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CAN THERE BE AN “AFTER SOCIALISM”?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2002

Alan Charles Kors
Affiliation:
History, University of Pennsylvania

Extract

There is no “after socialism.” There will not be in our or in our children's lifetimes an “after socialism.” In the wake of the Holocaust and the ruins of Nazism, anti-Semitism lay low a bit, embarrassed by its worst manifestation, its actual exercise of state dominion. In the wake of the collapse of Communism, socialism's only real and full experience of power, socialism too lays low for just a moment. Socialism's causes in the West, however, remain ever with us, the product of the convergence of two extraordinary achievements: liberal free enterprise and political democracy. The former creates wealth that has transformed all human possibility, but it also gives rise to particularly deep envy. The latter allows ambition a route to power by an appeal to the democratic state to seize and redistribute wealth in the name of social equality. As Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises understood perfectly, the bounty of free enterprise leads the unproductive to believe that such wealth is a fact of nature, there for the taking.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Social Philosophy and Policy Foundation

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