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.

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Gabro

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.

MarkW

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.

Gabro

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.

chilemike

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.

Gabro

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.

Harold

Governments can only hinder an economy

Santa Baby
troe

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.

Pat Frank

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.

Indeed. Kors’ perspective is firmly grounded in his appreciation for core Enlightenment values. I highly recommend his Teaching Company courses on the Enlightenment. He is a very perceptive and engaging historian. http://www.thegreatcourses.com/professors/alan-charles-kors/

DAve in Canmore

Wow, powerful speech. Thanks you for the link.

The Original Mike M

[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]

clipe

comment image?zoom=2

Kevin Kilty

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.

george e. smith

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

The Original Mike M

Steamboat McGoo

OMM – I agree wholeheartedly.

craig

Yep, you’ve convinced me!

Gabro

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]

average joe

Oh that’s funny. She still looked like a boy, even then!

SMC

Doesn’t look like a boy to me. Maybe in the face but that body is all woman. And it looks like she had a nice body, when she was young.

Gabro

That’s funny.
Cruel. But funny.
Much of humor is based upon cruelty.

Janice Moore

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]

SMC

Sigh…

:))

troe

You are right in every sense. When will we learn to stop insulting the very people we need to get the message across. Our apology as a community for being infantile and dense. Please stay.

Janice Moore

Thank you, so much, dear .mod.
SMC — tsk, tsk. (lol — cute)

SMC

Just trying to add a little clarity Janice. :))

Janice Moore

eye roll
🙂

Janus100

You lost my respect Janice.
I would never thought that you can be such a high brow.
Well, sigh

Paul Johnson

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

The Original Mike M

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

Michael

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.

Bye Doom

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.

Bye Doom

What is the point of the Internet, if not to shock?

Kevin Kilty

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]

Kevin Kilty

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.

Kevin Kilty

Three comments in a row head to limbo…. I must be a sinner.

Gabro

Maybe just purgatory. Some indulgences might help.

The mods seem to [hold] a low bar in [your] way to limbo.

george e. smith

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 ??

MarkW

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

Gabro

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.

george e. smith

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

Kalifornia Kook

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.

Barbara

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.

stevekeohane

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.

Ric Haldane

And prior to the pilgrims, Jamestown started out as a socialist colony.

Nigel S

Shades of Hitchhiker’s Guide B Ark.

Gabro

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).

jorgekafkazar

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.”

Kevin Kilty

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.

Ian H

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.

David H. Dodds

Same for Korea.

The Original Mike M

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

MarkW

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

Sleepalot

The people are not the dependents of their rulers.

gnomish

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

mellyrn

@ 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.

gnomish

heh- is there a joy of giving? (if you get something in return, it’s a purchase, not a gift)

george e. smith

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

Hivemind

“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.

hanelyp

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.

I was thinking that it was this by Bromberg:
“I will never be your fool” In Philly:

1985 – the same year as “Live aid” Philly & London…
JPP

The last 2 minutes sum it up ….

Thanks gnomish, for reminding me of this…

gnomish

omg! what a performance! i never saw that one- thanks!

Mike the Morlock

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

leafwalker

@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

dp

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.

Gabro

Communist Romania and Yugoslavia were less Soviet-dominated but just as screwed up as East Germany.

dp

Or Sweden and Norway – oh, wait…

Gabro

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

chilemike

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.

Gabro

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.

dp

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

Only two? Try every single one

gnomish

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

Robert B

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.
http://cdn.financialsamurai.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/average-net-worth-2014.png
Notice that Australia has the least difference.
They are not socialist.

Bryan A

But would that make Aussies anti-socialists

Nigel S

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.

Bartemis

“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.

MarkW

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.

MarkW

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.

Nigel S

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.

ParmaJohn

Yep, then there was the USSR — a true human paradise if ever there was one.

jrkrideau

@ 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.

skorrent1

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.

Hivemind

“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.

Bryan A

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

Gabro

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?

average joe

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!

Marty

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.

Mark T

“Let the virtues of each system work their magic”
Socialism has virtues? Who knew?

Steamboat McGoo

It fails quickly. I call that a virtue. Or is it a feature?

Tom in Florida

A feedback.

jorgekafkazar

Apparently one of the few virtues of Socialism is the ability to flaunt having nothing by wearing it.

The difference between East and West Germany was obvious when the wall fell in the early 1990’s.

Felflames

Self correcting negative feedback loop.

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

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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.

My first trip off of North America was to the APL conference in Leningrad in 1992 . The city was a basket case . As I wrote my Logic of Liberty columns for the Manhattan Libertarian Serf City a decade ago , http://cosy.com/Liberty/LogicOfLiberty.htm , communism couldn’t compete with competition .

Latitude

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

MarkW

Socialism is never a step up as it never creates wealth.

Latitude

from feudalism it is….

Gabro

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.

Gabro

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Serfdom
Hayek on feudalism, capitalism and socialism, including its nationalist variety, as in 1930s Germany and 2010s Scotland.

Latitude

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

Analitik

Socialism always “sounds good” when pitched. It just never is when implemented

dan no longer in CA

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

Hivemind

“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.

richardX

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

MarkW

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

MarkW

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.

MarkW

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.

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.

Gabro

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.

george e. smith

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

Kalifornia Kook

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.

Gabro

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.

texasjimbrock

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?

Steve Fraser

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.

gnomish

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

gnomish

“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.

gnomish

and let’s see if you’re gonna even try telling that same baloney about AMTRAK
go ahead- try it. make my day.

Gary Hladik

Stossel on private roads:

Gabro

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.

MarkW

Economic growth since the 60’s have been intermittent to poor as well.

MarkW

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

Kalifornia Kook

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.

But the rejoinder will be “It just wasn’t done right that time, and we can do better”.

Gabro

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.

Harold

All govts. are socialist; it’s just a matter of degree.

CarlF

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.

Gabro

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.

RandyS

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.

Kalifornia Kook

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.

Gabro

She and Putin speak the same language. Literally.

Gabro

Trump isn’t the guy who sold American uranium mining rights to Russia. That was Clinton.

Latitude

And Putin and Trump are in a bromance…
…as opposed to Putin running all over Obama and Hillary

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.

Rob Morrow

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.

Gabro

And it can only be maintained by murder and places the state before mothers and fathers.

Rob Morrow

+2

Harold

All govts. steal: it’s called taxation.

Rob Morrow

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.

Gabro

Clinton steals. It’s called selling American foreign policy to the highest bidder.

Gard R. Rise

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…

leafwalker

@ 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.

Rob Morrow

@ 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.

Rob Morrow

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.

Gard R. Rise

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.)

MarkW

In Franklin’s day, govt taxation was just a couple of percent.

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.

Tom in Florida

Christians break the First Commandment, but let’s not go there on this thread.

dickon66

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.

Mark T

Deregulation… or, “moving towards a more capitalist sytem.” Got it.

dickon66

No, actually going a lot further than any other capitalism-driven economy at that time, even outstripped the USA when it got into its stride.

Mark from the Midwest

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.

Mark T

The only “proper” way requires an elimination of desire, and thus, free will.

MarkG

Yes. Socialism will work perfectly once they succeed in engineering The New Socialist Man.

Tom in Florida

The key question is properly implemented by whom?

The Original Mike M

Best explanation why we must never allow state enforced socialism =

Kalifornia Kook

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.

PiperPaul

+97

A lot of the crony capitalism comes from those who support or are supported by those pushing socialism. For example, the entire green economy.

Gabro

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.

Eugene WR Gallun

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

Mark T

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.

The Original Mike M

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.

Gabro

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.

MarkW

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.

Ipso Phakto

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

dan no longer in CA

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….

Tom in Florida

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

Kalifornia Kook

+1

commieBob

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.

Gabro

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.

Steve Fraser

The German’s have a saying.. Zu viel ist untgesunt… Too much is unhealthy.

commieBob

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.

gnomish

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.

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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.

gnomish

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?

gnomish

“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

and who remembers SARS?
it found a natural home in canadian hosptials:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severe_acute_respiratory_syndrome
word for the day – NOSOCOMIAL

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.

gnomish

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?

gnomish

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.

gnomish

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

gnomish

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.

gnomish

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.

gnomish

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.

Harold

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.

PiperPaul

Peter to pay Paul, and you have to pay the Piper. So where’s my money?!

Steve Fraser

Bob… Let’s see how you do if you need a hip replacement after age 80.

commieBob

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

I’m from Sk and I can tell you that they are very good at hip replacements, and have been for decades. But one skill set does not a healthcare system make.

Gabro

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.

richard verney

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.

commieBob

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]

Gabro

Commiebob,
There are lots of groups in the world slowly suiciding by those means.
More in Europe and Russia than the US.

commieBob

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.

tim lutz

my neighbours drive 150 ft to the mailbox

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?

Tom in Florida

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.

MarkW

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.

commieBob

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. 🙂

MarkW

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.

commieBob

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.)

Pat Frank

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.

PiperPaul

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?

CD in Wisconsin

@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?

Gabro

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).

mellyrn

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.

Gabro

Mell,
Sent. Let me know if it doesn’t get through.

PiperPaul

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

CD in Wisconsin

@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.

commieBob

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.

MarkW

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.

sonofametman

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.

Chris Hanley

“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).

“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)

“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.

LarryD

Re: dp
Einstein was referring to science. Socialism is a religion. An “Intellectuals” religion. (see F. A. Hayek The Intellectuals and Socalism https://mises.org/system/tdf/Intellectuals%20and%20Socialism_4.pdf?file=1&type=document
As for trying to make it work economically, see von Mises Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis https://mises.org/library/socialism-economic-and-sociological-analysis

NW sage

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.

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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.

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.

gnomish

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

Gabro

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.

gnomish

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

Gabro

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.

Mark T

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.

MarkW

gnomish, ownership without control, is not ownership.

gnomish

” 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

CWinNY

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.

Jeff L

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.

Steamboat McGoo

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

Bartemis
Gabro

Graphic!

K. Kilty

What looks like empty ocean between the Koreas–the Straight of Socialism.

K. Kilty

Oh, cripes. The Strait of Socialism.

Gabro

Dire economic straits.
As in starvation for all but the nomenklatura.

gnomish

beyond persuasive.

gnomish

ha- it’s Earth Day every day there!

Analitik

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.

gnomish

if you want science and no politics- maybe don’t come to a site that deals with global warming.

Gabro

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.

Gabro

Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change Alarmism is all politics and no science.

Gabro

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?

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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?

Gabro

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?

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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?

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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.

Gabro

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

Gabro

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?

Chimp

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?

Chimp

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.

Chimp

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?

Bye Doom

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.

Bye Doom

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.

Bye Doom

Seriously, dude, why do you think that greenhouses keep their air at 1300 ppm of CO2?

Bye Doom

Can you really possibly be this idiotic?
Food is ingested substances.
You are such a goon.

Bye Doom

CC,
You pathetic goon!
The US NIH urges nutrient-dense FOODS for older people, ie high in nutrients and low in ENERGY.
https://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/choosenutrientdensefoods/01.html
Now kindly STFU, pathetic loser loon!

Bye Doom

CC,
You blithering simpleton. Why do you keep digging your hole deeper?
Lots of crops are grown in greenhouses. Here in Florida, the crops grown in greenhouses include pepper, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, herbs and strawberry.
http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/crops/hydroponics/
Why do you insist on making such a fool of yourself? Are you getting paid?

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.

Bye Doom

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

Bye Doom

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.

Bye Doom

Hey, Goon!
Optimum for winter wheat growth close to 1000 ppm CO2:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26253981
Probably the world’s number one food crop, except maybe for corn (maize) or rice.
You are such a blithering idiotic loon-goon.

Bye Doom

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.

Bye Doom

Hey Goon,
Or do you think you know more than NASA’s scientists, who concluded that more plant food in the air has greened the earth?
http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

Bye Doom

Goon,
Wheat yield has been greatly boosted by more CO2 in the air.
Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

Chimp

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!

Latitude

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

staspeterson BSME, MSMa, MBA

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.

Brian Bach

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.

Gabro

Well, the economic success of USA v. USSR is at least as strong a case for capitalism as the failure of IPCC models v. reality is a case for climate skepticism.
IMHO.

SMC

That’s nice. What do you believe the alternatives are?

MarkW

Since you are such an expert, show us where we are wrong.

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.

markl

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.

Ipso Phakto

Politics infected and corrupted science, so the dissection of both is necessary.

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…

Bye Doom

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.

Mark T

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

Mark T

Indeed, and one person’s experience clearly defines the whole of the nation’s.

MarkW

When a socialist agrees with it, one opinion is always sufficient to prove a case.

MarkW

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.

willhaas

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?