Socialism: Caveat Emptor

By Dr. Harold A. Black

Socialists hate capitalism because it works so well. Capitalism’s critics living in capitalist economies complain and whine because capitalism produces prosperity. Socialism produces poverty and starvation. Those conditions are endemic to socialism and are the norm whereas in capitalism they are the exception, not the rule. Evidence abounds before our very eyes but is ignored. Remember East Germany versus West Germany or North versus South Korea? No advocate of socialism could ever convince anyone that living under socialism was preferred to living under capitalism – unless of course you are a member of the socialist ruling elite. What it really boils down to is that socialists do not like markets because markets reflect the choices of the people rather than the elites. In the minds of the socialists, markets are wasteful and messy. When one Russian leader visited the United States, he was taken into a Baskin-Robbins. He proclaimed that the US economy would fail because it wasted so many resources producing 31 different flavors of ice cream when only three were necessary – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. He loved chocolate. Of course, if the other flavors were banned, then a black market in ice cream would appear because the market works even where it is restrained – rum raisin anyone?

Markets strive to satisfy the multitude of consumer tastes in clothing, food, drugs, automobiles (although the elites are working hard to limit your choices), music, consumables and non-consumables. Your typical Walmart Supercenter carries over 142,000 items and Walmart online carries 70 million SKUs (stock keeping units). Amazon lists over 500 million SKUs. I wonder how many choices are available in the socialist paradise of North Korea. In a capitalist economy the production of all this variety is not wasteful. If it were, then the item would not be produced. If capitalism were wasteful and socialism was not then one would expect to see lots of empty shelves in capitalist stores and overflowing shelves in socialist ones. Reality shows the opposite. The only time I can recall of shortages and empty shelves was during Covid and that was temporary and a result of government missteps.

Ask Bernie Sanders and AOC why are living conditions and economic prosperity worse under socialism. Also ask why don’t they expatriate to the socialist paradise of their choice. It is because, contrary to their whining, they know that they would be worse off living under socialism. Besides, where else but in a capitalist country can you carp and complain and be paid handsomely to live in affluence by the very system that you profess the desire to destroy? America’s socialists are whiners with no socially redeeming virtues.

There are always China, Russia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Angola, Laos, Zambia or lovely Cuba for our American socialists to go to live. But then they would have to give up their Teslas, French bulldogs, designer dresses, fancy apartments and estates, and have to work for a living rather than have capitalism generate the wealth that allows them to continue to live off the productivity of others. I am certain that there must be a reason why socialists keep winning elections other than to get them to live in Washington rather than in their home state. Perhaps they get the vote of the welfare dependent, or the millions of government workers who get higher pay, work fewer hours and hardly ever get fired. Maybe they get the vote of the unions or of the teachers who have job security and salaries based on time on the job rather than merit. Yet again to be a socialist you have to be blind to reality and to human nature. This is why socialism is more popular amongst the youth than people who have to work for a living and pay their own bills. American socialists foolishly pretend that America’s wealth will continue on an upward path even if they take away the incentive to be productive – the profit motive. They are wrong and, in their hearts, they probably know it.