Misguided about Socialism?

First Published: 2009-06-09

In the Tribune letters column recently Avid Reader criticizes the Nassau Institute for promoting Capitalism which he believes favours the wealthy and scorns the less fortunate members of society.  His alternative to Capitalism is the Socialism of Naomi Klein as described in her book “The Shock Doctrine”. Ms. Klein is a well-known political journalist with the literary talent to confuse facts with fiction attracting a credulous following of believers.

The Nassau Institute categorically rejects Socialism. Instead, “If we ask what men most owe to the moral practices of those who are called capitalists the answer is: their very lives”.(F.A. Hayek)  .  

History is rife with examples of destructive socialist policy.  The worst example being The National Socialist Party in Germany that grew out of the collectivization in that country during the 19th century, culminating in the Nazi Party in the 1930’s with its associated horrors of death and destruction.    

After WW Two the British people elected the Socialist Labour Party and within one year large industries, the Bank of England and all public services including the railways were nationalized. . They also introduced a tax policy to soak the rich of 90% of their income.  Such policies involved property rights violations in the take-over of private enterprise replaced by a bureaucracy of government.  

Under such a regime, it is not surprising that food was still rationed up until July 1954, ten years after the war ended.       

Ironically the Socialism in the UK turned out to be a bonanza for the Bahamas. The savings of wealthy British citizens migrated to Bahamian banks and subsequently to development of the real estate market on a buy-back arrangement to avoid the punishing death duties levied on its citizens by the UK government.  

Avid Reader wrongly suggests that Stafford Sands was instrumental in holding back development in the Bahamas.  Rather, the tax policies of other countries led to growth in banking, and demand in the vacation market to growth in the tourism. If over-dependence on these two industries holds the country back, it has nothing to do with Stafford Sands.

Having visited Cuba, Avid Reader acknowledges he would not choose to live under such a regime.  He suggests the alternative to the Cuban model is the democratic socialism of Western Europe.  Socialism whether linked with the autocracy of Cuba, or “democracy” of Western Europe is still unacceptable to those who love liberty.   

There is a whole world awaiting discovery by Avid Reader in the works of authors such as Ludwig von Mises who cautioned:

“The idea of Socialism is at once grandiose and simple… We may say, in fact, that it is one of the most ambitious creations of the human spirit,….  If we wish to save the world from barbarism we have to refute Socialism, but we cannot thrust it carelessly aside”.  

Taking Mises’ advice to heart we are pleased to respond to Avid Reader’s call for more socialism..  Indeed we invite him to join us in refuting a system that leads to barbarism by satiating his commendable appetite for ideas with the wealth of literature available through The Institute.  – Tel 328 6529.  

Also consider attending the Institute’s lecture series.  The next event will be held June 17th at the Yacht Club. Dr. Robert Murphy will discuss “Government Stimulus; Repeating the Mistakes of the Great Depression”


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