Capitalist or Communist? ‘Pick What Works’
United States President Barack Obama stoked controversy in March when he suggested to an audience of Argentine youth that they shouldn’t get caught up in ideological disputes between capitalism and communism. Instead, he urged the next generation of Argentine leaders to pursue a mixed economy that uses the best bits of both Communist and capitalist theory.
At a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative town hall in Buenos Aires, the U.S. president advised: “So often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and Communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy Communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory—you should just decide what works.”
President Obama further elaborated on what he meant by saying that Cuba’s Communist system under dictator Raúl Castro has made “great progress” in providing all citizens with free access to basic education and health care. He said the Cubans “should be congratulated” for this “huge achievement.” He added that he believed the “most successful economies are rooted in a market-based system,” so an ideal economy should have a private sector subject to community (i.e. government) oversight.
Two days earlier, President Obama held a press conference alongside Castro in Havana. There he promised never to impose American ideals on the Cuban people. Instead, he hoped America and Cuba could learn from each other’s example on human rights! He cited freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion as important American values. He also said he agreed with Castro that government-provided education, health care and pensions are also human rights.
As President Obama nears the end of his second term, he is becoming more honest about his radical worldview. For most of his presidency, Mr. Obama has refrained from openly admitting his disdain for constitutionally limited government. Now he is starting to openly admit that he thinks Communist economic theory has some good points.
As President Obama suggested in Argentina, he may be in the process of using Communist theory to circumvent and supersede America’s traditional constitutionally limited government and its system of checks and balances and separation of powers.
Once the federal government has the power to regulate the educational system, the health-care system and the private sector, the only guarantor of liberty is the benevolence of the leader. President Obama’s description of a nation with a state-run educational system, a state-run health-care sector and a state-supervised private sector doesn’t fit Adam Smith-style capitalism or Karl Marx-style communism. It fits the mixed socialist market economy of a Chinese-style authoritarian bureaucracy!