Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Socialism and Fascism

And the parting on the Left
Is now parting on the Right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight
--The Who

People sometimes associate socialism with the political Left and fascism with the political Right. This is not quite correct. Fascism is a flavor of socialism. Socialism is State control of production and distribution. In some forms of socialism, this control is overt thru direct State ownership of property. When that ownership is communal, then socialism takes the form of communism.

In other forms of socialism, rather than owning productive assets outright, the State retains decision rights on how productive assets are employed. The State might dictate what gets made, how it is made, who makes it, and/or who gets the output. 'Profits' are split between the State and the 'owners' of the productive assets. This form of socialism is fascism.

Of course, it is debatable as to what extent fascism materially differs from other forms of socialism. After all, if 'owners' of productive assets are not free to dispose of productive assets as they see fit, then this is not consistent with private property and property rights. With fascism, it appears the State merely carves out dividends for operators of State-controlled verticals.

History books have largely misplaced the fact that features of the New Deal, particularly those related to the National Recovery Administration (NRA), were patterned from the Mussolini brand of fascism that was all the rage in the 1930s.

A strong nationalistic bent often accompanies fascism. In 1930s Germany, for example, Nazi was short for National Socialist Party.

In his 1944 work The Road to Serfdom. Hayek contended that although the allies were intent on fighting Nazi fascism, similar socialist tenets were already being operationalized in the United States, England, and elsewhere. Unless the US et al reversed course, Hayek posited that we would become the very ideology that we proposed to be fighting a war against.

Fast forward to today and there is compelling evidence that Hayek was right.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion.
~Friedrich A. von Hayek