The best outcome is a reversion to capitalism. The worst? Hundreds of millions dead.
Self-described socialist Bernie Sanders has become a favorite of young voters by posing as an apostle of daring new ideas. Socialism, however, is anything but new. It’s hard to think of another idea that has been tried and failed as many times in as many ways or at a steeper price in human suffering.
The term “socialism” was coined by followers of Robert Owen (1771-1858), whom Karl Marx would label a “utopian socialist.” In 1825 Owen founded New Harmony, an Indiana commune, to demonstrate the superiority of what was first called the “social system.” The same year, Owen explained his experiment to a joint session of Congress attended by Supreme Court justices, President James Monroe and President-elect John Quincy Adams. Although Owen poured his fortune into it, New Harmony collapsed in disarray and recrimination within two years.