Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Pol. Ideology 67, Socialism and Venezuela

A friend said that my advocacy for “inviolable rights of the individual" means that one is detached from the rest of society and hence, he/she has no responsibility for the others, especially the less fortunate ones.

Wrong interpretation, of course. The “inviolable rights -- and responsibilities -- of individuals" simply follows what John Stuart Mill articulated something like "do anything you like provided you do not harm other people." Thus, if you want to work 15, 20 hours a day, do it. If you want to spend all your savings on travel, or fancy clothes, or parties and drinking, do it. It is different when a person steals, or destroys other people's property, to pursue his personal, political, religious or whatever goals.

That is why socialism is evil because it forces and coerces people to socialize many things they have -- their income, their savings, investments, etc. Ok sa mga batugan, the lazy because even if they do not work they will eat. Or for bureaucrats, even if they produce nothing useful, just issue endless regulations and prohibitions, they will eat and have various perks. For the hard working and efficient people, it's lousy.

Socialism encourages free riding problem. Why aspire to become efficient, one can be mediocre and below-average and still get paid almost similarly as the efficient ones.

The case of Venezuela is only the most recent example. Hugo Chavez, then Maduro, discouraged private enterprise innovation and competition by nationalizing and socializing many important sectors and companies.

Charity work, spending for other people voluntarily, that is civil society and volunteerism, or voluntaryism. If you have lots of resources and you share it willingly to the needy people, that's civil society.

In socialism, it's all coercion. That is why there is one-party state, "dictatorship of the proletariat". Even if you know that many of those hungry people are outright lazy, you must give your money and savings to the state, and the state will feed the irresponsible and a thick layer of bureaucracy.

In classical liberalism philosophy, civil society is the "replacement" of a big state. Things that can be done by parents, by siblings, by neighbors, classmates, officemates, church, etc. -- do NOT give that function to the state or local governments. Like telling people that over-smoking, over-drinking is bad, we do not need government bureaucracies to do that.

We only need a lean state or minimal government to perform things that cannot be done by civil society. Like dealing with armed and organized criminals, or armed harassment in the seas, or military aggression from other countries.

There is a belief that Scandinavian countries are socialist. No, one can own a factory, a bank, a school, land, an airline, etc. in Scandinavian countries. In socialism, all or most of the means of production – factories, banks, farms, land, etc. -- cannot be privately-owned, they are state-owned, socialized, communized. Things are socialized by force and coercion. 

See also:

Surplus under socialism, January 30, 2010 
Can UK hug socialism again? August 15, 2015

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