Thursday, August 20, 2020

Signature institutions of democratic socialism

I have my own lived experience to draw on to compare socialism and capitalism, both of which have been tried in my lifetime in my native country of India.

The Indian leaders, some of whom studied Fabian socialism in England, adopted socialism complete with Soviet-style five-year plans when India became independent in 1947.

I grew up under Indian socialism—which I remind you was democratic socialism—and experienced its signature institutions.

One was everyday corruption; literally nothing could be done without paying some petty bureaucrat under the table.

Another was the ration card, which specified the paltry amount of sugar or cooking oil that a family was permitted to purchase each month.

A third was a seven-year waiting period to get a phone.

During this era, India was widely known as the begging bowl of the world.

Americans told their children, “Eat your food because there are millions of starving people in India.”

Gandhi spoke wistfully about “wiping a tear from every Indian face.”

A whole generation of young Indians in the 1960s and 1970s saw no future for themselves and fled to work at sea, like my brother, or to Dubai to do manual labor, like some of my cousins, or to Australia, Canada and America, like me.

Today’s young Indians plan no such mass exit, because there are now opportunities for them at home.

I go back to India and see Indian families who used to endure the sweltering summer heat and wash their clothes in the sea now enjoying the full benefits of modern technology, including air conditioning and washing machines. India is doing measurably better, and there is a large and newly prosperous middle class.

Even the country’s global reputation has changed.

Today Americans tell their children, “Study hard because there are millions of Indians waiting to take your jobs.”
Source: United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It. by Dinesh D'Souza

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