Werner Sombart, the most influential socialist of his time, came to America in the late 1800s to investigate why American workers had rejected the socialist approach. He published his findings in a series of essays called, "Why Is There is No Socialism In the United States?" and put them in book form in 1906.
I have written a critical synopsis of Sombart's findings, with extensive quotations. It is online at:
It is an important work, even for those who oppose socialism, for two
reasons. One is that it gives a pretty clear picture, from a socialist
perspective, of the American anti-socialist temperament.
Another is that Sombart accurately predicted that socialism would become more popular as American workers lost access to free and inexpensive land. His analysis will help anti-socialists understand why the land issue is the Achilles Heel of anti-socialist ideologies.
Socialists can also benefit from an understanding of how much more important the issue of land monopoly is than the issue of capital monopoly, and that Marx's confounding of capital with privilege was a critical flaw in Marxist thinking. They will not get a full understanding of that from Sombart, as he did not understand it
Although it is clearly indicated from his observations, he did not "connect the dots." This is understandable, as blaming capital was the core premise of Marx's departure from classical liberalism. The mind shift from blaming wealth back to blaming privilege creates "cognitive dissonance" in the mind of anyone steeped in Marxist ideology.
In any case, the portrait of the American temperament is fascinating. If you think Americans are libertarian individualists today, wait till you see how they were viewed back in the 1890s.
Also, for those who have not seen it, or saw it before the revisions of this last few days, I have a site showing why sales tax destroys commerce. I will soon be adding separate pages showing why it is a terribly regressive tax and why it promotes monopoly at the expense of new business. It is at:
Monday, December 31, 2007
Why is there no Socialism in the United States
From Dan Sullivan.