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Archive for December, 2011

Why socialism always fails.

I’ve spoken previously about the economic concept called the “Tragedy of the Commons”, and have stated that government generally works as such.

What happens when a moral person participates in a “commons”? The way the commons works, each participant will tend to get as much from the commons as they can, until all the good stuff is gone. If a “moral” person is a participant, they will act in a restrained manner, allowing others to get their fair share of the commons. If all participants behaved that way, the tragedy would never occur. However, human nature being what it is, people not being perfect, some participants will take more than their allotment, and the tragedy will occur. The tragedy can only be avoided if ALL participants behave in a perfectly moral way. The tragedy can be postponed or mitigated, but not avoided, human nature being what it is.

To say that a commons is an acceptable way to deal with goods is to be in denial about human nature. It is this denial of human nature that causes socialism to always fail. Socialism in all its manifestations (governments, public schools, etc) is based on a false notion of what a human society is capable of. It’s not that people cannot learn to behave morally. It is that socialism does not provide the inducements required for that learning to take place. Rather than humans becoming their better selves, they inevitably devolve in socialist societies into their worst selves.

What to do? You could complain that people are not perfect, but complaining never really accomplishes much. Or you could accept human nature for what it is, imperfect, and use property rights to forestall the inevitable tragedy that commons are heir to. Property rights are a way for human society to function peacefully with REAL human beings. Property rights work because they are clear, and enforcement is relatively easy. With property rights, the inducements exist to behave morally, and to deal with others fairly, as you would want to be dealt with.

Take control of your property, including the taxes your government takes from you. It is the only way to avoid tragedy.

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