In recent years, researchers on transition economies have concluded that income inequality increased in the former socialist countries of eastern Europe and central Asia despite the liberalization of political and economic life. This judgment, however, places too much credence in the data reported by socialist planners and underestimates the cumulative effect of the myriad inequalities present under socialism.
Friday, February 04, 2005
The Hidden Inequality in Socialism
David R. Henderson, Robert M. Mcnab, and Tamas Rozsas have a new article (pdf) for The Independent Review about The Hidden Inequality in Socialism. According to the authors
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I don't think anyone would argue that there isn't inequality within a socialist system. There isn't any system in existence that doesn't create some form of inequality. The appeal of socialism is the KIND and AMOUNT of inequality it creates.
True, yet the general belief, or at least the ideal put forth by the proponents of socialism is that it has more of a leveling effect than other methods of societal organization. In other words, that it is more "fair" than, say, democracy. As you allude, it is no surprise that the ideal doesn't reflect the real.
However, the point of the article is to show that many of the income inequalities being blamed on a transition to democracy were actually in place under the previous socialistic governments, but that they were masked for a variety of reasons. It is not to refute any claim that socialism is "perfect."
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