Is socialism making a comeback?

It is if you listen to the political retards like commenters at The Standard and other people like Chris Trotter, who must have woken to the news of the Roy Morgan poll with some shock.

It is their belief that Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are the path to salvation…that is, if their salvation looks and tastes like Venezuela’s.

But could socialism be making a comeback?

Perhaps people can be forgiven for having come to the belief that capitalism is synonymous with Wall Street shenanigans or bank bailouts. That’s what politicians, academics, and the media have pounded into us for years. When was the last time you saw a movie where businessmen weren’t greedy and evil, if not outright murderers. Perhaps we need to be reminded of what free-market capitalism really is, and how much better it has made our lives.

After all, if one looks at the long course of human history, our existence was pretty much hand to mouth for most of it. All that began to change in the 1700s with the development of modern — that is, capitalist — economics.

But one doesn’t have to go back 300 years to see the advantages of free-market capitalism. Consider that in the last 25 years, a period during which much of the world has embraced free markets, a billion people have been lifted out of poverty, and the global poverty rate has been slashed from more than 37 percent to less than 10 percent.

It’s not just the decline in poverty that tracks with the adoption of free markets and capitalism. Literacy rates increase and infant mortality declines as countries adopt market-based economies. Life expectancy rises, and people’s health improves. Even the environment gets cleaner.

And opportunities open up for women and minorities. Indeed, nothing challenges entrenched elites like the “creative destruction” of free-market capitalism.

Despite what Chris Trotter, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn will have you believe, socialism is still as bad as it ever was.

It is free-market capitalism that provides the innovation and opportunity that leads to the increase in choices we have today. Choices in where we work, how we live, and, yes, the products we buy. From new drugs that save lives to labor-saving devices that reduce the drudgery of household work to the device you are reading this essay on, capitalism drove these developments each step along the way.

There was a reason, after all, why West Germany built the Mercedes-Benz, while East Germany produced the Trabant.

Bernie Sanders may think it’s terrible that we have a choice of deodorants, but most Americans would rather not shop in a Venezuelan supermarket.

I welcome choice. Socialists welcome control.

Need more? According to the Human Freedom Index, more economic freedom correlates with more personal freedom. Just consider countries with state-controlled economies and how little personal freedom they allow. On the other hand, countries with free-market economies tend to be free in other ways, too.

Of course, when Bernie and his followers talk about socialism, they don’t really want to turn the U.S. into Venezuela or Cuba. They want to have socialism while keeping all the benefits of capitalism — having their cake and eating it too.

When Andrew Little says employers are parasites he is intoning the same sentiments…forgetting that employers are the ones giving wages to the workers. He wants to tax the fruits of capitalism and spend like a socialist.

That’s why Bernie frequently cites Sweden and Denmark as examples of socialism. This ignores the fact that both countries have long since understood that you can’t really tax and spend your way to prosperity. Call them SINOs — Socialists in Name Only.

In fact, when it comes to international trade and business regulations, both Sweden and Denmark are less socialist than the United States, according to the most recent Economic Freedom of the World rankings. In the 1990s, Sweden introduced school choice into elementary education, and it has even partially privatized its social-security system. Denmark recently cut the duration of unemployment benefits, and both countries have significantly reduced their corporate-income-tax rates; the Danish government has slashed the rate from 32 percent in 2000 to 23.5 percent last year. That can’t be what Bernie Sanders wants, can it?

Look at the debate around charter schools. It’s the same stale socialist arguments, unsupported by facts.

In the end, most of socialism’s defenders wind up defining the term down to where it is nearly meaningless. Sanders likes to describe Social Security and public schools as examples of socialism. Then again, with Social Security running almost $26 trillion in the red and the disaster that the public schools have become, maybe they aren’t the best examples to point to.

Heh, too true and equally applicable to New Zealand.

Chances are many of socialism’s current fans like it because they think it means “free stuff.” But of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

No, there isn’t. It all has to be paid for, same as it ever was.


– Cato Institute

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