Socialism Cannot Get Past a Gedankenexperiment


    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Wherein we see that socialism cannot even survive a Gedankenexperiment. A Gedankenexperiment is a thought experiment considering the implications of certain conditions. If grades are shared two things will happen: A) The grade average will plummet and, B) High achievement will become rare. This is just like socialism–the average goes down because the incentives are removed. Oh the humanity. What they’ve been taught about politics all these years is false.

College Students Think Socialism is Just Fine Until they Hear This…..
Jacob "Jake" Steele

College students who have spent 12 years in public schools have no problem with socialism. In fact, many of them think it is just fine, and why wouldn’t they? For 12 years they have been subjected to leftwing propaganda that makes this claim, as well as other even more dubious claims. I have taught college students for 40 years now, and it seems that the students who enroll in my classes these days are more prone than ever to have a favorable impression of socialism. Admittedly, their left-leaning beliefs are not the result of a systematic comparison of free-market capitalism and socialism. They have never conducted a thorough analysis of the two concepts. Rather, they just seem to have accepted without questioning what their public school teachers taught them.

Learning to think critically—or to think at all—is important for college students, particularly those who for 12 years have been expected to meekly accept anything their teachers tell them. But teaching students who have not been allowed to how to think can be difficult. This challenge was the motivation behind my adopting a critical-thinking activity that forces students to see socialism for what it really is. I didn’t develop this activity, but wish I had. Whoever came up with it should be named America’s “Professor of the Year.” After completing this simple activity, there are few socialists left in my classes.

The activity involves allowing students to choose between a free-market grading system and a socialist grading system. It is their choice. We will use the grading system they choose. The activity goes like this:

“We can use a free-market grading system in this class or a socialist grading system. It is going to be your choice. With the free-market system, your grade will be the average of the scores you make on the five tests you will take in this class. You may increase your final grade by completing several extra credit assignments. The more assignments you complete and the better you do the work, the more extra credit you will earn. With the socialist system, your grade will be the average score of the entire class on the tests. Regardless of what you actually make on your tests, you will be given the average grade for the whole class. Everyone in the class will then get the same grade: the class average. If you make an “A” on your assignments and tests but the class average is a “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F,” you will receive whatever grade the class average represents. Further, you will receive no extra points for doing extra work. Those who do all of the extra-credit assignments will receive the same grade as those who do nothing extra. Which system do you prefer?”

Every time I have used this activity, the overwhelming majority of students choose the free-market grading system. There are always a few party animals who think they will probably flunk the class and who are not in college to learn in the first place who opt for the socialist system, but very few. What is particularly interesting is that the few marginal students who opt for the socialist grading system invariably do badly in the class. This fact alone speaks volumes about the shortcomings of socialism.


    If one cannot reap the reward of effort, what is the point of effort?

It is easy for liberals to sell socialism to ignorant people who do not think critically, or worse yet, do not think at all. But when the concept is explained in terms they can understand, terms that make the concept personal, most people will choose free-market capitalism over socialism every time.


    A little thought and socialism is gone, yet academics still embrace it. Curious.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies


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