"Free Stuff" Isn't All That It's Cracked Up to Be

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Louis Rouanet via The Mises Institute,

To my British and American friends who must deal with the socialist nonsense of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, I found this poem. It was written by Rudyard Kipling, the writer most hated by English Socialists in the 40s and an opponent to the interventionist policies implemented by the Labour Party after the second world war:

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,


By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;


But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,


And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "iƒ you don’t work you die."

This poem is not an exaggeration. At the time, it was decreed by the Control of Engagement Order that “no man between the ages of 18 and 50, or woman between the ages of 18 and 40, can change occupations at will. The Minister of Labor has the power to direct such workers to the employment he considers best for the national interest.” This Order was abolished only in March 1950.

At the time, the consequences of "democratic socialism" were disastrous: no food, no housing, no clothing, no fuel. By 1948, rations had fallen well below the wartime average. At the same date, one could read in The New Statesman, which was by no means a virulent opponent of Planning: "You may have social security, but you cannot go into a store and buy two quarts of milk." To which an English commentator replied: "You not only cannot buy two quarts of milk. You cannot buy one. You can only get two quarts of milk on your doorstep a week. If you try to get more you are apt to land in jail."

Planned chaos was the logical outcome of the foolish socialist policies implemented by the British government. John T. Flynn, the great libertarian journalist, in his book The Road Ahead (1949) noticed the devastating effects of government intervention in housing. He wrote:

The bombs and guided missiles that destroyed 300,000 British dwellings in World War II were not the worst enemies of British home ownership. That honor is reserved for the persons who advocated laws for "low-cost public housing" and for "cooperation" between government and private enterprise in housing for low income groups.


Great Britain is spending as large a proportion of its income on housing as it did before the war, but it is getting barely half the number of homes. During 4 years after World War II, only 367,761 permanent houses were built, compared with a total of 2,500,000 in the 8 years before the war, of which 1,888,000 were built by private enterprise. Owing to the greater need for housing, and 300,000 dwellings having been made uninhabitable by the war, various types of housing and control acts were passed. But, inevitably, the more control, the less housing.

In January, 1947, a great plan for affordable/free housing was announced by the government. It was supposed to furnish 250,000 houses in the year. The government went on with the plans and mobilized all sorts of resources: plaster, cement, plumbing, nails, brick and other materials necessary were ordered and produced. But after some time, it was discovered that lumber could not be supplied for more than 60,000 houses. The great plan failed miserably, falling short by 190,000 houses. In the meantime, all the other materials were being furiously produced and it was also discovered that there was not enough labor to produce them. Bricks, plaster, and other things produced were pilling up, wasted for lack of buyers. The plan was a pathetic fiasco. Whether it is Sanders or Corbyn, the policies they support will fail for the same reason socialism failed in the post-WWII United Kingdom. One does not have to think much to understand the parallel between the “affordable housing” policies of the English Labour Party and the request for “free” education or health care. It will fail because governments cannot operate rational allocation of resources, because markets are necessary to the good functioning of an economy.

In fact, "democratic socialism" was such a failure in post-WWII England that a long-time member of the Labour Party, Alfred Edwards, had to admit:

I have spent years discoursing on the defects of the Capitalist system. I do not withdraw those criticisms. But we have seen the two systems side by side. And the man who would still argue for socialism as the means of ridding our society of the defects of capitalism is blind indeed. Socialism just does not work.

Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn may like post-WWII England and its so-called “social policies.” The truth however is that no one really wants to go back to a time were government was running every aspect of your life, to a time were shortages, rather than prosperity, was the rule.

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TalkToLind's picture

In Venezuela everyone can afford food because it's price controlled.  Yeppers, no problems there.

mtl4's picture

It's only when you hit the crapper you realize you're in trouble!

0b1knob's picture

You just don't get it do you?  The FSA along with all the Bernie supporters and other deadbeats don't expect or even WANT socialism to work.

Socialism is just a tool used to destroy society.

Aaronson.Jones.Rutherford's picture

As Ms No said yesterday, you already live under socialism for the rich (the few). Why not try socialism for the poor (the many) for a change & see if it brings about a better society coz you sure a fork don't have anything anywhere near a decent society now; American society is a world laughing stock. Everyone knows the rich sh1t on everyone else & yet you guys still yell "America, fuch yeah". Stop handing out taxpayer money to the 1% through bank bailouts & tax loopholes & war related contracts to big business & maybe find someone else to give it to & see where it gets you. Think about being the masses rather than pretending that the free sh1t brigade are something & someone else. If you are not in the 1%, you are everyone else.

Ms No's picture

Actually I didn't say that.  Or at least, that's not what I was trying to say.  I am not always the best communicator in type but I think you misinterpreted that.  I don't believe that this system can be defined by either socialism or fascism there are elements of both.  There really isn't an example of true socialism or capitalism around.

I don't agree with socialism for the rich or the poor because it's a slippery slope.  I believe in free will charity for the poor.  I would like to try a form of capitalism that is based off small business and farms.  These monster corporations probably shouldn't even exist in my opinion, nor should our banking and monetary system in its current form.

I don't know what the answer is because humanity hasn't discovered it yet.  I think our founders made a good go at it despite the fact that there were banking agents among them working their own angles.

I don't think that people like Marx were attempting to define the system they wanted to implement but rather they were trying to create a propaganda treatise to aid them in implementing a system that didn't resemble the one they described.  They left out all of the dead people, tyranny and poverty.   


Aaronson.Jones.Rutherford's picture

Apologies Ms No, from what you said I took that you believed that the US takes from taxpayers & gives to the rich, something which I believe to be the case. I use the word "socialism" to fit with the perception of many ZHers of what Bernie Sanders represents (i.e. everyone up to now gives to the rich but Sanders proposes to give to the poor & those opposed to Sanders call his policies "socialist") but I believe the US to be more akin to be a soft-facist county & in reality an oligarchy.

I absolutely agree, there is no socialism nor capitalism, I just don't think they can work in human society (on a large scale anyway). Unfortunately, I think humanity needs to start over so roll on WWIII & lets get this over with.

Dangime's picture

78% of the US Federal Budget is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. So, programs for old people, and programs for poor people. Most of what is left is defense and interest on the debt. Sure, corporate welfare is BS, but most of the money goes to those 3 programs...it's hard to say it's simply serving the rich.

Aaronson.Jones.Rutherford's picture

Circa 25% of budget is Med (inc Obamacare) out of which big-pharma do extremenly well. This is a great example of a way to transfer wealth from taxpayers to corporates. I think the figure is closer to 60% for SS + Med (inc Obamacare) combined though I am not only or specificlly talking about budget. Bailouts, contracts to connected corporates, favourable tax laws & especially defence spending (circa 15% of budget) are examples of how wealth is transferred to & maintained by the rich, as facilitated by those in power. Ultimately, my point is that the rich get an insane amount of "free stuff" for such a small group so it would seem to me that they are most definitely being served by the system. It looks to me like the system is there just to serve them.

AE911Truth's picture

You are not seeing the bigger picture. Many thousands of trillions of Dollars have been stolen from all of humanity by various means; about one million Dollars for each person on the planet. These include Unacknowledged Special Access Projects, (described under Oath by Dr. Steven Greer and (eventually up to 500) other witnesses, of credibility sufficient to stand in a court of law, at the May 09, 2001 DisclosureProject.org hearing at the Washington D.C. National Press Club) including the intentional and illegal suppression of cheap clean energy, health, and transport technologies. When Ben Rich second Director of Lockheed SkunkWorks stated: "We have the technology to take ET home." he was not kidding, and the technology of those craft could eliminate the cost of pollution and cost of fuel globally. How much do we pay globally for energy? Is it about $2T per year? Now sum the cost for each year acknowledging that a Dollar spent 50 years ago equates to much more than one Dollar today. Now consider that the cost of energy is embedded into everything we buy from food to housing. What is the cost to clean up Fukushima, Chernobyl, the Exxon & BP Oil Spills, and whatever disasters come next? Now add that all up. Many thousands of trillions of Dollars.

If you earned honestly, it is yours to keep. If you stole your wealth through deceptive lies of omission, outright lies, insider traded pump & dumps, and illegal suppression of energy, health, and transport technologies beneficial to humanity, this stolen wealth must be returned to those from whom it was stolen, which include all of humanity.


The banker's owners must repay us.

Ms No's picture

No worries.  I think your right on most of that except for maybe the Bernie part. What you stated there about what he proposes is accurate as well, I just don't trust him personally. 

We do have socialism for the rich, especially when it comes to losses.  I'm just not sure how to identify this current system.  It fits in part with the definitions of socialism, fascism and oligarchy in one respect or another. 

Our school system and welfare are socialist but there is even more fascism indicated and it always leads back to oligarchs.  The term oligarchy is too broad for what we are dealing with as well.  I see conquer through central banking families who then institute regional oligarchs as lords over their respective areas and it gets way more complicated from there. 

What we are looking at is the culmination of thousands of years of tyranny and what has been learned from each system. Or maybe they just have a play book for how to topple/infiltrate each individual human system effectively.  These titles really just quibble about the mechanisms but we still have to have a proper definition in order to conceptualize the situation.  If the definition does not include the banking system at it's core than people will never be looking at the circumstance as it is.     

We need a new a definition that includes the central banking aspect which is at the center of the power structure.  There is just too much baggage with the old terms and many things that don't fit.  If our definitions are limited so will our solutions be. 

Kissy Ass's picture

Fuck the back and forth flim-flam he said she said.

This is FUCKING Zero Hedge "The Fight CLub"!

Ms No's picture

Well then.... FUUUUCK YOU!  You should be beaten with a bag of assholes, circumcized foreskins and Bruce Jenner's uterus.

Kissy Ass's picture

There you go. Now you got it. Cheers!

Adahy's picture

Natural controls are the answer.
They aren't always pretty (less-so the more you fight them); but there is no escaping them.

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

You misunderstand. Venezuela solved its toilet paper shortage problem by making sure there was no food to digest.

Nexus789's picture

Before you spout off you should realise that the economy has been defacto run by the IMF since 2009. Disaster economics in action. Crash the economy and then steal the assets. 

Kissy Ass's picture

It's been defacto run by the fucking jews since the federal reserve was born. Wake the fuck up!

Slarti Bartfast's picture

In the meantime, all the other materials were being furiously produced and it was also discovered that there was not enough labor to produce them.

The above doesn't make sense. 

Umh's picture

It is very unclear. He may be talking about producing the houses there.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Apr 8, 2016 2:23 PM

Socialism Capitialism,  just words now.    How do you keep the smart-n-savvy people from creating bullshit for the dumbasses allowing them to win?

SofaPapa's picture

Can't imagine why someone would downvote you for that.  Weird world.

The trouble being that human beings are all by nature delusional.  Some to a greater extent, some lesser, but all of us have our delusions.  When a sociopath strokes the notes of a particular delusion that resonates with a large number of people, look out. The strong majority (>>90%) of our species follows the herd, just as I will do most of the time.  By the time that enough people figure out that the leader is leading us into Hell, so much damage has been done that even the path toward sustainability is painful.

The only anwer to your question is "to convince one person at a time".  Sucks that the mass media is our enemy and is so damned effective.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) N0TaREALmerican Apr 8, 2016 2:42 PM

They ain't smart and savvy these days, that's why their slave system is out in the open and people are angry.  If they were any good at this shit we wouldn't even know about it and everyone would think their deprivation is for the good of "society".

In the future?  Who knows, but it does seem like the end of artificial scarcity is at hand and going forward they aren't going to be able to reconstitute their de facto control of the "money supply" at some point.  Artificial Scarcity is the key ingredient to their ability to manufacture consent.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) PoasterToaster Apr 8, 2016 2:46 PM

Tell me:   who kids will inherit the earth?   The smart-n-savvy people who own it now?   Or the dumb-n-clueless who can't even figure out who the enemy is?

Dick Buttkiss's picture

"How do you keep the smart-n-savvy people from creating bullshit for the dumbasses allowing them to win?"

Beyond putting an end to the state, I have no idea.

As for socialism and capitalism being "just words now": 

President Obama told a group of young people in Argentina not to worry about the differences between capitalism and communism and “just choose from what works.”


That would be fascialism, of course — https://www.lewrockwell.com/2009/06/thomas-dilorenzo/fascialism/ —as it works so well for the 1%. And the American people will vote to perpetuate it regardless of who replaces this latest Puppet-In-Chief..

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Dick Buttkiss Apr 8, 2016 2:53 PM

Yeah, it seems all roads lead to fascialism .   It's the most male of the authoritarianism.    And most people want some form of authoritarianism. 

Nexus789's picture

Really quite a silly article.  The government now runs more facets of people's lives in than ever before. But in a very intrusive and negative way.

The building of homes in the UK meant for the first time many people got to live in decent homes and not slums. Many of these housing estates created and fostered strong communities. I should know i grew up on one.

Capitalism only works up the point there are no more other people's assets to steal.

GoldenGoosed's picture

You of course have capitalism confused with communism aka socialism.
But as always the commie fascist barbarians have robbed capitalist to get their shit thru so they can be all up our asses to steal more because all they are good at doing is being as incompetent as they can be like a big black hole where all the money in the world can't fix all the fucked up shit as they can't handle any competition to their bs

HopefulCynical's picture

And Socialism only works until you run out of other people's money.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) HopefulCynical Apr 8, 2016 2:37 PM

And capitalism only works until the smart-n-savvy people loot the companies that created the wealth.

The problem isn't the ISM,  the problem is controlling the smart-n-savvy people.    Which is why we're in the state we're in now.    No ISM has rules that the smart-n-savvy people can't get around by creating bullshit.  

Bollixed's picture

What's with al the negativism over smart-n-savvy? I've used that shampoo for years. Not a dandruff flake in sight.

mary mary's picture

Oh Brother Where Art Thou: "I'm a Dapper Dan man".  :-)

Vidal Sassoon: "When you look good, we look good".   :-)

mary mary's picture

I agree.

The only solution I see is for there to be fewer people, because I think the only way to have a Free Market is for people to be able to choose whether to enter the Market or not, and the only way people can actually have the option of NOT enterring the Market is if they can be self-sufficient, and the only way they can actually be self-sufficient is they have land (or a boat, in an area rich with fish), and the only way they can have land is if the ratio of land to people is high.

Nexus789's picture

Dumb commt attributed to that bitch Thatcher and spewed by people that don't grasp how real world works.

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

"Capitalism only works up the point there are no more other people's assets to steal".

Are you smoking Crack?  That is Socialism you are describing.

"...and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them."

-Margaret Thatcher, in a TV interview for Thames TV This Week on Feb. 5, 1976


"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand."

-Milton Friedman

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

 Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations, Chapter 2

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) City_Of_Champyinz Apr 8, 2016 2:56 PM

Re:  Are you smoking Crack?  That is Socialism you are describing.


That's management he's describing:


Upper management fucks the owners  (stealing assets).
Middle management fucks the customers
Lower management fucks the employees. 

There's nobody fucking management tho.

Kissy Ass's picture

Capitalism did come to the USSA until after WWII when the USG made a deal with the jew devil.

Ever since then the goyum wave been properly sheared.

Wake up America.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Apr 8, 2016 2:39 PM

You know what does work?  Not stealing from people under color of "government" or "corporations", and not following a psychopathic values regime.  This business of so called socialism (i.e. central control by pinhead) substituting itself for actually helping people should have long since been discredited. 

Despite decades of proof that central control does not work, and that when given absolute power the pinheads in charge do nothing for the people but steal and make demands at gunpoint, apparently we need one more big hurrah for "socialism" to royally fuck us all before people will finally admit it here in America.

And capitalism is a poor substitute for the Free Market.  Capitalism is to the Free Market as Socialism is to Safety Net.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) PoasterToaster Apr 8, 2016 2:43 PM

How does the Free Market HELP the smart-n-savvy people who make more loot with monopolies? 


How do you keep the smart-n-savvy people from creating bullshit for the dumbasses about how they are working for free-market when in fact they are working for corporate monopoly.

Re:  You know what does work?  Not stealing from people under color of "government" or "corporations", and not following a psychopathic values regime.

It surely DOES work for the top 10%.    

mary mary's picture

The Free Market exists wherever, and only wherever, the Monopolies are not present.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) mary mary Apr 8, 2016 3:03 PM

Monopolies will be present wherever there's smart-n-savvy people to form them. 

mary mary's picture

In sewage plants and politics and finance, the scum rises to the top.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) mary mary Apr 8, 2016 3:08 PM

Like those damn kids at the back of the class who ruined all the nice kid's chances for field-trips.   They are probably running the monopolies now.

Chris88's picture

In a free market one can only attain and keep a monopoly if they are so damn efficient to the point nobody else can even bother to compete, which hasn't ever happened and will not happen.  Theoretically, if somebody had a monopoly there woulndn't be a market for capital goods in that sector and thus no ability to guage profit/loss and resource allocation.  That's your best argument against "capitalism"?

DeepFriedLizards's picture

Yes, but the children will always want free shit, no matter how old they get.

sbenard's picture

Socialism doesn't just fail! It DESTROYS -- every time!

Spartacus Rex's picture

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

George Bernard Shaw


You have a choice between the natural stability of gold and the honesty and intelligence of the members of government. And with all due respect for those gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, vote for gold.” George Bernard Shaw




History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue,
deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by
controlling money and its issuance. -James Madison



The issue which has swept down the centuries…and which will have to be fought sooner or later…is the people vs. the banks. – Lord Acton, Historian…1834 – 1902
Aaronson.Jones.Rutherford's picture

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

George Bernard Shaw


Exactly, and this is why big-business/ Wall St. so eagerly supports the blue team & the red team.