Socialism works sometimes. I enjoy the work of Walter E. Williams and have for at least 25 years. In a recent article, “Socialist Promises” he pointed out a condition where socialism works.
“By the way, I’m not making an outright condemnation of socialism. I run my household on the Marxist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” That system works when you can remember the names of all involved.”
When capitalism works
Williams points out that capitalism a recent invention. Before that theft was the common way to enrich oneself. “With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man.” The capitalist method is simple, “Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit.” It leads to prosperity for all. Rockefeller amassed a great fortune, but while he did so the price of kerosene fell from 58 cents a gallon to 7 cents. Ford made cars cheap enough that everyone could afford one.
Why pursuit of profit works.
“This pursuit forces entrepreneurs to find ways to either please people efficiently or go bankrupt.” You might wonder why people attack this process. In my view, they have never thought it through. Envy is a powerful tool when manipulated by political hucksters. We have no shortage of those. Only miniscule insight is needed to discover anti-capitalism is a foolish track.
Examine government agencies. Do they provide better service than say, Amazon? Do non-profits funded by government budgetary largess please more people. Clearly not. Yet they survive because the government can take money from you to provide their revenue.
Capitalism relies on people voluntarily giving up their money for some good or service. Voluntarily. Not taken. Of their own free will. Because the benefit received is worth more to them than the money given up. Businesses who do not please their customers sufficiently go away. Government agencies and departments endure without the need to please anyone.
Promises are cheap
The execution of them is not cheap. There is nothing that imposes fiscal discipline. Tax and spend is a an easy trap to catch politicians. It does not end well for those who pay the bills.
Politicians need incentives that align their actions with the good of the people and the country. Like businesses must align their activity to enhance the well being of their customers. That necessarily requires governments to be smaller.
It won’t happen. Voting does not solve anything because all politicans have the same incentives. Mark Twain, at his cynical best, said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”
Vote for people who have little incentive to be a politician. In that there may be hope.
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