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Category: Socialism

The Enslavements of Socialism and “Social Justice”

As a follow-up to my recent post on the ignorant socialists on both sides of the same statist coin, liberal and conservative, I wanted to bring up the libertarian view of the non-aggression principle and self-ownership. You own yourself and your life and morally if we want a peaceful, civilized society, then be peaceful, don’t initiate aggression against others. And a part of all that is private property rights. Don’t steal, don’t defraud, as well as don’t commit acts of aggression against others.

But socialism is when the government takes ownership of the means of production, industry and property, and actually consists of the violation of the individual and is when one’s life and labor do not exist for one’s own benefit (or for the benefit of those of one’s voluntary choosing) but for the benefit of others as determined by bureaucrats, by the rulers, against the will of the people. In contrast, actual free-markets (or free-market “capitalism”) consist of not just privately-owned property and industry but voluntary exchange, in which you own your own life and labor. As I wrote in a post that I recently linked to,

“Owning people” doesn’t fit into capitalism. “Owning people” is what the State does under socialism. If by “capitalism” you mean “free market capitalism,” then the “capitalists” do not “own” — nor can claim any kind of ownership of — their workers, their employees. In actual free-market capitalism, no one is forced to have any association with or to do any labor for any employer one doesn’t want to work for. In free-market capitalism, your contracts with other associates or your employers are voluntary, and you are free to go work elsewhere if you don’t like that employer. In a free system, you own yourself.

Claiming actual ownership of others is the enslavement of them. And that’s what socialism does, by the State’s (regardless of its using the rhetorical guise “the public”) seizing ownership of industries, wealth and “the means of production,” which includes the people. The people are the most important amongst the means of production.

And by the State’s “seizing ownership of industries,” I am referring also to control. If the State takes control over your supposedly privately owned business or property (with regulations, mandates, restrictions, etc.) then that is the indirect way of the State’s seizing ownership. If you don’t fully control your own property, and another entity has forcibly seized control over it, then you don’t really own it.

Besides the purpose of forced redistribution of wealth in the name of equalizing inequality, socialism is also used to forcibly advance a social agenda. So some people won’t like my examples here, but that’s because a lot of people have been indoctrinated with social “justice” propaganda, but here goes:

One example is the civil rights stuff that now has expanded to include LGBT “rights” against “discrimination” as well as by race or sex. In recent years we have heard about same-sex couples suing photographers, florists and bakers who didn’t want to do work for the couples’ weddings.

Now, why does the baker or florist have a right to not do business with someone he doesn’t want to do business with? Because his business is his own private property. He owns the business, not the government, and not the “public.” The “civil rights” laws say that the business is a “public accommodation,” but the public does not own the business. And therefore members of the public do not have a right to order the owner of the business to serve those he doesn’t want to do extra labor to serve. It has to do with private property rights and freedom of association.

And it has nothing to do with the religion of the Christian baker, for example, and his religious beliefs regarding homosexuality or gay marriage. It has to do with the self-centered couples using the armed powers of government courts to force the businesspeople to show an acceptance of the customers’ lifestyles. These have been cases of extreme narcissists who believe that they have a right to force others to do extra labor to serve them, period, in my view.

Unfortunately, many conservatives, who have been opposed to the LGBT agenda and have been supporting the private businesses who don’t want to serve same-sex couples, don’t understand the principles of private property rights and freedom of association, and freedom of thought and conscience behind all these cases. It seems to me that the conservatives have also been covetous when it comes to using the powers of government to advance their social agendas.

The conservatives believe that the businesspeople’s religious beliefs are what need to be protected here, and that is not the case. What if an atheist baker refused to serve a Christian couple? I don’t believe the conservatives would support the baker. They would probably support the Christian couple. So the conservatives also believe that in some cases people have a right to use government courts to force businesspeople to serve others they don’t want to serve. No, it has to do with private property rights and freedom of association. If you’re an atheist baker and don’t want to serve a Christian couple, then of course you have a right to refuse to serve them. It’s your business, not theirs.

Another example is the transgender bathroom/shower controversy. Some states now allow someone who is male but thinks he’s a female to go into the ladies room, and vice versa. In some states, if you complain about it (that is, if you are a lady who doesn’t want males in the ladies room while you’re in there, or if you’re a parent who doesn’t want an obvious male going into the ladies room while your little girl is in there, and so on), you could be fined a lot of money and even arrested and thrown in jail.

And that is just how narcissistic some people are. You see, someone who has this confusion with his gender, he’s a male and thinks he’s a female but rather than causing him to feel uncomfortable going into the men’s room he now has the power to make a bunch of women and girls feel uncomfortable while he goes into their ladies room. So by law they must accept his gender confusion that he has. They must accommodate him.

And all that stuff, as well as all those “civil rights” laws, applies to privately owned property as well as public property or government buildings. So yes, these policies are another aspect of socialism, in which the government is essentially stealing ownership of private property away from the owners-on-paper.

Incidentally, in Massachusetts there is a ballot question this November to repeal such a law that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law. In New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” state, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu also signed a similar bill into law. Sununu is up for reelection as is Charlie Half-Baker.

The same kinds of enslavements occur in other areas of life, such as medical care. Do you have a right to force a medical doctor or private hospital to care for you? No, of course you don’t. No one has a “right” to health care. If you have a right to have something provided to you, then you have a right to demand that producers must do extra labor to serve you.

As I wrote in a 2012 article, “If someone chooses to be a medical doctor, devotes hours and hours every day and years of intensive study and labor toward training to become a medical doctor, then who is it that owns such efforts, labor, energy and the actual career itself? That doctor? One’s neighbors? The government?” I hope the question answers itself.

And why is medical care so expensive, anyway? When did it really start to become expensive? Well, after Medicare and Medicaid were imposed on the people by bureaucrats who wanted to solve a problem that didn’t exist, that’s when!

So here is a list of articles on why socialized medicine doesn’t work, and never will work, and is immoral as well. And they will help to explain why Bernie Sanders’s plans or Evita Ocasio-Cortez’s plans for “single payer”also will not work. Just study the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, and, worst of all, the U.K.

And if the government doesn’t outright own all the means of production and industry as in socialist societies, a word for the public’s or government’s seizing control over privately owned property or businesses is “fascism.”

However, as I mentioned above, if you don’t have control over something you supposedly “own,” then you don’t really own it. So the above cases are really varieties of socialism, in which the government has a de facto ownership of all property. Check out Lew Rockwell’s book, Fascism versus Capitalism, as well as Socialism: an Economic and Sociological Analysis by Ludwig von Mises.

The conservatives and nationalists, by the way, also do not understand, or they have an outright contempt for, private property and free markets like the people on the left. With the immigration issue, the anti-immigration crowd says that businesspeople, professionals and laborers must get a government bureaucrat’s permission to move about to get work or establish voluntary contracts to make a living.

So, with such controls in the name of “protecting the nation,” the government has a de facto ownership over people’s lives, property, and contracts. And, like the so-called “progressives” and social activists, these nationalistic anti-property, anti-freedom policies are also out of envy and covetousness.

And that applies to the trade issue as well. Donald Trump and his sheeple are anti-free trade, and they want the U.S. government to determine who may buy what and for how much and from whom. So this government-controlled trade stuff is also fascist, and thus a part of socialism. You don’t really own your money or your contract that you would have with a seller, the seller doesn’t really own his goods or services that he’s selling. The government has the ultimate, de facto ownership.

Otherwise, in a free society without those governmental intrusions, you would buy something from Sweden, China or Iran and at whatever price the seller is selling it for, and no third party interferes with that contract. That’s the free market, baby. Crony protectionists like Donald Trump don’t like that kind of freedom.

And by the way, if American producers don’t like consumers buying stuff from other countries, then produce better stuff and lower your prices! And if the prices have to be higher to afford the costs of production because the government imposes taxes and regulations, then tell the government to remove those taxes and regulations!

The consumers are essentially enslaved by the bureaucrats in charge and their cronies whose profits are protected by the armed force of government.

Are We Doomed?

Thanks to the government’s monopoly in the education business it is now a racket, in which the product at the end of K-12 is a lot of dumb, ignorant kids who know nothing about everyday life. Not only do they not know history, how to read or do everyday math, but many of them can’t think critically. And in addition to all that is the activist teachers indoctrinate the kids with “social justice” fanaticism, enviro-wacko pseudo-science voodoo mysticism, and government worship.

Unfortunately, for a century the schools have been indoctrinating kids with government worship, usually now referred to as nationalism. We hear it all the time on the radio with Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, et al., and of course, the big dumb nationalist himself, Trump. But unlike Trump, the conservative nationalists say they oppose the above “social justice” stuff, the enviro-wacko stuff and use a lot of free market rhetoric.

Both sides, though, are socialists. We know about the Bernie-Ocasio-Cortez-college snowflake socialists, who want “free stuff,” and who believe that if some male says he is a female he may very well go into the ladies room, and you had better not object. But the Trump-Limbaugh crowd worships their own government central planning in immigration controls, national security and police, and drug controls, all socialist schemes.

What is socialism? Socialism is government ownership of the means of production, industry and property. That’s my view on that. If you own a business here in Amerika you have to be obedient sheeple to whatever the dictators in government tell you to do, regarding your employment and payment matters, reporting everything to the commissars, and so on. So, you don’t really “own” your business. What the “socialists” here in Amerika want is for the government to seize all the businesses like in health care, finance and everything else. Because they are ignorant of history, they know nothing of how that turned out in Soviet Union, Cuba, and because they don’t pay attention to what’s going on in current times, they either don’t know or don’t care about what’s going on in North Korea, Venezuela, etc.

In Venezuela, the government seized the means of food production and distribution. Because government bureaucrats don’t know how to run things (except into the ground), such seizures and military enforcements of such seizures have caused shortages, empty store shelves, long lines, starvation, sickness, and death. Government takeovers, price controls and wage controls cause distortions, shortages, and chaos. That’s a fact of history.

So, when “socialists” want free health care, free education, etc., why aren’t they saying they want free FOOD? Isn’t food more important than health care? But we see what happens when government takes over the food business. And when government has been attempting to take over the health care industry, bureaucrats have been causing chaos! What is health care, anyway? And “education”? Look what government control over education has done to Amerika! (Why do you think it’s spelled with a “k” now, anyway?)

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal has a post describing some of his experiences at the “Politicon” in Los Angeles, in which he is saying “The socialists are everywhere.” He attended a session, “Medicare For All” including Ana Kasparian, Bill Kristol, Dr. Drew Pinsky and George Halvorson. I know who Bill Kristol is. Why is Bill Kristol at a discussion on Medicare? Perhaps because he is in his mid-60s and wants Medicare. Who knows?

Wenzel writes:

But this crowd wasn’t interested in facts from a generally sympathetic panelist. They wanted 100% calls for universal healthcare immediately and nothing else.

Later in the day, I stopped in on the panel discussion, “Should We Be Socialist?”, the audience was once again large and loud, cheering loudly as every panelist was introduced.

The first three panelists all stated that they were in favor of significant intervention in the economy but all seemed to agree that “complete government takeover of all property” was not necessary. The audience cheered everyone of these panelists with their different takes on how government should control the economy.

And why NOT “complete government takeover of all property”? You might as well. So Wenzel writes,

If this is any indication of what is going on in America, there is a lot of trouble ahead. The socialists are everywhere. They are loud, aggressive and don’t want to listen to any kind of analysis. They just want power now to rule all of us so that they can declare free everything.

I think a lot of ignorant young people (and old people as well) are brainwashed and they like the idea of robbing their neighbors, although getting their beloved, worshiped bureaucrats to do the robbing for them. And getting free stuff.

But combine all this with the brainwashed narcissists wanting to force their perverted beliefs of “social justice,” irrational transgenderism, and race-obsessions onto the rest of us, by law and by force, and their wanting to use the armed power of police to suppress anyone’s objections to being subjugated in such ways, economically, personally and politically.

Not good.

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Gary Galles says that rent control and minimum wage laws harm those who are supposed to benefit.

Ludwig von Mises comments on positivism and behaviorism.

Adam Weinstein discusses the real largest state sponsor of terrorism.

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And Richard Ebeling on out-of-control government: how, why, and what to do.

Socialist Donald Trump and the Socialist Republicans

Laurence Vance writes on the LewRockwell.com blog:

Year-end data from the September 2018 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the U.S. Government show that the deficit for fiscal year 2018 was $779 billion. The federal government spent $4,107.7 billion in fiscal year 2018 (which ended on Sept. 30, 2018), including $600 billion for defense offense (which is actually much higher if all “defense”-related spending is counted). The Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. They are 100% to blame for the profligate spending. Republicans are big spenders just like Democrats. The only limited government they seek is a government limited to control by Republicans.

And Dr. Vance also has an article today that explains Donald Trump’s own socialist mentality and policies, in Trump’s love for Medicare, Medicaid and Socialist Security Social Security.

Will Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Pappas Debate on October 17th? (Updated Below)

I’m only writing about this one because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been so popular as well as controversial in her campaign proposals. Ocasio-Cortez is the Democrat candidate for Congress for congressional district 14 in New York, New York, New York. She is the one who wants to spend tens of trillions of taxpayer dollars on “free” health care, “free” education and so on.

According to Rasmussen, that district’s race is “Strong Dem,” with an odometer- or speedometer-like image with the arrow pointing to the far left in blue. I guess if it were the fuel gauge it would be pointing to almost empty. But while that is obviously the case philosophically and intellectually, the Republican candidate, Anthony Pappas, is also running on empty, in my view.

Pappas (Is he related to Ike Pappas, CBS News?) is an “associate professor of economics and finance at St. John’s University,” according to this WNYC article.

I checked the Internet for whatever his actual views are, and it’s difficult to find. However, according to Pappas’s website, there is a debate scheduled between the two on October 17 at PS 69 School auditorium in Queens. Maybe we’ll find out at that time. On his website he considers himself a “moderate, independent Republican with a motto of producing ‘sensible solutions for a kinder, caring world’.” (Oh yeah, how so?)

Pappas is critical of Ocasio-Cortez’s far-left, “bizarre” ideas. He is repeatedly critical of her socialist proposals. But the WNYC article states that Pappas “calls himself a compassionate conservative who supports progressive taxation and lower government spending.” Hmm, “progressive taxation”? Sounds like a socialist to me. A Republican socialist as well.

Well, I wonder if he will suggest any kind of decentralization and de-monopolization away from governmental controls and tax-thefts, repealing the income tax, ending the drug war, or any kind of dismantling of the welfare state that continues to keep the masses in chains by Big Government. Probably not. Will they actually have the debate? I can’t find any other reference to the scheduled debate online except for on his own website.

And if there is a debate, will debate moderators or Ocasio-Cortez ask Pappas about his bitter 14-year-long divorce and his wife’s accusations of abuse, and his suing the judge and the courts? I wouldn’t be surprised, given just recently the circus at Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings, in which a lady’s accusations against him was discussed and discussed and argued, with yelling and screaming, but not much mention of his ignorance of the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment and his earlier rulings which will unleash brutal government tyrants on innocent people. (I wonder if Pappas has any views on the Bill of Rights.)

UPDATE: According to Pappas’s website, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has canceled their debate that was scheduled for October 17th. Pappas’s website states: “Unbelievable! In a last minute scam, Ocasio-Cortez cancels debate set for October 17th. Yes, you read that correctly. After challenging Dr. Anthony Pappas to a debate one month ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has announced her no-show at a debate set for this Wednesday, October 17, 2018.”

There is almost no mention online of the debate that was scheduled or its cancellation, just some mention of it on Reddit.

The Nobel Prize in Economics for 2018: To Irrational Statists Once Again

On the selection of statist economists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics:

Thomas DiLorenzo quotes the Nobel-winning economists:

“The Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.”

–Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus, Economics, 13th edition, p. 837.

Samuelson was the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1970), awarded by the Swedish central bank and not the Nobel Foundation.  Nordhaus is this year’s recipient.  In the 1989 edition of their textbook they predicted that the Soviet economy would become larger than the U.S. economy somewhere around the year 2000.

And Robert Wenzel writes that “Both are technocrats for state tinkering with the economy,” and that “Nordhaus is an academic child of the current climate change craze.” And, “Paul Romer, a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, is off in the, far off, palm reading land of macro modeling, where government tinkering is always needed.”

And also Wenzel notes that Romer is against the idea of private police. (See Chapter 12 of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto [.pdf] by Murray Rothbard on the privatization of police. For skeptics of private police, Rothbard begins: “In the first place, there is a common fallacy, held even by most advocates of laissez-faire, that the government must supply ‘police protection,’ as if police protection were a single, absolute entity, a fixed quantity of something which the government supplies to all. But in actual fact there is no absolute commodity called ‘police protection’ any more than there is an absolute single commodity called ‘food’ or ‘shelter’.”)

Wenzel quotes Nordhaus on climate change: “The science and economics of global warming are clear. Unless forceful measures are taken the planet will continue to warm.” Wenzel says it’s “Y2K fears on steroids.”

And that’s exactly right. Why doesn’t Nobel Prize winner Nordhaus understand that the planet is warming and will continue to warm no matter what humans do? It is not preventable, because the sun is getting hotter and hotter, in general, and by 1 billion years from now it will have completely dried up everything on Earth, and by 7 billion years it’s all over. Oh, well.

So, the Nobel Prize is given to people mainly on the Left, to people who are ignorant and irrational, and based on the emotional rhetoric involved with these people’s writings and activities. Another example is Barack Obama, who was given the Nobel Peace Prize, despite his increasing troop levels in Afghanistan by 30,000 his first month in office, increasing the CIA drone strikes that have been mostly murdering innocent civilians overseas, and more, throughout his time as President.

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Why Conservatives Are Socialists

I have written quite a few posts and articles on the immigration issue now. More recently I responded to Lew Rockwell’s reiteration of his and Hans Hoppe’s claim that “taxpayers own public property.”

But I wanted to clarify here how the nationalists who oppose freedom in immigration, labor and employment are really socialists in their wanting central planners to take charge over who is “allowed” to enter the territory, regardless of what private property owners want.

The nationalists such as Donald Trump and conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh want to require that people have citizenship in the U.S. to qualify for this or that, or to work, etc. And my contention is that you can’t have both a “free market” and a requirement of citizenship at the same time. It’s either one or the other.

You see, the nationalists and conservatives want to continue keeping foreigners from entering “our” country without the permission of the central planners in Washington. And they say that you don’t “belong” in the country unless you have citizenship. So this citizenship thing really is an authorization.

But I thought all human beings had “unalienable rights,” among them the rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Those are rights which preexist the formation of any government, and which preexist the formation of a country as well. Right?

Do people have a right to exist and live their lives as granted to them by the ruling bureaucrats? Or do they have a right to exist and live their lives, period? As long as one is peaceful, of course. As Leonard Read would say, Anything that’s peaceful (.pdf).

In the rights to life and liberty one has a natural right to self-ownership. And for those who reject the idea of natural rights, I get that, and will say that we have freedom, period. Until someone comes along and violates that freedom.

And what is the “free market”? It is a market that is free of external intrusions or violations, i.e. governmental restrictions, prohibitions, mandates, controls, reporting requirements, tax-thefts, etc. It is also a market that is not restricted by a government-drawn border. If this person over here wants to trade with that person over there, they trade. As long as they are peaceful. That’s the “free market.” And third parties may not intrude.

But the “citizenship” requirement makes the traders not self-owners but owned by the government. You may not even be in the territory unless you have “authorization,” that is, no longer a self-owner. And that is a part of the nationalists’ belief in some kind of communal ownership of the entire territory by the citizens (or by “taxpayers”). But, if you have a communal ownership of an entire territory, then those who think they own “private” property within the territory are mistaken. Because with the idea of “authorized citizens” who communally own the territory is their ownership (or control) of all “private” property within the territory, each business, residence, etc. In my view, control is a de facto ownership.

And all this is what socialism is. Another example is the drug war that most conservatives love. When the government dictates what you may or may not put into your own body, then the government has a de facto ownership of your body. One of the most important means of production is the people, which includes their physical bodies. When there is private ownership of the means of production the individual owns one’s own body. And that is where the principle of non-aggression comes from, by the way. The individual has self-ownership and the physical aggression against one’s body by others is a violation — but, in statist theory, not entirely a violation if the aggressor claims to be the actual owner, such as the government in its enforcement of dictating to you what drugs or foods you may or may not put into your own body. The drug war is a socialist crusade by intrusive social activists who covet the lives and bodies of others, in my view.

In regards to the immigration issue and trade and commerce, the collectivist conservatives and nationalists want to arrest “unauthorized entrants” even if they are acting peacefully, and the collectivists want to arrest businessmen who employ the peaceful, non-criminal workers even if the employers are being peaceful. This is not an example of the “free market.” This is a socialist utopia. It is utopia because this scheme of government control doesn’t even work!

A free market is not under the control of the community, as though the community in general takes part in the ownership of each business or each worker’s life within the community. A free market is not under the control of government bureaucrats or their armed enforcers. A free market is controlled by the legitimate owners who own the property being traded, including the businesses and the labor of the workers. Free traders do not need permission from outsiders or third parties who are not a part of the voluntary contracts established by the traders. And again, traders also include people selling their labor to others.

And this doesn’t just apply to the immigration issue. Any kind of trade, or peaceful, mutually beneficial activity.

The anti-market people on the nationalism side are advocating socialism, which is government ownership of the means of production. The private ownership of the means of production is not divided by government borders. The separation or dividing up of the means of production by that which is within the border and that which is outside the border is socialism, because those in charge (government rulers and bureaucrats) have seized control (i.e. ownership) over the means of production. In their dictating to businesses whom the businesses may or may not hire the bureaucrats are seizing control (i.e. ownership) over the businesses.

In a free market, business owners hire whomever they want. They are the authorities over their own businesses, not bureaucrats. No need for government authorization. And I think there is a kind of envy going on with the police-statists’ desire to arrest honest businesspeople for hiring “unauthorized workers.” That’s just my view on that.

As far as what is causing so many people to take the nationalist-collectivist view, and in a deeply emotional way? Who knows? And it’s definitely an emotional thing. Nationalism does not seem to be rational, in my view.

The American Founders were not nationalists, by the way. They were individualists. They (supposedly) believed in individual liberty and private property, not some kind of collective ownership of property.  And they were not authoritarians in the political sense. They believed in bottom-up rule, not top-down rule. Those who were nationalists at the time of the American Revolution were loyal to their nation at the time, the British regime. They were the ones who turned in “traitors” (i.e. the Revolutionaries). As written in the Declaration of Independence, the early Americans wanted immigrants to come and they complained about the British King’s interference in that matter.

Note: This post was slightly edited (with 3 words added) since originally posted.

Why Is Venezuela Plagued With Starvation And Chaos?

I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning, and he mentioned John Oliver in some way denying that Venezuela’s current chaos is actually related to its going full socialist.

You know, for the life of me I just don’t get how these people on the left refuse to look at what socialism has done to civilization, from the 100 million+ dead during the 20th Century to the lack of progress in Cuba, the starvation in North Korea, the many dying in the hospital hallways in England. I think that a lot of people really don’t know what socialism actually is, and believe the myths and fairy tales associated with the label.

When the people of a society were freed from the thefts and restrictions imposed on them by the State they pursued their own interests without fear, they created and invented freely, they established mutually beneficial contracts, they served the needs of others, and society progressed and prospered naturally with that freedom. The example is the U.S. especially from the second half of the 19th Century to the early 1910s.

Sadly, many people don’t view that way of life positively (even though most of them have been living it here in the U.S.!) because they were brainwashed to believe that government controls over the people were necessary. They believe that the government must be empowered to take people’s earnings for redistribution, the government must impose regulations and restrictions on people’s economic activities.

In other words, many people believe that freedom from those government controls is a bad thing, even though actual history tells us that that very freedom is what raised the standard of living of most people in society.

What happened in Venezuela? The government seized control and outright ownership of food production and distribution. Those authoritarian controls are what cause distortions in markets and food shortages. The empty store shelves are directly caused by those government controls. Here in the U.S., the means of food production and distribution are privately owned, and the managements and calculations are handled by the privately owned companies and their managers. Just go into any grocery store and you’ll see well-stacked shelves of many, many choices for food.

History proves that freedom creates prosperity and raises the people’s standard of living, while authoritarian government seizures and controls of industry and production reduces prosperity and lowers the people’s standard of living. There are other things going on in Venezuela besides “socialism,” of course. The Venezuelan regime has devalued its currency. Government central banking and out-of-control money printing are also relevant factors here.

For more info, see Jacob Hornberger’s recent article on the calculation problem in Marx’s socialism.

See Ryan McMaken’s 2014 article on the calculation problem. He cites Ludwig von Mises’s book, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. McMaken also discusses Venezuela in this article.

See Steven Horwitz’s article on Venezuela being a socialist calamity.

And see this 2013 article by Matthew McCaffrey and Carmen Elena Dorobăț on inflation, shortages and social democracy in Venezuela.