The Biz Bucks Blog provides former Biz Bucks students and other busy professionals with a summary and commentary of seminal articles from the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. You can be notified of a new posting by subscribing to the blog (enter email in box on right) or by following on Twitter: @BizBucksGuy.


Socialism: Our US Path to Venezuela May 18, 2016 2:00 PM | Tagged as socialism

WSJ May 17, 2016, Page A17: “What’s Socialism, Dad?”  By Bret Stephens

In his insightful piece, Mr. Stephens encourages everyone who understands the evils of socialism to get the word out to those who don’t.  Insert the millennials who back Bernie or Hillary.

Mr. Stephens defined socialism in two ways, a straight-forward factual one and a more gut level version. His factual version is “an economic system in which the government seizes and runs industries, sets prices for goods, and otherwise dictates what you can and cannot do with your money, and therefore your life.”

But getting down to the core of this evil, he added “Socialism is a mental poison that leads to human misery of the sort you see in these wrenching pictures.” The pictures he referenced to his 10-year old son were that of hospitals in Venezuela. Stephens was reading a New York Times article about the sub-human conditions Venezuelans are “enjoying” in their health care system, complete with gory pictures. The son was appalled and led to this father and son conversation.

This is the same Venezuela that has vast oil resources that most countries would die for. But, with decades of socialist leadership of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor, Nicholas Maduro, the wealth of Venezuelans disappeared. And wealth means well-being. Venezuelans are dying, literally for socialists.

The Biz Bucks Buy has written many times the words of Willi Schlaff, who said in his native Germany in the 1930’s as Hitler came to power, “The problem with socialism is socialism. The problem with capitalism is capitalists.”

Schlaff was saying socialism doesn’t work. It is a fraud as an economic system. It promises fairness. It delivers pain. It is, indeed, mental poison. Capitalism, on the other hand, raises the well-being of the average Joe and Jane better than any economic system devised. The problem is capitalism has a built-in friction, which renders is less than perfect. This friction exists because some capitalists are dishonest. This economic friction means a capitalist society still has improvements to make, more well-being to develop, and falls short of society’s potential. Honesty is a foundational pillar of capitalism.

May our millennials wake up before they lead us down the path to Venezuela.   For my millennial friends, my generation – the pre-geezer generation -- saw the Soviet Union and Cuba, not to mention Mao’s China. We learned well that command economies don’t work. Watch Cuba begin to prosper with the reforms that have been made and, hopefully, will be made. Also watch Venezuela. Unless reforms come soon, it will overtake Cuba as the Disneyland of Socialism.

[Although opinion is included, The Biz Bucks Blog is primarily written to former students of Biz Bucks training courses to encourage their daily reading of the three opinion pages of the WSJ. This reading refreshes principles of Biz Bucks courses and improves business acumen on many topics not discussed in Biz Bucks training.]


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