The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

Tags: Communism, socialism

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Planned economies fail when the planners estimate wrongly what people will buy. The planners don't pay for their mistakes; the taxpayers do.

Unplanned economies succeed when producers estimate correctly what people will buy. When they estimate wrongly, they pay for their mistakes. When they estimate correctly, they profit.

Methinks America has too much corporate welfare to be called an unplanned economy.

Methinks America has too much corporate welfare to be called an unplanned economy.

Absolutely true.  When you (as a business owner) can be bailed out for the consequences of a poor decision, you are not living in a totally free market.  Such bailouts have all sorts of deleterious effects on the rest of the market (including actually encouraging people to engage in risky behavior since they can't actually lose money when the downside happens--this includes everything from reckless investing to lending on the corporate end, but there is also a lot of individual behavior that qualifies).  I note though that when this sort of thing happens and the bailouts begin, the "free market" (that we don't actually have) gets the blame for the consequences of the non-free-market part of the system.

Hi Tom

This is a common belief.

Planned economies fail when the planners estimate wrongly what people will buy. The planners don't pay for their mistakes; the taxpayers do.

This is not what the data shows, however. Planning by itself doesn't amount to much.

- kk

Hey Unseen,

Data coming out of the USSR since its ceremonious collapse showed some interesting things:

1.) State planning, by itself, was not indicated as a cause of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union

2.) "Public" ownership, by itself, was not indicated as a cause of the economic collapse of the Soviet Union

3.) Lack of incentive to profit from financial productivity was the primary causative factor in the failure of the Soviet economy.

This is backed up by the experience in the PRC which shows that as long as you address item 3, it works pretty well. The PRC has had one of, if not the, most rapid increase in GDP for several decades running. Their aging population wil cause far more problems than socialism.

Also, Marxism vice Marxism-Lenninism places no premium on how the planning is done. There is no reason why that can't be done in a representative form of government. As a distinction, in the Soviet Union Marxism-Lenninism was an ideology of exported socialism, not dictatorshp. That was Stalin's idea (and Lenin's too as long as he ruled). Vanilla Marxism just refers to an emphasis on Surplus value and the economics of the bourgoise and proletariat.

- kk

You left out probably the #1 cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It attempted to achieve military parity with the United States which was so expensive it drained the economy.

And where did America get the money to build a military that would frighten the Soviets into draining their economy?

While Reagan borrowed/stole it from our offspring, Repubs were attacking Dems for taxing and spending.

Despite my angry letters to Dems, they were too wimpy to attack Repubs for borrowing and spending. Finally, deciding that Dems were helping Repubs spend the money they'd borrowed/stolen, I stopped my letters.

Yea, and you might wonder if it bankrupted us, too. We spent an awful amount of money, human resources and lives on that (public myth) so-called "cold war". Oh dang it, I said it. ;-)

- kk

Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong

"...but the intention is not evil by any means."

Unhappily, some idealists are so committed to improving the world THEIR WAY, that they lose patience and and either imprison or kill those who oppose them. Think Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, and others. Idealists all.

Notice, I did not put Marx on the above list. Some or many capitalists are paranoid.

And this, some GOP'ers say socialism is Communism.

A few even say democracy is socialism. Real democracy (not the seriously limited American kind) might lead to a form of socialism: employee ownership of their workplaces.

A few even say democracy is socialism. Real democracy (not the seriously limited American kind) might lead to a form of socialism: employee ownership of their workplaces.

FYI, many employee-owned corporations exist in the United States. The following list is in no way exhaustive:

Acadian Ambulance
Alion Science and Technology
Arup
ASC
Avis Rent a Car System - employee-owned 1987-1996; sold to HFS, which became Cendant
Bi-Mart
Black & Veatch Corporation
Bob's Red Mill
Brookshire Brothers
Bureau of National Affairs - sold to Bloomberg L.P. in 2011
Burns & McDonnell Engineering
Carter's Foods
Certain Affinity
CH2M Hill
Chicago and North Western Railway - sold to Union Pacific Railroad in 1995
Columbia Forest Products
Dahl's Foods
Davey Tree Expert Company
DreamHost
Ebby Halliday Realtors
Edgewood Management, LLC
Ferrellgas Partners
Food Giant
Frontline Test Equipment
Full Sail Brewing Company
Gensler
Golder Associates
Graybar
Greene Plastics Corp
Greatland Corporation
Huawei
HDR, Inc.
Hensel Phelps Construction
Herff Jones
Hot Dog on a Stick
Houchens Industries
Hypertherm
Hy-Vee
John J. McMullen & Associates - now part of Alion Science and Technology
John Lewis Partnership
Journal Communications
Kantega
King Arthur Flour
Landmark Education
Lifetouch
LPK
Mast General Store
Mathematica Policy Research
Mercedes Homes
Mott MacDonald
Mushkin
New Belgium Brewing Company
Niemann Foods
North Highland
Omaha World-Herald
Osmose
Parsons Corporation
PCL Construction
Peter Kiewit Sons'
Phelps County Bank
Price Chopper (New York) (Golub Corp.)
Publix Super Markets
Raycom Media
Recology
Rosendin Electric
Scheels
Schreiber Foods
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Springfield ReManufacturing
Stiefel Labs
STV Group
Swales Aerospace
Talis Group
Terracon
Tidyman's
Tribune Company
Twin City Fan Companies, Ltd
Westat
WinCo Foods
W. L. Gore & Associates
W. W. Norton & Company
Woodman's Food Market

Hey UInseen,

I think you can add United Airlines to that ... ?

- kk

There are a few more.

A book published five years ago claimed that employees own more than eleven thousand American companies. I was scanning the book at the library and was so UNsurprised that I didn't bother to note the title or author.

While living in SF 20 years ago and browsing a bookstore, I found a directory of northern CA companies owned by their employees. I didn't look for the number of such companies.

In the early 1970s, an edition of Harvard Business Review cited two advantages of employee ownership; it's kinder to the environment and there's less employee theft.

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