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Socialism Sucks

Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World
Narrated by: John Pruden
Length: 4 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Economics
5 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The bastard step-child of Milton Friedman and Anthony Bourdain, Socialism Sucks is a bar crawl through former, current, and wannabe socialist countries around the world. Free-market economists Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell travel to countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and Sweden to investigate the dangers and idiocies of socialism - while drinking a lot of beer.

©2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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    5 out of 5 stars

I learned more than I anticipated in a 4 + hr book

Review in a nutshell: I was entertained throughout and learned more than I anticipated in a 4 hour 25 minute book.

Eye opening moments:

Life in Sweden might be good, but Swedes living in the U.S. are significantly more prosperous than Swedes living in Sweden (similarly but less surprisingly, Cubans living in the U.S. are far better off than Cubans in Cuba).

Bernie Sanders once praised Venezuela's brand of socialism (“These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela, and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?”-Bernie Sanders). I wish this were more widely known.

Some Cubans are aware that more interaction with America will lend itself to growing freedom in Cuba.

Georgia's surge toward freedom was completely new information to me.

Some concerns:

High school teachers and community college professors might not assign or recommend this book due to the repeated references to alcohol. Hey Robert and Benjamin, maybe this calls for a second book geared toward that audience?

Partway through this book I thought, "O goodness, they think millennials are actually socialists! That's why we're spending so much time talking about true socialism in this book up to this point." And I thought the entire book was going to be a waste. Once we got to the socialist convention in the U.S., they diagnosed what's going on among young Americans very accurately, which was a big relief. Somehow I missed that near the front of the book . . . so if you're like me when you read this maybe I can help -- they tie up everything very well in the second half of the book. Don't worry! In fact, the last few chapters would be worth reading on their own.

Overall, well done! Big thanks to the authors.

-Jordan, age 30.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great Book - Need to share with others

The authors were able to articulate why allowing people to make decisions and control the economy is more powerful then any type of centralized or state run control. I really hope this book takes off and people, especially young people (my generation) read this book and realize they do not want socialism. Socialism = loss of individual rights and decision making. Good book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fun and educational

Yeah, that’s a cliche, but it applies. Bob and Ben manage to make light of some hefty subject matter so that we can laugh, but actually think about that subject matter.

I would have liked to have seen an example of a country which has a history of free markets and success, but is slipping into a collectivist, state dominated system — like South Africa.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • WASHINGTON, DC, United States
  • 08-06-19

Entertaining listening about booze and Socialism

This is the second audio book I have purchased because the authors made a great pitch on a podcast.
It is part travel book and part economics lecture. Despite the conditions they made Cuba sound like a great place to visit provided you stay in an Airbnb and bring your own spices, and don’t drink beer. The description of Georgia made me want to check out Georgian wines.
As far as the Socialism goes, they describe it with their definitions and acknowledge those promoting it in America appear to have their own completely different definition.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Hilarious and insightful.

Love beer? Hate Socialism? Then this is a good one. Worth the read/listen. Made for the common man and student of economics as well. Absolutely loved listening. Found myself chuckling or straight up laughing out loud quite a bit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Concise, funny and accurate

Greatly enjoyed the authors account of the socialist regimes around the world. Will recommend to my leftist friends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Good book

Great description of true socialism. Good history of the calamities socialism created and millions who were killed. But very little discussion of current ideas of Democratic Socialism and whether it will work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Economic Fun

Loved it and learned. I instinctively knew Socialism sucked but now I can explain it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent audiobook!

The information in this book would be world changing to many ignorant of the damage socialism does. A must read for young adults who are indoctrinated in school with the 'economics' of Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Hitler

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great information

This is a great book for someone that’s interested in learning more about what socialism is. I think everyone should read the book to understand the consequences of having a socialist government. Democratic socialism is nothing more than the same old socialism that has been around since Lennon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Kieron Casey
  • Kieron Casey
  • 08-30-19

Really, really, really, embarrassingly bad

Two economists get a taxi in Cuba. It costs them more than a bus. They don't understand why. So socialism is bad.

They (rightly) point out Sweden isn't a socialist society - but suggest Nazi Germany was. This is the quality level here.

Ultimately, its obvious they've written a book on socialism without reading any Marx. They seem genuinely baffled when someone explains to them the idea of socialism from below. They've made up their own system to rate countries out of 100 on how capitalist (good) they are - no need for them to actually engage with actual political theory.

Other highlights - the duo struggling to find a bar to drink in in central Havana... because there were no billboards.

The duo worrying about human trafficking in sex work... but thinking that that could only be found in communist countries.

Writing a travelogue where they don't visit all the countries they write about.

The duo becoming distraught at research suggesting communist women having more orgasms than women in capitalist societies.

The duo believing that Cuba's world class health service - which has included pioneering research into HIV, cancer and ebola - does not actually exist. Instead high Cuban life expectancy can be attributes solely, and exclusively, to the fact there are fewer cars on the road at night in Cuba than in America. (Seriously)

If you want to see what free market fetishisation does to your brain, listen to this.