Here’s Why Socialism Will Never Win

In every neighborhood in the world and in every group of kids there is always that one kid. You and I know him well. It is always his way or the highway. When I was growing up I met one of those on my block. No matter if we were playing soccer or tag, that kid would insist that we all play by his rules. Initially, as kids, the rest of us would begrudgingly go along with the authoritative kid’s will because he always brought along the best soccer ball or had great snacks, but quickly each of us realized that there was no Nutty Buddy in the world worth submitting ourselves to his will. Thus, we soon stood up for ourselves to let the little despot know either we would all play in the roles we voluntarily chose for ourselves or we wouldn’t play at all.

The beauty of the innocence of children is that they simply know it is okay to try to maximize their own happiness, and perhaps there is something very important that we can learn from it.

In Jean Piaget’s book, The Moral Judgment of the Child, he presents us the notion of the Equilibrated State, which is characterized by a situation that is set up by two or more individuals where everyone is participating voluntarily. Piaget, a developmental psychologist, developed such a notion by observing how kids play and interact together. He noticed that when kids are setting up pretend games, they initially create and negotiate their own narratives (like creating a little play), and they do so by cooperatively assigning everyone their parts before the game starts.

His findings were conclusive regarding the fact that when kids accepted their parts voluntarily the game was more successful and lasted longer, whereas when their part in the group was authoritatively assigned, the game was not as successful and did not last as long due to the lack of interest in the game and high levels of dissatisfaction.

Utility of Freedom vs. Utility of Tyranny

As Jordan Peterson points out, Piaget’s ethic-analytical claim lies on the fact that “a game that everyone plays voluntarily is more sustainable and productive than a game where people are forced to play.” This was Piaget’s fundamental distinction between utility of freedom versus utility of tyranny, which he concluded from his findings regarding the research about child group behavior.

If we apply this same analysis to society, someone could argue that authoritarians would win in having an easier time organizing society because they would act with the use of force to compel others to do what they want. Albeit immoral, tyranny is indeed a way to organize society. However, based on Piaget’s claim, the enforcement costs of an authoritarian society are so high that the free society will outcompete the authoritarian society over time. This analytical claim makes the case for the fact that at some point in the future, free societies will always become more attractive to people than authoritarian ones.

Human Functionality: Individuals Always Seek Maximization Happiness

When we compare Piaget’s claim with past and recent historical events regarding socialism, we inevitably find the same outcome predicted by Jean Piaget years ago. In other words, freedom (represented economically by capitalism) will always outcompete tyranny (represented economically by socialism) because the enforcement costs in a tyrannical (socialistic) society are incommensurably higher than those of a free society.

Ultimately, it costs way more socially and economically to create and maintain a state where people are ruled by force and coercion than it does to just let people be free and come and go at their own volition.

As a matter of fact, one could argue that the enforcement costs of a free society are down to zero because there is no enforcement preventing the individual from leaving or forcing him stay in that society.

If you are still not convinced that Piaget’s claim is fundamentally correct, stop for a second and ask yourself: would most people rather live in a society where you are free to make your own choices in life (and be responsible for the consequences) or would most people rather live in a society where there are no choices and you only have to obey whatever type of tyrannical control authority is exercised over you?

For the sake of argument, even if we were to consider the hypothesis that most people would rather be controlled initially; as time passes, the level of utility (general happiness) within the authoritarian society would plummet; therefore at some point that same society would become less attractive to its individuals, and ultimately it would become extinct as soon as people realized what is at stake within a comparison between the utility of freedom versus utility of tyranny.

The current events in Cuba are just a demonstration of the application of Piaget’s claim to reality.

Cubans have been living in a socialist dictatorship for the last 62 years, since Fidel Castro took power and installed a bloody dictatorship with the Cuban Revolution. A once thriving and prosperous nation was brought to complete poverty, mass starvation, individual rights obliteration, and consequently, the utmost human misery because it has chosen to constantly reinforce the utility of tyranny, ruling every economic and social decision by force rather than simply leaving individuals free to exercise the utility of freedom.

As a consequence of choosing to operate under the utility of tyranny, the Cuban regime failed to realize that the enforcement costs to keep tyranny are way higher than the costs to keep society free, which clearly demonstrates why Cubans are now trying to flee Cuba in droves. Inevitably, as Piaget points out, at some point in the future, individuals living under the utility of tyranny will realize that maximizing their overall happiness is much more easily achievable in a freer society than in a tyrannical one. After all, why else would Cubans be attempting to risk their lives in poorly-made rafts to flee the island towards the closest shore in America, the epitome of capitalism where the utility of freedom reigns?

No, the US/Cuba Embargo Is Not the Cause of Cuba’s Extreme Poverty

Part of the American left (media and politicians) has ridiculously struggled to hide the real reasons behind the Cuban upheaval by lying about the protests saying that they were COVID-19 related. However, after the truth came out with the Cuban people themselves revealing that the protests were not COVID-19 related, but rather a demonstration of how Cubans are sick and tired of living for 62 years in complete socialist chaos, the American left had to come up with another excuse—and they did so by once again blaming America and saying that poverty in Cuba is due to the economic embargo between the two countries.

It doesn’t take too much effort to refute the left’s blatant slip-up. First, I would ask: how can an embargo make any difference in a country whose government has voluntarily (and tyrannically) chosen to have a closed economy? Second, how can a unilateral embargo prevent a country from doing business with all of the other countries in the whole world? Third, if socialism is serious about its own methodology, it should absolutely not matter if other countries are willing to do business with a socialistic society or not, since doing business with other countries automatically implies recognizing the importance of free trade and private ownership of the means of production, which goes against everything that socialism stands for.

But even more so than that, ask your history college professor: when the Berlin Wall came down, which side did the people so desperately run to? If academic honesty still exists, no college professor should deny the fact that there was a massive exodus from the former East Germany (socialist side) to West Germany (capitalist side).

It does not take a college degree to be able to see the clear inconsistencies, contradictions, and incoherent arguments in favor of socialism. Although understanding economics and political science is fundamental to knowing why socialism is a dangerous fallacy, perhaps, the fundamental truth that debunks socialism lies in psychology more so than in economics or political science. After all, understanding human behavior is the key to understanding how life really works.

In absolutely time in history has socialism ever worked for any country that has tried it, and it is never going to work because it despises the main human factor in any social or economic relation: personal interest. The main lesson to be learned here is that a society based on the utility of freedom will inevitably always outperform a society based on the utility of tyranny.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Helio Flanagan Veiga

Brazilian professor and researcher in the interdisciplinary areas of Law, Political Science, and Economics. Member of the Libertarian Party and the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Libertarian Activist. Founder of the Facebook page “O Libertário” (The Libertarian). Freedom lover.

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