“How can half of Americans between 18 and 29 favor socialism over capitalism? Because they do not know the first thing about capitalism”

"Many young Americans sympathetic to socialism mistakenly believe that capitalism is a relatively modern concept, first seriously examined in Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, published in 1867. However... private property—an essential ingredient of capitalism—has been an integral part of Western civilization since ancient Athens, which had 'a highly developed system of private property.'" - Law & Liberty

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Joel Shaffer's picture

Another reason that many young Americans are more sympathetic towards socialism and hostile towards capitalism is that crony corporate capitalism, with its favoritism and close ties from certain government entities and officials, have become much more visibly prevalent.  The lack of rule of law, combined with government regulations has created a bureaucracy that passive-aggressively picks the winners and limits opportunities for startup entrepreneurs an companies.   They realize the certain systems within the social order is rigged, but they can't identify why it's rigged so they automatically think the only way to unrig the system and make it "fair" is to put it into the government's hands with wealth distribution which is an even worse solution.   

JD Miller's picture

I agree Joel, but socialism only makes this worse.  I am encouraged that the president and republicans are now raising concerns about favoritism toward large corporations during the lockdown while the small businesses are shut down.  Perhaps addressing this will be one of the benefits of the COVID crisis.  I found it interesting that the governors who despise socialism the most were the ones who wanted to keep the small businesses on an equal playing field with the big box stores.

josh p's picture

You’re absolutely right Joel. My son is a “democratic socialist” and we talk about this often. The problem is too much government regulation not too little. I always recommend Hayek’s “The Road the Serfdom” for those that want to hear a different perspective. Both parties use government regulation to serve their respective constituents.

Joeb's picture

Donald who ran on a promise that he was going to bring back the glory days for coal in West Va has used socialism.  In particular he used socialism when his promise of the glory days has pretty much flopped.  

To Trump's credit he did remove the Obama area EPA restrictions that were not allowing the coal industry to compete on a fair playing field.  Of course this didn't bring back the glory days due to competition from GAS and the continued mechanization of coal mining and mountain top removal mining.  These following moves by Trump I consider socialism by Trump to buy votes in this area.  

1. Trump used taxpayer funds to bail out the United Mine Workers Pension plan in the Appalachian Coal Spine.  Trump did that to the tune of 100%.  The Bethlehem Steel Workers never got that.  Their pensions went to the Pension Guaranty Corporation where everyone elses goes if a pension fund collapses.  Bethlehem Steel Workers got their payments cut in half.   If that's not Socialism and buying votes I don't know what is.

2, Trump by executive order in the dark of night ordered the power distribution networks to buy power from coal fired plants.  Not the cheapest available as done in a free market.  Again a socialist move to retain his base.   

Now Trump's trade war with China in particular smoked the farmers who for two decades on their own had built up markets for US agriculture goods with China through cooperatives.  Trump gave the farmers 12 Billion to Farmers with no requirement to pay it back.  Trump has given them billions more with no requirement to pay it back.  That's socialism pure and true.  If the Farmers voted for Trump which they overwhelming did why should they not suffer the consequences of his policies.   Why should Taxpayers bail them out.  Let them go bankrupt. like any other industry.  Big corporate farms would buy up the land and farm it anyway. So the loss of food production is a hollow argument.  

Another area that Trump the Republicans  and the Democrats are guilty of practicing socialism is the Ethanol Industry.  The oil companies are totally against these subsidies and government invented the market.   We don't need to go this way anymore.  There is plenty of oil.  The argument it reduces pollution is baloney at best it's break even proposition.  It's SOCIALISM that all those Iowan Republicans and Democrats love it to death because it has falsely underpins their economy in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest for decades.  Plus if your a big pheasant hunter it's cut the roosters by 50% because land that the US government used to pay farmers to let go wild to a degree has now been put into production. 


Last but not least the solor and wind power industry.  Socialism that's dear to the Democrats heart.  

Additionally I concur with Joel about the reasons the young adults lean toward democratic socialism.  I have to add some of them like the single payer health system due to concerns for people not having health insurance.  To their  credit I think they see what they perceive  as injustices in the system like taxpayer money going to big corporations as Joel said low wages and lack of sustaining wages in low skill jobs.  They see larger government and involvement in the economy as the solution   However Joel is right it's not the solution.  Our Country is BROKE and both parties are guilty on that One no matter  how you cut it.  All including Trump like to kick the can down the road.  Soon enough that can is going to hit the wall and hit the kicker in the shins and it's going to hurt like hades.