Pat Lenconi, writing at The Simple Wisdom Project, answers the question “What’s so bad about socialism?” especially in light of the fact that the Bible points to ideals like caring for one another , sharing with those in need and avoiding materialism. I think his answer is helpful:
I must admit that, as a youngster, I often wondered why people were so down on socialism, and its cousin, communism. In fact, I thought those sounded like the best ways to run a society because sharing and caring and compassion are the right ways to live.
As I became a young adult, I began to understand how the reality of socialism radically differs from the theory, and that even the theory itself has fatal flaws. When it comes right down to it, I think there are two big reasons why socialism is a really, really bad idea.
First, it just doesn’t work. At least not for very long. That’s because people are flawed and, outside of a family, a religious order, or a small group of friends, they will not continually work hard for the ‘greater good’ if they do not receive the fruits of that work themselves. As an economics major in college, I learned that this theory had a name: ‘the free-loader effect’. It is the natural tendency of people to do less and less work when they realize that they won’t see a proportionate decrease in what they can get for it.
Over time—and this is an inevitable consequence of the free-loader effect—socialist societies experience decreasing productivity, risk-taking, and innovation, along with increasing tax rates, promises of government programs, and expectations from citizens about what they can get from those programs. When the economy inevitably falters under its own weight, those expectations cannot be met.
Unfortunately, by the time enough citizens realize this is happening it is often too late for them to go back and try a different approach because there are more people in society who expect benefits from the government than there are people who pay for them. And thus begins the long, gradual descent to economic and motivational malaise. Ironically, the class of people who socialism is supposed to help—the poor—only grows because they are joined by more and more people who drop out of the shrinking middle class.
Go here to read the rest of his article.
HT: Matt Perman