Interesting and possibly convincing to those ignorant of history, have never worked on an assembly line and never run a lemonade stand.

Back to the tape. History shows that capitalism supplanted medieval feudalism and it dramatically raised the standard of living, extended the days of our lives, and lifted millions out of abject poverty. Capitalism produced the material conditions that led to the Enlightenment, the abolition of slavery, the elimination of serfdom, the establishment of individual liberty, and the rise of political republican democracy replacing the rule of kings and nobles. It led to the growth of the middle class and the dramatic improvement of the status of women. Capitalism also destroyed older empires created new ones, and led to a huge upgrade in military capabilities. Capitalism spawned a huge rise in science, literacy, and the arts.

We don’t have cutthroat capitalism now and haven’t had it for 100 years. We have a mixed system where the government prevents cheating and provides a social safety net. You can argue what the exact mix ought to be.

Socialism is two things:

1.An intellectual analysis of the evolution of economic classes. This class perspective is valuable and insightful. It is hard to oppose this course of study, especially if pursued dispassionately.

2. A philosophy of how to govern featuring government intervention and control of the economy for the good of the people and in particular for the working class. This comes in three varieties: A. Let’s sing around the campfire and all help one another. B. A welfare state plus nationalized industries C. Dictatorship by the party.

The type A commune can work for a while when people are motivated and idealistic, but it often degenerates.

The type B socialism is not uncommon but it’s lazy and economically inefficient. Industries fail to modernize quickly enough, and become laden with too many workers. Debt piles up as the government is forced to borrow to pay its generous welfare benefits and support failing companies. Eventually foreign creditors demand belt-tightening in return for more loans. No more pie-in-the-sky.

Type C , the socialist dictatorship, is not the joy you imagine it to be. First there is always a struggle to be the one in charge, the one to say what is for the good of the people, to set the party line. Soon there are secret police, totalitarian controls, overbearing propaganda and gulags. There also are problems running the economy: deciding who produces how much and how they get paid. This is not easy. Do you allow private property? If you ration everything, the person in charge of rationing is king and a system of bribery is not far behind despite the high-minded propaganda. When prices are not set by the market, consumers get gouged and shortages soon develop. Everyone has the right to buy bread at a nickel a loaf, only the shelves are empty. Long lines form everywhere and a large internal police force grows to keep order and stop others who want to gain power. Dissent and free speech are crushed. Undesireable classes are blamed and eliminated. Some good things get done that could have been done with less brutal methods. Overall the socialist nirvana becomes a nightmare.

Please don’t be naive. Socialism is not the love-fest you assert it to be on wholly theoretical grounds.

Mathematician, Statistician, Businessman, and Academic. Student of history, poli sci , and the Bible.

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