The Importance of Taking Socialism Seriously

IHS President Emily Chamlee-Wright appeared on the How Do We Fix It? podcast with former journalists Richard Davies and Jim Meigs. The three discussed the importance of taking socialism seriously, a topic Chamlee-Wright considered in her recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

In the episode, Chamlee-Wright explains why it’s exciting that people are taking the ideas of socialism seriously. Listen here.

“We increasingly hear that students are interested in socialism,” Chamlee-Wright said. “And some people will find this trend disturbing, but I see it as an opportunity to engage in the fundamental questions. Questions like: What does it mean to be an independent person? What does it mean to have obligations to one another in society? Who’s responsible for me, is society responsible for me, or am I responsible for me? These are the kinds of questions that young people should be engaging in and taking seriously.”

Chamlee-Wright goes on to explain why discussing the ideas of socialism is a pathway to understanding markets at a deeper level too:

“Markets are an engine for creating solutions. Because we have markets, we have a way for sorting out the good ideas from the bad ideas. But the problem is we don’t know today what tomorrow’s solutions are going to be. And that’s why having the long arc of history for us to examine is really helpful because it helps us to understand that human progress tends to emerge from the bottom-up, where there are a lot of checks and balances, and that the market itself is a regulatory process, it winnows out the bad ideas.”

To improve conversations with people we disagree with, Chamlee-Wright points out it’s important to assume good faith. “We should assume the person we’re speaking with wants to engage in a conversation with us just as we want to engage in a conversation with them. That means taking on faith that they are well-intentioned in that conversation.”

The episode also discusses points of agreement between capitalists and socialists, including addressing crony capitalism—where elites pick winners and losers in the economy.

How Do We Fix It? looks at creative ideas for making the world a better place. Learn more here.

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