Libertarian Socialism was recently brought to my attention. I had heard the term before but never really researched it or understood more about it. In doing my research I quickly discovered that while Libertarian Socialism may sound good on paper, in practice it has to be full socialism for it to ever address the problems it proposes to solve.
One of the big things of Libertarian Socialism (LibSoc) is how people are born unequal and how that is a big problem. Here is a good explanation of it:
A libertarian socialist would argue that a society based on such huge disparities of wealth is unfree. If you wish to enter into employment, you choose first and take orders later (as with liberal democracy). Libertarian socialists believe in voluntary association and economic democracy. This will allow the individual to reach his/her full potential.
So basically LibSocs are not a fan of the property system of Capitalism where somebody can own a piece of land and claim ownership over those resources. Because those resources are scarce, LibSocs will argue that it shouldn't be owned and controlled by one owner but rather some type of democratic ownership where it can be managed more "fair" or "equal", whatever that means.
Let's first look at those terms, fair and equal. LibSocs are big fans of equality. They will quickly point how different people are born differently. Some people are born into monetarily rich families while others are born into monetarily poor families. And they decide to take the side that it is better to not be monetarily poor so therefore anybody born into a monetarily rich situation has an unfair advantage. This doesn't make logical sense.
If it's not a poor person's fault that they are born poor then it's not a rich person's fault they are born rich. If you don't hold a poor person being born poor against them then you can't rationally hold a rich person being born rich against them. You can't pick and choose which people should be treated what way. So that's the first big problem.
But let's go further with it.
Who determines what is poor and what is rich? Where do you draw the line? $20,000? $20,000.01 ? $20,001.00? $30,000? What makes this right? Is it always this amount? Oh let me guess, a democratic council will determine the right amount and they will get it right because they are smarter than you. And once they determine the right amount they will force you to comply with this. But this isn't Socialism, oh wait.
They will say something like, yeah but all these rich people have an advantage in being able to more easily buy land, take over resources and live an easier life than people born poor. Once again, it's not their fault. You can't hold how somebody was born against them.
Then it will come to something like, yeah sure, it's not their fault but society as a whole would be better if they didn't have the ability to buy up all the resources and have this advantage. It's exploitative to poor people. Everybody should have an equal shot at property they will say. Yeah they should... so rich people and poor people should both be treated with the same rules for conditions they have no bearing over.
But who really cares about this? Where LibSoc really takes a turn for the worse is when you look into how this will actually happen. So how do LibSocs solve this problem?
The real question is this: how do you make society, land or property equal for everyone? Through central planning of course! But LibSocs don't call it central planning or government. They call it "economic democracy" or "usage rights" or some other word that means central control.
Okay, so in order to have property done "fairly" they magically create democratic processes wherein the members collectively decide the best way to manage resources. Do you already see where this is going? That's what we already do with government. But at least with government we still do allow some private control for people to take private ownership and have their own vested self-interest to make something the best it can be.
No, no, the LibSocs will say. This isn't government or socialism. This is an equalization of resources between different regions who... blah blah blah. These are all words saying the same thing. They think they can make life more fair for everyone as a whole by finding ways to equalize the lives of everyone. So if somebody is born poor you take a little bit from a rich person and make the poor person less poor. I really don't even have a need to explain this any further, problems everywhere on this.
No, no, this is about equalizing property they say. If one property has more of something you give that to another place that has less of that something. All these places with their unique resources will all combine and create a great society. But isn't that what markets do already? Oh no, no they say, markets are exploitative because not everyone has an equal chance at owning property.
But let me stop beating around the bush and make my main point, from a practicality standpoint, because I really get tired of all the hypothetical BS.
For LibSoc to happen one of the following has to occur:
1. Everyone owns an equal percentage of all land in existence.
2. There is going to be inequality in society because there are going to be groups who own more or less amounts or values of land simply by chance.
The first problem is an obvious failure which requires no further clarification: Socialism.
The second problem leaves the Libsocs at exactly the core problem which they are trying to solve. Unless you really make everything equal, then there is going to be inequality under Libsoc. Based off of where people are born they may or may not be part of a better democratic group making better use of their land. Rather than calling it individually held, they call it group held and they face the exact same inequality aspects at the group level rather than the individual level. Calling something a democratic group instead of an individual makes no difference in ownership or production discussion. Rather than facing inequality with individuals, they now face it with democratic groups.
But here's another problem. What if I want to opt out? What if I know how to use land better than the economic democracy that is currently using it like a bunch of hacks? Then what? I'm back to our current state system. I just have to go along to get along or try to have my say in what to do with the land while the whole democratic system doesn't give a crap about what I have to say. I have to go through a bureaucratic hack system to "have my say" and blah blah blah. It just doesn't work. I'd rather go raise money, do my innovation privately, make the lives of lots of people better and make a lot of money for myself and the investors who believed in me along the way.
There are other economically nonviable, irrational beliefs of LibSocs too, like how profit is exploitative of employees. LibSoc is so bad it's not even fun to write against online, so I'm done. It's socialism phrased as something else. Same crap, different name.Filed under: Politics / Government, Libertarian Socialism, Anarcho-Capitalism