Impoverishment and Death by Socialism

June 13, 2009

[First published April 8, 2005] Socialist of different flavors — leftists, Marxists (alias communists), fellow travelers, and the economically ignorant — continue to rant about the greed, inequality, and economic slavery of the free market (they prefer to call it capitalism), but yet in the grandest of economic experiments, their socialism has utterly failed in practice. When these socialists are free to fully apply their ideas, they end up impoverishing whole countries.

In social science, one way to test a theory it to select two groups of people such that they are virtually identical on all variables but the theoretical one. Want to test whether nature or nurture make a difference in making spelling errors (I insist it’s nature), then test this on identical twins separated shortly after birth.

But, surely, you say, we can’t do such tests on free market vs. socialist systems. Well, we can’t organize it for this purpose, but we can observe what socialist have done. We have had people of one nation, language, culture, religion, literacy, wealth, and so on, divided into two, such that one had a largely free market economic system and the other a purely socialist one, with the socialist being the more prosperous and industrial region to begin with. The divided countries were North Vietnam vs. South Vietnam, and East Germany vs. West Germany, and still is North vs. South Korea. Some might include mainland China vs. Taiwan, but Taiwan (formerly Formosa) was not part of China, although one might point to the fact that both the mainland and Taiwan are now Chinese in language and customs, and thus show what the Chinese can do when they are free as on Taiwan, or still dominantly socialist as on the mainland.

Okay, the experiment. How did these two halves fare, with their economic-political systems being the only meaningful difference? In each case, the socialist half has failed economically compared to its free market one, which in contrast substantially uplifted its people in health, technology, services, economic growth, and wealth. Let me focus on the two Koreas to provide some statistics on this. In what follows, the first figure will be for socialist North Korea, the second for the South (source: The Wall Street Journal, 3/11/05):

Population: 22.5 mil vs. 49.9 mil.
Gross National Income (GNI): $18.4 bil. Vs. $606.1 bil.
GNI per capita: $818 vs. $12,646
Exports: $.78 bil. Vs. $193.8 bil.
Imports: $1.61 bil. Vs. $178.8 bil.
Power generated: 19.6 bil. kwh vs. 322.4 bil. kwh

But, these statistics show only part of the cost of socialism. N. Korea has again cut food rations from last years near starvation level of 300 grams per person per day. Now it is 250 grams (8.8 ounces) per person, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). This is far below the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) minimum. Also, keep in mind that Kim’s food distribution system is highly unequal. Food is put aside first for “patriotic rice” and “military rice.” And then it has a graded ration system depending on whether a family is considered supportive of the regime at higher ration end, and unreliable, possible anti-regime at the bottom.

In the last decade, the human cost of this socialism, leaving aside the regime’s mass murders, has been about 3 million starved to death. Further, malnutrition has caused excessive underdevelopment and brain retardation of children, and fostered rickets, scurvy, nyctalopia, hepatitis, and tuberculosis, among other diseases. And the country is one of the few in which population mortality rates have been increasing. The life expectancy has fallen to 66.8 years from 73.2; newborn mortality rate has increased from 14 to 22.5; and the rate for those less than five years of age has increased from 27 to 48 per thousand.

Meanwhile, in South Korea the per capita calorie intake is 3,268, which is 139 percent of the FAO recommended minimum requirement. This calorie intake is made up of about 84 percent vegetable products and 16 percent animal products. A typical South Korean meal consists of steamed or stir-fried vegetables, thin sliced meats, grilled fish, and bean-baste soup. Life expectancy is 75.6 years and rising; infant mortality is 7.18 per 1,000 live births, and falling.

What more need be shown? Socialism not only kills by the conditions it creates, encourages the ruling thugs to murder their own people (how else impose such a anti-humanitarian, prison like system?), it greatly impoverishes them. The free market, however, constantly improves overall wealth and welfare, and if part of a democratic system, protects and saves lives.

These historical social experiments have cost tens of millions of lives. We must now say, “ENOUGH ALREADY!”


Link of Note

”North Korea: Human Rights Concerns,” (nd) Amnesty International USA

The report has good links and a fair overview:

Amnesty International’s long-standing concerns about human rights violations in North Korea include the use of torture and the death penalty, arbitrary detention and imprisonment, inhumane prison conditions and the near-total suppression of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and movement.

Their expressed “concern” is not the way I would put it. More like horrified, disgusted, sickened.
Freedom's Website Never Again Series


Hitler Was A Socialist, (And Not A Right Wing Conservative)

May 23, 2009



click me^–>

[First published August 22, 2005] What is socialism? It is a politico-economic philosophy that believes government must direct all major economic decisions by command, and thus all the means of production for the greater good, however defined. There are three major divisions of socialism, all antagonistic to each other. One is democratic socialism, that places the emphasis on democratic means, but then government is a tool for improving welfare and equality. A second division is Marxist-Leninism, which based on a “scientific theory” of dialectical materialism, sees the necessity of a dictatorship (“of the proletariat”) to create a classless society and universal equality. Then, there is the third division, or state socialism. This is a non-Marxist or anti-Marxist dictatorship that aims at near absolute economic control for the purpose of economic development and national power, all construed to benefit the people.

Mussolini’s fascism was a state socialism that was explicitly anti-Marx and aggressively nationalistic. Hitler’s National Socialism was state socialism at its worse. It not only shared the socialism of fascism, but was explicitly racist. In this it differs from the state socialism of Burma today, and that of some African and Arab dictatorships.

Two prevailing historical myths that the left has propagated successfully is that Hitler was a far right wing conservative and was democratically elected in 1933 (a blow at bourgeois democracy and conservatives). Actually, he was defeated twice in the national elections (he became chancellor in a smoke-filled-room appointment by those German politicians who thought they could control him — see “What? Hitler Was Not Elected?”) and as head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, he considered himself a socialist, and was one by the evidence of his writings and the his economic policies.

To be clear, National Socialism differs from Marxism in its nationalism, emphasis on folk history and culture, idolization of the leader, and its racism. But the Nazi and Marxist-Leninists shared a faith in government, an absolute ruler, totalitarian control over all significant economic and social matters for the good of the working man, concentration camps, and genocide/democide as an effective government policy (only in his last years did Stalin plan for his own Holocaust of the Jews).

I’ve read Hitler’s Mein Kampf (all online here) and can quote the following from Volume 2:

Chapter VII:

In 1919-20 and also in 1921 I attended some of the bourgeois [capitalist] meetings. Invariably I had the same feeling towards these as towards the compulsory dose of castor oil in my boyhood days. . . . And so it is not surprising that the sane and unspoiled masses shun these ‘bourgeois mass meetings’ as the devil shuns holy water.

Chapter 4:

The folkish philosophy is fundamentally distinguished from the Marxist by reason of the fact that the former recognizes the significance of race and therefore also personal worth and has made these the pillars of its structure. These are the most important factors of its view of life. 


If the National Socialist Movement should fail to understand the fundamental importance of this essential principle, if it should merely varnish the external appearance of the present State and adopt the majority principle, it would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground. For that reason it would not have the right to call itself a philosophy of life. If the social programme of the movement consisted in eliminating personality and putting the multitude in its place, then National Socialism would be corrupted with the poison of Marxism, just as our national-bourgeois parties are.

Chapter XII:

The National Socialist Movement, which aims at establishing the National Socialist People’s State, must always bear steadfastly in mind the principle that every future institution under that State must be rooted in the movement itself.

Some other quotes:

Hitler, spoken to Otto Strasser, Berlin, May 21, 1930:

I am a Socialist, and a very different kind of Socialist from your rich friend, Count Reventlow. . . . What you understand by Socialism is nothing more than Marxism.

On this, see Alan Bullock, Hitler: a Study in Tyranny, pp.156-7; and Graham L. Strachan “MANUFACTURED REALITY: THE ‘THIRD WAY’”

Gregor Strasser, National Socialist theologian, said:

We National Socialists are enemies, deadly enemies, of the present capitalist system with its exploitation of the economically weak … and we are resolved under all circumstances to destroy this system.

F.A. Hayek in his Road to Serfdom (p. 168) said:

The connection between socialism and nationalism in Germany was close from the beginning. It is significant that the most important ancestors of National Socialism—Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle—are at the same time acknowledged fathers of socialism. …. From 1914 onward there arose from the ranks of Marxist socialism one teacher after another who led, not the conservatives and reactionaries, but the hard-working laborer and idealist youth into the National Socialist fold. It was only thereafter that the tide of nationalist socialism attained major importance and rapidly grew into the Hitlerian doctrine.

See also his chapter 12: “The Socialist Roots of Naziism.”

Von Mises in his Human Action (p. 171) said:

There are two patterns for the realization of socialism. The first pattern (we may call it the Lenin or Russian pattern) . . . . the second pattern (we may call it the Hindenburg or German Pattern) nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages, and interest rates. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs, but only shop managers … bound to obey unconditionally the orders issued by government.

This is precisely how Hitler governed when he achieved dictatorial power.

In a previous blog, i referred to John J. Ray’s piece (“Hitler Was A Socialist”, and I was asked who he is. He has a Ph.D. in psychology, but taught sociology for many years. His fulsome bio is here. His article on Hitler is excellent and well researched. He has a blog on “dissecting leftism.”


Link of Note

“Myth: Hitler was a leftist By Steve Kanga

(note: A liberal activist, Kanga apparently shot himself to death outside of the office of anti-Clinton billionaire philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaif, February 8, 1999. It was ruled a suicide.)

Kanga says:

Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named “National Socialist.” But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production, and they in turn were frequently controlled by the Nazi party and state. True socialism does not advocate such economic dictatorship — it can only be democratic. Hitler’s other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle, and even held friendly relations with the Church, even though he was an atheist.

Here you have a taste for how the left maintains its myth, as in conflating democracy and socialism. That is, true socialism “can only be democratic.” Right, like the Democratic People’s Republic of [North] Korea, or the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Universal Archive
Democratic peace Q&A/FAQ


State Socialism Exemplified — Burma

December 21, 2008

[First published July 11, 2005]While we focus on the repression of freedom in Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, life can be even worse in some non-Muslim countries, such as Burma (Myanmar). The 42.7 million people in this South Asian country are 89 percent Buddhist, have a life expectancy of fifty-five years, and earn in purchasing power parity $1,200 a year. They are ruled by a socialist military regime, which allows no freedom. Life here is hellish, due to the military’s savage repression of dissent, and their barbaric response to the rebellion of nearly a dozen ethnic minorities.

For example, in the nine villages of Dweh Loh Township, northwest of Rangoon and near the Thai border, the Karen ethnic group has long been fighting for independence. During harvest time in March 2000, military forces attacked the villages, burned down homes, and destroyed or looted possessions. By sheer luck, some of the villagers managed to flee into the forest, leaving behind their rice and possessions and risking starvation— starvation made almost inevitable by the military’s burning of crops and rice storage barns. Soldiers even torched the cut scrub needed to prepare the soil for planting. Those who remained in the village who were not killed were seized for forced labor or portering, or pressed into the military. That done, the soldiers mined all approaches to the village to prevent the villagers from returning.

Soldiers kill any male suspected of being a rebel. These are not all easy deaths. Sometimes soldiers gruesomely torture the victim and prolong death to cause as much agony as possible. Women or young girls are only marginally better off—the soldiers “only” rape them. Then they march them, along with the children and the village men left alive, to work sites to build barracks, defensive works, roads, railroads, or fences, or carry bamboo and firewood. Alternatively, the soldiers force them to porter ammunition and military supplies like mules. This is the most dangerous form of forced labor and many die from it.

Even the children do not escape. Soldiers routinely make them do such arduous labor, or even soldier. Worse, the military sell the girls into prostitution in Burma or into the Thai sex market across the border, which already exploits the bodies of 40,000 Burmese girls. Worse still, the military have forced children to walk ahead of soldiers to trigger mines. No military have used human bodies to clear mines like this since World War II, when the Soviets often compelled prisoners to sweep minefields with their feet.

Even for those Burmese children not forced into labor and portering, general conditions are disastrous for their future and that of the country. Even children living outside the civil war zones are unlikely to go to school. No more than one in five get so much as four years of primary school. They are more likely to be working at some job to help their family survive. According to UN estimates, about one-third of all children six to fifteen years of age are doing so. Many children do not survive to adulthood—half of all those that die each year are children.

In the civil war zones, children and adults alike routinely live on the edge of death. For example, anyone living in the township of Dweh Loh that contained the nine villages I mentioned, had an equal chance of doing forced labor, being looted, or suffering extortion by soldiers on the one hand, or of fleeing into the forests on the other. Those living in other townships throughout this area probably escaped to the forests to barely survive there on whatever food they could grow. Were soldiers to find these refugees, they might shoot them or make them porter under threat of death.

Life was no better for those living in the Nyaunglebin District to the west, where handpicked execution squads of soldiers operated off and on in the area, searching for rebels or their supporters. If these soldiers suspected a villager of even the most minor contact with rebel forces, if a villager was even seen talking to someone suspected of being a rebel, they usually cut his throat. Sometimes the soldiers also decapitated the victim and mounted the head on a pole as a warning to others.

There are around sixty-seven different ethnic groups in Burma, each with its own language and culture, many of which have rebelled and are fighting the military government. With more or less ferocity, these rebellions have been going on since 1948, with a death toll of 200,000 or even possibly 400,000 Burmese. Both sides have also murdered outright an additional 100,000 to 200,000 Burmese. Moreover, rebellion, fighting, and brutal military pressure on the Burmese people have caused 500,000 to 1 million of them to be displaced within the country, many of whom the military have commanded to live in inhospitable forced location zones. Others have escaped relocation for bare subsistence in the forests, bereft of home or village. Still 215,000 others have fled abroad and are formally listed as refugees by international refugee organizations. An added 350,000 Burmese are without refugee status and subsist in refugee-like conditions in neighboring Thailand.

The vast majority of Burmese, however, live far away from the civil war zones and are not members of the rebelling minority ethnic groups. They have other things to fear. Burma is a military dictatorship, and this regime is willing to use its weapons on unarmed people who protest or demonstrate. When students demonstrated against the regime on July 7, 1962, soldiers shot one hundred of them to death. On August 13, 1967, soldiers similarly shot over a hundred demonstrating men and women, and even the children that accompanied them. And so on and on, from demonstration to demonstration, until the worst of them all.

On August 8, 1988, doctors, students, teachers, farmers, musicians, artists, monks, and workers took part in peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations in all major cities. The military demanded that the demonstrators disperse, and when they would not, soldiers fired round after round into the crowds. They massacred an incredible 5,000 to 10,000 unarmed people simply trying to express their desire for democracy. Soldiers and police then arrested hundreds of those escaping this bloodbath, and tortured them in prison. Many thousands escaped to border areas, leaving their loved ones, homes, and possessions behind.

Those Burmese who stay home, avoid demonstrations, and arouse no suspicion might still be conscripted by the military for forced labor or porter duty. Socialist in mind and spirit, the military have been ambitious in building railways, roads, airports, and so on. And to do so, they simply draft civilians. For example, those who lived near the route of the 110 mile e-Tavoy railway, built by the military in southern Burma, were among the 200,000 people that soldiers forced to work on the project for fifteen days a month without pay. Then there were the 30,000 the military conscripted for the Bassein Airport extension. Those who missed this might have been among the over 920,000 the military compelled to labor on the Chaung Oo-Pakokku Railroad.

Those who do the forced labor have to sleep at the work site, guarded, and without much shelter—sometimes none. The ground is their only bed. To go to the toilet they have to get permission from a guard. Their only food is what the workers themselves can bring. And they have to be sure not to be injured, because there is seldom any medical care. They also can die, as many do, from sickness or exhaustion. If they try to escape from the work site and soldiers catch them, if they are lucky, the soldiers will only severely beat them. Just resting without permission can get them beaten and killed by guards. This happened to Pa Za Kung, a man from Vomkua village in Chin State’s Thantlang Township, doing forced labor on a road from Thantlang to Vuangtu village.

But portering is even worse than forced labor. The military make those living in war zones porter for them, but since as many as two porters are needed for each soldier to move much of their supplies and equipment, people living outside the war zones are also conscripted. Porters suffer from hunger, malnutrition, disease, and exhaustion. Rebel fire kills them, they step on mines, or soldiers shoot them because they cannot force their bodies to work any longer. Or soldiers simply abandon them with no medical care, no food, no help, no way home. All told, this is another form of slavery suffered by millions of Burmese.

Burmese generally have no rights other than to serve the military. This might have changed in 1990, when the military caved in to considerable international pressure resulting from their 1988 massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators, and held real democratic elections— and were shocked when the democratic opposition, under the leadership of 1991 Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won 82 percent of the seats in the new parliament. The military then refused to yield power, and have held Aung San Suu Kyi under virtual house arrest ever since. They also arrested and tortured thousands of her supporters and members of other political parties, and have killed or disappeared thousands more. They even arrested hundreds of those elected to parliament, some of whom died under the harsh prison conditions. Member-elect Kyaw Min, for example, died of hepatitis caused by his imprisonment.

Having learned their lesson about the power of the democratic idea, the military no longer allow political activity or criticism. There is no freedom of speech or association. In this Buddhist country, the military keep a watch on Buddhist monks and prevent their involvement in political activity. They also restrict the leaders of other religions. There can be no unions. Just having a computer modem can lead to arrest, torture, and a fifteen-year prison sentence. Having a fax machine may even mean death, as it did for the Anglo-Burmese San Suu Kyi, who was honorary Consul for the European Union. No independent courts exist, and the law is what the military command. The military monitor the movements of common citizens, search their homes at any time, and take them forcibly from their homes to be relocated, without compensation or explanation.

Nor are Burmese free to start a business or invest. Since 1962, when the military overthrew the democratic government, the military have pursued a “Burmese Way to Socialism.” This has left little room for private businesses and a free market, and companies run by the military dominate many areas of the economy, leaving as the most vigorous sector of the economy the heroin trade. This alone may account for over 50 percent of the economy.

The result is what one would expect. Among all countries, Burma has plummeted to near the bottom in economic freedom, possibly better than only communist North Korea. And the country is nearly bankrupt. However, perhaps having learned from this economic disaster, the military are now trying to liberalize their economic control and have invited foreign investment.


Link of Note

“Rice calls for pressure on Burma” (7/11/05) BBC

Item:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called on Thailand and other nations in South East Asia to press for change in neighboring Burma

If ever there was a case for outside intervention, it is Burma. It does not have the military capability to deter such action, as does North Korea. Nor does it have an alliance of like-minded Islamic nations to protect it, as does Sudan. It is vulnerable to outside action, but the international mindset is such that sovereignty trumps Burmese enslavement to socialism and their deaths. The best that Secretary Rice can do is ask neighboring countries to “press” Burma for change?

Say a family down the block is mistreating and molesting their children, who often appear with bruises and cuts, limping and malnourished. How about telephoning the family as pressing them to better treat their children? Crazy? Why do we treat international morality different from what within democracies. Simple. Real Politics.Policy
Articles/answers


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