Saturday, October 9, 2021

Socialism: Belief in an Invisible Friend

I say that it is an invisible friend because wherever it had been tried it has failed to alleviate poverty and human suffering.  Maybe it is real but it sure behaves like an invisible friend: utterly useless for its supposed benefits.

Clarification: the welfare state is not socialism (government ownership of the means of production).  The welfare state relies on taxes paid by corporations and individuals to help those in need (and in incompetent welfare states, those in want).

3 comments:

  1. I have often said that virtually everyone believes in an all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipresent, invisible friend whose name starts with "G".

    The people who scoff at the ones who spell it G-O-D spell it
    G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T.
    Curiously, the second group seems to be afraid to offend the group that spells it A-L-L-A-H.

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  2. Define "socialism".

    The "social-democratic welfare state" has done a lot "to alleviate poverty and human suffering". However, it has costs and long-term effects that seriously offset its benefits, and may even negate them.

    General confiscation and redistribution of private wealth (actual "socialism") also can have short-term benefits, especially where private wealth substantially resulted from historic political privilege. But it also has costs: it destroys the entrepreneurial class, and concentrates power in the state. Also, the impulse was directed against the old landholding elite, well into the 1900s. Vide the emphasis on agricultural "land reform" in Mexico, Ireland, Spain, and elsewhere. But by the 1900s, industry, not land, was the primary basis of wealth, and the damage to entrepreneurship was crippling or even ruinous.

    But there were some immediate benefits. If socialism was completely wrong. it would not be dangerous.

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    Replies
    1. The welfare state operates by taxing private industry and personal wealth. Socialism is government ownership of the means of production. There are few examples of this today: Cuba and North Korea come to mind. But few others.

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