The Corner


Sanders and Socialism (and Krugman)

Paul Krugman writes:

Bernie Sanders isn’t actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn’t want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark.

Three sentences (two joined by semicolon), three thoughts:

  1. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. He has for a long time. He has been affiliated with other socialists and socialist institutions over the years. At some point, we should take the man at his word. Paul Krugman says Bernie Sanders is not a socialist. Bernie Sanders says Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Maybe Bernie Sanders has a say in that.
  2. Senator Sanders does want to nationalize some major industries, health care prominent among them. He also proposes to enact political controls over other key industries, such as media and banking, that would amount to something close to nationalization. He would subject media companies’ business decisions to political control and would have the federal government own and operate banks.
  3. Senator Sanders has expressed admiration for Venezuela. It is simply untrue to write, as Professor Krugman does, that he has not. Then-Representative Sanders went as far as to sign a letter of support for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez in 2003. And the policies that Sanders proposes are not actually very much like Denmark’s, while his promise of “revolution” is familiar stuff from the experience of Venezuela and other similar cases.


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