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Why Socialism?

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Why Socialism?

"Why Socialism?"[1] is an article written by Albert Einstein in May 1949 which appeared in the first issue of the socialist journal Monthly Review.[2]

Contents

According to Einstein, the profit motive of a capitalist society, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, leads to unnecessary cycles of booms and depressions, and ultimately encourages selfishness instead of cooperation.[3] In addition, the educational system of such a society would be severely undermined because people will educate themselves only to advance their careers. This results in the "crippling of individuals" and the erosion of human creativity.[3] Unrestrained competition in a capitalist society leads to a huge waste of labor and causes economic anarchy, which Einstein denounces as the real source of capitalism's "evil":

Einstein predicted that under such a capitalist society, political parties and politicians would be corrupted by financial contributions made by owners of large capital amounts,[3] and the system "cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society".[1] The essay concludes with Einstein's analysis on how to solve these problems, namely through a non-bureaucratic planned economy:

Einstein asserts that a planned economy that adjusts to production would guarantee a livelihood to every member of society:

In his final words, Einstein cautioned that "a planned economy is not yet socialism", since it may also be accompanied by an "all-powerful" bureaucracy that leads to the "complete enslavement of the individual". It is critically important, therefore, to ensure that a system is in place to protect the rights of the individual.[3]

Motivation

Regarding his motivation for publishing the article, Einstein believed Monthly Review would be a good forum for left wing ideas:

Excerpt

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Einstein, A. (2009). "Why Socialism?". Monthly Review 61 (1): 55–61.  
  2. ^ Rowe, ed. by David E.; Schulmann, Robert (2007). Einstein on politics : his private thoughts and public stands on nationalism, Zionism, war, peace, and the bomb. Princeton, NJ [u.a.]:  
  3. ^ a b c d Isaacson, Walter (2008). Einstein his life and universe (Sony eBook ed. ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 504–505.  
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