ELI5 People too selfish for socialism?

ELI5 People too selfish for socialism?


Explain like I’m five,
explain like I’m five! Are people too selfish for socialism? Daddy, Timmy at school said
that socialism can never work because everybody is selfish! Why that’s interesting… So he means socialism
is against human nature? Well kids, let’s go visit the first
human beings on our planet… A long time ago,
all humans lived in tribes Like the native Americans? Yes exactly. A tribe is like a very big
family, all living together. They did not have cars,
or television or iPads. They lived in nature. And nature, they said, she did
not belong to any single person. She belonged to either no one
or to the entire tribe. They were hunter-gatherers. This means they would pick fruit
from trees and bushes, dig up roots, catch fish
and wild animals. And the land, forests, and lakes, all
the things they needed to survive, were commonly owned. So, everybody would just
take what they needed? Yes. But when it was my birthday and I brought homemade cookies to school, Timmy wanted them all to himself! Ah yes good point. That could happen in a tribe too! Suppose someone wanted
to ‘own’ all the trees and have all the apples for himself… That would really suck for
the rest of the tribe, they would have no apples at all. And the selfish person could not even eat all those apples all by himself without getting sick! So, what would happen if someone tried to
claim the common resources of the tribe? They would just not put up with it! Like they could simply ban
someone from the tribe… then the selfish person
would be on his own… all alone in nature… where there are still hungry
wolves and bears and the like… People really needed to
stick together to survive, or it would not end well! Cool!
Eew gross! See acting in your own
self-interest is ok, but if you take it too far and hurt others, they will not accept it. It’s a matter of balancing the
needs and wants of the individual with those of the group. Like in a sports team? Exactly! A team wants every player
to perform at his best, the team cares about the players. But the players should act as a team too, because a team that cooperates
well is a successful team and that is good for everyone. Same for the tribe, they had to
act as a team, work together, for instance if they
wanted to hunt a mammoth. You kids know what a mammoth is? That doesn’t look like a mammoth! It’s a mammoth ok? No doesn’t look like a mammoth at all… yeah it kind of looks
like a mastodon to me. Yeah dad, you know… They might look similar but are
actually two very distinct species in the proboscidean family. That’s the taxonomical order also
containing contemporary elephants, dad. It’s a mammoth! And who is explaining
and WHO IS FIVE?! Ok? Now let me continue… So it’s not easy to hunt a mammoth. Hunters would really need
to plan and organize and put in a lot of effort
to catch one of these. It’s practically impossible for
a hunter to do this all alone. But! When they cooperated… … everyone could benefit. There is evidence of certain
hunter-gather tribes being so successful that they only needed to work 20
hours a week to sustain themselves. This leaves them a lot of
time for talking, having fun, partying, making
love, creating art… So everybody was nice to
each other all the time? Oh no. There is also sufficient
evidence of the opposite! Tribal warfare for example,
or the lack of science. The point is NOT that selfish behavior did
not exist and is against human nature… selfish behavior IS part of human nature. But SO is cooperation. And because we used to live in a situation where we had to cooperate and share, we did so, and quite successfully
for tens of thousands of years. So that is basically why
socialists think that that basing our society on cooperation
and common ownership is possible.

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