by Thomas DiLorenzo
A quarter of a century after the spectacular collapse of socialism in the Soviet empire, a large segment of the “millennial” generation (those born between 1982 and 2004) thinks socialism should be the wave of their future. A 2016 Pew Foundation poll found that 69 percent of voters under the age of 30 expressed “a willingness to vote for a socialist president,” and a 2015 “YouGov.com” poll revealed that 43 percent of young Americans between 18 had 29 had a “favorable” opinion of socialism” and prefer it to capitalism. Who says the public schools aren’t teaching the kids anything these days?
A very large segment of the younger generation obviously finds promises of “free” education, health care, and groceries promised by socialist political demagogues like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to be quite appealing. Just as obvious is that they are oblivious to the fact that socialism would destroy their economic future, and their children’s future, and strip them of their freedom, just as it has done wherever else it has been imposed.
This is why I have written my latest book, released today, entitled The Problem with Socialism. My hope is that it will be viewed as a companion to Henry Hazlitt’s classic Economics in One Lesson, and I have tried my best to write it in a similar style (although no one can really match the great Hazlitt).
Following Mises and Hayek, I define “socialism” not just as “government ownership of the means of production.” As Hayek wrote in the 1976 edition of The Road to Serfdom, “socialism” evolved by that time to also mean government-enforced redistribution of income through the welfare state and the progressive income tax, primarily. The ostensible end of socialism – income equality – remains the same, but the means have evolved.