If ever you’re in question of whether capitalism or socialism is the better system, I suggest the following experiments:
- Have lots of babies; the more the better.
- Wait a few years.
- Tell your children to clean their room.
- When, instead of cleaning their room, they lie on the floor, pout, and procrastinate for endless hours, motivate them by offering a guaranteed and fixed allowance, your generous and non-discriminatory compensation for the working class, for which they, of course, should be grateful.
- When, after they receive their allowance, they continue to lie around and do nothing, motivate them with speeches about the good of the family and the evil of the individual. Promise them more and bigger benefits of which they’re fully entitled to solely on behalf of their births, and urge them to zealously give back to the welfare family.
- When, after receiving said perks, they continue to lie around and do nothing, and you realize that your house is sinking into a bog of chaos, it’s time to administer some good, old-fashioned discipline. So as to prevent them from predicting patterns, inconsistently switch between guilt-inducing talks, vociferous shouting, and endless varieties of chore charts. Of course, all the while continue to pay them their allowance, of which they’re fully entitled to in your enlightened, egalitarian household.
- When you grow exhausted of policing your children and discover that your tactics have only made their behavior worse, still continue to pay them their allowance, buy them whatever they demand at the grocery store, and show your kind-hearted benevolence by letting them essentially rule your household, because after all, the working class should have the say. Accept that they will grow up to be brats and propagate the abuse cycle.
- Complete steps 1 – 3 of Experiment 1.
- When your children don’t clean their room, don’t pay them.
4 thoughts on “Socialism, Capitalism, and Parenting … What I’ve Learned”
a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
A more accurate family experiment in socialism would be this: When your children don’t clean their room, don’t pay them or buy them things, but also don’t kick them out of the house to fend for themselves. Motivate them with speeches about the good of the family and also the good of the individual, who is an exalted and inextricable part of the family. Promise them that the natural consequence of cleaning their room is that they will have a tidier room, fewer broken or lost things, a feeling of accomplishment, and that the people around them will feel appreciative. Don’t incentivize them with money or the acquisition of capital; instead, teach them that meaningful work carries with it intrinsic meaningful rewards for individuals and for communities and that responsible participation in family responsibilities demonstrates the maturity needed to responsibly participate in decision-making processes as an equal and valued member of the family. Teach them that the more they participate in the work of being a family member, the more ownership they have over what the family gets to do as a unit and as individuals. Teach them that the value of meaningful work is in the work itself, and that work without built-in value or naturally meaningful, constructive consequences is worthless, a waste of time, and usually a clever concoction by someone interested in acquiring capital and frequently convincing a lot of other people to generously contribute to their local landfill.
It might take them a few years to get it, but, when they do, the children will grow up to be real adults.
I like the way you think, Davey! I realize I’m being loose with definitions here. It would be interesting to see how your approach plays out with your own kids someday. From my experience, one can preach high and lofty principles till the cows come home (especially with children), but real results require real consequences. Hence I can’t see eye to eye with there being something shallow about the acquisition of money in istself. Money is the means by which we achieve our dreams. It’s the love of money, not the well-intentioned acquisition and use of it, that is the root of all evil.
Experiment 2 seems incomplete. You saying that if you do not pay them they will start cleaning?
Nope. He’s simply saying that if they don’t work, they don’t get paid.