Free Stuff

To conclude today’s series of posts, I want to share that there’s been a change in recent years in the way students answer the question “What is socialism?”

All of a sudden, I started hearing the answer, “It’s when everybody gets a lot of free stuff, right?” And it’s hard to blame students if this morning’s New York Times offered this definition verbatim.

What’s really funny is that this vision of socialism is so deeply consumerist. Socialism, for today’s fantasists, means a lot more capitalism. The only thing that can possibly make this better is if the “everybody needs more stuff” folks are environmentalists, as well.

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13 thoughts on “Free Stuff”

  1. What people fail to realize is that stuff is NEVER free in socialism. It comes out of your paycheck. And its managed sometimes by people that have no respect for it.

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      1. “very little stuff to go around”

        Behold the plenty of socialism (Polish meat store early 1980s)

        And be aware the you could buy meat only if you had the right ration cards and the store actually had something to sell (two things that rarely happened at the same time and which generated very long lines when they did).

        First day of capitalism (relevant part starts at 2.40 just before that the empty butcher shop had more meat than usual but sold out immediately). vid:

        The prices of meat described at 2.40 were three times the socialist price the week before (when there was none available) but less than half the price of the restricted private market (allowed to exist through much of the socialist period).

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      2. If your readers want to compare the commercial success of “socialism” to that of “capitalism” circa 1980s, let them take a look at cliff’s photo of a Polish meat store on this thread to this photo of Boris Yelsin being absolutely amazed at an American supermarket who’s goods were available toevery ordinary American citizen at the time:

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      3. \ And there’s actually very little stuff to go around, as well.

        May be, that is why a few smarter environmentalists support socialism … as the only way to curb production. 😉

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    1. It’s very apt that you bring up roads. People from socialist countries often cry when they find themselves on the roads in capitalist countries. It’s like this huge revelation to them that roads don’t have to suck.

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