Resolving Creeping Communism: “We’re More Socialist Than We Think”

Saturday, November 16, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Alasdair Macleod
Sat, 11/16/2019

The thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain coincides with a popular resurgence of communism and a drift into more socialism. A collective amnesia sees a return of the Soviet Union’s failed policies in a Marxist Labour party in Britain. Increasing socialism is expressed by US Democrats contending for the primaries.

This article explains the basic economic fallacies common to both. It clarifies why state ownership of the means of production does not resolve the problem of economic calculation in a socialist economy. It also explains the errors in socialistic condemnation of free markets.

And finally, it points out that very few of us realise we are more socialist than we think when we endorse government control of possibly our most important common commodity, which is our everyday money. But there is a simple solution: stop accommodating crony capitalists.

This week saw the thirtieth anniversary of the breeching of the Berlin Wall. The elapse of time means most people younger than their mid-forties fail to understand what it was all about. Indeed, many folk older than that will have forgotten that the reason the Berlin Wall fell was because the communist states in eastern Europe and the old Soviet Union were no longer able to suppress their people. And the people were suppressed because suppression of personal freedom is central to communism, the creed that says people must make sacrifices for the common good. Besides the passage of time, the uncomfortable part which makes people want to forget its horrors is that communism is the both the basis and the final destination of modern socialism.

Ever since Lenin and his Bolsheviks obtained power, they forced communism on the Russian population. People lost the rights to their property and their personal freedom, both of which became the property of the state. They were commanded by planners, administrators and bureaucrats as to what they could and could not do. In the absence of personal incentives, the Soviet economy went downhill rapidly, and the bureaucrats faced with allocating economic resources ended up creating surpluses of unusable and unwanted goods, and shortages of what were wanted. In their efforts to correct this mess, the people who communism claimed to free from the yoke of the bourgeoisie were blamed and accused of insubordination and either shot or deported to the gulags. In the USSR alone it is estimated that between twenty and sixty million people died of starvation, in the gulags, or were executed.

People lived in constant fear of the secret police and their informants. It was hardly surprising that the fall of the Berlin Wall was a scene of much rejoicing and the visual manifestation of freedom regained.

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