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Jeffrey Lawton

11-26-18

Nicholas Adler

Written
Expression

With the current state of politics in America, our country is seeing a level of divide never

experienced before. Our political party system, enormous gaps between the rich and the poor,

and arguably unconventional leaders have created a chaotic political nightmare. Our nation is

still fighting against countless problems such as racism, poverty, homeless veterans, and wage

gaps.

These issues have many Americans frustrated as they go about their everyday lives. Why

can’t we just have normal politics that work to create a better country for all individuals? Well,

we can. But for centuries our current political and economic systems have failed to solve

problems such as equal pay, poverty, homelessness, healthcare epidemics, and equality for all

who work hard. So, if our current system has failed us for so long, and no solution is seeming to

come to mind, what can we do?


An answer that is becoming increasingly popular among Americans is the idea of

socialism. Socialism is a complex idea, but it has the potential to end poverty, inequality,

homelessness, and racism altogether. In a socialist society, everyone would be equal in the

sense that we work to fulfill the needs of others instead of for a paycheck. No single person

would hold more power, financially or socially, than another.

For example, in a socialist society, a farmer would grow food for a doctor, and the

doctor would provide service to the farmer when needed in return. If we now add an architect

into the picture, the farmer still grows the food for the doctor and architect, and the doctor

provides medical services to both. The architect is in charge of building and maintaining their

homes. In this way of life, everyone is equal in the sense that they have no monetary worth.

They all have the same access to the same resources as long as they work. Essentially, they

exchange their services instead of money and are all dependent on each other. If everyone

simply does their part, there is no reason to exchange currency.

This may sound like a simple, mindless solution, but it is not. There are many problems

with socialism that we have to dig into deeper to understand. One of which is the idea that if

everyone is equal with no potential to earn more, what will drive them to innovate and provide

better service? In the current world, making more money is what gives us incentive to provide

to customers. But in a socialist society, we will have no incentive to provide more than what is

needed because there is no better reward. This will lead to mediocre service and innovation will

stop in its tracks.


Another issue with a socialist society is that human nature is fundamentally greedy.

People always want more and never seem to be satisfied. We want more money, better food,

expensive cell phones, and any product that makes our life better. Socialism would take away

the privilege of having access to any products that we want. This could have devastating

consequences if we take into account human greed. People could end up stealing and

committing more crimes than ever before. As Gandhi famously stated, “Earth provides enough

to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed’s.” According to scientist Annie

Leonard, the United States makes up 5% of the global population but consumes over 30% of

global resources. This shows that cultures such as the U.S. are fundamentally greedy and take

more than their share when they can. This is why we almost all own more than one pair of

shoes, over 10 separate outfits, 3 bathing suits, the list goes on and on. We all have more than

we need, we have what we want. And socialism is about needs, not wants. This is something

that would have to change if socialism were to be successfully implemented.

However, if we set aside all greed and what currently makes us happy, socialism could

be achievable if looked at different. If we all have the desire to live peacefully and equally,

there is essentially nothing stopping us. We could be happy from interacting with our

community, sharing resources, and enjoying nature. As long as everyone is on board, there

would not be any foreseeable issues.

Economist Roemer Bardham of The Journal of Economic Perspectives argues that

socialism could potentially work if we change the way we distribute resources. A singular

government would not be able to efficiently distribute all vital resources to its entire
population. In order for socialism to succeed, people would have to distribute resources

amongst their local community.

One of which is that no one would want difficult jobs if they are valued the same. For

example, no one wants to be a heart surgeon if they are paid the same as a fast food employee,

and both are in demand. It is mindless to flip burgers all day compared to save people lives by

performing precise organ transplants. Many people will argue that the surgeon deserves more

than the burger flipper. Research published by time magazine stated that humans are wired to

be lazy in every way possible. Whether leftover genetics from the nomads to lay down

whenever possible and save energy for the next hunt, or simply to rest your brain whenever

possible, simply because it gives us pleasure which wires us to do so, humans will always

choose the easy root unless they are forced otherwise.

According to economist Peter Boettke of George Mason University, the idea of

abolishing the value of material goods is also dangerous on its own. With no way to measure

the value of a product in a socialist society, how do we decide who gets what? What if one

person wants extra carrots instead of salmon? How can we know what is worth what? We

would not be able to. People would constantly be fighting over items because money would not

be there to decide who can own what. This is why socialism would fail according to Boettke.

While everyone has different opinions on socialism, research can help shed light on

distinguished, professional, and factual ideas. It is important to make scientifically literate

arguments as well as be able to portray ideas so that the everyday reader can understand,

because that is truly how information spreads the fastest.


While we have no clear answer on whether socialism can successfully work to make

everyone happy, we need to explore the idea to see if we can create a utopian society. We will

not know for sure until we try. History may prove socialism wrong but perhaps the system can

be reworked to create a successful, happy, and equal world.

I believe that socialism is possible but that it would take a long and hard journey to

perfect. It would need to be something that humans really want to succeed. The political and

economic futures of America are a mystery, and one that keeps many people on edge. The

future will be faced with protests, riots, and rallies like we have never seen before- some of

which may have to do with the idea of socialism. Once we get used to the idea of socialism and

begin to find happiness by living together as a community, it is very possible.

References

Brennan, J. (2014). Why Not Capitalism? Independent Review, 20, 304+.

Friedman, S. (2017). What Kind of Society Might Actually Work? Creating a Socialism
that Meets Needs. Against the Current, 31(6), 32-36.

Boettke, P, Leeson, P. (2005). Still Impossible After All These Years: Reply to Caplan. Astoria.
17(1/2), 155-170.

Birzer, B.J. 2015. How Socialism Fails. American Conservative. 14(4), 54-55.

Bardhan, P. Roemer, J.E. 1994. On the Workability of Market Socialism. The Journal of
Economic Perspectives, 8(2), 177-181.