Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Results of Socialism

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that socialism does not work. Yet, there are many people who think that Americans should trade capitalism for socialism. Bernie Sanders, former presidential candidate, ran on a platform calling for socialism in the United States, and he had the support of many millennials. Before discussing socialism, we must first define it. Here is a simple definition. 

Socialism is an economic theory of social organization that believes that the means of making, moving, and trading wealth should be owned or controlled by the community as a whole. In Marxist theory, it is a transitional (temporary, in between) social state between capitalism and communism.

            In other words, the people in socialist societies own and manage all the factories, farms, and businesses until the society slips or is forced into communism and loses all freedoms. That picture is not a pretty one, but here is a more detailed definition of socialism

Socialism is an economic system where the ways of making money (factories, offices, etc.) are owned by a society as a whole, meaning the value made belongs to everyone in that society, instead of a group of private owners. People who agree with this type of system are called socialists. There are two ways socialists think that society can own the means of making wealth: either the state (government of the country) is used or worker-owned cooperatives are used. Another important belief is that management and sharing are supposed to be based on public interests. Socialists believe that everything in society is made by the cooperative efforts of the people.

There are many kinds of socialism, so no one definition can apply to all of them; however, in all types, the workers supposedly own the means of production….

            I saw some red-flag words in the above description: “two ways socialists think,” “Another important belief,”  “Socialists believe,” and “workers supposedly own.” I did not see any definite statements and nothing positive. I searched for the names of a few countries that are socialist, and I was surprised at the list that I found. This site reports the following information.

There are no countries that are 100 percent socialist…. Most have mixed economies that incorporate socialism with capitalism, communism or both. Here’s a list of countries that are considered to have a strong socialist system:

Norway, Sweden, and Denmark: The state provides healthcare, education, and pensions. However, these countries also have successful capitalists. The top 10 percent of each nation’s people hold more than 65 percent of the wealth. That’s because most people don’t feel the need to accumulate wealth since the government provides a great quality of life.

Cuba, China, Vietnam, Russia and North Korea: These countries incorporate characteristics of both socialism and communism.

Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Guyana, India, Mozambique, Portugal, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania: These countries all expressly state they are socialist in their constitutions. Their economies are primarily run by the government. All have democratically-elected governments.

Belarus, Laos, Syria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Zambia: These countries all have a very strong aspect governance, ranging from healthcare, the media, or social programs, that are run by the government.

Many other countries, such as Ireland, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Belgium, have strong socialist parties and a high level of social support provided by the government. However, most businesses are privately-owned, making them essentially capitalist.

Many traditional economies use socialism, although many still use private ownership. 

            I noticed that “65 percent of the wealth” in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark is owned by the top 10 percent of the people in each nation. Ninety percent of the people are content to let the government take care of them. Most people recognize that Cuba, China, Vietnam, Russia, and North Korea are closer to communism than socialism. The countries in the third group – Belarus, Laos, Syria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, and Zambia – have socialism written right into their constitutions, and their governments run their economies even though the leaders are supposedly democratically elected. The fourth group – Ireland, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, and many other countries have privately-owned businesses, but their governments provide “a high level of social support.”

            Let’s take Venezuela as an example. This nation was once a “middle-class, oil-rich country,” but now there are shortages of everything. The people are starving and protesting. The problem in Venezuela is not a lack of money; it is poor policies.

            David Boaz at The Cato Institute points out that the media reports “regularly on the crises in Venezuela” and lists all the shortages. However, he says, there are few that will mention of the cause of Venezuela falling from a rich country to “desperately poor.” One article came close by writing about the leaders winning office with a “populist message of returning power to the people” but never identified the problem. 

But never does the article identify what economic system could cause such disaster. It does mention specific policies: subsidies, welfare programs, money printing, inflation, and price controls. But nationalization is never mentioned. And in particular [the words “socialism” or “socialist” are never mentioned.]  

            This sounds a whole lot like Barack Obama who chose to never say the words “Radical Islam.” Anyone who refuses to name the enemy is not really interested in fighting it. In order to fight socialism, we must not be afraid to name it.

            People who live under socialism are qualified to discuss the problems caused by it. I found this video provided by Prager University to be very informative. Brazil is not one of the socialist nations listed earlier in this post, but conditions there must be deteriorating. Felipe Moura Brasil, a journalist and Veja magazine columnist in Brazil, explains how socialism is affecting his nation.

            I desire to protect and preserve the American way of life that capitalism makes possible. I am not afraid to say the socialism will never be a good replacement for capitalism. People should never allow government handouts to take away the need to work and to provide for themselves and their families. 

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