August 17, 2015

On Socialism

I saw my first Sanders 2016 bumper sticker Friday; in the teachers' parking lot at my kids school!

Instapundit delivers a wonderful pithy column noting (amongst other things)

"The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits.
The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.
Markets make people better off, but they don't provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they're unpopular with politicians and intellectuals.

Lots of great links: Venezuela, the Whole Foods founder's column on why pedants pander to Marx,

And in personal experience, I tested the futility of arguing with a committed leftist, who tried to tell me the VA (the VA!!) wasn't socialist. I think his stuttering response is that it hasn't been "billed" as socialist, to which he couldn't clarify. He had no answer when i gently reminded him: the hospitals are owned by the gov't, the doctors are paid by the gov't and the patients are or were all gov't employees.

Economics and Markets Egalitarian Socialism Posted by nanobrewer at August 17, 2015 12:02 AM

Outstanding. I love the NN Taleb line "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits." That may not work on your VA friend, but that is a very good argument.

SIDE NOTE: I have lauded Taleb on these pages but he is persona non grata on my GMO sites for some anti-biotech nonsense. He is doubling down and it is war. To be fair, he is an odd bloke: he drinks nothing invented in the last 1000 years. Brilliant people can be wrong.

I find Internet memes so annoying that even ones I like are tainted, but there is a great one about that says "Socialism: so good people build rafts out of trash to escape it."

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 10:20 AM

I'm giving Insty a twofer on the subject of Bernie Sanders and the socialism he espouses.

Insty links to a story at FutureOfCapitalism.com called that protrays the diference between socialism and the free market. Comrade Sanders is selling campaign tee-shirts. Union-made, et cetera. "Allow two to three weeks for delivery." He then demonstrates in the free-market environment of Amazon, hundreds of Comrade Sanders tee-shirts, in stock and primed for delivery in a day or two. Here's the link:

http://bit.ly/1No1j59

Comrade Sanders doesn't appreciate the value of competition. He famously whined that having 23 different deodorants and 18 choices of sneakers is a picture of what's wrong with America. He couldn't be more wrong; multiple competitors bringing their products to market, keeping the shelves stocked for immediately delivery and competing on price and quality, is exactly what distinguishes a free country from a failed Marxist state where the central planners force their subjects to stand in line at empty grocers, hoping that the officially-sanctioned bread baker will have products to sell sometime this week.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2015 12:19 PM

Yes, that is an excellent and pithy defense of capitalism.

But what's wrong with government bakers? If it prevented the denial of a single gay wedding cake, wouldn't it be worth it?

Seriously though, a "government baker" WOULD be a "public place" because it is made possible by taxpayer dollars. Masterpiece Bakery is NOT a public place. It is a private place that offers its services to the public. Why are lawyers and judges so stupid? [/Trump voice]

Furthermore, same-sex plaintiff's attorney Ria Mar seems from his or her [apologies for the microagression ... "its?"] statements to support legal gay marriage. Why did the same-sex plaintiffs choose this attorney to represent them? Why didn't they force a "homophobic" Christian attorney to plead their case?

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2015 2:53 PM

Yes, I feel a burning desire to adopt a child so that I can someday tell my grandchildren about the "cake police" of the early 21st Centiry.

Pardon me if you find the comparison trite, but where are you on the Woolworth's lunch counter? I cannot go full Goldwater and tell the private corporations that they can choose to not serve African Americans. I read many musical autobiographies and the hardships endured by black musicians in the American South is gut-wrenching.

I can differentiate between lodging and food as being required for life, but I confess that is opening a Carolene Footnote Four bifurcation.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 5:14 PM

I admit that this is easier for me to say than for someone who lived through it, but I would have preferred that government stay out of it. "Hardships" are unfortunate, but so is being forced to comply against one's will. The latter is even, I would argue, worse.

Government force distorts social structure just as it distorts economic markets. Our "reward" for government "fixing" racial divisions is Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger that "racial affirmative action wouldn't be constitutional permanently but long enough to correct past discrimination ─ an approximation limit of around 25 years, or until 2028."

A time limit on Constitutionality is pragmatism, not principle.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 12:22 PM | What do you think? [5]