Socialism

Does Prosperity Trigger Calls for Socialism?

In good economic times, heightened inequality means that class tensions are heightened, as soaring visible wealth stokes envy and resentment.

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The U.S. stock market is a decade into a rally that has seen broad indexes triple in value and generate $30 trillion in wealth. The unemployment rate is 3.8% nationally, and the early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire are tied with even lower seasonally adjusted rates of 2.4%. Real annual growth in the gross domestic product was recently estimated at 2.9% for the U.S. in 2018, outpacing other developed economies such as those of Japan and Europe.

Does this sound like a textbook case of pre-revolutionary misery? Not exactly.

To hear the press and some leading Democrats tell it, though, America is on the cusp of a historic transition from capitalism to socialism.

The independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, is polling well among Democrats and drawing large crowds with an openly and self-described socialist program. Another self-described socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), showed up in Texas over the weekend to pronounce that "to me, capitalism is irredeemable."

The Real Clear Politics headlines list is sizzling with the capitalism-socialism debate: "American Capitalism is under attack," writes Trish Regan at Fox Business. RealClear has two takes on the question from The New York Times alone: Roger Cohen's "Socialism and the 2020 American Election," and Bret Stephens advising that "Capitalism shouldn't be a dirty word." Writes Cohen: "A 21st-century American election is about to be fought over socialism. Amazing!"

As someone who a decade ago founded a website called FutureOfCapitalism.com, I can't say that I didn't see this debate coming. A decade ago, though, the unemployment rate was 9 or even 10%, and U.S. stock market indices had declined by more than 50% from their peaks.

Back then, Nobel-prize-winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was advocating nationalizing the banks, and President Obama was pushing a major government expansion of the federal government's role in the health care industry.

My concern had always been that it would be an economic downturn that would trigger socialism, the same way the Great Depression unleashed big government programs as a response.

Socialists, though, see virtually any economic condition as paving the path away from capitalism. In bad economic times, the population rebels against the system that can be blamed for having led to deprivation. And in good economic times, the heightened inequality means that class tensions are heightened, as soaring visible wealth stokes envy and resentment.

It may be that the danger of socialism is greater in good times than in bad, because in good times, people are susceptible to the illusion that the country can afford socialism.

Our current system is sufficiently mixed that when someone tries to credit capitalism for our present prosperity, it's inevitably pointed out that businesses and employees have benefited from government programs.

American socialists tend to stop short of advocating outright communism, just as American capitalists tend to stop short of advocating full-blown laissez-faire libertarianism.

Too often, though, the word "socialism" is just camouflage that avoids the more specific policy proposals. It hides the answers to more important questions, like, "what else, precisely, would you put the government in charge of that it isn't in charge of already? How much would that cost, and how would you pay for those new activities? And what makes you think that the new activities won't have their own unintended consequences or adverse effects on incentives?"

Likewise, those presenting themselves as defenders of capitalism might be asked what specific government programs, if any, they'd privatize, eliminate, or otherwise put out of business.

Without these specifics, the socialism-capitalism debate risks getting stale, or highly abstract and philosophical. When a debate's been going on this long, it's a good indication that it has less to do with empirical conditions in the economy, and more to do with underlying, pre-existing values and beliefs about wealth, property, opportunity, and equality.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of JFK, Conservative.

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103 responses to “Does Prosperity Trigger Calls for Socialism?

  1. “…because in good times, people are susceptible to the illusion that the country can afford socialism, writes Ira Stoll.”

    It’s garbage I tell you, just irredeemable garbage, that anyone can have more than I do.

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  2. “…American socialists tend to stop short of advocating outright communism…”

    Because it doesn’t poll high enough.

    1. “to each according to his polling data”

  3. Our current system is sufficiently mixed that when someone tries to credit capitalism for our present prosperity, it’s inevitably pointed out that businesses and employees have benefited from government programs.

    A point that is impossible to counter.

    1. The classic “muh..roads” argument.

      1. Which is essentially identical to the dumb argument that African-Americans owe everything to the slave owners, because otherwise they would be stuck in shitty Africa.

        1. I see your point, but your example is far more vile. But, yeah, similar thinking.

          1. You can take everything a man has as long as you leave him his dignity.

    2. No it’s not. Government interference stifles business. Who knows what wonderful things we’d have if we had been a proper capitalist country the last 200 years. Broken windows.

      1. ^BINGO; “A point impossible to counter” because there is no comparison – control case (i.e. A lot of free-enterprise hasn’t happened in the last 200-years). The little bit that was allowed put this country in the #1 spot in less than 50-years.

    3. Impossible?

      Our current system is sufficiently mixed that when someone tries to credit capitalism for our present prosperity, it’s inevitably pointed out that businesses and employees have benefited from government programs that they pay for with their tax dollars.

      Not at all.

  4. Socialism = beautiful Swedes taking five-week vacations at the seashore

    Communism = ugly Russians grubbing in the mud for rotten potatoes

    1. Socialism-Communism = beautiful Swedes rolling around in the mud, fighting for potatoes.

      1. Go on….

        1. the Irish chicks win.

          1. “the Irish chicks win.”

            That’s because they don’t have 23 brands of deodorant.

    2. And get stabbed by some jihadi.

  5. This would also explain why socialism is most popular in wealthy parts of the US. The first major city in America that had a self-described socialist on their city council (in recent times) was Seattle (the richest and whitest city in America). You need money in order to believe in such a stupid idea as socialism, because your wealth protects you from the bad consequences.

    1. The Seattle City Council is working round the clock to destroy the city now and for all time. For that is their way.

    2. ” You need money in order to believe in such a stupid idea as socialism”

      Not historically, and not in the city, either. America’s hotbeds of Socialism a hundred years ago were in places like Kansas, one of most vehemently anti-slave border states a couple of generations before that.

      1. America’s hotbeds of Socialism a hundred years ago were in places like Kansas, one of most vehemently anti-slave border states a couple of generations before that.

        True, union and socialist sentiment was extremely strong in rural and industrial hotbeds, but that didn’t last much beyond the 1920s in rural areas and the 1950s in the industrial areas. The former was likely due to the fact that the more radical organizations like the IWW, for example, tended to be made up of itinerant labor, and their tactic of trucking in hundreds of supporters from outside the communities to pack the jails of small rural towns tended to piss off the locals. The first states to start turning against FDR’s New Deal programs were in rural New England and the Great Plains. The latter was inevitable after the US and the Soviet Union became adversaries–those industrial unions might have been corrupt, but many of their members had fought in World War 2, were extremely patriotic, and despised communists as much as they did the Nazis.

        Socialism has largely been the ideology of ethnic minorities and the white intellectual class since the 60s.

  6. In good economic times, thieves and people with a criminal mentality underperform honest people by more than normal. Naturally, socialism appeals to people like that, and that’s the time it would benefit them most.

    All three things go together: socialism appeals to a criminal mentality, and a criminal mentality causes economic underperformance.

  7. A lack of social stratification is a hallmark of a primitive society, and there’s something to be said for religious cultural adaptations that advance taboos against egalitarianism, too–taboos like, “Thou shalt not covet”.

    I remember reading Orlando Patterson writing about cannibalism in primitive societies as a reaction to slavery. When one member of an egalitarian tribe acquires a slave through raiding, etc., cannibalism was a way to maintain a lack of social stratification in the tribe. The presence of slaves and slaveholders would transform the rest of the tribe into a middle class–make them less than the slaveholders, but primitive egalitarianism required everyone in the tribe to remain the same. So they’d turn the captured slave into food–so everyone in the tribe could share in the proceeds equally.

    Socialism is a primitive impulse like that. There’s something childish about it, too, as if society were made up of children and everything should be divided between them equally. If my brother gets more cake than I do, then that’s just not fair! We’re supposed to grow up and evolve eventually. Leaving the vestiges of religion behind isn’t an advancement if dropping all pretenses to things like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet” leaves society open to backsliding into primitive egalitarianism.

    1. Canabalism for All! A human femur in every pot.

      Cheaper then medicare for all and the results are the same.

      1. I’ve always heard cannibalism, among the minority of tribes and time periods it happened, was a ritualistic rather than a nutritional practice. Eating parts of your defeated enemy would give you his battle courage, for example, or eating part of your dead grandparents would imbue you with their wisdom, in the minds of cannibals. It was never really “lets roast this guy for supper because those legs look tasty.”

        1. AFAIK, this is true of cultural cannibalism, although Jared Diamond in “Guns, Germs and Steel” seems to suggest otherwise.
          When practiced for nutrition, it is (again, AFAIK), done so as a result of socialist governments starving the population to the point where there was no other viable option.

    2. “Socialism is a primitive impulse like that.”

      I don’t know about that. Socialism seems to exist as an intellectual reaction to the free market. Which would seem to put capitalism as a rung below socialism on the ladder of social development. This isn’t to say that it works, but it really is the most complex system to implement and sustain.

      1. The Inca empire has been described as a socialist state, I don’t see how as there were clearly different social classes. But it did end up in the ash heap of history so maybe it was.

        1. All empires fall.

      2. Or it is a symptom of the degenerate part of the cycle of history.


    3. If my brother gets more cake than I do, then that’s just not fair!

      I suspect you’ve hit the nail on the head. Lack of maturity might explain part of it’s appeal to younger people especially.

      1. It also presumes that the cake you and your brother are fighting over is the only one that can be baked and there are also no more cakes to be had at the store.

        The zero-sum thinking behind it is one of its dumbest attributes.

        1. Further, your brother earned the money to buy the ingredients, bought the house etc to cook it in, paid for the power and then offered you some of the cake. The complaint is from the parasite is: where is my cake? Not fair, take his cake and give it to me, that is the only fair thing to do.

  8. Socialists want to divide the work up evenly so that everyone has to work (regardless of whether their work is actually productive) whereas the goal of capitalism is to work hard and amass wealth so that you don’t have to work and can retire and do all the things you always dreamed of doing and let others do the heavy lifting. And then eventually everyone is free from work, the curse of mankind. (Or at least is toiling in the Garden of Eden, could be worse.) Socialists all suffer from the same delusion, which is that they can rise to power over the masses by increasingly extravagant displays of compassion. They are all trying to escape work even as they profess solidarity with the working class. The problem is that ultimately only one person can win in this game. (And it won’t be you.)

    1. Socialists also suffer from the belief that whether shares are divided equally or are rewarded by a capitalist system, there will be the same amount to share. History has shown again and again that this is not the case, and that capitalistic countries actually give their citizens way bigger shares on average, even though the shares are not equally divided. The idea of us all sharing equally to be fair isn’t evil, it is just like you said, a delusion that it will work out. And all the would be politicians , socialist or not, including our current President, and all those before and after, are just in it for themselves. Even if they are not socialists.

    2. I don’t think average people think like that. If they can have a house, a car and feed a couple of kids they’re content.

  9. This is an article.

    Beto O’Rourke has driven alone across the plains, straining to find his emotional bearings ? or at least a Pancake House in Liberal, Kan. He has collected an “El Pasoan of the Year” award, before a modest audience, and smiled coyly through an interview with Oprah Winfrey, before a bigger one.

    He has surfaced on college campuses, to listen to students; at a Metallica concert, to listen to Metallica; and at the premiere of a documentary about his star-making Senate run in Texas at the South by Southwest festival, to listen to himself on screen.

    He has journaled extensively.

    1. Sounds like a Match.com profile.

      1. Or a Twitter bio. Christ, these news rags are really mining the dregs to get this kind of poor writing.

    2. The corporate press is propaganda and has little to nothing to do with “news”. What’s new here?

    3. “He’s still an open book,” said Maurice Mitchell, national director for the Working Families Party. “He sort of catapulted himself into the national spotlight without answering a lot of questions about where he stands.”

      To be fair to O’Rourke, he didn’t “catapult himself” anywhere. Someone else did that for him, and because of it, he didn’t have to answer any pesky questions about where he stands. That’s how fawning media coverage works.

      1. Hey, it worked great for Obama. He only let his views slip a couple of times during 10 years of running for president and being president.

        “You didn’t build that” being the most famous example.

        Other than that he remained a Rorschach test. It worked perfectly. It would not be surprising if O’Rourke tried to follow that example.

    4. gonna write the great American novel?

  10. Marxist theory says that Socialism is the stage beyond capitalism, and the Socialist revolutions will happen in the industrialized nations. Except historically they haven’t!

    The Soviet revolution happened just as Tsarist Russian was getting rid of a feudal monarchy. The Chinese Communist revolution happened to an intensely agricultural nation. Vietnam and Cambodia were rural agrarian societies. Ditto for Cuba. Even Fabian Socialism in England arose in the aftermath of a devastating war, and was quickly shrugged off.

    A wealthy middle class is not going to toss out their wealth just because a rich bimbo in New York has feelz.

    1. Well, feelz and *gunz*.

    2. “A wealthy middle class is not going to toss out their wealth just because a rich bimbo in New York has feelz.”

      I agree. That ‘wealthy middle class’ will buy in presuming others will have to pay the bill. Getting wealthy (in a booming economy) =/= getting smart.
      Remember the vid of that woman who supported O-care and then got her first new insurance invoice? She said “I knew *somebody* was going to have to pay for this, but I didn’t think it was ME!”
      I remember her. You should, too.

  11. Socialists are uptight, envious, and bitter control freaks.

    1. “Socialists are uptight, envious, and bitter control freaks.”

      – “Yes, but there’s just something about him. Something around the eyes, I don’t know, reminds me of… me. No. I’m sure of it, I hate him.”

    2. +100

      When you listen to Socialists talk you hear things like this:
      “Rich people have too much money”
      “The ends justify the means”
      “Democratic socialism is a political and economic system with freedom and equality for all” (except property owners)
      “Power to the People”
      “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” — Adolf Hitler

  12. soaring visible wealth stokes envy and resentment.

    Yeah I hear that but I don’t really buy it. In good times, socialism only appeals if there is a serious absence of mobility/upside. I don’t think that is either envy or resentment. Rather that absence of mobility/upside is a big part of the difference between capitalism and free markets. And the better the economic conditions, the more those who already have tend to tilt the playing field so that those who don’t have have to run faster just to stay in place. Compounded by the fact that when the next crisis happens, those who have are going to hog the trough getting their cronyist/socialist bailout.

    ‘Envy’ or ‘resentment’ is just a way of pretending the system is perfect. Only the ingrates are to blame

    1. Envy is actually a thing. It’s amazing you have convinced yourself that it doesn’t exist.

      1. Of course it’s a thing. But exactly WHAT is the object of the envy? Is it the disconnect between some schmuck working at a company that’s losing hundreds of millions of dollar a year and he’s worried about keeping his job v a different company losing hundreds of millions a year that is going to become the hot new IPO and make billionaires even wealthier while bagholders hold the bag? That sort of disconnect looks like a completely rigged game – where even ‘profits’ are completely fucking irrelevant to the current economic system.

        Using the word ‘envy’ on its own is exactly what I said – a way of dismissing actual issues by blaming the sentiment that those issues produce

        1. “Of course it’s a thing. But exactly WHAT is the object of the envy? Is it the disconnect between some schmuck working at a company that’s losing hundreds of millions of dollar a year and he’s worried about keeping his job v a different company losing hundreds of millions a year that is going to become the hot new IPO and make billionaires even wealthier while bagholders hold the bag? That sort of disconnect looks like a completely rigged game – where even ‘profits’ are completely fucking irrelevant to the current economic system.”

          Actually, it looks more like some hypothetical you pulled out of your ass which bears little connection to reality.

        2. “a different company losing hundreds of millions a year that is going to become the hot new IPO”

          So you’re bashing risk takers? The people who could settle and relax on their current wealth, or invest that wealth in something that will create more wealth and jobs.

          These risk takers are the foundation of the american dream. And if they’re taxed and demonized, these people will not take risks, will sit on their wealth, and the only people truly hurt will be the people without the jobs that socialism destroyed through the hatred of the wealthy.

          Socialism bites the hands of capitalism, to the detriment of the hungry.

          1. The risk-taker is the entrepreneur not some portfolio investor. And the fact is the basic measure of that entrepreneurial (newly created businesses that hire someone – ie not consultants/gig workers) activity has been generally trending down for decades. May be a lot of reasons for that – but imo the whole VC thang (position a startup for resale via an IPO or bigco purchase) has been a big part of it.

  13. The article fails to understand that capitalism requires a strong middle class. Conditions at this point tend to favor the wealthiest over the middle class. Capital in the hands of the middle class is fluid and moves around. The wealthiest often spend a large amounts in the absolute but a lower percentage. Thus capital is trapped. Socialism is then more popular as capitalism fails. Scaring people with horror stories of socialism will be less effective then a fiscal policy that supports the middle class.

    1. There’s no such thing as trapped capital in the modern financial system. Unless you have large piles of cash buried in the woods, if you aren’t using your capital someone else is: if you have have your money in a bank, the bank is using that capital for loans and investments, If you have the money in stocks or bonds — and IRA, a 401K, it’s being used there. With the wealthy, even moreso, as they’re not prone to leaving their money sitting around in repositories that don’t even keep up with inflation, so their money is even more active.

      1. I disagree. The recently enacted tax cuts are an example. The promise was that off shore wealth would be returned to create jobs and raise wages. But on a 30 to 1 ratio (from Fox News) the money was used for stock buy backs over job creation. this raised the price of stocks, build wealth, and sequestered capital. Yes the wealthy spend money. The simple fact is that building 40 houses valued at $250K is going to have a much greater effect on the economy than building one $10M house for a multimillionaire. Put your emphasis on the middle class and you will build the strongest capitalist economy. Do that and you don’t need to scare people with socialism.

        1. The simple fact is that building 40 houses valued at $250K is going to have a much greater effect on the economy than building one $10M house for a multimillionaire.

          I’m not sure if you’ve been asleep the last ten years or what, but in places where there isn’t a housing boom–namely, hyper-liberal cities with restrictive development policies–the cost of living has skyrocketed while places who are more developer-friendly are creating the exact type of housing you’re advocating here. In fact, it’s left-wing urbanites who are pushing the idea that everyone should be shoved into a shoebox in the city rather than live in a much larger house in the suburbs or countryside that provides more square footage per dollar.

  14. Great article Ira!
    Looking forward to reading JFK Conservative

  15. Before looking at the other comments or even finishing reading the article, I’ll just say they shouldn’t be using the distortive word “capitalism”, which would mean rule by capital, but “free enterprise”. You’ll also find more people in favor of it if it’s called by those words.

  16. A lot of you are missing the point. Sure, I agree with you all that Socialism is not an effective way to govern, nor do I want the USA to become more that way. However, the article is proposing that in times of plenty, almost counterintuitively, socialist ideas become more popular. I heard a great special about sufficiency vs egalitarianism on KPFA, which is super far left, but it was interesting. They push the idea of not being so worried about sufficiency, which means everyone has enough to live. They want society to embrace egalitarianism, which means we all have about the same amount of money and societal influence. Then the playing field will be level, everyone wil have a fair chance in the Socialist utopia, and we can all have a group hug. I was surprised at this point of view, because I never really thought of our choices that way, not being a socialist myself. Not saying I buy their brand of baloney, just saying we are all going to see a lot more of this baloney being proposed as time goes on. Even if the economy stays strong.

    1. tl:dr The world is full of losers and do nothings that would love to find a way to be equals with people who create wealth

  17. One thing I’ve noted about those who advocate for socialism in lieu of capitalism is that they never look at any of the processes, only the results.

    So they’ll look at a wealthy person and lament that this person has 3 houses, a yacht, and a Porsche, then compare that real property to someone who is, for example, homeless.

    They do not ask what choices each person made to arrive at their respective position, because to them, the results demonstrate that those choices couldn’t possibly matter as such disparate positions could only be the result of an imbalanced playing field.

    Nevermind that the wealthy one started off impoverished but worked hard for 50 years, scraping every penny and living a frugal life, or that the pauper was once wealthy but squandered it all by leading a lavish lifestyle.

    They also fail to take into consideration the net positive impact the wealthy one has, instead only focusing on the gross suffering of the poor one.

    1. “They do not ask what choices each person made to arrive at their respective position,”

      There’s over 30 brands of toothpaste on the market new. Choose the right one, and you’ll end up wealthy, the wrong one, a pauper. The most important choice of course is the same one Donald Trump made. Choose a wealthy family to join.

      1. I get the impression that you’re thinking that your response was pretty clever, but you’re closer to the truth than you probably realize.

        30 brands of toothpaste = options = choices

        1. Buy the most expensive brand. It costs more so it must be worth more, right? Maybe. IF it’s owned by P&G, AND you happen to own shares of P&G, then buying this brand IS worth more, because as a shareholder, it’s partly YOUR company.

        2. Buy the brand that supports the local economy. XYZ brand has a factory in the city of your residence. Buying XYZ helps that company compete, which helps keep them solvent, which helps to insure those jobs stay where they are.

        3. The cheap stuff is most likely chemically-identical to the expensive stuff. Buy the cheap stuff and put the difference in the bank.

        4. Just buy a box of baking soda, and save even more.

        Extrapolation: Toothpaste is only ONE product. Follow the same pattern for all of your other expenditures.

        I’m not gonna reply to the Trump jibe, because he’s no R. Kelly.

        1. “30 brands of toothpaste = options = choices”

          = more regrets. The more choices there are, the greater the chances of making the wrong choice.

          1. mtrueman|3.12.19 @ 12:08AM|#
            “30 brands of toothpaste = options = choices”
            “= more regrets. The more choices there are, the greater the chances of making the wrong choice.”

            = more stupidity from trueman

          2. Are you seriously advocating for the reduction of choice (less freedom) in order to save people from making “wrong” choices?

            1. He read an article in a popular science or pop psychology magazine about Choice Theory and how people who have more choices are actually less happy with the results.

              He thinks that quoting it makes him sound smart.

            2. “Are you seriously advocating for the reduction of choice (less freedom) in order to save people from making “wrong” choices?”

              No, but there is something called diminishing marginal returns. At some point adding to our choices doesn’t make us more free, it just adds unwanted complexity to our lives.

              1. “No, but there is something called diminishing marginal returns. At some point adding to our choices doesn’t make us more free, it just adds unwanted complexity to our lives.”

                In which case, the market will solve any problem without interference from dumbshits like you.

              2. No, but there is something called diminishing marginal returns. At some point adding to our choices doesn’t make us more free, it just adds unwanted complexity to our lives

                That happens in every complex society. It’s not an inherent feature of either capitalism or socialism.

                1. ” It’s not an inherent feature of either capitalism or socialism.”

                  It’s an inherent feature of the proliferation of choice. The more there is to choose from the greater the odds of you making the wrong choice.

      2. ALSO

        30 brands of toothpaste can be looked at in one of two ways:

        1. The market is too saturated. I can’t compete.

        2. The market has room for growth. I can start my own toothpaste business.

      3. mtrueman|3.11.19 @ 10:38PM|#
        “There’s over 30 brands of toothpaste on the market new. Choose the right one, and you’ll end up wealthy, the wrong one, a pauper. The most important choice of course is the same one Donald Trump made. Choose a wealthy family to join.”

        Cite missing.
        You’re full of shit.

        1. “Cite missing.”

          It was never there in the first place.

          1. mtrueman|3.12.19 @ 12:09AM|#
            “”Cite missing.”
            It was never there in the first place.”

            Yeah we know you lie on a regular basis,
            You’re full of shit.

    2. “hey do not ask what choices each person made to arrive at their respective position, because to them, the results demonstrate that those choices couldn’t possibly matter as such disparate positions could only be the result of an imbalanced playing field.”

      Their response to that is “don’t blame the victim”.

    3. “hey do not ask what choices each person made to arrive at their respective position, because to them, the results demonstrate that those choices couldn’t possibly matter as such disparate positions could only be the result of an imbalanced playing field.”

      Their response to that is “don’t blame the victim”.

    4. Re: choices

      It’s not so much how you spend your money. More important is how you spend your time.

  18. “As the bull market turned ten years old last week, it is worth examining whether the efforts of the Federal Reserve, during former Chairman Ben Bernanke’s leadership, to avoid another 1930s-style debt deflationary crash, sparked a new generation of socialists.
    Bernanke’s quantitative easing (QE), also known as large-scale asset purchases, inflated asset prices and bailed out baby boomers at the political cost of pricing out millennials from many asset markets, including homes and the stock market. That has since driven wealth inequality across the country to levels never seen before.”

    Interesting angle.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/…..-socialist

  19. That was Marx’ prediction, wasn’t it? Only capitalism can create the hordes of wealth required to kick-start the communist Utopia, but the workers would only revolt when they saw the excesses of latent capitalism. In other words: It’s only when you have a healthy stock of billionaires that one can propose eating them.

    1. “In other words: It’s only when you have a healthy stock of billionaires that one can propose eating them.”

      The place is Russia, 100 years ago. The ‘excess of latent capitalism’ was called World War One. A claque of decadent monarchists prodding you into trenches to be slaughtered was sufficient to kick off the revolution.

      1. “The place is Russia, 100 years ago. The ‘excess of latent capitalism’ was called World War One. A claque of decadent monarchists prodding you into trenches to be slaughtered was sufficient to kick off the revolution.”

        The place is the Reason website, now. The stupidity of trueman is evident to make claims absent cites.
        Fuck off, asshole

  20. The only defense of capitalism needed is that it is the only system that prohibits the initiatory use of force. Socialism requires it.

  21. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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  22. In other words.

    When the rich live like gods without working a day in their lives while the poor have to work three jobs to maintain an apartment, it offends people who have a sense of fairness.

    1. Thank you illustrating the writer’s point perfectly.

      1. Thank you.

        What exactly are “bad economic times”?

        If it weren’t for “market forces”, everyone is still ready to work and needs safety, security and health.

        You’re probably a fan of a well run company. They are managed to respond to any conditions. Why shouldn’t a nation be managed similarly?

  23. Someone may have mentioned this already, but didn’t Joseph Schumpeter cover this decades ago?

  24. Hard times make strong men.
    Strong men make easy times.
    Easy times make weak men.
    Weak men make hard times.

    And so it goes…

  25. Is it envy/resentment of success or complacency as they see the success as automatic. A piggy bank that never runs out of money.

    Socialism does not care for the golden goose it simply consumes it.

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  27. Do socialists realize they are free to donate any amount they want to the government for their programs? Even better, do it themselves without the gov. Just leave me out of it.

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  30. “Does Prosperity Trigger Calls for Socialism?”
    “…stock market is a decade into a rally … $30 trillion in wealth … unemployment rate 3.8% … GDP growth 2.9%”

    Save for unemployment (and after decades of stagnation and even real-dollar shrinkage, wages are *just starting* to grow), this definition/vision of ‘Prosperity’ is by The Rich For The Rich,. That the Dow is soaring may feel like prosperity if you have a big Portfolio, but most Americans don’t see any the $30T from it.

    Let’s see the Middle Class grow for a decade or so, as it did from Post-WWII through the early 1970s, before we start talking about “prosperity”, and complaining of the ungrateful Proletariat’s demand for Socialism despite it. MarketWatch tells me the Middle Class stopped *shrinking* in 2018.

    Huge and accelerating income inequality in a system owned-by and serving the 1% and corporate multinationals would be my guess as to why Socialism is catching on as an idea.

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