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Socialism Does Not Benefit Denmark: The Economic Case Against Socialism and Reported Happiness

The Nation, in a video entitled People in Denmark Are a Lot Happier Than People in the United States, nearly perfectly illuminates the non-economist angle on a matter that can only be formatted to tell a convenient story on why democratic socialism beats the free market.

First, the United States of America today hardly encapsulates the spirit of the unbridled free market, more closely resembling only a vestige of it while moving increasingly toward the more fashionable socialism embraced in this cunning and graphically-appeasing caricature of life under both systems.

Of course, the United States fails to even break the top-10 in the free-market rankings, where it has fallen less than gracefully to number seventeen.

As always, feel free to watch the video here to draw your own conclusions. The following evaluation is merely my own. Thanks for reading.

Under the Economic Eye

The recently-released video entitled People in Denmark Are a Lot Happier Than People in the United States captures the in-vogue viral sensation of the burgeoning spirit of socialism in the Western world. The Washington Post recently reported that a majority of millennials views socialism favorably, while a recent Reason-Rupe survey has found that 53 percent of Americans under the age of 30 have a favorable view of socialism, while still another poll by Gallup has concluded that 60 percent of millennials claim they would be willing to vote for a socialist presidential candidate. Perhaps the rise of proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the physical manifestation of this developing trend.

It is most ironic that the United States has shifted so wildly from opposing national socialism (Naziism) during WWII and Soviet Russia during the Cold War to unabashedly embracing it across the globe and across party lines.

Indeed, it appears as though democracy is that road to socialism which is "Nothing more than mob rule," as Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, "where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Anyway, this popular video represents the classic fallibility of the non-economist telling the story from the middle rather than the beginning of the tale, neglecting altogether to capture the principal causes for those vilified, yet systemically induced, economic burdens and higher costs of living.

Ultimately, education is a personal journey whereby the chief responsibility of accountability is shouldered by the individuals pursuing or financing it, ordinarily some combination of the student and his or her parents or guardians.

In the real world, debt is financed either through the consensual routes of interest-bearing advanced credit or through the qualitative (and non-quantitative) forms of systemic servitude at the expense of both alternative pursuits and personal sovereignty.

Amazingly, this myopic dichotomy illustrates a vacation on a boat that fails to become more widely available specifically due to this mandated five-week vacation period; rather, production is stymied by this prohibition on labor, disproportionately distributing this burden to smaller businesses and budding competitors whose budgets are demonstrably less capable of withstanding the loss of labor hours, while the spirit of the entrepreneur scarcely ever benefits from such a shortsighted mandate which unwittingly suggests that vacation has become an entitlement over something merited by the scaled production of the market.

What's more, the lower-income class is the principal beneficiary of those marginal advances in output, as the marginal dollar of savings is far more valuable to them.

Of course, the presumed entitlement to vacation time is antithetical to the natural state of this world, something borne out in the relatively inconspicuous quantity, quality and sustainability of output.

Taken to its ultimate end, a 52-week vacation may be desirable, but the logical outcome hardly escapes the shrewd observer.

Market economies tend to operate naturally in that direction, exploring ways to reduce costs while maximizing output.

At the margin, individuals may then determine the thresholds at which they are satisfied, whereby the marginal utility of marginal labor is outweighed by the marginal utility of leisure.

Finally, indeed long-term dependency programs foster exactly what they are intended to produce: dependency upon a system whose budgets are determined from quotas and measured participation.

This is evincibly true in the San Francisco Bay Area, where so-called homeless persons benefit to the equivalency tune of greater than $70,000 per year, effectively subtly pricing out middle-income households at the grocery store through their artificial price-pushing Cal Fresh EBTs, rent-stimulating housing choice vouchers valued per-capita in the thousands of dollars per month, whereby many are paying nothing or virtually nothing on their housing, the low-hanging Social Security Disability Income benefits for which outreach teams will easily negotiate on behalf of such individuals, despite the participants' capacity to work or even their existing occupation in the informal or black market, and the innumerable taxpayer-financed non-profit organizations extending gratuitous sums of funds for payment on delinquencies, property damages or unpaid bills caused by careless behavior and reckless budgeting practices.

The total of these programs accomplishes nothing but the redistribution of purchasing power to bid up the prices of land, labor and capital by unwittingly depressing labor participation by increasing the perceived marginal cost of labor, something partially captured in the teen unemployment rate and overall labor participation rate, and thereby crowding out otherwise viable and healthy investment while doing nothing to stimulate substantive production, while instead temporally driving spending, in the advanced exchange loop.

The most hilarious aspect of this whole narrative is that the narrator captures the life of the consumer/employee while failing to even remotely discuss the life of the producer/employer.

Of course, happiness is something which is nearly impossible to measure, something which is completely personal and independent of measured market outcomes.

Of course, dynamic advancements across one's lifetime can lead to an appreciable increase in one's satisfaction, but his state of being is something far too personal and local to determine and compare objectively.

Ultimately, there exists no evidence here which proves that anyone is happier because of, or despite, these perceived boons or burdens on the economy, and a comparison of persons across cultures or continents is hardly one of equivalents.

Take, for example, the difference in body weight between these nations, which hovers around 10% for both genders.

This outcome is illustrative of neither some good nor any objective bad; rather, this is the product of a workforce that has become increasingly more sedentary and systemically less sensitive to the total costs of those behaviors which produce those results.

In fact, the long-run increase in average life expectancy in the United States has halved since the 1965 Great Society movement, revealing a plateauing of the advances in the life expectancy of the average American.

The most draconian change has been the synthesis of government and the medical industry, whereby an artificial priority premium has been placed on ensuring comprehensive access to all residents of this country, irrespective of their commercial contributions or even their true health status or their continued exhibition of detrimental behaviors, at the expense of the vast frontier of market potential.

In some cases, individuals are feigning illness to simply benefit from the hospital stay as a substitute form of a protracted all-inclusive vacation.

In the end, the measured happiness of Scandinavian countries may be the consequence of the manner in which their residents report their respective states of being rather than how they actually feel.

And after all, this is the very foundation of the failure of any democracy or reporting mechanism: the contrast between the way one views the world and how that world actually functions.

It is all too completely possible to find a very happy population where there exists a dearth of knowledge about the real world and its plentiful possibilities.

On the opposite end, it is just as possible to find a competitive athlete or scholar who feels less than satisfied with his or her progress, while he or she may indeed, in absolute or relative terms, be successful while still remaining eager to realize even greater success.

In this sense, any measure of happiness is both a poor metric for today and an even less useful predictor of tomorrow.

Ultimately, labeling something as "free" has always failed to achieve this end.

It is always and everywhere, in forms both concrete and abstract, far more expensive than it ever would have been. 

In summary, the one who takes solace in the devices of socialism is plainly one who observes success through the lens of envy rather than responding with the passion to emulate or better that success. 

It is the exhibited fixed-pie mentality that drives the onlooker to conclude that the other's success must necessarily yield a proportionate loss somewhere to someone else. 

Of course, this myopia has only fostered expedient propaganda pieces for the generation of public division, psychologically propagating the notion that happiness itself is a right, even at the expense of any other's right to pursue his or her own style of it.

Interestingly enough, there are two prevalent measures of life that are distinctly characteristic of a life well-lived and yet distinctly separate from one another. 

As such, there are two lives that one can seemingly live, while of course reserving at any time the luxury of alternating between the two or opting to exclusively favor one. 

Those two lifestyles can be aptly described as ones of impact or happiness, the first of which relies upon thinking differently while the latter rests upon complacency.   

One of the greatest challenges in thinking differently is that impulse which drives us to pursue happiness, a state of complacent acceptance which stands diametrically opposed to the type of innovative thinking which upends the status quo and supplies an uncomfortable jolt to the way things currently exist. 

To think imaginatively and differently then is to imperil that state of happiness, rendered that way by its juxtaposition against the vast possibilities of what could be. 

The one who achieves success then can be measured by one’s level of complacent happiness or by one’s impactful impression upon the world. In many ways, the two are demonstrably mutually exclusive.

As it turns out, the human being may only pursue happiness or impact. There is no guarantee on its attainment, let alone the quality thereof.


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