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Condi Rice: Socialism has 'only worked at gunpoint'

A socialist system 'has never produced particularly good outcomes,' Rice says

Updated: July 23, 2020 - 5:51pm

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, head of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, argued that socialism has "only worked at gunpoint" in other countries as she argued against socialist policies being implemented in the U.S.

"I've spent a lot of my life studying a country that was born on the premise 'From each according to his talents, to each according to his needs' – that was the core of socialism," Rice, who served in the administration of former President George W. Bush, said on Monday during a discussion on "Socialism And Free-Market Capitalism."

"One thing we know is that's only worked at gunpoint because it actually turns out not to be very incentivizing to people to say you can work as hard as you possibly can according to your talents but we, and the question becomes who is the we, are going to determine what your needs are. And that's why that system has never produced particularly good outcomes," she also said.

Rice, considered an expert on Russia, said there was "a sense" in the 1970s and 1980s that the environment would be better protected with socialist policies compared to having capitalism look after the environment. Rice rejected that notion, saying that bad practices would be brought to light in a free society.

"What you have in a free society is multiple points at which those kinds of activities are going to be brought out into the open – whether it's by elected officials or a free press or individual citizens who are going to get together and say that is wrong. Free societies actually will be more protective of something like the environment than those socialists or collectivists," she said.

"So that's just one example of why, when you protect freedom and you protect liberty and you protect everything from press freedom to people who can question a cooperation through shareholder activities, you're going to get outcomes that are different than if you depend on the ‘we' in that collective and of course the ‘we' always turns out to be a very small number of people at the top who make those decisions," she added.

Rice said many students in the U.S. are not familiar with the history of the Soviet Union, which has impacted their perception of socialism.

"We haven't really been willing to talk about market-oriented capitalist solutions to some of the disfunctions that are truly there so I think the kids say, 'well, if you don't have any solutions, I'll try this over here that sounds pretty good,'" she said.

During the discussion, Rice did not mention former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described "Democratic socialist," by name but some of his policies have been incorporated into the recently released unity document with presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. 

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