Is America having a socialist moment? Democrats are more likely than ever to embrace the label. Republicans strongly condemn it. Both sides agree that socialism is a live issue.
Theyre wrong. If we assume that socialism is only about the efficient management of the economyno small assumption, to be sureit is as dead as a doornail. Two economists, Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, put that theory to rest by demonstrating that its impossible for socialism to out-produce capitalism.
Lets be clear: Socialism is not actually on the agenda in the U.S. As its traditionally defined, socialism means public ownership of the means of productioni.e., government control of the economys commanding heights. Socialism does not mean the welfare state, public services, publicprivate partnerships, or even the occasional state-owned enterprise. Western Europe is not socialist. The Nordic democracies are not socialist. And despite their collectivist proclivities, the likes of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are notin any intellectually rigorous sensesocialists, regardless of what they may call themselves on occasion.