Notice, the title does not refer to corrupt Socialism. Socialism in any form provides no solution to social woes. It is also important to distinguish the difference between Capitalism and corrupt Capitalism. As we do, we can realize that the problem is the corrupt portion of the phrase. Consequently, our efforts must be toward eliminating corruption, not Capitalism. In reference to Socialism, the system itself, corrupt or not, is problematic.
The Essence of Capitalism
Simply stated, Capitalism allows individuals, through diligent work and ingenuity to reap the benefits of their efforts. There are many challenges which accompany such an economic system, but challenges do not equal defect. It is challenging to start a business or to invent and market a product or a service. It is not always the case that everyone faces the same advantages or obstacles as one’s intelligence, work ethic, attitude, family heritage and many other factors can provide a positive or negative dimension to this endeavor.
The Essence of Socialism
Socialism requires that a limited number of people assume responsibility for collecting and distributing goods and services. The essential defect in such a system is that the goods and money necessary to carry out this task do not come from the people overseeing this endeavor; they come from the people who are to receive the goods and services. The variety of problems this defect produces will not be discussed in detail in the present article, but we will consider some that will inevitably lead to the failure of such a system.
First, as stated in reference to Capitalism, the most central and universal challenge we face is corruption (and let’s add to that immorality). If we were to reduce or eliminate corruption and immorality, Capitalism would produce prosperity that has a universally beneficial effect. If so, there is no need for and there would be no widespread interest in Socialism, in handing over one’s money and goods to a designated few for the purpose of deciding the best way to handle such. On the other hand, if corruption and immorality are not reduced or eliminated the goods and money will be handed over to a small, controlling group of corrupt and immoral people to determine their usage. Wisdom immediately rears its head and winks.
Second, money and goods still need to be generated. The money and goods must be generated by people who will have them taken away (or, the softer sell is, they hand over what they produce, putting a nice, commendable, voluntary spin to it) in order to be distributed fairly among all people. Again, if corruption and immorality still exist, many people will prefer using drugs and watching TV to producing goods and money, assuming they have a fair share headed their way regardless. One might say, “No, that would never happen, people aren’t like that!” Yet, at the same time, the same person likely complains about the abusive behavior of corrupt Capitalists (most often referred to as rich people). Interestingly, with our fascination with entertainment making actors and sports figures rich people (beneficiaries of our Capitalist system) many of the complaints most widely communicated come from rich people (said actors and athletes). Irony immediately rears its head and winks.
Third, in conjunction with the point above, incentive to produce an abundance of goods and money is eliminated as one’s diligent labor is rewarded with “penalty,” the confiscation of their profit and prosperity. The average human being, corrupt or not, will tolerate this arrangement for a very short period of time before seeking (often violently) another arrangement. I will tie into this consideration the idea that Socialism tends to produce lazy, dependent, entitlement oriented citizens in bondage to a large governmental system, poorly in charge of providing for our needs in contrast motivated, hard-working citizens who increase liberty in the land and benefit from performing the task of providing labor, goods and service effectively.
Fourth, one will soon find, as we already have ample example, that the services provided under such a system prove to be lousy. Those designated to run such services have no vested interest in doing a good job as they do not face the prospect of increased benefit by doing their job better than the competition (because there is none).
It is also very interesting that many who carelessly assume that a Socialist system will be good, operate out of a disgruntled attitude toward rich people and government. So, the solution is to make government bigger by putting all of our money and goods into the hands of a limited number of “chosen” people? What do you assume that rich governing body of corrupt and immoral people will do for you?
I declare with utter seriousness that corruption and immorality are the enemy to be conquered. It is not government; it is corrupt and immoral government. It is not rich people; it is corrupt and immoral rich people. It is not poor people; it is corrupt and immoral poor people. But we say, “It’s impossible to solve this problem.” It is as long as the “institutions” designed to train each generation in right character and conduct refuse to do so. And what institutions are these, you might ask. The Church and the Family. Living in a culture that increasingly has little appreciation and concern for healthy churches and families, we face a significant dilemma. It is, however, a dilemma we can solve with a sincere return to a proper love and respect for God (which is also aggressively under attack).
Leveling the Playing Field
Instead of an accurate, true love for God and fellowman, we have veered off course with a definition of love and justice that is very dangerous and counterproductive. It is naïve to assume that the highest and wisest expression of love comes in the form of hand outs and that justice involves systematically taking what one person has rightfully earned through proper application of time, energy, ingenuity and talent in order to see to it that another person failing generating such profit has an equal share. Egalitarianism is not another name for justice. With correction in the area of corruption and immorality, voluntary efforts to aid the genuinely needy and unfortunate citizen will be addressed by philanthropic and humanitarian organization in contrast to imposed upon all citizens by a government program or agency (largely run by corrupt and immoral people).
“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, ‘HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.’ Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Co.9:6-15)
Oh, wait – I forgot we are to leave God out of such issues.