Criticism of socialism

Criticism of socialism (also known as anti-socialism) is any critique of socialist models of economic organization and their feasibility as well as the political and social implications of adopting such a system. Some critiques are not directed toward socialism as a system, but rather toward the socialist movement, parties or existing states. Some critics consider socialism to be a purely theoretical concept that should be criticized on theoretical grounds (such as in the economic calculation problem and the socialist calculation debate) while others hold that certain historical examples exist and that they can be criticized on practical grounds. Because there are many models of socialism, most critiques are focused on a specific type of socialism and the experience of Soviet-type economies that may not apply to all forms of socialism as different models of socialism conflict with each other over questions of property ownership, economic coordination and how socialism is to be achieved. Critics of specific models of socialism might be advocates of a different type of socialism.

According to the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises, an economic system that does not utilize money, financial calculation and market pricing will be unable to effectively value capital goods and coordinate production and therefore socialism is impossible because it lacks the necessary information to perform economic calculation in the first place.[1][2] Another central argument leveled against socialist systems based on economic planning is based on the use of dispersed knowledge. Socialism is unfeasible in this view because information cannot be aggregated by a central body and effectively used to formulate a plan for an entire economy, because doing so would result in distorted or absent price signals.[3] Other economists criticize models of socialism based on neoclassical economics for their reliance on the faulty and unrealistic assumptions of economic equilibrium and pareto efficiency.[4] Some philosophers have also criticized the aims of socialism, arguing that equality erodes away at individual diversities and that the establishment of an equal society would have to entail strong coercion.[5]

Economic liberals and right-libertarians view private ownership of the means of production and the market exchange as natural entities or moral rights which are central to their conceptions of freedom and liberty and view the economic dynamics of capitalism as immutable and absolute. As a result, they perceive public ownership of the means of production and economic planning as infringements upon liberty.[6][7]