In a true free market society there is one basic premise: any input gets an equal output, meaning you get paid for your contributions. The trouble with capitalism is everyone needs to put something in to get something out. This becomes a problem if you don’t have as much to give as your neighbor. The argument against a capitalistic system is just that, it’s not fair there is a disparity in outcomes.
A few times every generation a leader comes along and promises to solve this disparity by making everyone equal. You will not want for food or healthcare; a socialist paradise. This can be seen with Cuba, the USSR, and most recently Venezuela. When pointing out these failed states the response you get is, “that’s not real socialism!” The Socialist Party of Great Britain takes it as far as saying real socialism has never been done. Here is what they claim to be true socialism and, in short, why theirs and everyone else’s version of Marxist utopia is absolute nonsense.
1) Socialism is a class-free society. This is referring to economic class, ignoring social and hierarchical classes that arise in every community in nature. A firefighter will be treated with more respect than a janitor not because a janitor is not valued as a person, but because a firefighter has a more impactful effect on the community as it is potentially life-saving. That is a rational scaling of societal values. We are anything but rational creatures and we value people based not necessarily on financial worth but on natural talents or gifts. People don’t value Lebron James for how much money he makes, they are simply in awe of his athletic abilities. The same goes for actors and artists; we admire them for their beauty and glamour and try to exemplify them. If we are all in the same economic class, society will still divide by these lines. Worse, there may be more strife due to the fact we all have the same means but not the same status or, in other words, no equality of outcome.
2) People will work jobs they actually enjoy for only about 10 hours per week.Sounds great except when you consider labor demands. Take for example physicians. They go through 20 years of school, a residency, and continuing education. Physicians work on average around 50 hours per week. If they were to only work 10 hours a week we would need to increase the number of doctors by 400%. Medicine is a competitive field because we want the most capable people to solve our health problems. So how do we meet this new demand? Do we lower our standards or are there five times as many people willing to put in the years of extra study without monetary reward? Or do physicians just have to work more than others making it a system of equality where some are more equal than others?
A physician at least enjoys being a respected member of a community for their contribution, but who would actually enjoy stocking shelves? Who would actually enjoy cleaning septic tanks? Who would actually enjoy picking up trash? And, no matter what the profession, what a full-time employee would accomplish in a 40-hour work week would require three additional employees. The response by the Socialist Party to concerns of an imminent labor shortage would be with the elimination of currency, many careers would no longer be necessary so former accountants or cashiers, for example, could fill these roles. This is great unless the job you actually enjoyed dealt in finance. They also claim automation as our savior because the current profit-driven system doesn’t encourage the replacement of wage earning employees with machines.
3) Socialism is a state-free society. As a libertarian-leaning individual myself, I don’t find this an appalling idea. However, who will force people to do the jobs no one wants to do without incentive? (Because yes those will still exist.) Who will make sure everyone remains equal and no one takes more than their fair share of the now-free goods? Who will control the handling of property? Without a state there is no police, so can I take whatever land I want? Do I get to keep the property I currently own? The job of the government is specifically to protect our inalienable rights; we could certainly survive without their protection, but would we in a system where equality of outcome outweighs quality of input?
The issue with socialism is it ignores human nature. People don’t want to work menial jobs. Today, people are paid relatively large amounts of money for low or no-skill jobs and still many are lazy asses. Do you think if you remove monetary or other incentives they will do a better job?
4) A majority is required to make socialism occur. If the majority is less than 100% there will need to be an intermediary state in which assets are forcibly centralized so they can be turned over to the proletariat. As we’ve seen with the 5-year plan in Soviet Russia and other unfulfilled promises of communist utopia, once an entity receives power, no matter its original good intent, it will never give it up. So sure, Socialist Party, I’ll grant true socialism has never been done, but it is certainly not for a lack of trying.
In an ideal world where everyone accepted their role and never strove for more a socialist system would work. The trouble is we’re human. We want excess, we want glamour, we want iPhones and expensive jeans with premade holes. We need a system that allows us to capture our desires as much as our needs. If it weren’t for human nature, math, and logic, socialism would fulfill this role. As it is, capitalism is the best we have.