I think a few people here are familiar with basic economic principles. For my B.A. I majored in Political Science and Economics, and minored in International Relations. I passed my Level I CFA but failed Level II earlier this summer (tough test). In late August I will pursue a MBA education in Finance (I’ve heard this degree may actually make me dumber, arrogant and overconfident in theory and clueless of its real-world application).
To your point, the problem with economics, as with any social science, is that there are no universal laws as there would be in the hard sciences. If water reaches 0 Celsius it will freeze, if it reaches 100 Celsius it will boil. Economic theories are not so perfect but people have intuitive ideas of good or bad economic principles (e.g. too much debt will likely result in bankruptcy). I admit I’m no economic “expert” but I trust my intuition. I don’t think anyone can really apply scientific rigor to evaluate ideologies such as capitalism and socialism for the following reasons: lack of data (e.g. economic statistics) and subjectivity of the terms.
What countries have been the most successful? I would claim that ALL (aside South Korea it’s and planned economy) operate mainly under a capitalist financial system, including China. Now with regards to socialism, as I define as greater social safety nets and substantial government economic planning, seems to stunt economic growth. It’s too burdensome on society. It happened to Japan and Germany. The US is heading in the same direction. Look what happened to Iceland during the financial crisis of 2008. The recent economic miracles mainly became so because of raw capitalist principles… privatization, free markets, private property, low taxes, less government involvement… more vaguely liberalism. I can’t use statistics and it would be too complex to make this argument “scientific” but I think it’s clear that the vast majority of economic success originate with capitalism. When they become increasingly socialist is when great powers begin to crumble.
You like philosophy, so I’ll spew an elementary Karl Popper idea (as long as a soft science qualifies as scientific): Just because something cannot be falsified or disproven doesn’t mean it’s true. For this reason I can’t discredit socialism. Maybe it’s the next step in evolution after capitalism. Marx himself pledged that communism (not to associate socialism + communism although they are closely related) must arise from an already industrialized nation. Perhaps communism failed in the Soviet Union and China (Mao’s central planning resulted in the Great Leap killing millions and only when it accepted capitalist principles did it begin to thrive) for this reason. More to the point, socialism is too burdensome on the state. On the economic side of socialism and any notion of a planned economy, Hayek made the best point when he said that planned economies fail because it’s impossible for a small group of humans/planners to predict how to allocate future resources. Free markets do a better job. Most economic growth is experienced in countries that liberalize their economies. Socialism hinders progress.
There’s no need to bash Nietzsche. He’s not the only person with an ego… I’ve heard Michael Jordan had quite an ego too. Nietzsche’s central message (perhaps most popularized one) is for everyone to be their best and to enhance humanity to another level.
Last edited by 6cubed; 08-10-2011 at 11:21 PM.