With the economic turbulence in Venezuela, socialism is once again under fire by conservatives. Venezuela is unfortunately experiencing some economic turmoil as a result of the oil price. But top scholars believe that this is more the fault of capitalist oil companies colluding to squash their competition, than a failure of socialism. And as usual, critics of socialism focus only on the most distressed socialist countries, while ignoring the abundant examples of socialist success.
You don’t have to look very far from Venezuela to find cases of socialist achievements. Nearby Cuba is renowned for its efficient health care system that is the envy of the developing world. Despite its limited resources and sanctions by the US, Cuba’s healthcare system offers complete coverage of the population and ranks well against developed countries in terms of infant mortality and life expectancy.
Perhaps the most shining example of socialist success however, is Scandinavia. Nordic countries enjoy some of the highest living standards in the world, while providing universal healthcare, generous welfare states, strong labor union laws, and lavish state pension plans. According to capitalists, these countries should be bankrupt and derelict, but instead they rank among the highest in the world for education, happiness, worker satisfaction, and a variety of other economic measures. Scandinavia proves that socialism can work – it just needs to be managed professionally.
The financial crisis of 2007-08 demonstrates that capitalism is not at all impervious to economic shocks, especially if left unregulated. Maybe, instead of listening to free market economists about how to fix our economic woes, it’s time to look across the ocean at some of the world’s outstanding socialist success stories, such as Scandinavia, the UK National Health Service, and Cuban healthcare. Maybe it’s time for us to get off our high horses, stop lecturing the world about free markets, and start gleaning the best aspects of socialism to implement here in America.