Socialists for Capitalism
By Steve Gillman
Honest socialists should advocate capitalism, at least when
it comes to the ownership of the means of production and the
freedom of the markets. To understand why, we first have to make
some assumptions about what the goal is. Specifically, we have
to assume that socialists propose their collectivist political
systems because they think they will be good for people.
Of course, this may be difficult to believe. After all, those
most stridently advocating socialism call for equality, but almost
always envision themselves in positions of power in the new order,
where they are "more equal" than the others, in the
words of George Orwell. Also, the history of socialism in practice
is clearly a dismal one, with suffering, injustice and poverty
the norms, leading one to doubt the honesty of those who still
claim it as "good" for the people.
But let's give the benefit of the doubt to socialists, and
assume that they really do care. The fact that they don't believe
in the freedom of individuals (at least not in the economic sphere
- which makes up the largest part of one's life), may offend
us, but we'll assume that they truly believe that less freedom
is better for people. They also believe people should be equal,
not just in rights, but in economic matters, thus we have the
socialist ideas of government ownership of the means of production
and the distribution of goods. Again, lets assume they really
believe such "enforced" equality is truly good for
(I happen to believe in a more capitalist society, in case
you couldn't tell. But I think the moral arguments for capitalism
are far more important than the economic ones.)
Okay, so the honest socialist's goal is to have a more equal
society. Presumably this means that the poor are helped to be
less poor, and all have access to education, and other worthy
goals such as these. These are all goals that require money,
of course, or the redistribution of goods. This is why they should
Capitalism for Socialists
This is a simple argument. Socialist systems can't (and never
have) create as much wealth as capitalists ones, and for very
good reasons that any decent economist can explain. Therefore,
if the "good" of the people is the aim, and all of
the programs that help the people and make them more equal are
the more specific goals, then socialists should favor a system
that gives the most economic power to accomplish these goals
to the government.
In other words, The system that creates the most wealth is
the system from which the most wealth can be extracted for welfare
and other socialist plans. That is obviously the capitalist system.
In the united states, for example, welfare spending per recipient
is certainly greater than any per-person redistribution of goods
in Cuba or other socialist countries. Why? Because the money
You can't redistribute what hasn't been created. The little
bit of capitalism that the United States has creates so much
money, that just the taxes extracted from the citizens are more
(per-capita) than the whole economic output of most socialist
countries. That means more money for social programs of whatever
sort a good socialist might want.
Now, as a side note, it is important to point out that using
capitalism for socialist goals only works most efficiently if
taxes are kept at reasonable rate. When tax rates get too high,
governments take in less total tax revenue. It is like a vampire
who wants to get the most from his victim. If he sucks too much
out, the victim gets sick and produces less blood, or dies and
produces no more. The socialist, like the vampire, has to take
just the right amount to get the most in the long run.
Now, knowing that a capitalist economic system creates more
wealth, and by way of taxes more money for a government, and
knowing that this can then be spent for more socialist ideals,
why wouldn't socialists be in favor of at least this partial-capitalism?
Some are, of course. But others still will resist the idea.
Why would they want a system that is demonstrably worse for
people? Perhaps resentment against those who prosper? Seeing
wealthy people suffer may be more important than bettering the
lives of the rest. (Believe me, if the day comes when ALL are
rich, many will still resent those who are MORE rich.) Maybe
it is just an urge to control. Social engineering is always cloaked
in supposed good intentions, even when it is no more than power-seeking
for psychological or criminal motivations.
In any case, honest socialists who study economics and history
should be for partial-capitalism.