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In the dragons' den

Bob Piper : Education... education, and, errm...

Link: Bob Piper : Education... education, and, errm....

I love the way that any actual application of the main socialist idea of an economy under social control is dismissed as "not really socialism" and even "not really communism"

Once you opt for political, not market, economic controls and move towards more equal incomes, you rapidly descend to the situation reflected in the old Soviet Bloc saying "lying down or standing up it's still x [zloties, roubles, whatever] an hour". Soon, everyone does as little as possible.

Just as they did in the British Steel plant I worked at in my Summer vacation when I was a student. That, and my direct, personal, violent experience of the Shrewsbury Pickets when I did vacation work on a building site, is what converted me from the unthinking Socialism of the Labour North where I grew up.

Not everyone "lies down." There are always the cunning guys who work out that the way forward is into the apparatus where they can direct "social assets" to their own family's use -without ever "owning" them of course. That would be wicked. That's what I like to think of as "the Prescott model". Then there are the guys who get into regulatory positions where they can extract bribes.

Certainly no-one takes commercial risks. Why should they? The upside is the State's and the downside (criticism, even punishment, for their failure) is all theirs. The economy inevitably declines.

Corruption apart, maybe Socialism handles "to each according to need", but "from each according to ability" is trickier. Remove the "invisible hand" of the market, and you rapidly end up with a choice between economic collapse or the very visible hand of State compulsion.

That compulsion becomes more and more unpalatable over time. The dreamers on the outside (after denying it for a few decades) then cling to their beautiful vision by saying "That's not really Socialism. When we do it, there'll be no need for such compulsion"

Yeah, right. That's why Labour's favourite verb is "to ban."


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