OPINION: Socialism vs Capitalism

Timothy Kandow, Political Contributor

Various nominees for the Democratic Party such as Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts, Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York openly describe themselves as “social democrats.” This term has been used more and more often in America. The idea of creating an economic and societal system where it’s controlled and owned by the government is one that is gaining ground and deserves attention.

“[Democrats have to] say yes to socialism, to the word and everything… We [Democrats] have to stop apologizing.”
– Jim Carrey

Each theory for how an economy and society should function are simply means to an anticipated end, not the end itself—ideas with a goal. Because of this, we should simply look at the results, and review the consequences either good or bad of having these two distinctively different systems of organization. Do not just look at the intentions of one group versus another—both desire prosperity for all people. Look instead at what the results are no matter what the proposed objectives may be, and see if either of these systems accomplished what they claimed to do.

According to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the goal of having democratic socialism is to achieve a more equal and just society; that the economy and society be run “democratically.” Socialism has a key defect, however, which in turn doesn’t solve their goal: it is a system that ignores incentives and the human drive to be better. As stated by Mark Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Economics professor at the University of Michiga​n, “By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail.” If we revisit the countries that ha​ve applied a type of socialism, there has been a decrease in democratic citizenry involvement in government and increased the disparity between the high and low class.

The goal of capitalism is for the individual to preserve their rights endowed by our creator God: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Arguably, one of the founding principles of America is a free market where people could produce, buy and sell freely with minimal government involvement and allow citizens to increase their human capital. Because of this, we produced entrepreneurs, innovation, creativity and technology. Capitalism brings out the best in people: character, hard work, integrity and a drive to be better which all lend a hand in an individual’s right to pursue happiness.

The question we must now ask is not what are the goals of socialism and capitalism but rather the results. Freedom, active citizenry, the pursuit of happiness and equality are not concepts that are correlated with socialism. Instead of only goals, examine the results and means by which to get to them. No system is perfect, and yet it is capitalism that allows humans to access what is most valuable to us: freedom and the innate drive to be better.