I’ll start with the end of your comment, and again, at least attempt to be civil, we are all academics here, we should treat each other as such. My speciality is in socialist regimes, specifically the Chinese socialist system.

Let’s start by defining our terms. Firstly, socialism is not a purely economic system, it is also a political system which puts forward that the means of production should be communally-owned. Though hard-core Marxists might disagree that the “the state” should exist, almost all governance systems which exist today are state-based systems, including the international community. As such, communal-ownership becomes state-ownership because this is currently (though potentially subject to change, we’ll see) the accepted form of governance worldwide.

Secondly, socialist countries (or economies, if you prefer) are incredibly diverse. You cannot compare the expansionist socialism of the USSR, the oil-rich socialism of Venezuela, the totalitarian socialism of North Korea and the quasi-federalist socialism of China in the same breath. If you want to compare these regimes, you will have to choose either very specific variables under a most similar systems research design or accept that the systems are completely different. You have attempted neither, and rather attach to the word socialism a meaning quite divorced from the de facto reality of any system.

Another term, coordinated market economy. If you look at the “varieties of capitalism” literature, you will find that Germany’s coordinated market economy (CME) is undisputed. Market forces are not absent in a CME, however they are heavily regulated — “coordinated”. There was arguably a slide towards more neoliberal practices within the EU, however after the financial crisis of 2008 there has been a resurgence in coordination (with good reason). Looking at the German government’s response and success during the COVID-19 pandemic, we see this clearly in action. Even while being a CME, the Germany government still finds itself criticised for being too business-friendly. The Germans are used to the individual benefits of this system, and will not gladly let it go.

Daimler, much like any German company and the state itself, is a mix of socialist and capitalist policies — the two are not inherently contradictory.

The literature on coordinated market economies is now debating whether the Chinese system can be classed as such — an interesting development.

As an economist, which systems seem more stable? Which systems have been able to weather a global pandemic and take the economic shock?

Forget socialism and capitalism, and the binary opposition you, Mr. Economist, attach to the terms, and think in systems. Which systems are inherently stable? Under which system would a rational individual, perhaps an economist, prefer to live?

As for this digging a hole question, why on earth, in the free market economy that you idolise, would anyone dig a hole and refill it? Where is the value creation in this? Who profits? Worker B, or more likely Team B, as no single man (interesting that your workers are male, but I suppose, gender discrimination goes hand-in-hand with free market economics, hardly surprising) is likely to develop a vaccine unaided, is made up of people of different wage categories. Please be more specific, exactly who within Team B are we discussing? Your black-and-white worldview is as practically useless as it is analytically unsound.

Alexei Stell, I’ve got your back, comrade.



Specialist in modern authoritarianism, feminist, political scientist in progress (PhD). Everyday academia, low-brow, no jargon/acronyms/obscure Latin.

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Abbey Heffer

Abbey Heffer

Specialist in modern authoritarianism, feminist, political scientist in progress (PhD). Everyday academia, low-brow, no jargon/acronyms/obscure Latin.

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