by Zero Hedge
Last week, I reported on two myths about socialism. My new video covers three more.
Myth No. 3: Socialism works if it’s “democratic.”
As the Democratic Socialists of America put it, “Society should be run democratically — to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few.”
Sounds nice. If socialists are elected, then we’ll have a more just society.
But Venezuela’s socialists were elected.
“They can start off democratically elected,” says economist Ben Powell, director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, but “once they centralize control over the economy, it becomes impossible to ‘un-elect’ them.”
Hugo Chavez was elected but became an authoritarian who chose his successor, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro now gets “elected,” by having opponents arrested and “ordering state employees to vote for him or they lose their job,” says Powell.
“Socialism always becomes authoritarian?” I ask.
“Everywhere you try socialism, that’s what you get,” he replies. “It’s hard to exercise political freedom if you don’t have economic freedoms. If you’re dependent upon the state for your livelihood, you lose your ability to use your voice to oppose (the state) because you can be punished.And if the state directs the economy, some government department must manage millions of production decisions and prices. That never works. No bureaucrat can anticipate the needs and wants of millions of people in different places. No politician can match the wisdom of decentralized entrepreneurs making subtle adjustments constantly.
Celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon and Danny DeVito star in videos selling “democratic” socialism as “public schools” and “interstate highways.”
They are not wrong. “Some industries are government-owned,” replies Powell, but “when you look at things that are inefficiently done — public education, our congested streets — (it’s clear) socialized industries don’t work well.”
“They do in Scandinavian countries!” say socialism’s promoters.
That’s myth No. 4.