The Fruits of Socialism

(Jerome Horowitz, The Elders of Israel and the Constitution, pp. 91-97. 1970.)

What are the fruits of socialism?

One learns from history that seemingly logical theories are often proved invalid. One would therefore expect that to induce an intelligent person to accept a theory its proponents should show a significant body of examples of its successful operation, and the relative absence of examples of unsuccessful operation.

Examination of socialism reveals that its proponents prefer not to investigate large numbers of specific examples. Instead they tend to limit themselves to general theoretical considerations. This enables them to avoid admitting that the many examples of socialistic experiments of various sorts and sizes have been consistently unsuccessful. The promised day of freedom and plenty is always around the next corner.

Jamestown and Plymouth

It is of interest that socialistic experiments were tried and were unsuccessful in both Jamestown and Plymouth. Neither colony began to prosper until those experiments were discontinued and each man began to work for himself.13


It has been popular in recent years to refer to Sweden as an example of how successful socialism can be. In fact Sweden is often enthusiastically called a workers' socialistic paradise.

Every lawyer knows how impressive an unchallenged statement can be—until its flaws are exposed in the closer scrutiny of cross examination. In view of the consistent lack of success of other socialistic experiments, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the Swedish socialistic experiment to see if it really is a valid example of successful socialism. In doing so it should be pointed out that Sweden is only partly socialistic because its underlying economic system is capitalism rather than state ownership of the means of production and distribution.

The following quotations are taken from two recent articles in U. S. News and World Report:

After 20 years of building the world's greatest welfare state, Sweden finds most of the original problems unsolved and, in some cases, grown greater instead of fading away.

The costly welfare and educational reforms have not curbed such social ills as crime, alcoholism and drug addiction. Sweden's crime rate has doubled since 1950, with juvenile crime largely responsible.

Now you hear this comment from a high police official: . . . “It has become increasingly clear over the past 10 years that the welfare state we live in is anything but an ideal society.”

Housing subsidies are one of the achievements of which the social planners are most proud.

Yet housing today is one of the worst of the messy situations troubling Sweden's welfare state.

Young married couples often are forced to live with relatives. Many face a wait of 10 years before they can have homes of their own.

Workers in the lower and middle income brackets pay in taxes twice as much as Americans in the same brackets.

In this welfare state, wages and salaries have risen even faster than prices, but higher taxes have swallowed most of the gains in pay.

Wage inflation now is beginning to undermine the competitive position of some industries.

Widespread discontent over high taxes, inflation, the housing shortages and other flaws in the welfare state led to a setback for the Labor Government . . . in last autumn's elections.

Sweden's top Communist . . . has greater popularity than any Communist has ever before enjoyed in Sweden.

As the Labor Government moves leftward to meet the Communist challenge, it loses support from business and other “moderate” elements.

So when you look behind the facade of Sweden's “Great Society” you find a disturbing picture—a picture of developing crisis, not one of social problems solved.

Here in Stockholm, suggestions are heard that the U. S. Congress, inundated with new ideas and new plans for bigger and broader benefits to be financed by taxpayers, might take a long, hard look at what has happened in Sweden.

Sometimes one wonders why the collectivists turn one's attention toward Sweden, because the Swedish example disproves one of their basic assumptions. This is the assumption that crime is the outgrowth of poverty and an economically deprived childhood. Since Sweden provides “cradle-to-grave security,” if their assumption were correct, crime should have been all but eliminated there, especially among the young. Yet, as indicated in these articles, the reverse is true. Crime has been increasing rapidly, especially among the young.

When one takes a more objective balanced view of the fruits of partial socialism in Sweden, one finds that the Swedish experiment is really additional evidence that Joseph Smith was right and socialism is not a sound doctrine.


Here in North America, there is a better example of the fruits of socialism. From 1944 to 1964 the Canadian province of Saskatchewan operated under a socialist government. Unlike Sweden which has traditionally maintained friendly relations with business, the Saskatchewan government followed the usual socialist attitude of being anti-private enterprise.

Finally in 1964 the people of Saskatchewan decided that they wanted the fruits of capitalism instead of the promises of socialism. They elected a government committed to taking Saskatchewan back to a private enterprise economy with reduced government services and reduced taxes. Thereafter, W. Ross Thatcher, Premier of Saskatchewan, was invited to the United States to speak at a Conference of Western Governors on Saskatchewan's experience with a socialist government. Here are a few of Premier Thatcher's comments:

In 1944, the socialists said they would solve the unemployment problem by building government factories. Not only this, they promised to use the profits from these socialist enterprises to build highways, schools, hospitals, and to finance better social welfare measures generally.

Of course, in the overall picture, there were no profits — rather there were colossal losses. Thus the welfare program had to be financed from taxation.

Under the socialist government, our provincial debt went from $150 million to $600 million. During the period more than 600 completely new taxes were introduced. 650 other taxes were increased.

All throughout their regime, the socialists tended to use compulsion. Repeatedly, their boards and agencies were manned by some social theorists, who told businessmen how their businesses should be run.

Mr. Chairman, 20 years ago, the socialists promised to make Saskatchewan a Mecca for the working man. Instead, we saw the greatest mass exodus of people out of an area, since Moses led the Jews out of Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

Mr. Chairman — Is there a lesson to be learned from Saskatchewan's experiences? I think there is—a rather horrible lesson.

If there are any Americans who think that socialism is the answer, I wish they would come to Saskatchewan and study what has happened to our province. Twenty years of socialism gave my province—industrial stagnation;—retarded development;—oppressive taxation;—major depopulation.

In our province, we know socialism not from text books but from hard, bitter experience. We have found that there is nothing wrong with socialism except that it doesn't work.


Perhaps the most comprehensive modern example of an actual socialistic experiment is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—Communist Russia.

In connection with the inability of socialism to provide the promised economic benefits, it should be remembered that the economic promises of socialism have not been fulfilled even in Russia where the compulsory power of the state has been used to force socialistic economic progress.

Although, by concentrating its resources, Russia has been able to achieve spectacular results in limited areas, this should not be confused with overall economic progress. On a per capita basis the USSR ranks, not second, but about twentieth in measurable social and economic indices among the principal countries. In fifty years the USSR has not overtaken any country with the possible exception of Italy, which is itself heavily involved with socialism.18

In a lecture given at Moscow University in the Summer of 1965, Professor Abel G. Aganbegyan, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, made the following comment concerning living standards.

With respect to increase in living standards, things are going badly. . . . There has not, in fact, been any rise in the standard of living during recent years. Ten million people have suffered a decrease in their living standards.

Concerning prospects for improvement in the Russian economy, Professor Aganbegyan declared:

Everything that has been said is highly alarming because it is not just a question of the situation existing in our economy today, but one of the existing trend and this is very, very much worse.

Is there some conclusion to be drawn from the difficulty socialists seem to have finding examples of successful socialism to counter the consistent pattern of socialist failures? Can it be that although most of the people who accept socialism feel that they are intelligent and enlightened, acceptance of socialism is really based on a kind of unreasoning emotional faith rather than an intelligent analysis of extensive factual evidence?