Is Venezuela proof of the failure of socialism? Hardly


#41

I would say what’s important is that they actually understand the meaning of what they say, so that when they get what they ask for the reality isn’t something they don’t expect.


#42

What "socialism” means to them is that they think they are going to get their student loans forgiven, and they are going to get cheap or free housing. They also figure that getting a job will be a lot easier because the government will be hiring everybody, even if you have a degree that has given you few marketable skills. Beyond that is the vague notion that “socialism” will fix the bigotry and unfairness in the world, which they have been taught is “prevalent” with capitalism.

What they don’t get is the other side of the argument. They are not aware of the lack of choices that come with socialism. They are not aware of the extensive problems that government run economies face with getting the right amount of goods in the right place at the right time to produce the products that consumers demand. They don’t consider the fact that you are unhappy with the local government run store, that the next government run store might be just as bad or worse.

They don’t consider that under capitalism, if one company is not doing the job, you can go to another one. And if that company produces a lousy product, the market will eventually put it out of business so that it is no longer wasting resources with its inferior service.

They don’t consider the fact that the people who run the government and administer its programs are not angels. Most people do look out for their own interests, and some people will do dishonest things to get more. Under socialism, the corrupt government official is only accountable to the internal politics of the people above him. If he keeps them happy, or if they share the results of corruption with him, it does not matter that the people he or she is supposed to serve get the short end.

Socialism sounds like utopia when you present only one side. The trouble that system has serious flaws that exceed those of capitalism, in my opinion. There are problems with satisfying markets without the price rationing function, and the checks on inefficiency and corruption are too weak. Beyond that the amount of data that is required to run a socialist economy from the top down are overwhelming. Even in the age of computers, the data gathering, processing and implementation present huge problems.


#43

But then that goes right back to what I said. Understanding what these kids are asking for when they proclaim to be Socialists or support socialism is key to understanding not only what they know (or don’t know) but understanding what they really want.


#44

While I agree that Socialism can be as you describe, I don’t think that it is that way by default. It really depends on the cultural expectation of the people in the nation that employs it.


#45

Wrong. It IS that way by default. If you believe otherwise, you have no understanding whatsoever of human nature.


#46

Ironic, because there are so many people that put so much blind faith in capitalism without regard to human nature.

I don’t trust human nature at all, which is why I think Socialism and Capitalism could both succeed or could both fail based on the cultures they exist in.


#47

What are they saying?

“It’s gonna pay off my college loans, sign me up.”


#48

Then you have to believe that humanity is far better than the evidence (better than 5000 years worth) indicates.


#49

No culture is overcoming the economic calculation problem.

In socialism, technocratic planners are looking to replace the price system as the distributor of goods and resources. They never do a better job.

Because they don’t know enough. Rational ignorance blinds us all; giving power to smart, informed people doesn’t solve that problem. It’s intractable.

The price system won’t always get things right, but it self-corrects far more quickly, and incorporates far more knowledge, than any committee we could ever pull together.


#50

This is the biggest flaw of socialism; making people dependent upon the government. That way lies tyranny.

No. It depends on the fact that it makes people more dependent upon government, making government more powerful, and the fact that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I think a careful definition of capitalism is needed here. People often define capitalism as a system. The best definition I’ve heard (I learned it here on RO) says that capitalism is what happens in the absence of a system. If there’s no system per se, it’s harder to game it for nefarious ends than if there’s a system you can exercise overall control of.

Will you please quit saying things I agree with? My head is exploding…


#51

I trust the workings of the free market system a lot more to weed out corruption that the internals checks provided by a socialist government.

If you have bad people running a company, there is a good chance that quality of that company’s product will suffer. The market will note that, and the company’s market share will fall, perhaps to the point where the company fails.

Socialism, with its monopoly position and control of the legal system, can run amuck for decades. A prime example was the old Soviet Union. Politics and corruption ran way ahead of the optimal economic goal of a well-run nation. The state had to power to imprison and execute anyone who opposed it or pointed out its deficiencies. That left to state blind to its weaknesses.

In the meantime, the economy became more inefficient and disabled. Ultimately the entire system collapsed, starting with its satellites in Eastern Europe and then mother Russia itself. The adjustment came, but it took decades and lifetimes for the change to occur. This is the tragedy that inevitably occurs in a state that is devoid of political and economic freedom.

Now the Russians have voted in a new tyrannical regime under the mistaken notion that an old KBG agent can bring back national glory. Some people never learn.


#52

Not to mention a lot of blood that was shed. And it still isn’t completely at an end with Putin.


#53

The larger the company get’s the less this is true. There has been research to show that the more a CEO makes does not correlate the the financial success of the company they work for.

Believing the market will simply weed out inefficiency works when markets are highly competitive and there are many smaller suppliers.

Today markets are converging in almost every space. This decreases competition and increases control of market actors over the public it serves.

Add to that, the fact that financial markets are becoming larger as a share of GDP rather than productive markets.

I think capitalism is an excellent system, but it’s not a panacea and if you think that the capitalism is self-correcting without being highly destructive, I disput that.


#54

Capitalism IS the generator of MORE upward economic mobility than ANY other system ever conceived of.


#55

It’s not often we get to agree, so here…

I agree.

That said, it’s not perfect and can lead to unnecessary suffering if allowed to.


#56

A really good economics professor I had in undergraduate school, who was a monetarist and supporter of Milton Friedman, often said, “compensate the losers.”

The question is about compensation. That was the difference between moderate conservatives and old time liberals. Today liberals are an endangered species, and socialists are taking over the conversation. For socialists there is no debate. It’s more and more government control, regulations and ultimately government ownership of the means of production. AOC is the present and future face of the Democratic Party.


#57

Im telling ya, the real Alaska Slim has been kidnapped and is trussed up in a musty old basement somewhere while someone else logs in on his account…


#58

That can be said about anything and everything humans do. Its endemic to the human condition. So, yeah, give me a constitutional republic of a capitalist nature every time. What we’re supposed to have here, but we only kinda sorta pay some lip service to it anymore…


#59

1 The larger companies tend to lobby for governmental involvement that makes it harder for their competitors, especially the small fry. This is not capitalism; it’s the government favoring some firms over others for graft; which has a lot more in common with socialism.
2 When left to itself, yes, the free market does tend to weed out inefficiency.
3 Agree.
4 Not sure what your point is here.
5 As I mentioned in an earlier post, I submit that capitalism is not a system.
6 Since it rarely has a chance to do so in modern society, how do you determine it?

I will add that a consumer public that is so ignorant of quality (in spite of the internet age) isn’t helping matters.


#60

That post is brilliant Sendgop!

I love a response where every word counts and also cuts to the truth like a sword! :wink:
Bravo!