Socialism: Theory Versus Practice - A College Experiment

An old story from 1994 has been resurrected and is making the rounds again. While it hasn't been confirmed as being true according to Snopes, it is illustrative of the dream of socialism versus the reality. Like my previous post I found this version on one of the Politico.com forums.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism, the great equalizer, worked. That no one would be poor and no one would be rich.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

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

To their great surprise all failed and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

Would that more economics or political science professors would run that experiment. It reminds me of something a resident of the socialist workers paradise of the Soviet Union once said: "We pretend to work. They pretend to pay us."

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