Skip to comments.The Pilgrims, a study in Socialism vs. Capitalism.
Posted on 11/01/2006 11:54:46 PM PST by Exton1
When the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower to establish the Plymouth Colony, they did so under the requirement that "all profits and benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" were to be placed into the "common stock" of the colony and that "all such persons as are of this colony are to have their provisions out of the common stock." Sort of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" Socialism.
But something happened at Plymouth in 1623 because "instead of famine now God gave them plenty," Bradford wrote that and in 1624 so much was harvested that they were able to export corn.
William Bradford was a "man of God" and because of that he was a student of the word of God, and there he found wisdom. First he abolished socialism and converted to a free market society. He did as the Jews did when the entered into the promised landhe divided the landgave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep all that they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. Famine ended.
I just read "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick, and he discussed this same issue.
This is a severely shortened and therefore confusing version of the story that Rush often tells around Thanksgiving time. The whole story is excellent.
Correct. In the winter of the socialistic failure, roughly a third of the Pilgrims died. This should prove to all of us that socialism is (dare I say it) "suicidal."
Socialism is rigid an non-adaptive, and given usually limited resources cannot function properly if the needs under socialism are too varied. Socialism cannot easily adjust to individual needs, so inevitably it fails as the given community grows and changes. However, under short-term circumstances or in a situation where the group does not grow beyond the ability to support itself with limited resources, Socialism has an ideal application.
An ideal sample of successful applications of socialism are any given American family. They are NOT democracies. Resources are distributed by an authoritative channel who also dictates the cultural agenda. Subject under the system either comply with that agenda or they are deprived of resources. Another larger sample of limited socialist success are "states of emergency" during wartime or a catastrophe. These are short-termed circumstances where the agenda is survival and the entire community shares the given agenda. In doing so they can wholeheartedly devote themselves to the objective of creating and sustaining a successful socialist environment, at least until the emergency or short-term circumstance has passed.
Socialism as a governing mentality on the whole is an absolute failure. It cannot be adapted towards government a large populace and resources can never be properly distributed. Rather, leading authorities will pick and choose "favorites" based on performance and like beliefs, while non-conforming individuals are left to their own means while being expected to do their share in supporting and sustaining the system. In the end, Socialism always collapses as the the number of those failed by socialism grow and inevitably turn against the system and work towards it's demise.
So excuse my rantings. I can't even remember what set me off on this tangent. Need more coffee...
The issue isn't "like needs". The issue is full knowledge. In a very small community, if someone slacks off without trying to pull his own weight, everyone will know it and can apply pressure on the person to work harder, rewarding him if he does so. If someone who's contributed a lot to the community asks a carpenter for a new table, the carpenter may oblige. If a slacker makes a similar request, the carpenter would decline.
The problem is that in larger communities, most people won't have any direct way of knowing who's a hard worker and who's a slacker. That's where money comes in. If someone spends hours a day helping a farmer to harvest crops, and then wants a table for himself, the carpenter doesn't have to know the farmer. The farmer gives the helper money, and the helper in turn gives the money to the carpenter. People who want strangers to do nice things for them need money, and the way people get money is by doing nice things for strangers.
The problem with socialism/communism is that its structure for rewarding hard work and thrift does not scale. Capitalism, by contrast, scales quite well.
This is a common misconception. Mayflower’s governor was Christopher Martin. Bradford was originally on Speedwell, which sailed out of Delftshaven. John Carver was Speedwell’s governor and first governor of New Plimoth.
journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract that established
just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective
of their religious beliefs.”
Sorry, this is utter fallacy. The “combination (Bradford’s word) was merely an interim contract reaffirming the original agreement. The issue was that since the colony were not where the original “patent” was for (the west bank of Hudson’s River) that men didn’t need to honor any other contracts (ie servants). English Common Law ruled New Plimoth and everyone of the people who came here were extremely INTOLERANT of other religious beliefs.
the first winter, half the Pilgrims including Bradford’s own wife
died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.”
Well, half did die, probably not from starvation but rather a combination of exposure, malnutrition, and complications of scurvy. Bradford’s wife, Dorothy, probably fell overboard shortly after arrival to Cape Cod, her body was never recovered.
“The original contract the
Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London
called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and
each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of
the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the
community as well. “
Not quite. Servants were not afforded any shares.
Everything was part of the joint stock company of which the merchant adventurers were also a part. All the land and house were the companies inventory.
“Every family was assigned its own plot of land to
work and permitted to market its own crops and products.”
There is no evidence for or against this idea of individual marketing.
But the rest of your post is spot on. The Plymouth story has absolutely NOTHING to do with socialism.
Tell it like it is my brother!
You know, this statement is particularly interesting right now given the widespread discussion of the "Cloward-Piven" strategy of orchestrated crisis. Obama needs to generate emergencies to pass his agenda by uniting the people by way of the given crisis.
Another larger sample of limited socialist success are "states of emergency" during wartime or a catastrophe. These are short-termed circumstances where the agenda is survival and the entire community shares the given agenda. In doing so they can wholeheartedly devote themselves to the objective of creating and sustaining a successful socialist environment, at least until the emergency or short-term circumstance has passed.
Jeez...scary to see it in action.
You failed to respond to the point. Did the pilgrims start with a social pact/socialist commune style of production? Yes! Did that commune/socialist style fail? Yes!
Did they switch to a free market/capiltalist style? Yes!
All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Platos and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other mens wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is mens corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.
It seems that we keep forgetting this fundamental lesson. And every time we forget, we pay the price.
But hey. I didnt write this.