Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Socialism's Corrosivity

This isn't the most direct story revealing the flaws of socialism, but I found it poignant.  Anecdotal reports suggest a reversal in Greece's previous trend towards urbanization.  As this Reuters story has it:
At age 32, Lakka, an office clerk who also juggled odd jobs, joined a growing number of Greeks returning to the countryside in the hope of living off the land. It's a reversal of the journey their parents and grandparents made in the 1960s and '70s.

Data is scarce on how many people have made the trek, but as people angered by austerity head to the polls on June 17, anecdotal evidence and interviews with officials suggest the trend is gaining momentum. In a survey of nearly 1,300 Greeks by Kapa Research in March, over 68 percent said they had considered moving to the countryside, with most citing cheaper and higher quality life. Most expected to move permanently.

"A year ago, I couldn't imagine myself holding a garden hoe, or doing any farming," said Lakka, as she watered the herbs she grows in the village of Konitsa, which nestles among snow-capped peaks near the Albanian border.

"I've always wanted to leave the village. I never imagined I would actually spend my whole life here."

Her experience has been far from idyllic. The arrival of young, city-dwelling Greeks is being watched with a mix of pity and hope by those who never left.
Not only has socialism destroyed the economic engine necessary for civilization, it also corrodes people's sense of independence and self-responsibility. It's telling that the first question would-be farmers ask is about state subsidies:
"They usually ask whether there are state subsidies for agriculture and for growing pomegranates, snails and aromatic herbs," he said, recounting how a 40-year-old acquaintance had returned to tend sheep in the hills. Greece's farmers mostly run small operations and rely on EU subsidies to survive. They complain that over the past five years subsidies have halved.
These types of stories should give pause to those who think progress and civilized life are automatic. The march of history is determined by ideas and ideologies; with the wrong ones the West could relive the fate it suffered from 300AD to the Renaissance.

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