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Is there anything to the argument that “socialism would work if we were just better people” and had perfect information?

Hosts
Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor
Trevor Burrus
Research Fellow, Constitutional Studies
Guests

Jason Brennan is the Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is the author of Against Democracy (2016), Markets without Limits (2015), Compulsory Voting: For and Against (2014), Why Not Capitalism? (2014), Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (2012), The Ethics of Voting (2011), and A Brief History of Liberty (2010). Brennan also blogs at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

This week Jason Brennan joins Aaron and Trevor to discuss his newest book, Why Not Capitalism?, which is a response to G. A. Cohen’s 2009 book Why Not Socialism? Brennan says that Cohen commits the fallacy of comparing idealized socialism with perfect actors to real markets with imperfect actors, and offers an illustrative example as proof that when comparing idealized capitalism to idealized socialism and real capitalism to real socialism, it is capitalism—not socialism—that claims the moral high ground.

Is there anything to the argument that “socialism would work if we were just better people” and had perfect information?