In today’s political arena we actually have the two highest vote-getting candidates for the Democrat Party espousing socialism. Admittedly for the Hillary fans, she is not as far left as Bernie, but she’s close and Bernie will push her further in that direction before the fat lady sings.
I have written about the socialism disaster in Venezuela. Actually “disaster” is too soft a condemnation. Armed rebellion is likely on its way to Venezuela. People are literally starving.
However, it is also informative to look at a recent nation that left the comforting arms of socialism for good ol’ cutthroat capitalism. That country is the infamous Vietnam (at least it is “infamous” to members of my generation that lived through the Vietnam War. Of course, in Vietnam they call it the “American” War.) It left millions dead, and millions more wounded over a nearly two decades long conflict.
The North Vietnamese fought for and achieved a communist state. Saigon fell on April 30, 1975, and the north and south were merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. So, strictly speaking, Ho Chi Minh considered his country a “socialist” rather than “communist” state. But you say “po-tay-to” and I say “po-tah-to.”
By the end of the conflict the Vietnamese government was dealing with the realities that a significant proportion of their young men were dead on innumerable battlefields. Further, the United States has poured over 75 million liters of the cancer-causing Agent Orange onto their jungles. Agent Orange was a defoliant that destroyed many square miles of fertile land. And, let us not forget, the tons of unexploded ordinance left on the battlefields by both sides (but mostly us).
With that preamble, let’s look at the past and current economy of Vietnam. The “past” economy of Vietnam under socialism/communism is easily summarized – Vietnam went broke. Having worked with many Vietnamese that came to the United States after the war I can attest to the fact that they are highly intelligent and remarkably industrious. So, being lazy slobs was not the reason Vietnam “went broke.”
[Source: Capitalism always wins, by Simon Black]
[From the Simon Black article] Under communist rule, Vietnam suffered some of the worst economic conditions imaginable: soaring debt, inflation, corruption, unemployment, rampant poverty, and even famine. The central planners created extraordinary mismatches in supply and demand and production inefficiencies. It was just like those old stories from the Soviet Union– too many factories making left boots without any factories making right boots.
This lunacy lasted for years, resulting in mass migration and a full-on refugee crisis. (In this particular “refugee” crisis the USA ended up the better. The so-called “boat people” definitely improved America – RF.) By the late 1980s, China, Vietnam, and other Asian socialist states were among the most impoverished countries in the world.
Things finally started to change after the Soviet Union collapsed – a giant warning sign that socialism and central planning simply don’t work.
The Vietnamese were able to witness their neighbors, Hong Kong and Singapore, thriving under capitalism while they literally were starving. Fortunately for their citizens, the leaders of Vietnam were not so unwavering in their devotion to communism/socialism as Fidel Castro. So they embraced capitalism!
[From the Simon Black article] Vietnam is now consistently one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Here in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the skyline constantly has new additions with office towers and condo buildings. The dramatic increase in standard of living here has been astonishing…
Last night I walked by the dilapidated headquarters of the local chapter of the Communist Youth Organization. Next door is the luxurious Young Businesspeople Association. Across the street is another luxurious arrival – a new shopping mall. And a block away you’ll find McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Our strategy to defeat communism should have been – go for it and see what happens in 20 years. Socialism/communism always fails. We could have saved a lot of young American lives. Capitalism may not be “as nice” as socialism, but for nearly every member of a given society it works better. And the recipe is simple: property rights, financial reward, and limited bureaucracy.
The United States of America does need to rerun the “socialist” experiment. Socialism is a tried and failed economic philosophy.
And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.