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IPFS News Link • Economic Theory

Infectious Insanity

•, by Jeff Thomas

Even for those of humble means, the existence of prosperity around them is a daily assurance that, if you work hard and/or work smart, your life will steadily improve.

This is the normal state of affairs and has existed since time immemorial. Whether progress is quick or slow in a given location, the principle remains the same. A general condition of prosperity is a continual reminder of the value of a strong work ethic.

In a collectivist country, however, this is missing. The leaders live quite well, but they're small in number and, for the most part, are outside of the view of the proletariat. What the common man sees around him is uniform poverty. No one in his midst is visibly progressing, so there's no one to be jealous of.

This breeds complacency and so it's not surprising that collectivism may be tolerated by the populace for many decades, even generations. People are invariably worse off under collectivism, but collectivism rarely ends due to rebellion. It ends because it's a dysfunctional non-productive system that eventually collapses under its own weight.

But, if that's so – if people living in a free-market system will instinctively reject collectivism and those living under a collectivist system also rarely rebel – how is it possible that, periodically, revolutions occur?

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