America's First Socialism experiment and it's failure: Ignoring human nature
August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. There were 102 passengers, including 40 Pilgrims. The whole ship was not Pilgrims, 40 of them. They were led by a man named William Bradford.
On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, The Mayflower Compact, a contract that established collectivism, socialism, a common wealth.
That contract called for everything the Pilgrims produced to go into a common store, a single bank account, if you will. And each member of the community was entitled to an equal share of the gross. This was fair. This was equal. This was same. All the land they cleared, the houses they built, they belonged to the community as well.
Nobody owned anything. Everything was owned by the community, everybody equal share to all of it. They were gonna distribute it equally. Everybody would get the same, everybody would be the same. All the land they cleared, the houses they built, belonged to the community.
William Bradford soon recognized that this wasn’t working.
During the first winter, half of them died, including William Bradford’s own wife, of either starvation, sickness, or exposure.
But you know what else was happening? Since everybody got an equal share no matter what, there were some lazy sloths. Yes. Some of the original Pilgrims, some of their offspring just sat around and did nothing all day while the others picked up the slack.
The Pilgrims were not collectivism ideologues. It wasn’t that somebody said, “We’re gonna try socialism.” It’s just the way they set it up. They wanted to be fair with everything. It was a natural thing. “We’ll have a common store. Everybody has one share, and everything we do and make goes into that bank, and everybody gets an equal percentage of it.” Well, human nature interceded, and there were some lazy people that didn’t do anything, they don’t have to, they were entitled to an equal share no matter what they did.
And so they essentially tore up that first contract, which, they didn’t know it, but that was socialism. And what they did was create a new community based on what we would call capitalism today. The more you produce, the more you got to keep. The harder you work, the greater were the fruits of your labors. If you wanted a bigger home than somebody else, and you could afford to build it, you did it, you didn’t have to share it.
Because of capitalism, the Pilgrims now had more than they could share, more than they could eat, more food than they could serve each other. They invited the Indians. They set up trading posts. They exchanged goods with the Indians, and the profits finally allowed them to pay off the debts to the sponsors, the merchants in London and Holland who had sponsored them.
But it was the sharing of the bounty that was created by the change in governing structure that led to the plenty that allowed them to invite the Indians and share all of this with them.
And it is for this that the original Pilgrims gave thanks; the original Thanksgiving.
They were giving thanks for having been shown the light, and the word spread, and that began the Great Puritan Migration, and that’s when the flood of European arrivals began, after the success of the original Plymouth colony... and the success of capitalism.
And to this very day, truly free market capitalism is the most moral economic system ever devised by imperfect people.
Credit to Rusty L.
Edited by Rogerdodger, 06 April 2019 - 03:10 PM.