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Posts Tagged ‘George Santayana’

Socialism and the Green New Deal: Choose One | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 14, 2019

A socialist government would determine where and how you lived, the type of work and employment opportunities you had, the education that you and your children would be allowed, the types and quantities of goods to which you would have access, as well as the political, cultural and philosophical ideas you would be permitted to read and learn about and discuss.

Nothing would be outside of the restricting reach of the socialist state of the future.

The American experiment has lasted much longer than socialist experiments (maybe all added together).

Will new socialism seal America’s fate?

https://mises.org/wire/socialism-and-green-new-deal-choose-one-0?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=7388ec870d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-7388ec870d-228343965

The Spanish philosopher, George Santayana (1863–1952) is usually credited with the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Nowhere is this truer than with the renewed idea and demand for the establishment of a socialist economic system.

A noticeable number of intellectuals inside and outside the ivy tower of academia, as well as a vocal segment of those on the “progressive” side of American politics are insisting on the desirability and necessity for ending the “neo-liberal” capitalist system and replacing it with a “democratic” socialism dedicated to “social justice,” “identity politics,” and relatively comprehensive centralized planning of economic and social affairs.

Listening to and reading the arguments of these proponents of the “new” socialism, you would think that nothing had happened over the last one hundred years that in any way, shape, or form had anything to do with the case for and likely consequences from introducing socialism into twenty-first-century society.

In their minds, what have been considered to be “socialist” regimes in the twentieth century were either “false” forms of socialism not representing what a “real” socialism could and would look like; or they were socialisms that went wrong because the “wrong people” were in political power in socialist countries around the world; or the full possibilities and potentials of those socialist experiments were undermined and weakened due to American imperialist interference trying to make them “fail;” or the “new” socialists just try to ignore the history of socialism over the last one hundred years, sending it all down an Orwellian “memory hole.”

Early Anti-Socialists Warned of Tyranny and Plunder

Their naïve optimism and confidence might have been understandable and even excusable before the First World War. Before then, socialism was still primarily a political ideal and dream of those wanting to make over society so mankind could have a beautiful and more just and prosperous future. But even then, in the nineteenth century, critics of the socialist promise warned in often amazingly prescient ways, given all that has happened over the last one hundred years, what socialism-in-practice would really mean.

Those earlier critics of socialism warned that a triumphant socialism would mean a terrible tyranny. Socialism would mean comprehensive government ownership and control over all the means of production. Such total control by those in political power and directing the central planning of all economic activities in the society would hold the destiny of everyone in their hands.

A socialist government would determine where and how you lived, the type of work and employment opportunities you had, the education that you and your children would be allowed, the types and quantities of goods to which you would have access, as well as the political, cultural and philosophical ideas you would be permitted to read and learn about and discuss.

Nothing would be outside of the restricting reach of the socialist state of the future. Each person would be nothing more than a cog in the collectivist machine, commanded, controlled and, when necessary, coerced to serve and be sacrificed for the wider and more important socialist good.

In spite of all the rhetoric and promise of the “liberation” of man under the socialism-to-come, the actual individual human being would be lost in the collective mass of “the people” as a whole, for which all that the socialist state implemented was the rationale and justification.

The critics of socialism also warned that “human nature” was not a moldable putty to be remade into a new “altruistic man” unconcerned with personal self-interest once common ownership had replaced private ownership over the means of production; and once a new generation had arisen that was sufficiently “reeducated” by the state to have been freed from “bourgeois” thinking, attitudes, and proclivities of focusing on the self rather than the group.

All that would have changed was the institutional setting within which human nature manifested and played itself out. Such extensive and monopolized economic power, as would exist under socialism, would merely mean the motives and incentives would be shifted to gaining political control over the state to use its power to benefit oneself and others important to oneself, at the expense of everyone else. (See my article, “John Stuart Mill and the Dangers of Unrestrained Government.”)

Early Criticisms of Economic Planning

Finally, a number of these critics of socialism pointed out the inherent unworkability of a socialist central planning system once private property, competition, and market-based prices had been abolished through the nationalization of the means of production by the government. How would producers know what to produce if competitive supply and demand did not generate the market prices to tell producers what it was that consumers wanted and the relative value they placed on those goods? Indeed, how could supply and demand be brought into coordinated balance if market-based and changing prices did not constantly and continuously adjust the two sides of the market?

How would competent directors of production be selected with the end of private enterprise, absent entrepreneurs to direct those enterprises who had proven their worth through winning profits and avoiding losses? How would labor be efficiently and effectively directed in their employments for assisting in the manufacture of the goods that consumers wanted, if in the name of “social justice” wages were determined by the socialist redistributors of income rather than by market-guiding wage incentives?

Every one of these worries and warnings turned out to be true in every instance in which fairly comprehensive socialist central planning was imposed and implemented anywhere and everywhere around the world over the last one hundred years. To enumerate them would be too gratuitous for anyone who possesses even a limited knowledge of the reality of socialism-in-practice. (See my articles, “Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: A Warning Voice About the Socialist Tragedy to Come,” “Socialism: Marking a Century of Death and Destruction” and “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.”)

World War I Ushers in Government Central Planning

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: WARNING: The ‘Green New Plan’ Has All the Elements of an Old Soviet Union GOSPLAN

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2019

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/01/warning-green-new-plan-has-all-elements.html#more

WARNING: The ‘Green New Plan’ Has All the Elements of an Old Soviet Union GOSPLAN

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the website of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) on, “The Green New Dealers and the New Socialism.”

How quickly it seems to be forgotten what “socialism-in-practice” was really like in many places around the world in the 20th century, considering the rebirth of advocacy of a new “democratic socialism” by many in contemporary America. This is reflected in the proposal for a “”Green New Deal.”

Have no doubt, if implemented, this Green New Deal will result in a comprehensive system of government central planning by those determined to “save the planet” from “climate change” and wanting to remake society according to a collectivist agenda of social justice based on the new tribalism of “identity politics.”

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