Alphabet of Classical liberalism 3: Why didn’t communism work?

Communism advocates the social ownership of everything, productive assets, and all economic resources. The goal of communism is to achieve the ideals of equality, justice, and solidarity. Does that sound good to you? It does to many people. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and can never work. And it doesn’t matter how hard we try. The question is, why?

The Alphabet of Classical Liberalism was a successful small book focused on describing the basic principles of classical liberalism. It was first published by the F. A. Hayek Foundation Bratislava, Slovakia in 2001.

Now it comes in the form of animated videos prepared with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

The video introduces Adam (the namesake of the famous Adam Smith), a classical liberal and his worldview dealing with many of current problems.

On the one hand, Adam presents the catchy-ness of communism’s ideas as equality and solidarity, but at the same time he shows what communism has always led to and will always lead to. Communism is a dangerous illusion of societal happiness. Adam shows the reasons why communism could never work and never can.

Alphabet of Classical liberalism: Why didn’t communism work

Hi, I’m Adam and I know one thing about communism for sure. We can be glad that its most significant manifestations in the world are slowly disappearing. Communism, central planning, or political dictatorship are the main opponents to classical liberals — just as much as fascism. Why?

Well, these regimes are immoral, they rob their citizens, they limit the possibilities of personal self-realization, they separate people according to classes, and sometimes these regimes even kill.

Every totalitarianism dominated the entire life of the people who lived in it — literally “From the cradle to the grave.” Totalitarianism presents people with difficult moral dilemmas and destroys the soul of individuals and the collective memory of entire nations.

As well as personal and political freedom violations, centralist political experiments also set countries back economically. The comparisons of West and East Germany after 1989, North and South Korea today, or Vienna and Bratislava before the introduction of communism and after the regime ended are telling.

Why does central planning always fail economically? What do you think? There is a simple reason for this. Free pricing system! No central planning commission or politician, not even the most powerful computer, is able to gather volatile, rapidly changing information in time and space about the supply and demand of the individual market players and their pricing ideas.

The result? An improper pricing system that causes the incorrect allocation of labor, resources, and production. Supply and demand do not meet. It produces something no one wants or, in contrast, fails to produce what people need. Society wastes its wealth and becomes poorer.

The reason why communism has survived for so long is that market signals still penetrated the communist countries. Where from? Either from other capitalist countries or from the so-called gray part of the economy that central planning creates. Other reasons were, of course, restrictions of personal freedom, propaganda, and the use of political violence against its citizens.

Why are totalitarian regimes like fascism or communism so bad? Primarily, because its citizens cannot make decisions about their lives for themselves. The decisions are made for them by someone else — by the leader, the politician, the politburo, or the ruling party.

That’s all on this subject. What do you think about migration and migrants? Is migration good or bad? Do you know that there is a difference between economic migration and migration motivated by the social welfare system? We will discuss this subject next time. See you again. Bye!

Matúš Pošvanc and František Chroustal

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