Yesterday’s article, I concluded with the observation that Communism (and socialism to a lesser degree) rely on lethal force as their primary motivator:
How exactly does one plan to move the Communist game theory optimum to one of maximum work yielding infinitesimal individual gain, from one that rewards laziness? It should be easy to see how “lethal force” always becomes that first and last resort of Communist regimes when they start diving off the economic cliff. The gun is the game changer, so to speak, against dissenters. If we can learn anything from history, it turns out that shooting people in the back of the head doesn’t exactly boost morale and productivity.
When a society transforms from a free market that involves individuals or smaller groups transacting with each other to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, to one where central bureaucrats handle the transactions instead, apparently knowing what’s best for the people by siphoning the resources from both parties and redistributing them accordingly, black markets will inevitably be formed. The variance in individual demands is kept track in a free market, with prices fluctuating to allow for fair trade. Centrally planned, prices are thrown out the window as ideologues take over the task of redistributing goods, supposedly knowing exactly what every individual needs and coming up with a substitution for the complex variables in a free market.
The ideologues oppose the concept of money, savings, and free market transactions inherent in a growing capitalist economy, treating those that “hoard” as dissenters against the socialist or Communist ideology. People who are not “sharing” their excess production that could be traded with others for something beneficial to both parties down the line is considered “greedy” and “exploitative”. It’s a common misconception you hear too often amongst opponents of capitalism (“the 1%” argument, e.g.).
The ideologues thus create tight control through legislation, making it extremely difficult to operate in free markets, by threatening lethal force on those that try to bypass the centrally controlled system via black markets. Money is hyper-inflated and rendered useless, a cycle that repeats indefinitely through history during these ideological transitions, like the Bolshevik era in the past and the Venezuelan Maduro era in the present.
Free markets enable small communities to work together, building trust between individuals so that they work toward a common goal. When a Communist regime takes over, that trust is replaced by fear. You either give up your excess to the state, or face consequences. By necessity, the ideologues increase the police state, monitoring everyone’s moves, income and production. Informers become prevalent within the once tight-knit communities, as they are either hired by the state, or are acting as “useful idiots” that live under the false promise of extra goodies if they rat out dissenters. Even families start to turn against each other, as everyone suspects everyone else as being an informant.
By design, Communism creates at atmosphere of fear and mistrust in order to maintain its power, siphoning whatever freedom and independence individuals and communities once had and transferring it all to the state. The ideology never was or intended to be a noble, “sharing” cause, but uses the facade of nobility as a means of achieving its ends.
The game theory for the individual shifts, from one where hard work and excess production is encouraged, as it enabled future mutually beneficial trades with others to meet the varied demands of a free market over time, to one where meeting the bare minimum amount of production is encouraged, because any excess would be siphoned away by the state. The risk of being caught with excess and being assessed the death penalty is not worth any extra effort. In fact, it is better to produce less than the minimum, such that your average income, which ends up being less than sustenance, exceeds the input.
You get mass famines in areas that you would never imagine being in famine under Communism or socialism. From our prior examples, famine paradoxically struck the fertile lands of Ukraine in the Bolshevik era and the oil rich nation of Venezuela in the current era.
No matter how hard a nation tries to centrally control an economy by outlawing free markets and redistributing people’s wealth, it inevitably leads to mass murder and famine. It’s exactly what you would expect with ideologues with nothing but a degree in their respective ideology dangerously simplifying the mathematical rigors of economics. Ultimately, any Communist country’s economy is destroyed in a short period of time due to incompetence.
The ideologues eventually get all the power they sought during their uprising using persuasion and propaganda tactics, but it’s just a matter of time when hundreds of millions start to die, the economy ends up being so bad and the “useful idiots” remaining become so few. The state too will succumb to their own ideology, depriving themselves of their own sustenance, resulting in the collapse of their regime.
When communities move from a free market to Communism, it is a transition from infinite mutually beneficial transactions to a single, mutually destructive transaction.
* * *
Follow more on this series of articles by subscribing to the RSS feed. Be sure to leave a comment and share.