The Decivilizing Effects of Government
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
This speech was given at the Mises Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 18, 2010.
Ah, for the days when the socialists believed in material progress! That is no longer the case. Now they propose poverty and advocate government regulations to bring it about – and expect us to be grateful for it. Whereas socialism could not actually work to bring about greater productivity, it can do what the “postmaterialist” socialists desire. Socialistic means can work to bring about lower standards of living.
In a strange way, this is a betrayal of Karl Marx, whose key complaint about capitalism was that it failed to uplift the worker:
The modern laborer … sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth.
Lenin’s slogan was “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country.” Measuring the GDP was a source of great pride for countries, as were big innovations in space travel and military technology.