7.19.2017

Journal, May 17, 1977 AM

Why socialism? Where did Daddy fail? Why didn’t I absorb his undying faith in the free market, and his reverence for pure capitalism unhampered by government intervention?

I’m coming to believe that socialism is where the world’s nation states are headed, of necessity, though indisputably they are heading there at varying rates of speed, with accelerations, decelerations, backpedaling, the whole shebang!

Capitalism is a very fine system for exploiting abundant resources. You turn some reasonably sharp and self-interested folks loose in an incredibly resource rich & undeveloped piece of real estate like North America was in the 1600s, and you ought not be surprised when they build the most powerful and rich capitalist state on Earth. Even in this, the most nearly ideal situation pure capitalism has had to develop on the planet, its inherent vices have been manifest. Man as entrepreneur is not content to only exploit land with his own labor or machinery. He must have other men beneath his power, and he will go clear to Africa to bring to his capitalist paradise men who he can have as completely under his power as the animals he keeps. Man as entrepreneur so easily becomes insatiable in his greed!

Capitalism is wrong-headed to begin with. According to capitalist philosophy the whole society gins by each of its members pursuing vigorously his own self-interest, stoking the fire of his own greed. Some mysterious invisible hand was supposed to make it all work. Actually government has always had to have its hand in the “free enterprise system” in order to keep the greed of powerful men or groups from getting completely out of hand. As resources have become more limited, and as technology has become more complex, government has had to stick its (far from invisible) hand into the economic system clear up to the armpit.

Socialism starts with the central idea that society’s function (and thus government’s function) is to equitably distribute available resources among societal members. It shows its hands right out in front, manipulating the economy for the social welfare of the people. Sure we still need the entrepreneur, but perhaps we can reward him with a “people’s hero” medal, national acclaim and security for his family instead of with an empire?

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