When Socialism is stupid

The problems of capitalism are excess of human vices

The problems of socialism are shortage of human virtues


Communism in theory is a system of social organisation in which all property is held in common by the people "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities". The problems of establishing and maintaining Communism are shown in Orwell's 'Animal Farm'. In practice most 20th century communist states have organized all economic activity by a totalitarian government dominated by a single self-perpetuating political party. Violence and blood have established communist states, crushing opposition. Corruption and despotism has set in. In the collapse of Soviet Russia, the corrupted authorities became even more corrupt with the advent of the freedom of laissez faire capitalism. Castro's Cuba may claim with some justice that the embargoes and hostile practices of the United States gave it no fair chance to flourish, and forced political despotism where it would otherwise have not been needed.


Socialism is not so all-or-nothing, and can be implemented by democratic processes. Socialism tries to vest the ownership and control of the means of production, capital and the land in the whole community. Usually ownership and control extend no more than the infrastructure, utilities, forests, and an amount of public land, plus government regulation of the economy. Socialism has the ideals of the 'welfare State' with government responsible for welfare of the people in social security, health, education, housing and working conditions.

What can be stupid with socialism

'Publicly-owned property ' can too easily be assumed to be 'my property' by those who steal or pillage or let it run down to rack and ruin. Honesty is the essential virtue

Laziness with insufficient incentives and motivation for dedication and energy.

What is done can be undone - swings-and-roundabouts as private industries are nationalised when they are not profitable, and then re-privatised again when they are profitable, plus guarantees by the government to subsidise and maintain as necessary.

The bureaucratic temper, bumbledom and Parkinson's Law of 5% per annum bureaucratic expansion regardless of the work to be done. 'Yes Minister' has been influential. Public enterprises can stifle initiative and new ideas, without good managers - as with private enterprise. The 'establishment' can resist change but can be suckers for grand and costly schemes like peanut farms or sweeping education changes, without small pilot tests

Injelititis - how organisations become fatally moribund (Northcote Parkinson), and the Peter Principle that people tend to rise just above their level of competence, with dismal results. This also happens in private industry - 99% of small businesses fail, and large ones hide inefficiencies behind large profits - but State affairs are more serious for the public and their government, and without innovatory measures, no failure stops it, as in the private sector.

Ways are needed and possible to prevent the stupidities
of a socialist government and promote its advantages

To keep public services up to the mark, as if they had public shareholders demanding annually they give account of themselves (which they have, the public, if we enforced this.)

To stop imperialistic growth, pettifogging bureaucracies over-regulating, red-taping and playing the boss within public services, removing inefficient management and staff and enlivening lazy and selfish unions.

To prevent employees feeling that since their organisation is publicly owned and jobs ar e relatively safe, they can steal and skive and feather-bed. Rather, a public-service spirit.

To ensure Public Enterprise has the advantages of both public service and private enterprise, without the disadvantages of both as at present.