Sunday, August 14, 2016

Socialism Again, Again

I have written before about socialism and its utter failure every time it is tried. I devoted a post to it on June 12, 2016 if you would like to have a look. I can't link directly to it.

This 2013 Salon article written by David Sirota was brought to my attention recently. I can't remember where it was linked and apologize for being unable to attribute it properly.

Mr. Sirota wrote,

"No, Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving."

Mr. Chavez's legacy doesn't look too good today. I can't find any recent articles by Mr. Sirota on the subject. Sean Penn  has been pretty quiet too.

Time, as they say, tells all. Mr. Chavez and his hand picked successor ran into Margaret Thatcher's Law:  "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

From the Los Angeles Times (via,

"But 2006 also was the year that President Hugo Chavez nationalized 10 of the 16 privately owned sugar refineries and turned them over to worker cooperatives, part of his “21st Century Socialism” agenda. After taking office in 1999 and until his death in 2013, Chavez also seized thousands of acres of sugar cane plantations and made them communal properties.

Comradely gestures to be sure, but sugar production has rapidly declined ever since the seizures. In May, scarcities got so bad that Coca-Cola temporarily suspended production of its popular line of soft drinks, saying it couldn’t buy enough supplies of the industrial sweetener."

The LAT article documents the complete wrecking of Venezuela's private economy through nationalization. For "nationalization", read, the taking "of other people's money".

The money runs out every single time and then you get the partially shared misery which is the real promise of socialism. The elites of socialist countries never participate in the misery. To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds of, in free market systems the rich become powerful. In socialist systems the powerful become rich.

As I posted this past June:

"Take a close look at any socialist country and what you find, once the veneer has been removed, is a kleptocracy. The rich and connected become richer, the poor poorer and the middle class disappears."

I keep writing about the disaster that is socialism because I think it is important that it be described as what it is, not what Mr. Sirota and so many people on the left want it to be. It is a very seductive ideology. What decent person would not prefer that poverty cease to exist, that everyone has everything they need and a lot of what they want?

None. Trouble is, as I have explained before, socialism relies on the unicorn that is the expulsion of human nature from the economic equation. As Venezuela's unfortunate citizens have shown us again, human nature is immutable and cannot be ignored. Socialism cannot work. I wrote, in the June 12 post,

"  Why? Because socialism cannot co-exist with human nature. It is counter-intuitive to a human not to take advantage of every opportunity to improve the quality of his own life. Thus, every socialist regime becomes brutal when persuasion is insufficient to suppress human nature and people refuse to countenance the shared misery absent coercion." Forced labor is now on the agenda.

Even the fervent Socialist, Bernie Sanders is not immune to the demands of human nature.

Socialism in action as opposed to in thought.

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