Yesterday’s Tom Woods Letter, which all the influential people receive every weekday. Be one of them.
Thanks a lot, Bernie Sanders: the word “socialism” is viewed favorably by close to half of Americans, and even more by young people, in 2016.
That’s largely because most people have no idea what capitalism is, having heard about it only in caricature, and having seen it blamed for problems actually caused by government.
At the same time, what these folks favor is actually not socialism as Karl Marx would have recognized it. So the good news is that virtually everyone has abandoned what we might call classical socialism.
What did that original socialism favor? The abolition of private property in the means of production. That was its fundamental proposition.
Beyond that, it favored the abolition of markets – and, in some cases, even the division of labor itself.
But almost no one calls for state ownership of the means of production today, and even self-proclaimed socialists acknowledge the need, at some level, for markets.
And it’s a good thing for them that they don’t call for abolishing private ownership of the means of production. Because Ludwig von Mises smashed that idea to smithereens in 1920, in his famous essay “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.”
That was the crushing blow to socialism. Oh, the left tried various expedients like “market socialism,” but socialist efforts to rebut Mises were farcical.
Unfortunately, since the conservative movement today has almost no institutional memory, most young conservatives have no idea who Mises was, much less what he had to say about socialism.
What was Mises’ argument? I explain it in my (90-lesson, full-semester) government course for the Ron Paul Curriculum.
Watch my lesson on Mises and the “socialist calculation problem” for free on the course page. If you like seeing bad ideas bludgeoned without mercy, click here and enjoy: