In my last article I talked about how capitalism and communism cannot coexist – and socialism’s attempt to achieve that mix never succeeds. Socialism always brings a society to a fork in the road. In this article we’ll cover why capitalism is inherently superior to communism. It shouldn’t be necessary to make that argument, but sadly it is.
Governor Ron DeSantis just signed a bill declaring November 7 the “Victims of Communism Day.” Now all of the leftists have their undees in a bunch again. How dare he call residents of a worker’s paradise like Cuba “victims”? Doesn’t he know they have free health care?
Unfortunately, leftists have created an attractive narrative about communism. If one ignores its downside (the death, misery, and destruction), communism sounds idyllic to a naïve mind – everyone sharing equally in the bounty of the commune. No class envy, no brutal competition, no “dog eat dog” business jungle, just equality – and the government providing for our every need. Never mind that one has to give up personal choice and freedom to live in such a community.
Now we’ve even got elected members of Congress like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about communism as if it’s a desirable economic system again. Their position is that where it has failed, it’s only failed because it hasn’t been implemented correctly. The unenlightened rubes have caused its failure by letting cronyism and politics get in the way.
I decided to do a highly scientific experiment – using my 11-year-old granddaughter. I would design my experiment, eliminating the effects of politics and cronyism, to see how communism in its purest form works. My granddaughter loves to play Monopoly, so I modified the game to represent communism.
My version of Monopoly (which we called Worker’s Paradise) is modeled on the principle that all workers (players) must contribute according to their ability, and receive according to their needs. My opponent thought that sounded swell. In fact, she thought that sounded like the kind of place she’d like to really live in.
The rules were simple. Players would roll the dice and move their pieces around the board. That represents their contribution to community (otherwise known as the state). Their playing piece represents the only thing players need to make their contribution to society. In this game there is no $200 for passing go, in fact there is no money used at all. It’s not needed because the state provides all of the player’s needs – and all they need is their playing piece.
My granddaughter asked how she’ll buy properties without money. I explained that she doesn’t need to worry about that, because all property is owned by the state. The “go to jail” and taxation boxes, like the community chest and chance cards, simply say “roll again.” So, there is literally no need for money in the game of Worker’s Paradise. “Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” she said.
We began rolling the dice and moving our pieces around the board. It started with enthusiasm, but by the time my opponent had gotten half way around the board, she informed me that she needed a bathroom break. This was going to cause her production (movement around the board) to suffer.
Upon returning from her break and rolling the dice two more times, my granddaughter informed me that she needed to get a drink of water. Her falling production was getting really noticeable now. She should have been around the board at least six times by now.
By the time we both made it twice around the board, my granddaughter announced that she had homework to do and quit. Good grief, she’s never going to hit her 5-year production forecast at this rate.
I asked her, “Isn’t it great that we’re both equal?” Her response would mortify AOC, “No. This is stupid. What’s the point of playing if you can’t win?” Exactly!
Had this been an actual implementation of communism, I would have forced my granddaughter to keep playing at gunpoint. But I felt this was adequate for demonstration purposes. Without force I couldn’t even get her to keep rolling the dice. Imagine if work was not rolling dice, but reporting to a factory or farm for a 12-hour work day. Do you think she’d be more enthusiastic about doing either of those things without some incentive?
Communism never performs as expected because it does not accommodate human nature. We’re willing to work hard when it benefits ourselves and our families. But in a communist system, hard work only benefits the state. Our individual reward is the same whether we work hard or not. Therefore, individuals are not self-motivated to work hard.
Force is required to keep the residents of a worker’s paradise working. Freedom is the obvious casualty of this arrangement. But productivity also suffers. Forced labor is never as productive as voluntary labor.
The farms and businesses of the antebellum north were far more productive than the plantations in the south, because slave labor is not motivated labor. Slave labor never produces at a level achievable by voluntary, profitable labor. Communism is just another implementation of slave labor by different terminology.
The end result is that communism crushes the human spirit and disappoints from a production perspective. How many of the Soviet Union’s production forecasts were ever achieved? Has Cuba become the worker’s paradise that was promised? The number Cuban’s trying to get to America on rafts and rotting boats would seem to argue against that – no?
As Gordon Gekko said in the movie Wall Street, “Greed, for lack of a better term, is good.” It sounded evil when he said it in the movie, but it was actually quite insightful. Greed and competitiveness are inherent in our nature. We want to earn for ourselves and our loved ones. Most of us want to do it better than our peers. My granddaughter didn’t want to race around the board for the good of the commune, she wanted to ruthlessly crush her grandfather – and I couldn’t be prouder.
Greed is the impetus for commerce, and commerce is the lifeblood of civilized society. Production is maximized when people profit from their labor. Further, workers can only profit from their labor, if other people have enough income to buy their products. Commerce is a cyclic process that benefits everyone – and greed makes it happen.
Capitalism harnesses that greed for the betterment of society. It uses inherent human traits to benefit society. By allowing individuals to profit from their efforts, productivity is incentivized. Domestic product (the total community production) is maximized. Society as a whole, benefits from the collective achievements of individuals. Take that away, and progress stops.
Over 100 million people died as a result of communism in the last century – that’s its legacy. They were either slaughtered to eliminate resistance to the commune, or starved to death because the system couldn’t even achieve a subsistence level of production.
But according to advocates, that’s only because people refused to surrender to it. But here’s the thing: it only requires surrender, because it runs counter to human nature.
The best economic system is one that works in harmony with human nature – a system in which our inherent nature also benefits society as a whole. It’s a system in which we voluntarily strive to maximize domestic product, lifting all boats, and minimizing societal suffering. It’s a system that achieves a positive outcome for society by leveraging our very nature.
Capitalism works because its success is aligned with human nature. Humans are not an ant colony. It’s not in our nature to selflessly work for the benefit of those who give nothing in return. We all want more for ourselves and our families. That is our nature. In a capitalist system, if we work hard to achieve that reward, it’s good for us, and it’s good for the community. Humans are the perfect creatures for capitalism – not so much for serving in a hive.
Jim Jones once told his followers that, “God is socialism, and socialism is God.” He said it just as Satan would have when offering a deal too good to be true. Jones offered his followers a socialist paradise, but delivered a communist hell, in which he took everything they owned, enslaved them to the commune, and led 918 of them to slaughter. That’s how his attempt at an alternative to capitalism ended.
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