Quote of the day—Ira Stoll

How can one imagine a socialist state without prisons? I mean, I can understand the tactical benefit of emptying out the prisons during a revolutionary period, the way that, say, the Bolsheviks released criminals from Tsarist prisons about a century ago to advance their communist coup.

Once a socialist state is up and running, though, some sort of prison system is necessary. How else to enforce the confiscatory taxation necessary to pay for a vast welfare state in an economy with the inefficiency of socialism? Liens, payroll withholding, fines, and asset forfeiture can only get a government so far.

Socialist wage and price controls often spawn a black market. How is the government supposed to prevent smuggling of goods, bartering, or off-the-books labor without being able to punish violators with prison?

Socialist state-owned enterprises are so poorly run that the only way they can survive is by using the power of the state to outlaw competition. How would a state-owned enterprise be able to preserve its monopoly without being able to throw would-be competitors in prison?

Ira Stoll
April 23, 2018
The Irony of Socialists Calling for Abolishing Prisons
Prisons are a staple of socialist political and economic systems, and always have been.

[True socialists, as opposed to those that use socialism as a tool to gain power, have never been that well connected to reality.

It’s possible these people figure that “”reeducation camps”, mental hospitals, and executions will work just fine without traditional prisons. You just never know which path a particular flavor of socialism will go down. You know that the direction will be down.—Joe]


6 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Ira Stoll

  1. Has anyone implemented strong socialism in a way that wasn’t essentially feudalism with the serial numbers filed off?

    With the removal of term limits, President Xi Jinping has effectively become Emperor of China, while North Korea is more properly a hereditary monarchy.

    Communist Party leadership takes the place of dukes, counts and barons.

    The bureaucrats are same as they ever were, in service to their nobility/political masters.

    The peasantry is called ‘citizens’, but as non-party members they don’t effectively get to vote. The army is just as concerned with making sure the peasantry don’t get uppity as they do worrying about external threats.

    • Good analogy. Add the priesthood, which vigorously defends the state orthodoxy, with drastic suppression of all forms of heresy. In that aspect they tend to be more fanatical than many classic feudal monarchies, and more like autocratic monarchies such as that of Philip 2 of Spain, or Henry 8 of England.

  2. Socialist states have marvelous alternatives to prisons. Prisons cost money. A bullet is less than a dollar.

    • +1 Field trials and executions work. My dad saw that happen in China in 1944.

  3. You know, they aren’t really prisons if you call them something else.

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