Thursday, August 24, 2017

Guest Blog: The Reality of Socialism

The Reality of Socialism

With so much talk about socialism and the different programs it offered, it is easy to confuse the reality with wishful thinking. I was born in the USSR and am mostly familiar with the programs that existed there. There were positive sides to socialism, but it came at a cost that many people don’t want to consider.

Free education might sound appealing to many and does indeed have it’s benefits, but free didn’t mean free for everyone. Only the best of the best were accepted. If you weren’t a straight A student, you simply wouldn’t be allowed to attend the University. Trade schools  were easier to get accepted to, but how many are arguing for free electrician and plumber degrees?

The free education also had to be paid for after the graduation in a way that many in the US wouldn’t consider acceptable. In socialism every industry belongs to the government and it was the only source of employment. If you were unmarried, the government would often send you to a different town or even a different republic. This was usually a step back from where you lived before. The government needed educated people to help build small, developing towns and to fill in the gaps in villages. You could find yourself living in a small mountain town in the middle east, without conventional bathrooms and running water.

Education is not the worst thing in socialism, however. The total control of the market and the new technological developments is the biggest cause for concern. What drives the US market today is the need to get the best technology to the market. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly competing with each other to bring us the best medicine.

That is not to say that the government didn’t care about the health of the population. A healthy worker is a productive one, but how healthy was healthy enough and who is to make that decision?

The free market allows each person to make the decision on the importance of each product and service. Even with the government that truly wants to produce exactly what the people want, they don’t really have a way of knowing what it is until it gets produced. To give an example, the big five book publishing companies turned down Harry Potter, not seeing a market value in it. The market proved them wrong after a small publisher gave the book a chance. This would not be the case in a socialist country as there would be no other party to publish the book. The gatekeepers were more real than in any industry in the free market.

The absence of the free market also has implications to how each industry operates. One wrong decision and the industry fails, causing millions of deaths, as we saw happen during Holodomor.

The uncomfortable truth about Holodomor that many don’t want to admit was the real cause behind it. It’s often blamed on racism, but all the factors that contributed to the creation of the famine point back specifically to socialism. Between the changes in the agricultural system, the removal of the limited capitalism that existed under Lenin and the desire to punish the farmers for the failures of the state, millions of lives were lost to the famine in Ukraine, Caucasus and Russia.

The decision of the few can often cost the lives of millions in the country where everything depends exclusively on the state that seldom respected property rights. Although many modern-day American communists think they will simply see the redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the poor, that isn’t what actually happens. During the communist revolution and during Holodomor, the poor found themselves stripped of their property. During the revolution it was the cattle and the fancier, decorative items that were taken away. During Holodomor it was the very food that would’ve saved lives that was stolen from the farmers.

The important thing many don’t realize is the real political structure in the countries we call communist. They aren’t communist, they are socialist countries ran by communist parties with the dream of eventually achieving true communism. Communism is impossible to achieve, it’s nothing more than a dream. The real danger is socialism that existed in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, not communist republics) and still exists in North Korea. By arguing for socialism we argue for complete and total control of our lives by the government.

About: L.A. Volya lived in 5 former soviet republics and found her true home in the US. She is a dark fantasy writer by day and a twitter fiend by night.