As I noted in my last piece, capitalism does indeed serve the poor.

Yet, in their debate with Reason magazine, socialists Vivek Chibber and Bhaskar Sunkara also made another false assertion: that socialism provides for a better quality of life than capitalism.

Chibber's contention primary here is that the capitalist economic model means we're "underpaid, overworked," and too stressed.


As Bloomberg actually shows, there is no evident correlation between capitalism and stress. Regardless, while stress has far more to do with an individual's personal situation than it does a generic ideology, capitalism's ability to offer opportunity suggests it is the least stressful way to go!

Just consider the contrast between capitalist Colombia and neighboring socialist Venezuela.

Still, Chibber doesn't just misdiagnose the problem, he misdiagnoses the treatment! After all, Chibber asserts that American stress would best be ameliorated by recognizing that "healthcare in Europe is provided at better quality, at lower costs and with greater scope through the public system."

This just isn't true.

As I've documented, socialist medical systems are defined by less innovation, longer waiting periods for care, overstretched resources and distinctly impersonal care. In the U.K., for example, socialized medicine means doctors who are encouraged not to refer patients for important tests and emergency rooms which overflow with patients. The U.S. healthcare system is far from perfect, but socialized medicine is a bullet to the head style remedy for stress.

Sunkara's take on socialist living standards headed in a more philosophical direction. The Jacobin editor praised European social-democracies which, he said, act to "limit freedom for the people who own private property, but for the majority who don't, these people enjoy a greater range of choice and a greater chance to achieve their potential."

Here we see the old socialist lie that the majority of citizens in a society will benefit if personal responsibility is subordinated to central planning. It's a lie best proved by the dramatic revival of British economic fortunes under the Thatcher government in the 1980s, when state-run industries were privatized. In contrast, giving government control over the means of production would spur a collapse in economic growth and declining living standards.

That said, seeing as economic de-growth is the latest craze of the left, perhaps that's exactly what Chibber and Sunkara actually want!