The proponents of socialism proclaim that you need the whole loaf or socialism will fail. Proponents of capitalism don’t have to make such claims. Usually just moving in that direction leads to improvement in economic well-being. With a hat tip to SLL reader ikdr, from Ryan McMaken at mises.org:
Socialists have attempted many times to put their ideology into action. Socialism has been applied in the Soviet Union, Cuba, China (before Deng), North Korea, and by many other less-famous regimes.
In each case, the result has been economic impoverishment and political authoritarianism.
But the die-hard socialists refuse to give up. “Don’t judge communism based on these results, ” we’re told. “Socialism has simply never really been tried.”
Socialism Doesn’t Work Unless It’s Pure Socialism
Indeed, in a recent back-and-forth between John Stossel and Noam Chomsky, Chomsky denied that the Venezuelan regime is socialist at all:
I never described Chavez’s state capitalist government as ‘socialist’ or even hinted at such an absurdity. It was quite remote from socialism. Private capitalism remained … Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital.
The thinking goes that socialism cannot work unless it progresses all the way to “full socialism.” No partial effort will suffice, we are told, and socialism keeps failing because the some elements of “private capitalism” remained.
So long as any aspect of a state is not full-on socialism, the thinking goes, then the regime is not really socialist. Moreover, the failure of the regime’s socialist policies — such as expropriation of private companies and expansion of government-owned industries — are to be blamed on capitalism, not socialism.
RELATED: “Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela” by Ryan McMaken
Naturally, were socialism able to achieve it’s final state — and all elements of capitalism expunged — we’d know it by its ushering in of a society marked by unparalleled prosperity and total equality.
Nevermind that for all intents and purposes, Lenin did achieve nearly complete and total nationalization of the economy during the Russian Civil War in 1922. The people began to starve soon after, and Lenin retreated to the partial socialism under his so-called “New Economic Policy.”
To continue reading: Why Do Half-Measures Work for Markets, But Not for Socialism?