“Socialism Sucks” Ace Event with Ben Powell


Cuvler-Stockton College held a new type of ACE Event Tuesday afternoon. The college hosted Benjamin Powell, author and world traveler. He wrote the book Socialism Sucks; Two Economists Drink their Way through the Unfree World. The book discusses several different countries, his experiences along with his coauthor, Robert Lawson. They started this journey in 2016 when discovering young people have been finding a larger interest in socialism. They traveled the world to several countries to observe their economies and how they function within themselves and society. During this event, he elaborates on his conclusion and studies while occasionally sipping on a beer.

Author and lecturer Ben Powell  (Hailey Frutiger)

In his presentation, he briefly discusses the climate of socialistic ideas in the United States. He mentions politicians Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and how they promote socialistic ideas for the U.S. to move towards. Powell defined socialism as “collective ownership/control of means of production.”

With this, he led into the different experiences he had in other countries. He mentions Sweden, which much of the world believes to be socialist when it is not.  Powell talked about Venezuela and how the country is an example of “starving socialism”. He talked on how goods and services do not balance out well for a socialistic government.

Powell then led the room into a conversation about Cuba and “subsistence socialism”, comparing the government hotels to the ‘personal owned’ places he stayed. The personal owned are going to be nicer because they depend on a singular family/person to make it function, while governments and corporations are less friendly and more expensive.

He then ventures to his experience with Korea (or lack there of) and describes their government as “dark socialism.” He went into detail on North Korea post WWII, and how all their productions were industry, electricity, and mining. Then, with South Korea, he discussed how they are quite on a different spectrum, being in the top 20% of economically free countries in the world. This discussion led into the conversation on China, calling it “fake socialism,” a once socialist country became communist. Even after reform in China, he expressed how it was still a police state.

He briefly discussed Russia and Ukraine in what he described these countries as “hungover socialism.”

Lastly, he describes the country of Georgia to be a new form of capitalism, in which he obviously preferred out of all the other countries he discussed. With its growing economy and being the 8th most free country when it comes to economy, he brought us to a close on how much he enjoyed his time there.

The floor was then opened for questions, leading to discuss other places he has been and what more on his book. Overall, this even went smoothly and provided new types of information for the C-SC students and staff.