Why socialism doesn’t work

Socialists are annoying.

It’s not just their pretentious sermonizing, feigning the sort of idealistic naiveté that would make the musical number of a Disney film seem like a realistic documentary on animal behavior. They also have the gall to accuse libertarians of being “utopians,” notwithstanding that Cuba and North Korea are not exactly on everyone’s “must-visit before you die” list (actually more of “if you visit you will probably die” list).

For them, every attempt at socialism ever tried didn’t work because it wasn’t really socialism. But saying you don’t believe the State should regulate your life to them is like saying all the poor people should be left to starve, something they know a lot about.

And for the record, most of Europe is not socialist in the traditional understanding. Private companies de facto controlled by the government is fascism or, if you like, crony capitalism. In a socialist country, the State runs everything. We just don’t call fascism by its true name because the word “fascist” no longer has any correlation with the form of government.

What baffles me is that anyone who lives beyond their childhood thinks a society could pull off a system whereby everyone shares everything and a small group of people control it all. At the age of ten I would have found the notion ridiculous and could explain why.

Everyone should share everything? As the Spartans used to tell Athenians who bragged about their democratic process, try practicing it in the home, first.

What makes socialism a scam is that it inevitably, and discreetly, relies on taking advantage of the hard worker. Think Boxer from Animal Farm. If he’s stupid, but productive, all the better. He won’t ask questions or observe how lazy everyone else is around him as he ruins his health in order to provide for all.

Any school kid should hate socialism, and probably does but don’t know it because they don’t realize it doesn’t have to be called socialism to be socialist.

In school, kids are forced to endure a form of socialism known as group projects. I hated every single one I was a part of, from elementary school to college, because no matter what the topic was or who I worked with I found myself carrying the bulk of the load.

What you see is Pareto’s Principle in effect: Eighty percent of productivity is done by twenty percent of the people.

When you have a group project consisting of three to five people, you always, always, always fall into one of three categories.

The first is The Mediocre. He’s the bare minimum type of guy. He puts in the amount necessary. He’s not a burden, but he’s not a plus, either.

Then there’s The Overachiever. He puts in 110 percent, above and beyond, because he’s motivated. He spends the extra hours perusing every sentence of the paper, the presentation, ensuring every single detail has been accounted for. He acts as the leader and directs because the Mediocre won’t.

He’s also not stupid. He knows his fate is determined by the quality of work by his group members – and that’s the problem. They’re average, if that. He’s in the top of the class and wants to stay there.

Which brings me to the final member of every school group project, The Moocher/Coat-Tailer, Anvil-Around-the-Neck. What makes them so infuriating isn’t their lack of ambition; it is their incompetence or, as I will explain in a moment, their capacity to inflict misery.

It all depends on the exact requirements of the project. If the group project requires their participation in any significant way, the Overachiever has to practically drag them through every step in the process.

The Moocher has no incentive to take initiative. They don’t get good grades, have no pressure put on them by their parents to get good grades, and therefore don’t care. When someone trying to accomplish something relies on another who has no incentive to comply, you have a problem.

If the Moocher is especially sadistic, they will actually make it more painful for the Overachiever than necessary to earn that good grade. Why? Power. When victory depends upon the weakest member of a team, they hold all the chips. To someone who is unaccustomed to having it, this can be overwhelming. They know the Overachiever will tolerate the nonsense because they have no choice.

Choice. That’s the key word to this whole thing. If people have a choice, they won’t participate in a socialist style system.

You see the exact same three categories evident in a socialist system, at least initially. Eventually, the Overachievers get sick of producing and either join the Mediocre or they go to another country or territory where their productivity isn’t a liability at the same time. Gradually, more and more slices of the pie become Mediocre, until finally you have nothing but Moochers.

Again, the Overachiever is the key. It is only natural. Some people are more productive than others. Some people are lazy and have no qualms benefiting at someone else’s expense. It’s why you will rarely if ever find an entrepreneur arguing for a socialist system, which is nothing but an anvil around their necks. We saw this with Detroit. In an act of unwitting honesty, many progressive commentators and editorials blamed the city’s bankruptcy on the taxpayers who had fled.

The inference was clear; the system needs people who put in but don’t take out in order to accommodate those who take out but don’t put in. It’s socialism’s dirty secret; certain people aren’t supposed to benefit.

Notice the people still living in Detroit were those who took out, but didn’t put in, hence the bankruptcy. It’s the same everywhere else. The Pilgrims first tried a socialist-system where everyone shared. Half of them starved the first winter. They quickly got rid of it; notice they celebrated the first Thanksgiving after, not before their failed socialist effort. It’s why East Germany put up a wall in the middle of Berlin, not to keep the West Germans out, but to prevent their own people from fleeing.

Socialism doesn’t work because it needs people to produce and not consume for those who consume but don’t produce.

If this isn’t the case, then why does it have to be hoisted upon people? If there is mutual benefit, why does it require violence to enforce?

It’s the same with any compulsory institution. If participation is forced, it’s probably because there’s something wrong with it.

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6 Responses to Why socialism doesn’t work

  1. Pingback: RE: Why socialism doesn’t work | The Anarchist Notebook | Libertarian Anarchy

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