The Experiment: Capitalism versus Socialism

Paul Driessen writes:

University of Delaware climatology professor (and amateur history buff) David Legates offers some fascinating insights into a persuasive socio-economic experiment. His analysis could provide handy intellectual ammunition for ongoing battles between free enterprise-oriented Republicans and committed socialists in the Democratic camp.

What if we could destroy a country’s political and economic fabric through a natural disaster – or a war – and then rebuild one half of it using capitalism as its base, while the other rebuilds on a socialist foundation? David wonders. Let the virtues of each system work their magic, and then see where the two new countries are after fifty years. Actually, he says, we’ve already performed The Experiment. It’s post-war Germany – and the outcome ought to end the debate over which system is better.


The Experiment:  Capitalism versus Socialism

What if we could have an experiment to compare the two systems? Wait – we already did.

David R. Legates

Experimentation is a major tool in the scientist’s arsenal. We can put the same strain of bacteria into two Petri dishes, for example, and compare the relative effects of two different antibiotics.

What if we could do the same with economic systems? We could take a country and destroy its political and economic fabric through, say, a natural disaster or widespread pestilence – or a war. War is the ultimate political and economic cleansing agent. Its full devastation can send a country back almost to the beginning of civilization.

We could then take this war-torn country and divide it into two parts. It would have similar people, similar climate, similar potential trading partners, similar geography – but one part is rebuilt using capitalism as its base, while the other rebuilds using socialism and its principles. We’d let the virtues of each system play out and see where these two new countries would be after, say, fifty years.

Don’t you wonder what the outcome might be? Well, as it turns out, we have already performed The Experiment. It’s post-war Germany.

Following the devastation of World War II, Germany was split into two parts. The German Federal Republic, or West Germany, was rebuilt in the image of the western allies and a capitalist legal-political-economic system.  By contrast, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was reconstructed using the socialist/communist principles championed by the Soviet Union. The Experiment pitted the market economy of the West against the command economy of the East.

On the western side, considering what’s being taught in our schools, one might expect that “greedy capitalism” would create a state where a few people became the rich elite, while the vast majority were left as deprived masses. Socialism, by contrast, promised East Germany the best that life had to offer, through rights guaranteed by the state, including “human rights” to employment and living wages, time for rest and leisure, health care and elder care, and guaranteed housing, education and cultural programs.

So the Petri dishes were set, and The Experiment began. In 1990, after just 45 years, The Experiment abruptly and surprisingly ended – with reunification back into a single country. How did it work out?

In West Germany, capitalism rebuilt the devastated country into a political and economic power in Europe, rivaled only by its former enemy, Great Britain. Instead of creating a rich 1% and a poor 99%, West Germans thrived: average West Germans were considerably wealthier than their Eastern counterparts. The country developed economically, and its people enjoyed lives with all the pleasures that wealth, modern technologies and quality free time could provide.

By contrast, East Germany’s socialist policies created a state that fell woefully behind. Its people were much poorer; property ownership was virtually non-existent amid a collectivist regime; food and material goods were scarce and expensive, available mostly to Communist Party elites; spies were everywhere, and people were summarily arrested and jailed; the state pretended to pay its workers, and they pretended to work. A wall of concrete, barbed wire and guard towers was built to separate the two halves of Berlin – and keep disgruntled Eastern citizens from defecting to the West. Many who tried to leave were shot.

By the time of reunification, productivity in East Germany was barely 70% of that in West Germany. The West boasted large, vibrant industries and other highly productive sectors, while dirty antiquated factories and outmoded farming methods dominated the East. Even staples like butter, eggs and chicken – abundant and affordable in West Germany – were twice as expensive in the eastern “workers’ paradise.”

Coffee was seven times more expensive, while gasoline and laundry detergent were more than 2½ times more expensive. Luxury items, like automobiles and men’s suits were twice as expensive, color televisions five times more costly. About the only staple that was cheaper in East Germany were potatoes, which could be distilled into vodka, so that lower caste East Germans could commiserate better with their abundant Russian comrades.

Moreover, state-guaranteed health care in the East did not translate into a healthier society. In 1990, life expectancy in the West was about 3½ years longer than in the East for men, and more than 2½ years longer for women. Studies found that unfavorable working conditions, psychological reactions to political suppression, differences in cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyles, and lower standards of medical technology in East Germany were largely responsible for their lower health standards.

The socialist mentality of full employment for everyone led to more women working in the East than in the West. This pressure resulted in better childcare facilities in East Germany, as mothers there returned to work sooner after giving birth and were more inclined to work full-time – or more compelled to work, to put food on the table, which meant they had to work full-time and run the household. This also meant East German children had far less contact with their parents and families, even as West Germans became convinced that children fared better under their mothers’ loving care than growing up in nurseries.

As the education system in East Germany was deeply rooted in socialism, the state ran an extensive network of schools that indoctrinated children into the socialist system from just after their birth to the university level. While it’s true that today East Germans perform better at STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) studies than their Western counterparts, that may be explained in part by the influx of numerous poorly educated immigrants to former West German areas, and the extensive money invested in the eastern region since reunification.

However, schools of the East were not intended to establish creative thinking, which results in creativity and innovation. Rather, they were authoritarian and rigid, encouraging collective group-think and consensus ideas, rather than fostering outside-the-box thinking, novel philosophies and enhanced productivity. Thus, East German technology was slow to develop and students were often overqualified for available jobs.

Did the East gain any advantage? Nudism was more prevalent in the East, if that was your thing.  Personal interaction was higher too, because telephones and other technologies were lacking. But even though East Germany was much better off than other Soviet satellite countries (a tribute to innate German resourcefulness), East German socialism offered few advantages over its capitalist western counterpart.  In fact, in the years since reunification, homogenization of Germany has been slow, due largely to the legacy of years lived under socialist domination, where any work ethic was unrewarded, even repressed.

Freedom was the single most important ingredient that caused West Germany to succeed. Freedom is the elixir that fuels innovation, supports a diversity of thought, and allows people to become who they want to be, not what the state demands they must be. When the government guarantees equality of outcomes, it also stifles the creativity, diversity, ingenuity and reward systems that allow people and countries to grow, develop and prosper. The Experiment has proven this.

These days in the United States, however, forgetful, unobservant and ideological politicians are again touting the supposed benefits of socialism. Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education, guaranteed jobs and wages are all peddled by candidates who feel government can and should care for us from cradle to grave. They apparently think East German socialism is preferable to West German capitalism. Have they learned nothing from The Experiment?

A friend of mine believes capitalism is greedy and evil – and socialism, if “properly implemented,” will take us forward to realizing a better future. I counter that The Experiment proves society is doomed to mediocrity at best under autocratic socialism. Indeed, those who turn toward the Siren call of socialism always crash upon its rocks. But my friend assures me: “Trust me, this time it will be different.”

That’s what they always say. Perhaps Venezuela and Cuba are finally making socialism work?


David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. His views do not represent those of the University of Delaware.

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409 thoughts on “The Experiment: Capitalism versus Socialism

  1. Same experiment in Asia, still ongoing, unfortunately: North and South Korea.

    Venezuela and Cuba v. Chile and Colombia show yet again conclusively that socialism fails and capitalism succeeds. Chile has a “socialist” president now, but she doesn’t control the Senate. Chile wisely kept Pinochet’s economic reforms in place after the disaster of Allende’s Soviet and Cuban-backed communism.

    Chile v. Argentina is another good example. Argentina has awakened, but it’s unclear whether the new conservative government can achieve much against ingrained socialism.

    • Prior to going socialist, Argentina had the highest per-capita income in Latin America and wasn’t all that far behind the US.
      This almost exactly mirrors the experience of Cuba before and after their revolution.

      • Yup. It’s why so many Italian immigrants flocked to Argentina.

        Russia and Argentina were blessed with exceptional natural riches, yet managed to screw themselves over with socialism. Argentina has much more natural wealth than Chile, but embraced socialism, so crashed and burned, while Chile soared, with much fewer resources and people.

    • Here in Chile we have a very left leaning President Bachelet. There are constant protests for free education and other ‘social’ reforms. The good thing that Chile has is that by law the government can’t go into debt, so with copper prices down there is no money to spend. Hence President Bachelet’s approval rating is hovering around 19%. Election next year will likely swing back toward a more business friendly administration. The last few years the government has not been good for outside investment and it’s not helping the economy at all.

      • Yup. Chile’s saving grace. Can’t print money, borrow or invent it out of thin air, as does the US Federal Reserve Bank.

        You’d think that Chilean voters would have learned their lesson during the first Bitchalot regime.

        I’ve invested there, and currently regret it, but maybe as you say, things will turn around. My wife is Chilean.

      • College campuses in the US have long been socialist indoctrination camps. In the mid-eighties I had to take a critical thinking course freshman year. The course was taught by a doctrinaire Marxist with all assigned materials reflecting his point of view.

        As a 26 year old veteran with a young family and conservative political views I was immune to the attempted indoctrination. In fact I offered the counterpoint at every opportunity. Bully for all that but how many students have passed through this process since. We are now living with the results.
        My own twenty something daughter let me know recently that of course I waa the beneficiary of white male privilege. She must have forgotten why Dad wasn’t home as much as he would have liked because he worked his butt off to pay for the comfy living standard.

        A couple of days after that conversation my little radical called to ask politely if I had mailed an expected check. I held my tongue. It wasn’t easy.

    • Alan Kors is a professor of History at University of Pennsylvania. He gives the most revealing and condemnatory talk about Socialism, ever:

      He shows Socialism’s fundamental totalitarian nature, included in Social Democracy by the way, the lack of accounting for Socialism’s millions upon millions of deaths sacrificed to the cause of utopia and the serene lack of guilt progressives grant themselves for their knowing participation in, or knowing acceptance of, those deaths. Kors says the dead call out for their accounting, while silent faces are turned away.

      And now, today, we have Progressives again, bloody hands hidden, posing as moral paragons all the while again promoting their politics of violence.

      I recommend Alan Kors’ talk very highly.

  2. [URL=http://s2.photobucket.com/user/mikeishere/media/Capitalism-Socialism-b.gif.html][IMG]http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y48/mikeishere/Capitalism-Socialism-b.gif[/IMG][/URL]

  3. We don’t have to organize this experiment because it has been done as a longitudinal study–New Zealand 1950s to present is close to this situation. In fact, in the late 1950s one could say that New Zealand introduced a pathogen, the country got the disease associated with said pathogen, we removed the pathogen in the 1980s, and New Zealand has done much better since. It is darned near Koch’s postulates as applied to a national economy.

    • Was it 1956 or thereabouts that Sydney Holland was elected. Wasn’t that about the time of the wharfies strike. Maybe that was a bit earlier.

      G

  4. Re nudism in East Germany, here are the youthful Angela Kasner Merkel and two friends:

    [photo needed pruning]

    I should add allegedly, since the Chancellor hasn’t confirmed that the young lady on the left is she.

    [What has been seen cannot be unseen, but let us avoid shocking others in public. .mod]

    • Dear Moderator,

      WUWT is, above all else, I think you would agree, a place to teach the truth. There are many readers here who are:

      1. children under 18 trying to learn;
      2. people in cultures where such a sight is highly offensive; and
      3. women like me who find hanging out with men who are, at the same time, gazing at naked women, VERY uncomfortable.

      You may not care about category #3, but, DO think about the other two. The goal is learning, here, and not just a fun men’s club.

      Re: #3, you are likely a male and will just not “get” how this photo could make me feel nauseous and like leaving and never coming back here. It does.

      With high hopes that you will understand me and PLEASE SNIP THAT PHOTO,

      Janice

      [Done. .mod]

    • Consider that the driver for nudism in the eastern block was an economy where people couldn’t afford bathing suits.

      • Or – “Here is what remains for the communists to steal from me after they have stolen everything else including my dignity.”

    • And how does this relate to the price of butter?

      Besides the fact that you posted a nudie pic on a news site I’d like to make three points.
      1: This has literally nothing to do with the topic of capitalism vs socialism unless you can prove that one of them produces more naturalists.
      2: Europe, especially Germany, doesn’t have the same nudity taboos as other countries like the US does.
      3: Some could conclude that you were attacking her by posting nude pictures of her from when she was a teenager. This is akin to Cook attacking us for not being a climate scientist when we debunk one of Al Gore’s more outlandish claims. It’s an attempt to discredit the individual because you can’t discredit the facts.
      4: Using nude or racy pictures of women to discredit them is deplorable for several reasons. It gives them body shaming problems, it is a form of sexual discrimination, it makes them feel violated, and finally, it makes women feel less secure about being nude because they fear being tarnished by this social stigma.

      • Are you nuts?

        Merkel was apparently proud of her body when she let that picture be taken.

        That WUWT felt it should be taken down because of the complaint of an old Christian fundamentalist woman is just as bad as if a young ISIS fighter had complained about female nudity, while also keeping sex slaves.

        Christian fundamentalists degrade women just as much as do Muslim fundamentalists. The Bible says that women should be subservient to their masters. Same as ISIS.

        I thought that this site was in favor of freedom of expression. It appears as if I were mistaken.

        I’ll have to look elsewhere for freedom. This site obviously censors basic human freedoms.

        Sad.

  5. Moderator; I can’t repeat my post which did not appear because wordpress says I am trying to duplicate the comment.

    [Hmmmn. Have not seen that problem before. .mod]

    • @ mod, it has been happening to me as well for some reason after posting they request a password and after you enter your password , wordpress says you are duplicating, I ignore it wait for a few seconds ( I know 5 seconds is a long time for some). Then I just click on the Back arrow to go back to the first time I posted and it is there. I have no clue what I am doing but it works for me. (LOL) gee am I a genius or what ( nope it is Sat 2:30 am been looking for the bottom of a glass too long I guess )

      [The mods note that, what one hopes to find in the bottom half of a glass late at night after many of hours reading depends on whether the glass is thought to be half full, half empty, full of air, or twice as large as it needs to be. .mod]

  6. We don’t have to organize this experiment because it has been done as a longitudinal study–New Zealand 1950s to present is close to this situation. In fact, in the late 1950s one could say that New Zealand introduced a pathogen, the country got the disease associated with said pathogen, they removed the pathogen in the 1980s, and New Zealand has done much better since. It is darned near Koch’s postulates as applied to a national economy.

  7. Well as far as the American experience goes, it already happened back with the first pilgrims, who gave everybody an equal share, and almost wiped the colony out as the millenials of that day wanted their free stuff, but not to work for it.

    Capitalism saved the colonists and America happened.

    G

    So nyet on any more experiments. The only problem with capitalism is that is also brings in crime as a way of life; which in turn leads to second Amendments.

    Note in the second the framers used the word “infringe” whereas in the earlier first they say “abridge”. AKA turn “War and Peace” into the classic comic.

    So what is it about “infringe” that all these ammo hamstringers do not understand ??

    • Human nature brings in crime. The only role capitalism has, is that thanks to it, so many people have stuff worth stealing.

    • You think there isn’t crime in socialist societies?

      In fact there is more, since much that is good and healthy, ie free enterprise, becomes a crime under socialism.

      • I don’t think I said that anywhere.

        But as Mark says; there is more stuff to steal in the one case. in the other there is very little that is worth stealing.

        G

    • Not that many people know about that! (Capitalism saving the colonists.) I’m in my 60’s, and didn’t hear about it until a few years ago. I’m surprised to hear about it several times since – and not while I was in grade school – especially around Thanksgiving. The country wasn’t that socialist leaning back then, either.

      • It’s true. A few sherkers came on the Mayflower.

        With such a small group, they had to work together to survive. More like a family group.

        Some didn’t survive the first winter.

      • Barbara, I thought about half didn’t survive the first winter. 53 of 102 passengers made it, and half of the crew of 20, according to Wiki.

      • Not quite the case. It started out as a mercantilist colony, the gentleman members of which felt most forms of manual labor were beneath them. Only after John Smith introduced the radical concept of “no work, no food”, did the colony have a chance of success. It still would have failed if not for tobacco grown from mild Spanish seeds stolen by John Rolfe, husband of Matoaka “Pocahontas” Powhatan, aka Rebecca Rolfe, who showed him how best to raise a tobacco crop (Indian tobacco was too strong for frequent smoking).

    • You may find it amusing that Wankerpedia articles on Jamestown and Plymouth colonies contain no mention of the words ‘socialism’ or ‘communism.’ The failure of communism in the New World has been excised from the record by the Wankers. Down the “memory hole.”

  8. OK, I see comment four shows up, so…New Zealand has done something like this, but in a longitudinal form 1950 to Present. They introduced the pathogen of socialism, did poorly, removed the pathogen and have done better.

    • I can see your identical posts at 2:08 and 2:12 as well as this one. I think the NZ experience is more relevant to discussion of trade vs protectionism rather than socialism vs capitalism, although the two are obviously related. We were never purely socialist and we are not today purely capitalist.

  9. The only place socialism works is within a family unit because it is the only situation where dependents have a reason to trust their rulers.

    The best example of the success of capitalism was in the survival of the Plymouth colony when William Bradford changed the rules from a socialist to a capitalist model:

    “Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.” It just wasn’t working. There wasn’t any prosperity. From his own journal, “He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and whatever they produced was theirs. The overages they could sell or share or do whatever they wanted with. But what happened essentially was that Bradford was “thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.”

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2010/11/24/the_true_story_of_thanksgiving3

    • If the family unit is operating properly, the rulers should care for the well-being of their dependents than they do their own.

      • Sleepalot:
        until there is an ecosystem established whereby dependence is rewarded.
        subsidies for incompetence and uselessness exist only under a particular condition.
        it comes about when people relinquish ownership of what they produce.
        that’s the only way it happens.
        the cord can only be cut in one place.
        this is the cost of altruism: economic gangrene of socialism

      • @ gnomish: let us say, rather, “the cost of externally enforced ‘altruism’.”

        When I am forced to give of my abundance to help another, I am robbed of the joy of giving.

      • Well families are not democracies; more like benign dictatorships.

        It’s an environment where some are there to teach, and others are there to learn.

        When the learners make it to age 18, you hand them a shiny new $20 bill, and pat them on the A^^^ and tell them; ” Have a good life. ”

        If you trained them well; they will.

        You would be surprised how many people don’t seem to understand that in a marriage you commit to leave one family and start an entirely new family.

        G
        G

    • “The only place socialism works is within a family unit”

      Another place a form of socialism works is in primitive tribes. For instance, if Australian Aboriginals caught a large animal that was too large for the family to eat on their own, they would have to share it with their neighbours in the tribe. It makes sense because without refrigeration, nor salt curing of meat, it would go off before it could be eaten. I’ve seen the same thing about south seas islanders and European Gypsies.

      But there are limits. These rules only applied to large things and valuables obtained from settlers (no savings banks, after all). They didn’t apply to small animals that could be cooked and eaten immediately. So it would be misleading to say that they were socialist societies. Grimly practical would be more accurate.

      • In a small community social reputation can function as a currency. People remember who has contributed and reciprocate. The hunter who brings in and shares a large animal can, for awhile, expect more favors from others in the community.

    • The Original Mike M September 23, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Rush plays fast and loose with history.
      The link gives a better quick history of the first years. Also the Mayflower Compact was in no way socialist.
      The families knew one another and shared the same religion and work ethic. Their first building “meeting house” was their church. The second story made it also a blockhouse/fort. Their had their cannon, long rang minions were placed there.
      They accomplished a great deal in the first year.
      Also the first colonist were required to bring tools and everyday household items. Some of which survives to this day. I have personally seen a clock that is a heirloom of the descendants of one of the Mayflower families.

      http://mayflowerhistory.com/houses/

      michael

      • @Mike the Morlock

        “Rush plays fast and loose with history.”

        Examples please. Rush’s information is based on Governor Bradford’s own writings, and has been covered in many other places.

        I hadn’t read the Mayflower Compact before, but a quick search shows that it was very brief, and only laid out what the colonists intended to do, not what they actually did. Kind of like a Mission Statement.

        The link you provide bills itself as “…the Internet’s most complete and accurate website dealing with the Mayflower passengers and the history of the Pilgrims and early Plymouth Colony.” but I don’t see it that way. I consider it a lightweight overview.

        However, it does provide these links to a 1912 version of Governor Bradford’s “History of Plymouth Plantation”:

        Volume 1:
        http://archive.org/stream/historyplymouth01socigoog#page/n12/mode/2up
        Volume 2:
        http://archive.org/stream/historyofplymout02brad#page/n7/mode/2up

  10. It’s probably worth acknowledging East Germany was also a slave state to the USSR and little control over their internal processes. I still doubt EG would have come out ahead but it does put the two Germanys in the poor example category for the point being made.

      • Norway and Sweden both have natural resources. When those run out and when neither can borrow any more money, then look out.

      • Norway is always mentioned as a bastion of how to run socialism. It’s a homogenous country of 5 million people with vast oil income. You can model it all you want but few other countries have that set of circumstances. Chile rode the copper bubble and leaned socialist flush with cash and now with no money from copper it isn’t working at all.

      • Mike,

        Compare with Venezuela and its hopeless mismanagement of its oil industry, using the proceeds to buy votes, while ignoring the infrastructure needs of the energy sector.

        Copper should come back when and if China revives.

      • Einstein whimsically claimed he needed only one valid example to disprove an hypothesis. Apparently with socialism even two are not enough.

      • dunno wtf somebody gets the idea that sweden and norway are socialist.
        they have lots of welfare but private ownership and market trade is the source of the wealth.
        that’s hardly socialism.
        but liars will lie and idiots will be vectors for further infection.
        lookin at YOU dpstick

      • Sweden and Norway are considered welfare states – A democratic/capitalist system with high taxes to pay for universal education and health care and benefits for those in need.

        In Norway, 5.4% have over $1M in wealth and 23.1% have less than $10 000. The difference in average and median net worth is a lot better than in the US (321k/120k compared to 301k/45k) but Sweden is hardly better than the USA.

        Notice that Australia has the least difference.

        They are not socialist.

      • Robert B, thanks, fascinating list, can’t quite work out the significance of lower median than average positions, is that the result of high state and public debts? For instance, average net/median net positions for the following;

        UK 10/4
        Japan 12/5
        Italy 11/3
        Finland 17/7
        Spain 20/14

      • There are far more than two choices when it comes to economics. The issues are not “capitalism” vs. “Socialism” it is “laissez-faire capitalism” vs. “fettered capitalism”. Fettered Capitalism is where the government enforces regulations to ensure free and fair exchange of goods. For instance, fettered capitalism enforces anti-monopoly legislation, transparent pricing, and accurate financial reporting. “Laissez-faire capitalism” is basically a “buyer beware” type of phenomena.

        Ronald Reagan (under the economic guidance of Wendy Lee Gramm), advocated a strong laissez-faire capitalism. All studies (back t Adam Smith) has shown that monopolistic practices break out within a generation in all laissez-faire capitalists which increases the income disparity. Wendy Lee Gramm (FWIW) was appointed to the board of Enron six weeks after she changed commodity rules to favor them. She remained on the board when her husband (Sen. Phil Gramm) ran the CFMA through the distracted, post-election congress which included the “Enron Loophole”. Most of us would call that corruption — but, to them, this was laissez-faire capitalism.

        We should also consider that some industries are better served with basically socialistic practices. The most obvious is health-care. You point out that the west had better life expectancy than the Soviet satellite states. This was true. However, most western nations have better life expectancy than the United States. Plus, their health care with costs that are 50% – 60% lower than the United States. The reason is (of course) health care expenses do not respond well to free-market forces. It is easy for medical to take advantage of sick people.

      • “However, most western nations have better life expectancy than the United States.”

        By a small amount, according to statistics which are not uniformly gathered within the nations, and particular sub-populations skew the US average down.

        “Plus, their health care with costs that are 50% – 60% lower than the United States.”

        So it is claimed. But, there are two reasons to discount the claims. One: government accounting is fungible – costs relating to healthcare can be disbursed among all the myriad government functions, and do not all get counted. Two: the US is more prosperous. You will pay a lot more for comparable healthcare in Manhattan than you will in Topeka. In fact, you will pay a lot more for just about everything in Manhattan than you will in Topeka. Does that mean Topeka is more prosperous than Manhattan? Of course not.

      • ” The reason is (of course) health care expenses do not respond well to free-market forces.”

        In fact, they respond very well. When government mandates increase the demand, while discouraging supply, prices escalate relentlessly. This same phenomenon is playing out all over the world, Europe included, where health costs are also exploding. The politicians seem to think that doubling down on such policies will reduce the trend, but nobody can escape the law of supply and demand.

      • Monopolies are impossible unless government power is used to create them.
        You don’t need government to create and enforce health and safety regulations. Read up on UL.
        You are correct that some industries thrive under socialism. That is because they use the government to block all new competition and to require people to buy their products.

      • It is impossible to compare health care costs between countries, because no two countries gather their statistics in the same way.

        It is also nearly impossible to compare health outcomes, for the same reason.
        One example that always comes up is how do you determine what is an infant death?
        In the US, if a baby draws a single breath, then dies, it is counted as an infant death.
        In Germany, if a baby dies within 24 hours it is considered to have been still born.
        In France, they have set a weight threshold, if the baby is below that weight and dies, regardless of how long it lived, it is considered to have been still born.
        BTW, infant deaths are counted when determining life expectancy. Still born’s aren’t.

      • Gini percentages from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (2015) cited by Robert B above for wealth (higher % is less equal). Some interesting and surprising results I think. Numbers in brackets are wealth per adult (1,000s USD, constant exchange rates).

        World 91.5 (56)
        Asia-Pacific 89.2 (46)
        Africa 85.6 (6)
        North America 84.2 (344)
        Europe 83.4 (143)
        India 83.1 (6)
        Latin America 80.9 (25)
        China 73.3 (20)

        US 85.0 (353)
        Sweden 80.9 (348)
        Norway 77.9 (386)
        Australia 63.9 (379)
        (Discussed by Robert B)

        UK 67.8 (338)
        Japan 63.4 (222)
        Italy 66.7 (229)
        Finland 74.2 (169)
        Spain 67.1 (125)
        (Noticeably lower median than average wealth ranks. Except Finland more equal wealth distribution than China)

        And finally …
        Russia 91.2 (21)
        Singapore 70.8 (249)
        Switzerland 80.3 (481)

        My guess is that most people, including me, would have put UK inequality higher, as ever it’s best not to pay too much attention to BBC/Guardian axis propaganda.

      • @ Nigel S.
        can’t quite work out the significance of lower median than average positions, is that the result of high state and public debts?
        No they are just two ways of looking at the same range of numbers.

        Median is the midpoint of the assets, average is the arithmetic mean.

        So basally to get the median you count up all the entries, divide that number by 2 and there is the median.

        Let’s say we have one person in group of 11 people one who makes S1,000,000/per year and 10 people who make $10,000 each

        The average salary is just a bit below $100,000/per year. Looks like people are well paid but no, it’s one person who making a killing while the rest are just scraping by.

        The median salary is 10,000 says (technically) that at least 50% of the group is making $10,000 or less. So a big difference between the mean (average) and the median suggests that while some people are doing really well, probably a lot more people are not.

    • The fact that the primary trading partners of EG were other socialist economies who all suffered the same fate, while WG and its market-oriented partners all benefitted from trade and investment in WG makes, I think, a rather stronger case for “the experiment” than the author has drawn.

    • “East Germany was also a slave state to the USSR”

      East Germany also had to pay back a gigantic amount in war reparations to Stalinist Russia. It was a gigantic drain on their economy, so it is difficult to say the entire difference was because of socialism.

      As an experiment, the methodology (as in all economic & social studies) was fundamentally flawed.

      • Weather socialism from internal sources or socialist demands from external sources, socialism would still be at the root

      • North Korea doesn’t have to pay back Russia and China with reparations. What’s your excuse for the failure of socialism to feed people there?

  11. Nice write up. It seems that most people, when they are young, naive, idealistic, and don’t forget poor, tend to believe in the promise of socialism. It all seems so logical at a young age, it did for me. Then as they age, and have acquired years of practical experience in the real world, they realize that there is this thing about human nature, call it personal motivation, that has more effect on the wealth of a society than everything else combined. And that socialism, for all it’s logical wonderfulness on paper, stifles personal motivation, while capitalism encourages it. Were it not for this one thing, socialism might actually achieve superior results. But this one thing makes all the difference!

    • Exactly. Work is hard! People don’t like working. That’s why they have to pay you to do it. Very few people will work if they don’t have to or if they can’t keep what they earn. When the government takes what you earn in the form of confiscatory taxes or in the form of subsidized services for others most people simply stop working and the system collapses.

      • Work may be hard, but the best thing is to find a work you love, or better, a profession or calling. Much better than working with friday-in-mind. In socialism and capitalism you often find people with no love for their work, and mostly in the lower classes. And these often have no chance to get a higher education, even in Germany, where even unversity is free. It’s the cultural sourrunding which shapes a person. Poor children learn how to live as a poor person. Rich people can give much more to their children, and I don’t blame them.

        But if a system enables poor persons to reach an average or better wealth, the I call it a good one.

  12. We lived and worked in Munich early 1978- late 1983. We were fluent in German (which our Stazi minders (there were two ‘escorting’ our group of ~20) did not know, and were able to take a 10 day tour of East Germany along with a group of Lutheran ministers and spouses. East Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, and ‘Luther’ points in between. I can assure all here that Legates description of East Germany does NOT do the stark differences sufficient justice. Empty supermarket shelves. Trabis as the main auto rather than BMW, Mercedes, and VW. Drab concrete housing ghettos. Crappy roads. We had many conversations with locals as we would wander off tour to explore. They were much worse off than the west, and knew it. East Germany basically imploded, as did Poland, Rumania, and the USSR itself under Gorbachov. Still not fully at the level of the former West Germany despite 25 years of reunification effort, I am told by longtime Munich friends

    • Berlin Wall guards came from the small enclave in NE East Germany which couldn’t receive West German TV broadcasts. so could be duped into believing Communist Party lies.

      • This is simply not true. Personally know six (former)DDR border guards – all (East)Berliners. Two are successful Silicon Valley techies, the others are solid middle class Germans.

      • Were they on the Inter-German Border or on the Wall in Berlin? And from what period?

        DDR Grenztruppen guarded both the long “international” border and the Wall in Berlin.

  13. You can’t compare European socialism….with American socialism
    For Europeans it was a step up….
    …for Americans, it’s a step down

      • Under feudalism serfs could get free by living in a city for a year and a day. Under socialism, everyone except for the political elites are serfs, with no way out. And even the elites are in constant danger of being enslaved again, too.

      • So you don’t understand that selling people on socialism….sounds good when they are coming from feudalism

      • If I understand it correctly, Capitalism is an economic system concerned with the creation of wealth, and Socialism is a form of government concerned with the distribution of wealth. You can have a capitalist economy with a socialist government. Communism, on the other hand, prohibits capitalism, aka the free market. Read Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and you will see capitalism explained, although he doesn’t call it that. Then read Karl Marx who rants about the inequity of evil capitalism that the economic rewards are not equally shared. So in a socialist society, it doesn’t matter that the average person is poor, it only matters that nobody is allowed to be rich. /sarc on that last

      • “You can have a capitalist economy with a socialist government.”

        Socialist governments never succeed. They either turn into communist governments (socialists with force; ie guns), or they fail. There are many examples of the former, few of the latter; socialists love power too much to admit failure, they just need to try harder, hence the guns.

      • The dead hand of socialism will always be a dead hand. It can never work because it goes against human nature. And, anyway, Margaret Thatcher explained socialism very clearly and very simply many years ago: “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

      • Socialism is an economic model where the government owns the means of production and/or distribution. It has come to mean a centrally planned economy as well.

        Capitalism is an economic model which allows the private ownership of property which encourages the free and fair exchange of goods. Adam Smith’s argument was that a farmer with excess food could exchange that food with cloth from a cloth merchant who has excess cloth. The result is that they both benefit from the transaction.

        Feudalism is where a select nobility hold property in the name of the crown in exchange for military service in defense of the nation. The vast majority of citizens were not permitted to hold private property.

        It is easy to see how capitalism is more efficient. However, predatory capitalism effectively degenerates to a feudalistic class system without oversight. This is a system where the few rich exploit both their customers by removing competition. This is the challenge of our current system — we have created an inherited aristocracy which is every bit as harmful as the English System that we rebelled against.

        “Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality… for one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor.” — Adam Smith

      • The difference between feudalism and socialism lies mostly in how serfs were not permitted to move without permission.

      • Dan, the problem is that if you allow the government to determine what the proper distribution of wealth is, then the free market will always collapse.

      • Predatory capitalism exists only in the fevered imaginations of socialists.
        It’s always their excuse for why they need to take what others have produced and give it to themselves.

  14. There is no argument any longer surely.

    China and Russia and Vietnam now have the best capitalists that there is. The proof is already evident.

    Regardless of morality or human emotional reactions, the solutions to most problems are simply ones that work better. That is all that the free enterprise system was about. It simple works better given the test objects under consideration – people.

    Having said that – there still needs to be a government sector. There are aspects of an economy that work better under government – socialism in short. There needs to be laws and police and courts and highways and water systems and infrastructure. These parts are paid for collective taxes. It is more efficient to pool everyone’s resources and pay for highways than it is for individuals to build highways and charge everyone else.

    It appears that the most efficient societies are ones where the government versus private sector is around 30:70 or 35:65. That is just the facts. That is what appears to work better regardless of theory or emotions. Any more that, and the economy and standard of living slowly degrades. Any less than that, and one ends with too much disorder and a lack of basic services.

    • Sorry, but even 30% government spending is too high. In general, the higher the government spending, the lower will be economic growth.

      Government has a role to play but should be kept to a minimum. For instance, DARPA did “invent” the Internet, but it would have been created eventually and better by private enterprise, and pose less of a threat to civil liberty than it does now. Same goes for space exploration.

      • So did destroying the Bell System (Ma Bell) and along with it the Bell Telephone Laboratories do us any favors.

        I have a Western Electric built Princess Telephone, that I can’t plug into anything, and I have an AT&T telephone that we use with rubber bands to hold the hand set on the wall with.

        One was built by private enterprise, and one is government regulated.

        G

    • This isn’t a criticism: where do you get those ratios? Are there any studies I can analyze? I’m used to WWF pulling statistics out of thin air. But I would be very interested in studies regarding the ratios you quote.

      • You can Google total government spending as a share of GDP for the US. Currently around $6.4 trillion federal (over $4 Tr), state and local v. ~$16+ trillion.

      • I recall reading a study some fifty years ago or so in which it was asserted that once government absorbed over 30% of GDP things began to fall apart. Don’t remember the author.

      • The federal government spending of the United States has averaged ~ 22% +/- 3% of GDP since the mid-1960s. Total government spending (including state and local governments) is ~40% of GDP.

        There is no hard rule on how much spending is the best amount. Most European nations include health care in their government spending. The spend 9-12% of their GDP on health care. We spend 18% of our GDP on health care, but 2/3rds of that money is part of government spending. That extra 6% paid by employers and individuals gives us lower life expectancy and worse access to health care than any other major western nation.

        Does it matter to you whether you give the money to the government or a health insurance company?

    • Laws, Police and Courts are not part of an economy, they are part of Governance, and defined (in states) constitutionally. Responsibility for construction and management of Water systems, highways, electrical markets… These can be privately run quite well, even in the midst of otherwise ‘Commonwealth’ systems, and paid for by usage fees. Even Massachusetts, a fairly socialistic state, has a tollway.

      • good, mr fraser
        “Laws, Police and Courts are not part of an economy”
        tho those things are products in an economy, they are not an economic system

    • “It is more efficient to pool everyone’s resources and pay for highways than it is for individuals to build highways and charge everyone else”
      prove that one, puhleeze, you statist apologist.

      maybe you think 40$ an hour to hold a SLOW sign is productivity?

      “Turnpikes: The Turnpike Companies
      The process of building roads was very expensive. The Boston-Newburyport Turnpike, was 32 miles long and cost approximately $12,500 per mile to construct. n an attempt to finance the building and maintenance of roads, without raising taxes, the state legislatures began granting charters to private turnpike companies. The turnpike companies built, improved, and maintained a particular section of roadway, and tolls were collected from users to finance the ventures. Turnpike companies sold shares of stock in order
      to raise the funds in order to cover the cost of labor and materials. Once the turnpike road was completed, the companies charged tolls to those who traveled the road in order to make a profit and repay its investors. Many of these early toll roads kept the name ‘Turnpikes’ – it conveyed to people that a charge would be made for using the road. Turnpikes therefore came into common use and the term is used interchangeably with toll road in current terminology. Some of the Turnpikes were nearly 200 miles (320 km) long.”

      and the beauty was market feedback. you also knew who was the man responsible for fixing the potholes and they got fixed.

    • Bill,

      Actually it’s more efficient not to pool resources, but for government to lay out the route of highways, condemn the land and let private enterprise build the roads, then collect tolls. As long as the bureaucrats aren’t bought off by the Mob.

  15. For most of this nations history, government was well below 30% of GDP.
    Not only did we not suffer, the economy never grew faster.

    • The studies I have reviewed to date seem to indicate a ratio in the 15 – 20 area for government spending. However, I don’t think it takes into account our (US) meddling in other governments – to our benefit prior to the early 90’s. Then again, it (the meddling) still didn’t seem to help us grow that much faster.

    • Sadly, every new generation needs to be inoculated against the siren call of socialism, ie robbing the successful to buy the votes of the indolent.

    • Obama said that when anyone commented on his plans to socialize things. He was convinced that he was so smart he could avoid all the pitfalls of all the socialists that came before him. Wrong.
      And what do liberals say when their plans don’t work out? “We just needed to spend more money”. When the $1T stimulus plan had no lasting impact, liberals said we should have spent twice as much. They will never admit that they made a mistake, and instead blame their failure on their opponents who restricted their spending and control. If your goal is universal poverty, then socialism is your best path.

      • That is literally true. Krugman claims that a trillion dollars a year in “stimulus” for eight years wasn’t enough to get the economy going again, when we were already deficit spending.

  16. Having lived in Berlin in the early 80’s, I can say that East Germany had another issue that West Germany did not. The Soviets LOOTED the east after the war and continued to loot the east until the fall of the GDR. Their method was quite simple, at first they merely loaded goods and entire factories on trains. Later, the always helpful comrades of the USSR purchased goods from the GDR using worthless non-convertable Rubles and sold the GDR goods requiring payment in hard currencies. Not that the fundamental analysis is wrong. Cuba vs Panama or DR is a good contrast as is the incredible story of the Koreas.

    • You left out that early on they forcibly moved some of the best and brightest minds to other countries. EG citizens had little control over their lives.

    • Randy S,

      Maybe the Soviets looted more, but following WWII the victors did plenty of looting themselves, using the excuse: ‘spoils of war’ (“To the victor go the spoils.”)

      Folks living in the San Francisco Bay Area have probably driven along the bay and seen the huge line of gantry cranes along the Oakland and Alameda ports.

      Yep. Spoils of war. The cranes were disassembled in Germany and re-assembled here. They’re still in service.

      Germany was looted by everyone on the Allied side after both world wars. Still, West Germany prospered under free market capitalism, while East Germany remained in stasis. Prior to unification, E. German girls still curtsied.

      A lot of folks still don’t know that Angela Merkel is a product of that Communist system. There’s a suspicion that she’s doing what she is told—and not by the voters who elected her. That would explain her insistence on putting the interests of illegal foreign immigrants ahead of the citizens she’s supposed to represent.

      • dbstealy:

        Not true. Germany did get a great help form the US via CARE parcels and the Marshal plan. WE were not looted, but got a great support in many things. And this did help us.

        And about Merkel you wrote:
        “That would explain her insistence on putting the interests of illegal foreign immigrants ahead of the citizens she’s supposed to represent.”

        This is total rubbish. Not one single German person got 1 € less bc. of war refugees. And she welcomed war refugees from Syria (a lot of them, of course), and she is strictly for returning illegal social immigrants. But this is point the bureaucracy is not able to handle in a proper way – for about 20 years or so. The same with registration of asylees and ways to integrate them in good manner.

  17. It’s not only the implementation of Socialism which fails, it is evil in principle. By design, socialism breaks at least two of the ten commandments: thou shalt not covet, and thou shalt not steal.

      • Thanks, professor. When that rate approaches 100% it also steals the populations incentive to work. And more importantly, most socialist/communist countries didn’t tax themselves into being. Socialist revolutions inevitably bring mass appropriations of industry and property, which are theft.

      • Benjamin Franklin seemingly disagreed, looks like he rather thought taxes were a completely necessary element of civil society:

        “All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.” (Letter to Robert Morris, 25 Dec. 1783)

        It’s hard to live out in the woods in these days, I suggest paying taxes instead.
        After all, only two things in life are certain…

      • @ Gard R. Rise

        “…all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it…”

        “It takes a village”? “You didn’t create that”? No.

      • @ Gard

        Did anybody in this thread say there should be no taxation whatsoever? You are setting up a strawman and trying to mislead us by quoting Franklin out of context. When he wrote that letter there was 0% income tax and the federal government spent a minuscule percentage of GDP, funded by tariffs and consumption taxes. Franklin’s argument is anti-anarchy, not pro-socialist.

      • By the same logic of Franklin’s letter, socialist governments take more than they need. I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on studies of Feminist Glaciology, which is just the tip of the iceberg of ridiculous government excess.

      • Nope, no strawmen here, but Rob Morrow seems eager to set up some of his own. Don’t ask me where he read any “pro-socialist” sentiments? I am, however, sorry that I didn’t specifically state that I was replying to Harold, who stated “all govts. steal: it’s called taxation.” And yes, that is kind of like saying “there should be no taxation whatsoever”. After all, why should anyone condone organized “theft”? Taxation is not theft, and Benjamin Franklin agreed with this. It is most certainly not quoted out of context and I don’t see how it could possibly mislead any literate person.

        (Aside: I wouldn’t want my tax money spent on Feminine Glaciology either, but suppose that 15% or whatever of the tax-paying citizens find Feminine Glaciology extremely important. Wouldn’t it be fair to them (as taxpayers) if at least some amount of public money goes towards research in that area? In free, representative democratic societies, public money will sometimes be channeled towards projects that are unproductive and even detrimental to the economic well-being of same societies. This simply because of the fact that large parts of the electorate might be uninformed about vital issues in society and legislators must necessarily take even their viewpoints into account when allocating tax money.)

    • And it places government before God, indeed as God, so it breaks the first commandment too. It also stands only by perpetuating a Big Lie that socialism actually works.

      So there is 6 commandments it breaks. More influential in causing failure than stealing 3 out of 10 chickens.

  18. It’s worth pointing out that Capitalism alone did not turn West Germany into the big success story – Ludwig Erhard’s policies of de-regulation throughout the 50’s did that, performing an “economic miracle”. Something that has been mainly forgotten in the modern Germany of the EU, which seems to be reversing the procedure.

  19. socialism if “properly implemented” …. OK, but I’m pretty sure it would take a capitalist to properly implement socialism, assuming the return on investment was acceptable.

    • Wow. Great video.

      We do need to be careful to distinguish between capitalism and crony capitalism. The later is little different in outcome from socialism. More and more of what happens in the US is crony capitalism, with bureaucrats gifting cronies with contracts and favorable regulations to help them get ahead or stay ahead.

      • Crony capitalism is fueled by the Washington-Wall Street Axis of Evil.

        It privatizes gains but socializes losses because the fix is in. The crony crooks give Dodd and Frank money to pass supposed reforms, easily evaded by smart lawyers, instead of breaking up the banks too big to fail.

      • Kalifornia Kook —

        Under the Progressives, particularly under O’Bummer, what we have had is “crony socialism”. The people cutting these deals on the government side are socialists. Their agenda is socialism (really their agenda is money and power).

        Eugene WR Gallun

      • There us no such thing as “crony capitalism.” Once the “crony” part happens, it becomes fascism – only in a system in which the government picks winners and losers does “crony” have any meaning, which is decidedly NOT part of capitalism. The phrase was likely coined by collectivists in an attempt to smear capitalism with the failures of socialism.

      • I prefer the term “capital cronyism” because the other has nothing to do with free market capitalism, just the opposite – a market that became enslaved by government masters.

    • As Maggie Thatcher was wont to say, pretty soon you run out of other people’s money.

      These comments miss family Courtney, staunch defenders of their vision of socialism and detractors of the Iron Lady.

      • The COurtney’s were quick to claim that socialism increased freedom.
        Yes, those who have been freed from the need to create stuff that other people want to buy, have a lot more freedom. Those who are forced to pay for the “freedoms” of the priveledged, have less freedom.

    • Ha! I was scrolling down to post that same video. Love seeing Friedman school Donahue and audience members.

    • Excellent video, thanks for sharing.

      The difference between ‘developed’ countries and ‘underdeveloped’ countries is the government. Good government allows development and bad government doesn’t. That may be due to incompetence, greed, or the need to have power over other people. This is why the taxpayers of ‘developed’ countries giving cash to the leaders of ‘underdeveloped’ countries will never work. The government just keeps it. Look at Hong Kong compared to mainland China before the merger. Look at N. compared to S. Korea. Israel compared to Syria. Endless examples….

      • Limited government allows development, not good government. But perhaps when it comes to government, limited and good are the same.

  20. The reason I call myself commieBob is that I like (and can take advantage of) Canadian medicare. The statistics say I will live three years longer north of the border as compared with south of the border.

    Germany does even better and it’s way more socialist than either Canada or America.

    We can easily say that a command economy doesn’t work. We can also say that laissez faire capitalism does not always work well. Consider the Great Depression for example.

    The choice is not just between totalitarianism and laissez faire capitalism. There are lots of shades in between.

    Fun fact: Did you know that America has death panels? They’re called HMOs.

    • Here in Washington State, Canadians arrive in droves to get needed medical procedures they can’t in Canada. The difference in longevity is because so many young girls get pregnant here to go on welfare, resulting in higher infant mortality. And because of our greater ethnic homogeneity. It’s not because of a lack of socialized medicine, which we now have anyway.

      Laissez faire has never been tried. The Great Depression resulted from government action overriding free enterprise, to include tariffs and ill-advised interference in economic activity. I grant however that Wall Street needed more policing than it had in 1929.

      • Here in Washington State, Canadians arrive in droves to get needed medical procedures they can’t in Canada.

        That’s absolutely true. If you have money, America has much better medical care.

        For folks who aren’t rich, there is medical tourism. Droves of Americans and Canadians travel to places like India and Mexico to get treatment that they can’t afford to get at home. Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.

      • laissez faire never tried?
        maybe it has.
        i think they call it the ‘black market’
        it kept russia from total collapse
        it keeps venezuelans from starving
        god bless the smugglers – putting their lives on the line to feed a free market.

      • I meant that no large state has ever permitted laissez faire. At least none springs to mind.

        Maybe Britain after the Corn Laws but before protectionism and trade unionism might have come close, and the US during its highest growth decades in the late 19th century, although tariffs were an issue throughout that century.

      • Commiebob,

        Americans too go for medical tourism.

        A young black friend of mine from Charlotte (!) got butchered in Bolivia, where she went for cheaper cosmetic surgery and liposuction than available in NC. And she was a medical student. She said that even their sterile procedure wasn’t up to snuff.

      • That’s absolutely true. If you have money, America has much better medical care.

        Utter bullsh*t. What America has, if you have money, is timely healthcare. It isn’t materially different in quality.

        If I need an MRI in Canada, it takes six months. Unless I’m an NHL hockey player in which case I can get one in between periods. Or if I am a worker injured on the job, and collecting payments from the government’s Workers Compensation, in which case I go to the front of the line, no waiting. Self employed white collar worker = screwed.

        And, BTW, there is no need, if you have the money, to go the US. There are several private hospitals in Canada, same standards, equipment, and training as the public facilities. Battle royal about to unfold in the courts over them.

      • mr hoffer- it’s not utter bullshit.
        http://www.wecaremedicalmall.org/california_mri_-_ct.htm
        the wealth of the nation makes it possible to have mri machines in the mall for profit –
        those machines cost a lot of money.
        care to guess how many of them exist in canada?
        go ahead.
        there are more of them in california medical malls.
        wealth made that possible.
        and so it is throughout the usa. the equipment is there cuz profit.
        in canada, medicine is practiced by employees for a wage.
        many of them have red dots in the center of their foreheads
        if your wife need some treatment- you might better go with her to ensure she’s respected.
        and for god’s sake-
        150 ppl in ontario got prostate biopsies with the same dirty needle because the instructions for autoclaving it were in english.
        they have to import doctors – do you have a clue why? it’s not cuz private practice is unprofitable, now, is it?

      • “Best Value California Imaging Center Locations…
        (Many other low cost California imaging center locations available)
        Anaheim, Antioch, Arcadia, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Brea, Buena Park, Carlsbad, Carmel, Chico, Clovis, Colton, Corona, Cypress, Downey, El Centro, Elk Grove, Encinitas, Encino, Fallbrook, Garden Grove, Gardena, Glendale, Harbor City, Hayward, Huntington Beach, Inglewood, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Lake Elsinore, Lancaster, Lodi, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Lynwood, Maywood, Marina Del Rey, Montclair, Monterey Park, North Hollywood, Ontario, Oxnard, Panorama City, Pasadena, Pinole, Pleasanton, Pomona, Redding, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Stockton, Sylmar, Torrance, Tustin, Upland, Van Nuys, Visalia, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills”

      • gnomish September 23, 2016 at 5:53 pm
        mr hoffer- it’s not utter bullshit.
        http://www.wecaremedicalmall.org/california_mri_-_ct.htm
        the wealth of the nation makes it possible to have mri machines in the mall for profit –
        those machines cost a lot of money.
        care to guess how many of them exist in canada?

        I’m sorry that you failed to understand the difference between TIMELY and QUALITY in my earlier comment. The exact same machines exist in Canada run by technicians with the exact same training. ACCESS to them is constrained by the government. ACCESS is a different issue than QUALITY. And for your information, there are enough privately owned MRI machines in Canada now that if I am willing to pay for it myself, I can get an MRI on a day’s notice. I can and I have.

        in canada, medicine is practiced by employees for a wage.

        WHAT? There are no employees in the American healthcare system? Who knew!

        many of them have red dots in the center of their foreheads

        I will not dignify that with a response.

        they have to import doctors – do you have a clue why? it’s not cuz private practice is unprofitable, now, is it?

        Doctors are VERY well paid in Canada, just as well as in America. The reason many of them leave is not for money, but because they become frustrated in their ability to provide TIMELY healthcare to their patients.

      • i totally understand the difference between timely and quality.
        do you understand that AVAILABILITY is a sine qua non for that quality- and if it’s not there then it’s idiotic to characterize it as ‘quality’
        as for the rest- my stepson didn’t leave canada because he was frustrated with his ability to deliver timely.
        he emigrated because he wanted to make money.
        i am not guessing. i am reporting.
        and up your strawmen – the discussion of canadian medicare does not entail discussion of any other country period end of sentence.
        show some respect- nobody is dumb enuff to buy your weaselling.
        do you imagine i won’t call it lying when it is?

      • let me give you the news:
        every year, ALL the graduates of mcmasters EMIGRATE TO THE USA
        cuz timely? dude- ESAD.

      • show some respect- nobody is dumb enuff to buy your weaselling.
        do you imagine i won’t call it lying when it is?

        When you have the balls to put your actual name behind your racism and ill informed rants, please let me know.

      • brain drain, refers to the emigration of highly skilled or well-educated individuals for better pay or conditions, causing their places of origin to lose those skills and expertise

        the first time i heard the phrase was when england nationaized healthcare.
        the doctors were fleeing to the usa then as they have been from canada.

        timely care has fanny adams to do with that emigration from canada, from india to canada.
        dignify these drupes

      • call the wambulance hoffer
        not gonna happen.
        i’m right. you’re wrong. doesn’t require authority or personality. facts stand alone.
        and when you present me with a wall of stupid that can’t be penetrated:
        (Any sufficiently advanced cluelessness is indistinguishable from malice)
        you are declaring that reason can not prevail and that is a declaration of war on the human mind.
        you are openly declaring that the only alternative is force.
        you are openly hostile and aggressive and maybe you imagine that’s intimidating?
        but you are no threat to me.
        i know your game, see.
        you can’t win with an overload of stupid. you’ll have to eat it yourself alone.

      • yep, buddy. private for profit comes to the rescue.

        Apparently you missed the part of the thread where I was intensely critical of the public healthcare system in Canada, and the part where I pointed out that private MRI’s were available on a day’s notice in Canada if you were willing to pay, AND the part where I said that I had used exactly those private healthcare services for the specific reason that the public healthcare system was incapable of providing same in a timely fashion. I waxed sarcastic about it.

        So if you had been paying attention, you would have noticed how critical I am of the public system in Canada, AND that I am highly in favour of private healthcare in Canada as an alternative. But you weren’t paying attention, and you didn’t notice. Do you know why?

        The reason is that you have formed some sort of personal dislike toward me from previous threads that guides your responses. You attack with insults, call me a liar, make some absurd claim about my position requiring force to be dealt with, and bang me over the head with the very point I had already made upthread. You even managed to characterize my challenge to you that you cease commenting anonymously as some sort of threat toward you.

        Get a grip.

      • great galloping gishes!

        somebody said:
        “If you have money, America has much better medical care.”

        and you joined in with:
        “Utter bullsh*t. What America has, if you have money, is timely healthcare. It isn’t materially different in quality.”

        and i argued that there is a material distinction between being able to get it and not. ubiquitous vs scarce is the quality that differs.

        you went all over the map with irrelevant and even false assertions and pulled the ‘racist’ card. you initiated the cursing, the babbling and reference to my balls comes springing from your lips. i find it to be an affront and you know you were trying to provoke a response. my response was to name your game.

        so are you backing off the claim of b.s. or not? because if all you are saying is that there are brand name mri machines in canada

        you may know, as i do, that the canadian gov legislates to restrict private practice by various means, i.e. insurance, services, etc.. the quality that produces is the quality of making it less or even unavailable.

        battle royalling over queue jumping… heh. tells a tale.

        i played along this far but now break time is over
        ciao for nao.

        https://info.blockimaging.com/bid/92623/mri-machine-cost-and-price-guide

        like the east german luxury sedans, the canadian mri machines have the quality of non-existence.

    • The 1930’s depression is not a good example as the recession was made worse by govt, and especially the New Deal. Governments can only hinder business, taking from Peter to pay Paul, to no overall effect except huge loss of efficiency.

      • My lovely 95 year old mother has had two of those since she turned 80. She’s in Saskatchewan. I suspect there are differences between the provinces. ymmv

      • Also, hip replacement is a surgery for which you usually can wait, as less urgent than the kinds of life-threatening ailments for which Canadians cross the Border to get relief.

    • Life expectancy is probably more to do with diet and having a healthy outdoor lifestyle than any other factor.

      Sorry, but Americans over eat and fill up on junk food, and will even take the car when they need to travel only half a mile (or less). This is a drag on life expectancy. Possibly, the high murder rate and traffic accident statistics (particularly away from rural areas) are also a drag.

      Some of the best life expectancy is in places such as rural Japan, rural villages in Italy and the south coast of Spain. These are not wealthy areas, but the people eat a healthy diet, and spend a lot of time in the great outdoors.. The murder rates and traffic casualties are also low in these areas.

      One also has to bear in mind precisely what life expectancy is. If the average life expectancy for a man is say 78, if a man has lived to reach the age of 60, he stands very high chances of living well over 78.

      • Middle aged undereducated white folks in America are slow suiciding by drinking and smoking. They are almost the only group in the world whose health is getting worse. link

        These folks were told that, if they worked hard, they would prosper. Then the Republicans and the Democrats made it easy to ship their jobs offshore. They have no hope. They are ticked off. They will vote, if they bother, for The Donald. They don’t particularly care if he brings the whole system crashing down around their ears.

        These are the victims of neoliberalism. The elites have seen fit to consign these folks to the trash heap and, unsurprisingly, their health has suffered as a result. I would say that unrestrained capitalism is quite evil … unless you think these people are lazy, useless, and deserve their fate. Niiice, blame the victim, that always works. (smoke billows from my ears) [/rant]

      • Commiebob,

        There are lots of groups in the world slowly suiciding by those means.

        More in Europe and Russia than the US.

      • Gabro says: September 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        … More in Europe and Russia than the US.

        The difference is the trend. A large chunk of the American population is headed for third world status. The Russians have been drinking themselves to death for years. As for Europe, it depends on which country. Some European countries have much better life expectancies than America and Canada.

        Did you know that there is a steady flow of doctors from America to Canada? link

        Canadians like their system and want to keep it. Snowbirds who winter in Florida and Arizona are very careful to spend enough time in Canada to keep their medicare in effect. If you’re not in the 1% you’re better off in Canada.

    • commieBob September 23, 2016 at 3:51 pm
      The reason I call myself commieBob is that I like (and can take advantage of) Canadian medicare. The statistics say I will live three years longer north of the border as compared with south of the border.

      I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, but lest anyone be misled, I have to weigh in.

      Canada’s health system is very good at keeping you from dying. If fails completely in terms of keeping you healthy. Get hit by a truck, it will put you back together again and send you home. Develop a severe condition that won’t kill you, but threatens to put you in a wheel chair, you are screwed. Six months to a year to see a specialist. After that, 8 to 12 months to get surgery. God forbid you decide you need a second opinion, that will add another year or more to the process. Specialist can’t advise you until s/he sees and MRI? Good news, a highest possible priority MRI only takes three months. If your condition is debilitating pain, but your life actually isn’t in danger, six months. Now consider that the specialist suggests an MRI followed by a diagnostic procedure, followed by another MRI to see what he result is, followed by another diagnostic procedure and another MRI. You can be in the system for two to three years in debilitating pain JUST TO GET A DIAGNOSIS and then ANOTHER year awaiting surgery. . But hey, you didn’t die so they get to chalk you up as a win in the life expectancy column. Is my sarcasm evident?

    • re: commieBob September 23, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      “The statistics say I will live three years longer north of the border as compared with south of the border.”

      I wonder what the difference would be if you remove the average life span of an inner city black youth.

    • One constant with commies, is they never understand the statistics that they use.
      The biggest single reason why Canada has a higher life expectancy than the US, has nothing to do with the different health care systems, but rather due to the simple fact that Canada is filled with Canadians, and the US is filled with Americans.
      When you compare identical demographics between Canada and the US, the difference either disappears, or the US comes out ahead.

      The Great Depression was caused by socialism. It was a run of the mill recession that was deepened and lengthened by FDR. It was the taxes and regulations pushed to allegedly solve the recession that created the Depression.

      Fun fact, nobody is required to use a particular HMO. Under ObamaCare, that option is removed.

      • When you compare identical demographics between Canada and the US, the difference either disappears, or the US comes out ahead.

        Can you supply a link? A more likely explanation of what’s happening is that American lifespans are affected by rising inequality. link

        The Great Depression was caused by socialism.

        That sounds like a rather loose definition of socialism. What did happen was a kneejerk reaction by the population, business, and government all over the developed world. Everyone freaked out and quit spending and trading. By the time FDR became president in 1933 the Great Depression was firmly entrenched. The one country that did succeed in pulling itself into prosperity was Germany. German immigrants to America and Canada were even leaving and going back to Germany. We all know how that turned out.

        Fun fact, nobody is required to use a particular HMO.

        Most of my working life has been spent in Canada, so I could be wrong, but don’t you have to take the HMO offered by your employer?

        Under ObamaCare, that option is removed.

        As far as I can tell you have a variety of choices. link You do have to choose something though.

        I think we can agree that Obamacare isn’t even close to being wonderful. :-)

      • As to the depression, while it started under Hoover, the country had almost completely recovered from it by the time FDR took office.
        As to HMO’s pretty much every company offers you a range of plans, not just one.

      • MarkW says: September 26, 2016 at 6:27 am

        As to the depression, while it started under Hoover, the country had almost completely recovered from it by the time FDR took office.

        By one definition of ‘depression’ you are correct. If you take depression to mean a prolonged recession, then the depression ends when the economy quits contracting. On the other hand, most people take the Great Depression as having lasted for the whole of the 1930s. wiki The Wikipedia article gives a pretty good summary of the various theories about the causes of the Great Depression. You will find support for your idea that FDR’s actions prolonged it. I still find it disturbing that the one country that overcame the depression in a timely manner was Germany under Hitler.

        As to HMO’s pretty much every company offers you a range of plans, not just one.

        I hear plenty of stories about HMOs and other insurance providers finding ways to weasel out when large amounts of money are involved. Their duty to provide a profit for their shareholders trumps their duty to keep you alive. (Under no circumstances does this say anything about Canadian medicare. It has its own problems. In any event, my own choice is to stay north of the border.)

  21. My brother did business in Russia, East Germany and other ex-bloc countries fairly soon after the Berlin Wall fell. He found that business people, even those high up, did not know how to make decisions. This is a deep failing of Socialism not mentioned here.

    The theft of initiative deprives people from making any important decisions at all. In Socialism, all important decisions are made at the top and are sent down to be implemented without question.

    As a consequence, in my brother’s direct experience, even when they were free factory managers and even bosses showed no understanding of how to make decisions, how to weigh cost-benefit, or even how to negotiate a working position.

    This is part of what it means when it’s said that Socialism infantilizes a population. Adults habitually look to someone above them in authority to make decisions for them. Any adults who do take initiative are rapidly punished. They’re not following the “party line.” In the PRC, classically, such people were called “Capitalist roaders” and imprisoned or executed.

    • business people, even those high up, did not know how to make decisions

      Might that be also happening in “the west” now, what with so much reliance on automation and software?

      • @PiperPaul: As a retired computer programmer analyst, I will strongly suggest to you that the answer to your question is ‘no’. Computers and the software used to operate them are designed to improve productivity (quite dramatically I will suggest) and provide the information that management needs to make decisions that affect the company. During my working years, I wrote and implemented and maintained numerous report programs and automated online systems which did exactly that.

        This not to say that computer programs and automated systems are not written and implemented to do any decision-making themselves. Yes they do. But those decisions which these systems make are at a relatively low level and are, as I said, intended to improve productivity. They do not replace the need for important decision-making at any management level.

        And I am proud to say that computers, like most all technological advances, are a product of the free market system. What technological advances has socialism ever produced?

      • Well, electronic computers did get a boost from government research needs. They were developed to model thermonuclear reactions.

        Hi-fi sound also derives from sonar. As I mentioned, government has a role to play, but these developments would have occurred eventually anyway. World War I hastened aviation development and World War II nuclear power. But free enterprise would have achieved these breakthroughs sooner or later anyway.

        The spoked wheel was developed for chariots. The screwdriver was invented to put knights in armor (although more for jousting than war).

      • Gabro, can you please tell me more about the screwdriver? One of my hobbies is old and/or ancient tech (e.g., a ~1CE wooden wheel with wooden bearings). I never thought to wonder about screwdrivers. If you write me at lostforth at gmail, this thread need not be bothered. Thank you kindly.

      • CD, don’t get me wrong; I love computers and software and what they can do. But “expert systems” take the expertise out of the people and put it into systems, making centralized control much easier to achieve and exploit. Computers are extremely flexible, yet enforce conformity. Brain work is much less valued and fewer people are required to do it. Fewer people know what’s actually going on behind the interface and icons, yet these button-pushers and screen-lickers consider themselves experts. It’s difficult to argue with the output of a machine and the SMEs and programmers who designed the system are usually long gone, or at least very reluctant to make any changes.

        “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.”
        – Pierre Gallois

      • @PiperPaul: Paul, I think I understand your concern and what you are saying. If human society ever gets to the point where it becomes some kind of computerized automated dystopia where machines serve as a tool for central control of everybody and everything, I would probably be just as opposed to it as you appear to be (sounds like a good idea for a science fiction movie). Computers should never be allowed to totally replace brain power and our need to think, reason, and make decisions ourselves. I have always argued that computers should assist us humans in using our brains, and not replace it. I cannot say to what degree we are already achieving that dystopia, but the Internet is obviously already being used to brainwash people (a form of control) and make them believe in CAGW.

        Never having designed or programmed “expert systems” myself, I would nevertheless agree with you that the utmost caution should be taken when deciding how and when they are used, if at all. In fact, that would apply to ALL advanced technology. The more power it has, the more cautious we should be.

      • PiperPaul says: September 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm

        … these button-pushers and screen-lickers consider themselves experts.

        Yep, put a data set into Matlab or R and invoke a bunch of routines and you get ‘results’. It doesn’t matter if you actually understand the underlying math. Papers get peer reviewed and published with garbage statistical analysis. It feels like that’s how 99% of climate scientists work.

      • Automation does not make decisions. Rather it implements decisions that were made in advance.
        Computers do not make decisions, they gather information and help people to analyze that information.

  22. Let’s not forget the assistance to Western Europe provided by the Marshall Plan..not that i’m defending the DDR at all. It was a living nightmare.
    When we lived in West Germany in the early 1960’s, our neighbours, who had relatives in the DDR, would visit them once a year. If they wanted to take them basic stuff like paint or nails, they’d load the car up with about three times as much stuff as they wanted their family to get. The excess had to be handed over as bribes to the legion of petty officials who got in their way.

  23. “Personal interaction was higher too, because telephones and other technologies were lacking …”.
    ========================
    … and not trusted.
    Telephones were routinely tapped by the Stasi: ‘… The Stasi sought to “know everything about everyone”. Its annual budget has been estimated at approximately $1 billion. Out of a population of 16 million, the agency kept files on nearly 6 million of its citizens … People in East Germany were subjected to a variety of techniques, including audio and video surveillance of their homes, reading mail, extortion, and bribery’ — (Wiki).

  24. “The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity, is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”
    Vaclav Klaus

    “We have just gone through 70 years of communism, so why the hell would you want to go back to that?”
    Vaclav Klaus

    (Václav Klaus is a Czech economist and politician who served as the second President of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013. He also served as the second and last Prime Minister of the Czech Republic… , from July 1992 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in January 1993, and as the first Prime Minister of an independent Czech Republic from 1993 to 1998. – Wikipedia)

  25. “These days in the United States, however, forgetful, unobservant and ideological politicians are again touting the supposed benefits of socialism. Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education”

    I live in a country which provides that – it seems to work fine – for a while maybe – certainly as long as we got oil and gas.

  26. Re: the paragraph on freedom – I suggest that the key economic part of freedom is the freedom to OWN a thing. Only through legally protected ownership are any of us ‘free’ to sell the produce of our labor. That freedom to chose who we sell to, and when we sell, is the most important ingredient of what is called the ‘free market economy’. It also includes freedom to buy stuff – where and when. The socialists have learned (and are learning) the hard way that without that particular element there is no incentive to do better or improve – in any way. No incentive – except the violence of the gun – means far less progress.

    • Private property is the greatest human invention. Except that it wasn’t really invented. It arises naturally when allowed to.

      Even in a hunter-gatherer society, bands own territories and the most successful hunter gets first breeding rights.

      • Which, BTW, is how the shape of the human penis evolved, its pump like structure giving second and third, ahem, comers, a shot at reproducing.

  27. West Germany was socialist capitalism so the point is what. Socialist capitalism is better than communist socialism. Nearly every single country has some socialism- it is the definition of government.

    • uh… do you have any idea why there is no such thing as reddish green?
      too deep for you, huh?
      there is no such thing as socialist capitalism, either.
      oxy

      • There is however state capitalism, at least theoretically, in which, instead of taxes, the government owns profitable enterprises. Britain tried it after the war with nationalized industries and it sucked.

      • mixed up definitions – the distinguishing characteristic of capitalism is private ownership.
        in fact, ownership is private.

      • Gnomish,

        You’re right. There should be some other term for state capitalism. Maybe theft.

        But if the owner is the state rather than private persons, but allows incentive-based management and labor relations, some of the benefits of true capitalism can be reaped by the government.

        However politics always rears its ugly head to try to preserve uneconomic activities, a la the railroads’ being forced to maintain no longer need personnel, ie featherbedding. Common even in real capitalism under union rules. Just ask Boeing.

        Or Moochelle Obama’s $350,000 no show job at a Chicago hospital and Chelsea Clinton’s $600,000 “job” at NBC.

      • What Gabro defines is actually closer to socialism – direct government ownership of production. Fascism would be private ownership under heavy government direction, which is what the US really has now. I laugh every time someone calls Trump a fascist, as if Hillary isn’t.

      • ” ownership without control, is not ownership.”
        more than that – ownership means exclusive control
        i did use the word correctly and i said what i meant

  28. White run, capitalist, Rhodesia was known as the bread basket of Africa; a net exporter of food. Its population enjoyed the 2nd highest per capita GDP on that continent. Infant mortality was among the continent’s lowest and life expectancy among the highest of all Africa. Black run, socialist, Zimbabwe has people near starvation diets, their currency is nearly worthless, and infant mortality is high with low life expectancy. What is the cause of this decline in living standard? Is it the name change from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, the change from white rule to black, or the change from capitalism to socialism?

    My money is on the change in economic system.

  29. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Isn’t that the whole reason we are taught ( and hopefully learn) history? So very applicable on this example.

    • Which version of history? The original – factual – one, or the “revised” PC version? Or should I simply wait for the screenplay?

  30. Hong Kong & Taiwan vs mainland China was another case highlighting the ineffectiveness of socialism up until the mainlanders admitted defeat and allowed state supervised capitalism to filter in to the economy in the 1980’s. The state interventionist model still has flaws as the upcoming phase 2 of the GFC will show.

    • Chris,

      Post after post here is nothing but science. The fact that there is no science behind Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change Alarmism shows that it is purely political.

      That four (as now), five or six molecules of CO2 per 10,000 dry air molecules, instead of just three, will have a negligible effect on earth’s climate is a scientific fact. The hype that the effects of going to six will be disastrous is a Big Lie, akin to H!tler’s against the Jews. Politics all the way down.

    • The fact that there is no C shows that the whole of Climate Change Alarmism is political.

      If not ill effects loom from the beneficial increase in plant food in our air, then why squander trillions of dollars to alleviate those imaginary ills?

    • No for not.

      So far more CO2 has been a good thing. Even more will be even better. So all the government action has been purely politically motivated.

    • If there be AGW, it’s in the range of 0.7 to 1.7 degrees C per doubling of CO2, not the IPCC’s anti-scientific, unphysical 1.5 to 4.5. That is, about half a degree either side of the 1.2 degrees C based upon lab experiments.

      So what’s the problem?

    • Chris,

      By good I mean the fact that earth has greened thanks to CO2, which has helped to feed a growing population.

      Do you think that is bad?

    • Not a straw man at all.

      If there are no ill effects from more plant food in the air, then the entire government-academic-green industrial complex is deflated.

      In fact, far from catastrophic, more plant food is beneficial. Do you suppose that Arrhenius, father of the GHG hypothesis, was unscientific, when he wrote:

      “By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid (CO2) in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.”?

      Callendar, too, when reviving the GHG hypothesis in the 1930s, also regarded more plant food in the air as a good thing.

    • Chris,

      You could not possibly be more wrong. Clearly you have never taken even a high school biology class or ever studied the philosophy of science.

      CO2 is without a doubt plant food. The carbon is used to make sugar and grow the plant. Where did you ever get the idea that food provides only energy and not essential nutrients?

      Beneficial means that plants and hence the animals which rely upon them need the products produced by the increased CO2, to include we humans. I’m a scientist and am motivated to improve life for humans and other living things.

      Apparently you’re not a scientist and have no clue as to scientific reality.

      Are you from this planet?

    • Besides which, the chemical reactions of photosynthesis using CO2 lead to storing energy in the sugar produced by them.

      You are so far out in Left field that from here on, no one should pay you the least attention, as a scientific ignoramus of the lowest order.

    • Chris,

      You have shown over and over again the depths of your total ignorance.

      I’m merely stating an obvious fact. It’s not an ad hominem if true.

      You truly know less than nothing. Less because you presume to state as facts hilarious lies.

      You are worse than an ignoramus.

    • Chris,

      CO2 most certainly does supply energy to a plant. Plants make sugar with CO2, which is their energy source. It’s no use trying to educate an ignoramus intent on continuing to be ignorant.

      A fool who imagines that because he read laughable garbage on SkS, he understands biology. Or do you seriously imagine that you know more about CO2 and planetary ecology than the AGU?

      Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments, 2013

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

      I guess so. Pathetic. Don’t even have a clue what food is.

      You are a laughable ignoramus loon. If you had a shred of shame, you’d have slunk away by now.

    • There can be no debate with a willful ignoramus who shamelessly keeps repeating lies learned from cartoonist clowns.

    • Chris,

      You are so ignorant that, even after I repeatedly try to educate you, you keep repeating the same ignorant lies.

      Photons energize one step in the photosynthetic process. As I’ve tried to educate you over and over again, CO2 provides the carbon that goes into sugars which then energize a plant’s reactions.

      Are you really this intensely stupid, or simply blinded by your adherence to the AGW religion?

    • Christopher,

      Not taking sides between intense stupidity and adherence to CAGW faith, but let me ask you one question.

      In your own body, do you derive energy from the sugars you have ingested? Being an animal, you’re reliant on the sugars made by plants from CO2, ie plant food, in the air. Why is it different for the plants which rely on the sugars they’ve made from plant food in the air?

    • Christopher,

      Let me see if I understand your lunatic ravings correctly.

      According to you, sources of protein, vitamins, calcium and other minerals in my diet aren’t food, because they are sources of structural features or enzymes but not of energy. Is that right?

      So only sugars count as food in my diet. But they don’t count in the plants that made them? Right?

      Do you have any idea how crazy you sound? What is the color of the sky on your home world?

    • CC, so what an organism uses for growth of itself is not “food” by your definition? CO2 is required in photosynthesis, as well as forming much of the structure of the autotroph.

    • Bizzaroworld according to Christopher:

      1) Carbon dioxide is not plant food because it is not a source of energy for plants.

      2) Plants use sugar, made from CO2, as their source of energy.

      3) Animals use sugar from plants, made from CO2, as their source of energy.

      4) Therefore, animals have no source of food.

      And all the other sources of food, ie proteins, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients aren’t “food” but “nutrients”.

      Dictionary definition of “food”: “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth”. Try living and growing as a plant without CO2, numbnuts.

      To which could be added the need of fungi and microbes for substances other than those providing only energy. According to you, electrical gradients or lightning are “food”, since they’re sources of energy.

      Do you have the least sense of how hilarious you are?

    • CC,

      As you must be aware, the US government disagrees with your loony tunes definition of “food”:

      https://www.nutrition.gov/whats-food

      “Look up the amount of calories, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and more contained in foods using the USDA’s on-line searchable database. This is an up-to-date and comprehensive source for nutrients amounts in food.”

      So energy, ie calories, are nutrients, too, along with other nutrients.

      You are such a goon, and so busted.

      For US nutritionists, nutrients count as food. As anybody on earth except your raving loon goon gurus at SkS would tell you is the case.

    • CC,

      OK, I left out metabolically.

      Plus, obviously plants, fungi and microbes don’t need sleep.

      But please, keep digging and we’ll keep laughing at you.

      Would be sad if not so funny.

      You’re an endless source of mirth.

    • Christopher,

      You’re splitting hairs on whether CO2 can be considered plant food on the grounds that biology is complex and more than CO2 is involved, yet we know far more about CO2’s role in biology than we know about its roll in the climate, meanwhile; you’re perfectly willing to accept a climate effect from incremental CO2 that’s far beyond what first principles physics can explain. Seems a little hypocritical to me, care to explain?

      You claim that photons are the only source of energy for plants, yet climate science requires creating energy out of thin air to support their broken feedback model and ignores the primary role of photons vis a vie the GHG effect.

      OK. Let’s say CO2 is not food, but is more like O2 is to mammals who can live al lot longer without food or water than they can without O2.

    • CC:

      [pruned. .mod].

      [Please continue contribute to the (Admittedly tedious) conversation, but not with just an insult. To children. .mod]

    • co2isnotevil
      September 23, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Christopher is not just splitting hairs but is stupendously wrong.

      CO2 is plant food. More of it in the air has led to greening of the earth, with vegetation moving into former desert areas and increased yields of crop plants.

      The goon’s definition of “food” is not shared by any relevant authority. All the whining sicko can do is try to divert attention from the scientific facts by idiotic word games, none of which is supported by science.

      Everyone on this site recognizes the loon for the tool he is of the Warmunista liars. Even the pro-CAGW US government says the fool is a tool.

      • “CO2 is plant food. More of it in the air has led to greening of the earth, with vegetation moving into former desert areas and increased yields of crop plants.”

        No doubt and the best way to interpret pre anthropogenic CO2 levels in the ice cores is as a signal of biological success, and even the current elevated level signals the success of man as part of that biological system.

        Warmer temperature means faster metabolism/growth and more rain (the third component of the photon-CO2-H2O triad at the base of the planets biomass). A more robust biomass requires higher ambient CO2 levels to sustain it and it takes some time for biomass to sequester enough natural sources of CO2 in order to sustain a more robust biomass, hence the lag observed between temperature and CO2 levels.

    • Hey, Goon!

      It’s not just correlation. It’s causation, as shown in controlled experiments.

      With more plant food in the air, plants need to open their stomata for less time, meaning less water loss. Thus, they can spread into drier regions.

      You are such a lying loser loon.

    • Doom,

      Fuggedaboudit.

      The troll is obviously impervious to all evidence and science.

      Even politically correct and suborned NASA has to admit to greening thanks to CO2.

      It’s not just correlation. It’s causation and a fact.

      More plant food in the air means more vegetation. Who’d a thunk it?

      Duh!

    • high CO2 concentration also decreased the maximum carboxylation rate (Vc(max)) and the maximum electron transport rate (J(max)) of leaf photosynthesis.”

      In other words, there is a trade off you have not considered.

      …this is a good thing

  31. I beleive the experimental evidence is socialism in various forms has been tried in countries some 95 odd times in the past160 years; and has succeeded nowhere, but it exists and is functioning but is slowly collapsing in the homogeneous welfare states of Scandinavia.

  32. I would have expected a little less dogma on this forum. Attributing the degree of success or failure to one parameter (Goverment involvement) is very much like attributing climate to only atmospheric CO2.

  33. Not trying to defend socialism – its modern manifestations in the US are truly disgusting.
    However the post is extremely simplistic if not primitive. “The Experiment” was not a comparison of the two systems – the divided Germany was the primary battleground of the Cold War and it determined the reality on both sides of the internal border much more than Capitalism/Socialism differences.
    Also the actual systems were much less different that the author may lead you to believe: West Germany was (and still is) a real socialist state by US standards; and East Germany allowed quite a bit of private small businesses. DDR was politically repressive – it just had to be given the geography and Cold War politics; but culturally it was very free torlerant and rather advanced – definitely more so than the majority of the US at the time.
    The world is simply not back and white..
    Disclamer: I grew up in USSR and lived in first East and than in unified Germany; moved to California a quarter century ago.

  34. AGW and Agenda 21 are constructs to install a Socialist agenda on the world and you don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to understand. This is a well written piece that deserves more audience but you won’t see it because the majority of MSM is owned by the Socialist ideology pushers. It is all part of their plan and they are executing it well. The reason Socialism fails is people eventually separate the promises from the facts and want a better life. You can’t hide the advantages of Capitalism.

  35. benefits of socialism. Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education
    Denmark has those. Does not seem to me as a brake on inventiveness and living standard…

    • When Bernie Sanders tried to cite Denmark as an example of the wonders of socialism, the Danish government politely objected, stating that they considered themselves capitalist, with high taxation on those wonderfully productive capitalists in order to fund social welfare programs. They considered Bernie’s use of the term “socialism” as hopelessly old-fashioned.

      • They also have a sytem that is slowly failing, and they know it, but cognitive dissonance prevents them from admitting why.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how people, because they are respected in one field, actually come to believe that they are experts in all fields.

  36. And what about Korea? Is the North’s communist economy better than the South’s capitalist economy? China gave up their communists economy for a market economy years ago all to the Chinese people’s benefit. What about Russia? What about eastern Europe? How many times must this same experiment be performed?

  37. In 1990, before the fall of the wall, global abject poverty (the kind you die from, not the free phone variety) was at 39%. In 2013, after the fall of the great socialistic societies, it dropped to 10%. That over 2 billion people. Pretty much proves the point that capitalism is the best system….

  38. After the war a bankrupt Britain received a third more Marshall Aid from America than West Germany – 2.7 billion dollars against 1.7 billion. Britain squandered it and Germany with no defence commitments modernised its industry and prospered.

    • Germany and to a lesser degree Japan modernized their industry (rebuild from ground up would be a better description.) while the in the US, we used the profits from our global domination of manufacturing to buy labor peace rather then modernize our factories.

  39. If you’re not a liberal at 20, you don’t have a heart.
    If you’re not a conservative at 40, you don’t have a brain.

    Most 20 year olds have only ever experienced socialism: Their parents provided a roof over their head, kept their stomachs full, clothed them, etc, while the state educated them. Whether rich or poor, everything is provided for the young in a modern society.

    By the time you get to 40, you’ve hard a hard dose of reality: Bills don’t pay themselves.

  40. A nice idea. But you could argue that east and west Germany’s received different amounts of support from the rest of the world. Russia, supporting E Germany, was very poor and damaged after WW2, while America had a booming economy…

  41. The decision pyramid is

    ________________civilized_______nomadic
    _____________technology_______slavery
    ___________capitalistic_________feudalistic
    _______freedom of will_________dogma

    bet what wins.

  42. Capitalism is the worst economic system we’ve evere tried, apart from all the other economic systems we’ve ever tried.

    Socialism is the worst economic system we’ve ever tried.

  43. I don’t think the motivation under capitalism is to contribute to society. The motivation is to make money. The contribution to society is a benefit of providing a product or service that people will use.

    • The only way to make money is to create a product that people want to buy.
      That always benefits society.
      Ask any businessman and they will tell you that they are looking for products and services that help people. Because people won’t spend good money on products that don’t.

    • Video games are items that people want to buy. They provide entertainment for those who enjoy them.
      An item is not without value, just because you see no use for it.

  44. The key is not so much how many services government provides as it is freedom to vote on financing those services and more importantly freedom of private ownership and personal incentive along with rewards for hard work and risked investment. Without personal freedom and personal incentive the entire structure crumbles.

  45. The other experiment is the two Koreas. The entire peninsula was similar in almost every measure prior to the separation into the DPRK and the ROK. Today, the contrasts are particularly stark. The capitalist ROK leads the socialist DPRK in almost every criteria which one could use to measure the success of a society. I only know of one criteria where the DPRK leads. The DPRK has a much lower rate of obesity, although I doubt that many people would accept that the solution for obesity is malnutrition.

  46. Wow… I have no words to describe this bullsh*t. Oh wait, I just did.
    I wonder when will the author realize that “Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education, guaranteed jobs and wages” which he considers leads to a Communist German outcome already exist and have existed for long in most of happy “Capitalist” Europe.

    • I love it when socialists actually think that the fact that their tottering economies haven’t collapsed yet is proof that socialism works.

  47. From my years in socialism:
    In capitalism, the shop sign says BUTCHER and inside is meat.
    In socialism, the shop sign says MEAT and inside is butcher.

  48. I know some bachelets. They’re freezing their butts off watching their son play football right now.

  49. Hypothesis:

    Rating productivity should yield the following
    1) unimpeded capitalism
    2) impeded capitalism
    3) impeded socialism
    4) unimpeded socialism

    We have pre Cold War to measure impeded systems and we have Post cold war o measure systems.

    I bet that research would bear this out to be true. Unimpeded socialism might be harder to find but perhaps the soviet satellite states that were not directly prevented from their socialist policies.

    On the other hand, I believe that most socialists are simply ignorant of the world as a whole.

    Once people remove their ignorance, I suspect they would understand that capitalism is very efficient at defeating poverty.

  50. “Moreover, state-guaranteed health care in the East did not translate into a healthier society. In 1990, life expectancy in the West was about 3½ years longer than in the East for men, and more than 2½ years longer for women.”

    If this is your standard, then former Soviet Satellite states (such as Romania) who are also part of the OECD already have lower infant mortality rates than the United States. They do not have higher life expectancy (yet), but the Socialized medical system is likely to get them there.

    In the 34 member OECD, 30 of these nations have guaranteed health care of some form. 27 of those have higher life expectancy than the United States. The only ones who don’t are those former communist republics and the other three nations who do not have nationalized health care (Mexico, Turkey, and Chile). The United States has lower life expectancy than all of the Western Socialist Democracies.

    When you’re complaining about “Socialism” vs.”Capitalism” you should consider this data.

    • There are too many confounding factors to draw any conclusions at all from your data. The disparity in the numbers are the result of far more than the economic systems of the countries.

    • Norwegians in the US have a higher life expectancy than do the average American.
      Is that because the Norwegians in the US are still using the Norweigan health care system, or is it just because culturally, the Norwegians in the US follow the same healthy lifestyle choices as do Norwiegans in Norway?

      If you actually knew half of what you thought you knew, you still wouldn’t know anything.

      PS: I’ve already dealt with the different ways different countries measure infant mortality.
      Sheesh dude why don’t you spend a little time learning something instead of just repeating the propaganda you’ve been spoon fed.

  51. Having lived in the East in the communnist era, I think I can comment. There were a few advantages with communnism, one of which was much more time to sit an chat. Because every business was overstaffed (staff were cheap) there was not much work to do. A scarf factory I went to had 5,000 employees. Can you imagine….!

    On the downside, people on the streets were very rude – elbowing you into the gutter. Especially anyone who thought they had authority, they were just nasty. Conversely, if you were invited into someone’s house, you were treated like a king. I found that quite strange.

    But the first Moscow car show was a sight to behold. The first Mercs, BMs and Rolls were there, and it was quite commical to see the local’s eyes popping out at the sight of their engines and internal luxury. They could not believe it. The Lada, Zil and Moscovich stands were completely empty.

    R

    • artslap9
      Folks – let’s just boil it down to a single comparison: A Mercedes-Benz vs. a Trabant. Enough said.

      No, let us go just a bit further.

      Socialism (as today’s elites want it (as Communism does, every time they can get pwoer.)

      The masses – Trabants.
      Forced (rather, “only allowed to rent”) only 1 Trabant per worker, and that Trabant poorly maintained and running poorly with horrible emissions and short oil life using only the allowed amount of gas per month, paid from what is left of the workers’ wages (after “free” health care and “free” rent is deducted) (er, “not ever paid in the first place”) by taxes from the companies that are allowed to continue operating under the government control.
      The new elite class – Granted the “privilege” of a free Mercedes and driver by their grateful government for “services rendered.”
      The old elite class – One bullet to the back of each of his and her head, delivered after a short ride in a converted school bus to the nearest Katyn Forest ecological preserve.

  52. What with the greatest and fasted economic change in history imminent there is a new model in the wind. It is being discussed even by hardened free market economists. EVERY adult gets a living wage from the state regardless.

    When I have time I will discuss it further. Meantime, please don’t shoot the messenger

    • Ah yes, the free lunch model of economics.
      I guarantee you, that as soon as everyone is guaranteed a wage, regardless of whether or not they work, nobody will be working.
      The guaranteed wage is the dumbest idea to come down the pike since the nonsense of a minimum wage was foisted on the clueless.

  53. In East Germany’s defense Russia stripped the country of pretty much everything of value as ‘reparations’ after WWII and turned them into a satellite state while we shoved money into West Germany to help them rebuild and turned them into a strong independent ally.

    South Korea and pre reform China are better historical examples of why state run communism is a horrifically bad idea.

    • Well – the vision goes like this: In developed countries the models of capitalism and communism will become redundant. Machines will take over 30% + of all jobs within 20 years. Within 50 years maybe 75%. These jobs include those that are educated and of the middle class. What to do?

      Meantime, the current economic model requires an ever increasing intake of young, through immigration. We are walking towards a cliff.

      The idea is that mankind through its innovation makes the machines work for the benefit of all citizens of a country. No more social welfare departments. Imagine the cost savings. Probably a lot less mental health problems too. Yes, there would be the couch potatoes. but with freed up time the inventiveness and motivation of us humans would kick in. Those that want to re-educate and work would still reap the benefits of their work. Education would need to be free.

      Yes, it sounds crazy but if we really look forward, not quite so.

      • If you include a flat rate of tax, say a sales tax / gst / vat, you make another massive govt dept redundant too.

      • “If you include a flat rate of tax, say a sales tax / gst / vat, you make another massive govt dept redundant too.”

        Yup – the capitalist financial system would stay in place. Countries would still compete against each other. Education and innovation would be essential to stay ahead. Machines are shifting manufacturing back from low-wage countries. Hell, they are even saying that robots and artificial intelligence can do much of the routine work of lawyers.

        For the record, this concept was published by The Economist magazine – one that is very pro free-market.

      • 100 years ago, 90% of the population worked on farms.
        Thanks to mechanization, only about 1% does today.
        As old jobs are lost, new jobs are created.
        Beyond that, thanks to automation everything gets cheaper.
        The reason why we have a 40 hour week today instead of the dawn to dusk, 7 days a week that our ancestors dealt with, is entirely because of automation and machinery.

  54. So socialism is the government spending money on people and infrastructure and capitalism is the government spending money on a military and military adventurism. Go t to keep the world safe for mega corporations to rape an pillage.

    • You might want to do some basic research on how North Korea spends its money. And while you’re at it, compare the infrastructures of any capitalist country to any socialist country.

    • davidgmills
      So socialism is the government spending money on people and infrastructure and capitalism is the government spending money on a military and military adventurism. Got to keep the world safe for mega corporations to rape an pillage.

      The hatred is great in this one.

      Please try to talk to any one of the 120 million killed by socialist/communist governments since the first Russian revolution in 1900. (Hint: These 120 million victims of socialism are all dead.) On the other hand, the “capitalist” military you disparage so willingly protected the survivors of two world wars and a fifty year long cold war against Communist aggression-murdering smaller wars to protect their future victims against the communist-socialists so they could remain free to choice. By the way, the millions murdered in tribal warfare in Africa are all armed with communist weapons, and their leaders were trained by communist-socialist funded camps, with most now back in communist-socialist tribal “nations” of immoral laws with nothing but “My might makes me right” “civilizations” of continual fighting. That the western universities teaching you and their propaganda arms in the mainstream media then became socialist platforms is not the fault of the military, but of the media itself.

      When the billion China workers are free, and not slaves for a dictatorship, you may say something. Until then, I will consider you no more than a “useful fellow traveler” guilty of the millions of Ukrainian and Cambodian and Vietnamese and Russian and eastern Europeans your ideals have murdered.

    • DId you wake up this stupid, or did you have some help from professional educators.

      BTW, mega corporations don’t rape and pillage, they leave that to governments.

  55. All this talk about socialism and capitalism and not one comment about fascism?
    Really.
    Just where do you think the US is today?

  56. “This also meant East German children had far less contact with their parents and families, even as West Germans became convinced that children fared better under their mothers’ loving care than growing up in nurseries.”

    Yes, the basis of human intelligence in the earliest stages is in truth the result of loving, lifelong bonds with the parents. This is what the Attachment Theory of brain development shows.

    These reliable, attuned relationships allow the child’s brain to organize itself, modulate emotions, and go through the proper stages of innocence and childhood. With emotional stability during the development of the brain, the full cognitive energy can be devoted to pre-frontal learning. Without stable emotional bonds, the child suffers constant setbacks from repairing after catastrophes.

    So why did the Boomers destroy marriage, and why do they continue to do so from every side?

    Does anyone here honestly think that a free society will produce the same resourceful, prosperous results if you also add the destruction of motherhood, and the second sex-drugs-occult revolution (which is now upon us)? Well that is the new Grand Social Experiment. So everyone needs to pay attention to what it is really like in a world where no one bonds and every one is on drugs.

    Men here in the US wanted to make things better for their wives and children. Of course, the innovation happened within the context of equality under the law and in the context of literacy, and of being able to file a patent and borrow money to bring something new to market or to improve private property. But I think it is also important that it was also all for love, in lifelong bonds. The motive of love for one,s own family surely played a huge roll in the scientific inventions which the free, open, Protestant countries developed FOR USE IN EVERYDAY LIFE. That means for the women to have appliances and pickup trucks, and for the kids to have toys.

  57. There needs to be a better definition of socialism because it is interchanged with Communism when Capitalist thinkers want to make a point and Utopia when Socialist thinkers want to make a point.

    Is Canada a socialist country with “free” medicare, employment insurance, provincially owned alcohol stores?

    Is Norway a socialist country with a government owned / controlled oil industry?

    How about the US where more people collect government subsidies than pay federal tax?

    The socialist criticisers point to the 3-4 worst performing countries in the world (East Germany, North Korea). How about China? Is China socialism, communism, success or failure?

    • so·cial·ism
      /ˈsōSHəˌlizəm/
      noun: socialism

      a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
      synonyms: leftism, welfarism;
      radicalism, progressivism, social democracy; communism, Marxism, labor movement

      •policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.

      •(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

      com·mu·nism
      /ˈkämyəˌnizəm/
      noun: communism; noun: Communism; plural noun: Communisms

      a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

    • Steve from Rockwood commented: “…There needs to be a better definition of socialism…”

      There are no/none/nada/zilch countries that don’t provide some sort of social benefits from the government to the people. There are also no/none/nada/zilch countries that control 100% of the business and industry and don’t allow private property ownership. We call the US a “Capitalist” country yet it has huge social benefit programs controlled by the government. Capitalists want less government regulation and Socialists want more. Pick your own definition but I guarantee that no country will match it. The one fact is Capitalist countries prosper and pure Socialist countries rarely do.

  58. Perhaps the fuzzy borders could be better defined as Statism versus Free Citizens.
    Or even more simply, Host versus Parasite.
    Every past civilization in which the parasites have risen to power has ended very badly for their hosts.
    We are living the age of fat and stupid,thanks to the wealth our grandparents built and prolonged by mortaging our grandchildrens futures.
    Bottom line ,once more than one citizen in ten is intent on living large at the expense of his neighbours, society decays.
    Government,while it may enable civilization, does not come without cost.
    Cost exceeds benefit?
    Citizens decline to contribute.
    Bureaucrats steal more, eventually Democracy devolves into Kleptocracy.
    Canada has passed 50% tax on productive people, at 48% on the “average income earner”.
    Enjoy the Decline.

  59. There is a way to stop the love affair the young have with socialism dead in its tracks, and I would live to see this happen:

    Consider that a university is pretty much a closed entity. There is little ‘trade’ between colleges and other institutions. Students perform work for their professors (papers, exams, etc), and are paid for that work in the form of grades. A state needs to be innovative and declare that one school will demonstrate how socialism can be properly deployed. The school will adopt socialism. Student work for each class will be combined, graded, and every student will receive the same grade. Every professor, since they all do equivalent work, will receive the same salary (including the football coach). In fact, students should demand that states provide them such a school.

    Of course, this situation is far simpler than what would be required in society as a whole, so it should be very easy for liberal college students to demonstrate how great socialism is. It should be equally clear that if students can not make socialism work in that limited environment, then it can not possibly work in a more complex society.

    Any bets what the outcome would be?

  60. Readd the mission statement. WUWT has always been about whatever interests Anthony.
    In my experience, those who complain the loudest when ever a particular topic comes up, are usually those on the losing end of the debate.

  61. What I don’t understand is why Sanders supporters trust big government so explicitly but distrust big business. Aren’t both run by imperfect human beings? Why should we believe that those who spend their lives in government, like the Clintons, are less greedy than those who run a business? If a business cheats its customers, it will eventually have fewer customers. In addition, customers can appeal to government to reign in a greedy business and strengthen consumer laws to protect them. But who can we appeal to when it’s a misbehaving government that needs to be reigned in?

    There are fewer choices with government than with business since government is a monopoly. So I just don’t understand why anyone would want to make the central government bigger or give them more power to micromanage our choices, from how much soda we can drink to what our children must be taught at school. Why would anyone, socialist or otherwise, trust government enough to give it that much unchecked central power?

  62. Good analysis
    Add to East and West Germany, North and South Korea
    Same sort of outcomes but as yet no reunification

  63. A few years back, I got talking to an elderly East German couple at a campsite in Italy. I was cycling with a tent, they were in an ancient VW campervan (split-screen for those that appreciate such matters). When I asked the difference between then and now, the guy says, “now, I can get in my van, and drive to this campsite without asking my government for permission.”

    Was in Tirana, Albania a while later. The owner of the backpackers place I was staying, when asked about the communist days, says, “look, we were one of the stopping off points on the Silk Road’s final approaches to Venice. We have been traders for hundreds of years. Communism was a 40 year long accident.”

    Anecdotal, sure, but I attach more weight to the views of people who actually lived the misery of socialism than any academic.

    By the way, Enver Hoxha’s old house in the Blloku area of Tirana is now surrounded by a host of bars and nightclubs which wouldn’t look out of place in London or New York. Hope the sad f***er’s spinning in his grave.

  64. Just how many times must this silly lesson be repeated before people get it?

    The debate is this: As between the natural social intercourse of people or the judgment of bureaucrats, which one is better at making economic choices (for the uninitiated, the choices we speak of are the allocation of scarce resources), tap, tap, tap, index finger and thumb stroking my chin, tap, tap, tap, . . . this one is hard . . . such a question! I dunno, I give up.

    • There are people who will never get it. Socialism is an alluring siren call that sings to the peoples compassion and sense of fair play. It’s a Contract of Good Intentions that helps to pave the road to Hell.

      • There will always be those people who are convinced that they are smarter than others, therefore entitled to run other people’s lives.
        Theses people, when they see others spending money or time on things that they themselves do not appreciate go into fits of outrage and start demanding that government do something about this waste.

    • True.
      But too simplistic.

      The ideal lies somewhere in between. Someone (probably bureaucrats, unfortunately) has to wield the broad brush and sketch out the general path, and someone has to regulate (ouch) how everyone proceeds down that path. Rules and laws make what we have now work. They are necessary.

      ‘Unfettered’ capitalism’s endpoint is simple and inevitable: One corporation would eventually own everything.

      • oh baloney.
        when there is no way to enforce a monopoly by forcibly preventing competition or forcing ppl to buy – any little guy can offer an alternative and they do.
        when american mining and coal thought they’d cornered the market and wanted to raise prices, the oil industry was born
        raise the price of wood and i’ll use aluminum
        charge more than i want to pay for pepsi and i’ll drink coke.
        are you unfamiliar with the production end of supply?
        when alcoa earned market supremacy it was because they made a commodity so cheaply (once, aluminum was more precious than gold) that now housewives wrap their garbage in it.
        the nonsensical notion of somebody owning everything is a fantasy full of holes.
        when the hunt bros thought they were gonna corner the market on silver- guess what happened?
        guess what happens every time anybody tries to act out that delusion.
        try self employment. take full responsibility for yourself. see how that will change your views.
        find out if you have anything to offer that anybody wants without depending on somebody smarter than yourself to provide the ideas, tools, place to do it.
        be grateful you are so exploited as you feel you are- without somebody to find something you can do that makes you worth something- you could not survive.

      • The idea that without government, one corporation would eventually own everything is not, and never has been true.

  65. After reading the rather nicely written article and perhaps a quarter of the responses I am dismayed. Now, before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I am some kind of left wing socialist who is going to deride the evil capitalists, let me assure you one and all that I am not. And for a sizable number of those commenting, before you brand me as an evil capitalist, please take a deep breath and hear me out.

    Why am I dismayed? I could lead with the whole nudist digression but that’s not it (that was silly and stupid). Here goes:

    A) Anyone who really thinks that there is any need to discuss the question of is capitalism a more effective economic system than communism (the actual experiment for anyone keeping track) has simply not been paying any attention over the last 50 years. Capitalism won communism lost. It is disappointing that the writer of the original article decided to blur the definitions so badly.

    B) The author, by choosing to frame his support of capitalism in the context of the failed communist system did not make any attempt to address real issues facing the United States and the world. The author, and based on my sample, all of us who commented skipped past the question of state capitalism as a competing system (and now so will I). But more to the point, the author and most commenters never engaged on the question of what set of policies can make capitalism better and that is disappointing.

    C) While there were comments addressing various degrees of regulation and taxation, the author and most commentators did not engage on the broad set of questions of how can capitalism deliver better results to more people. The question should not be about inequality versus equality but about how to mobilize capital to grow the economy and increase prosperity. The comment that pointed out that average net worth in the United States is $301,000 and median net worth is $45,000 is not an answer but it helps frame the question – how, in real terms, can we make meaningful improvements to both. Not focusing on real issues is disappointing.

    I admit that I have offered nothing other than a critique of the article and the discussion. I recognize that is in a sense ironic. Many of us have specific ideas about what should be done to produce better results (capitalism is after all a technology and all technologies can be tuned to produce desired results). I have not offered any proposals because I do not see that this community is interested in that kind of discussion.

    If I missed it tell me so. Show me the proposals. Show me how they will work. Show me that this kind of a forum can be more than a forum for polemics and that a diverse community can engage from shared values and differences to have a real discussion of what should be next.

    • heh- you almost got something right
      i have no more interest in running other ppl’s affairs than i have in you running mine.
      but if you really want a proposal- how about FoF?

      • Always interesting to see how people react. I am surprised that you think I have any interest in controlling your affairs (though relieved you don’t want to control mine). While some of the 67 different meanings for FoF obviously do not apply enough might that I am at a bit of a loss about your intent.

        If I take the tone of your reply as an indication that you favor free and open markets let me ask if you believe that markets based on or that include decisions based on asymmetric information are acceptable? We likely both agree that markets should be free and open but differ on the most efficient way to ensure that they are.

        There is a common myth that capitalism is the same as freedom. While freedom to act is indeed needed at some level for capitalism to work the extent of the freedom needed for capitalism to work is far less than I am comfortable with. The reason we have a Constitution in the United States is to protect freedom and rights. I would sooner rely on government with all its flaws to protect my freedom than to rely on capitalism to do the same. As attractive as the ideal of self reliance is, I would be slow to conclude that I could protect my freedoms against not only the government but
        all those who would gain by limiting them.

        What works is not always what we would like. But I for one am not so proud to think that I am so right that my own personal values will, if implemented, result in the best results for everyone.

      • ok- i don’t know about common myths but i know the definition of capitalism
        if we can agree that the distinguishing characteristics of capitalism are ownership (which means exclusive control of property is a right, voluntary exchange of values which is the only kind of trade that respects the right of ownership – then it should be apparent that
        “how can capitalism deliver better results to more people” is entails a hidden premise that is anathema.
        there is no such purpose to capitalism and there is no way that ‘regulating’ anybody else’s property can be anything but contradiction of ownership.
        ” how, in real terms, can we make meaningful improvements” has only one answer: ‘we’ has no rights to MY stuff or YOUR stuff or anybody else’s stuff.
        you have not established the assertion that unequal accumulation of money, like catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, is any kind of problem at all.
        sin embargo, you propose that “we make meaningful improvements” which is a bid to seize control of somebody else’s property, plain and simple. nope nopity nope nope.
        there’s a lot of ‘we we’ waggin goin on and it’s not you deciding what you will do with your own stuff.
        and so the proposal you need to hear is ‘mind your own business and keep your carrion hooks off other people’s stuff’
        and capitalism is not a technology…
        the ‘big ideas’ for improving the world totally disregard the nature of the individual. it is not possible to remove the individuals from the context so you can express ‘big ideas’ without resolving the important details that make it none of your business.
        somehow you have overlooked the self contradiction you espouse, ‘free markets need to be regulated’,
        and mobilize your own capital.

      • Capitalism is not a zero sum game. Different sets of policies will produce different results without taking your stuff. You have been living in a capitalist system that is surely not an example of the pure capitalism you advocate and that likely has produced more prosperity for you than would pure capitalism.

        Capitalism, as good as it is, is not good in and of itself. Humans create governments and economic systems just as we create any other technologies. But we should take care not to treat any technology as perfect and somehow sacrosanct never to be challlenged or changed. While capitalism does have the characteristics you mention it is far more complex than simple ownership and exchange. Because capitalism is not the simple system that is free from human failings, left in its pure form it has been shown to produce less than maximum output (benefits). Simplistically this is the problem with unproductive accumulation of capital and it does result in everyone having less stuff. But to understand why we have to look not at a single transaction or a point in time equilibrium but at the results over time.

        I understand your philosophical perspective but it is just that. I do not want economic systems that don’t work over the long haul. I am a committed capitalist but as a tool to create wealth not as an absolute dogma that would over time limit the creation of wealth. You strike me as a pragmatic person. You clearly have a strong sense of right and wrong. I find it hard to believe that you would hold fast to a method of production or farming or providing service to your customers that was going to bankrupt you. Even if it was a method you had thought was right. Trust me, you can be a capitalist and ask how to get better results for more people.

      • Information asymmetry exists, and will always exist. Your mistake is thinking that government intervention will decrease this asymmetry.
        Freedom means capitalism. When people are free to do what they want, capitalism (better known as the free market) is what results.
        Capitalism is not technology, technology is a tool that can be used by capitalism, or any other market system.

      • If you think government regulations create wealth, then you simply have not been paying attention to history.
        Your idea that thanks to government regulation we are wealthier than we would of been is 100% false, built by those who believe that they know more than others.

    • Your mistake is thinking that the US is still capitalistic. There are many problems in the US, and the vast majority of them are caused by government interference in the marketplace.
      The best way to mobilize capital so that it benefits people, is to get government out of the way.

      • You are 150% correct Mark. The best way we can mobilize capital, especially human capital, is to get the government out of the way, and allow child labor. The interference in the labor market by the government preventing the use of child labor is interfering with growth.

      • OK – I get the cool, easy rhetorical play. Define your terms and then use them to prove a point. The market is good, capitalism works perfectly, monopolies cannot exist, I get it and it is a beautiful, easy vision and solution to all our problems. The problem is that it is founded on nothing more than that tissue of definitions. It ignores history that goes back even before Smith published The Wealth of Nations. It ignores human nature, culture, and works only as a beautiful fantasy.

        Regulation when it goes too far, when it is about right, and when it is needed is a good discussion. However, the idea that all regulation is bad is simply proof that there is a profound lack of understanding of economics and the integrity and mental discipline to put the time and energy into learning a field of study to even the level of competent conversation. If you don’t understand the inherent inefficiencies and problems with the version of capitalism you espouse, then you don’t know enough to carry on a meaningful discussion much less defend your ideas.

        Never the less, this discussion is clearly my fault. By violating one of Murphy’s laws “never argue with a fool because those watching may not be able to tell which is which” here we are. I had hoped that there might be the opportunity for a real, substantial discussion. I am reminded yet again that much of the Internet is simply based on shared fantasies that have no firm connection with reality.

  66. “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
    Sir Winston Churchill

  67. In the free market, the world has seen how all of the things which were once luxury items and rare commodities have been made efficiently, affordably and plentifully available to all.

    Like pickup trucks which women like to drive.

    EPA comment period on CAFE standards for cars and trucks ends Monday.

    This is an easy form to use.

    “Send an Official Comment to the EPA
    Regulations from the White House are making cars and trucks thousands of dollars more expensive. These regulations, called corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE standards), are jacking up the cost of manufacturing cars, and manufacturers will pass those costs onto American families. Tell the Obama administration to repeal these harmful regulations!”

    http://americanenergyalliance.org/cafe-standards/

  68. I will never cease to be amazed by the American’s stigma against free health care and education. Here in Australia we have “almost” free healthcare and education, and it’s pretty good. The almost is the problem, take the private companies out of the equation and it would be a whole lot better. Healthcare being such a universal need, but incomes being so spread apart, there is no way that everyone can afford to look after themselves, and in fact it is the poor that need healthcare the most, who can least afford it.

    It is exactly the same as for energy, we all need it, and hindered access impacts the poor the most. Maybe you can afford $200/w in health insurance, or a $50,000 operation, but not everyone can.

    • Jarryd Beck commented: “…I will never cease to be amazed by the American’s stigma against free health care and education….”
      You may cease to be amazed if you understand the facts. Since 1986 by law no one in America is refused medical treatment by an emergency clinic regardless of their citizenship status or ability to pay. Did you know that? People are able to get immediate urgent care just by showing up at the hospital/clinic. If they are unable to pay they don’t. “Free” education is not free and in America you can get financial help up to full tuition, books, and housing to attend college if you are low enough income and qualify.

    • heh – hey- i NEED – therefore GIMME, you selfish bastich!
      the more you don’t give me the more i need so you’re in arrears!
      my NEED is a blank check on YOU.
      if you got it and i need it- you know you have to provide it to me at your expense, right?
      i know you support that in principle because you just ranted all over about it.
      so just give up the wallet and go make some more cuz there are lots of other needy ppl you gotta service.
      some of them need other things than money, so bring some lube.

    • It’s easy to understand why people like free stuff. What’s hard to understand is how easily some people become convinced that it’s ok to steal, just because they feel they need something.

  69. Capitalism is a great system.

    But those who think it should be ‘unfettered’ are not thinking, and are deluding themselves.

    What we have now only works due to various laws and rules and conventions: Property ownership, currency, sales contracts etc.

    ‘Unfettered’ capitalism’s endpoint is simple and inevitable: One corporation would eventually own everything.

    We are well on the way down that path right now:

    Free markets at work. 10 corporations own all the world’s major food brands:
    Massive corporations squash entrepreneurial diversity and make it nearly impossible for startups and small businesses to compete.
    https://food.good.is/articles/food-brands-owners?utm_source=bw&utm_medium=FB&utm_campaign=pd

    There are now some 150 multi-national companies, which account for nearly half the total capitalisation of all firms. Three quarters of these belong to the financial sector.
    http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/RethinkingEconomicsUsingComplexityTheory.DHelbingAKirman2013.pdf

    • and you get all your food at which grocery store?
      you’d be shocked to know that there are alternatives?
      your limited notion is that of an utter dependent with no self reliance.
      you’re a kid, still. a dependent
      don’t even try to blame anybody but your own self.
      it’s not a ‘we’ problem. if you fail to survive on your own merits – there is no problem.

      • “…you get all your food at which grocery store..”

        You provide a perfect example.

        You may remember when every block had its own little corner store. Great system. If Smitty was charging too much for the milk, you could walk across the road and round the corner to the next one run by Jonesy.
        Great for the community too, all these little family stores keeping money going around and around in a community. Then there were also the butchers, bakers etc….

        But, along came the big supermarkets; Cheaper, all in one shopping, one stop. Killed the lot. That’s competition at work: someone come up with a better model, and kills off the old system. Just as the oil industry squeezed out the coal guys, and the aluminum guys squeeze into the timber guy’s space. Competition works it out, and big business is better at competition than the little guy.

        “…this is something you call capitalism…?”

        Yep. It just happens to be the capitalism we have got right now.

        Sure. It is a wonderful idea to go back to an earlier era where we all grew and hunted our own food.
        It could work, if a whole lotta people are suddenly going to be satisfied with a lot less. (AND I’d be happier, and we’d all be better off if we were!)

        But. It ain’t gonna happen.

        You either put structures in place to restrict the corporate takeovers, to prevent the mergers and great monopolies arising, to ensure the family can still have their chicken run in a suburban area, or we all end up working for the same company and buying all of our needs there.

      • “You may remember when every block had its own little corner store.”
        i do- i remember when bottle recycling was done by ambitious volunteer children, too — until that was made illegal…lol
        i remember i could get a hamburger or a pack of cigarettes or a gallon of gas for 3 silver dimes.
        by golly i still can get that pack of cigarettes for that – but now i get 2 gallons of gas and 3 hamburgers.
        somehow i’m not upset over it.
        i’m pretty sure the prices of some things have gone up, though-
        https://www.amazon.com/Weaver-Buggy-Whip/dp/B00DL3ZU76
        heh- wait’ll the corporations move in on that!

    • i can go out tomorrow and buy half a cow, pay cash, and fill my freezer.
      i can go out tomorrow and buy all kinds of vegetables- again, for cash with no receipt from a real person who grew the stuff.
      i can go out in the yard and catch one of the chickens.
      you wouldn’t know anything about how the stuff got to the grocery store, would you?
      but you think you know something? you think you can hold forth like a boss on how everybody else should live but you can’t manage survival without somebody picking up your slack.
      and you want tight control of them,, right? cuz you know your life depends on those who CAN – because you know you can not.

      • gnomish September 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

        You will find, Mr Gnomish, that with time, big business, with their controls over government and their wonderful concerns for your health, and their access to finance and favorable courts, will dictate health and safety rules to ensure you cannot buy that half a cow, and cannot farm that chicken in your yard. They’ll even dictate where you can grow vegetables, and whether or not you can water them.

        The great irony is for the diehard free-marketeers, is that you will actually need rules to ensure that does not happen.

        You continually underestimate the power and focus of the great corporations, and play right into their hands.

        Why corporate special interests created modern libertarianism
        By David Akadjian Sunday Sep 25, 2016 • 11:46 PM SEAST

        http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/9/25/1572955/-Why-corporate-special-interests-created-modern-libertarianism?detail=facebook

        By the way… I am in the business of large scale intensive agriculture. Perhaps you do not realize the extent to which great food corporations dictate prices, payment terms, and conditions to the suppliers. And it is rapidly getting worse.

      • “with their controls over government and their wonderful concerns for your health, and their access to finance and favorable courts, will dictate health and safety rules to ensure you cannot buy that half a cow”

        this is something you call capitalism? srsly?

        but you are right about one thing – i do not realize the extent to which great food corporations dictate prices, payment terms, and conditions to the suppliers.
        i ignore them completely.
        i’ll counter that you may not have a grasp on the economics of forcing a few hundred million individuals to obey all day every day. did you think there were enough goons to manage that?.

        people who obey may eat recycled food, but the individuals who make their own decisions will have their steak. you can’t stop them.

        everyone doesn’t live in the same bubble with daily kos.

        as for intensive agriculture- do you know why they don’t want to stop illegal immigrants in california?
        most of what i eat never got driven over by a john deere – can you imagine?
        the peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, celery, chicken, pork ribs, steak…

        even so- the fact is that automation and intensive culture makes things be so cheap i can’t compete by growing at home. until that should happen- i’m very happy with it. if it does happen, then i can supply my own. it’s not rocket surgery. sun shines, rain falls. how’s that gonna be controlled by the courts?

      • oh- jeez- i forgot a great example
        can u say ‘humboldt county’?
        all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t do squat about 1 species of weed in one single county.
        you can go out and buy as much of that as you like any day, too.

      • Humboldt county.

        Independent, I guess, but perhaps not the most thriving example of successful free market capitalism: sounds to me like it may work with a few more rules, and a bit more structure:

        The greatest risk posed to growers is the theft of their crop by other growers or groups of armed local thugs, both in and out of uniform….This is the poorest county in the state of California. About 40% of the population here is qualified for government supported health care. And they need it. Especially the pot growers…….
        The job market is about as sick as the health care situation. Took me seven weeks to find work and I have ten solid years of experience and excellent qualifications….

        http://www.3ammagazine.com/politica/2002_jun/pot_county.html

      • i didn’t mean to submit that as an example of free market but rather as an example of what the innumerable prohibitions, armed enforcers and unfavorable courts can do to stop somebody who doesn’t want to obey.

        the commodity has been banned with the full force of the law.
        how did that work out for those canutes?

        take some of the things in that article with a grain of salt, too. the locals do not want tourists or competitors.
        but the fact is you can pay off a mortgage on your land with part of one harvest. it’s not smart to do that- but times are a changin – the disobedients have overwhelmed the system of controls.

        i think you have to know that nobody is gonna build a walmart in the hills, right?
        supermarkets operate on a margin of 2 -5%, i’m told – but to do that they need to move volume.
        that can happen in a densely populated area but most of the country is not densely populated.
        heck- most of new york is rural.

        where i live, there isn’t a payphone or walmart or fast food franchise

        it’s a different world from what you were describing.

      • 90% of the population of the developed world don’t live like that.
        All are in the cities.

        Come to think of it… ya got a bit of space left there? Sounds like it might be time to move there! :-)

      • Those who like to live in cities, keep telling me that the best thing about it is all the options available.
        Now markx tells me that they need socialism in cities because there is only one grocery store, one restaurant, one movie theater, in his entire city.

      • Nah, MarkW… you miss the point. (You apparently think in terms of a very rigid dichotomy)

        We have capitalism.
        But not the version you think we have.

        We need capitalism.
        But not the version you think we need.

    • You keep saying that. It’s almost as if you actually believe it.
      Just because you have been taught lies, doesn’t make those lies true.

  70. The study should conclude at Reunification.

    I’ve learned a lot from the president of the United states.
    1. If you have less guns and more people who’s ideology is “things go boom!”, we will be safer.
    2. White people are to blame for everything. They think they built stuff, but they lie.
    3. 3rd world corruption should be imported to the US to improve the US.
    4. Foods with all ingredients are better than soups with few, choice select ingredients.
    5. When Islamic terrorist confesses motive for murder, he is wrong, and president knows better.
    6. When he and Hillary steals, it is for my good. When I steal, it is for my bad.
    7. Guys like Mohammad founded America, not those dead white guys.
    8. Rape is not rape, it is cultural approximation of gender.
    9. A boy is a girl if he feels girlie.
    10. Air conditioners are more dangerous than men with things that go boom!

  71. I forgot to add this:

    Venezuela is actually a rich, prospering nation because of socialism.

    I learned this too!

  72. No confirmation bias on this site then! The Soviet Union and its satellites were just as conservative as the US – Stalin was a tsar. The Democrats are wishy-washy Republicans. The USA is a deeply reactionary imperial power and all these comments underline the complete lack of understanding the american people and their right-wing acolytes abroad have of reality. The US empire is crumbling and you have NO understanding of that.

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