjoy?
Here’s a quote from MarxMail.org —
“Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.
There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.
Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies.
More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.”
So first off, Socialists want you to have MORE private property by taking away your second kind of Private Property.
But let’s take a closer look at this nonsensical banality. You have the right to your property for use and enjoyment, just not the things that will produce more property for use and enjoyment.
How many of you have 2 separate bank accounts – one for your use and enjoyment (say a checking account) and another for producing more money (say an IRA or Savings account)? Well, that second account would become property of the Socialist State.
For those of you that are business owners or employers, how many of you sacrifice some of your “use and enjoyment” private property to invest in your business or to create jobs for employees? Well, you might want to reconsider because the Socialist State would immediately seize your tools of exploitation and oppression.
‘So what’ you say? As long as there’s equality and people’s lives improve, isn’t that good?
Let’s imagine if we measured the Total Global Production of Goods today, and declare it be equal to 100 units of measurement (let’s call them widgets). So as of Jan 24, 2015, there are 100 widgets in the world today. Socialist believe that if the global population equaled 100 people, well then each person would get, on average, 1 widget to consume. (True Socialists differ from hard-lined Communists in that they won’t distribute the stolen goods equally per person, but that’s another topic).
So what happens when 100 widgets are consumed? Will they all be replenished and can we continue to perpetuate this rate of consumption once we take away Private Property (Capitalism and Self-Interest)? Will consumption remain constant or might it grow?
Ask yourself – what if you could continue to consume what you do today (or even consume MORE than what you do today) without increasing your workload? What if not a single hour of additional labor would net you any additional benefit in compensation? You get paid regardless of if you work 8 hours a day or 4. Would you work as hard as you do? Would anyone?
I don’t know if you’ve recently been to the United States Post Office. Take a look at the floors, the walls, the supplies stations. Even the self-service kiosks. Unlike privately-owned businesses that are meticulously maintained in order to keep customers satisfied, most of the time the USPO is filthy, out of supplies, understaffed and totally run by clock watchers. Try walking into the Post Office with a stack of packages at 5:01 pm when the place closes at 5:00.
So now think about the 100 widgets being consumed. Is there any likelihood those consumed widgets would be replaced or even grow past the current level when you take away the incentives to work harder and longer?
Of course not. In fact, very quickly, the Socialist State has to scale back their promises of free goods and services, institute rationing and price fixing, and nationalize mandatory labor (e.g. slavery) in order to keep the State alive. Forget about iPhones and free wifi or healthcare and education. Now, you can’t even manage to keep everyone fed.
When this happens, you have gone from the Socialist’s Pipe Dream to the hard reality of a Communist State.
So what’s so bad about the Communist State?
Now, any lingering seed of individualism or free thinking is met with severe hostility, violence, persecution, torture, starvation, and death. This account of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Mao Tse Tung on his own people should be a sobering wakeup call for those who live on some Fantasy Island thinking that we can just take everyone’s property for the good of the people, yet production will be able to keep up with the increased demand.
(okay, I added a bit of truth to this Socialist propaganda.)
Even more disturbing to me are the attempts by Socialist fan boys to re-write or ignore history. Like Mao, the history of Stalin, Russia and the Soviet Union is written in the blood of millions of people, murdered and tortured by their own leaders. This film of the Soviet Story is disturbing but must be shared. If you watch to the end, what’s particularly alarming are the current trends in Russia under Putin to go back to the days of Stalin and ethnic cleansing.
You can also go here to see the film with full English subtitles.
Now I know there are still some naïve daydreamers out there, sitting in your dorm rooms, looking up at your Bob Marley posters, sipping your dandelion tea and thinking “we would never resort to killing and violence and torture in order to achieve equality. We just want to stand up for the 99%.”
So to you, let me ask you this: If I choose to ignore your demands on my Private Property, if I refuse to fund your regime with my taxes, if I protest anything that has to do with “contributing My Fair Share”, if I stand defiantly at the doors of my business and do not allow you to come in and take what I’ve created or earned – WHAT IS YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION?
Will you leave me alone?
Will you go pick on someone else instead?
Will your master plan survive with the existence of Choice?