Economics, Politics, World Affairs

Democratic Socialism is a Scam

When I attended a rally with my family in Little Havana for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2007, our old neighborhood greeted both us and the future 44th president as if we were traitors. Older, conservative protestors yelled “Comunistas!” at us from across the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. We brushed off the attacks because we knew they came from understandably traumatized exiles and, to paraphrase the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, as Cuban Americans, we know socialism when we see it. Obama was no socialist. In fact, his message resonated with us, in part, because of his emphasis on helping those who were struggling by giving them a hand up, rather than a hand out—that was our story.

My mom came to this country shortly before I was born and worked as a social worker while she studied English. The pay wasn’t great, and she sometimes had to work a second job, but the hours were flexible and she had good healthcare benefits for our family. After 15 years, she was able to save enough money to start a small business and move us out of our modest duplex off Calle Ocho and into Miami’s middle-class suburbs.

Given our humble immigrant roots, student loan debt, and monthly medical expenses, you’d figure that democratic socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would appeal to us—but they do not. Instead, they’re eerily reminiscent of the left-wing populists that millions in my community fled. Don’t get me wrong. I agree we must do more to help families like mine, but the policies of democratic socialists would have shackled us to the duplex where I was raised. I know this to be true because that is exactly what happened to the loved ones my grandparents left behind in socialist Cuba. They died in the same place where they were born.

In a classic bait-and-switch scam, democratic socialist politicians and their allies in the media are hoping that Americans confuse them for Nordic social democrats. While the terms are phonetically similar, those of us who have worked and spent time in Latin America understand that this is more than a misnomer. The ideology and policies of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which include an end to profits and “democratizing” the means of production, are much more like those of Havana and Caracas than Helsinki and Copenhagen.

Having been raised in a community built by the victims of socialism, it is difficult to explain just how bizarre it is to hear American media personalities—from The View’s Joy Behar to the Washington Post’s Elizabeth Bruenig—assure us it’s “just like liberalism” and “unlike your grandfather’s concept of socialism.” Of course, they fail to mention the part about government seizing control of people’s businesses and property. Such blitheful ignorance would usually be met with laughter at my house, but it just so happens that my grandfather had such an intimate understanding of socialism that he died as a political prisoner for opposing some of the very same ideas being peddled by the socialists du jour.

The failure of pundits to discern between democratic socialism and Nordic social democracy is not for a lack of transparency on the part of DSA. While their political candidates tend to resort to platitudes, DSA isn’t hiding the ball. In an article published in Jacobin, the socialist magazine’s editor and DSA’s Vice-Chair laid out a case for why Scandinavian social democracy is not what they have in mind, arguing a need for “a militant labor movement…to not merely tame but overcome capitalism.” Further dispelling the “it’s just free healthcare” myth, prominent democratic socialist Megan Day was even more explicit: “here’s the truth: democratic socialists want to end capitalism. And we want to do that by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality in the United States.”

If this sounds extreme, it’s not because it upsets our American “right-of-center” political sensibilities. When I presented a team of Norwegian economists with a summary written by Vox of DSA’s economic ideas, eleven out of the 12 indicated the views would fall on the “far-left/fringe” end of Norway’s political spectrum. Meanwhile, in neighboring Denmark, DSA’s commitment to ending the free enterprise system is a near mirror image of the platform of the Enhedslisten, the one-time communist Red-Green Alliance party that has averaged less than 4 percent of the vote in elections since 1990.

Americans are likelier to find quotidian examples of democratic socialism directly to our south. In Venezuela, the late Hugo Chavez both identified as a democratic socialist and governed like one. Unlike in Scandinavia, where state-owned enterprises are largely independent, profit-pursuing ventures and property rights are sacrosanct, Chavez confiscated private assets, and not only nationalized major industries, he ran them, too. For example, when the workers of oil giant PDVSA refused to embrace his policies, he fired and replaced them with unqualified cronies (including a cousin) in a move that accelerated the oil-dependent nation’s demise.

Venezuela and Cuba are perfectly valid illustrations of democratic socialist policies, but if this sounds like trite red-baiting, consider the outcomes elsewhere in the region. In Argentina, presidents Nestor and Cristina Kirchner nationalized major companies and placed them under the control of incompetent allies, which taxpayers continue bailing-out to the tune of $400,000 per day. True to the democratic socialist playbook, they also implemented labyrinthine business regulations and grew public payrolls by 61 percent. Kirchnerismo’s results ranged from lackluster to so dismal that government officials felt they had to manipulate economic data to conceal their performance.

The problem is not, as some say, that “democratic socialism” has not been tried and that only they know how to get it right; it’s that, by design, it makes economies fail and societies susceptible to totalitarianism. Just like 1959 Castro and 1998 Chavez, U.S. socialists stress their commitment to democracy, but human nature is a stubborn thing. Why should Americans trust that America’s socialists would be any more willing to relinquish power than their ideological brethren in Latin America and across the world? Indeed, it is odd that those who argue President Trump has authoritarian tendencies, are often the same people who want to give the federal government even more power over our economy.

To be clear, Latin America’s misfortunes are no excuse for inaction on healthcare and education at home, but they should help make us more scrupulous consumers of politics. Just as my family and most Americans were wise to dismiss the socialist slurs against President Obama, Democrats should be wary of those who assure us that “democratic socialism” will make us more like Europe. As millions of Latinos will tell you, it won’t.

Feature photo by Mark Hallum/Shutterstock.

Giancarlo Sopo is a Miami-based public affairs consultant specializing in Latin America.

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  1. TarsTarkas says

    The ignorants who support DSA and its confiscatory platform do not understand that if they have more in their bank accounts at the end of the year than they did at the start, they are thieving profiteers.

    • Stuperfan says

      So, if you save money for a future need (i.e. a car, home, vacation, retirement) you’re a profiteer?

  2. Poorly reasoned. Social democracies in Scandenavia did NOT fall for totalitarianism, so why would we?

    • Levi Gardner says

      “I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism… Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy… The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.” – Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark.

    • James says

      Because there’s a difference between a social democracy and democratic socialism. Scandinavian countries are very much capitalist. They just have large levels of welfare of their citizens. It’s in no form socialist.

      • Softclocks says

        James is spot on the money.

        Scandinavian countries, like all countries, have social policies that are both capitalist in nature and socialist. A strong public sector, affordable healthcare and a generous welfare state.

        These are all predicated on high social trust, a highly educates and hard-working populace, high taxation and considerable affluence from lucrative exports.

        Hordes of immigrants are putting an end to this system, and the inherent naivety of the Scandinavian people is putting thier own head on the chopping block.

        • Toby Young says

          These systems are largely resilient in the face of challenges. Hordes of immigrants are not a reality but a phantasm of your mind and the Scandinavian economies continue to grow well.

          Are you saying that the US does not have a highly educated and especially hard-working populace? If anything, the US is more hard working than the Scandinavian countries. What is stopping other countries from creating lucrative exports?

          • Softclocks says

            Toby, the comparison between the US and Scandinavia is not relevant. Rather a comparison between the country of origin for said groups of immigrants. 2018 was the first year where there were born more foreign children than native children on norwegian soil.

            30-60% of these enter the workforce depending on nationality. Pakistani, Bosnian and Vietnamese perform on equal footing to native norwegians. Somali, eritrean and syrian lag far, far behind in just about any area but crime.

            I take it you don’t live in Oslo? I also take it you’re not familiar with the financial forecast regarding the pension fund and how well it supports 70% of somalis on welfare?

          • Kristoffer Domanski says

            Phantasm of the mind? Sweden has grown from 8 million to 10 millionish inhabitants since 2000, faults and cracks in the system are apparent everywhere. I could cite statistics, tell of personal experiences and literally hold forth on the topic all day, it will suffice to say that in 10 years sweden will still have a welfare state but only in name.

        • David of Kirkland says

          Yes, Softclocks. Once a government gives away stuff, then immigration is always a problem/concern because new people will want to come, but existing people won’t want to pay all those benefits to them. You can either be free (small government), handcuffed (social democracy) or shackled (socialist).

        • In extolling the virtues of “Nordic socialism,” why does no one mention the tax rates of these countries? I’m sure we could have similar programs in the US if everyone’s tax rate was 35-60%, but will the US public be willing to pay those rates?

      • Morten Storm says

        I am a Dane living in Denmark. Denmark and Scandinavia are socialists!!!

    • Two Cents says

      Swedes did not vote for the mass influx of migrants that now live off that system. If culture-altering decisions are made from the top down without even a vote, what is that but totalitarianism? They’re also severely punished for speaking out about it. What is that but totalitarianism?

      • Eric Stratton III says

        Swedes have also had the idea of private property made irrelevant. They are not like most Nordic nations in the sense that they are truly a borderline case of actual socialism and not just an expanded welfare state.

    • ga gamba says

      @ ds – Astounding. The author documents what is social democracy and what is democratic socialism, and you respond with the same old confused conflation. Did you not make it to the fourth paragraph? Are you dyslexic? Or is there some other problem? Did Eric Clanton bonk you on the noggin too? I see you use the all caps ‘not’ to make your case – it never does, btw. Presumably this is to draw attention to the word so your reader doesn’t mistake it for something else. Perhaps you’re drawn to capalitised words? Should Mr Sopo have typed his entire fourth paragraph in all caps too? Would it have sunk in then?

      But, if you’re an advocate for socialism, make your case. But don’t mislead people using the charade of social democracy and seize the achievements of Scandinavians for you own vile objectives. The seizing socialists want to perpetrate is entirely different.

      • Jack B Nimble says

        @ga gamba

        Democratic socialism? Social democracy? Hell, I would settle for democratic capitalism in a heartbeat. What is democratic capitalism? I’ll use the U.S. as an example.

        Corporations would no longer be considered to be persons and to have 1st amendment ‘rights’ to unlimited, unaccountable campaign spending [Citizens United case].

        Corporations would no longer have the right to impose religious beliefs on their employees [Hobby Hobby case].

        The Banking act of 1933 would be re-imposed [ ] and anti-trust laws would be strengthened.

        Unions would have 1st amendment rights restored to organize workers and engage in political activity without corporate or government interference [Janus case].

        No ‘revolving door’ between Congress/regulatory agencies/Pentagon and corporations/private equity firms/defense contractors without a multi-year waiting period.

        Strengthen, not weaken, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, etc.

        Look, there are many examples around the US of socialist, government-owned or worker-owned cooperative enterprises. Here are just a few:

        Bank of North Dakota [state-run bank]
        Agricultural, banking and worker cooperatives–Farm Bureau, Credit Unions, etc.
        Municipal-owned utilities [not to be confused with ‘public’ utilities], municipal-owned transit systems, etc.
        Public-owned property–local, state and national parks, wildlife & wilderness areas, public hunting areas, etc.

        Are the Bank of North Dakota and the Farm Bureau hotbeds of leftist radicalism? Of course not.

        The point is that socialistic enterprises have to be judged on an individual basis as being effective or ineffective in achieving their goals. Despite the fantasies of libertarians, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for state ownership versus private ownership.

        • In other words, you would guarantee 1st Amendment rights until a person enters the workplace Then, once they enter the workplace, they no longer have the right to express themselves politically or religiously. You do understand that completely castrates the 1st Amendment, don’t you? If you cease to have 1st Amendment rights to political speech because you own a company or you cease to have religious rights when it comes to how you run your own company, you don’t truly have either.

          • maggieloe says

            I assume you are talking about employees not giving up their personal rights, that employers cannot be allowed to force their religious or political views on the people higher to do a specific job to support themselves.

            Certainly that is right. Citizens cannot be required to give up basic rights if they need a job.

    • Pedro says

      Poorly read. Go back, the author showed the DSA policies to Nordic economists. Check what they said about it. Go even further back. The DSA stated that the democratic socialism they invision is not like the one used in the Nordic, but more radical. The Nordic association is a marketing move. In the end they all have a “better” idea of how to really do things and bring “Heaven on Earth” (a great documentary on socialism). Such convictions of prophetic enlightenment (this is the way, we are right, everyone else is wrong) can only end in Totalitarianism.

    • Liam says

      That’s…. that’s the point. They differentiated between the Nordic System and actual, full-blown socialism, and then talked about the socialism

    • Because Skandinavian countries mainly left business alone and only increased taxes to pay for welfare. And even this put brakes on their progress. In the 1960s before the social democrat reforms in Sweden, the median income was comparable to Switzerland, today it’s a third lower.

    • You are misunderstanding the article.

      The author mentions that social democracy and democratic socialism are not the same thing. They are quite different.

      Social democracies in Europe operate within market-based economies that incorporate some measure of re-distribution.

      Democratic Socialism on the other hand seeks to democratize the economy by giving elected institutions far-ranging influence over the economy.

      The Nordic countries are not socialist. In fact, political officials of these countries have repeatedly attempted to correct this misperception by explicitely pointing out that their economies are not planned but very much guided by competition.

      In fact, many Nordic countries range higher than the US on measures of economic freedom.

    • DS the author distinguishes between democratic socialism and Scandinavian social democracy. One of the key points he makes is that these are different things.

    • Bleakz says

      Probably because places like Denmark have some of the most open and deregulated economies in the word? They didn’t abolish profit motives, they just taxed the hell out of their people to expand safety nets. Safety nets are good, but abolishing the profit motive is a great path to mass starvation.

    • none says

      This kills the article.

      This is yet another “I’m from Cuba, sort of… not really” token minority trying to destroy the economic systems that built western civilization.

      • Christian Romney says

        The economic system that built Western Civilization is capitalism, which the author is arguing *for*. And for the record, being a first-generation American and child of Cuban immigrants doesn’t make one a token minority.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Did you read the article? Social democracy is not the same as democratic socialism.

    • Tyler says

      As the piece argues, the American Democratic socialists platform falls far left of Norway (per 11/12 Norwegian exonomists polled).

    • More like poorly comprehended in your part. Did you even read the article? His whole point is that the DSA’s policies mirror that of only the far-left fringes of the political parties in Scandinavian countries and actually mirror that of mainstream regimes in Venezuela and Cuba.

      Free-market Scandinavian countries with high social spending =/= democratic socialism.

  3. sd, I thought the author made the distinction between Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy quite clear. Looking at it grammatically, there’s a fundamental difference between a noun and an adjective. DS is socialism with a democratic flavour. SD is democracy with a socialist flavour.

    Digging deeper, socialism is by definition a top down power structure. Even if it starts off as a benevolent dictatorship, history and common sense tell us that it won’t end up that way. It invites a lethal power play, initially between competing elites, then inevitably against the rest of the population to put down dissent.

    Democracies are far from perfect, but in a reasonably functional one the power relationship is bottom up. They are still a dictatorship of the majority (the proletariat?), and in most present forms have at least one fundamental flaw – the ability for those in power to bribe their supporters with their own money, and go into debt to do so.

    Democracy is a recent experiment in the history of human civilisation. It’s been evolving. The franchise has expanded over the centuries and Australia, being a recent experiment, has shown that with increasing standards of education the general population is quite capable of dealing with sophisticated preferential voting systems that ensure that each voter’s preference is seen, even if not achieved. We’ve also accepted the value of compulsory voting, which reduces manipulation of voter turnout.

    • “SD is democracy with a socialist flavour.”

      IMHO it’s important to strongly distinguish “social” and “socialist”

      A social democracy and a socialist democracy would be quite different things.

      I think the real difference between social democracy and democratic socialism isn’t the order of the words (and which is an adjective and which the noun), but that little “-ist” suffix.

      That suffix signifies the difference between simple welfare and full-fledged public control over the means of production.

    • No Sharia says

      Compulsory voting is the type of schemes a dictator would love to prove the vast majority of people “love” them

      • Peter from Oz says

        Australia has had compulsory voting for many years. In all that time there have been no dictators.
        In fact Australian law requires that everyone over 18 registers to vote. Then on election day all registered voters are required to attend a polling place, have their names marked off the roll and receive ballot papers. It is not compulsory to fill in the ballot paper so as to cast a valid vote, but about 90% of people do. As a result.Australia is by far the most democratic country in the world.

  4. Peter from Oz says

    It is amusing that people continue to think that more government is the solution to anything.

    • Mark says


      Yaron Brook’s argument won me over. He takes out an iPhone and places it on the table in front of him.

      “Can you imagine what this would look like if the government made it?”.

      Everyone laughs.

      “Then why would you allow the government to be in charge of something as important as healthcare?’.

      • James K says

        The government built an atomic bomb from scratch in approximately 3 years

        • Lance says

          No, James. The government exfiltrated a scientist who built a bomb. What the government did was use it to kill thousands of people, then built thousands of more bombs.

        • No Sharia says

          Isn’t that something? Throughout history governments have been the si me qua non perpetrators of mass killings

        • Stewie Griffith says

          “The author is spreading propaganda.”

          /Links to Guardian.

      • I’d much prefer to have local communities of doctors and nurses be in charge of healthcare (the model in most social democracies), than to have for-profit insurers with bizarre incentives, massive inefficiencies, and millions of unnecessary rent-seekers running it.

        Do not think for a second that the US HMO + lots of government subsidies is anything close to a free-market system. It is the worst of all worlds, and Americans pay for it with costs triple those of the rest of the west, to go along with much poorer outcomes.

    • David of Kirkland says

      What does that even imply? Russia and the USSR was white socialism and was about as evil and an economic failure as they come.

  5. “Don’t get me wrong. I agree we must do more to help families like mine.”

    There is so much entitlement in this statement. We welcomed you into this country, but we somehow have a duty to do more? This is precisely why people in this country have had it with immigration. Get a grip.

    • Giancarlo Sopo says

      Hi there, thanks for the feedback. What I meant by that is that we should do more to help low-income families. Our social programs in the US are remarkably effective at combatting poverty. Some minor improvements can go a long way. The feedback is duly noted, though!

      • Thanks for the reply, Giancarlo. We’re going to have to disagree. It’s in my nature to want to help people, but it isn’t clear to me that putting more money into social welfare policies actually helps people reach a higher quality of life. Rather, it seems pretty effective, as you put it, at shackling them to the trailer houses and apartment projects they’veknown their entire lives. Conservatives (particulalry black conservatives) have illustrated how such policies have impacted the black community, but it can also be observed in just about any rural area in the US.

        I think there’s also something to the idea that shifting demographics have led to social alienation, the erosion of social trust and cohesion. The culture and language of my state has changed significantly in my lifetime – against the will of the majority of people. Why would a people, who already feel alienated from the political system and culture, want to give more of their income to help the very people who are straining and causing those systems to change? Charity? Although, not intended for this purpose, the ending to JG Ballard’s short story “Billenium” is rather effective at illustrating what happens when people continually subordinate their own interests to the interests of others.

        Again, thanks for the reply.

      • augustine says

        “…we should do more to help low-income families.”

        Actually helping marginalized people is educating and empowering them so they realize they can make a difference in their own lives, individually and collectively. One cannot hand out a work ethic via government program or any other means, but can only assist in the discovery process. Helping people in this “selfless” way is not a means of increasing your political power or spreading your ideology but it could make your society better in small ways.

        It is understandable that social programs and even Socialism sound better to many than self-responsibility, but the thinking of the masses on these issues is just as impoverished as their living standard. In their vulnerable condition they a gold mine for political exploitation. Anyone benefiting from such a gold mine (DNC, DSA) will not want to shut it down. Energy must be expended in the opposite direction, away from socialist universalism, to make life better for the poor and everyone else.

    • Skip says

      Of course, we do provide massive tax breaks and other amenities to foreign businesses that want to set up shop in right to work states.

  6. ccscientist says

    It is very curious that they hate capitalism and free enterprise. This is the system that has brought so much wealth to so many and brought poor people out of poverty. They are impatient to get to heaven (a perfect society) and close their eyes to all the bodies that pile up every time people like themselves get into power. Why do so many Mexicans want to come to the US? Because Mexico is very socialist (major parts of economy are run by government).

    What we need in fact is MORE free enterprise, fewer obstructions to people starting a business. I have so many friends who have started businesses and it provides such an opportunity, but local governments often try to stamp these out, throw road blocks. In my area so many hispanics have their own business in the building trades. They don’t work for a white man–it is Hernandez Lawn Care or Roofing or Painting. This is what we need.

    Every society has people who are lazy, crazy, retarded, and addicts. What do you do with them? It is an insoluble problem. Every country has ups and downs economically, has local areas where the business has moved out. It is a fantasy of the highest order to imagine that a social policy, no matter how high-minded, can fix all such problems.

    • David of Kirkland says

      A social democrat would have no issue with making our markets more free (Finland certainly has freer markets than the US), but you could still tax wages to provide benefits to everyone. But I do wonder if quality would decline, as it doesn’t feel like education is top notch after all these years of public schooling. Also, Nordic countries are mostly unallied militarily and don’t act as a global police force, so the USA has a huge disadvantage as it spends some $700 billion each year on “defense.”

    • Rosa says

      Mexican peasants started emigrating en masse after NAFTA was implemented and Americans started dumping subsidized corn on Mexico. That is not socialism; it is neoliberalism.

  7. ccscientist says

    I was reading about the garment district in NYC in maybe the 1920s. The immigrant family they talked about arrived with a few dollars and found a room with someone. They immediately bought a sewing machine with virtually all their savings and started making clothes. Within 3 days they had sold what they made, had orders for more and within a month had 10 employees. This was why it was called the land of opportunity.
    When free land was offered to homesteaders, they went out to their land, built a log cabin, and started farming–opportunity.
    Here are some of the businesses that my friends and relatives have started and run: a canvas/awning business employing 20, a robotics business, software package and consulting, freelance artist, product testing (like test-marketing), home remodeling, plumbing, HVAC employing now 15, a greeting card company. The possibilities are endless if you don’t expect someone else to take care of you.

    • david of Kirkland says

      Few want to work as hard as before. Just look at how prior generations managed to build all the infrastructure across the country, but the current generations can’t even maintain it much less build new infrastructure that would benefit the nation. People are born with all that this country has created, but then grumble if they have to contribute tax dollars to make it better and keep it going.

    • No Sharia says

      @ccscientist homesteading was possible after the government stole the land from the original owners—Indian tribes

      • Jeremy H says

        @No Sharia

        Which Indian tribes? Those that occupied the land at the time Europeans arrived or the tribes that those tribes stole the land from? Or perhaps the tribes that occupied the lands before even them? This idea of an Indigenous unity that collectively owned a continent is a pure construct; even the concept of land ownership is a European import (which is still rejected by Native Canadians who live on reserves).

        Like all primitive societies they were hotbeds of tribal wars and massacres long before Europeans arrived. If you condemn the Europeans for their actions your bound to condemn the very victims of their actions on the same terms (as well as all humankind essentially).

    • The Iconoclast says

      “The possibilities are endless if you don’t expect someone else to take care of you.”

      …so good.


    The mistake constantly attributed with Scandinavia is that the socialist policies of redistribution are what made their societies prosperous. This is far from the truth.

    At the turn of the 20th century most of Scandinavia was quite poor relative to say Germany, France or England. By embracing free market principles by mid century Sweden was the richest country, per capita, in the world.

    In simple terms, capitalism is what allowed a country like Sweden to flirt with the ideas of social redistribution. It is interesting to note that as the economies of Scandinavia have declined, in relative terms, they have walked back many of the socialist policies that contributed to that decline.

    • I don’t think anyone would argue this. It is a constant see-saw back and forth to determine optimal levels of taxation and support – which constantly change as conditions change and competitors change. Socialism is an extreme insanity. ‘No new taxes’ is an extreme insanity. It will always be a struggle to find the middle ground that optimizes life for the most people.

  9. Saturn Black says

    Schools these days aren’t even teaching young people about the history of socialism. Most of them don’t even know who Mao or Lenin are. But they know all about the holocaust. We’re heading towards some dangerous times.

    • No Sharia says

      @saturn and the so-called holocaust is greatly exaggerated. The Red Cross inspected the camps and looked over Nazi records…only 271,000 were killed, not 6 million

  10. Andrew_W says

    Just to emphasis the difference between Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy; while the Scandinavian countries have high social spending, three of them (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) are ranked in the top ten countries in terms of ease of doing business.

    • david of Kirkland says

      Capitalism is so powerful that it can withstand a lot of government meddling. Social programs are great until you start to allow immigrants in, or when demographics change so that you have more old than young. Pyramid schemes always seem awesome until they collapse.

    • peanut gallery says

      I think it also helps that these countries are a lot smaller than the US. Socialism works in my household, maybe even in my local community. Trying to manage the economy of something bigger than you can see with your naked eye is a mistake.

      This doesn’t mean that corporatism isn’t a thing or that corruption doesn’t need to be fought. I think corporations can get big and useless too. It won’t be perfect, but we should fight corruption of the hierarchy whenever possible.

  11. Robert Paulson says

    Need I point out that as mass immigration from Latin America transforms our demographics and culture, that it will also transform our politics as well? If we import the Third World, our politics, our government and eventually our country will turn into a reflection of that which we are importing.

  12. Robert Paulson says

    Need I point out that as mass immigration from Latin America transforms our demographics and culture, it will transform our politics as well? Should we really be surprised that we’re now seeing LatAm-style socialism and street-politics (e.g. violent clashes outside Trump rallies in CA)?

    That said, many Latinos are some of the best advocates against socialism since many of them fled its consequences, but they are of an older generation, and today’s young people are historically illiterate and raised on a steady diet of social justice propaganda and possess no concept of limits. They actually believe that by “taxing the rich” we can pay for free healthcare and college for all.

    • brian jackson says

      Don’t forget the role played by the United States in “sowing the wind” to begin with. In most cases it is a CIA backed coup or an IMF/ World Bank asset stripping program that reduces the population of a US client state [ aka “shit-hole country” ] to such a state of deprivation that it is willing to support the short sighted policies of left wing idealogues/ religious extremists or anyone offering false hope in a desperate situation. It’s easy to sneer at the failure of wealth redistribution politics in South and Central America but US foreign policy helped create the monster in the first place. From propping up dictatorships to subverting elections, economic ‘restructuring’, reducing national economies to debt peonage, to funding and training death squads…
      It’s almost as if the United States never wanted it’s neighbours to operate successful free market economies !

      • Robert Paulson says

        You’ll get no argument from me on that one. The same neoliberal economics that devastated Latin America is now coming home to roost and is setting the stage for the same kind of leftist politics here.

  13. josh says

    Ocasio-Cortez proposes expanding Medicare, a strong minimum wage, and cheap college for those who qualify, not seizing the means of production and ending capitalism.

    • Andrew_W says

      But she is a member of the DSA, which does advocate for a form of decentralized socialism though they envisage a system that uses market mechanisms:
      Social ownership could take many forms, such as worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Democratic socialists favor as much decentralization as possible. While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives. Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.[120]

      The problem with such idealistic systems is that people don’t seem to have the same resistance to socialist monopolies that they do to business monopolies, we accept the state health care and education monopolies that exist throughout the West without question, but if a corporation gains a monopoly position all hell breaks loose and the profiteering by the “evil capitalists” must be brought to a halt. So I think those market forces would soon die as the various worker cooperatives in each industry could and would successfully cooperate to eliminate the competitive market in their industry to maximize their own incomes.

      • The problem with such idealistic systems is that they’re idealistic systems. The italicized graph you printed above is littered with “coulds”, “maybes”, “we believes”, and “mights” and absolutely no data or certainty. No amount of “coulds” or “we believes” is going to make me want to give up the system we have for a system that “might” be better.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Socilast policies don’t merely include seizing the means of production and ending capitalism. Socialism is about the government taking over vast swathes of the economy. In modern societies they usually begine with health and education, thus swallowing up between an sixth and a third of the economy. Then come welfare provision which swallows up more. Regullations of incredible complexity designed to make businesses the supplicants of the state and create crony capitalism to corrupt commerce are next.
      It’s all done in the name of the people, and it always makes them less well off.

      • @ Peter from Oz

        No, no. So where are these modern societies where people are so badly off because of government? I am not talking about states like Venezuela and Cuba…

        “In modern societies they usually begine with health and education”

        These are NOT business, at least not in the traditional sense. Education and healthcare provision to a lot of extent is a service which has to be controlled by government to ensure at least a “basic” service for all.

        There is a lot of difference between Socialism and Welfare and Socialist policies within modern liberal democracies.

        A near 100% Libertarian type state would be quite a hellish place.

      • david of Kirkland says

        @ Peter from Oz Yes, and we can see already that our public schools could be so much better if they weren’t government monopolies. Vouchers would allow for public spending for private goods and services, which is more SD than DSA. One size never fits all. The government coercive machine doesn’t have the answers. No solution is right forever. The marketplace is flexible and allows for the change that always arrives. We have schools that teach assembly line skills and regurgitation of trivia rather than critical thinking or learning real history.

    • david of Kirkland says

      But she does. She’s just not saying so now. Otherwise, why belong to the DSA? That’s like running on the libertarian ticket and claiming they don’t want to shrink government powers as they champion flat taxes, free trade, reduced regulations, etc.

  14. I think the DSA is doing itself no favors claiming to want to nationalize major industries (outside of necessities like healthcare and education). But I think a lot of this is due to intellectual fuzziness at the theoretical levels among mostly young journalists. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez would never attempt to abolish private property even if the Senate was all blue. They are far more moderate than the Twitter discourse (which at this point is defining the DSA) may let on. If pressed on this question, I expect nominal democratic socialists to firmly stand on the side of social democracy, as they explain that they want a regulated economy, not state ownership of all property. The problem with standard-fare Democrats is that they take dark money from massive corporations, do not back programs such as universal healthcare, and are extremely pro-surveillance and pro-war. The left has gone too far in terms of its rhetoric, where figures like Owen Jones and Chapo Trap House will defend communism outright, but the narcissism of the commentators does not indicate what nominal “socialists” really believe. They’re Keynesian New Deal-style capitalists who are willing to fight harder for these reforms than the Hillary Clintons and Chuck Schumers of the party.

    • Nate says

      Alexander J Blum, you are kidding yourself, buddy, they are ideological but have never walked through what they suggest is a ‘plan’, and no one else has successfully done it either. These are the people who.would abolish I.C.E. for goodness sake!!! Idiots, who can’t say the words ‘America first’, therefore they should never be put into leadership positions over American soil, jobs, incomes, lives, healthcare and security!

  15. brian jackson says

    Are people really still buying into this left/ right horseshit? There is only one real power struggle remaining in the ‘democratic’ world. Do you want to be governed and taxed by a corrupt elitist national government or would you prefer a corrupt elitist global administration? If anyone reading this believes that Trump’s policies will outlive his presidency or that he is anything more than a speed bump on the road to full political and economic globalization, they need their head examined. There is a three stage social engineering process at play here called ” Problem, Reaction, Solution ”
    Q; How to get a patriotic US population to accept a world government/ tax structure and the end of national sovereignty this entails?
    A; It’s as easy as 1,2,3
    1) Create the ‘Problem’ by promoting an extreme or straw man version of your opponents argument, ( in this case Conservatism/ Nationalism.) eg. President Trump waving old glory, calling for 19th century style protectionist policies, questioning the man-made global warming consensus, backing Brexit etc.
    2) Await the ‘Reaction’ …in the form of the inevitable and equally extreme public backlash against said policies
    3) Roll out the ‘Solution’… re-elect the democrats in 2020 and rush through a new raft of global Trade Partnerships, further removing governments from the decision making process and handing power to corporate financial elites.

  16. ga gamba says

    … DSA’s Vice-Chair laid out a case for why Scandinavian social democracy is not what they have in mind, arguing a need for “a militant labor movement…to not merely tame but overcome capitalism.”

    This is a big reveal. Democratic Socialists usually profess to use the electoral process and abstain from violence. I doubt the DSA has an army, so what is meant by “militant movement”? I suspect it means a DSA-led government will turn a blind eye to harassment and violence in the streets perpetrated by folks like Antifa.

    Sound farfetched? You may recall the case of Eric Clanton, the professor who used a bike lock to attack a kneeling person attending a rally in Berkeley and split the victim’s head open. He was charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon. The court accepted a no-contest plea, which would have had to be negotiated with the district attorney, and sentenced him to probation.

    An outcome is a belief by many the court and prosecutor’s office aren’t serious when crimes are perpetrated against the wrong types of people. Inevitably some will arm themselves and respond when attacked. Will those who dare to protect themselves from the likes of Clanton find they are vigorously prosecuted by the district attorney? We shall see.

    • @ ga gamba

      “I suspect it means a DSA-led government will turn a blind eye to harassment and violence in the streets perpetrated by folks like Antifa. ”

      I don’t think it means this – rather not limited to this – and unlikely they had this in mind when writing that.

      More likely it means they [DSA] will forcibly occupy all the national institutions and destroy/alter most of them and will certainly make it so that capitalism cannot be voted back in. The American constitution will definitely go.

      After they get in…would anyone really expect them let go of power? Especially given how the nation did a 360 after Obama and voted in Trump?

      • @Reading Nomad
        Exactly right. They would “forcibly” occupy… They’re the reason why we can’t have anything nice. I’m politically center/center right, I would’ve been fine with Eisenhower and JFK, I can’t stand the extremist politics we have now. The cold war has, rightly in my view, scared Americans away from any kind of socialism.

        But I think we would be ok if we eased up on the socialism in the military and reconstructed healthcare through medicaid expansion or whatever. But every time anyone talks about this, the scare lingers on the right scream COMMUNISM and the radical leftist scream NOT FAR ENOUGH, NATIONALIZE IT ALL! Jeez!

        It’s 2018, doesn’t anyone have any new ideas for the economy rather than the same handful of washed out tried & failed ideas of the past 2 centuries???

  17. George says

    Say the Democratic Socialists aren’t really modelling their ideas of the failed experiments in Latin America and elsewhere, but are actually intent on implementing a Scandinavian styled socialism– wouldn’t they just be introducing yet another system created by white men?

  18. Gilbert Green says

    The Scandanavian Model is quite different to the models of the larger SD countries. (Actually every country is different because they have different histories. But postwar they organised around their best companies and made a deal to do everything required to support them in the export of their products (free education, health care, childcare for the workers, good infrastructure (free) for the companies) in return for high taxation. But for a long time company taxation is a lower than personal taxation (27% vs 35%) thus helping the rich to cement their position in power. An example the press media is privately owned by only a few of families and self regulated in Norway and although ranked No. 1 in press freedom, is hardly a “socialised” industry. But these things cannot last if these export industries cannot move with the times and go out of business.

    • ga gamba says

      But for a long time company taxation is a lower than personal taxation (27% vs 35%) thus helping the rich to cement their position in power.

      A lot of Americans expressed surprise when told that Sweden’s corporate income tax is lower than theirs, 22% for Sweden v 25.84% for USA); America’s used to be 39% (combined federal, state, and local) which was the OECD’s highest. BTW, wealthy Switzerland’s is 8.5%. And look at the top marginal income tax rates; the US is similar to most of Europe, though Sweden is an outlier.

      I think many Americans have been told some nonsense about Scandinavia.

      • Jack B Nimble says

        @ga gamba

        I’m not sure what point you are trying to make about personal income tax rates in the US, but the top marginal rate of 48.6% includes some contribution from state and local income taxes–which vary drastically across the U.S. Some states like Texas impose 0% state income tax, whereas rates in California and NY, for example, are roughly 10%. And what about VAT [absent in the U.S.], property taxes and sales taxes?

        And what about the fact that the theoretical maximum U.S. marginal rate applies only to households making more than US$425,000/year? That is a higher threshold than any other OECD country, excepting Japan, France, Portugal and Mexico. Those countries [except Mexico] have maximum marginal rates >50%. Also, households making more than $425K/year are the top 1%, and they generally have enough disposable income to hire tax lawyers who specialize in finding legal loopholes so their clients can pay $0 in actual taxes, or even get a refund.

        Finally, a bigger chunk of the average US taxpayer’s tax bill goes to defense and defense-related programs [nuclear energy, space programs, etc.] than in other OECD countries.

      • Yes. This. You will see that Norway has a lower top marginal rate (when you include US FICA taxes) than the US. And average Norwegians certainly feel like they are getting a lot more services back in return for their tax dollars.

  19. Zeke says

    I was hoping for more examples to prove the DSA platform is closer to Latin American countries vs Scandinavian countries.

    • Rosa says

      The author cherry-picked his examples: Cuba and Venezuela.

      I present others:

      In Bolivia, under Evo Morales, extreme poverty diminished from 37% of the population to 17% between 2005 and 2015; the Gini coefficient, which measures equality, descended from .60 to .47 (in the US it is .48); GDP doubled between 2005 and 2013; and, in 2009, the World Bank reclassified Bolivia from a low to a medium income country.

      Ecuador, under Rafael Correa, between 2007 and 2017, poverty was decreased from 37% to 23% and the Gini coefficient from .55 to .47.

      In less than a decade, and according to the World Bank, Brazil trebled its per capita GDP, lifted 30 million out of poverty, pre-paid its odious debt to the IMF, and instituted the largest transference program of the world, Bolsa Família, that reaches 13 million families.

      • Mike says

        And this is due to democratic socialist polcieis (nationalizaiton of industries etc?) is your claim?
        Was China, India SE Asia etc. poverty increase similiar? Socialism is beyond the pale and it deserves to be

      • Pirkka Jokela says

        I just read the Wikipedia page on Evo Morales. After listing his successes it listed many people saying he isn’t really a socialist and that he has aimed for a mixed economy.

        So basically he talks one thing to keep people on his side, but actually does a more capitalist politics.

        As the author of this essey writes, there is nothing wrong with taxing people to fund social programs or helping the poor get an education so they can contribute better. But this can be done without socialism.

        I also assume that DSA would not really implement socialism, despite what they say, but personally I don’t like it when politicians say one thing and do another. So I would rather take someone who does not talk of ending profit.

  20. Pingback: We Can Act Like We Come From Out of This World, Leave the Old One Far Behind – A Sunday of Liberty

  21. theHouseofElite says

    Another “intellectual”, elitist piece. Time to start creating and defining new terms and issuing more masters degrees and phd’s, and hand out awards

  22. Aleph says

    “Obama was no socialist.”

    Nope. He was a bloody crypto-commy, and still is.

  23. A brilliant article and thank you for sharing your personal accounts. The shell game of the Nordic nations is not new but good to hear it noted for what it is again. I continue to be stunned at the level of ignorance these people possess (celebs and wannabes) that peddle this catastrophic to man kind ideology. It screams not just ignorance but outright low intelligence….like not being able to perform basic math functions. cynthia nixon is apparently running for mayor of NY standing beside Cortez who literally sounds like an ignoramus when interviewed.

  24. Lance says

    FWIW – not necessarily germane to the article – I think it’s telling that the portrait of Ocasio-Cortez in the banner on her site shows her looking away into the distance. A quick image search under “dictator portraits” reveals this to be a common theme. Search “US senator portraits” and they’re all looking directly at the camera.

    • O. R. Ange says

      I would say that may have more to do with a sense of Romanticism that Ocasio-Cortez is trying to garner. She’s young, attractive, and this could be to frame her as a heroine of the people. There’s definitely an aesthetic there.

  25. Pingback: Democratic Socialism is a Scam - El Blog de Montaner

  26. D Bruce says

    If Capitalism was Georgist, Socialism would be passe.

  27. Morgan says

    “In a classic bait-and-switch scam, democratic socialist politicians and their allies in the media are hoping that Americans confuse them for Nordic social democrats.”

    “While their political candidates tend to resort to platitudes, DSA isn’t hiding the ball. In an article published in Jacobin, the socialist magazine’s editor and DSA’s Vice-Chair laid out a case for why Scandinavian social democracy is not what they have in mind, arguing a need for ‘a militant labor movement…to not merely tame but overcome capitalism.'”


  28. Finn Christensen says

    I live in DK. and the tax rate is over 70 &% and it piss me of, here is no freedom.

    • The Iconoclast says

      Can you be said to have economic freedom if you’re free to work but you have to give up a large majority of your income? People continue to trot out the success of these countries’ mixed economies but here are people who live in them telling us they’re paying too much and are not free.

  29. Anoneemous One says

    The future battles between Democratic Socialism and Capitalism are worth fighting a civil war over. Better hang on to those guns. 🙂

  30. One of the reasons people get confused over the definitions, is that the right relentlessly characterizes the universal healthcare systems of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Canada, the UK, France and the rest of the developed world as socialist.

    In all of these countries, there is a large population of ultra-conservative people who would be very, very angry if anyone were to take away their excellent ‘run by communities of doctors and nurses’ healthcare and replace it with a US-style, for-profit (in the business of denying claims) system run by insurers. The market inefficiencies and unnecessary costs in the US system appear insane to the rest of the world. There should be room for a US-specific universal healthcare that restricts treatment in certain areas that should appease ultra-conservatives. But as long as the right screams socialism whenever the topic of well-priced healthcare comes up, most people are going to confuse social democrats with real socialism.

    • Peter says

      Your remark is spot on. Several years ago I opened the homepage of a US physician who is supposed to be an authority on a rare disease. He just published a rather hysterical reaction to the Affordable Care Act, including the false claims about »socialist Nordic countries«. I lost almost all the interest. How can one trust such a person?

      The crude shortsighted policies and propaganda methods of the American Right often play into the hands of their opponents and erode the trust.

  31. ga gamba says

    OK, most comments here have been about the definitions, the sleight of hand, etc.

    Let’s take a look at how might Democratic Socialism (DS) may be implemented and then run. I’ll look at the companies of the US.

    Some background. Approximately 90% of US businesses have 20 employees or fewer, about 98% have fewer than 200, and the remainder are the large companies such as Exxon, Apple, etc.

    We’re going to implement socialism and run it democratically in a small 20-man business. The first issue is the current ownership must be transferred from the owner(s) and split amongst everyone else. How is this to be achieved? For the sake of simplicity let’s say the value of the business is $1m. Will the owner be paid for what he’s invested? Presumably DS is an ethical ideology, so it decides that yes, each owner must be compensated; he’ll be bought out and the company divided amongst the employees. Will the employees each pay $50k to the owner, or is it to be the public who pays the owner and gifts ownership the employees, or will the employees be loaned the amount by the state to purchase the business? I’ve searched the DS website and even a fundamental issue like this isn’t addressed. It’s just the business will be run democratically. The more they vote the better it’s run. Okie dokie.

    We run into some other issues. Not all small businesses are worth $1m. Some are worth much less and others are worth much, much more. Very valuable businesses will require a greater investment by the soon-to-be owner employees. Or if it’s gifted, then complaints and protests will arise from those who were gifted much less valuable businesses. Further, some have bright prospects and others are in a sunset sector and failing. “Listen comrade employees, here’s your chance to buy a money-losing business.” Or, “Rejoice people, the state has just purchased XYZ business, maker of wooden wagon wheels.” What of businesses that are ethically compromised, such as firearms and tobacco? Will they be shuttered and the employees be cast out?

    On an individual basis these issues are complex, but not impossible to resolve. But we’re doing this for the entire economy; millions of businesses. Who is going to lead this and handle the complexities? Is a massive Ministry of Transfer and Compensation required? The scale becomes so daunting, and so expensive, you can see why the socialists of years past simply seized, and by that I mean stole, the businesses.

    We also have the former owner with $1m. Since capitalism is no longer, he won’t re-invest it by establishing a new business. He could, but he has to again go through the headache to dilute ownership, so why bother? He can’t even buy shares in other businesses because these no longer exist. And buying land? Could be tricky since that’s frowned upon if it’s for more than one’s own housing. Sure, there will be some masochists out there but for the most part this money sits in the bank. Or, more likely, the fella flees to stability and security by buying gold or trying to get his money out of the country and to a haven. This is capital flight, and the gov’t will respond to stop this. Black markets emerge to aid wealth holders extracting their wealth to safety.

    Our 20 worker owners set about running the business democratically. They spend some of the work day debating what to do and voting on it. A few new employees are needed. Oh, a problem. We have 20 fellas who each invested $50k. And some of them think the business is worth a bit more now. How can a new employee be an equal if he too doesn’t invest a sum? This limits the pool of applicants to those who have $50K (or more) or the worker owners extend credit to him. Those who decide they want to leave the business to move elsewhere or pursue a new interest have to resolve their ownership. By a 19-1 vote the owner workers vote to pay him $10k for his share. Democracy in action. Off to the gov’t office he goes to file a complaint. It’s a long queue.

    We hope that each worker owner works equally hard, but knowing humans some will be less productive and others more so. Soon resentments and accusations arise. “How dare you judge me! I am an owner worker equal to you.” “You merely push a broom and operate a machine; it’s my ideas that design the products we sell.”

    Let’s not neglect to recognise these problems are not happening in just one business, they are happening nationwide. Customers and suppliers all swept up in the great disruption. Overseas business partners look to others.

    Sound farfetched? This is what happened in Barcelona, Spain during the Spanish Republic. And the owners weren’t compensation; the businesses were seized. To lower their tax on profits the workers voted themselves raises. They created many kinds of social services such as workers’ (and their families) canteens, which of course cost money. Democracy in action. Initially there was euphoria, much like when a person wins the lottery, but soon enough reality – the costs – comes crashing down. The wheels went flying off the cart. Orders dried up in the disruption so they began to sell the means of production, i.e. their tools and supplies, to have money to pay for food. Factionalism arose. Businesses didn’t want to extend credit for fear they wouldn’t be repaid. Banks failed to function.

    The Democratic Socialists say large companies will be owned by the public. Try to sort out Exxon with its 70,000 employees dispersed globally and a market capitalisation (its value) of about $340,000,000,000. Do this for all the publicly listed companies. At the end of 2017 the market cap of all US listed companies was $32,120,702,650,000. That’s 32 trillion dollars. Less than 1 per cent of the 27 million businesses in the US are publicly traded on the major exchanges. “You’re right, that’s a lot of money. We’ll just seize the companies.” OK, but remember many of the share owners are overseas governments and investors and this will cause all kinds of diplomatic problems. You think Trump’s trade tiffs are a big deal? Brace yourselves for what’s in store.

    Any of you recall the overthrow of Iran’s Mosaddegh? It was due to Iran’s nationalisation of the oil industry, specially Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), the forerunner of British Petroleum (BP). The majority of the shares were owned by the British government, and it was implementing the costly welfare state that required BP’s earning. You may think Iran was justified to do so, but AIOC had a contract with the Iranian government which was unilaterally broken. AIOC was the one that discovered the oil after several years of prospecting and then built the industry to include the infrastructure. Iran didn’t take the risk, but then it wanted to seize the rewards.

    Those of you who decry big businesses’ influence on government now, imagine the power when big business is owned by the government and its dependent on the revenues to pay for all the social programmes you want. This is going to cause many problems both domestically and internationally. Further, due to political pressure businesses that should fail will instead be sustained; they will become money pits. Do you think innovations that may be too disruptive to important sectors will be permitted? Companies owned by the central government or by local authorities take advantage of their privileges, exploit their monopoly position, and place technical, organizational, administrative, and other barriers in the way. Other than the AK-47 and Sputnik, what innovations came the USSR, its Warsaw Pact clients, Communist China, or any of the other socialist states? Sure, there may be a few more, but they pale in comparison to the number and importance of those innovated in the capitalist systems. These states relied on stealing technology to try to keep up. Though having the tough R&D done by others for them, they still cocked it up. The inefficiency of state-owned companies inevitably resulted in a diminution of social welfare as well as the infringement of freedoms and a reduction of one’s quality of life.

    The DS doesn’t answer any on this. It’s simply warm and fuzzy platitudes about democracy, the people, sharing, and equality. This is the scam that should put you off it. Show us the costed plan to implement socialism and run it democratically.

    If you’re looking for an alternative, check out the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) companies.

    • And of course, closer to home and more recently there is PDVSA. You can find the youtube video where Chavez fired all the competent engineers and business people live on public TV!

      Venezuela’s oil output has collapsed because there are no motivated, competent people left to run the business.

      • ga gamba says

        It’s because the checks and balances disappear. Loyalists and sycophants are rewarded and others are purged by their employers.

        I’m serious: where’s the plan? Taking over a company requires a business plan, does it not? They’re not only doing that, they intend to take over the entire economy. What’s the financial plan? Further, you have millions of people, including union members, with their pensions and 401k retirement savings invested in the stock market. I’ve already provided the sum that’s required. Where will Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez find $32 trillion? And that’s for only a part of the economy.

        If somehow every owner of businesses is bought out none of their capital is productive because entrepreneurship is no longer viable. Will they be (compelled) to lend it to the state, which has the power the implement inflationary measures which then destroys the value of their (former) wealth. Think about the tax that’s lost by the state because capital gains from investments are no longer realised. Moreover, companies have the ability to de-list and re-domicile; it happened in Hong Kong before the ’97 hand over to China and happens for less threatening reasons. Further, the genuinely wealthy have their wealth spread globally as a hedge against may types of risk including expropriation.

        It should also be pointed out that though the DS claim to be globalists and believe in trade, those overseas companies whose competitiveness increase vis-a-vis US nationalised ones will soon be shut out of the market. The government can’t afford to displace domestic workers – the Soviets imported almost nothing other than grain from the West. Much of their trade was barter with the East Bloc. This then exacerbates tensions globally. Yet, imported goods will still be desired for their quality, which is another revenue stream for black marketers.

        Can this socialist system be defended on environmental grounds? No. The USSR and the East Block were an environmental disaster and clean up didn’t begin until after the states collapsed.

        A person who creates a comprehensive business plan to submit to a bank for a loan to open something as inconsequential as a hot dog stand or t-shirt silk screening shop has put more thought into it than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists.

        It’s confounding how many people have been duped by this.

    • The Iconoclast says

      These are powerful arguments against implementing any kind of one-world government. When a country chooses suicide like this, others refuse to follow the path and become ascendant. Only by yoking everyone at the same time can they ruin everything.

  32. Henrie says

    This sounds like the stupid red-baiting it claims that it is not. The Democratic socialist candidates themselves, OCA and Bernie, have emphasized on Healthcare and Tuition fees yet the writer digs up the manifesto of a group that demonizes capitalism and makes hysterical allusions to Venezuela and Cuba as if America could ever come anywhere near those two. Complete nonsense.

    • OCA and Bernie call themselves democratic socialists. The author brings up the platform of the Democratic Socialists of America and you think that is out of bounds?

      Maybe if OCA and Bernie didnt want to be associated with wing nut socialism they wouldnt label themselves wingnut socialists?

  33. There is no such thing as a pure “market economy”, apart from possibly Somalia. Even in the US, about one-third of total GNP is government spending (in effect a command economy). In Denmark, the figure is closer to 53%, meaning that the centrally planned economy is larger than the market economy.

    The article attempts to posit a hard line where there is none. I personally agree that there needs to be a market economy to deal in consumer goods and discretionary spending as historically governments do a very poor job of supplying these things. I think that healthcare, essential utilities, public transport, infrastructure and finance should be socialised. I’m not sure if that makes me a social democrat or a socialist, but as I said, I don’t think there’s a hard line between the two.

    • The hard line comes from Marxist terms. That is, if there is any private property then it aint socialism. There, or course, have been many non-Marxist movements who have called their economic plans socialism. The NAZI regime for one.

      What you say you want isnt socialist in the Marxist sense, and thus many Socialist movements wont consider you part of their ilk. If you dont care, then ok. But the DSA does care.

      Im more with you in that I dont really care. The government should do some thngs, the private sector should do others. My only issue is that these middle-of-the-roas socialists want to say that anything the government does is socialism while saying NAZI Germany, with its public healthcare and huge public works projects, are not socialist.

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