- Politics and Social Issues
What's Wrong with Socialism?
Why Doesn't It Work?
On the surface socialism looks great. It avoids the both extremes of communism and the greed often associated with capitalism. It provides for the poor and distributes wealth to those in need. It all sounds good…until it is put into practice. The main problem with socialism, and communism for that matter, is that they fail to take into account the natural fallenness of the human race. When a laborer goes to work all day and finds that a very large percentage of his paycheck goes to feed a lazy man who is unwilling (not unable) to work, he quickly becomes discouraged. He may even be laid-off or fired from his job because of poor performance, but thanks to socialism he is protected by unemployment and the many tax payers who are still working hard at their respective jobs. If the trend is allowed to continue long enough, you end up with a society of people who lack motivation and diligence, because their hard work is never rewarded. In addition, much money is entrusted to the governments of socialist nations, a large amount of which is wasted in bureaucratic webs which thrive on inefficiency and corruption. While socialism can often work well for short periods, in the long run, it often ends up falling behind both economically and socially.
We can see this happening in Europe as countries such as Greece and Iceland struggle and the Euro continues to drop. The last three months have seen a decrease in the Euro value compared with the both the US dollar and the Chinese Yuan by ten percent. Even in America we can see the negative effects of increased socialist policy. It raises our deficit, creates more unemployment, and hurts the middle and lower classes. According to a February 2010 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment stands at 9.7%. Throughout most of the past two decades, the US has very constantly maintained an unemployment rate roughly three to four points lower than the average rates major European countries. The US now stands about equal with Europe’s rate. I would attribute most of this to the failures of the Bush and Obama administrations to keep the Government’s spending in control and limit inference with the economy. It also comes from a very liberal congress which has enjoyed and still enjoys the power of big government. When it comes down to it, that is what socialism is: big government, controlling as much as your life as possible.
Capitalism as an economic system isn’t perfect, but then again, as Christians, we cannot expect to see perfection in this world. We must work to the best of our abilities with what we have and try to be Christ-like, but we know that not everyone will share our beliefs. Capitalism has been proven over and over to be successful for nearly everyone. A free market economy rewards the laborer and provides a means for those at the very bottom to work their way up into very good jobs and considerable wealth. And that has happened, time and time again, although socialist tendencies are continually making it harder. Finally, I want to note very clearly that when it comes to helping the poor and caring for the needy, private charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are much more effective than good old Uncle Sam could ever be. Most of all, when people show up at the doors of a private organization whether for profit or not, they are almost always treated with kindness and respect…not just given a number and seat.
© 2011 Jason Matthews