I overheard a conversation at a reptile petting zoo recently about how socialism works fine in the Scandinavian countries and how that was proof that it could work everywhere. I hear and read this constantly. It is a very pervasive and subversive message. I think that the European combination of “democratic socialism” works in very small, culturally homogeneous nations where, for the most part, everyone is on the “same page”, much like a commune or kibbutz. The USA was envisioned as a confederation of states and is so populous and heterogeneous (a great thing!) that it would be impossible for any kind of communal ownership arrangement to work properly in the long run. Just look at the economic state of the USA now. I include the military-industrial complex as a form of corporate welfare and hence under the umbrella of socialism.
Sweden is a bad example to support this fallacious argument as explained here and here. The tl;dr skinny is that Sweden realized back in the 1970s that their welfare state was going to tank the country if it didn’t get reformed and its recent economic successes are due to those reforms, not because of the welfare state:
“The reversal of the Swedish, socialist/welfare state model started with the deregulation of the financial sector in the 1980s. In the beginning of the 1990s, Sweden suffered a major banking and financial crisis, primarily brought on by mistakes in monetary policy, as well as the continued drag from counterproductive taxing, spending and regulatory policies. This crisis made it apparent for officials of most political colours that the existing Swedish economic model would not be sustainable over the long run.”
Norway is not really a good example either since it has the dumb luck of existing near a giant patch of oil. It is very much an exception to the rule. Once that runs out and/or oil is severely devalued, what then? To their credit, though, the Norwegian government is reputedly doing a great job managing their sovereign wealth fund. Before the oil discovery, it was at various points vassal to Denmark and Sweden and what did the Norge do then… catch fish, farm lettuce and export blondes? Also, there are maybe 5 million residents of Norway? Try getting 300 million descendants of immigrants from all over the world with free minds, guns and property rights to agree on how to educate children, what “America’s foreign interests” are in terms of militarism and how to fund a retirement program with a centrally-planned economy with a constantly debased currency controlled and manipulated by foreigners running a central bank and you get the crumbling, bloated nightmare we have now.
My cousin recently said that his church’s sermon talked about how we don’t own property, we simply manage it. Their tentacles are everywhere. The very core of our legal system is predicated on the philosophy of property ownership and rights!
Michael Badnarik explains this in his must-watch Constitution class.
The whole video of that part of the class embedded:
In general, capitalism works if the state is not corrupt and generally does not interfere. As the saying goes, “A liberal is a libertarian who doesn’t understand economics” and those who insist on personal freedom should understand that economic freedom is integral to it. Money and trade are necessary to a productive and prosperous life and the debasement of a nation’s currency is the greatest treason because it robs people of their finite time in their lives spent working to survive, prosper and provide a legacy for their offspring.
Accumulation of capital allows for groups of people to accomplish goals they wouldn’t otherwise be able to individually, without being forced to do so. Corporate personhood (i.e. corrupt and unjust law) turns capitalism into corporatism which in turn is fascism – a merger of state (forceful) power and economies. Basically you end up with the USSR. When people VOLUNTEER to join forces towards common goals, like buying property so they can run their own commune, peace and prosperity follow in stead.
Speaking of treason, that reminds me of something Kyle Bass brought up in a recent speaking engagement about the creators of the International Monetary Fund – the 2 main proponents if I recall correctly were John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. White was accused of being a communist and before a judgment was made, White died. Bass says that White committed suicide during his testimony and was a Russian spy who turned over some money printing plates to the USSR who then used them to pay back their World War 2 debt to us. I suspect they did more than that. I have read in some places about North Korea printing counterfeit dollars. Then again, that is kind of redundant considering the Federal Reserve Note is already counterfeit but that’s for another post.
End the Fed, end the wars. Kick the international bankers and their insidious socialist concepts out of these United States. Like Sweden? Go there. Don’t bring it here. Well, Swedes who like the Constitution, liberty and freedom are obviously welcome to come as evidenced by the large number of Swedish-Americans here. 😀
Oh, I also want to point out that if companies want to retain employees in a capitalist system, they should treat them as humans and not resources. The best, brightest and most industrious usually don’t tolerate psychological abuse for very long, however well-intentioned and velvet-gloved it is. I say this because one historical example often used by socialist and communists are the working conditions during the Industrial Revolution and how labor laws supposedly made those better. One interesting result of the European experiment is that people can still be productive working more efficiently at their peak for less hours than the usual American misnomer of working 14 hour days. The US Army has done extensive research on the upper limits of human potential and how fatigue affects efficiency and productivity. Granted, for purely mindless, physical labor (most physical labor is not purely mindless, btw) working long hours is less of a problem but much of that is already done by machines now. A truly free market would have come to this conclusion eventually. The market was definitely not free at the time of the Industrial Revolution due to a number of factors I don’t fully understand but corporate personhood was one of them and central banking another. Besides, do you think the government is going to paint itself in a bad light in its own educational text books?
Update 19 Dec 2011: Swedes Arrested for Butter Smuggling uh, good going, socialists. If you don’t know already, due to butter shortages in Norway, the price for it there is being quoted as something absurd like 400-500$ a POUND. A free market would have provided for this shortfall already. The market is always there to help adjust for the errors of socialism. As Ron Paul said while discussing Mises’ views on the importance of money, “Is it any wonder that socialist nations, without subsidies from a capitalist nation, are unable to feed themselves? This is why the threat of communism would be greatly reduced if only we could stop our elected officials from bailing these countries out. Only force enables a system to survive without a free-market pricing mechanism.”
However, I suspect that a sustainability agenda is being pushed, similar to the one being used in the socialist City of Austin, TX where an electrical monopoly uses absurd and inflated energy rates to influence consumption by citizens. For example, I disconnected my refrigerator and had only an Ecoloblue water machine, a standard desktop computer and LCD monitor, a K-cup style coffee maker, a typical aquarium filter for a 47-gallon fish tank and the occasional (and I’m capable of Spartan living, having proven it to myself numerous times and having grown up in a lower middle-class family that didn’t have very much) lights. That’s right, I never turned on the central AC/heat unit. Somehow I still incurred a 47$ bill (that’s just for electric). Huh? HUH??? Is this some error of the “smart” meters? Or am I just being openly robbed by a monopoly utility that has no incentive to compete and appears to suffer from hypocrisy (one of their “clean” fuel sources is a biomass-burning generator, which basically takes tree trimmings and brush and BURNS them, which seems almost as bad as the coal plants that the Obamanoids cry about even though our coal plant smokestacks have filters and their good buddies the Chinese are dumping industrial waste into their own rivers and puking unfiltered coal smoke into the sky to fuel their industrial revolution while our economy suffers, thanks a lot America haters!) as well as inefficiency and corruption. I think I put out the trash can once a month because I’m so efficient about waste. I hardly throw anything away. Even the recycle bin goes out maybe twice a month. So, by the grace of the lords of Austin, I can downgrade to the smallest trashcan and pay only 18$ or so a month for this privilege. I could go on but I’ll just get upset over nothing. Such evil never lasts, fortunately. I think I should just get rid of both cans already, get a solar battery backup system for the little bit of electricity that I do use, drop off my recycling and trash downtown and be RID of these parasitic scum for good. Or do that and MOVE. Ugh.
Update 21 Dec 2011
A business school professor in Oslo admits to “Soviet conditions” in the Norwegian dairy industry and said there is increasing talk of instituting free market reforms for it. Sounds familiar to the aforementioned Swedish reforms in this post. Definitely supportive of the libertarian opposition to tariffs is the last sentence in this particular article:
Prohibitively high tariffs on the import of butter have also made foreign dairies disinclined to enter the Norwegian market.
Well, duh. Imagine if you didn’t have a giant patch of oil.