Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Wages of Socialism is Poverty

Margaret Thatcher famously said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."  She turned Britain from heavily socialist to moderately socialist, and even that change reaped tremendous rewards for the British economy.

Some people, though, refuse to accept that socialism leads to lines and poverty.  Even here in California, with government getting more heavily involved in anything you can think of, people seem to think that since we haven't crashed yet, we're not going to.  "The Europeans have great socialism", they say, ignoring that we've paid for the defense budget of Western Europe for over 70 years.  Talk about other people's money!  I liken the situation to jumping off a 20-story building:  As you pass the 10th floor and even the 3rd floor, things are still fine--but eventually you'll hit the sidewalk.  Gravity ensures that you will, and economics ensures the analogy holds for socialism.  Honestly, the only question is, how many more floors are there until the bottom?

This was all brought to my mind today as I was reminded of this Salon article from 3 short years ago:
No, Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.
Go read the whole thing, then read about the starving children, the food shortages, the riots, the hyperinflation, the empty stores, the requirement for citizens to work in the fields to harvest food, and recall that the fellatio above was written only three years ago.

To mix metaphors, Venezuela killed the golden goose after running out of other people's money.


mmazenko said...

That's true. But capitalism has a problem that it must fix, and it is centered on labor and wages.

Darren said...

The market is self-correcting, and would be more so if do-gooders as well as just plain evil people would quit mucking with it so much.

And no, that is *not* advocacy of laissez faire, but it *is* advocacy for significantly less *interference*.

Pseudotsuga said...

There is capitalism and then there is crony capitalism. One of them is not actually capitalism, and that's the one that lefty organizations like popular media hold up as the big evil to vote against (yet still supporting people like the Clintons who have made a fortune from it.)

mmazenko said...


But without "interference" in terms of wages and workplace protections, we'd have much lower standards of living, and we'd resemble those third world countries that find socialism so attractive.

The "market is self-correcting"? So, you see it as progress that working class jobs like "meatpacker" used to provide a middle-class wage and some career security, and now it's a minimum wage job considered one of the most dangerous in the country which is disporoportionately staffed by undocumented workers. That's a great "correction."

If the market were truly self-correcting, then health care would be affordable for working class people. Currently, it isn't.

Darren said...

mmazenko: health care and education are two fields with overwhelming governmental involvement--and they're the two fields with costs that are rising far faster than inflation. Coincidence? I think not.

I'm not even going to discuss undocumented workers (read: illegal immigrants) except to say that even Cesar Chavez was against them, as they lower the wages for people who can work legally.