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Why We Don't Need Socialism

Updated on March 24, 2012

“Why Socialism?”

Did you know Albert Einstein once wrote an essay on socialism? It was titled “Why Socialism?and originally published in the first issue of “Monthly Review”in May 1949.

The essay quoted Einstein in part: “…it is necessary to remember a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured? Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition.”

In layman’s terms Socialism is a centrally planned economy in which government controls all means of production. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations during the 20th century and was a tragic failure.

Socialism was a commitment to remedy alleged economic and moral defects of a capitalistic society. However, socialism has been a dismal failure both economically and morally. Still, ideals of socialism linger on as seen in our current administration.

Most believe the concept of socialism came from Karl Marx. However, Marx wrote only a few pages about it. The credit is actually due Lenin. It was he who first organized an economic system without the incentive of profit seeking or constraints of competition as found in a free market.

Lenin mistakenly assumed economic organization would become less complicated once profit drive and competition were eliminated. Economics under Lenin’s rules quickly became systematically disorganized and within four years of the 1917 revolution, Soviet production fell to about 14% of its prerevolutionary level. By 1921 Lenin was forced to return, if only in a small way, to the market incentives of capitalism.

And now we find our illustrious leader, President Obama, was a socialist. Is it reasonable to believe he isn’t now? But the nations’ attitude towards this discovery seems apathetic except for harried warnings from the conservative crowd. How can this be in light of socialisms’ dismal past track record?

It’s a new generation of Americans who grew up after the destructive aftermath of socialisms’ history. The term today is merely another political ideology without negative overtones in this enlightened nonjudgmental era.

In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everybody to open a few history books…especially our elected officials. It seems not many understand what it actually is. Perhaps everybody should first learn what socialism is not. Foremost, it isn't Liberalism. Americans need to be reminded socialism is not a just a liberal version of our American political system.

Socialist ideas date back to before the French Revolution. However socialism, as it is known today, began in the 19th Century. Dreamers envisioned a class-free society in which everyone shared everything equally. The fault with this concept was, believing in a self renewing economy with unlimited resources. No one thought about economic growth.

The truth is, once a society allows the state complete power, the bureaucracy becomes an entity of its’ own fueled by its’ own ambition. History shows, if the wrong person assumes power, such as a psychopath, absence of individualism means the state can easily become an unstoppable machine.

A good example is Nazi Germany. Many forgot it was originally a socialist dictatorship. Nazi's frequently forgotten name was the National Socialist German Worker's Party. While most people considered the Nazi party to be a totalitarian ideology originating from the right, it was actually a totalitarian party arising from the left.  Most of us are aware what life was like under Nazi dictatorship. Citizens lost the right to bear arms and thought crimes were punished. 

History demonstrates socialism has never been good for the rank and file. A socialist state incrementally destroys individual freedom. And that is why we should be concerned about where Obama stands on socialism. The road to destruction is paved with good intentions.

So regardless of Obama’s supposed good intentions, we would be wise to remember socialism has never ended favorably for any country. Therefore we must continually remind ourselves socialism isn’t just another political party. It’s the harbinger of death to a free society.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      If one actually did research into Socialist Democratic countries like Norway, Sweden,Switzerland,The Netherlands One would become educated to the fact these countries enjoy a lower crime rate, better public transport, lower unemployment if any than any countries operating under a capitalist system.The fact that America has more people incarcerated per capita than any other country in the world proves Capitalism breeds crime and poverty. Americans love to say America is the best country in the world but it is extremely difficult to find any cold hard concrete facts to support this fallacy which is indoctrinated into its population. The majority of Americans don't even hold a passport and have never left America so they have nothing to compare it to.In terms of welfare sure if you don't want your taxes to go to welfare fine but if you want that right then mine wont go to the military or the public servants. You can also live with the fact you can become like Africa and have an electric fence and a barbed wire fence and be to scared to hop out your car when you get home till the gates shut for fear of been mugged. Nice option.

    • Brooke.Crawford profile image


      7 years ago from Missouri

      this is a great post, with great commentary.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from upstate, NY

      Terrific points! I like the analysis by Einstein and it would be interesting to find out if his questions were ever answered? I believe Einstein should also have asked how a theory that depends on social relationships can succeed if its essential assumptions about people are flawed?

      There are no true socialists only socialism and this is because people in any society will generally do what is in their own best interest.

      I like your comic illustration of the man reaching into the other guy's pocket to to give a handout! If I see a woman who is in great need of food, money and other necessities and decide to go down the street and rob someone at gun point, is the fact that I am giving the victim's money to the women in need make me anything more than a thief? I believe most would answer no but this is what liberals consider compassion for the poor! This is what the government is actually doing, its forcing me to give something that belongs to me to someone else whether I like it or not.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Chris, you have some interesting views I hadn't considered and some points I was unaware of. I'll have to look into some of them. Interesting comments Chris. Thank you.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Germany

      Definitely the Health care system has nothing to do with socialism. It has to do with solidarity and responsibility, is has to do with ethics and human standards.

      In my understanding socialism is a bonus note reward system, while capitalism is a cash pay reward system. Let me try to explain:

      Every economic system relies on rewarding people for their productive contribution to the economy, socialist, capitalist, you name it..

      In socialism you don´t get rewarded directly if you try hard. You get a bonus note and a little money. Socialist common sense found out that without some money it wouldn´t do.

      In capitalism you get payed imediately for your economic contributions and success. But capitalist common sense found out, that some money had to be held back for administrative use (taxes).

      The socialist economy´s bonus notes are a little tricky. They can´t be transformed directly into personal benefits. You need to be member of a savings club to be eligible for benefits. This club was called "Nomenklatura" in former USSR.

      I would try the comparison that a Nomenklatura member in former USSR was not less wealthy than any millionaere in the USA, but was definitely more powerful, and that includes the Bill Gates or Warren Buffets.

      I haven´t written anything on socialist philosopy and ideas. That is a completely different matter. Real life in socialism and capitalism is much more simple. And real life proved, that the cash pay system by far outperformed the bonus note system. So don´t worry.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      What do you call National Health care? The right to bear arms was a fact of what happened there and then. What's hard to understand about not wanting the same things to happen here? History repeats itself. I appreciate your comments. It is a controversial subject.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Germany

      A lot of questionsmarks in my face after reading your essay.

      What does socialism have to do with anything currently happening in the US?

      What does socialism have to do with the right to bear arms?

      What does the NSDAP have to do with socialist ideas?

      With full respect - but living in a country that had a socialist showcase right next door hidden behind an iron curtain, i find your thoughts very hard to understand.


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