Socialism: Been There, Done That; Didn’t Work!
Socialism has been tried and on many occasions has produced the same results: mainly inflation and cutbacks, if not the total ruin of countries. Of course, many will point to England or Western European nations that have adopted socialism or socialist policies and ostensibly succeeded, and hail their success. This is an only partially correct analysis.
The Labour Party in the United Kingdom drafted a manifesto stating its commitment to socialism. This was expressed in clause 4 of their manifesto, which was authored by Sidney Webb in 1917. Clause 4 states:
“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”
The party’s rhetoric and alliance with unions ensured that its electoral candidate, Clement Attlee, would succeed Winston Churchill in 1945. When Clement took over, the much-touted socialist policies were enacted – mainly the nationalization of major and large corporations, a welfare state, and for the first time, a State-run pension program.
The Labour Party would lose the elections in 1959. As cracks started appearing, the general public saw nationalization as a racketeering scheme; that is, it was a scheme for politicians to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayer. There was a push to amend clause 4 of the party manifesto, but the unions and leftists would have none of it. It didn’t help that the British Communist Party had great influence on the policies of the Labour Party. The economic crises of the 1970s, largely attributed to unsustainable government expenditure and wage demands, brought the defeat of the unions and emboldened Labour Party members who were against Marxism.
But the anti-Marxists came to the party too late. A new Sheriff was about to come to town and she was no Labour Party member. She was a Tory by the name of Margaret Thatcher. She’d become Britain’s first female Prime Minister, and did away with most of Labour’s policies. She also sold some State enterprises. All of this rolled back Britain’s inflation rate.
The Labour Party was forced into introspection. Around this time (the 80s-90s) the socialist republics of the Soviet Union were disintegrating, and the much-touted third world socialist nations like India and Tanzania were in ruin. Then, in 1993, Tony Blair suggested that in order for the party to get support again, it had to change its manifesto; in particular clause 4. Of course, the leftists pushed back. But Blair was victorious, beat the Tories and became Prime Minister.
So in conclusion, my view is that socialism leads to ruin. It’s not the safety nets per se, but the ‘common ownership’, or State ownership, of large industries, which are supposed to fund social programs and end up being a racket for corrupt politicians to enrich themselves. Wage and expenditure demands to support industries end up being unsustainable and rampant inflation sets in. Socialism then enters into a zero sum game where its gains are rolled back by its failures. The leftists today have become pariah, because they view clause 4 as their holy grail and don’t realise that, had Labour not abandoned its socialist identity, the Tories may still have been in charge today.
And finally, do not forget that every nation which ever adopted socialist policies ran into ruin.