Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Slavery Under Socialism

Socialists/communists have pulled down, and in the case of New York City’s government, are contemplating pulling down, the statues of such great historical figures as Washington, Jefferson, and Columbus, on the grounds that during their lifetimes these men owned one or more slaves. The outrageousness of this is all the greater when one realizes that socialism/communism is both a system of universal enslavement and leads to mass murder.

A socialist/communist state is a universal monopoly employer, the only employer in the economic system. As such, it can pay its workers as little as minimum subsistence, because they have nowhere else to go. Indeed, in today’s environment, it can pay them nothing at all, and let them starve to death. That’s one way to reduce a nation’s “carbon footprint.” Slavery under socialism/communism is far worse than the conditions that exist when the slaves are privately owned. As I wrote in my book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (p. 290 ): "There is a further consequence of forced labor under socialism that must be considered, namely, its potential for developing into mass murder. To understand how this can happen, we must contrast forced labor under socialism with forced labor under different conditions. "Slavery existed in ancient Greece and Rome and in the Southern United States before the Civil War, and was, of course, a moral abomination. Nevertheless, abominable as slavery was, there was an important factor in these cases which restrained the slave owners and the overseers in their treatment of the slaves. That was the fact that the slaves were private property. A private slave owner was restrained in his treatment of his slaves by his own material self-interest. If he injured or killed his slave, he destroyed his own property. Of course, out of ignorance or irrationality, this sometimes happened; but it was the exception rather than the rule. Private slave owners were motivated to treat their slaves with at least the same consideration they gave to their livestock, and to see to it that their overseers acted with the same consideration. "But under socialism, the slaves are 'public property'—the property of the state. Those who have charge of the slaves, therefore, have no personal economic interest in their lives or well-being. Since they are not owners of the slaves, they will not derive any personal material benefit if the slaves are alive to work in the future, nor suffer any personal material loss if the slaves are not alive to work in the future. In such conditions, slave labor results in mass murder. The officials in charge of the slaves are given orders to complete certain projects as of a certain time. Quite possibly, they are threatened with being reduced to the status of slaves themselves, if they fail. In these circumstances, the slaves are treated as valueless natural resources. Brutal punishments are inflicted on them for trifling reasons, and they are worked to the point of exhaustion and death. The slaves of socialism are slaves, but they are no one’s property and therefore no one’s loss. "In this way, slave labor under socialism results in mass murder. In just this way, tens of millions of people have been murdered. "Of course, the economics of slavery under socialism is not a sufficient explanation of mass murder. Those who participate in the system must be utterly depraved. But observe how socialism creates the conditions in which depravity flourishes—the conditions in which depravity can express itself, is freed of the restraints of better motives, and is positively nurtured and encouraged. For it is socialism that delivers men into slavery. It is socialism that removes the restraint of self-interest from those in charge of the use of any form of property. And it is socialism that creates an environment of hatred and sadism. In such conditions, the most depraved and vicious element of the population finds a place for its depravity and viciousness and steps forward to run the labor camps and the whole socialist society." Reisman on Amazon and YouTube: