Despite its miserable failure everywhere, there are still people who advocate for communism, i.e. for the abolition of private property. They, of course, draw a line between private and “personal” property, stating that means of production can be collective while we still have personal stuff.

The latter can indeed exist… if the planners got it right. In the former Soviet Union, where there was no private property, production worked according to what government said. As a result, nails were too big to be used and basic products like shoes and clothes were of very low quality. Waiting in line to get basic products like bread was also common – it also is in Venezuela.

It can’t be otherwise. When means of production are collectivized, there is no profit, i.e. no indication if production is going according to what people want rather than what planners think people want. Also, without prices – I suppose Myerson wants to collectivize natural resources too – there’s no way to know if a resource is used efficiently. As a result, resources are wasted and the land is spoiled.

In the “anarchy” of the market, prices indicate scarcity (supposing no inflation, of course). The more expensive a resource is, the rarer it is/it is deemed to be in the future as is the case for oil. When that happens, people start looking for new sources of the resource in order to increase the supply. That’s why oil sands and offshore drilling have become affordable: Inland drilling was getting too expensive.

Alternatively, they can try to without the resource. Thanks to the discovery of fiber optics (make of sand), copper’s demand has decreased and we don’t fear having shortage of this mineral has was the case when telephone hookups were happening 100 years ago. Cars also consume much, much less fuel than they used to thanks because of both oil embargoes of the 1970s and the competition from more energy-efficient cars from Japan.

The Big Three had no choice to do it otherwise they would have defaulted. Now, bankruptcy is an essential part of the market system. When it happens, it means that the business wasn’t up to the customers’ expectations. Saving the company from it is going against customers’ wishes and encourages reckless behaviors, opening the door for a future default. For example, Chrysler defaulted in the late 70s and again 30 years later. In both cases, the company was making cars no one wanted. It can therefore be hypothesized that GM and/or Chrysler will default again…

Finally, “exploitation” is hardly a word that can be used to describe capitalism. People were going in droves toward manufacturing plants because they were tired of toiling in the fields (or worse, do nothing). They opposed government attempts to decreasing their working hours, as Marx himself reported.

True, the boss ultimately decides if the workers stays or is fired. But if the working conditions are too poor, then no one will come. That’s why places like Alberta and North Dakota, where the economy is booming, have retail stores and fastfood outlets paying $15/h or more; otherwise they won’t get anyone!

In short, believing we can have material wealth without private property is akin to believing in pink unicorns. When people don’t get rewarded for their efforts in the form of profits or higher wages, they lose motivation to innovate. Indeed, notwithstanding Tetris, not many world-famous innovations came out of the USSR…