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Socialism: A Warning from History

As more and more politicians demand their countries take a more socialist path (where everything is "free"), what are they not saying? The lessons from history are obvious. Writing at The Daily Signal, Patrick Tyrell and Anthony Kim point out serious dangers of this path:

"What are the costs of adopting socialism? It's a good question, and one not asked frequently enough. But a new report by the Council of Economic Advisors at the White House does ask the question. The answer? Socialism destroys lives and societies. The historical record is clear: Everywhere it has been tried, socialism has done harm. It's a cautionary tale that should be taught to every new generation.

"American socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez overlook the misery socialism has wrought in countries like the U.S.S.R., North Korea, and Venezuela. They maintain that they want socialism without dictatorship or state brutality. But even if that were achieved, socialism would still fail.

"As the White House report points out: 'Peaceful democratic implementation of socialist policies does not eliminate the fundamental incentive and information problems created by high taxes, large state organizations, and the centralized control of resources. In a socialist country, most of the wealth created by workers is controlled by the government, not by those who toiled to create it. The incentive problem is obvious: If what you earn is going to be spent by the government instead of by you, why bother to earn it in the first place?

"Secondly, as pure-hearted as government bureaucrats might be, are their spending choices likely to be as beneficial for workers as if they had made the decisions for themselves? That's a big leap, even if you discount completely the possibility of bureaucratic greed or corruption. Again, the historical record is instructive. When small family farms were taken over by the government and repackaged in giant government administered cooperatives in China and the U.S.S.R., less food was produced, not more, and both countries suffered mass starvation ...

"Kay Coles James, the president of The Heritage Foundation, recently wrote: 'From Albania and Angola to Vietnam and Yemen, socialism has produced little but violence, starvation, and misery ... Contrast that with the experience of those who live in capitalist societies, where rights are protected, life spans are longer, and people enjoy a higher standing of living.'

"The allure of socialism is a mirage that each new generation will be tempted to run toward-unless they are told the truth about its legacy of failure" ('The Empty Promises of Socialism," Oct. 25, 2018).

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