A Great New Deal

Ashley Liu – Period 6


The conflict between ownership and abolition of private property has forced economists to argue which of the two is not only best for the betterment of a community but also the individual. Socialism can be described as a political theory that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned by the community as a whole; therefore, private property will not be the source of competition and the free market system. Capitalism, however, is the complete opposite: a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. Marx claims that private property is the basis on “class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few” since it keeps those with private property in power and the workers at the bottom [1]. Although his claim is completely understandable, Pope Leo XIII quickly shuts down the idea by stating that socialism “must be utterly rejected; [it] is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind” [2]. He believes that potential ownership of private property gives people hope to plan better for their future and ultimately work harder.

The U.S. has a capitalist economy with government sponsored socialist programs, like welfare, social security for the elderly, etc. A popular capitalist belief is that the government should not be allowed to pick winners and losers in an economy; however, situations arise when socialism comes to play an important role. In the 1930s, the Great Depression hit the country and many were left without private property and jobs, and the government needed to intervene in the economy. FDR’s New Deal “embraced the concept of a government-regulated economy aimed at achieving a balance between conflicting economic interests” [3]. While many businesses and private owners resisted the socialistic tendencies of The New Deal, they gradually accepted New Deal reforms as a permanent part of national life. To this day, many reforms from The New Deal still play a vital part within our economy and the well-being for many Americans.

Ludwig von Mises paints a picture that when the “government alone plans and forces everybody to behave according with [a] unique plan… that there is no sphere of freedom left” [4]. Aristotle’s opinion on “lords and slaves” can be a response to Mises’s dramatic claim that in a socialistic society, the workers become slaves to the state; Aristotle states that the “master and slave have the same interests” [5]. No, the worker is not an actual slave because they have the option to follow the plan or not, but the master (can be the government) must guide and direct the worker since the workers do not know what to do or how to get out of economic turmoil. Ultimately, socialistic programs are vital to our economy and our country would not be the same without them.

Picture Citation [6].


[1] Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party, 51.

[2] Pope Leo XIII. Rerum Novarum, 69-70.

[3] “New Deal.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed May 01, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/event/New-Deal.

[4] Mises, Ludwig von. Liberty and Property, 62.

[5] Aristotle. The Politics, 33.

[6] History.com Staff. “New Deal.” History.com. 2009. Accessed May 01, 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/new-deal.


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