Economics: Continuing Appeal of Socialism


Figure 1.--Mao's Cultural Revolutiom, like the Great Leap Forward, sounded like xuch a beautiful thing. The Chinese characters here reads, 'Learn from peasants'. Images like this made it look so ppealing to mankind. These socialist ventures prived to be two of the greatest disaters in all of Chinese history goingb bavl to the early emperors. What has bought out the stunning success of China and prpseprtous life styles forca billion people? It was market reforms -- meaning capitaloism. Never before in human history have so many people been lifted from poverty to the posperous middlr=e class and in such ahort period of time. But where are the artistic depitions lauding the stunning schievenents of cpitalism.

If our assessment of capitalism and socialism is correct, the inevitable question is why does socialism or socialist influenced economics persist. Here there are a number of reasons. First, in countries without deeply rooted democratic traditions, dictators want to control the economy. As Willie Sutton explained why he robbed babks, "That is where the money is." Would be dictators like Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, and the like can not fully control a country if there is a vibrant private sector. Control of the economy is needed if the leader is to change society and reward the supporters whokeepn him in power. Second, in democratic nations, populist politicans promising to spread the wealth can since the time of Ceasar gain electoral support. Third, the moraly guided ethos of a perfect society in which everyones needs are met is intrincically much more apealing than the grey, amoral capitalist 'invisible hand' invisioned by Adam Smith, even though the capitalist invisible hand has proven to be more efficent at generating wealth. This can be observed in Latin America where many continued to be mesmerized by the romance of Communisrt revolution even though socialism has abjectly failed (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela), and capitalist free market reforms have proven enormously sucessful (Brazil and Chile). While pronounced in Latin America, this ethic is certainly not limited to Latin America. There is a general left-wing biast among educators throughoutvthe Western world. Fourth, capitalist market economics results in inevitable swings in the business cycle. Workers who lose their jobs inevitably look to elected politicans to intervene in the economy even though intervention might slow the recovery. Here programs like Food Stamps and unemployment insurance can help cushion these swings, but government tinkering in the economy sush as heavy taxation, expebding funds on politically connected groups, or pushing home loans to low income people can cause huge economic dislocatiohs.

Dictatorships

First, in countries without deeply rooted democratic traditions, dictators want to control the economy. As Willie Sutton explained why he robbed babks, "That is where the money is." Would be dictators like Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, and the like can not fully control a country if there is a vibrant private sector. Control of the economy is needed if the leader is to change society and reward the supporters who keep him in power. There has never been a dictarorship with a free market capitalist economy. A dictatorship is only possible when a dictatorship fashions a regime capable of harnassing and controlling the economy to his will.

Populist Politics

Second, in democratic nations, populist politicans promising to spread the wealth can since the time of Ceasar gain electoral support.

Romantic Appeal

Third, the moraly guided romantic ethos of a perfect society in which everyones needs are met is intrincically much more apealing than the grey, amoral capitalist 'invisible hand' invisioned by Adam Smith, even though the capitalist invisible hand has proven to be more efficent at generating wealth. This can be observed in Latin America where many continued to be mesmerized by the romance of Communisrt revolution even though socialism has abjectly failed (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela), and capitalist free market reforms have proven enormously sucessful (Brazil and Chile). While pronounced in Latin America, this ethic is certainly not limited to Latin America. There is a general left-wing bias among educators and media people throughout the Western world. A good example of this is the 'Make Povery History' campaign.

Artistic Community

There is no doubt what the artistic community thinks out capitalism. This includes just about except as far as we can tell dance. We see this in art (graphic arts), painting), drama, literature, movies (film nd TV), and music (song). We are not entirely sure why this is. The omly think we can think of is thst the ideology of sociology is so much more appealing than thst of cpitalism. How nice it would be id everyone had a nice home, all they wanted to eat, warm clothing, free effective medical care, a clean environment, access to quality education, and all the baubles of modern life that we have come to expect. And it is so easy to depict a greedy capitalist and grasping banker when children are hungary or unable to aford needed clothing. A popular target is a corportste executive responsible for pollution or corupt prsctices. The only problem with ll of this is that vapitalism works and socialsm has left a record of abject failure. Capitalism creates wealth. Socialism destroys wealth. countries when people live in nice houses, wearing trendy clothing, eat the best (where obesity is the big problem), have the best health care, and live in the cleanest environmnts are not socilist countries, but countries with vibrant private sectors. And it is the countries with lrge, powerful banks that are rice and those without a modern banking system are poor. And the greatest enviromental nightmakes ever created are the work of socialst state corporatins and governmrnt policies, not the work of greedy capitalits. Despite the clear history of capitalist success and soicilist failure, the artistic community constantly depicts cpitalism in the bleakest possible terms. Because socialism has been such a failure, the zrtistic community has been somewht constrained in their depictions of socialism. Of course there is the depictiind from Communidt countries like happy peasahts in the Soviet Union, produced while the NKVD was starving Ukranian peasants. While restrained by the failures of oicilism, artists iutdo themdelves in depicting the failire of capitalism, not uncommonly the non-existent fsilure of cspitalism.

Media Community


Business Cycles

Fourth, capitalist market economics results in inevitable swings in the business cycle. Workers who lose their jobs inevitably look to elected politicans to intervene in the economy even though intervention might slow the recovery. Here programs like Food Stamps and unemployment insurance can help cushion these swings, but government tinkering in the economy sush as heavy taxation, expending funds on politically connected groups, or pushing home loans to low income people can cause huge economic dislocations. Rarely do the politicans who father these policies, accept resonsibility for their failure. It is easier to try to place the blame on bankers, wall street, and big business.

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Created: 1:33 AM 8/18/2009
Last updated: 11:38 AM 12/16/2014