Friday, September 28, 2007

Socialism Works, But Only if You Know Their Names

I'm attending a Free Market Forum at Hillsdale College featuring Robert Barro from Harvard, James Gwartney of Florida State (author of the textbook I use for economics), Alan Reynolds of Cato, Mary Anastasia O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal, Walter Williams from George Mason among others.

After Walter Willams' dinner speech last night, Robert Barro asked a question about whether the government had any obligation to provide any socialist-type safety-net programs for the general good.

Walter responded something like this. "Let me make this perfectly clear. I support and practice many types of socialist programs including income redistribution, welfare payments, disability support, free health care, and social saftey nets. But I only practice socialism IN MY OWN FAMILY; and socialism like this only works when you know the names of the people involved. In any situation when you personally can't name everybody involved, then the market is superior to socialism."

Bottom Line: Within a family, socialism works much better than the market. Outside of a family, the market usually works much better than socialism. Good point, Walter!

18 Comments:

At 9/28/2007 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name one non-third world country where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net?

 
At 9/28/2007 10:12 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

So, "Because everybody else is doing it" is your reason for supporting socialism?

 
At 9/28/2007 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob wright, please define socialism.

 
At 9/28/2007 12:59 PM, Anonymous bob wright said...

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

1) Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

 
At 9/28/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob wright it isn't a matter of everyone else is doing it.

It's a matter of if you have something better than a country where there is income redistribution, welfare, disability support and a social safety net then let us know.

And my question still stands, "Name one non-third world country where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net?"

For that matter name one country of any kind where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net that you would want to live in and raise your family in?

 
At 9/28/2007 2:14 PM, Anonymous bob wright said...

"Name one non-third world country where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net?"

The Unites States prior to the federal income tax and the social programs of FDR.

The existence of socialized medicine [or any other social program] doesn't prove its efficaciousness.

Syphilis exists in all those countries and I don't want it either.

 
At 9/28/2007 5:35 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Bob Wright said concerning an era of a successful country without socialism: "The Unites States prior to the federal income tax and the social programs of FDR."

You're right, there was a lack of socialism in the U.S. then, but that was during an agrarian economy. Both my parents were raised on farms during the depression. One was rich, and the other was poor. Neither one of them starved, however, because they had cows, pigs, chickens, and a vegetable garden. Since many poor people do not live on farms today, the agrarian safety net no longer exists.

Would you deny a starving person food just because you did not know their given name? Well, then, let’s just give them a name to meet William’s lofty requirements—human.

 
At 9/28/2007 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bob wright, you can't name one non-third world country where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net?

Your attempt to confuse the question with your reply of The Unites States prior to the federal income tax and the social programs of FDR. doesn't do anything to advance the discussion.

Right now, today on this planet you can not find a non-third world country where there is no income redistribution, no welfare, no disability support and no social safety net.

 
At 9/28/2007 10:54 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

Feeding the starving is easy: just ask their name, and then feed them. If they answer "human" then it is probably a scam, as no one seriously names their child "human".

So, if you know of anyone with an actual name that is starving, then please let me know, I will drive right over with a sandwich for them. I am surprised you have not helped them already.

 
At 9/29/2007 6:53 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

That socialism in some form is practiced in most countries is not evidence that socialism works.

Read "The Road to Serfdom" by F. A. Hayek.

There is a difference between a hand up and a hand out.

Regarding health care in the U.S., the proposal is not for a safety net but rather a blanket. We already have a safety net - a socialsm-lite so to speak.

 
At 9/29/2007 7:11 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

My mother grew up on a farm in Alma. She didn't have electricity until the family moved to town when she was 16 - about the time World War II ended.

In the early 1900's, along with my mother's family, 90% of Americans worked in agriculture. Today, 5% of Americans work in agriculture. The 5% today produce more food than the 90% of 100 years ago.

There is no lack of food in the U.S. today. In fact, the U.S. government pays farmers to not farm.

But socialism did not produce this abundance. Capitalism produced the abundance.

If you want to see what socialized agriculture looks like, read about the collective farms of communist Russia.

No argues against charity. People in the U.S. give away more money than any other people on the face of the earth. The argument is against government control of every aspect of your life.

 
At 9/29/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

Socialism creates the hungry.

Capitalism feeds the hungry.

 
At 9/29/2007 7:23 PM, Anonymous The advisor said...

Hey, i'm from a third world country,Brazil,my english is bad,people that are reading this discussion, please remember all the "leaders" of socialism that we had in the past in our south american continent,how many die and how many was arrested, look to Myammar,keep alert, they are trying to come back

 
At 9/29/2007 8:08 PM, Blogger mario said...

I coincide 100% with Walter.
Sadly there are no countries that haven't fall in the trap of the welfare-statism, a precondition for fascism and dictatorial governments.

 
At 9/30/2007 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the point that socialism only works where you know the names of all the players, and markets work better otherwise: do you know the names of the people who make those shoes you wear? Do you know the conditions in which they work? Do you know the political system they live in and the degree of freedom they enjoy? No, you don't. That's just the problem with a global economy - you don't know the effects to the environment or the treatment of laborers as your cheap products are made on the other side of the planet - conveniently out of sight and out of mind.

 
At 10/08/2007 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many countries that used to be "third world" which more-or-less gave up Robin Hood policies. Because they quickly became rich, we don't think to use their names in answer to this question. The first was Hong Hong.

 
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