By

CJay Engel

September 3, 2019

Reisman on Chernobyl, Long Before HBO

From George Reisman's Capitalism treatise, he comments on Chernobyl's disaster as a symptom of communism's very nature:

The case of Chernobyl was a genuine disaster. But this fact is not an indictment of atomic power, still less of modern science and technology in general. It is an indictment only of the incompetence, and indifference to human life, inherent in communism. Under communism (socialism), there is no incentive to supply people with anything they need or want, including safety.
In addition, under communism (socialism), the ability of the government to prosecute wrongdoing in connection with the use of means of production is necessarily compromised by the very nature of the case, inasmuch as the state itself is the owner of the means of production and therefore is itself the party responsible for any misuse in connection with them. Indeed, any prosecution by the state would have to be a prosecution of its own officials, logically entailing the prosecution of its very highest officials.
This is because under the central planning that is an essential characteristic of socialism the highest officials have responsibility for every detail of economic activity. The implicit need to challenge the top leaders, of course, greatly diminishes the likelihood of such prosecutions. Thus under communism, as the result of the lack both of economic and legal incentives to provide safety, industrial accidents of all kinds are commonplace, including airplane and train crashes.
This is a good reason for rejecting communism, but certainly not a rational basis for rejecting atomic power and an industrial society.

About the author

C.Jay Engel is the founder and publisher of Austro Libertarian. He has written for Mises.org, LRC, David Stockman, and others. He owns several consulting business and actively works on the magazine, for Tom Woods, and lives in Northern CA.

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