Socialism Doesn't Work

Only capitalism creates real wealth.


Last week, I reported on two myths about socialism. My new video covers three more.

Myth No. 3: Socialism works if it's "democratic."

As the Democratic Socialists of America put it, "Society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few."

Sounds nice. If socialists are elected, then we'll have a more just society.

But Venezuela's socialists were elected.

"They can start off democratically elected," says economist Ben Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, but "once they centralize control over the economy, it becomes impossible to 'un-elect' them."

Hugo Chavez was elected but became an authoritarian who chose his successor, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro now gets "elected," by having opponents arrested and "ordering state employees to vote for him or they lose their job," says Powell.

"Socialism always becomes authoritarian?" I ask.

"Everywhere you try socialism, that's what you get," he replies. "It's hard to exercise political freedom if you don't have economic freedoms. If you're dependent upon the state for your livelihood, you lose your ability to use your voice to oppose [the state] because you can be punished.

And if the state directs the economy, some government department must manage millions of production decisions and prices. That never works. No bureaucrat can anticipate the needs and wants of millions of people in different places. No politician can match the wisdom of decentralized entrepreneurs making subtle adjustments constantly.

Celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, and Danny DeVito star in videos selling "democratic" socialism as "public schools" and "interstate highways."

They are not wrong. "Some industries are government-owned," replies Powell, but "when you look at things that are inefficiently done—public education, our congested streets," it's clear "socialized industries don't work well."

"They do in Scandinavian countries!" say socialism's promoters.

That's myth No. 4.

Scandinavia does have big welfare programs, but capitalism pays for them.

The socialists call Sweden socialist, but that's just wrong. "Volvo is a private company," says Powell. "Restaurants and hotels are privately owned. Markets organize the vast majority of Swedish economic activity."

Sweden did once try socialism. The result was high taxes, inflation, and economic decline. It's an example of how people in prosperous places often don't know what made their lives better.

In 1950, Sweden was the world's fourth-richest country. Then Sweden tried socialism. Suddenly, once industrious Swedes started taking sick days. Wealth creation stopped.

"Talent and capital stormed out of Sweden to escape taxes and red tape," writes Swedish historian Johan Norberg. "Businesses moved headquarters and investments to more hospitable places. IKEA left for the Netherlands…Bjorn Borg and other sports stars fled to Monaco."

Sweden recovered only when it ended its socialist experiment. They cut taxes, government spending, and sold state-owned businesses.

After economically ignorant politicians like Bernie Sanders called Scandinavia "socialist," Denmark's prime minister even came to America to say: "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."

In fact, in rankings of economic freedom, Denmark ranks as more free market than the United States.

Myth No. 5: Socialism is completely different from fascism.

In Congress, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R–Texas) called Hitler a "socialist." Rep. Steve Cohen (D–Tenn.) took offense, shouting, "It's the Nazis that were terrible, not the socialists!"

But Nazis were "national socialists." There are differences between fascism and socialism, but "both replace market decision-making with command and control," says Powell. Fascism "leaves private ownership in nominal terms" but neither system allows individual freedom. "You lose…control over your own future. Only under capitalism do you have the freedom to say, 'No.'"

Socialism appeals to people today because it promises "equality and social justice," but look at its track record. In Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and China, socialism has meant a loss of freedom.

Socialist experiments also failed in Israel, India, Great Britain, Afghanistan, Syria, Algeria, Cambodia, Somalia, etc. There are no socialist success stories.

Only capitalist countries create real wealth.

"The history of humanity is poverty, starvation, early death," Powell points out. "In the last 20 years, we've seen more humans escape extreme poverty than any other time in human history. That's because of markets!"

Yet, millions vote for socialism.


NEXT: Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders Pretends Prisoners Are Patients

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  1. “Yet, millions vote for socialism.”

    The average human isn’t very smart and is easily manipulated. The problem is the evil smart people will literally do anything for power. It’s a huge advantage.

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    4. Socialism as shown in the video can never happen in the USA. There will always be a large component of capitalism here. We could use a little democratic socialism to balance things out.

      1. Balance things out?
        Maybe you mean more of my money for you.
        Actually, you wouldn’t get any of my money, nor anyone else’s. But they would get a lot of mine. And yours, too.
        Balance things out …

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      2. So you have no problem with tyranny.

    5. I think you nailed it on the head. In socialism psychopaths take control of the government and in capitalism they take over industry. In one case, you manipulate the politburo and in the other you manipulate the shareholders.

  2. You gotta define your terms, Stossel.

    1. What terms do you feel Stossel left undefined? How do you think he might define them? Or you?

  3. Swedes pay about half of their salaries in taxes. They also get free health care and at least 25 days of vacation per year. Since this is the kind of stuff the progressives want to implement here and what they probably mean when they say “socialism”, why not address these things instead of what you think the definition of socialism is? I haven’t heard AOC or Bernie call for government ownership of hotels and restaurants.

    1. You are not entirely correct regarding our taxes.

      Our local income tax is 32,18 % on average (min 29.18 %, Max 35.15 %).
      For all income above 537 200 SEK (~USD 66 100) we pay an aditional 20 %

      In adition we have general “work deduction”, thats general for everyone with a job. That makes the tax for a median wage in Sweden 25.17 % but that will depend on where you live.

      Bur we have never, EVER been socialists depending upon what you defines with socialism ofcourse. I find it – as I intrpretre you post – much more interesting to focus on questions such as healthcare, schools, elderlycare instead of using terms such as socialism vs capitalism.

      1. What portion of (working) people pay net taxes in Sweden? And how is the tax burden distributed across the income tiers?

        1. I haven’t looked at any numbers recently, but I remember reading about how the U.S. has considerably more progressive taxation than European countries have. (This held true, on average, even considering that state and local taxes vary a lot between states, with some states relying on more regressive forms of taxation.) But European welfare states still end up more progressive overall when government transfer payments are taken into account. That is, the net difference between taxes and social welfare programs means a greater transfer of wealth in countries like Sweden than in the U.S. Even though the middle and working classes may pay more in taxes, they also get more in benefits. (Assuming that this still holds up, years after I first read it.)

        2. I am not sure what you mean with net taxes, but that could be a terminology that I am not used to.

          Everyone that works in Sweden pays taxes according to the same principles as described above. The local taxes are paid to the County and mumicipal, thus the different levels since ut ONLY depends in where you live.

          The central / federal tax is the only other income tax we have and is paid for in comes above the bracket I mentioned.

          Then we have different deductions, but thoose are individual although the same taxation rules applies to us all.

          Income from financial revenues (or prorits tbp) are taxes separately at 30% kr the profits.

          1. Regarding financial revenues above, it should be profits – and not prorits.

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          2. Marcus R,

            In the U.S., the federal government collects taxes on income in two ways: the federal income tax and the payroll tax. Federal income taxes have what is called the Earned Income Tax Credit, which causes some low income earners to receive a payment from the government (mostly those with children), rather than owing taxes.* The numbers vary from year to year, but a little less than half of people that file federal income tax returns each year end up owing zero federal income tax. But there is also the payroll tax to fund Social Security (cash retirement benefit) and Medicare (health insurance) for the elderly, for which there are no deductions or credits. It is just a straight % of everyone’s paycheck.** With the EITC, though, some of those that owe no federal income tax also get a payment that is equal or greater than what they pay in payroll taxes as well. The last I looked it up, about 25% of people that file federal income tax returns end up paying zero to the federal government over the course of a year or get more back than they pay, in total, counting both sets of taxes.

            That could be what Earth Skeptic is talking about. Or, it could be that he is thinking about the difference between taxes paid and all cash benefits from the government. Either way, it is the case that some of the lowest income workers do pay less in taxes than they get in direct benefits from the federal government that are cash or things like food stamps, that can be spent like cash on specific items.

            *For example, someone working could have had $500 deducted from their paycheck for federal taxes during the year, but with $800 in EITC, they would get a refund check from the federal government of $800.

            **Payroll taxes are 6.2% for SS and 1.45% for Medicare deducted from the gross pay of the employee, with an equal amount paid by the employer. The SS part is capped at around $140k income, but the Medicare portion is not.

    2. “Swedes pay about half of their salaries in taxes. They also get free health care

      Ladies and gentlemen, the idiot thinks “about half of their salaries” = “free”

      1. Here in the states, we pay half our salaries in federal, state and local taxes, and we get bupkis. Ridiculous medical costs, crappy schools, and vacations we can’t afford to take. So the original point may be poorly phrased, but not invalid.

        1. You get world class anti-terrorism programs. Speaking of which, your complaint has an insurrectiony tone to it.

          Expect company.

          1. His complaint is a stupid fucking distraction, just because we get less for what we pay doesnt mean that Sweden doesn’t pay. TANSTAAFL but his obvious sockpuppet-for-Chipper ass is embarrassed because he got STFU, so he has to blather on stupidly about us vs them which is utterly irrelevant.

            It isn’t free FULL STOP.

            1. We Swedes are fully aware that we pay for schools, healthcare, elderlycare etc through taxes. No-one thinks of them as “free”

        2. >>So the original point may be poorly phrased, but not invalid.

          no Chipper, your original point was still invalid because half your salary still doesn’t equal free

          1. “half your salary still doesn’t equal free”

            Not so fast, his might.

            Half of zero is still zero.

        3. Here in the states, we pay half our salaries in federal, state and local taxes

          I don’t. You should move out of New York.

          1. While you still can.

        4. The estimates vary, but the tax burden from state and local taxes is highest in New York at 13.8% and Alaska was lowest at 7.2%, according to one article that used 2017 Census data. Tax burden is defined and calculated based on the total of taxes collected as a percentage of the total personal income of all residents. It is then an average that could vary a lot between people with different circumstances.

          It should be noted that these figures do not necessarily mean that residents are paying all of the taxes. Alaska, for instance, is taxing non-residents heavily by collecting a large portion of the state tax on oil extraction. Florida, with no state income tax, relies on the sales tax for much of its state revenue, which gets paid by out-of-state (and foreign) tourists as well as residents.

          The top federal marginal tax rate is currently 37%, but that starts at $518,401 for individuals. The tax brackets are 10% (up to $9,875), 12% (up to $40,125), 22% (up to $85,525), 24% (up to $163,300), 32% (up to $207,350), 35% (up to 518,401). Because of how marginal income tax rates work, to literally pay half of one’s salary to federal, state, and local taxes would require a fairly huge salary. No one that is truly middle class is going to be paying even close to 50% of their gross salary on taxes of all levels of government. Probably not more than a third even in high-tax states like NY and CA. Also note that the Social Security payroll tax (FICA) is capped to income at and below $137,700 for 2020. (This is indexed to cost of living changes.)

          I found this tax calculator while looking some things up. If it is accurate, then a family of four with household income of $125k would pay 23% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes in Florida and 31% in New York City. A single person with no dependents earning $500k a year in NYC still only pays a 41% effective tax rate. (This is assuming no 401k/IRA contributions or itemized deductions as well.)

          People in the U.S. are not overtaxed in comparison to other wealthy countries. If anything, the opposite is true. We pay well below the OECD average.

    3. That, and UBI, and free college for everyone, and nationalizing the banks, and gun control, and wealth taxes, and inheritance taxes, and a guaranteed living wage for all, and high speed internet for everyone, free housing, the Green New Deal, etc. etc. etc.

    4. He addresses Sweden in the article, BTW.

      1. He addresses Sweden’s shift away from actual socialism (in the nationalization of some industries), but he still has not said anything about why social welfare programs common in countries like Sweden that either don’t exist or are much less generous in the U.S. are bad. He isn’t even saying that they are bad. He just doesn’t include that in his definition of socialism that he is arguing against.

        But that is the problem with these two articles by Stossel. Pundits and politicians on the right are not arguing against “socialism” in the form of nationalized industry and central planning of the economy in the way that Stossel is. They are using it as a broad term for almost any sort of government intervention in the economy, especially including social welfare programs. Food stamps – Socialism! Forgiving student loans – Socialism! $15 minimum wage – Socialism! Paid maternity leave – Socialism!

        Apparently, this is some slippery slope agenda by the leftists in and aligned with the Democrats to government ownership of the means of production, according to Kevin Smith below. He is echoing many others on that. Therefore, we have to fight it all as being the same evil Socialism! in order to save capitalism and Freedom!

        We’d all be better off if economic policy could be debated according to how it really works. Instead, we get a lot of straw-men for each side to beat upon.

    5. “I haven’t heard AOC or Bernie call for government ownership of hotels and restaurants.”

      Maybe not yet, but they call for an end to capitalism and point to socialism as the alternative. That is far from the Nordic Model, which thrives on robust capitalism

      1. Yeah they only want to control when and how those places can operate. Totally different.

  4. People are disillusioned with capitalism because we’ve basically done everything and solved every problem and there are few big, fun and challenging opportunities left. So people turn to various socialist scams to create new problems to jockey for profit and power (e.g. Medicare for all, Green New Deal, COVID hysteria). That’s perfectly understandable. All the problems in late stage capitalism are either self-imposed (climate change, football brain injuries) or insoluble (cancer, aging, vaccination compliance). Unless you have a billion dollars to invest, and well connected friends, you are out of luck.

    So what’s the answer? In fact, Christians were the first communists. The difference is that it was voluntary not forced. But that was everything.

    And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. – Acts 2:44

    1. If you believe that the purpose of government is to provide happiness (and prevent sadness) then misguided symbolic gestures, rife with signaling and moral superiority, are fully justified.

  5. Public ownership of commercial assets will not work. What most admirers of socialism today look to are the Nordic Countries. But what is not highlighted about the current Nordic model is the actual tax rates. It is not merely that government takes in close to 50%% of GDP as taxes or that the government provides universal health care and free education. The key issue is that the highest income tax rate kicks in at about two times the per capita income. This essentially forces the middle class to use the services the government provides. And obviously those services are shared by everyone. Hence the universal safety net. Unfortunately everyone pretends that the universal safety net can be set up by taxing the millionairess billionaires. That is impossible. Universal health care can be a societal goal but it cannot be done if the middle class doesn’t bear the burden. This has to be highlighted. Not the worries about government ownership.

    1. “Universal health care can be a societal goal but it cannot be done if the middle class doesn’t bear the burden. This has to be highlighted. Not the worries about government ownership.”

      Well put. We need more debate about the real burdens of policy, and less argument about ideology.

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  7. But Democrats have BIG REVOLUTIONARY PLANS to destroy the USA and replace it with something that is worse, and worse, and worse and worse…

  8. “Yet, millions vote for socialism.”

    Because they see problems with capitalism that are not being addressed. In our country we have for too long looked at capitalism with a wealth-centric approach. The idea is to pump money into the wealthiest and it will trickle down (supply side). What ever virtue that approach had, has long since worn off. What we see is that the wealth is often sequestered and large inequalities emerge.

    We don’t need socialism we need to begin to restructure to a middle-class centric capitalism ( supply & demand). Pumping money not to the wealthiest but to the middle were it will flow both up and down. This will result in more movement of capital and a more robust capitalism.

    People will choose socialism when they don’t see capitalism working for them. Reform capitalism and you will do more to fight socialism than any scary story.

    1. “The idea is to pump money into the wealthiest and it will trickle down”

      That has nothing to do with capitalism.

      Capitalism is simply freely transacting between voluntary parties. All your other bullshit is how you and your dishonest ilk turn things that aren’t capitalism into the faux-capitalism you must argue against because you sound like an idiot arguing against freely transacting between willing participants.

      1. Guess you missed the last 50 years of what we call a capitalist economy. No one is arguing about transactions. we are not talking about you going to the grocery store.
        We are arguing about the structure of a robust capitalist economy.

        1. “Guess you missed the last 50 years of what we call a capitalist economy”

          I don’t care what you call it to forward your agenda.

    2. “Pumping money” – Go pump your own money. STOP STEALING and ENSLAVING, slaver! You don’t get to claim ‘ownership’ of everyone’s labor just because you *think* you’re their God Savior.

      The only thing that surpasses lefty arrogance is their ignorance.

      1. It is your money and my money no matter where the government funnels it into the economy. I just saying directing it into the middleclass is a better approach to make for a robust capitalist economy.

        1. So redistribution schemes are capitalism? I don’t even think you realize how insane your comment is.

          1. Capitalism is a redistribution scheme. It takes wealth from the poor and ignorant and gives it to the wealthy and connected. If you want anything you can claim with a straight face is a fair version of capitalism, you’re going to have to advocate doing a lot of redistribution to the financial planning industry at least. Something doesn’t become ethically superior just because it ignores all real measures of human well-being in the first place.

            Your problem is that you’ve been propagandized into believing that Howard redistribution is always good and downward redistribution is always bad. It’s just so much lipstick on an obvious moral monstrosity.

            1. Mr. Marx for the win.

              Fuck off, retard.

              1. You don’t get to argue that maximum greed is the most ethical way to be. Not on my watch. And I’m not going to listen to a serial killer explain why maximum making-lamps-out-of-people is the best way to be either. Life’s not so generous.

            2. You are a delusional ignoramus. It’s government doing the redistribution.

        2. And you’re being told that isn’t capitalist.

          But you keep trying to call it that so you can steal bases.

    3. ” The idea is to pump money into the wealthiest and it will trickle down (supply side).”

      No, the core ideas of capitalism are to “pump” money to those who are most productive (and productive is judged by what people actually want to buy) and re-invest gains into more production.

      People will “choose” capitalism and ignore socialism when bullshit artists like you tell the truth.

      1. Pumping money into the “productive” is farce as it ignores demand. If the demand is not present the “productive” will simple sequester the money. I am suggesting a structure that once again looks at both supply and demand, rather than just at supply.

        1. I would love to try libertarianism. That has supply and demand.

        2. If there is no demand then the person producing will not get any money, because people will not purchase their products/services no matter how “productive” they are. Therefore they cannot sequester the money, because they will never receive it in the first place.

          At least that’s how it is under capitalism, as others have pointed out what you are criticizing is not capitalism, but rather government encroachments on capitalism that prevent it from functioning as it should

        3. Are you really this dumb?

    4. You’re ignorant of how free markets produce wealth. You say capitalism is supply-side focused. When is the last time you willingly purchased something you didn’t want or need? To create wealth, an entrepreneur must correctly identify demand and then efficiently organize resources (I.e. capital investment, talented workers, etc.) to produce and supply the product or service that is in demand. By efficiently meeting demand, the entrepreneur creates wealth.

      Socialists like you have this misconception that the wealth produced is then somehow “sequestered” from the rest of the economy. This is also ignorant. Inflation forces owners of wealth to reinvest the wealth back into the economy in order to ensure it grows faster than the rate of inflation. Investment is fundamentally the way free markets funnel resources (I.e wealth) to productive people who are meeting or will meet demand. Demand can be from the poor (think Walmart) to the rich (think Rolex).

      Socialism destroys free markets which always results in more poor people, more hungry people, and an authoritarian government.

    5. ?: In terms of human qualify of life, is the world now a better place than it was 20-30 years ago?

      1. In terms of material comfort, quality of medical care, access to jobs, wealth creation (which pulls people out of poverty)… yes, the world is a far better place.

    6. In the USA (not the ‘pretend’ democratic National Socialist Gov of the left) no-one has voted for “socialism” because the vote would be on an Amendment not PHONY and UN-Constitutional U.S.C.

    7. There is no such thing as the sequestration of wealth. It is physically impossible, contradictory and a stupid term. Even if you buy gold bars and store them in an underwater base in Antarctica, you still paid someone for the gold and they now have money to spend in the economy.

      I agree that we need to focus more on lowering taxes for lower and middle income Americans to make economic mobility easier, but it isn’t just about taxes. It’s about a lot of the libertarian issues we’re supposed to have in common. Like being able to move your occupation licenses between states (or not even needing one), having fewer onerous regulations that increase barriers to entry and reduce competition for big corporations, legalizing drug use to bring legitimate industry into broad daylight, ending useless foreign wars and inefficient government programs that do more harm than good, etc. You had a candidate who ran on most of that in 2016 and 2020. He won in 2016 and lost in 2020, but I doubt you voted for him either time and you probably won’t when he runs again in 2024.

    8. This is a leftist straw-man that you are attacking. Tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy, but only because they endure so much of the tax burden. It’s their money…not the government’s. The wealthiest people pay far and away the greatest amount of taxes both in absolute terms and proportionately. We have a progressive tax system in the United States. It is MUCH more progressive in nature than what you’ll find in Scandinavia. The middle class in Sweden, Denmark, etc. get hosed with taxes. There’s this myth in the U.S. that the rich can foot the bill for everything. Confiscating all our their wealth wouldn’t be enough to pay for what we already think we need. The burden for social programs has to fall on the middle class that the left pretends no longer exists. Total compensation continues to keep pace with productivity in the U.S., even as lefties mislead by suggesting wages don’t keep up with productivity. We have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the PPACA, etc. etc…and it is literally bankrupting our nation. If you want more “free” healthcare, college, and child subsidies, move somewhere so that you end up paying double in taxes. We don’t live in a laissez-faire wild west of capitalism. We have a mixed economy, and it’s going to be our undoing.

  9. Libertarianism supports free markets whether they are socialist in nature or capitalist – a concept Stossel does not understand in attempting to convince libertarians that they must support his view of a free market.

    1. John Stossel seems more about peddling fear of socialism, than addressing real questions about capitalism that make people look to socialism.

    2. Socialist markets are not free, by definition. So your comment doesn’t make much sense.

      1. You are missing hpearce’s point that John Stossel is looking at socialism only as a State mandated socialism. Milwaukee had a socialist mayor for many years and yet it was a vibrant capitalist manufacturering hub. Modern economy, such as Denmark’s, are not capitalist or socialist, but a blend that set out achieves the society’s goals. Free markets exist as well as social safety nets woven together to provide opportunity with a measure of peace of mind.

        1. fuck off faggot stop stealing my money, fucking retard prog

        2. “… a blend that sets out to achieve society’s goals.” What are society’s goals? In a democracy, that would be whatever the majority wants in the moment, even if that majority is only 51% of the population. Is it right to take from 49% of the population to achieve the goals of the other 51%? You may be tempted to say it depends on the goal. But keep in mind, you may find yourself in the 49%. How hard would you work to achieve my goals??

          1. Interesting point. First what is a majority and a minority. We live in a representative democracy so it is possible for a minority of the population to hold a majority of political powers.
            What responsibility does the majority have to the minority? When Justice Ginsberg died shortly before the election the Republicans held the majority and they rushed through a new SCOTUS justice. Is this acceptable?
            The majority has a responsibility both to their majority as well as to the minority opposition. But that does not include a veto over anything the majority would like.

            1. Tyranny of the majority was discussed by “Publius” in the Federalist Papers, by Jay, Madison, and Hamilton.

              The point is that certain rights are constitutionally guaranteed such that no majority can trump those rights. Things like freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc.

              It has nothing to do with a late justice’s “dying wish”

            2. The fact that a minority of the population can hold political power further makes my point. You used the term “society’s goals”. There is no such thing. There will always be different viewpoints and corresponding goals in a society with 100’s of millions of citizens. Attempting to use the government to extract wealth from individuals in order to achieve “society’s goals” actually results in the majority, or occasionally the minority, taking from others to achieve their own goals. This isn’t right. This is also why socialism always results in an authoritarian government. If those in political power decided you don’t deserve to live your home because it’s too big, or too nice, or you’re too white, or whatever, would you willingly give it up? Clearly, the answer is no. Even if they’re telling you it’s in order to achieve some higher societal goal? Still, your answer would rightfully be no. So, what does a socialist government do when you refuse to comply? Exercise their authority and force you out either by threat of violence or actual violence. Hence the libertarian view that a government, of any stripe, should not have any such powers. It’s already gone way too far in this direction as things stand now.

        3. “Modern economy, such as Denmark’s, are not capitalist or socialist, but a blend”

          Funny how Denmark’s PM disagrees and describes them as a capitalist economy (in many ways more capitalist than the United States)

          1. But you would agree they have socialist elements woven into that capitalist system?

        4. “Milwaukee had a socialist mayor for many years and yet it was a vibrant capitalist ‘manufacturering’ [sic] hub”

          So did the “socialist mayor” oversee a socialist economy? Apparently not. This comment is pointless.

          1. The point of the comment was to show that socialism can co-exist with both capitalism and democracy. As it does in a number of European countries.

    3. ” free markets whether they are socialist in nature or capitalist”

      That is either moronic ignorance or demonic lies.

      The question of a free market is: who decides?

      In socialism the individual does not decide, therefore he is not free, and there is no market for him.

      There is no such thing as libertarian socialism. Socialism is always and everywhere a collective.

  10. What Stossel is not telling you is that when hen uses the term “socialism”, he means “state socialism or state-mandated socialism”

    this is an important point Stossel sh0o9uld have mentioned at the very beginning.
    One might conclude that Stossel want to “demean” ALL socialism whether it is mandated by the state or not – as opposed to an HOA where rules set are contractual

    1. You just described the structure of any basic contract, and called it socialism. Nice definition, if you’re retarded.

  11. Of course many people think they like socialism, especially when they focus on wealth distribution instead of wealth creation. And equally obvious is that many of those people cannot actually create any wealth.

    1. Socialists think everyone should earn the same amount. A median income of $60K with some billionaires is unfair to them. If that means a median income of $30K with no billionaires, they’re fine with that.

  12. Most of the places that went full commie did so after enduring lifetimes of massive inequality and injustice. The best defense against communism is a strong middle class and a strong safety net.

    1. Think of welfare as a vaccine against communism.

    2. Everywhere has a history of massive inequality and injustice. They all don’t become communists.

    3. Then stop electing pollies that want to cuddle up with China.

  13. ‘ Celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, and Danny DeVito star in videos selling “democratic” socialism as “public schools” and “interstate highways.”’

    So I guess they agree: National Socialism really was socialism.

    1. They’ll rationalize that it’s only socialism for “interstate” highways, and not “intrastate” highways like the Autobahn (even though it was just a big make-work project, and never intended for moving troops – that’s what the trains were for).

    2. Mussolini made the trains run on time, and Nazis built the [Reichs]Autobahn.

      See, having the “right” people in charge really does get things done!

  14. How much longer are educated people going to have to keep correcting ignorant people about the proper use of labels?

    On the one hand, if Bernie Sanders wants to call himself a socialist, he is a socialist. Economic ideology, like gender, is a cultural construct, and we’re all very tolerant of how people choose to characterize themselves.

    On the other hand, he’s just advocating for a bigger public sector, nothing radical, and this article isn’t really talking about the evils of socialism anyway so much as the evils of authoritarianism, which is great. That’s what you should actually be worried about.

    Venezuela and Norway have roughly the same size public sector. The difference is in how much corruption is permitted. In fact, the troubles of South American socialist countries can almost always be traced directly back to one intervention or another by card-carrying American capitalists, and occasionally specific business interests. Your eye isn’t on the right ball, as usual.

    Authoritarianism is definitely a threat to the United Stares. Guess who isn’t testing those particular waters right now? The socialists, whoever those are. If anything their supporters are mad at how quickly they fold like cheap suits merely for losing elections and primaries.

    Not so for the authoritarians here, who wouldn’t be caught dead being called anything but capitalists. You can recognize them by the angry mob they formed to try to overturn the national election.

    You should be worried about certain South American governing tendencies coming here. Thankfully even the capitalists are starting to think they have gone too far.

    1. You can call yourself a chocolate bunny if you want to. You just can’t expect anyone else to care.

    2. If socialism doesn’t work based on corruption, then I’m a bit nervous about embracing a socialist system run by people who accuse everyone that disagrees with them of racism and bigotry. That’s not honest, and I wouldn’t ever trust anyone like that with a system so fragile to dishonesty and selfishness.

      1. Describe what you mean by socialism, because I think Norway is a free society compared to Venezuela, and by some measures compared to
        The US, yet its public sector is the same size as Venezuela’s.

        If we dispense with these unhelpful labels then we can focus on ones that refer to real events, like corruption and authoritarianism.

        I’m sticking by my theory that racism is hugely important to American politics, but only because tribal frictions plague every society, and ours happens to be among the most racially diverse, so it would be shocking if race weren’t an important dividing line.

        But you’re also free to explain how building a wall to keep the Mexicans out is actually just sound economic policy. So sound it is expected to be so permanent that a literal wall is the best way to achieve it.

        1. Your definition of socialism is apparently “number of public employees divided by size of workforce.”

          Your definition for comparing Sweden to Venezuela, and then assuming vague “corruption” must be the only other differences is absurd.

          1. Like, the size of Sweden and Venezuela’s public workforce… did you really think that’s a reality based argument? Or did you just not understand what your “public sector size” meant? Did someone tell you to say that? It seems remarkably stupid point to try to make, especially from anyone claiming to be from the “reality-based, truthy” side.

            1. What’s the measure then? Whether the oil industry is nationalized? Nope. You tell me.

              I realize the propagandistic value of equating a large public sector with authoritarianism, but I prefer facts over feelings.

              1. You’re the one making public sector size claims. No one else is, and it doesn’t sound like you prefer facts over feelings, if those are the facts you care about.

              2. If I had to pick something like a “rank of socialism”, I’d probably go with the Index of Economic Freedom.

                Denmark, the happiest place on earth apparently, is 8, while we’re 17. Sweden is 22. Venezuela is dead last except for North Korea.

                I think that’s a much more interesting contrast between Sweden and Venezuela than counting public employees and making vague references to “corruption”.

                But, what do I know? The Index of Economic Freedom is only based on a defined methodology around property rights, regulatory burdens, rule of law, etc., but you tell me you’re fact-based.

                1. Okay but everyone talks about the size of the public sector here. Like, it’s the whole thing.

                  So I’m glad we agree that the US could have a larger public sector without any decrease in freedom or increase in socialism.

                  1. Go ahead and blame other people for your own stupid comparisons. It was all a capitalist plot. That’s the best part of socialism: never having to take responsibility.

                    1. I’m not defending socialism, I’m the only one saying it’s not relevant to any discussion here, since real socialism doesn’t exist anymore if it ever did.

                      I didn’t intend for you to actually argue that Scandinavia is somehow capitalist compared to Venezuela, I expected you to explain why Scandinavia is so shitty because it’s just like Venezuela in exactly the way everyone around here days is evil.

                    2. You defended Venezuela. They call themselves socialist, and you’re ostensibly very tolerant of how people classify themselves.

                      But why start owning your word now? That will only get you into trouble.

  15. Socialist experiments also failed in Israel, India, Great Britain, Afghanistan, Syria, Algeria, Cambodia, Somalia, etc. There are no socialist success stories.

    Not true. Bernie Sanders has made millions selling socialism.

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  17. “…if the state directs the economy, some government department must manage millions of production decisions and prices. That never works. ”


  18. If only Mr Stossel could be a little more specific on what be refers to when he said ending socialistic experiment.

    It is correct that the previous governments both partly and fully sold some stateowned companies. All in all the Reindfeldt government sold shares for about 160 billion SEK (160 000 000 000 SEK, we have different notations) or about 20 BUSD. Compare that to the market cap of the current holding which is 640 billion SEK. And we follow OECD’s guidelines for government ownership in companies.

    The Reinfeldt government also altared parts of the payroll taxes, increasing the part that is a tax (which the covern,and can do as it chooses to) and and the same time decreased fee’s (which ONLY can go the the purpose of the fee, such as pension, sickleave etc).

    And if Stossel refered to our government budget, well, that has increased for the last 20 years. From that perspective I guess we are more Socialists today than 20 years ago.

    Stossel should be more clear on what be refers to as Socialism. We (Sweden) is far from a perfect society, but instead of using vague generalistions, the least Stossel could do is to provide clear examples.

  19. ‘Federal’ – National Socialism = Nazism

    That is not opinion it is FACT.
    “Nazism, also spelled Naziism, in full National Socialism, German Nationalsozialismus, totalitarian movement led by Adolf Hitler as head of the Nazi Party in Germany.”

    STOP cuddling the VERY principles / policy of Adolf Hitler through a ‘pretend’ democracy government.

    START insisting “The People’s” law over their government (The U.S. Constitution) is the Supreme Law of this Constitutional Union of Republican States.

    U.S. Constitution Article IV : Section 4
    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.

    It’s time to stop being led around by the nose by Stupid, Ignorant, Arrogant and Treasonous lefty-extremists who’s entire end-goal is to destroy and/or “Fundamentally change….” the USA into a Nazi coup.

    Nazism =/= Caring
    Nazism =/= Equality
    Nazism =/= Better

    Individual Liberty and Justice for the WIN! Tell the Lefty-Extremists telling you they’re Gov-God “saviors” to take a hike.

    1. You fascists sure like to eat your own.

      Labels are for the simple-minded. Fascists love to exploit that as well as other tribal allegiances that mean nothing.

      1. You Nazi’s sure are ridiculous.

        Trying to ban words, change their meanings, or pretending they have no meaning.

        Fascists ban words just like Pelosi just did in the House Rules.
        Fascists censor just like the Democrats are pushing to do on Section 230.
        Fascists censor just like Democrats did to President Trump.

  20. With regards to the ever changing goalpost of the definition of socialism, the correct, academic definition of socialism is common ownership of the means of production. It is a derivation of Communism and National Socialism, which themselves are derivations of Marxism. If you do not actually intend for any sort of state ownership of the means of production, why call something socialist? Why not just present these kind of big government policies as being welfare programs the same way that most Democrats have proposed them for the past century?

    If you wonder why anti-Marxists like me lump you in with the rest of the sordid lot, your insistence on tying yourself to economically debunked theories is part of it. I hope you realize that Marxist-based economic theories are like the flat-earthers or anti-vaxxers of economics. The Surplus Labor Theory of Value was debunked almost 200 years ago. Marx’s ideas are incredibly stupid. All he really did was acknowledge problems, and he was certainly valuable for doing so, but criticizing others is always easier than proposing adequate solutions. I cannot understand the irrational obsession with calling your ideology “socialist” when it is, by all factual and academic standards, not. Why you would want to associate with socialism, instead of creating your own term for your ideology, leads me to the conclusion that you do actually advocate for common ownership of the means of production and you’re just hiding your true motives to dupe people into supporting your cause. For people like that, I’ll speak as we’re prone to saying around here:

    Fuck off Slaver.

    1. There’s literally one guy in all of government who does that, and he is explained by the fact that Vermont exists. Both republicans and his own supporters overstate his importance.

      You’re right of course. Anyone not from Vermont incorrectly attaching a despised label to himself seems dumb.

      1. Socialism within the Democrat party is more prevalent than just current elected officials. The next generation of voters are the ones labeling themselves as such. You have DNC boomers giving marching orders to candidates telling them to steer clear of the term. It’s kind of like the rising populism within the GOP. Nobody currently holding office openly calls themselves a fascist populist, but you know there’s growing movement of cultural conservatives who want to use the power of government to stop things they don’t like.

        1. “there’s growing movement of cultural conservatives who want to use the power of government to stop things they don’t like.”

          Like what?

          The only one that comes to mind is abortion; Ironically – the Democrat vs Republican divide on that issue is practically 50:50.

          Or maybe it’s the “don’t like” the USA being invaded by “National Socialists” — except that doesn’t hold any water since obviously the “power of government” isn’t being used to ‘cancel’ them like the LEFT is doing and promoting openly.

          But you know there is Democrats (quite of bit of them) who do actually hold office and openly call themselves National Socialists.

        2. I can’t predict the future, but if young people are comfortable with the label socialism, they aren’t a majority, and they’ll probably lose perfectly winnable election as a result, at least until everyone older than them dies off.

          If you’re talking about a much more activist government that pays attention to the needs of the poor and working class instead of just investment bankers and oil executives, you’re hopefully right. That stuff sells even with Trumpers. Trump was least popular of his entire presidency when he was passing tax and regulatory cuts.

  21. Socialism does work, for the rulers who fool the masses, take control over the economy, seize property, destroy businesses, suppress, starve, or murder their opposition, eliminate freedom, etc.

    1. …Until their Conquer and Consume mentality literally consumes all.

  22. I don’t necessarily think that we are marching to a socialistic government. I think more towards a fascist where the government allows people to take risk and start and own businesses. All the risk will be on the individuals who try to succeed. Any success will be at a huge penalty as far as taxes go. Or the wage you will be required to pay out will make you the pauper. Then the collectivists will just promise to redistribute it while keeping most of it for themselves. That is just the human condition.

    1. Your describing socialism/communism not fascism.
      Fascism is the forced unification of race / religion.

  23. OK. I get it. There is, almost by necessity, some element of compulsion when systems are run by the government. The ability to compel requires some level of a controlling authority. Authority requires power and power corrupts. Wow, dude. Pass me the bong.
    Now. Reality. What kind of organizations can a large group of people peacefully, productively and happily live under? I don’t know, but I could muster plenty of evidence for nations that, for a time, lived closer to such a happy state than others. France in the late 14th c. (ironically not long after the Black Death) was a time that was apparently “good” compared to other times in the era and other locations for the broad range of the population. It’s system was a mix of feudalism and religious absolutism-not, as it turns out, a particularly promising system as seen from the present. I have heard that the 8th to 13th c. in Baghdad was a pretty good era even though it was a religious absolutism. Even China had long periods during which it was better to live under an effective absolutist “socialist” state than their intermittent times of chaos.
    Then there’s the postwar US; a proudly capitalist state that, in many ways had more state controls on the economy than we did at most other times, but which a large percentage of Americans (even a surprising percentage of the racially oppressed) were proud and happy to be a part of.
    Stossel is my age. I would have hoped that, by now he would have realized that broad claims for “isms” is a fool’s errand.

    1. “What kind of organizations can a large group of people peacefully, productively and happily live under?”

      The U.S. Constitution and you’re right until it was utterly ignored by FDR.

    2. You always have to account for romanticism when talking about the “good times.” There are people in the FSU today who are nostalgic for the Soviet Union. I don’t think anyone would say those times were good overall, but they may have had some aspect of society that the people miss today, like a common purpose or cultural identity. It’s the same reason some people are nostalgic for Nazism.

      Frankly, if you could divorce the anti-Semitism and Holocaust from National Socialism, I think the ideology is a force to be reckoned with. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I think we would all be surprised. It’s not like Hitler was a hypnotist. The German people voluntarily acquiesced to his ways.

  24. No one in the Biden Administration is pursuing socialism. There are efforts to expand the social safety net and Biden may push for working people to get a greater share of the product of their labor. With a lot of effort we might get back to the share that working people received in the 50’s and 60’s. This was a period of great prosperity for the average working person. As for an expanded social safety net, we could do things like create a single payer health care system and safe upwards of 5% of our GDP while covering everyone. That means that both employers and workers would have more money in their pocket. It also means that we would at much less a disadvantage with the rest of the world. We are spending 5% more of our GDP than the next most expensive country in the world. It is why so many auto jobs moved north to Canada. Our companies are at a significant disadvantage because of our high health care costs. In fact this disadvantage is more than all the federal taxes corporations pay. Stossel is throwing out a red herring and he certainly isn’t looking out for the interests of the working person. Maybe though he is getting paid by health insurance companies.

    1. Idiot; You just described socialism while proclaiming to not be pursuing socialism.

      “social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems”

      Democrats like to pretend Socialism is it’s more curs-id twin communism (gov actually owns everything) in order to confuse, deceive, manipulative, and spread propaganda that will make their curs-id plan *SOUND* not as bad as it really *IS*.

      And they’ll even throw out lefty-conspiracy-theories about working ?for? oil companies, health insurance companies, etc, etc, etc… And they’ll twist/paint up their own self-disillusioned narratives like Stossel has an expensive health insurance plan so he must be working for the health insurance industry or even if Stossel doesn’t even have a health insurance plan he’s getting a health tax deductible (Like they did with Oil).

      The Lefty-Conspiracy-Theories Narrative has to be painted even if it’s a downright LIE.

      Sheeple-of-Mind fall for this type of idiotic dogma while IGNORANTLY not taking notice that the self-disillusioned narrated accusation addresses NOTHING at HAND but is more of a ‘gangster mentality’ distraction technique.

      You see; Even if Stossel WAS getting paid by health insurance companies to write, or even if X,Y,Z writer was being paid by Big Oil and curs-id outcome to such an event would STILL BE the Democrats plan to point Gov-Guns at everyone like a dictator. (i.e. If Big Oil was getting subsidies it’s BIG DEMOCRATS PLAN that put it there — gov redistribution plans.)

      Reality throws every lefty-extremists ‘pecking’ attempt narrative out the window.

      1. Inside the lefty argument; Is the delusion that Corporations are carrying around ‘guns’ when in reality ONLY governments carry around ‘guns’; it’s literally the holding and firing the weapon while accusing everyone else as having the weapon.

        And at the base of ALL OF IT lies the fundamental believe that their GUN-Power to STEAL from others = wealth.

  25. What do you expect when you put socialists in charge of educating your children? They are told socialism is wonderful and no one challenges them on it. They have produced a generation of brainwashed kids who are voting adults. It reminds me of a situation in North Korea. A team of Christian, US doctors traveled to North Korea and performed free surgeries on blind people restoring their sight. Their first response on being able to see for the first time was to thank ‘The Dear Leader.’ This is no different. We have ignorant (as opposed to stupid) people thanking socialism for what capitalism has provided.

  26. These arguments are really showing their age. They matched up with what we knew about capitalism and socialism in the 80s and 90s, but not anymore. Russia elected capitalists in and are more authoritarian than they were under the communists. China swallowed capitalism whole and is no less decentralized and hasn’t gotten any freer. In fact, in our arrangements with China, we’ve become less so. Also, anyone who calls themselves a “socialist” in modern America means what the Swedes have, whatever you call it. Finally, there is plenty of socialism in America as it is, but only if you’re rich. It’s capitalism for the rest of us.

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