Published on March 28, 2009 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Democrat

Ok, dust off your history books.  I've got a quote and a story for you. 

Let's start with the quote from Norman Matton Thomas (Nov 29, 1884-Dec 19-1968).  He was a leading American Socialist, pacifist and six time Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.  He was an ordained Presbyterian Minister in 1911.  As a candidate for President of the U.S. Thomas said in a 1944 speech:

""The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of "liberalism", they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." He went on to say: "I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."  

Now let's have a history lesson.  Sent to me by a friend; not sure if it's true or not but interesting to think about nonetheless.  Here's the story:

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. The majority of the class had insisted that socialism was a better system as no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class 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 studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, 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; so they studied little. The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 28, 2009

That's a great story!

 

on Mar 28, 2009

Being the hardened cynic that I am, I immediately turned to snopes for a thorough disbunking of the story. Unfortunately it looks like it's a new one and there's no answer as yet. Still, the thread on Snopes has a similarly ridiculous story coming from the opposite direction.

In any case, if you're looking for examples of socialism in the classroom, and how it really works, you need look no further than group assessment. This is particularly beloved in scientific disciplines, where experiments are required and there aren't enough resources for everyone to have their own setup. So, like any despicable socialist, they make people share rather than auctioning access.

Marks are usually assigned to the group unless there are highly unusual circumstances at work. But, despite the stellar work of the canny Texan, marks seem to broadly follow the bell curves people expect to see. Odd, really, that cooperation seems to be an outcome rather than competition and sluggishness, but I guess we all tend to forget that there's an actual goal for university work.

Still, great story I'm sure.

on Mar 28, 2009

Being the hardened cynic that I am, I immediately turned to snopes for a thorough disbunking of the story. Unfortunately it looks like it's a new one and there's no answer as yet. 

I think you misunderstand the point. She said she doesn't know if the story is true. And it doesn't matter.

It's a thought experiment.

I doubt a professor in our time would actually do it for real. I am convinced the outcome would be pretty much as described in the story, if it was tried in real life.

 

Odd, really, that cooperation seems to be an outcome rather than competition and sluggishness, but I guess we all tend to forget that there's an actual goal for university work.

Socialism in politics is not about cooperation being the outcome, it is about cooperation being the beginning.

I am sure that cooperation will likely be the outcome if the group is left to its own devices. But I am equally convinced that laziness will be the outcome of the group is started on the premise of cooperation no matter what.

I run into this very issue at home. My flat mate and I play StarCraft a lot. We play against the computer and we cooperate. Part of the game is the acquisition of colonies as early as possible and we have experimented with two methods of getting those colonies:

1. We say in advance who gets which colony.

2. We both try to catch as many colonies as we each can without regard to whether the other also has enough.

The first is clearly cooperation and socialism, the second is competition and capitalism.

And our results were consistently that if we use method 1, we invest very little energy in getting those colonies quickly (because there is no pressure from the partner) and then find that some of the colonies we wanted and assigned to each other were taken by the (computer) enemy already when we finally arrive. But when we use method 2, we try to outrun each other and finally take all the colonies before the (slower) computer does.

Now we always use method 2.

Socialism does work. I have seen it work. It works for families (a typical family is a socialist economy). It works for kibbutzim in Israel (kibbutzim are communal farms, my father once worked on one). But I have never seen it work outside those examples.

 

 

 

 

on Mar 28, 2009

I am convinced the outcome would be pretty much as described in the story, if it was tried in real life.

I"d actually like to see some trials of this.  It would be quite interesting.

The results depend on the attitude of the majority...or so I hypothesize.

~Zoo

on Mar 29, 2009

All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.

An old, and ultimately obsolete argument. As the most recent incarnation of the Roman Empire collapses and the visigoths descend on Washington (which is happening today in economic and geopolitical terms) it is still entertaining to see people argue this tired ideology of left vs right.

It was socialism that enabled the United States to win WW2 after all. If you're familiar with FDR's actions during WW2, America was socialist then in everything but name. The rich were taxed approximately 90% of their earnings. Millions of able bodied men were pressed into service involuntarily, and the government provided funding to pay for the construction of tanks, airplanes and ships on a ridiculously massive scale.

If you can look past the extreme examples of the Soviet Union (which really wasn't socialism but more a socialist dictatorship) you'll see that there's many examples of socialism that are working just fine all over the world.

Here in Canade we're semi-socialist and it's worked pretty good for us. In fact, our banking system is far more solvent and intact than the major U.S banks...who in 2006 and 2007 mocked Canada for it's "boring and stodgy" banking system.

Ultimately, capitalism simply isn't sustainable. It requires constant expansion, meaning that either-

1) We end up turning the world into Easter Island, cutting down every last tree and using every last resource to the point that our civilization collapses

2) We wipe each other out fighting over available resources (or bomb each other back into the stone age causing us to start over as cavemen again)

or, a possible but highly unlikely scenario

3) We develop space travel and exploit other planets for their resources.

That's about it. There's simply no sustainable form of capitalism, unless of course a major disease or war wipes out 3-4 billion human beings in the next couple of decades.

on Mar 29, 2009

Here in Canade we're semi-socialist and it's worked pretty good for us.

And that's why Canada is the world leader in science, medicine, mathematics, industry, etc. No? Maybe there's no incentive, someone else will figure it out. Hope they share.

Would you believe it's so bad some of its citizens can no longer spell Canada? They need Americas help.

KFC there's your corroboration for your story straight from our semi-socialist neighbor to the north!

on Mar 30, 2009

The only reason socialism might not require constant expansion is because it tends to kill the population it governs.

 

on Mar 30, 2009

Ultimately, capitalism simply isn't sustainable.

we have friends in Poland.  Under communism they had virtually nothing scrimping and saving just to survive.  The shelves in the grocery stores were basically bare with very little choices.  There was no prepared type foods at all.  My husband walked the aisles of their little grocery stores and couldn't believe how poor things were in Tarnoff where he was staying. 

 Now, since communism is gone, these last few years,   the people are venturing  into capitolism for the first time and with it came alot of changes. 

Some are acquiring vehicles for the first time and driving like maniacs I might add.  Credit cards are being issued for the first time.  After a few years of this there is some call to go back into communism.  Some believe it was better then.  The problem?  They have too much now and materialism is rearing it's ugly head.  Not understanding the whole credit thing bills are being wracked up and people are starting to live higher than they can afford. It's like they are going hog wild....too much too fast.  

Socialism is just a step away from communism.  Capitolism does work and like Nitro mentioned by his examples it breeds competition and offers incentives.  I'm afraid if we let this go, we will lose our drive to go further and further and that's what has made this country so great.  This country was so great that many from all other countries around the world come here to be educated and to learn about us.

The Dems have brought us closer and closer to Socialism with all their mighty programs and the more they do, the worse we seem to get.   

 

KFC there's your corroboration for your story straight from our semi-socialist neighbor to the north!

The only reason socialism might not require constant expansion is because it tends to kill the population it governs.

 

it certainly kills the incentive to work.  My husband said the other day he's looking to cut our income by 2010 because "they" will be looking for us. 

Who wants to work just to give it to the government so they can spend it the way they want? 

 

 

on Mar 30, 2009

The only reason socialism might not require constant expansion is because it tends to kill the population it governs.

Do you mean in the sense that most contemporary socialist countries have a declining and ageing population? I'd argue it has more to do with women's liberation changing expectations of marriage and, much more importantly, the invention of cheap and effective birth control.

If you mean in the sense that Communist and totalitarian socialist governments kill their population then sure, that's true. But so did the capitalist Pinochet and Hussein. I think the common thread is more likely to be totalitarianism, rather than socialism.

on Mar 31, 2009

If you mean in the sense that Communist and totalitarian socialist governments kill their population then sure, that's true. But so did the capitalist Pinochet and Hussein. I think the common thread is more likely to be totalitarianism, rather than socialism.

I don't know much about Saddam's economic views, but I wouldn't call them "capitalism".

Pinochet didn't kill his population. He killed a few thousand dissidents and that somehow elevated him to the league of your Saddam Husseins and Joseph Stalins*. However, killing a few thousand people does not really affect population growth.

Killing a few hundred thousand does.

The latter seems like a common problem of the the more extreme socialist countries.

(*Pinochet was about as bad as Castro and killed as many innocents as Che Guevara; but he is rarely displayed on t-shirts as a freedom fighting hero.)

 

on Mar 31, 2009

Pinochet was about as bad as Castro and killed as many innocents as Che Guevara; but he is rarely displayed on t-shirts as a freedom fighting hero.

We could be cynical and say that Cuba hasn't produced as many good writers as Peru, but I suspect it's also because Pinochet's actions also coined a particularly despicable term for assassination - disappearing people is still used today to describe a secret, publicly denied murder.

The latter seems like a common problem of the the more extreme socialist countries.

You mean communist. We're never going to get anywhere if we get the two mixed up. Marx wasn't the only socialist, and neither was Engels or Lenin. Socialist viewpoints are the cornerstone of welfare liberalism, which is what Americans usually mean when they say socialist. If you don't mean that, and you only mean communist dictatorships like the former Eastern Bloc, China, Cambodia, Burma and to a lesser extent Vietnam, then you have no argument from me.

But over the last 100 years or so the main source of population decline in socialist countries seems to be a declining birth rate rather than mass murder.

on Mar 31, 2009

We could be cynical and say that Cuba hasn't produced as many good writers as Peru, but I suspect it's also because Pinochet's actions also coined a particularly despicable term for assassination - disappearing people is still used today to describe a secret, publicly denied murder.

Peru?

Pinochet's actions only coined a particularly despicable term for assassination because the same people who worried about Pinochet's crime never really bothered to worry about Castro's.

Either way, both have done approximately the same amount of damage (except that Pinochet did save the economy of the country and stepped down eventually) and neither have killed their population as such.

 

You mean communist. We're never going to get anywhere if we get the two mixed up. Marx wasn't the only socialist, and neither was Engels or Lenin. Socialist viewpoints are the cornerstone of welfare liberalism, which is what Americans usually mean when they say socialist. If you don't mean that, and you only mean communist dictatorships like the former Eastern Bloc, China, Cambodia, Burma and to a lesser extent Vietnam, then you have no argument from me.

Neither "socialism" nor "communism" really mean what we use them for now. "Socialism" is a policy used within a state, "communism", according to Marx, is the utopia where government is no longer needed.

If by "socialist" you mean systems that are essentially capitalist with some socialist policies or mixed systems, we don't have to worry about the extreme problems socialism causes, because they won't appear when counteracted by some capitalist policies.

 

But over the last 100 years or so the main source of population decline in socialist countries seems to be a declining birth rate rather than mass murder.

Has that caught up with the mass murders of Mao yet?

 

 

on Mar 31, 2009

If by "socialist" you mean systems that are essentially capitalist with some socialist policies or mixed systems, we don't have to worry about the extreme problems socialism causes, because they won't appear when counteracted by some capitalist policies.

True enough. This is a slight derail, but do you know of any successful and exclusively capitalist society? I'm trying to think of why you only mark out socialism as causing problems, when I can't think of any country where capitalism is the sole economic model. If capitalism only actually exists in a socialism-tempered halfway state, then why consider it to be the ideal?

As for Mao's murders, who knows? A good Christian might hazard a guess, but I can't claim to know.

on Mar 31, 2009

True enough. This is a slight derail, but do you know of any successful and exclusively capitalist society?

No. But I seem to notice that societies are more successful the more capitalism they contain, except for the two counter-examples I mentioned before.

 

I'm trying to think of why you only mark out socialism as causing problems, when I can't think of any country where capitalism is the sole economic model. If capitalism only actually exists in a socialism-tempered halfway state, then why consider it to be the ideal?

I don't consider capitalism the ideal system. It is an ideal though. It's an ideal to aspire to because its presence makes for a better society. Socialism and capitalism will always both be present, society can but choose in which direction it wants to move.

I personally am a big fan of Georgism (land and natural resources belong to everyone and should be taxed to their full value and treated as private property only when fully paid up and for the time the taxes are paid up; everything created by man belongs to the creator and should be treated as unregulated untaxed private property at all times except during emergencies).

 

on Mar 31, 2009

As for Mao's murders, who knows? A good Christian might hazard a guess, but I can't claim to know.

Several tens of millions is what I have heard, including immediate victims of his experiments.

 

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