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A Truly Socialist Thought

I have heard a lot of talk about Obama being a socialist… about how socialism is evil and corrupt and will elad to an Orwellian society… or (even worse?) Communism.

 

This morning I received the following email forward twice… from people who obviously felt the need to look past my frequent request to not receive such forwards because apparently I need to be reminded of this "lesson" in economics.

 

(Their hearts were in the right place, I 'm sure…)

 

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,
but had once failed an entire class.

--------------------------------------------

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".
All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. 
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. 
The second test average was a D!
No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering,
blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. 
All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Could not be any simpler than that.


 

First off, according to Snopes this email is a rehash of an earlier one... there was no school, no teacher, no experiment which is good because the experiment is not just an over simplification but is actually not really an exercise in socialism at all.

 

More like communism.

 

Communism and Socialism… Not The Same Thing.

 

Socialism: theory of economic organization advocating state, public or common worker ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a more egalitarian method of compensation

Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital, creates an unequal society, and does not provide equal opportunities for everyone in society. Therefore socialists advocate the creation of a society in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly based on the amount of work expended in production, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how and to what extent this could be achieved.

 

I am drawn to the line "amount of work expended in production" So if we follow the idea of a classroom, then natural grading systems are already socialistic… those who study (produce knowledge) are able to earn higher grades than those who don't.  The only way to make the scenario on par with an economic example would be to discuss the availability of resources needed to produce that knowledge… such as the teacher's lectures, notes, assigned reading, study groups etc. 

 

Capitalistic Classroom: All materials are for sale.  Those who have the money can buy the books, course materials, etc and will then be able to reap the benefit of the knowledge. The grades are based on opportunity, resources availability, and possession of already owned goods (the money used to buy the books) with those who already have advantages of resources being more likely to be able to gain more resources.

 

Socialistic Classroom: All materials are equally available to the students so that it is not a matter of money equaling knowledge but rather choice of using the tools (books etc) to reap the knowledge. The grades are generated based on "amount of work expended in production."

 

Am I missing something? Aren't classrooms/grading already socialistic?

 

In either case what your neighbor does or doesn't do in regards to studying, won't affect your grade… you earn your grade based on your ability to generate knowledge with the resources available (and affordable) to you. 

 

I don't see the way this professor's experiment was an actual exercise in socialism…which makes his results suspect.

 

 

Your thoughts?
 

 


7 comments:

Kimbo Jones said...

So people are greedy mofos who only do things for the reward involved and they are too stupid to learn their lesson when being lazy backfires. Wow. Yeah. That "lesson" taught me that people suck, not communism. And the alleged prof is kinda misanthropic.

LizzGee said...

I think you did a very good job explaining it all. :) Also Fwd'ed email are sooo lame!

Jay said...

I rarely get forwarded emails. Probably because I had a habit of emailing people back and mocking them for being lizard brains and believing things they read in forwarded emails.

Motturtle said...

I like your response to this. A purely capitalist classroom would require everyone to buy materials. That sounds a lot like college without financial aid. Hmmm....

Another angle to consider here is that people will pay to punish a cheater or outsider. Some people will even pay others for the privilege of doling out suffering to the perceived miscreant. Normally, this is called extortion. The Republicans call it free-speech.

Unknown Mami said...

Great post and the forwarded email is a bunch of crap.

Gramps said...

Hey, don't ask me. I'm still trying to figure out if Obama was born in Kenya.

JayRod said...

Ah, fear of socialism. I know this forward was fake because any decent econ teacher would have know the difference between socialism and communism and would have not been so idiotic. Am I surprised that this is circulating now that Obama is trying to actually help the lower class? Not at all. I heard a conservative columnist (that must be a great job right now) say that giving things to thw poor was rewarding them for not being as good as the upper class. And that made me want to vomit (on him specifically). Any conservative with half a brain is keeping his mouth shut in hopes of having a snowball's chance in hell of retaining his (or her) seat or winning a seat in the next round of elections. And the iditoic ones would speak up about this, well, I like to think Americans aren't dumb, but the quote from a man at a town hall meeting , "Keep the Government out of my Medicare!", may mean that Sarah Palin has a chance at the white house. Although, this means that anyone has a chance at the white house, except Arnold.