To me, the reason socialism always fails is quite simple:
Socialism doesn’t account for human nature. It should be easy for people to understand that when you seize a portion of what productive people earn via their productivity, you also take away their incentive to earn anything beyond the point of seizure, so they cease their production at that point. And the more that is seized, the more they decrease their production, until the point is reached where they either stop producing altogether, or leave for more favorable conditions elsewhere.
And when the producers in society either stop producing or leave altogether, all that remains are the parasites, non-producers, and consumers—and the entire economy collapses.
And again, this is human nature; it doesn’t need to be taught. If a kid takes a job at the local ice cream parlor, and is told he can work until 5PM if he wants to, but everything he earns after 3PM will be confiscated and distributed to others (whatever the group or cause)—well, he may initially stay and work out of a sense of obligation or fear of losing his job, but soon he’ll wise up, say fuck that!, and leave work at 3PM, because he has no incentive to stay, just to have his earnings seized.
And nobody would blame the kid, either.
Before long, the ice cream parlor would be dark and vacant after 3PM, as nobody in their right mind is going to stay there and work for free.
But this simple concept still seems difficult for people to grasp. Just look at the massive support for Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist. Obviously, millions of people still don’t get it. I mean, all you have to do is look at Venezuela—a socialist utopia. The people there are starving. They’ve run out of everything, including food and essentials such as toilet paper. That’s what socialism does. It removes the incentive for the producers to produce, so the parasites, non-producers, and consumers run out of everything, and the entire economy collapses. (I’ve written of this reality before: Incentive vs. Disincentive: How Capitalism Creates Prosperity, & Socialism Causes Poverty).
And the mass poverty that socialism brings about is exactly what millions of Americans are now voting for. Apparently, they still don’t understand the problem—so I thought I’d simplify it even further, using an easy theme that everyone can relate to: pizza.
Four Guys Go In On A Pizza
Let’s say we have four guys go in together on a $20 pizza. One guy puts in $10, one guy puts in $5, and the other two put in $2.50 each. The pizza has eight slices.
In a free, capitalist society, wherein the word fair is properly and accrately defined as just, then the fair distribution of the pizza is obvious: the $10 guy gets four slices, the $5 guy gets two slices, and the $2.50 guys get one slice each. This is what each paid for, so this is what each justly deserves.
Now, the others have the option of voluntarily donating their surplus pizza to the group, so everyone gets two slices, or whatever each wants in order to be satisfied—but again, that’s a voluntary act by the others, for the benefit of the group. There’s nothing forcing or coercing them to do so. The contributors can enjoy feelings of virtue and generosity, the others express feelings of gratitude and appreciation, and the entire group can have a wonderful experience as they dine together.
In a non-free, socialist society, wherein the word fair is improperly and inaccurately defined as equal, then the “fair’ distribution of the pizza changes: everyone gets two slices, regardless of their contribution.
Now, this is not a voluntary act, or an agreement, or an act of virtue or generosity for those contributing more for the benefit of the group—this is an act of force, of coercion. Those who contributed more are required, by law, to share what they have with those who contributed less.
So rather than the higher contributors enjoying the virtuous and generous act of sharing, and the others expressing gratitude and appreciation in return, and the group all having a friendly dinner together—instead, feelings of resentment and contempt inevitably arise within those who must contribute more but receive less, those who contribute less but receive more inevitably convey an attitude of entitlement and disrespect, the entire experience becomes hostile and confrontational, and the friendly dinner is ruined for everyone.
And that’s only if it gets that far, which it likely won’t.
What will likely happen instead is that once the socialist law is enacted, the $10 guy will immediately back out of the deal. Like the kid in the ice cream parlor, who works eight hours but only gets paid for six: fuck that! He’s not going to pay $10 for two measly slices of pizza.
So with $10 of the $20 now gone, we’re down to only half a pizza, or four slices, now split three ways—or 1 1/3 slices each. Now, the $5 guy might stay in, or might not. Depends on how hungry he is. The $2.50 guys do stay in, because they’re still actually gaining pizza—as their contribution would have only warranted one slice each—so it’s still a good deal for them.
Don’t Forget The Government
But here’s the thing:
The government gets some, too. A socialist system requires quite a bit of resources to implement. The government requires payment for creating all these laws, implementing them, enforcing them, and fining, arresting, beating, caging (and thus supporting), or killing those who don’t obey the laws, don’t submit to the system (which, it’s important to note, is primarily the producers).
So how much does the government take? For the sake of argument, I’ve decided to refer to the Tax Foundation’s Tax Freedom Day, whereby they calculate how much of the nations’s total wealth is seized by government, at all levels, here in the United States—which isn’t even a fully socialist country (yet). According to their calculations for 2016, it’s 31%. That’s just a hair under three slices of an eight-slice pizza—so I think it’s fair to say a fully socialist government would require at least three full slices.
So in our scenario, the government now requires payment of three slices of pizza to maintain the socialist system, make sure everything is fair (equal) for everyone. In our original eight slice pizza, reduced to four when the $10 guy backed out, then further reduced by three when the government takes its share—we are now down to one slice of pizza, divided three ways, or 1/3 slice each.
So now the $5 guy backs out. Fuck that! Obviously, he’s not going to pay $5 for 1/3 slice of pizza. Then the two that are left—the $2.50 guys—start fighting each other over the one remaining slice of pizza.
But, as time goes by, and the government grows (which it always does), and the bureaucracy expands (which it always does), and more and more people become dependent upon the government—because the government now has most of the pizza—then more pizza is needed in order to support it.
So the government confiscates the last slice of pizza, in order to feed itself, and gives the remaining crumbs or empty crusts to the masses of people—but the socialist ideal of everyone receiving an equal amount, regardless of relative contribution, continues—so at least everyone receives the same number of crumbs. After all—it’s only “fair!”
Soon There’s No Pizza Left
Soon the government runs out of pizza too, because eventually, there’s no more pizza left to confiscate, because nobody’s making any pizza anymore. Who in their right mind is going to make pizza, just to have it confiscated by the government? Fuck that!
And that, my friends, is why socialists always run out of pizza.
Now, to illustrate this reality, just go back and take another look at Venezuela.