by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s hard not to think of the great character from “The Princess Bride” when seeing the quote to the right from the latest issue of Newsmax magazine.
Echoing Inigo, one could turn to defenders of “socialism” and say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The Newsmax quote of Scott Rasmussen also reminds this observer of economist Robert Lawson’s recent Duke University lecture. Lawson contrasted socialist economies with those based on market principles.
“Think about what it’s like to live in Stockholm,” Lawson said. “It’s private cars and private businesses. Prices of products are unregulated. They export freely. Volvos are all around the world. This is a market economy. This is not a socialist economy.”
As self-proclaimed socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez play a more vocal role in today’s Democratic Party, it’s important to define what they mean when they refer to socialism. If they invoke Norway and Sweden as models for the United States of the future, Lawson suggests they’re not interested in real socialism.
“They’re market economies,” he said. “If you want to see the socialist economies, you go to Argentina or Brazil, where the government is infecting every aspect of business. You go to large parts of the continent of Africa, and you’ll see that’s actual operating socialism. You have governments operating enterprises.”
“Of course, Venezuela is the current standard-bearer there,” Lawson added. “Some people think socialism is Sweden. I’m going to say, ‘No, socialism is Venezuela.’”