I love idiots, I truly do. I love individuals who, while being very smart intellectually, can’t think they way out of a paper bag. I mean, I am amazed that so many otherwise smart people believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter rabbit, and Santa Claus. Now communism and socialism are social, political, and economic theories. What do I mean by that? Very simply, the distribution of the means of survival in the world are based upon these three individual theories. A political theory ascribes where the power of social responsibility lies. That is, do we decide that a small group of individuals make all the political and economic decisions and the rest of us go along with such decisions or should we as individuals make our own decisions or is there some middle course? The economic part of this is who owns what, who gets what, how do we decide who gets what and how much, and where should all these decisions be made? The social aspect is what are the obligations that we think we should have towards others. That is, how do we define individual responsibility versus cooperative responsibility?
If we are on the island of Vanuatu we may have a hunter-gather type of society. Of course we have those individuals from other societies that may wish to share such a society on that island. But that begs the question, what about family? Should we put immediate and extend family first and tell such visitors who have no connection to our families that they may not live on the island with us? That is a political, social, and economic decision for the families to make. There are very few hunter-gather societies in existence to guide us and their relative lack of sophistication in such matters is of little help. BUt such societies are the exception. I am reminder of the French enlightenment’s fondness of such simple societies as the ideal societies because they represent the pure spirit of mankind (my apologies, I do not bend to politically correct language, I equate men and women to be the same when mentioning mankind). Somehow rusticated societies were far more the pure representations of the ideal in social ideals, you know, the noble savage. Yet history shows that the noble savage never existed, so much for myth. In most hunter-gather societies one may find the patriarchal power struggles that modern feminists fear. Well, someone has to make the decisions. Were the Hopi any better at propagating their society throughout the southwest?
So we are stuck with the problems of modern societies and political expedients, and the economic consequences of such decisions. Remember, we can define economics as both individual and collective human behavior, of which there is no real “laws” that may be quantified into formulas. Any economist who maintains such bullshit is a fake and his theories rest on false assumptions. One cannot mathematically model billions of individuals decisions as to what to buy and what to sell. We don’t have the programming skills nor the computer power. Anyway, humans are very apt to change their minds about s[pending money and acquiring goods and services. How long were Pet Rocks popular? What, then are left to conclude about any political theory that purports to include social and economic theory as its basis? If you ask a poor man whether he would rather have what you consider a fair share income or win the lotto for several million dollars, guess what his answer would be? If you ask a CEO of a corporation if he would rather have a million dollar salary or stock options that could be worth a billion dollars, guess what his answer would be? Do I really need to spell it out for you? When given a choice between having more and having what someone else calls a fair share, what is the answer? Most people will opt for more. Why is that? Human nature, we are a greedy bunch of individuals. Oh that doesn’t mean we won’t give you the shirt off our backs if we think you deserve it. But you better damn well deserve it. If I perceive someone really needs my help I will give it. If I perceive that they are gaming the system, screw them.
So in communism, everyone works for the state. The state owns everything, one may own only a few personal items, if that, and one must work hard so that others can benefit from one’s hard work. It is not up to the individual to judge the worthiness of others to enjoy the fruits of our labors, it is simply up to us to provide such fruit. The spirit of communism will prevail. Well, one might as well be a christian and believe in the holy spirit. Same difference. Communism is a belief system, a religion, pure and simple. If one believes then the state does the best by its people that it can. Except that measurement in its economy is a bitch. With out the mechanism of supply and demand the state cannot produce what is needed where it is needed and for who it is needed nor how it is produced. The state can only guess. I suppose that generic toothpaste is good enough, but if it is produces, what is the true cost? We might make the assumption that everyone needs one tube of toothpaste a month, so let us manufacture one tube of toothpaste for every person each month. But those who have only dentures do not need tooth paste. Infants do not use it. Some people only brush their teeth once a day while others may brush two or three or more times each day. Obviously the allocation of toothpaste is not according to need but according to demographics, assuming people don’t more in the middle of the month. This is not working out as planned. Ah, planned economies never work out as planned. Planned economies have a problem with feedback loops. Supply and demand will adjust production, but the central planning committee cannot do that, it is inflexible. Inefficiencies then to pile up upon each other until the system breaks down. The other problem is that while communism is great at providing necessities, up to a point, it prevents innovation. It prevents savings in production, in the introduction of labor saving devices, of capital improvements that increase productivity. In short, it’s ability to produce anything other than very basic commodities is limited. As a result the economic system tends to dissipate its ability to produce what for who, where it is needed, how it is distributed, and when it is needed. My god, Who, what, where, when, and how, isn’t that the old journalism term?
So why should socialism do any better? It can’t, if you really look at it. Socialism tries to direct economic activity, social activity, and political activity is a less forceful way that communism. Communism is an absolute dictator. Socialism is a whimp. It wants the redistribute income and benefits, both social and economic, but way of political redistribution. It relies on things like fair share and entitlements and income redistribution. It essentially represent the free shit army that demands an endless devotion to free lunches. Socialism represents the free lunch society. But free lunches depend on someone else paying for the meal. That means that income redistribution is a top priority. So if I work hard and find that part of my hard work goes to subsidize someone who doesn’t work hard or work at all, regardless of need, then it is not about fair share but the appropriation of my excess productivity. Well, I may be okay with that until I learn that many of those whom I support are not only capable of supporting themselves but unwilling to do so. Entitlement is what you have earned according to the system. Social security is an entitlement one earns according to the amount of social security tax one pay in over a set number of years. I have not problem with that. But what if I work to support welfare clients who have no job, no skills, and don’t want any? Now I am working to support people who do not support themselves because they can’t be bothered. Now I have a problem. Well, you see, this individual has been traumatised and must be supported. Bullshit. Work or starve. But wait a minute. You see, this individual only has a high school education. So? Well, he needs to gain training for computer programming. Of course there are millions of Indians who will know and do computer programming much better than he. But you don’t understand. Maybe he is a kid who is told my mommy and daddy that if he goes to college they will pay for the classes, assuming it is junior college and he is taking full time classwork, but then he decides that he can drop most of his classes and mommy and daddy don’t get the report card because he is an adult, and so he cruses through life. Maybe it takes him ten year to get that two year degree. Well, make no mistake, he is making progress. Let me see, he is getting student loans, and perhaps some sort of welfare because he is not working and maybe he went to work for a hamburger joint for a few months and is not collecting unemployment insurance (something the employer pays, by the way), and not he gets some girl pregnant but can’t make the support payments, meanwhile she is getting aide to dependent children and other benefits paid for by our tax dollars. Do you see a pattern? No one is taking responsibility for their own actions, for their own lives, they are waiting for those with an income to support their lives because they don’t want the onus of doing so.
Again, socialism needs someone to pay for all the free lunches that are given out. And as France is finding out, that cost is rapidly becoming too high. But if you are a politician, then you must promise more free lunches and better ones. Skittles and beer don’t make it anymore, these people want champagne and caviar, and they will have it if you are reduced to hot dogs and water. Socialism is an artificial redistribution of income, not one based on need but based on political expediency. As long as I, the politician can win votes, I’ll sign on for any income redistribution plan. Socialism is not about fairness, it is about political expediency. As long as the money flows to those who vote, who cares whether the well is running dry. Ah, but when there are no more people who can pay for your largess, then what? Many people depend on your promise of wealth redistribution. When you run out of money the shit hits the fan. Do you see the problem now? Socialism depends on those who produce wealth, even if it is minor, such as the middle class, to provide for those who do not produce any wealth for any valid reason. Now in fairness, we should talk about the accumulation of wealth and that is the subject of another post.