Dr. Vallicella has noted the same news that I tweeted about yesterday: that chess master Garry Kasparov has no patience for those who sing the praises of socialism. As someone who actually lived through applied socialism, Kasparov knows whereof he speaks. I re-quote Kasparov here:
I'm enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means! Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there. In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism. Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.
Margaret Thatcher famously said, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." Socialism rests on at least two major false assumptions: (1) that the human animal, being social, is at heart sharing and cooperative as opposed to competitive; and (2) equitable redistribution is necessary because resources are finite. The first assumption is false because it ignores the fact that life has arisen, evolutionarily, in a state of constant competition: nature is red in tooth and claw, and while humans do indeed share and cooperate, this isn't the most fundamental truth of human nature, however much we might wish it to be. The second assumption is false because we routinely underestimate the power of human intelligence when it comes to finding solutions and inventing creative new methods to do things. Peak oil? Along comes fracking. The invention of electronics has created whole new industries necessitating a whole new work force. Socialists wrongly assume the pie is limited; free-market capitalists know the pie can be grown.
I've written this before, but it bears repeating: socialism, and/or its overlappingly close cousin, the command economy, doesn't bear healthy fruit. Look at what Hugo Chavez did to Venezuela, whose economy is currently in the toilet. Look at other command economies—workers' paradises like Cuba, from which thousands are constantly trying to escape, or North Korea (same deal). Look at how Romania has improved since 1989. Look at western Europe, whose quasi-socialist economies have generally been sagging for years, especially in the warm-weather, siesta-culture countries like Greece, Spain, and Portugal. "Ah, but what about Scandinavia?" you ask. As that article I'd recently cited pointed out, Scandinavia is, in some respects, more free-market-oriented than the US is. Scandinavia doesn't count. Try again. Same goes for China, which has a repressive one-party governmental system but a fairly capitalistic economy—and where the Chinese economy is faltering, the cause of the problems can always be traced to government meddling. Everywhere you look, the free market trumps the command economy. And the most powerful image that supports this thesis is: