How well does socialism work in countries and cities that adopt it?

Socialism in Venezuela
Socialism in Venezuela

I noticed this article by Frank Luntz in USA Today, which talks about the political views of young people.


If you want to understand today’s young Americans, consider this: 58% of them think “socialism” is the most compassionate political system, compared with just 33% who pick “capitalism.”  Heck, 9% even voted for “communism.”

That’s right: Two-thirds in a poll I did last month say socialism or communism is more compassionate than capitalism.

[…]In our recent national survey of 1,000 first- and second-time voters ages 18 to 26, Republicans weren’t just off on the wrong track. They were barely on the radar with this Snapchat generation, as it is sometimes called.

[…]The younger generation and the Republican Party simply see the world, and America, very differently. For instance, 58% in our poll say that “America isn’t any better or worse than most other countries,”compared with a 42% minority that believes “America is exceptional. It’s better than every other country in the world.

So how to respond to this? Well, I think it is important for us to be aware of how other countries are doing, especially the ones that are implementing socialism.

Socialism abroad

Take Venezuela for example. They’ve had socialism for a good long time under Hugo Chavez, and now his socialist successor Nicolas Maduro.

The left-leaning The Economist explained what’s happening there:

The regime has greatly compounded the damage with policies that, though designed to favour the poor, end up impoverishing them and the state. Price controls—along with the shortage of foreign exchange—have led to acute shortages of basic goods, forcing people to queue for hours to buy necessities. Inflation is officially running at 141% as of September last year (the latest available figure). Analysts believe the true figure is at least 200% a year; some predict hyperinflation in 2016. The massive budget deficit, which the Central Bank finances by printing money, contributes to that risk.

[…]Recent surveys have shown that alongside the economy and shortages, security is a major concern. The government stopped publishing comprehensive crime statistics in 2005, though it does admit there is a problem. The attorney-general has said that Venezuela’s murder rate last year was 62 per 100,000 people, ten times the global average. The Venezuelan Violence Observatory, an independent research institute, says the rate is higher. The murder rate in Caracas is the highest in the region for a country’s biggest city. Countrywide, 90% of murders go unpunished.

Radically leftist NPR notes:

Last week, opposition lawmakers in Venezuela declared a “food emergency.” That’s because Venezuela is facing widespread shortages of milk, meat, bread and other staples. Critics blame the government’s socialist economic policies. But instead of changing course, President Nicolás Maduro is calling on Venezuelans to help feed themselves — by starting urban gardens.

[…]In addition, falling prices for oil — Venezuela’s main export — mean the government has fewer dollars to import food. There’s also a severe shortage of imported farm machinery and supplies, says Vicente Perez, director of FEDEAGRO, Venezuela’s main farm organization.

“There is nothing — just like there’s no food, there are no seeds, no herbicides … and no medicines to vaccinate farm animals,” says Perez.

Phil Gunson, who is based in Caracas for the International Crisis Group, warns of a pending humanitarian crisis.

“At least one in 10 people is eating two meals a day or less. There isn’t starvation. We are not talking about famine,” Gunson says. “But we are talking about malnutrition, particularly in the case of children.”

If you’re looking for a country that’s embraced socialism, you can’t do much better than Venezuela. Maybe Argentina, but they are also in serious economic trouble. Do you know any young people who are not being told about that?

Well, what about closer to home? How are the major cities in the United States doing?

Socialism at home

This article from Investors Business Daily takes a look at it.


America is awash with troubled, dysfunctional cities that have been electing Democratic mayors for decades.

  • Detroit last elected a Republican mayor in 1957. It is now the model of urban failure — it’s recognized more for its poverty, crime, rot and bankruptcy than the great cars that it turned out into the early 1970s. It is the poorest big city in the nation, with almost 40% of the population living below the poverty line. The website Law Street actually ranks Detroit ahead of Flint as the country’s most dangerous city. Either way, it’s clear that both cities have institutionalized crime problems.

Detroit is also a pit of political corruption. Just in recent years, one mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was convicted of corruption and sent to federal prison for 28 years, while building inspectors have been indicted on federal felony bribery charges and a former city council member was investigated in a bribery and kickback scandal.

  • Chicago’s last GOP mayor was elected in 1927. The nation’s third-largest city is home to some of the worst inner-city violence imaginable. More than 2,300 people were shot there last year, and nearly 400 lost their lives to homicides.

Its finances are just as grim. “Chicago is so broke,” IBD contributor Stephen Moore explained months ago, “that its bonds are junk status, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to go hat in hand last week to the state capital, Springfield, for bailout money to pay the bills.” Things have been rotten enough, Moore said, to send “a record number of people … fleeing Cook County, home to Chicago.” Only a little more than half of the city’s pension liabilities are funded.

  • St. Louis has been electing Democratic mayors since 1949. The Gateway to the West has become the gateway for crime. Law Street says that it’s the fourth most dangerous city in the country, Forbes says it’s the second. It had the sixth-highest poverty rate among big cities in 2014.
  • The last GOP mayor of Philadelphia left office in 1952. A few years ago, Moore identified it as a favorite to follow Detroit into bankruptcy.
  • Both Baltimore and Oakland had Republican mayors as late as the 1960s. In the era of Democratic rule, both are now more well known for their crime and poverty problems than for their charm and character.
  • Newark, N.J., hasn’t had a GOP mayor in more than a century. It was ranked as the fifth-worst city to live in in 2015. Detroit, of course, was first.

When Democrats are in control, cities tend to go soft on crime, reward cronies with public funds, establish hostile business environments, heavily tax the most productive citizens and set up fat pensions for their union friends. Simply put, theirs is a Blue State blueprint for disaster.

If you want to know how well Democrats do at running things, why not look to the places where Republicans have been out of power for decades and decades?

If you don’t tell the young people you know about socialist countries and socialist cities, then how will they ever learn how socialism actually works in practice? They are learning that socialism is wonderful from their unionized public school teachers, Hollywood elites, the mainstream media, artists and musicians and Democrat politicians. Are you doing your part to educate them with real facts?

4 thoughts on “How well does socialism work in countries and cities that adopt it?”

  1. Is the Economist really left-leaning? They may very well be on the social issues but on the economic ones I think they tend to support free markets, deregulation, privatization, etc.

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