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Why Socialism?

1949, Albert Einstein


"Why Socialism?" is an article written by Albert Einstein in May 1949 that appeared in the first issue of the socialist journal Monthly Review. It addresses problems with capitalism, predatory economic competition, and growing wealth inequality. It highlights control of mass media by private capitalists making it difficult for citizens to arrive at objective conclusions, and political parties being influenced by wealthy financial backers resulting in an "oligarchy of private capital". Einstein concludes that these problems can only be corrected with planned economy which maintains a strong democracy to protect the rights of individuals.

According to Einstein, the profit motive of a capitalist society, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, leads to unnecessary cycles of booms and depressions, and ultimately encourages selfishness instead of cooperation. In addition, the educational system of such a society would be severely undermined because people will educate themselves only to advance their careers. This results in the "crippling of individuals" and the erosion of human creativity. Unrestrained competition in a capitalist society leads to a huge waste of labor and causes economic anarchy, which Einstein denounces as the real source of capitalism's evil:

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