Does It Ever Change?

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

Albert Einstein, Why Socialism, May 1949

Actually, perhaps it is worse today than it was in 1949.

9 thoughts on “Does It Ever Change?

  1. Regrettably, 20th century history has shown the prescience of Einstein concluding questions:
    “The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?”
    Worse, socialism causes Cuban-style total poverty. In contract, crony capitalism, the American alternative, only impoverishes the middle and lower classes, while enriching the wealthy, especially workers in the weapons, financial and pharmaceutical industries.
    The alternative, proposed by E.F. Schumacher and implemented in Germany, is a mixed, planned economy with union and society representation on corporate boards on large corporations.
    During the recent world recession, this form of government subsidized middle-class jobs, in contrast, the American system subsidized wars, financial speculation and corporate-by-back-stock programs.

  2. Formerly a socialist country, a majority of Swedish voters fell under the spell of neoliberalism or conservativism and rejected socialism.

    However, you are correct. Socialism did not turn Sweden into Cuba. It only started the slide to the point where the country abandoned it in time.

    • Thank you! I find that quite interesting, although I was under the casual impression that Sweden never had a purely socialist economy. I should look into that more, I reckon. Also, the German model you mentioned sounds fascinating.

  3. Oops. I screwed up. Correction: Sweden is in the EU, but voters opted out of the economy. According to the CIA Factbook, Sweden has a mixed economy, which, until the recession, had been growing strongly, and is “streamlining the state’s role in the economy.”

    LegalBrief

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