Socialism’s Empty Promises
Published: October 17, 2016
If You Want To Help People, Is Socialism The Answer?
Many Americans believe socialism to be a form of social kindness by the government. But true socialism isn’t a social safety net. It is when the government controls most prices, businesses, property, and other aspects of economic life. The historical record of socialism has been wrecked or stagnating economies and flagrant human rights violations. The truth borne of a hundred years of hard experience is that people do not prosper in socialist countries.
- What distinguishes a socialist economy from a freer economy with a large welfare state?
- Why don’t socialist economies prosper or feature new products or globally competitive companies?
Why is socialism gaining so much popularity?
Today, more than a third of Americans say they support socialism - but do we actually understand what socialism is?
Many younger Americans view socialism as a form of social kindness – the government helping people who can't take care of themselves.
The problem is that this understanding is actually a misunderstanding.
True socialism ISN’T a social safety net - it's when the government OWNS most businesses and controls most aspects of economic life - like prices, salaries, and where people can work.
Supporters often point to Denmark. But, Denmark isn’t a socialist country – it’s a free-market economy with a large welfare state.
If we want to see what socialism truly looks like, we need to look to Cuba and Venezuela.
The Cuban government still owns most of the property in the country, closely regulates what jobs can exist in the private sector, and dictates salaries for most other jobs.
In Venezuela, the state has blocked most imports, taken over many businesses, and set wages and prices, leading to a shortage of basic goods like toilet paper and common medications.
In both countries, the results are wrecked or stagnating economies and flagrant human rights violations.
The truth borne of a hundred years of hard experience is that people do not prosper in socialist countries.
It’s imperative to understand what socialism really means and review the lessons of history, before supporting a system that leads to widespread poverty and suffering.