Socialism -vs- Liberty

by Daniel Hamm, Former President, AKRA

A basic socialist tenant is that societal problems can be cured with more money or a more equitable redistribution of wealth administered by a centralized planning bureaucracy. If that were true then oil rich nations that have redistributive models would be the happiest, most peaceful and most prosperous on earth.

Examples that have those government models include Venezuela and Russia. How are they doing? Venezuela has world’s richest known oil reserves yet citizens are rioting in the streets because store shelves are empty of food or even toilet paper. Nicol├ís Maduro’s socialist government now imports oil. I need not mention Russia’s tumbling domestic economy nor their invasion of Ukraine.

How about oil rich nations that have reasonably libertarian free market principles such as Nigeria? I’ve been to the capital Lagos- It is a kleptocracy, poor, and perhaps the most dangerous city I’ve ever visited. Throw money at a lawless population and you get even more anarchy and despair.

What am I saying? Neither oil wealth redistributed by a bureaucratic socialist model nor oil wealth administered by libertarian kleptocrats improve humanity’s lot. Only free markets stabilized by Judeo-Christian values and laws efficiently distribute societal resources and provide prosperity.

Alaska has joined the central planning bureaucrat model that has wrecked other nations. We now have perhaps the world’s highest percentage of government employees, government retirees, and government dependents causing Juneau to swim in an ocean of red ink. Imagine were we would be as a state if we didn’t use our oil wealth to buy people out of the private producing sector?

As a contrast, I can think of a tiny island nation that is one of the poorest in the world in terms of natural resources. By all accounts, it should have one of the lowest per-capita incomes and as a result have poor performing schools. It is in the world's top three in both categories. Why? It doesn't invest in government dependence and red tape producing bureaucracies. It is free. Its name is Singapore.

Governor Bill Walker should stop emulating Venezuela and start emulating Singapore.