- Education and Science
Socialism vs Capitalism
Socialism Vs Capitalism
All nations that have fully implemented Socialism have experienced a drastic drop in their standard of living, marked by both a lack of goods and food. Each has seen the loss of civil rights, liberty, and freedom. All have witnessed the emergence of a savior figure. The people starve to death.
Socialism promises freedom and prosperity, but it delivers bondage and misery. Socialism means slavery; it assumes management of the lives of people; it accepts nothing less than complete control. Its conscious aim is to regulate the day-to-day affairs of a community. The very men who are most anxious to plan society, are also the most dangerous, as they are most intolerant of the plans of others. From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.
Socialism is a deliberate organization of the labors of society to achieve social goals. It wants to organize the whole of society and all its resources, and refuses to recognize autonomy of individuals. This is totalitarianism de facto.
A Socialist government must not allow itself to be fettered by democratic procedure. On the contrary, it must take vast powers to legislate its ideals by ordinance and decree. As Karl Mannheim wrote, “In a planned society more and more spheres of social life, and ultimately each and all of them, are subjected to state control.”
It is not so hard to plan the economic life of a family, and it is easy enough for a small community. As the size of the community to be planned increases, agreement as to desired ends decreases, and the necessity to use compulsion and force grows. In a small community, there is not much disparity among views as to what tasks are important and what standards are valued. The wider the net is thrown, the less people agree, and with less agreement on values and ends, coercion and force will be used by those in power. This is the reason America was supposed to have strong rights for individual states, and local control over schools and municipal concerns—away from the long arm of the central government.
It is well known that when small communities were in charge of their own affairs, there was no lack of people willing to help others. When asked to help people whose habits of life and ways of thinking are similar to our own, most people are willing to sacrifice.
When government takes control over the economy, it takes control of the means that determine our ends. The government then decides whose ends are to be served, which values are rated high or rated low—what men should believe in and strive for.
Under Socialism, the government decides what commodities and services shall be available and in what quantities, as well as directs their distribution among regions and groups. From there it can determine where people will live, whom they will live with, and where they will work. The loss of freedom I am describing here leads to hopelessness as people eventually come to realize they have no way to improve their lot in life except by government fiat.
Of all the Socialists who have come to power worldwide by decrying poverty, not one of them has ever increased productivity or abolished poverty—or even reduced poverty. This has caused a shift in strategy among Socialists from declaring that if only they were in charge there would be plenty to go around, to declaring if they were in charge everybody would have a more just piece of the pie, an equitable distribution of wealth. But any such plan must in reality also decide who gets what.
Political freedom is meaningless without economic freedom. Economic freedom is the foundation of all freedoms. Socialism promises freedom from want, but this can only be achieved by relieving the individual of the power—and necessity—of choice. The right of choice carries with it risk and responsibility.
It is rare to find strength of character among those not confident that they will make their own way in the world by their own efforts.
Socialism is not a good idea that went bad. It is a bad idea. It fails everywhere it is tried. Even countries such as China that hang on to the vestiges of Socialism have imported measures of Capitalism to progress economically.
Poland’s Solidarity Movement; Pope John Paul II; and the American president reviled by Socialists, Ronald Reagan, brought down the Iron Curtain erected by Socialists to enslave hundreds of millions of human beings. It should be obvious that a defining feature of Socialist governments is walls to keep people in—as opposed to the usual purpose of walls: to keep people out.
Socialism is a faulty philosophy based on unrealistic psychology. Human nature is not so easily refashioned. Private property is a permanent feature of human life and always has been, at least since farming began. Violence is the only way to enforce Socialism on people. Socialism must have unlimited state authority in order to make people give up their possessions and give up their private interests.
Socialism has caused enormous human suffering, and it always destroys that which it purports to be about: equality. The bureaucracy required to centrally plan and administer a Socialist State grabs power and will do anything to keep it, including mass murder. The enforcement of the equality of possessions leads to inequality of rights.
The collectivization of productive assets leads to their management by bureaucrats who are incompetent and unmotivated. Productivity always declines; technological innovation wanes; incentive is usually non-existent; working hard is often punished. Socialism turns every citizen into an employee of the state—dependent on the state for his or her very survival.
Property rights are the most effective control of state power; the recognition of the right of individuals to their belongings implicitly acknowledges that state power has limits. The goal of Socialism—the abolition of private property—leads to the loss of liberty. Socialism does not free men from exploitation as Marx said. Socialism is a form of slavery.
Utopias of Socialism cost 100 million people their lives in the 20th Century. Some Socialists simply shrug their shoulders and say you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Human beings are not eggs, and no omelette has emerged from the slaughter. The best people of these societies are the ones who were killed off. The populations were robbed of self-reliance, and the ability to make decisions (while awaiting orders). The work ethic and sense of responsibility goes away.
Capitalism has proven it can adjust to any crisis. Capitalism encourages criticism. The emergence of Capitalism caused the emergence of Democracy. Capitalism is about self-discipline and individual responsibility.
Socialism is the organization of society in which the decisions about how and what is produced, and who is to get what, are made by public authority instead of private companies and individuals. In America, people’s economic affairs are migrating from the private to the public sphere. Huge bureaucracies, sometimes outside even the control of democracy or politics, interfere with the processes of production and distribution. Private industry and trade are slowly being conquered by the state, leading to Socialism. But it isn’t called that dirty word in America. They now call it Liberalism.
The success of the business class in developing the productive powers of the United States and the incredible standard of living for all Americans—even the poor would not be considered poor in most of the world—has somehow undermined the very Capitalism that made it all possible.
American business was instrumental in the creation of the political system and intellectual class. Capitalism has been denigrated and watered down in the name of regulation and equality. Social Liberals desire greater equality in incomes, rarely defining how far down the road to absolute equality they are willing to travel. Many Americans bewail the salaries of Fortune 500 CEOs, but they think nothing of the even higher salaries earned by celebrities, athletes, and entertainers. Redistributive taxation is the weapon of equalization. Public control over labor and the money market are means to achieve their ends. Overregulation ignores the vast productive possibilities of Capitalism to lift all boats to a higher standard of living.
Socialists want a global government. It will mean that non-Americans will determine the economy of America. Few Americans are prepared to submit to international authority. To central plan the whole world’s affairs will be impossible. But that won’t keep Socialists from trying. The imposition of the will of a few upon the whole world, especially regarding the distribution of wealth, will require brute force of a magnitude never before seen.
In response to this, American Socialists like to claim that the people of Germany, Russia, China, and Cambodia were especially wicked. Each of these countries was ruled and brutalized by a small band of Socialists, who failed to perceive their actions as evil—they simply did what was necessary to achieve their goals. The nature of their task—to control the economic and social life of people with divergent ideals and values—made their murderous actions inevitable. Their intentions could only be realized through brute force that the recipients surely found highly immoral.
The idea of a one-world government—as a way to lasting peace—is viewed by some as the next great advance of civilization. But in the world today, wealthy and powerful nations are the object of envy and hatred from poor nations. An international government of Socialism would feel it had a duty to redistribute the world’s wealth from those who have earned it to those who have not, in the name of Class Warfare and Social Justice. They would want to equalize living standards around the world according to a master plan. This cannot be accomplished without massive violence—and a relative reduction of the aggregate living standards for the population of the world. We cannot prevent the abuse of power unless we limit power, even power proposed to be used for righteous ideals.
Surely, we have an obligation to assist the poor of the world to raise their standards of living through their own efforts. The world can contribute to these efforts by encouraging the Rule of Law, property rights, general order, freedom, liberty, Democracy, and Capitalism.
There is more beauty and decency found among free people, who are naturally more happy and content without the deadly blight of centralization. The key to freedom is Democracy, where men can understand and participate in decision-making; not Socialism with all of the important decisions made by an organization far removed from the common man. Democracy only works with a great measure of local self-government, which provides a school of political training for the people at large as well as their future leaders. It is only where responsibility can be learned and practiced in affairs with which most people are familiar, where it is the awareness of one’s neighbor rather than some theoretical knowledge of the needs of other people which guides action, that the ordinary man can take a real part in public affairs because they concern the world he knows. Where the scope of political measures becomes so large that the bureaucracy almost exclusively possesses the necessary knowledge, the creative impulses of the private person must flag.
This article was not written for any personal gain but only to explain the difference in the ultimate result for my heirs and those of my fellow citizens. A true explanation of what Socialism is creates hysterical reactions, generally malicious and disingenuous, among its true believers. Books have been written to make these explanations far better than I that were rejected by publishers not because the book would not have been successful, but because the publisher deemed it “unfit for publication” due to their own prejudices. This type of subtle censorship is typical of Socialists.
My research sources for this article are Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Communism by Richard Pipes.