The Tragedy of the Commons

April 23, 2010

The Tragedy of the Commons
The basic principle of socialism is that people must share something: land, goods, income, or responsibility. The various socialist forms of government are: Communism, Fascism, and the welfare state.
The family is the simplest commune. All property, income, control, and responsibility are shared by the parents, but not necessarily equally.
A communist community shares ownership of property, especially the means of production: land, farms, factories, and machinery. It works, but it tends to become a dictatorship, and no member is free.
Fascism is only related to racism and genocide by coincidence; they both existed in Adolph Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s. Both Italy and Spain were fascist, too, at that time, but neither was involved directly in the Holocaust.
A fascist community retains nominal private ownership of the means of production, but governmental control of the economy is so complete that, in effect, the government owns everything and everybody.
The welfare state is primarily about redistributing wealth and income to make the citizens dependent and patriotic. The government’s unlimited power to tax, appropriate, and redistribute income and wealth makes common property of all income and wealth. To the extent that the government controls the economy by regulation and manipulation of the money, the government is fascist.
Common property distorts our incentives. The result is usually exploitation of the property by most of the communal owners, and improvement of the property by few or none of them. Some common property is unavoidable. To avoid wasteful exploitation, all else should be privately owned.
In a free market, enterprise, innovation, and taking risks are the road to riches for the most successful, and increasing wealth for all. Better, cheaper products and services benefit everyone.
Under socialism of any sort, the riches of the successful are taxed heavily. This stifles the incentive to take any risk and so stifles enterprise. Poverty, on the other hand, is rewarded with an extra slice of the common wealth, killing any incentive to try to earn a living. Only the coercion of a totalitarian state can induce workers to bother to even seem to be working. In its efforts to spread the wealth, the Socialist society effectively spreads the poverty.
Through the ages, thousands of socialist experiments have failed because the rules defeated the normal human incentives. People act to improve their lot, but under socialism, any improvement they achieve is divided among 100 or a million others, while without bothering to produce at all, they are still entitled to an equal share- of the poverty.
Of the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock, most died of starvation rather than work for the benefit of others, until the socialist experiment was ended and the people were granted private ownership of some land and whatever they produced. From then on, they thrived. If you favor prosperity, the free market is the only way to go. Socialism is basically slavery. You own a share of a million people and the same million people share ownership of you.

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