Were society the way she would govern it, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wouldn't have her new documentary on Netflix. She'd have it in Blockbuster stores.
Netflix's success, and its corresponding ability to invest in projects like AOC's documentary, is an example of capitalism in action.
There's a reason Netflix is worth many billions of dollars and Blockbuster has only one remaining store: Netflix's creators saw a profit potential in the wave of technological change. They then took a risk and ended up providing a better consumer choice. They got very, very rich, and we got more entertainment at more affordable prices.
Blockbuster? It died when consumers tired of traveling back and forth to collect and return a few movies at a time.
Netflix would be unlikely to exist in an AOC economy. Socialist nations generally have a dearth of consumer choices, and there's a reason for that. They impose punitive taxes on investment (corporate taxes), significant barriers to market entry (union power and regulations), and put government in control over the means of production — government control, that is, in place of the only functional governor the market, namely aggregated individual choices.
To see which system is better for society, look at the divergence in energy production between the U.S. and Latin America. The capitalist U.S. energy market has unleashed a revolution of energy independence, low energy prices, and national security supported export opportunities. The socialist run Brazilian and Venezuelan energy systems have bogged down under vast corruption. That's what happens, after all, when politicians are the doorkeepers to massive money flows. It's also a story of poor output (in Venezuela's case, collapsing) amid the choice of cronyism over productive investment.
Is this political redistribution of wealth moral? Is this socialism moral? Just ask Venezuelans, where skyrocketing child starvation and sewer drinking now defines the world's most oil-rich nation. But this story of capitalist management versus state management is not an exception. Consider how Britain's Royal Mail postal service improved under privatization, for example.
This takes us back to AOC and Blockbuster. The innovative Netflix destroyed the static Blockbuster because we live in an environment where innovation is encouraged and rewarded. But were AOC and her ilk in charge of a socialist America, we would not have an economy in which innovation was the norm. Rather, politicians would allocate resources as they saw best, usurping the role that individual consumer choice plays in a capitalist system.
I prefer the capitalist economy because it trusts tens of millions of individual choices more than a few hundred socialists. It wisely trusts government to operate in the narrow margin of public need. It knowingly invites a creative destruction (do you prefer Uber/Lyft to taxis?) that benefits consumers (iPhones) and the needy (new medicines).
It is not coincidental that many of the world's greatest companies like Amazon, Apple, Boeing, Google, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, are American. Nor is it coincidental that Disney is now stepping up with its own digital streaming rival to Netflix. Nor will it be coincidental when we, the consumers, benefit from how that competitive battle gives us more and cheaper choices yet again.
AOC might now benefit from Netflix and her Twitter profile's ability to galvanize millions. But don't delude yourself. Were AOC in charge, we'd still be at Blockbuster and sending messages via AOL instant messenger. Or perhaps not even that far.