FRANK HILL: Socialism vs. capitalism – what works best?

Frank Hill

Frank Hill

President Obama was speaking to a group of Argentinian young leaders after his trip to Cuba when he essentially said there is no substantive difference between socialism and capitalism.

Obama said the following on March 23:

“I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.”

That would be all well and good if capitalism and socialism started out with the same moral equivalence and ended up with the same results over history.

They haven’t. For the most part.

Take a look at quotes from Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov has made recently:


I’m enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism…

Posted by Garry Kasparov on Tuesday, March 1, 2016


As with most anything in life, ‘talking about’ something is usually far different from ‘living’ or ‘actually experiencing’ that something, isn’t it?

Why would Garry Kasparov know more about the dangers and spirit-sapping emulsification of socialism than, say, President Barack Obama of the United States of America?

Because he lived under the iron rule of the former Soviet Union for 28 years of his life before witnessing the fall of Communist rule in Moscow in 1991 which freed millions of Russians and other ethnic citizens from central rule.

Kasparov was fortunate; he survived. Some 60 million to 100 million people were murdered under the Stalinist regime all in the name of making the Soviet Union ‘safe’ for communism.

No western political leader such as President Obama or Democratic presidential candidate such as Bernie Sanders could ever hope to understand the vast differences between socialism and capitalism until and unless, of course, either of them actually was forced to live under such oppressive regimes.

Then they would most likely be singing an entirely different tune.

The upcoming election is more than just choosing between personalities or political parties. The fall election is about whether America continues down the path towards more socialism as espoused by Obama for the past seven years or whether we head back toward free-enterprise capitalism so eloquently advocated by President Ronald Reagan during his eight years in office.



New jobs net of population growth soared under President Reagan. Not so under President Obama’s two terms.

You get to choose which outcome you want for the next four to eight years. Choose wisely.

Frank Hill is the director of the Institute for Public Trust in Raleigh, N.C.

Rotator image credit: