Socialism’s incredible record of failure


You really need to get with the programme dear reader. Socialism is the new black and puts the cool in communism.  Our dear leader has told us that capitalism has failed and that we really should give socialism a whirl. As the ex-president of the International Young Socialist League, she knows all about socialism.

The fact that socialism has a solid one hundred percent record of failure should not deter us because the next attempt to build a socialist society will be completely different. In fact according to some if you strip socialism down to its essence, and return it to its roots it is actually an ideology of “radical democracy.”( Yeah I don’t know what radical democracy means either.)

Nathan Robinson, the editor of Current Affairs magazine wrote that socialism has not “failed”. It has just never been done properly: Quote:

It’s incredibly easy to be both in favour of socialism and against the crimes committed by 20th century communist regimes. […]

When anyone points me to the Soviet Union or Castro’s Cuba and says “Well, there’s your socialism,” my answer […] [is] that these regimes bear absolutely no relationship to the principle for which I am fighting. […] The history of the Soviet Union doesn’t really tell us much about “communism” […] End of quote.

As you can see, those who sing the praises of socialism are very comfortable with pointing out its imagined benefits while ignoring historical evidence of its negatives.Quote.

I can draw distinctions between the positive and negative aspects of a political program. I like the bit about allowing workers to reap greater benefits from their labor. I don’t like the bit about putting dissidents in front of firing squads. End of quote:

Owen Jones has written that Cuba’s current version of socialism is not “real” socialism but that it could one day become the real thing. This view of socialism reminds me of those who when faced with the evils of Islamism protest that it is not true Islam and that those Muslims are not true Muslims. Based on that reasoning it seems that the millions of socialist citizens worldwide living in poverty and despair thanks to their socialist governments aren’t real socialists because their version of socialism isn’t true socialism. Basically, their reasoning suggests that if socialism ends in failure, violence and corruption then it couldn’t possibly be real socialism. On the other hand, when capitalism isn’t perfect in some way capitalism is blamed. Have you ever heard anyone say that true capitalism simply hasn’t been tried yet?

Those who think that socialism would succeed if only the people behind it had the right aspirations don’t seem to realise that all the failed experiments in socialism started off with people with really good intentions. None of them started off with the intention of building a system that would lead to violence, a society run by a corrupt wealthy few and general economic failure. Quote:

Socialists usually react with genuine irritation when a political opponent mentions an earlier, failed socialist project. They cannot see this is anything other than a straw man, and a cheap shot. As a result, they refuse to address the question why those attempts have turned out the way they did. According to contemporary socialists, previous socialist leaders simply did not really try, and that is all there is to know. End of quote.

[…] contemporary socialists completely fail to address the deficiencies of socialism in the economic sphere. They talk a lot about how their version of socialism would be democratic, participatory, non-authoritarian, nice and cuddly. […]

Contemporary socialists seem to assume that a democratised version of socialism would not just be more humane, but also economically more productive and efficient: reform the political system, and the rest will somehow follow. There is no reason why it should. Democracy, civil liberties and human rights are all desirable in their own right, but they do not, in and of themselves, make countries any richer.

A version of East Germany without the Stasi, the Berlin Wall and the police brutality would have been a much better country than the one that actually existed. But even then: East Germany’s economic output per capita was only one third of the West German level. Democracy, on its own, would have done nothing to close that gap.

A version of North Korea without the secret police and the labour camps would be a much better country than the one that actually exists. But even then: the North-South gap in living standards is so vast that the average South Korean is 3–8cm taller than the average North Korean, and lives more than ten years longer. Democracy would not make North Koreans any taller, or likelier to reach old age.

Ultimately, the contemporary argument for socialism boils down to: “next time will be different, because we say so.”

After more than two dozen failed attempts, that is just not good enough.End of quote.

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

Listen to this post: