Why socialism is a bad idea

venezuela

Fancy giving socialism a try? You won’t when you find that all the supermarkets are empty.

It seems today that it has become all too fashionable to “resist capitalism”, as a generation of young people on their iPhones take to social media to complain about the “evils” of capitalism. Ever since the Great Recession, capitalism has been used as an easy scapegoat for all the ills facing Western society, thus breeding a whole new brand of nonsense preached by charlatans and believed by anyone who doesn’t know a thing about capitalism. Plenty of Bernie Sanders supporters would have you believe that capitalism is the problem, but do they even know what they’re talking about?

Let’s clear a few things up first. Capitalism is an economic system in which trade and industry are not controlled by the state, hence why capitalist countries tend to have minimal restrictions over the free market. Under capitalism, you have a competitive environment wherein business strive to succeed and please their customers, and those who don’t will fail. That is how the free market is supposed to work, and countries with free markets tend to be more prosperous than those who don’t. In that sense, capitalism is the greatest force to relieve suffering and poverty, because in a capitalist society, the goal in life is to work hard in order to earn a higher standard of living, and we have seen higher standards of living in countries that have embraced capitalism.

Many point to corporate greed as a symptom of capitalism, but that’s complete nonsense. They are confusing capitalism with corporatism, a system where large corporations collude with the state. Corporatism is generally characterized by regulations that specifically benefit large corporations, who can afford to comply with government regulations. Meanwhile, small businesses can’t afford to comply to the same regulations, and are thus driven out of business. In other words, corporatism ensures that big corporations can’t fail because the government protects them from failure, which shouldn’t happen under free market capitalism. If we hate the way big corporations abuse their position in society, then we should be opposing corporatism, not capitalism.

Instead, the Twitterati have aligned themselves with socialism, believing it to be a fairer and more equitable system than capitalism, except that’s nonsense too. In socialism, the government owns and controls industries, and distributes money from the rich to the poor. However, in a socialist society, you could just as easily avoid working expecting money to come to you from the state, or be scared away from success because the government would bleed money from you to give to the people who just don’t want to work. In other words, socialism leeches from hard-working people and gives it to the lazy. To quote Winston Churchill, the inherent virtue in socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

Socialism is also a bad idea because of what happens when countries adopt it. Because socialism creates a climate that weakens the incentive for success, wealthy job creators who would be of value to society end up fleeing from socialist countries to countries that embrace capitalism. I wouldn’t blame them. You couldn’t really have all the nice things we enjoy here in Britain without capitalism. Countries that have adopted socialism, meanwhile, have been suffering economically. If you want an example of why socialism doesn’t work, look no further than Venezuela, which has recently been making news because of how much its economy is collapsing.

Despite having the largest proven oil reserves in the world, Venezuela is currently suffering a food shortage that has gotten so desperate that long queues in the local supermarkets, now almost completely bereft of food, are normal, and it now costs $150 (or 1492.46 Venezuelan bolivar) to get a dozen eggs. Venezuela’s socialist government is now incapable providing basic supplies to its people, and the Venezuelan economy has also deteriorated so badly that major companies are no longer doing business there, and Latin America’s largest airline company, LATAM, has said that they’re suspending all flights to Venezuela.

Another example of the failure of socialism can be found in Greece (though it’s government is usually defined as Marxist), where the Greek government apparently spent themselves into bankruptcy, and tried to fix it with austerity measures (some of it forced by the European Union). In socialist Greece, the government freely gave fat pension checks and welfare benefits from the cradle to the grave, while businesses operating in Greece are heavily taxed, sometimes to death. The consequences of Greece’s Keynesian socialism have been self-evident for a long while. Greece is sitting on billions in unpayable debt that they apparently expected Germany, the EU, the IMF to pay for it. However you look it, socialism failed.

Before the Cuban Revolution and the rise of communism, Cuba was once considered one of the most advanced countries in Latin America, perhaps even the world. After Cuba embraced economic socialism with communist ideology, it became an impoverished totalitarian state, from which millions of Cubans have fled in fear of reprisals from Castro’s repressive government (the fact that Cuba was subject to sanctions from the US also contributed to Cuba’s decline). To be fair, it’s not nearly as bad as the situation in the totally communist North Korea, where most of the population is starving while the people in power enjoy all the food and luxuries they want.

Anti-capitalists like Bernie Sanders and Michael Moore point to Scandinavia as a socialist paradise, with Sanders suggesting that the US adopt a Scandinavian economic model. However, they have the facts all wrong. While citizens of the Scandinavian countries pay very high income taxes, America actually taxes the rich at higher rates than they might be in Norway. It’s also important to remember that Sweden isn’t actually a socialist country. Sweden used to have a “tax-and-spend” model, but the Swedish government apparently recognized that this was stunting economic growth, and instituted capitalist reforms. Only by embracing capitalism did Sweden become one of the most prosperous countries in the world. After that, Sweden experienced high GDP growth and falling unemployment rates.

Of course, capitalism isn’t perfect, and neither is socialism. Due to a number of factors, we still have poverty in capitalist countries, but the wealth created by a capitalism economy allows the welfare state to provide money for the less fortunate in the first place. Without capitalism, you wouldn’t even have the welfare state that socialists want to expand. Capitalism may not be perfect, at least we don’t live in countries like Venezuela. By rejecting capitalism and advocating socialism, the anti-capitalists are pushing for a system that ensures that the people living under it are mired in miserable poverty.

Bernie Sanders supporters might not want you to hear this, but it’s true. Every country that has tried socialism has stagnated economically, and every socialist country that adopted capitalism has since thrived, because contrary to what the average leftist hipster will tell you, socialism doesn’t work. Socialism never worked, and even Bernie Sanders in incapable of rationalizing how he expects his socialist policies to work. The reality is that socialist policies can only be implemented through coercion, and that’s why nearly all socialist countries are dictatorships. As President, Bernie Sanders would probably have to coerce the state into implementing his wildly idealistic policies, but if you do the research, you’ll find that Sanders wouldn’t have enough money to make his socialist vision viable.

So in summary, socialism is a bad idea because it unfairly punishes the successful and stalls economic growth. Capitalism, meanwhile, has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system, and yet in this generation we have a number of young people who know nothing about socialism proclaiming from their iPhones that capitalism is somehow evil. If they lived in a socialist country, they would probably be eating their words by now.

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