David R. Henderson  

Friday Night Video: Daniel Hannan on Socialism

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The correct reason to oppose h... Demagoguery Explained...

I didn't have time to get permission to repost the Daniel Hannan video on Econlog, but you can go here to watch it. It's very good. It's about 13 minutes long.

HT to Dan Klein.


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COMMENTS (9 to date)
Pajser writes:

Very few, if any, socialist think that state is the essence of socialism. There is whole anarchist branch of the socialist movement. One may claim that result of their efforts cannot be anarchy, but they certainly do not believe in state. Anarchists are well accepted as socialists from other branches of the socialist movement. Furthermore, one can easily imagine the society in which state has control over means of production and which is less egalitarian than modern capitalist society. Neither one Marxist or anarchist I ever met or read accept that as improvement.

Freedom of speech and association which didn't existed in Leninist regimes has, I believe, little to do with ownership over means of production. It is the result of the political dictatorship which is proven to be combined well with capitalist regimes. Pinochet's Chile is an example - he privatized means of the production and reduced political freedoms.

Finally, there is that idea that people in socialism are "told what to do", while in capitalism, it is not the case. In socialism, one can chose his job just like he can in capitalism. Only he cannot be the capitalist, i.e. he cannot extract the profit. But isn't it restriction of freedom? No, because property rights are already restriction of freedom. This one - if socialists are right - isn't justified.

paul writes:

As long as people can "vote with their feet" its pretty obvious empirically what kind of system people prefer. Unfortunately, the natural growth of the unchecked state throughout the world is making the differences between states smaller and smaller.

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

Social Democracy

In the same vein in which liberalism has been reinterpreted, we are now seeing a similar inversion of “Socialism” into “Social Democracy.” So how can we identify the ideological proposition of “Social Democracy?”

Critical examination of that proposition will reveal that it requires the Democratic process be conducted for objective purposes; principally social or economic objectives, or some manner of attaining the social through the economic, or the economic through the social, or even some combination of both. The essential point being that the Democratic process shall be conducted for predetermined objectives.

In both the textbook stages, and the political installations, of Socialism, governments (states), however established and maintained, are to be operated for social and economic objectives.

Thus, we have the definitive link between “Socialism” and “Social Democracy.”

The impacts on individual liberty and on the relationships within a social order from attempts to structure that social order by predetermined objectives have been well delineated.

Social Democracy perverts the Democratic process; and, like Socialism, will not work.

libertarian jerry writes:

At the end of the debate,it is obvious to any fair minded person,that despite its warts,the free market has lifted more people out of poverty then any collectivist system ever devised in history. With that said,it is obvious that without property rights,including the right to keep the fruits of ones labor,no matter how small or large,there can be no true liberty. Socialism,on the other hand,treats the individual as nothing but a cog in a machine. Socialists say they want to attack poverty but what they really want to do is to attack liberty. Liberty,especially economic liberty is the sworn enemy of socialists. Socialism takes for granted the idea that wealth just exists and the role of the businessman has very little to do in wealth creation. Socialists practice the fallacy of the zero sum game. That is that if one person is economically successful he has done so at the expense of someone else. But the biggest evil of socialism is that its mechanisms are based on violence or the threat of violence. What happens to the people that don't want to pay oppressive taxes or don't want to obey the laws put into effect by socialist governments? At the bottom of socialist economic laws are the full force and power of the state backed up by guns,whips,chains and prisons. This is why socialism is a gutter philosophy that is based on violence and the world views of people who treat their collectivist philosophy as a religion. And in order to force that religion on everyone in a society the power of the state must be seized,either by force or by ballot,so that that religion could be written into law which is backed up by guns. In the end,socialism serves only the elites,the parasites and the megalomaniacs of the world. Its an idea and an ideal that belongs,like the old Soviet Union,on the dust heap of history.

Pajser writes:

Libertarianjerry: "the free market has lifted more people out of poverty then any collectivist system ..."

Even Marx would agree with that.

" Socialism,on the other hand,treats the individual as nothing but a cog in a machine. "

It is exactly opposite - the market does that. One's compensation is - in the best case - related to his contribution. If one needs are greater than that - he's dead. The goal of almost all socialists is distribution according to individual needs.

"Socialism takes for granted the idea that wealth just exists and the role of the businessman has very little to do in wealth creation."

It is very simple truth that some capitalists work as managers, sometimes very hard. But some capitalists really do nothing.

"What happens to the people that don't want to pay oppressive taxes or don't want to obey the laws put into effect by socialist governments?"

The same that happens in all capitalist countries. Additionally, I advocate the right on secession. People who want to leave should organize themselves and they should get proportional share of the territory to try their favorite system there. Just like divorce.

"Its an idea and an ideal that belongs,like the old Soviet Union,on the dust heap of history. "

I'm an optimist. There are not many declared socialists, but all existing capitalist systems accepted some socialist ideas and historically, ratio of the state budget to GDP, as some measure of the degree of collectivism in society, increases. In France, Denmark and Sweden, for instance, it is slightly above 50%. These are overall the most successful countries humanity managed to build. About half of the people everywhere in the world push society in direction of "more socialism".

Leninism did great harm to the popularity of socialist ideas. However, socialism, as imagined, simply looks much better than capitalism. One model of that idea is Star Trek series. In that series, people do not care about their personal wealth - they have their basic needs met, and they work for common good. That idea will not go away.

libertarian jerry writes:

Pajser...................Star Trek is a fantasy world just like socialism. Also,there are no "capitalist" countries,just different levels of free markets and welfare states that live off of the wealth creation of free markets. Sort of a parasite to host relationship with the advocates of socialism being the parasites. Incidentally,countries like Sweden,Denmark,Norway etc. are cutting back on the growth of socialism (the welfare state) because they almost went bankrupt. Finally,there is nothing wrong with voluntary socialism. If you want to live in a co-op,commune or a kibutz its fine with me. Just don't ram it down mine and millions of other peoples throats who don't agree with you.

Pajser writes:

Star Trek is a fantasy world just like socialism.

Exactly. But some people want to make reality of that.

Finally,there is nothing wrong with voluntary socialism. If you want to live in a co-op,commune or a kibutz its fine with me. Just don't ram it down mine and millions of other peoples throats who don't agree with you.

I'm not Leninist. I believe in freedom of association, democracy in the association and the rights for secession.

However, we live in one of such associations already. Its name is state. I want to make that association more socialist and you want to make it more free-market. I do not push my ideas more than you push your ideas.

libertarian jerry writes:

Pajser................Then we can agree on one thing. The enemy is the state.

Pajser writes:

I do not think I am against state, except if you count advocacy of the right on secession as struggle against state. I do not.

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