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Does Socialism Work? How Academics Conveniently Ignore Reality

Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2021
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by AMAC, Bob Carlstrom
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58 Comments
socialism

No, socialism doesn’t work. Most of us know that. So does anyone who has ever lived in or whose family has fled communism or a socialist country. But most Americans have not had that experience or even know someone who has. American capitalism has shielded us from the destitution of socialist practices, and those Americans who have lived in both systems are keenly aware of the disparity between the two. That’s partly why so many young Americans are cooling to capitalism. In 2019, 58% of Americans ages 18-34 reacted positively to the word capitalism, but that’s plunged to 49% today, according to a June 5-11, 2021 Axios/Momentive poll.

Youth in America today are under the toxic influence of a large and growing field of so-called “academics,” you know, those hyper-liberal college professors. So why are there so many liberal academics, and how do they conveniently ignore reality?

First, let’s look at historical examples of socialism. Dr. Mark Perry, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, says that socialism will always fail “because it’s a flawed system based on completely faulty principles that aren’t consistent with human behavior and can’t nurture the human spirit.” In his 1995 essay ‘Why Socialism Failed,’ Perry uses historical examples to make the case that “Socialism is the Big Lie of the twentieth century. While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny. Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.”

Perry and others before him have rightly noted that, unlike socialism, capitalism’s success can be attributed to an incentive structure based upon the three Ps: prices determined by market forces, a profit-and-loss system of accounting, and private property rights. “The failure of socialism can be traced to its neglect of these three incentive-enhancing components,” Perry writes. 

The fall of the former Soviet Union is an often-cited example, but more contemporary socialist societies have also failed their people, leading to massive inflation, devalued currency, lacking supply of goods and services, and a low standard of living. Israel, India, and the U.K. tried after World War II, but those attempts also failed. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher  best summed up her country’s turn away from socialism as the kingdom neared bankruptcy by famously stating, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Today’s young people could look at Cuba and Venezuela, yet somehow they are conveniently ignored by academics or their failure attributed to U.S. policies that rightly isolate those regimes who abuse their people in order to control them using a corrupt system of government. 

The answers are related and pretty understandable. In fact, they have been known for quite some time. In his 1949 essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” F. A. Hayek offered a partial explanation. Hayek asked why “the more active, intelligent and original men among [American] intellectuals … most frequently incline toward socialism.” His answer was based on the opportunities available to people of various talents.

Hayek essentially argues that intelligent people who favor a free-market tend to find opportunities for professional and financial success outside of academia. In other words, they are successful in the private sector. Other highly intelligent people find themselves unable to make it to the private sector and are more likely to choose an academic career. Hence, college campuses tend to be filled with those intellectuals who were favorably disposed toward socialism from the beginning. Hence the expression, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” 

Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action

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John
John
2 years ago

While having stores full of merchandic made in the communist regime. Only a few months ago China took over private owned stores. Were supporting not only our military but theirs?

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

Capitalism works if you work for a living & live within your means. Do not buy something unless you can afford it —- otherwise wait until you can afford it. I will use Student Loans as an example , as I knew that I was responsible to pay this back because I borrowed it. There is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH even tho it seems like a good deal.

Michael
Michael
2 years ago

I will attest that as a long time trial attorney myself I look back at the roster of law professors I had: most were academic lifers more focused on esoteric principles than having any apparent regard for practical pointers associated with the real world practice of law, running a small business, etc.

R.J. from Arizona
R.J. from Arizona
2 years ago

Civics is not taught anymore. True US history and our Constitution is not taught anymore. True world history is not taught. Basic knowledge of our government is unknown to a lot of people. College kids have no concept of where government gets it’s money or the word taxes. Such a drastic change in our citizens in just 50 years. God help us, this generation can’t.

Barb304
Barb304
2 years ago

It’s been shown around the world socialism does not work. There’s nothing basically wrong with our country’s laws and our capitalism. What’s wrong with our country right now is the current administration and the numerous greedy, anti-Americans and anti-Semitics in our Congress. We must fix this people! Vote and vote carefully!!!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 years ago

I say send them into Cuba, Venezula, Russia, China to “sample” socialisim.

Kevin S
Kevin S
2 years ago

Great article BC, last line says a Lot.
I’ve shut up more than a few who think socialism is a viable economic system with one question:
Give me one example of True socialism, not a hybrid, that has benefited all its people and not descended into totalitarian communism, essentially enslaving all its people (except elites).

Felix
Felix
2 years ago

Free enterprise and capitalism will solve every challenge in a society.

Veteran
Veteran
2 years ago

Only one American Constitutional Republic but plenty of left over communist totalitarian prison style dictatorships around the world. If they don’t like our way of life they should do the honest thing and emigrate to the communist hell of their choice, so they can be all the communist they want to be, not try to ruin everyone else’s freedom.

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 years ago

Is there a reason that those not happy with the system here will not emigrate to a communist promised land other that they are useless losers and they know it would not be tolerated in workers paradise where all work for the glorious state

Bill Nash
Bill Nash
2 years ago

Career bureaucrats and politicians have no idea what it like to compete in an open market. Money just simply flows into their hands. They’ve no clue how it really works, so they make rules based on their ignorant but “good intentions”, themselves living in a socialist utopia.

William H. DeLeshe
William H. DeLeshe
2 years ago

As former Prime Minister said “Socialism is great until the money runs out.”Socialism or Communism
will never work.Just stay with what we have.

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
2 years ago

Enjoyed the article. Very succinct and accurate. Thank you.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
2 years ago

If you yonger generations think Socialism is good, go live inCanada fora year. It’s not ll that far off. Kyle L.

Texas Resister 64
Texas Resister 64
2 years ago

Having been a school teacher, HS and college, for almost all my 53 year career, I can affirm that those of us who can “make it” in business and professional classes do. But some of us who have done that continue to teach, because we want to influence the skulls-fulla-mush we are given by their parents. And I think I’ve done my part in both worlds. But from my Stanford experience, I can affirm that those only in academe are indeed prone to teach government as the solution. After all, they can apply to NSF for a grant, and as long as it contains the phrase “climate change” they can get the money, just like using the magic abbreviation “HIV” got them money from their grant applications thirty years ago. So remember, some of us can do, and can teach, and serve in both worlds.

Lynn
Lynn
2 years ago

People left of center live in their own and each others heads, They ignore reality, history and human nature. They should join Dorothy and crew in Oz. Just wanting what they want and/or should be doesn’t make it so.

Jeanne
Jeanne
2 years ago

Excellent article! It tells it like it is. Socialism doesn’t work, has never worked and never will work. It is contrary to human behavior and only those who seek power and control over others are in favor of this faulty thinking and destructive system. Should rename it misery.

Robin Rosenblatt
Robin Rosenblatt
2 years ago

Socialism is Evil

Honey
Honey
2 years ago

The overspending and the plans to nationalize election law are two very dangerous things. We must stop the spending any way we are able and we must never let them pass anything that brings election laws away from the state legislatures, where our founding fathers put that power, and into Washington..
If the Supreme Court could wake up, any movement of election law to Washington to override state legislatures would be unconstitutional and thus should be immediately struck down by the Court. But would they do that?

A side note – on another subject – Biden is not capable of making real decisions. He is the puppet and Obama and his operatives are making terrible policy with Biden as the figurehead. How come everyone knows Biden is terrible, low ratings earned, yet Obama and his wife are top of the heap popular? This makes no sense. Obama’s polls should be right down there with Biden’s.

teresa
teresa
2 years ago

let me say this – we were not meant to be a socialist country – we who were born here did not come into a socialist country – so where do you haters of this good country come off trying to make us into a socialist country- get your a s s our of here bc you will get taken out one way or another – people are so pissed off and won’t take this nonsense any more

Jesse Tiede
Jesse Tiede
2 years ago

I can tell you why kids LOVE Socialism in just 7 little words… Conservatism equals work and Socialism equals FREE! Simple as that…

Gregory Russell
Gregory Russell
2 years ago

The Founders of this great Republic were Christian men, and as such, they espoused a work ethic. In the world at that time it was WELL understood, and they KNEW that NOTHING was free, they were not “entitled” to anything they didnt work for, and in that day, it was very straightforward, they WORKED or they starved. Period. As God has been banished from the public square in America, as societal constraints have been stamped out, as a culture and a society with NO moral compass has risen and overcome this nation, we have not only lost Gods blessings, were coming into His condemnation and judgement.
Socialism is evil and goes counter to our Capitalistic society and economy, and counter to the very Word of God. God
s Word says that if a man is able to work and does not, he shouldn`t eat. Socialism feeds upon greed and lust and laziness. ANYONE who espouses socialism in America is a traitor to this Republic. Period.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
2 years ago

But when they ignore history something should go upside their heads. To heck with niceties if they are that stupid they should hurt and in ways, they will remember for years.

BAE
BAE
2 years ago

Too many people want nice stuff, but they don’t want to work for it. And they certainly will not get it from socialism. Gullible fools. And they watch CNN the HATER channel.

Peter J Keep
Peter J Keep
2 years ago

When will AMAC include the social media links to allow sharing of these useful messages?

Wayne Heggemeier
Wayne Heggemeier
2 years ago

Please remember that not all universities and colleges are strictly based on a liberal arts education. There are very practical fields of study, like engineering and agriculture – think Land Grant schools – that do Not have many, if any, ‘woke’ professors.
The elitists are present, even the administrations maybe poisoned, but they don’t have as much power as they do at, at say, the Ivy League schools.
Just please don’t lump the idiots with the “good guys”, the good guys have enough trouble dealing with the knotheads, they don’t need false accusations being thrown at them when they venture away from the “hallowed halls”.

johnh
johnh
2 years ago

The people that are “Looting & grabbing stores ” in California , Chicago,etc. would not be tolerated under Socialism + maybe not much in stores cuz of no incentive to produce products. How can anyone in America think they can just walk in to a store & walk out with things they did not pay for.

Steven G Doyle
Steven G Doyle
2 years ago

Socialism doesn’t work, but Fascism does. Not very well, but well enough to sustain itself.

Morbious
Morbious
2 years ago

Socialism is quite effective at using the weaknesses of human nature to recreate ancient forms of government, meaning rule by aristocracies. There is stratification between the ruling class and the peasants. What i find so sad is the effectiveness of these so called teachers at convincing so many millennials that the American Dream is either silly or downright evil. One of the chief demons responsible for this was Howard Zinn. His hideous ‘history’ book became a standard text forty yrs ago. We were mostly too busy making a living to check out juniors schoolbooks. Its easy to lie to kids and hard to dislodge the lies later.

Gen. Patton
Gen. Patton
2 years ago

Great article, and all these clowns who could “not do” teach at Harvard , Yale, or Moscow University

FJB
FJB
2 years ago

Please read “The Road to Serfdom” by Hayek!! It’s available online for free. There’s even a Reader’s Digest version (abridged)! It should be required reading in all high schools and colleges.

Dr.C
Dr.C
2 years ago

It’s basically robbing productive Joe to pay slothful Joe, with the underlining word “robbing”. The Government steals from those who labor for their wages and distributes them to the inactive, nonproductive.

Larry W.
Larry W.
2 years ago

Socialism is good for 2 things, taking your money and taking your freedoms. Socialists will give you “things” of far less value then what they take from you.

BAE
BAE
2 years ago

Hmm, why is it that smart people want and like socialism? I was told, it is because they are not so smart.

Garye
Garye
2 years ago

Great article, hope it’s read by all democrat supporters, maybe then they’ll have a clue where their marxist party is headed.

Garye
Garye
2 years ago

Great observation. For many years the private sector offered the best opportunity for great wages,benefits,perks for those who worked hard, now the government employees have higher wages,better benefits and cradle to grave positions even for unproductive people!
We need smaller government,accountability, fiscal reform, balanced budgets at every level and private enterprise to again be more attractive than government jobs.

Edward
Edward
2 years ago

socialists are people who crave power and wealth but could never attain it “the old fashioned way” ie. working hard and earning it. We have the same problem in corporate america, many in top management positions got there thru connections, and stabbing in the back of others who would actually be better at running things for the betterment of all employees of the companies they work for.

Hal
Hal
2 years ago

Socialism means a large percentage of the population will be lazy and indigent and there is no incentive to do well or better as the Socialistic population increases, thus leading to Communism. Socialism is a base step to be converted to Communism. For partisan groups of people that want to establish their role in the hierarchy of political control, socialism is a vulnerable system to convert unwittingly by most to a Communistic governance. Religious socialism works for most of the participating population, but it generally has a banishment or punishment factor to keep it from falling apart; also, it is very, very selective in membership.

Len Tippett
Len Tippett
2 years ago

Spoiler


John
John
2 years ago

RE: Does Socialism Work
This was a well written, short synopsis bringing into focus some salient points. Friedrich Hayek has been popularized recently as a champion of freedom and is a favorite among us conservatives. However, what is missing from the short article, and transcends Hayek’s take on Socialism, is the fact that Socialism/Communism is not primarily an economic theory, it is an immoral system of control. Socialism is an immoral system of slavery based on thievery, control and government bureaucracy that inhibits the ‘serfs’ from ever reaching their potential as productive human beings.

e brown
e brown
2 years ago

Communism impoverishes nations.
Socialism impoverishes nations.
I taught my students that for many years.

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