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Socialist South Africa versus the world

17 February 2014, 07:03

There are many articles about the merits of socialist policy, the merits of capitalist policy and the reasons why one ideology is much better than another.

I have come to the conclusion that South Africa is inherently following a socialist path as we increase state intervention in all areas, applaud the number of people receiving welfare from the state and increase the number of state employees we have. Maybe I am slow, but I finally have come to this conclusion.

So the question is this ? Is this a good thing ? Before we dismiss this as being "bad" - because intuitively it seems bad, we need to consider : Is the concept of sharing the wealth of South Africa with all citizens a bad idea ?

Frankly it isn't a bad idea - why can't all citizens have a nice house, reliable mode of transport, decent education and medical services ? Why can't all citizens have a safe, secure lifestyle ? If this means those who earn more are taxed more - but still have all these benefits, surely that isn't a bad thing ? Surely socialism is the quickest way to create an equal society ?

But there are two problems with this "Utopia" :

1) If we took the entire GDP of South Africa and redistributed it, we would have roughly R50 000 per person per year - hardly enough to pay for a decent house/car etc. So I guess that we don't really have enough to go around at the moment - never mind the idea that if we did adopt this policy all the high earning individuals (doctors, lawyers etc) would leave and our GDP would fall really quickly...... So if we improve our GDP by 10 times we can create a decent R500 000 per person- which could be workable - maybe. Sounds ridiculous but there are countries with $50 000 GDP per capita incomes - they just aren't socialist countries though.

2) We operate in a capitalist world. This is perhaps the biggest stumbling block. Much of the rest of the world rewards risk taking (capitalist endeavours of which maybe 1 in 10 works). Socialism takes away the value of taking risk - there is no reward. And so whilst the rest of the world is taking risks to get ahead, socialist countries effectively don't - and hence cannot grow their GDP at the rate that capitalist countries do. This means that if we want to increase our GDP by 10 times, socialist policy is the wrong way to go.

Now maybe this is a bit simplistic but to me if we want to solve the problems in SA we need to up the GDP. Every socialist ZAR we spend retards that. Every socialist policy we adopt retards that.

We need to be ruthless capitalists UNTIL we have a GDP which is WORTH redistributing. At that point we can again ask : Should we adopt socialist policy ... because at that point sharing will be worth something and could be sustainable.

In essence I am saying we need to make the cow fat before we slaughter it. Socialism isn't inherently bad (or good) but for now it isn't the right path and we as a country need leadership that understands that.

Sadly I can't see that in any political party - because Democracy is just a popularity contest. In SA it is about who can promise the most free stuff. Democracy in SA is Socialism in disguise Why ? Because the majority of politicians don't mind allowing voters to vote for what will ultimately impoverish them.

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