American Elephants

A Lesson in Socialism by American Elephant
April 20, 2009, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Economy, Education, Politics, Socialism | Tags: ,

An economics professor gives his students a stark lesson in socialism:

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student, but had once failed an entire class.

The students insisted that socialism worked since no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.”

“All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade.”

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who had studied hard were upset while the students who had studied very little were happy.

But, as the second test rolled around, the students who had studied little studied even less and the ones who had studied hard decided that since they couldn’t make an A, they also studied less. The second Test average was a D.

No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average grade was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling, all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else.

To their great surprise all failed. The professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder people try to succeed the greater their reward (capitalism) but when a government takes all the reward away (socialism) no one will try or succeed.

Author unknown.

8 Comments so far
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Clearly the professor’s thinking is flawed since all the power was held by the teacher. When the resources are held by a small minority and they ultimately determine the fate of the majority, then change is needed. Socialism is people determining their collective fates, not individual worth. The professor used a capitalistic system to explain another philosophy. That is like using apples to determine the taste of oranges.


Comment by Shiketyshaq

Sorry Shikety, you are incorrect.

The only resources involved here are the students, their books and their willingness to study.

The professor controlled none of that. The students controlled it all.

This is pure socialism, and it failed as socialism always does.


Comment by American Elephant

“When the resources are held by a small minority and they ultimately determine the fate of the majority”

Shikety: In case you missed the history books, all known forms of socialism in government have always been controlled by a minority making decisions for the majority. Belonging to that party doesnt make you a grand winner or part of the success; it just says “hey we support the party”.

In fact Socialism actually concentrates the wealth into a smaller number of people, and creates a system in which the gap between economies (at least in large scale socialist societies like the former USSR and China) of those select and chosen few people, and the majority of the populace is far beyond that which we see in the capitalist marketplace. Plus within the socialist realm, those in that general populace can not and will not ever be able to change their status. The ‘winners’ are often picked young, and the rest are left to fend for themselves on a preset standard of living.


Comment by Mike Lovell

40 years ago I escaped from the communism, and trust me, this IS a true to life example. As I was growing up, I asked my grandfather why everybody is escaping out of communism and nobody was escaping from the West. “Son, they would arrest me if I told you”. Three years later I was able to escape my self t the age of almost 15. What a GREAT life it’s been, to be FREE! Never give it up.


Comment by Bob S.

Similes are a great way of telling a story, but one can change the perception of a story any way they want, especially if it’s not true.

I would imagine the story to turn out more sensibly like this:

By the third test, many of the freeloaders realized that if they do not prepare for the test, the entire class, including their grades are going to suffer.

On top of that, they were pressurized by the other members of the class for a better performance. For the first time in their life, they felt peer pressure (Something they were new to, since till now they lived in a society propelled by individualism and “me rather than you” nature of greedy capitalism)

What more, the bright students genuinely started helping the weak students. They wanted the weak students to succeed, since their grades were interlinked and there was no way out of it.

Gradually the weaker students started picking up. A positive atmosphere of teamwork emerged in the team. People felt motivated because each of them cared for the success of others. For the first time they understood what socialism really means, and what it really means to care for other and live as a society.

Eventually, the students emerged from their universities as good citizens and started working in capitalistic companies, but with a social conscience. Few of them went to wallstreet to work on derivatives (because it sounded gibberish and exploitation). Many of them in the management position started thinking of the environmental impact of their company and its products and enacted many guidelines in the company (like turning off the lights in broad daylight durning work hours TAKE THE HINT!).

All the employees became motivated by this behavior of their leaders, since their leaders seemed to care for the employees and not the stockholders. People went out of the way to do work for the company and make their products a success. Marketing cost of the company was reduced because Grapevine marketing became a pillar for the company.

Couldn’t be any simpler than that.


Comment by Aniruddha

“Couldn’t be any simpler than that”

Of course it couldn’t, in a utopian fable-like idealism.
The one problem with this idea, is that a lot of people really don’t care as much as we’d like to think they do.
For instance, a real life example. One of my bosses makes significantly more money than I do, almost double. As far as basic life necessities go (rent, untilities, vehicle, etc), he only has to spend about 80% of what I do. Yet, financially speaking, I’m far better off than he is, despite the fact neither of us could be mistaken as upper class. And even though he is my boss, we are also very good friends. He will spend time complaining about his cash flow and savings issues. He asks how I do it. I tell him and show him exactly what he can do to maximize the use of his income.

However, what I end up hearing back from him is: “I understand what you’re saying, but (insert excuse here)”
Some people just like to be able to vent about their problems and why they are where they are in life. No amount of advice will help them because they won’t actually make the effort.

Now I could throw some of my little leftover funds at him to help him out, but I already know from a short historical perspective that this will be a waste of my time. Now if he asks me for money to take care of something, I will do my best to help him out with what I have.

the big key here is ASKING for the help or funds. The problem is, that many of the “havenots” spend time complaining that the “haves” or those that at least “have more” are doing better and therefore not only have a repsonsibility to help them out (a basic idea I can agree with), but should be mandated to do so as well.

And yet, if you want to get down to things being fair and equal, I would also say then that those who are benefitting from such mandated benevolence should also be mandated to operate in the manner directed by those who had to give, on how to use the aid.

Would you agree, Aniruddha?


Comment by Mike Lovell

Mike… You are brilliant :-)…


Comment by cristy

Cristy….that’s what I tell everyone, but most just roll their eyes at me! 😛


Comment by mikelovell

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