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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5893/why-intellectuals-still-support-socialism/

Why Intellectuals Still Support Socialism

November 15, 2006 by

It’s clear that academics benefit from living in a highly interventionist society. It should be no wonder, then, that academics tend to support those interventions. Economists, in particular, play active roles as government advisers, creating and sustaining the oppressive welfare state that now surrounds us. Naturally, when government their research, economists in applied fields such as agricultural economics and monetary economics are unlikely to call for serious regulatory reform in their specialty areas. In general, the welfare state has largely co-opted the profession of economics. FULL ARTICLE

{ 36 comments }

RogerM November 15, 2006 at 9:05 am

Fantastic article, the type that makes this my favorite econ web site.

I hope Klein is right about the new media taking some of the authority from academics and journalists, because I saw a study a few years ago that said the public trusts academics and journalists the most, corporate spokes persons the least. So those leftists have had a lot of influence on the public. And if intellectual free marketers go into business, they lose a lot of authority with the public.

Also, I read Schumpeter’s book on the history of econ thought a while back and was struck by his enthusiasm for the power of econometrics to enable the state to control its economy as well as the free market could. I use econometric techniques as an aid in business decision making, and their helpful, but I would never completely turn over decision making to an econometric model. Today, I think few people are as confident as Schumpeter in the power of econometrics, but academics and policy makers still place too much confidence in it.

Too, I was surprised Klein didn’t mention Keynes.

N. Joseph Potts November 15, 2006 at 10:08 am

Six years ago, I was a (hyperannuated) PhD candidate in economics. My classmates were discussing what we had done the previous summer, and one of us (who came from a very small country) imparted that she had worked at her country’s Federal Reserve – at headquarters, of course (there were no branches).

The awe and envy that spread over the rest of us was palpable to even ME, a person decades their senior without their career ambitions and with a settled opinion opposed to the very existence of central banks and government involvement in the production of money (the only one, you may be sure). Our classmate had conceivably TOUCHED the Levers of Power! She had perhaps, in some way, influenced Policy!

I caught myself in well under 5 minutes of feeling this, but for the moment, I was Odysseus hearing the sirens. Had I not been lashed to the mast, as it were, of old age and declining energy (competence), I should have thrown myself overboard and swum to the sirens and the death, of course, of my professional integrity.

I’m sorry to say, I see about as much chance as getting the government out of economics as of getting the government out of war and all its other distinctive nefarious activities. It’s there to stay, and doing it, I’m even sorrier to say, with money stolen from US.

My pressimism does NOT, of course, stay me from the fight. I will go down fighting this battle, and I will feel glad for having fought it, regardless of whether we win it. I am far more outraged than discouraged.

Don Robertson November 15, 2006 at 10:08 am

Well, I read the article. Reformist fantasies? Okay, I’ll buy into that.

Though, that’s not the only reason academics lean left.

I think it’s more likely a lack of cogent ideas upon which to hang one’s hat. There’s a dearth of good ideas, and an even greater dearth of cogent ideas.

Popular opinions are bandied about, hysteria rules for at least fifteen minutes every hour on the hour based upon every incoherent analysis set forth in the popular media that’ll quote out of context any academic who happens to fall beneath their heel, even those who throw themselves there, and humankind just simply isn’t as smart in the un-gullibility department, as all the academics would lead us all to believe, mostly so their ideas have a little staying power.

The truth is, some aspiring academics these days will make up just about any old tale to have their fifteen minutes of fame, and, while this has been an increasing trend, it’s been that way as long as I can remember.

A good case is the Korean genetic engineer who claimed to have solved every riddle of life not to long ago, just before they threw him in jail for fraud and theft of millions in government grants and private seed money.

The academic historic trend towards the economic left is common because dissing is naturally easier than supporting, which is even less difficult than expounding. No doubt the academics in the USSR were leaning towards capitalism, had they the chance to utter such a foul the word there.

Mises work, Human Action surely was a page-turner when it was originally scribed, for he expounds cogently, a rarity in any age.

The fact that it’s lost some of its zing is only due to the fact that much of what he writes has been assimilated into the popular culture.

Whenever someone has a new idea it’s worth listening to, but, only time will lend it credence and force it out of the credulity trap we naturally suspect it to be.

Don Robertson, The American Philosopher
Limestone, Maine

An Illustrated Philosophy Primer for Young Readers
Precious Life – Empirical Knowledge
The Grand Unifying Theory & The Theory of Time
http://www.geocities.com/donaldwrobertson/index.html
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adi November 15, 2006 at 12:37 pm

This is funny situation since I will receive my Master of Social Sciences degree in economics next week and I must now seek employment opportunities. In free market there would not be so many professional economists…

Perhaps I have to start advocating for govt intervention to secure me safe place as a civil servant and secure income (money of course robbed from the fellow tax payers)

Following is hypothetical career path for me;

1) Graduation 2) working for the labour unions (“Nordic model of centralized collective bargaining is good model which produces stability and is democratic”) 3) working for the national sssociation of producers (“Chinese shoes are dumped to EU market and so protective measures are needed to protect domestic producers against unfair competition”) 4) working for employer association (“local agreements concerning terms and conditions of employwment are needed to insure flexible labour markets”)

As being economist the most important ethical advice is following (and I’m giving it away freely!!); always be ready to change the course when wind is changing!

Som November 15, 2006 at 12:59 pm

Hmm I have always doubted that the univesity would last as markets progress and become freer. They represent a centralized dinosaur in a rapidly changing and decentralized world. I think the complete decentralization of education and schooling would be the greatest triumph for liberty.

I wonder if intellectuals (as a class) would still exist over time in a purely free market? Maybe it would break down to seminaries, debate groups, and research institutes, but even Hayek said the “demise” of the mises institute would be it’s greatest victory since it’s ideas are then vastly, if not universally, accepted. I think the “demise” of universities would help our ideas alot too.

M E Hoffer November 15, 2006 at 1:56 pm

adi,

Why not give a think to this: “Hmm I have always doubted that the univesity would last as markets progress and become freer. They represent a centralized dinosaur in a rapidly changing and decentralized world. I think the complete decentralization of education and schooling would be the greatest triumph for liberty.”, from Som.

Maybe you’ll see way to catch the wave of decentralization by spreading what you know is true about Economics(!) We know people use Economics every day, there’s no shortage of demand. Current supply may be of insufficient amperage, though.

Gasman November 15, 2006 at 2:01 pm

One great article. I am an academic (not an economic one) and I certainly see these dynamics all the time in my own discipline – now that I know what to look for. Certainly the free market will never push back the state by a process of persuasion or “winning the debate”. But this is not important because already To a large extent mainstream academic economics is irrelevent. Through the work of the Mises Institute many ordinary people worldwide have an understanding that enables them to better act to look after their own interests in a way that is also beneficial to others. I know because I am one of them. On a global scale the free market is already reducing government influence by a process of demonetization of government debt. This process is unlikely to be detected or explained by the mainstream because their models are normalized to a government debt unit. Already as an individual one can choose to live in gold or dollar normalized world.

Mainstream academic economists will likely become impoverished while protesting all along that this was not supposed to happen.

Paul Marks November 15, 2006 at 2:31 pm

The desire to control (“plan”) society is as old as Plato (and most likely much older).

Perhaps Hayek is right and this desire comes from the evolution of humans in hunter-gatherer packs. Meaning that although there is cultural evolution (the development of the “Great Society” of vastly complex and large scale civil interaction) the basic biology of humans means that the danger of demands for “social justice” (the doctrine of the pack) and the breakdown of large scale civil society is always going to be there.

Or perhaps Mises is correct and the problem is more limited – the lust for power among the elite (in the spirit of Plato) and the basic sillyness of interventionism.

The doctrine of mainstream society is interventionism – that the government should step in whenever there is a very serious problem (all major political parties agree on this, and it is taught in schools and media).

However, this docrtine makes no sense. If government intervention (whether in terms of regulations or spending) really does improve things – why should not government (at least if controlled by the “correct” people) not just control everything?

“The people” or “the community” or the “public power” look after things for the “common good”.

As this is much more consistant than ad hoc random interventionism it is no wonder that the more intelligent academics and students support it.

As Mises pointed out many times, it was the more intelligent who supported full scale socialism (of whatever sort) and the less intelligent who supported interventionism.

This is because full scale collectivism is the logical conclusion to the logic of interventionism (the logic that government regulations and spending programs do good).

Only by opposing the basic doctrines that are taught in places of education (and upheld in the media and in public discourse) can there be any real resistance to collectivism in the long term.

MikeE November 15, 2006 at 2:42 pm

As a Kiwi, its a pity I missed out on this presentation, as I only heard about it at the start of the year.

Looking forward to the next time the NZBR does an Austrian Student Conference again.

Rebecca B. November 15, 2006 at 3:11 pm

This article resonated with me on 2 levels. I am a PhD student; in Education Policy. I am in education policy because, frankly, the focus on mathematics in modern economics departments annoys and disturbs me. I would love to see us go back to a day when Economics was discussed in ENGLISH.

In my department I am the lone free-market proponant. After 2 years of debating this (and as I prepare for a semester with our resident Neo-marxist in a class called “Power, Politics and Policy”) I have concluded that the difference often lies in priorities.

Left-leaning academics prioritize equality, regardless of how it comes about and what costs it has, above liberty. In my field this results in a fight for equality of OUTCOME (student achievement for example) instead of equality of opportunity. They assume that equality of opportunity for today’s students is impossible if you do not have equality of outcome for prior generations. They seem blissfully unaware of the impossibility of this position.

Frankly, education is a very unfriendly field to enter as a classical liberal. It is only the 15-20 years I have on most of my fellow students that allows me to stand up to my faculty and hold my ground. And this is the biggest shame of all. Intelligent, thoughtful people face this left-leaning wall and, unless they are strong of will, are often either converted or broken down. Fields like Sociology have so very few non-leftists because it is almost impossible to complete a program from that perspective with no mentors to guide you along.

Change is blocked going forward by a wall of leftist academics who will not accept (and more importantly, graduate) contrasting opinions, while our own field moves away from the world of ideas and into the world of obscure mathematics. How can we explain/teach/advocate our principles if we can’t explain them well to people without advanced math training?

RogerM November 15, 2006 at 4:29 pm

Rebecca,
Excellent points. We desperately need classes in econ for non-majors that deal with issues people are discussing, like equality, wealth, growth, jobs, trade, etc., and ignore things like IS/LM curves.

We also need better high school econ classes. Only 30% of people go to college, but the other 70% still vote. My daughter took a high school econ class and her eyes glazed over. It was just a dumbed down college macro class and it made no sense to her, even though she’s good at math.

John Ries November 15, 2006 at 4:46 pm

I have to disagree with those who think that given the right dose of free market education the principal woes of our socialist world order will go the way of the former Soviet Union. Everything Dr. Klein says in his article is true, but the fact of the matter is, given time, humans have always and invariably lent their support toward the expansion of governmental control, that is, for the benefits of security and safety over freedom and laissez faire. Oh, there have been strivings for independence from time to time, but once the ecstacy of change has died down, the same yearning for someone else, i.e. Government, to take over the reins of responsibility prevails. (What better example than our own “constitutional” form of government?)
Since the majority of the intelligentsia depends on government largess for their livelihood, their unabashed socialism is understandable. But what is our excuse?

Juan Garofalo November 15, 2006 at 10:48 pm

I do resent the assertion that ‘intelectuals’ are clever people and that clever people are socialists.

I know that some people in the classical liberal field believe in sugar coating their arguments because they think they are more likely to ‘convert’ their enemies thus. Pure illusion.

On the other hand, if you read Hayek’s essay about the intelectuals you’ll notice that even he cannot go very far praising the commies…At some point he says that the intelectuals are really second hand dealers in ideas..that they only parrot things they don’t understand….not very charming…or approving.

So, the truth is that socialism and/or interventionism, intelectually regarded, is a childish and self refuting doctrine that has only brought mass murder in an unprecedent scale to our tortured Western World.

The ‘intelectuals’ plaguing the universities are not there because of their merits as seekers of truth. They are there because they belong to the socialist club – a gang wich holds its ground using naked violence – that of the tax collector and the police. Or the soviet tanks.

Lefty intelectuals are the most short-sighted people you could find. They will destroy the world to save their petty privileges. Hardly the hallmark of intelligence…or of altruism…despite their hysterical dooming of the market as ‘selfish’.

David C November 16, 2006 at 12:36 am

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are intellectuals who think and there are intellectuals who talk a lot of complicated sounding BS. Because the average person doesn’t understand either, it is often hard to tell the difference.

The ones who think, usually end up in the real world because they can be more prosperous out there. The ones who BS usually end up in acedemia or government because there is no pressure to get “results”. Leading to the illusion that intellectuals have a socialist bias.

If you question or challenge the BS’ers they usually respond with insults about your stupidity and ignorance. If you question or challenge the thinkers they usually see it as an opportunity to either learn or teach. So true intellectuals often come off as intuitive, while false ones often come off as being on a higher plain beyond our understanding – which is another illusion.

Just some thoughts

banker November 16, 2006 at 2:14 am

Just because you have high SAT scores and an excellent command over the most obtuse and archaic words in English does not signify intelligence all the time. There is a thing called emotional intelligence and people with high emotional intelligence tend to do extremely well in the real world. Book smart maybe, but not street smart (which is far more valuable). I would like to see some prestigious professor try to run a business or satisfy customers.

David November 16, 2006 at 2:46 am

Speaking of socialists, I stumbled across a magnificently ironic quote this morning:

‘The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable’

the truth about quantitative economics hinted at in that statement is such that it could easily have been made by an Austrian. But it was none other than that erstwhile Keynesian, JK Galbraith.

Saturdaynightspecial November 16, 2006 at 4:47 am

Newsmedia has been brainwashing Americans for decades now; that the government that governs most governs best. Most believe and expect Uncle Sam to do everything for them – including keeping them safe.

Intellectuals are not immune to brainwashing.

The brainwashing by the newsmedia on guns has a powerful effect against individual independence and self determination…government will keep us safe (not ourselves) only government (police) can protect us from harm. How many “intellectuals” want to arm themselves for personal protection ?

Only the 2nd amendment can bridge the American conscience of the concept of individual freedom versus government control (socialism). When Americans finally accept their responsibility to protect themselves then they can begin to acknowledge the scourge of government. To do this they need to learn what the newsmedia has done to their brains on guns.

And “intellectuals” are products of public education and decades of socialism. What do you expect. At some private schools free speech is now banned. Why is it libertarians are radical ?

A libertarian education is priceless; more valuable than attending Univ of Chicago.

Dan November 16, 2006 at 6:08 am

To reduce every political choice to the “free” or “marxist” option is such an oversemplification that it really does no good to the public. The not-so-simple truth is that the real world is complicated, and choices are never simple. No theory will ever foresee every consequence of a choice, but a good model of the world can help to choose the better policy. And good models of the world are never black and white ones.

Sean November 16, 2006 at 8:54 am

First off, I loved the article. I did, however, have a couple points I would like to raise issue with.

The article seems to jump around and was a little vague on a few points that could be better explained or clarified. Initially the article says or insinuates when talking about faculty that they are socialist because they are democrats. I think a better, and possibly more accurate, picture could be drawn by looking at academics in other countries, countries with actual socialist parties or where the parties do not have the same incentives as they do here to move towards the middle. From the median voter model we know that in a two party system both parties drift towards the middle resulting in very little differences between the two. So, it could be just as likely that their “left-liberal” voting comes from certain issues like separation of church and state, gay marriage, etc. This would seem especially true in California which is a notoriously open minded state. So it doesn’t seem strange that economists vote democratic, perhaps they view them as the best of two bad choices.

Second, calling the GI bill a subsidy for the education sector is like calling Christmas bonuses a subsidy for department stores. The GI bill is a compensating differential to attract people to a low-paying (~$1200/month) dangerous job.

Sherman Broder November 16, 2006 at 9:57 am

Intellectuals support socialism for the same reason Joe Numbskull does: pride.

T.G.G.P November 16, 2006 at 10:03 am

John Ries, you took those apt words right out of my mouth.

That is theft and I will not stand for it!

Juan G November 16, 2006 at 10:47 am

Comrade Dan claims :

“To reduce every political choice to the “free” or “marxist” option is such an oversemplification that it really does no good to the public. The not-so-simple truth is that the real world is complicated, and choices are never simple. etc”

This is a futile attempt to dodge logic. Socialism, in a word. FACT is individuals can be EITHER subjected to coercion OR free. There’s no third possibility. Tertium non datur

Next, the ‘public’ is just a word – meaningless. It doesn’t exist. It’s not real. If you bother to look around you’ll see individuals – not the ‘public’.

The world is of course complex. So what ? It does NOT follow from that premise that government is useful or moral. It is not. (Btw, it’s “oversimplification”, not “oversemplification”.)

So, in only two sentences the revealed religion of socialism has managed three fallacies…And we are suposed to believe in collectivism’s intelectual superiority ?

Also, people are not deterministic machines so your “models of the world” are nonsense. To apply physics to human action is so…wrong.

Peter G. Klein November 16, 2006 at 10:51 am

Sean:

I agree that it would be useful to look at the experience of countries besides the US. If you know of any such studies, please let me now.

Regarding the GI Bill, a better analogy isn’t a cash bonus but a voucher or coupon that can only be spent on particular goods and services. If your Christmas bonus consisted of coupons that can only be spent at Macy’s, then yes, I’d call that a subsidy of Macy’s by your employer. Of course, I agree that the education subsidy is offered to potential recruits as a form of compensation.

Curt Howland November 16, 2006 at 12:54 pm

I could really use some help over in Digg. This article made the front page, and the socialists, including at least one who claims to be a college prof himself, are out in force.

He dismisses Roderick Long and Rothbard with a derisive laugh, and then proclaims _competition_ to be wasteful and injurious, a “market failure”. All I know is that FDR used the same argument to justify cartells, but I’m struggling with answering this since I’ve seen no logically rigerous counter, only contrast on principles and general terms.

I post under my own name if anyone wants to take a look.

M E Hoffer November 16, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Curt,

I read some of your posts, you’re doing Yeomen’s duty.

It’s amazing to me to read some of the things written there, by others. And, it also seems that ‘they’ aren’t interested in doing Any thinking on their own, rather, are only interested in what “accepted” experts have pontificated upon the matter.

Sadly, those coins they see as golden, much like the US Mint’s recent attempt at a “dollar”, will be seen as base.

Brad November 16, 2006 at 2:54 pm

I tried to get an account set up on Digg but so far no go (no e-mail sent).

I too have read most of the posts. They fall into a couple of categories, those who see the past as a cess pool of filth and misery that only Statism has cured, and those who see the market as always failing e.g. pollution.

Now I guess I am a believer that Statism in the U.S. PRECEDES the Gilded Age and its workings at destroying individualism goes back further than the accepted Progressive Age. Much of what these folks blame on the free market has more to do with the already ramping up of Statism. The Progressive Age was merely the first of many steps that X amount of State has failed, that must mean we need more. Unconstitutional actions that shaped and distorted individual action goes back all the way to (at least) the Louisiana Purchase.

As for pollution, Eastern Command economies belched out their own share of pollution. And, its not as if State run Commissions such as the sewer utility in Milwaukee don’t have their own share, running a spigot into Lake Michigan when the need arises. So government control in no way assures a lack of pollution. They merely sell licenses to the well connected as to who can pollute and who can’t and, as with all things Command, it is about Pull (to use an Objectivist term).

For those who were spouting on about Free Health Care, I assume they have not seen the $46 Trillion accrual basis debt we have, comprised mostly of the “few” social welfare plans we have in place now. They always fail to grasp the cost, and the cost can only be controlled in a few ways, ration care, force behavioral changes, or ship people off to the afterlife. And if care is not rationed, then some other facet of the economy will have to suffer.

I was especially amused by those who champion just how smashing the other industrial countries are faring under collectivist health. Many are changing the definitions, or will have to in the future, as they face crises greater than what the U.S. faces. They point to the Ponzi Scheme that is still somewhat thriving and ignore the time bomb just a few years off. “Get back to me in twenty years” is what I respond to such mentalities.

Leigh Jacobs November 16, 2006 at 5:26 pm

I work at a treament center for emotional disturbed children, and one of the things I hear them say to staff all the time is, “It’s not fair!”

To me, that is the cry of the leftist liberal. “It’s not fair that they have more money!”

“It’s not fair that they pay people low wages!”

I think that’s what I’m a conservative.. from an early age my parents told me “Life’s not fair!”

Allen Weingarten November 16, 2006 at 6:59 pm

The approach of this article is to attribute the beliefs of intellectuals to conditions and material interests. Although people are influenced by these factors, to view them as the primary causes is to take a materialistic (rather than an ideological) interpretation. Thus the author shares the materialist interpretation of the very socialists and interventionists who he finds unreasonable. They could counter that those who criticize them do so, because of conditions and material interests. We are then left with a model that explains people’s views by factors that are beyond anyone’s control, and hence all that man can do is to be governed by incentives.

*I submit that the primary cause of belief is that it makes sense to people.* Now one can ask how it can be that such nonsense makes sense to an intelligent being. However, that is not because of the facts or the logic of the issue, but rather its vision. Marxism, socialism, and interventionism, provide the pretense of establishing justice by (governmental) force. The answer to be given is not essentially a matter of economics and history, but rather providing a superior vision. If we have not been competitive on this level, the fault is not theirs but ours. We need to show that justice cannot be achieved by force, but only by free choice, and convey the sense of decency that comes from being guided by purer aspirations.

greg November 17, 2006 at 11:21 am

Curt, I looked at digg and I can say your efforts are both excellent in quality and quantity. I’m not hooked in to digg, but if I get time this weekend, I’ll try to jump in a bit. Thanks for all your hard work “over there.” You utterly demolished the “learned professor” (lol). He had nothing but junk prejudice and you exposed him. Nice work.

Sione November 19, 2006 at 4:23 pm

In the end it all comes down to the conceit of “I know better than you do what you should do” followed by “I’m going to make you do what I say is right.”

There are certain people who think they know better than any other person how he should live his life. Various intellectuals and academics have been cursed with this conceit. They have an incredible hatred for those who would develop alternative values and behaviours. They have no use for those who exercise freedom by not complying with their pronouncements and ideas. It’s a short step from the frustrated conceit to the application (or support of the application) of force.

Many (most?) intellectuals and academics believe that force and coercion are justified to ensure people behave as they prescribe. They generously support systems and schemes that do just that. An important reason is that such support generates for them authority, security, recognition, status, income and reputation (too bad about what it does to the rest of us).

It’s all about self-interest.

Sione

PS One is reminded of an old article written by the late Ayn Rand where she describes the partnership between witch-doctors and the “Atilla” (violent chieftain or war-lord). She was on to something there.

AcademicAnonymous November 21, 2006 at 7:35 am

I think that some misconceptions exist both about academics and their work. One, there are ‘life-time’ appointed academics, usually professors, and there are workers on contract. The latter group is prone to all market and government failures that can be listed from literature. Two, modern academics do not incent, invent, or create, knowledge: they just accumulate it, by expanding libraries. Having said that, the hypothesis that academics are socialists can also be explained by the fact that socialist systems, not free market systems, are the best systems. But you need to make additional assumptions about the human condition in order to follow the argument why that might be the case. Market adepts could follow the logic of socialism if they viewed the redistribution of wealth as an insurance policy of the rich against the poor. Because you see, what people do not get, they will take. Say bye bye to Ayn Rand, and her ideas about ethics – that is only virtual reality. Real life is socialistic.

RogerM November 21, 2006 at 11:04 am

AcademicAnonymous:”…socialist systems, not free market systems, are the best systems.”

Then why haven’t socialist economies worked? Why are all people in socialist economies the poorest on the planet? If socialism is insurance for the poor against the rich, I’d be shopping for another agent if I were the poor.

AcademicAnonymous November 22, 2006 at 2:26 am

Maybe better not confuse socialism with stalinism, maoism, etc.? Would you consider European member states to be among the poorest of nations? Is the US the example of the free market? Anyway, I would not rule out the possibility that there is no good economic system at all. A “system” only becomes recognised as an economic system after the fact, and it will always combine protectionist tendencies with free markets. The black-and-white vision of either a socialist or a capitalist system does not correspond to anything in social (or political) reality. Transactions and trade between people exist. But the way the people choose to trade is not, repeat not, guided by some system: the cumulative actions of people become a system. After the fact.

banker November 22, 2006 at 7:12 am

“Would you consider European member states to be among the poorest of nations? “–

No, but if you only consider a snap shot in time then you miss what is happening now. European nations were laisse affaire (relatively speaking) for many decades before WWI. Since then the governments have become more socialist as time progress. Now European countries have extremely low birth rates, enimic economic growth, and not much hope for improving.

So yes, I would say Europe is on its way down.

AcademicAnonymous November 22, 2006 at 10:13 am

The next snapshot will be a bankrupt USA. But I presume that will not count for evidence either…

Daniel M. Ryan January 26, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Good point regarding sample bias; it’s the same kind of mistake made by those who assume, “if a person is smart, (s)he must be a Mensan.” [This statement is the interection of two claims: "If a person is a Mensan, then (s)he must be smart" and "If a person is smart, then (s)he must be a Mensan.]

With respect to AcademicAnonymous: it is unusual to read a justification of socialist measures which starts with an assumption completely the opposite of Marx, et. al’s: that, under laissez-faire, the rich are helpless and preyed upon by the poor. Such arguments actually may be helpful in shooting the young right into the hands of Ayn Rand!

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