French revolutionists eat your heart out! The millennial generation has your back.
Socialism originates primarily from the streets of France during the French Revolution in 1789. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels brought it to the forefront of political thought in their Communist Manifesto in 1848. So what? you ask. Why should I care about a bunch of old geezers who lived over one hundred years ago?
Well, their ideas are coming back in a very big way.
So, what is socialism?
In simple terms, socialism is an economic theory that thinks that the means of making, moving and trading wealth should be owned by the community. A middleman from Capitalism to Communism, so to speak.
Why has it grown in popularity?
Socialism is enticing. In the last few decades, the interests of the poor and working-class populace have been neglected. The millennial generation are economically s**ewed, most of us are stuck with a university debt that is thousands of pounds more than what our parents had. We are struggling in a housing market crisis with house prices soaring, meaning most of us are stuck living with our parents until the foreseeable future.
Young people want change.
Labour’s manifesto was leaked in May before the general election. Free university education and increased spending on the NHS was top on their to-do list. The Daily Mail plastered ‘Labour’s Manifesto to Drag Us Back to the 1970s’ over its front page, but it called towards the disheartened and forgotten. Corbyn defied pollsters, pundits, and the press; their poll numbers soared. On the 8th of June, Labour held 42 per cent of the vote. The ‘youthquake’ shook the foundations of UK politics.
Socialism used to be synonymous with Soviet-era socialism from the Cold war. The centrally planned economy in the USSR led to rationing, a lack of innovation, a lack of diversity, difficulties with produce and service being conducted at a low standard. Capitalism, by comparison, incentivised modernisation and innovation.
But modern socialism like that in Scandinavia is less extreme. Denmark, Sweden and Norway’s form of socialism tries to provide social safeguards and universal healthcare through heavy taxation and expenditure, within a capitalist economy. It has also maintained a free market, thus taking on a half-measure of real socialism.
Granted, a universal healthcare system is admirable, but realistically unaffordable. One in ten Swedish people now have private health insurance, states The Local. They have also said ‘In Sweden, visitors are sometimes surprised to learn about year-long waiting times for cancer patients, rioting in low-income neighbourhoods and train derailments amid lagging infrastructure investment.’ It is no longer a feasible system so changes must be made.
Do millennials really know what socialism is?
A study conducted by The New York Times found that although 43 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds had a positive reaction to the word ‘socialism’, only 16 per cent of those could actually define it. Millennials are simply unaware that a government based on a socialist structure would involve the government nationalising private enterprises, and taking a directorial role over the country’s economy.
For many millennials, the word ‘socialism’ is simply a hippy lens, to protect the vulnerable from the world’s evil capitalist overlords. Put into practice, 64 per cent from the case study said they preferred a free market economy over an economy managed by the government.
The key concept of socialism is that everyone, irrespective of their accomplishments, should be paid equally. Or as Karl Marx put it, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’. In this idealistic world, careers would be chosen for the right reasons. But should a doctor really earn the same amount as a barista, or a takeaway driver?
Winston Churchill, once said, ‘a young person who is not a socialist hasn’t got a heart, and an old person who is a socialist hasn’t got a head’.
I can see why young people are drawn in by socialism. But, in the end, socialism always fails. Like a Ponzi scheme, it initially shows success but eventually disintegrates and fails. And why? Because it lacks incentives. Why should you work hard when your work colleague doesn’t and still gets the same wage as you?
Socialism is incompatible with human nature.