"There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong...." ~ James Madison
Socialism Does Not Exist
Exclusive to STR
September 24, 2007
Let's take a brief trip back to high school civics class (yes, I know it was likely a government school, but I'm sure not to blame for that) and review the four major known systems of economics:
1. Communism: In this model, both ownership and operation of all means of production lies exclusively in the hands of the State.
2. Socialism: Here, ostensibly the "major" infrastructure-related industries are State-owned and operated, whilst medium and smaller business ventures are privately held (though of course taxed and regulated by the State just the same).
3. Fascism: This purports total private ownership and operation of all products and services, though under almost total State supervision and regulatory practices.
4. Capitalism: A system currently enjoyed nowhere on earth, save for "black" markets, wherein commerce and productivity flourish in an environ wholly unmolested by any State interventionism whatever; indeed, the practice of pure capitalism requires the utter absence of government in order to exist in the first place.
My hypothesis is quite simple: If these indeed represent the four overall economic frameworks possible in a physical world, then Socialism does not and cannot truly exist. Here's why:
In such an economic circumstance, the "public" sector is essentially based on a communistic framework. True, it may be that the BBC, for example, broadcasts advertisements for Weetabix cereal as part of its revenue intake -- however, this lack of Marxist egalitarianism has in recent years been displayed in China , and even in Cuba . Such dogma has been forced to shift gear to conform with market realities. "Socialist" enterprises such as the BBC are not immune to this. Such diversions do not significantly alter, however, the premise of State-control and ownership.
Concurrently, "private" businesses are forced to conduct themselves along fascistic lines; for they labor, as aforementioned, under the yoke of all the State's taxation, licensing, and voluminous regulatory schemes. They are not permitted, literally at gunpoint, to engage in true capitalism.
Hence, we can see that "socialism," rather than describing a unique system of economics, acts merely as a term used to denote an economy in which certain goods and services are provided via Marxian central planning, whereas all others operating above government's radar screens do so within the purview of State-marshalled fascism.
There is one other point worthy of consideration. Communists and "socialists" often differentiate themselves from one another on the sole basis of the means they prefer to employ in order to arrogate the reins of State power. Communists are very open about their desire for the proletariat to rise in armed revolt against the burgeousie. "Socialists," on the other hand, advocate bringing about the same result by "peaceful, democratic means." That old oxymoronic saw means only this: That unlike the communist -- who will take up arms his or herself -- the "socialist" will use elements of an existing State apparatus to do the same thing for him. He will not get out in the streets with a rifle and overthrow a State -- he will rely on the policeman and the soldier, already in place, to do the dirty work on his behalf. He is also perhaps a shade more sly than his dogmatically Marxist bedfellow in this additional regard: He understands the capitalist cash cow must at least be permitted to draw breath within the Fascist Sector, if only so it might be more effectively milked to the benefit of the State.
All of this having been thusly dissected, communism and fascism are obviously anathema to any true philosophy of liberty. But socialism isn't something you should worry about. For in truth, it really doesn't exist.