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George Orwell and the Incoherence of Democratic Socialism

Makovi, Michael (2015): George Orwell and the Incoherence of Democratic Socialism.

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Abstract

George Orwell's famous fictions, Animal Farm and Nineteen-Eighty Four were intended to advocate democratic socialism by portraying undemocratic forms of socialism as totalitarian. For Orwell, democracy was a political institution which would limit the abuse of power. But there are several problems with democratic socialism which ensure its failure. In Orwell's novel A Clergyman's Daughter, Orwell's views of economics and politics are inconsistent and conflicting in a way that ensures democratic socialism will not succeed on Orwell's terms. Democratic socialism in general is criticized according to F. A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom and John Jewkes's The New Ordeal by Planning, whose arguments differ crucially from those against market socialism by Andrei Shleifer and Robert W. Vishny. An economic analysis of the political institutions of democratic socialism shows that democratic socialism must necessarily fail for political (not economic) reasons even if nobody in authority has ill-intentions or abuses their power.

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