Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pilgrim Socialism

After arriving at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and after learning how to hunt and farm in current-day Massachusetts, the Pilgrims puruse a socialist economic plan for two years. Everything was owned by everyone. The pastures were held in no man's deed, so any person could place any cow on any plot of land at any given time. Yet who would want to make sure the cow eats, when its milk and meat will not be the product of one's labour, but instead shared with the colony. The colony's governor, William Bradford, wrote the following in his diary.

"community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objectived to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men's wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc. than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustic."

Bradford then turned to a more capitalistic form of economic order. How did it fair? Let's hear again from Governor William Bradford.

"every family was assigned a parcel of land"...[and each man was allowed to]..."plant corn for his own household." ..."This was very successful."..."It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction."

Source: Dutcher, Brandon. "Give Thanks for Private Enterprise." Stillwater NewsPress. November 26, 2008. A4.

Blog Archive