Comparative Politics Spring 2012
“Socialism and its Critics”
Due: March 29th by 1pm.
Emailed or late papers not accepted.
Robert Heilbroner argues that socialism implies central economic planning, and intolerance for critics of socialism. Milton Friedman (link here) likewise argues there would be less personal freedom under socialism as compared to capitalism. George Orwell describes a post-revolutionary society, and warns of the dangers of wickedness, ignorance, and greed. Sanderson (ch. 7) points out that socialist revolutions often have led to tragedy.
Using those readings, answer the questions below, in the form of an essay. Your answer should be no more than 1,500 words, double-spaced, with one-inch margins, stapled or paper-clipped. Your answers will be graded in large measure on the degree to which they directly engage the readings.
Does socialism imply central economic planning? Why or why not? Would there be threats to personal freedom under socialism? Would economic planning pose such a threat? How so? Should believers in revolution and socialism worry about unscrupulous leaders and ignorant followers?