Posted by: reformedmusings | March 21, 2009

Human nature and socialism – lessons for Obama

It’s all about the destruction of incentive. Here’s a good story running around the Internet:

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. The class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little.

The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.

I haven’t been able to track the source, so it may not be a true story, but it effectively teaches a basic truth. That truth is one that our founding fathers knew well. The true story of Thanksgiving taught it most graphically. Richard Maybury lays out the truth of the near-disasters wrought by socialist experiments in early America in his outstanding article The Great Thanksgiving Hoax. From Maybury:

In his ‘History of Plymouth Plantation,’ the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

Why?

This [socialism] had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

That should sound familiar in our growing nanny welfare state. What did Bradford and his colony leaders do about it?

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

The Pilgrims weren’t alone in their experience. The Jamestown colony experienced the exact same result:

At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”

Glenn Beck brings us to modern day America with his egg demonstration based on our actual tax statistics:

Beck’s demonstration parallels my previously post: Obama’s socialism made simple.  If real history and logic were taught in our schools, we would know better than to think we can just print more money or tax our way to prosperity. But instead, public education is used as a means of indoctrination into liberal, socialist myths. Without that indoctrination, a socialist like Obamessiah could never have been elected. Perhaps Obama’s the real Manchurian Candidate as Kevin Hassett opines.

Socialism fails every time that it’s tried. Without exception. We’re all about to relearn the lessons of the Pilgrims and the Jamestown colony again, hopefully before it’s too late. Jamestown went from 500 people to 60 in one year on this road…better gird your loins.

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  1. […] from:  Human nature and socialism – lessons for Obama Posted by admin on Mar 21st, 2009 and filed under electronic, news, tech. You can follow any […]

  2. […] to remember that governments don’t create wealth, they can only take it away and destroy it. Socialism has failed miserably every time it has been tried. The Germans are implementing tax cuts to rebuild their economy while we’re taxing and […]


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