Nationalization has never worked. Some may point to China as an example of socialist and communist principles being successful, but they have benefited from the sheer mass of their production and population—not to mention currency manipulation and intellectual property theft—to prop up their failed economic ideology. It cannot be duplicated and will not last for much longer. In fact, the coronavirus crisis may be enough to sink China’s economic future now.
Then, there’s Venezuela. This should be the poster-child for how to take a rich and vibrant nation and decimate its wealth as well as its citizens through nationalization and socialistic principles. Unfortunately, there are many who see it not as a warning but a model to be adopted in America with a few tweaks made to it that will allegedly save us from their fate. One such person who believes this is Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant who took to Twitter to call for nationalizing Amazon.
If only working-class people had the sense to own homes with "guest rooms".
The super-rich are out of touch with the reality they inflict on the majority of humanity. They will ruthlessly extract the price of this pandemic recession from workers, unless we fight back. #TaxAmazon pic.twitter.com/WK7oCQKQFO
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) May 3, 2020
Yes, corporations like Amazon need to be taken into democratic public ownership, to be run by workers for social good. We will need militant mass movements, strike actions at workplaces, to begin to fight to win this. Because it will be a political strike against billionaires.
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) May 3, 2020
It’s a standard argument for radical progressives. They establish a boogeyman, usually the rich, and blame them for all of the problems faced by average Americans. It’s an easy sales pitch, especially during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, because people are susceptible to believing rhetoric that barely touches on their sense of logic. Of course it’s the rich who are causing all of their problems and yes, a nationalized Amazon makes sense, right?
Digging beneath the surface reveals the reality of dangerous ideals like Sawant’s. Even if we dismiss the fact that nationalization has taken down empires and small countries alike for centuries, the notion doesn’t even pass the logic test. If the so-called “mega rich” and the corporations they control are targeted, they will not drive the innovation and entrepreneurship that has helped make this nation great. With no incentive to succeed, the people will soon be owners of companies that are no longer able to operate.
Her ideas are romantic in a way. They appeal to the belief that a democratic system is ideal at all levels, even in private industry. But invariably we’ve seen through history that progressive attempts to mandate the social good are far less effective at achieving their goals than the “selfish” notions of personal responsibility and individualism. When Americans are unleashed to do what they can without interference, we excel. When government steps in and tries to do things better, they fail miserably. Amazon is Amazon because of the people who built and now operate it. Nationalizing it and allow democratic public ownership would be its death knell.
Radicals like Kshama Sawant are not selling functioning ideas that benefit the people. They’re promoting a pathway to the Marxist “utopia” they envision as their endgame. Meanwhile, the leftist sheep that buy into it would be the first sacrifices if their goals are ever achieved.
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