I came across this study today about the true costs of socialist policies in terms of human life. The drive of the study is how can we calculate how many people would not have died, how many more people would be literate, and how many more people would be above the poverty line if certain policies were not implemented.
The paper looks at India, which while not a communist state, it was socialist until strong economic reforms through out the last 2 decades. The thrust of the paper is that if the country had not implemented the socialist policies it did and had instead focused on a free market capitalist approach then 14.5 million more children would have survived, 261 million more Indians would have become literate, and 109 million more people would have risen above the poverty line.
Obviously studies like this will always be somewhat error prone and controversial. It’s very difficult to say what could have been. But, the author does a good job defending the methodology used to make the calculations. The study really illustrates that there is a costs to the ideals that we hold. Socialism is often sold as a system that champions the poor. Sadly, it’s the poor that often end up paying the greatest cost.
If you want to read the paper it’s available here: http://www.cato.org/pubs/dbp/dbp4.pdf