Socialism is the road to serfdom. Americans have no idea how good they’ve had it. Given the chance, a Trump or Sanders “revolution” would erode all of that prosperity away in a heartbeat.
The American students growing interested in “socialism” today are too young to remember what the world actually looked like the last time socialism held sway. In their lifetimes, famine has all but disappeared. Today, there is not a single ongoing case of famine in the world – not even in war-torn places like Syria.
Why did famines disappear? First, because agricultural production is at an all-time high and food has been getting cheaper, not dearer. Between 1960 and 2015, the world’s population increased by 143 percent. Over the same time period, the price of food has gone down by 22 percent. Second, humanity has grown richer and can afford to buy more food. Over the last 55 years, the real average annual per capita income in the world rose by 163 percent. Third, communications and transport have massively improved and it is now possible to deliver food aid anywhere in the world in a relatively short time. Fourth, globalization and trade ensure that food can be purchased by anyone, anywhere.
Africa has been the main beneficiary of that salutary development. In 1961, Africans consumed 1,993 calories per person per day. In 2011, which is the last year for which the World Bank provides data, they consumed 2,618 calories. Globally, food consumption increased from 2,196 calories to 2,870 calories. Even in Ethiopia, food consumption has increased. In 1993, two years after the overthrow of the Derg, Ethiopians consumed 1,508 calories per person per day. In 2013, they consumed 2,131 calories.
Zimbabwe, which still suffers from Marxist rule, has not been so lucky. In 1961, Zimbabweans consumed 2,115 calories per person per day. By 2013, that number fell to 2,110.Wherever it has been tried, from the Soviet Union in 1917 to Venezuela in 2015, socialism has failed. Socialists have promised a utopia marked by equality and abundance. Instead, they have delivered tyranny and starvation. Young Americans should keep that in mind.