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Socialism Sucks by Robert Lawson and Ben Powell

Summary:
I just finished watching Bob and Ben do an interview about their new book that is released today.  Socialism Sucks is timely and entertaining tour through the ruins left behind by an ideology that has both been poorly understood and devastating for humanity in its practice.  They provide a tour guide through the socialist world, and focus on the everyday pleasure of enjoying a good beer.  It turns out, that is quite hard to do in many regions of the world.  As Ben put it in the interview I just watched, that is because capitalism provides.  Socialism on the other hand, as Mises taught, lives off the accumulated production of the previous capitalist stage, and thus is in essence destructivism.  Bob and Ben are the perfect authors for this book.  Bob has been involved and in fact

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I just finished watching Bob and Ben do an interview about their new book that is released today.  Socialism Sucks is timely and entertaining tour through the ruins left behind by an ideology that has both been poorly understood and devastating for humanity in its practice.  They provide a tour guide through the socialist world, and focus on the everyday pleasure of enjoying a good beer.  It turns out, that is quite hard to do in many regions of the world.  As Ben put it in the interview I just watched, that is because capitalism provides.  Socialism on the other hand, as Mises taught, lives off the accumulated production of the previous capitalist stage, and thus is in essence destructivism. 

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Bob and Ben are the perfect authors for this book.  Bob has been involved and in fact lead researcher on the Economic Freedom Index for decades building on the ideas of Milton Friedman and the operationalizing of that project by James Gwartney.  And, Ben is the author of Out of Poverty, a great study of the development process.  Both are crystal clear economic thinkers and writers, and both like to drink beer and travel. And, best of all, both know how to laugh and have a good time, as well as know when to be deadly serious and communicate a sense of urgency.

Socialism does indeed suck. It has produced in practice a legacy of lies and lost souls.  But, here is a reality, none of the 18-21 years olds in college today were alive when communism collapsed in 1989.  They have no knowledge of the lived reality of this political and economic system.  And the promises are so comforting.  In essence Lawson and Powell are giving us an updated  "traveler's tale" of socialism in practice for us to learn from.  Steve Pejovich provided such an insider's account with Life in the Soviet Union: A Report Card on Socialism (1978), but such harsh realities of everyday life under this ideology are lost in the enthusiastic presentations of the promises of a better future for all.  But economics logic is a harsh mistress, and the dysfunctional operation of socialism stems from basic incentive incompatibilities, serious knowledge problems, and public choice issues of opportunism.  The dream crashes against the hard rocks of reality.

Such a sober message can often times be presented in too dry a manner for the intended audience, and thus does not penetrate the psyche.  Well, Lawson and Powell are not dry!!!

Read Socialism Sucks, preferably with a flight of samples from the multitude of craft brewers that the capitalist economy has provided in front of you, and see the difference, feel the difference, and taste the difference.  The message could not be communicated more clearly or more definitively.

Peter Boettke
Peter Joseph Boettke (January 3, 1960) is an American economist of the Austrian School. He is currently a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University; the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Vice President for Research, and Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at GMU.

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