Sunday, April 4, 2010

Socialism - Romanticizing Poverty

Often my father and I debate on socialism and its influence on India. Constitution of India defines the Union of India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. I feel the term ‘socialist’ has no place in this definition as we aren’t one any longer. To me socialism is just a theory and a flawed one at that! It can never succeed in any democratic economy. My father being a ‘Nehruvian’ would beg to differ but I present here a small experiment conducted by a university economics professor in the US, to give a hint of what happens in a socialistic democracy. I am not going to get into the pros and cons of capitalism and socialism and will just present this short experiment.


The professor said that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked as a system and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich--- a great equalizer.


The professor then said, "OK, we will conduct an experiment 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 had studied hard were upset and the students who had studied little were happy.


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 and worked less. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. The average in the 3rd test was F. The scores never increased and bickering, blame game and name-calling started resulting in hard feelings. No one wanted to study for the benefit of the other.


Everyone failed, to their great surprise, and the professor then told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.


To put it in more formal words I quote the Late Dr. Adrian Rogers; “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don't multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn't first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don't have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don't get to enjoy the fruits of their labor”.


Socialism as a theory seems great and just, but it is impractical and studded with many flaws. It leads to other evils plaguing our country like reservation etc. I wish to conclude by saying that the greatest injustice a government can do is to treat unequals as equals.

16 comments:

Chandra said...

Great Article..

Chaitu said...

Thanks Chandra... Keep reading

Santa said...

Nice one, but I would have liked it more if you had elaborated more on your views. Keep it going bro..

Shubhika said...

Very well written!

raj said...

Dude nice article...

Chaitu said...

@Santa, Shubhika and Raj

Thanks guys.. Surprised to see no opposition to what I have said :-)

Teja said...

It is indeed a thought provoking blog. However I would like to differ in your opinion that reservation is a derivative of socialism. Although the concept of reservation did not stem out of socialistic views it does exploit weakness of socialism.

so called civil engineer said...

dude awesome one.. greatly explained...

Chaitu said...

Teja reservation is a derivative of socialism. Anything which believes in giving some resources to someone without honoring merit is socialistic ideology. In the US too there was racism, but they didnt solve it or correct it by giving reservation.

reflectionsofi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KN said...

There is a continuation to the professor's experiment.By and by ,they reverted to the old system of grading.For hiking the academic excellence,the college decided to throw out those who got less than B grade.Then the recession set in. The college had to hike the fees which many of the students with even B+ and above could not afford.So they quit the course.The college had to fill the vacancies by soliciting the rich students from abroad.Soon,there were more foreigners than the locals in the class.In order to retain the former,the college had to compromise on the standards by bringing down the passing grades to D- or whatever it is.Those who got through,even started competing with the locals for jobs.Then,the sons of the soil raised hue and cry to oust the foreigners and demanded reservation.The story goes on.........

If "socialism-romanticizing poverty", then why is it not"Capitalism -concentrating wealth"?

Chaitu said...

@KN this is so not happening. First, why will the "capitalistic" college not give admission to people not making good grades? Most likely they will hike the fees for people who are not making good grades. So people work harder to make good grades, since you will pay higher if not. Get you story right, is the college aiming for academic excellence or trying to make money? Capitalism says, either pay huge sums or get good grades.

KN said...

Just I wanted to say that the prof's understanding of socialism was of a typical American but poor and biased.It is not the objective of socialism to extort money from rich to pay the poor.In all systems of govt.the taxmen do this job.
Socialism aims at the eradication of poverty through mass upliftment than mere distribution of poverty,as Prof 's contrived experiment tried to prove.
As for Nehruvian era and its impact on the young nation's development etc,I suggest you to read Ramachandra Guha's book entitled "India after freedom".You will get a better perspective of history.

krishnakambadoor said...

I will join the frey

krishna kambadoor said...

Human being a social animal sharing is essential component of any society(family being the smallest unit) we need to share for our own benifit, in a particular context specially when it is not voluntary but imposed by some body else -govt.it appears a loss to some one -but in the long term , in a broad sense we gain some where else. 50 yrs(POst Independence) is too short a time-miniscule- in the history of a country or a society .in this context Nehruvian socialism appears more drastic and sudden that is where Ghandhi suggested slow but long lasting, natural method of implimenting social justice-Ther so called Trustee ship-this what i have understood
About capitalism-why Us has social security? why Insurance based Health system ( purely commercialproposal, as it is an industry) has failed why agriculture gets dicounts/ differential taxation or even untaxed in most capitalistic and developed countries. -ie; because society at large wants farmers to take care of our essentials-food

GunnerCesc4 said...

Nice post... And an interesting discussion going on.. carry on !