domingo, novembro 11, 2012

Socialist social corruption

Russia's Socialist Heritage por Anthony de Jasay:
Three generations of Russians now living have inherited some quite nasty things from socialism. One of which is a vacuum where in a non-socialist society certain incentives would direct people's behaviour. Under socialism in Russia from 1917 to 1989, nearly everything belonged to the state, that is in practice to nobody, and very little belonged to anybody in particular. The result was the withering away of some of the habits that are formed by the incentives bred by ownership. Looking after one's own property, respecting that of others, disapproving and discouraging senseless waste as well as theft in general and not only the theft of one's own chattels, are some of these habits that go almost without saying in normal civilisations but that have been "bred out" of far too many modern Russians.
While socialism left a vacuum where there used to be an incentive, and thus has educated people not to bother about economising anything that was not directly their own, it left another incentive to run wild. In normal civilisations, the incentive to appropriate anything valuable belonging to others is to a greater or lesser extent, and in very honest countries like Finland and New Zealand almost completely, neutralised by the threat of retaliation by the owners, by organised law enforcement and by social ostracism. Where these checks are eroded, theft, robbery, usurpation and the abuse of mandates "agency", e.g. power delegated to the police, the judges and the officials entrusted with spending the public funds, can run rampant. In Russia, they do. The checks, deterrents and social sanctions have been weakened to the point of extinction under socialism.

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