March 18, 2008

The wit and wisdom of Ralph Nader's dad

I don't know how authentic this quote is, but it seems apropos:

"Capitalism will never fail because Socialism will always bail it out"

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

23 comments:

JUms24 said...

Mmmm ... socialism will never be understood to fail because its examples of relative success in affluent, post-capitalist societies will be taken to disprove its obvious failures in poor, corrupt societies.
Not quite as glib as Nader's formulation, but it has the advantage of being true.

RKU said...

Well, aren't we currently seeing the upteenth round of the old standby "Privatize the Gains and Socialize the Losses" in our financial sector.

Nader's father for President!

Eric said...

In the last few decades there have been tons of European socialist countries dying for immigrants to help pay for their socialism. Instead of screwing up my country why don't people like Nader's dad move to Scandinavia?

mnuez said...

RKU, I'd suppose this is what Steve might be referring to. When Capitalism ceases working for the wealthy, the confiscated money of the poor is rushed in to bail them out, to restore the wealthy capitalists to their high and mighty perch.

Eric, what's wrong with you bro? Ever hear the maxim: Better to stay silent and allow everyone to assume you're an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?

We get the fact that most readers here are knee-jerk Capitalists, at least most of them though know to speak only when they have something pseudo-intelligent to say.

William said...

In the last few decades there have been tons of European socialist countries dying for immigrants to help pay for their socialism

Hell, the argument American politicians areusing is that we need millions of illiterate third world peasants to prop up our social security system.

But when government finances the failures of bails out private entities how can you not at least agree somewhat with Nader's dad?

Anonymous said...

What the heck is socialism?

Oh yeah right. The private Island Estate of one Fidel Castro and all his slaves. Gentlemen of Leisure. Owner of Cuba. Viva la Revolucion!

Socialism is just another name for feudal ownership. At least Capitalism allows the average guy a break now and then. Not so under the feudal rule of Socialism.

IMR said...

When taxpayers' money bails out the poor it's called socialism.

When taxpayers' money bails out the rich it's called free enterprise.

Eric said...

Eric, what's wrong with you bro? Ever hear the maxim: Better to stay silent and allow everyone to assume you're an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?

Physician, heal thyself.

Gee, mnuez, did I hit a sore spot? Are you smarting over the failure of socialism everywhere it's been tried? It really must hurt to espouse an ideology that just doesn't hold up in the real world. It's true, capitalism isn't perfect. But at least it works.

"Confiscated money from the poor"? Do you have any clue about the subject?

Johnn Lockque said...

Property gives owners a moral sense of responsibility and stewardship. Socialism is a society without property rights. Take out property rights, and society's pie is divied up according to a political spoils system.

Socialism can be more modern than Castro's island hacienda. If you want to see how socialism functions, look no further than American federal or state bureaucracy or the more political aspects of corporate life. Dirty politicians helping cronies with zoning? That is socialism in action.

Another example is the kudos system among tenured academics. Everybody fighting for positions on this or that committee or trophy titles and what not. Or think of what happens when rich Aunt Selma dies without a will, and all the survivors squabble like vultures. That is socialism in action.

By the way, there are few real poor in the United States. Maybe Mexicans without legal rights - maybe - qualify, but even they profit from the fruits of their labors.

What America has in abundance is salarymen who don't have property rights in the fruits of labor. They sign those away for a salary, a promise of stability. This is why the topic of "socialism" is poorly understood.

William said...

It's a little bit of a tangent, but I think the problem with modern liberals and some conservatives is pretty much the same: it's not that they are both just post-American, it's that they are both "post-American people."

Conservatives used to justify capitalism (as recently as Bush I) by saying that "a rising tide lifts all boats." That is, when the fortunes of Americans at the top improve the fortunes of those at the bottom would improve, also.

Now they justify "growing the economy" for its own sake, without any interest in whether it's benefitting all Americans or not. Absolute free trade changes that equation, and when the job can't be shipped to a foreign worker Wall Street Journal/Chamber of Commerce/Weekly Standard conservatives are perfectly happy to bring the foreign worker to the job here, undermining American wages in the process.

In the same vein, while liberals used to care (or pretend to care) about the American poor, they now no longer care which poor they are purportedly helping. They're perfectly content to harm the American working poor by bringing more and more third world peasants here and helping them. In the eyes of modern liberals, if our immigration policy helps 5 foreign poor for every 4 American poor it hurts, then they've come out ahead. There is no difference to them between a child born in Guadalajara and one born in Greenville (especially if the Greenville child is white).

MensaRefugee said...

To Mnuez,
Better than being a knee-jerk socialist.

Anonymous said...

"Socialism is just another name for feudal ownership. At least Capitalism allows the average guy a break now and then. Not so under the feudal rule of Socialism."

Socialism is government ownership of the means of production. That's all the definition you need.

Under capitalism, average guys don't get their purchasing power destroyed in order to bail out insolvent businesses. At least that's what I always thought.

DissidentMan said...

I have to agree with mnuez about Eric. Nader Sr.'s remark doesn't imply advocacy of anything. Nader Sr. was doubtless refering to the disturbing spectacle of large, for-profit businesses, receiving government bailouts.

mnuez I am likely a minority here but I'm not a kneejerk capitalist, but given the fact that American citizens are already required to pay for health care and education for illegal immigrants its obvious that socialism in the US context will not be remotely fair to the people who will finance it. Socialism can only be fair when the people have a sense of a common cause (i.e. *agree with the usages to which the public money is put*), and that requirement is increasingly absent in the American context.

Corporations donating to charities and paying 150k speaking fees to celebrities is an analagous situtaion, if we consider that the majority of investors invested to make money, not to support charity or line Bill Clinton's pockets.

David said...

At least Capitalism allows the average guy a break now and then. Not so under the feudal rule of Socialism.

All government is feudal rule. Differents "systems" have different names for the serfs and lords. That is all.

The only political question is: more government or less of it? Where there is less of it, the average guy - if he is healthy and energetic and lucky - produces prodigies, or at least a tolerable living. Where there is more, he suffers, but his unscrupulous brother - hot with the lust for power, and for sucking at the teat of other people's money - gets ahead.

Everything you need to know about politics is in the above.

SFG said...

I dunno. The Euros have got it pretty sweet with their national healthcare and six-week vacations.

Anonymous said...

More like socialism always fails, then attempts to bail itself out with...more socialism.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Lenin said that when he hanged the capitalists, they would sell him the rope.

What he didn't add was that the socialists had to buy the rope, because they didn't meet their quota that year.

Eric said...

Dissidentman, thank you for stating your agreement with mnuez at the top of your post rather than the bottom.

I dunno. The Euros have got it pretty sweet with their national healthcare and six-week vacations.

Sure, but it's not sustainable. Barring a major disease outbreak or war they simply can't sustain current expenditure levels. Hell, Medicare and Social Security are gonna break us too, but we're in way better shape than countries with a more advanced case of socialism.

Socialists like to think the money is coming from "the rich", but in reality rich people pay about the same acutual percentage of their income (around 25%, according to the Economist) pretty much no matter where you are. If tax rates are high they spend proportionally more effort avoiding taxes, as in pre-Reagan times when wealthy Americans kept their money in double-tax-free bonds or "businesses" which were created for the sole reason of moving tax obligations to the next year.

The money for expansive social programs is actually coming from the next generation, either from debt or from deferred obligations. Works great as long as your population is growing briskly.

The really interesting thing to watch in the coming decades will be just how much the young are willing to finance the lifestyles of their elders.

Anonymous said...

lot's of people like ralph nader's dad have moved to scandinavia.

benn franklyn said...

Populism is rearing its head in the Left and the Right these days.

What happened to Reaganomics? Should society be led by those who perform the least, or those who perform the most?

Socialism fails because it never encourages innovation. Probably because bureaucracies are good are sustaining and preserving a status quo, but utterly hostile to anything new. Capitalism works because rich people have the leisure and resources to find and fund good ideas.

Socialism can do the same thing in its revolutionary phase. Stalinism really did improve the lives of many Russians (and killed or jailed the others). But later on it becomes just another sluggish, schoolmarmish bureaucracy. The government is one big middle man trying to hog the economy for itself.

Europe has done OK because it has copied American ideas and benefited from American military strength. China is busy doing the same thing. But copycatism only carries society so far, and ends up as inertia.

In reality, those who can learn do best. That means adaptation to new environmental circumstances. If Joe the factory worker or Tyrone the public school student fails to learn, then they will be dependent on someone else's charity. Not a recipe for a great society.

Populism, or the politics of resentment, only works when there is enough pie to share. It has very limited abilities to actually make that pie.

Anonymous said...

Populism is rearing its head in the Left and the Right these days.

I had always considered Populism a "left" thing. Is there a left without populism? Not being snarky, just curious what you mean by that.

ben tillman said...

Socialism is just another name for feudal ownership.

No. No. No. Socialism and feudalism are opposites.

benn franklyn said...

Left without Populism? Sure. Steve does a great job of showing how Left elites force unpopular intellectualized agendas down regular folks' throats. The biggest target of this is lower to middle income bracket whites, who have chafed and sometimes acted out against policies like forced busing. Basically because they have to suffer and fund these intellectual endeavors, for better or worse.

Some of these whites moved over to the Republicans in the past decades due to this constant Left browbeating.