Found it on Facebook — Socialism versus Capitalism

In an earlier post, I ranted about the nasty vapidity that characterizes the “posters” my liberal friends put up on Facebook whenever an election draws near.  I also mentioned that my conservative friends consistently post more substantive articles and images.  This one, from my brother-in-law, manages to be both pithy and substantive.  It packs a world of ideas into a picture and two sentences:

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything before that so clearly distinguishes the fundamental differences in the premises from which socialists and capitalists operate when they make their political arguments.  This poster provides a perfect visual to Winston Churchill’s own epigrammatic statement that “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

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  • Charles Martel

    Actually, the socialist also thinks everybody should live like that as long as the people who already live like that pay for it.

  • Danny Lemieux

    The socialist believes that only they, the enlightened ones, should live like that…and that others pay for it.

  • JKB

    I disagree with the attribution to socialist.  That is what they say but not what they feel or believe.  It is definitely not what they think, or at least what they think once they are able to gain such a house for themselves.

    Throughout socialistic literature there is the well-known insistence upon the materialistic interpretation of history – a conception based upon a hunger for things of material enjoyment, and for more and more of them. Fundamentally, they have as much centred their aim on an increase in material possessions as the veriest Napoleon of finance in Wall Street. An existence in which the acquisition of more material wealth is of very large – if not of chief – importance is in the thoughts of both. The ends sought for by the socialists are not, in effect, different from those of the mass of non-socialists who are striving to acquire wealth in order to have ease and leisure for enjoyment. Agreeing in their aims, their differences – which seem to most persons to place them as wide apart as the poles – really consist in choosing different means of accomplishing their ends. The ordinary hustler for wealth, without or within the stock market, may have no definite moral restraint except the fear of the law (in fact, he may even contrive to escape the law), and he accepts existing institutions; but he plans to gain his end, if honest, by productive processes and trade; or, if dishonest, by a thousand ingenious ways of transferring to himself the wealth created by others. On the other hand, the socialist proposes to overturn industrial competition and the institution of private property in the hope – vaguely outlined and not economically analyzed – of transferring the use of wealth from those who have to those who have not. p613-614
    “Socialism a Philosophy of Failure”, Laughlin, J.L., Scribner’s magazine, 1887
    That passage is a bit long-winded but it is correct in its view.  The socialist wants what the capitalist wants but seeks to use redistribution to achieve their want rather than engage in mutually beneficial exchange to earn the materialistic items.  One might surmise they lack anything of value in ability, knowledge, or attitude to exchange with others without creating the snake-oil market of their -ism.

  • Spartacus

    JKB, may I offer a small tweak to Mr. Laughlin?  I don’t think the critical determinant of who sits on which side of the redistribution line is wealth, but power: wealth is transferred to those who have the power to compel it from those who haven’t the power to resist.  The kulaks, for example, had little enough to begin with, but even that was taken from them.  But in marketing their product to the masses during the revolutionary phase, the target market usually has neither wealth nor power, and so socialists are often able to hide the difference between the two until they have achived both for themselves, and the masses are still huddled in the cold without a voice.

  • Steve D

    In a world run by capitalists, the rich man travels in a Lear jet. The poor man must use a Mercedes. Poor schlock.

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  • JKB

    I was just reading over at Penelope Trunk.  She has a post: Secrets of successful yoga studios, and tactics to examine ideas that suck | Penelope Trunk Blog   It is very much a metaphor for the dynamic between the socialist and the capitalist.  To be a good capitalist, you must pay very close attention to what other people want and need.  The socialist decides what they should want and should need rather than bothering with paying attention to other people.  

    Or as Penelope puts it in relation to yoga studio owners:

    So don’t be delusional about your idea. A yoga studio is generally a wish that your own passion is a gift to other people. But ironically, most yoga teachers who start studios are not paying attention to other people at all. And most entrepreneurs who are raking in money are paying very careful attention to what helps other people.

    And let’s not skip her suggestion if your passion is to have a yoga studio:

    Actually, this brings us to the real key to opening a successful yoga studio: marry one of those middle-aged divorced guys who hang out in the back of the room, struggling in downward dog, who have more money than God. You know who I’m talking about. Alec Baldwin is the Hollywood poster boy for rich-guy-marries-yoga-teacher, but he’s just the tip of the cliched iceberg. Keep your yoga studio running long enough to marry one of those guys and then they’ll fund it. 

    Good advice if you want to be a socialist as well.  Find a nice capitalist to keep you up.   

  • Kevin_B

    “Good advice if you want to be a socialist as well.  Find a nice capitalist to keep you up.”
    Didn’t Karl Marx himself do something along those lines? And so do probably some of the communist and marxist elites. Their funding may just come from somewhere in the Middle East.