The Problems with Socialism

Updated: Jan 6


Socialism—an idea outside of reality. Imagine a world in which everyone contributed to the society’s economic well-being. Imagine this utopia in which there is no upper or lower class and, in fact, no classes at all. Imagine a society of bliss and economic equality. Is this version of utopia possible?


The Moral Argument,” shows that there is inherent morality, and “The Philosophical Idea Behind Communism” explains that—though there is inherent morality—one is naturally prone to sin which starts with selfishness. “The Philosophical Idea Behind Communism” also shows that the “blank slate theory” is false. This theory assumes that there is no such thing as inherent morality because one’s sense of morality is purely circumstantial. All of this sets up the foundation for this essay explaining why socialism can never work because of the state that humans are in.


Socialism

Definition of Socialism: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of wealth.


One could argue that a definition of socialism is not enough to “debunk” it; however, the definition provides the core policies of socialism. Those core policies are flawed and therefore do not provide a foundation in which to make a successful economy.


Just to be clear, if one were to take any one of those core policies away, then it could no longer be called socialism. If one were to add policies to it, it could not be policies that are in contrast to socialism. Just like putting ice in boiling water acts against the boiling water. To add policies that are in contrast to socialism undermines its core policies.


This means that socialism can only be done one way. So, no one can say that, for example, Venezuela’s socialism is not true socialism without showing any Venezuelan policies that are in contrast to socialism’s core policies—therefore undermining “Venezuelan” socialism.


The Flaw in Socialism

First, in more simple terms, how does socialism work? Socialism gives the government total ownership and control over businesses (usually only big businesses) which the government then uses to distribute the goods (not the means) of production evenly among the people. So, all the businesses are under the control of government officials, and they, ideally, spread the wealth—produced by the businesses—evenly among the people.


Practically speaking, socialism will and has hindered economic growth. Why? Incentives. Socialism puts everyone, except government officials, at the same economic level. Meaning, one could be working harder and longer than another guy but government officials are still handing out the same amount of money to oneself as they are to the other guy. So, people then logically think: "that is not fair" or, perhaps, a more specific response, "what is the point of working harder so that one can get a promotion when it will not result in higher pay?"


Competition, like it or not, produces the most in people, but, when that aspect gets taken away, then one is left with, at best, mediocre workers. So, when the incentive that if one works hard one can gain more, is taken away, competition too is taken away. Why compete when there is no gain or point? Socialism takes away most incentives and therefore competition, and expects people to perform the same. In an ideal, sin-free world, socialism might have some validity, but not when people are driven mostly by their own, usually, selfish desires.


So, socialism has one key flaw: it assumes something untrue about human nature. However, while one could stop there, socialism also has a flaw in the moral department…


The Moral Flaw

It is difficult to show the immorality of socialism because of all the hypotheticals. It could be said that if a government takes control of the business by force—without the people’s consent—then one could arguably say that the government essentially stole from the people and therefore, in that case, socialism could, in a way, be immoral; however, socialism, in its pure form, does not necessitate forceful takeovers and therefore is not always immoral in that sense. But, what about the scenario where the people want and get socialism? It is that scenario that must be shown to be immoral if one wants to show that socialism is, at its core, immoral. It would be best to show the immorality of socialism by showing how it infringes on the inherent moral value humans have. By doing that, one can show that it is not the governing officials that are immoral (though that could be the case) but the system (socialism) itself.


To show that socialism is immoral, it seems to be easiest to show that socialism stifles the potential of beauty to arise from an individual and therefore is immoral. While that may seem absurd, “The Nature of Beauty” shows what a gift beauty is and how beauty can, essentially, describe or point to the goodness of this superior personal being talked about in the “Teleological Argument.” If this is true, then socialism, because it deprives man of competition, takes away the possible beauty that can come when man gives it his all and thereby expresses his idiomatic beauty—whether corrupted or not. To simplify this, socialism takes away most opportunities to be creative (creativity is inspired by beauty and potential beauty) in the economic sector. If one wants to be effectively creative in the economic sector it would be, in most cases, wiser to create something that the people need or want. So, it could be said that a lot of good can come from these opportunities. Yet, socialism squashes them. It is in this way that socialism is immoral—it stifles creativity and therefore potential beauty. Socialism suppresses an inherently good aspect of human nature and therefore hides some of the value that humans inherently have.


Before one thinks that while, socialism squashes potential beauty it also squashes the potential ugliness (beauty that is corrupted) that a free market system, which encourages competition, could produce; it must be noted that while there is potential for ugliness in a free market system, there is always going to be beauty. By this, it is meant that, in a free market system, one has to provide a good or service that the consumer needs or wants in order to stay in business. So, ideally, one is at least producing jobs and something valuable—in most cases. The beauty in that is that people can then use their gifts and abilities to produce goods and services that then benefit them and others. It only gets ugly when people are being abused, however, there is a potential remedy to this problem and that is, when it is necessary, the government intervenes. So, at least, in a free market system, there is potential for much beauty and the potential to stop or at least limit human abuses. Whereas socialism takes away the potential for much beauty and it has the same potential to stop or at least limit human abuses.


The Social Flaw

A quick observation must be noted in how socialism affects people socially. Socialism claims to destroy the economic classes among individuals and therefore make all economically equal. However, in doing that, socialism creates a whole new class system. Those with worse jobs, who may have to work longer hours and who work in worse conditions, are of the lower class. Whereas those with good jobs, are of the upper class. Then there are the government officials who are the elites—both economically and socially. The people are all paid the same and so the classes are determined by one’s job. However, the government officials, in a way, transcends the new class system because of the power and wealth that they now hold.

Conclusion

So, socialism has three flaws. Flaw #1: It assumes that humans will perform the same—whether there are incentives or not. Flaw #2: It stifles the individual’s potential beauty and therefore is immoral. Flaw #3: It creates a whole new class system—contradicting its purpose of creating an equal society. Overall, socialism is an economic system that was not made for this world. It was made for a class of humans that do not exist, while the idea may have some merit—in that it was made with good intentions, it fails when hit with reality.

Bibliography

Merriam Webster. "Definition Of SOCIALISM," Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed February 29, 2020. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism.

[1] Merriam Webster, "Definition Of SOCIALISM," (Merriam-Webster.com), Accessed February 29, 2020, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism.

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