This is much too complex an issue to explore thorougly here, but
it is worth noting that many "socialist" states in Africa,
the Middle East and elsewhere in what used to be called "the
third world" were socialist only in name. Many of them were
run as fiefdoms by dictators who stole much of the national wealth
and deposited it in Swiss banks. Others, like Cuba, were kept
afloat only by large infusions of cash from patron states like
the Soviet Union or China.
International agencies like the World Bank which insist on "opening"
such economies to outside capitalist investment can also cause
tremendous suffering and rob nations of their dignity and independence.
But without an international socialist safety net, it is not clear
that socialism provides a viable alternative. Unless one is content
to implement a closed, low-level agrarian form of socialism, a
successful economy must be highly developed, and socialists have
been markedly less successful than capitalists in undertaking
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