Socialism is one of the biggest breakout economic ideologies of the 20th century. Although the UK general election was won by capitalists, socialism has more advocates than ever before, as a growing contingent are proposing a redistribution of wealth. You just need to look at the 250,000 people who protested on Saturday against the Conservatives’ cuts; only for them to announce £12 billion of welfare cuts a short time later. It is easy to see from this that socialism is becoming increasingly popular in modern society as more and more people are becoming aware of the perceived inequality that exists between the affluent 1% and the rest. However, I am of the opinion that socialism cannot work in modern society, or any society, for that matter, and my reasons are below.
Firstly, socialism does not reward hard work. Say, for example, that Raj works twice as hard as Mark. Surely Raj should be entitled to twice the pay that Mark gets. However, they both get the same. Over time, Raj will grow wise to the unfairness which is blighting his life, and he will work the same amount as Mark, as, after all, they do not get proportional rewards for their labour. This creates a culture of entitlement where everyone feels as though they need rewards for minimal, or no, work. This undermines the basic human principle of “work hard, reap rewards”, and means that laziness is promoted, which can only start a chain reaction towards a gradually more irresponsible society. This means that even the young children, growing up, know that whatever they do, they will just earn the same as someone else and so do not need to work hard, as there is no hope of a large reward, so work ethics stagnate.
Moreover, socialism will also undermine innovation. The great innovators of society, such as Bill Gates, are, mostly, the ones who become members of the 1%. This shows that innovation and producing products which people actually want to buy reap gigantic financial rewards, which is part of the reason that innovation is at an all time high these days. If innovation is not so heavily rewarded through the Socialist “redistribution of wealth”, people will not want to innovate anymore, as they are getting the exact same rewards as the non-innovators, the people who, frankly, add nothing to society. This kills innovation as the rewards are going equally to everyone, in effect, rewarding the non-producers and punishing the producers. It is like, as I read on another website, taking the average of a class and giving everyone in the class the class average. Of course, the worse students in the class would jump at this proposition, however the top students would not be so joyful. This is exactly what socialism stands for, except on a larger scale.
Finally, socialism, contrary to popular belief, undermines the basic moral values of a person and promotes instant gratification. As people, after some years in a socialist society, will be predisposed to getting something for nothing almost instantaneously, they will not want to slog to get what they want and instead will become almost like a small child to his parents, in that they want everything very quickly, having done almost no work to actually achieve it. Now take the example of the small child, and just think that even adults are subscribing to this ideology! This behaviour is toxic in a modern society and will slowly kill the hard working, positive nature that characterised the American Dream. To an extent, we are already seeing this with the Obama administration, with the American public slowly becoming disaffected a-la Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye. Why should they work if they can get everything from the state?
Herein lies the problem with socialism, in that the bad eggs are rewarded and the good eggs are punished. Is this the kind of society we would like to promote? I think not.