such as David Lloyd George and WinstonrnChurchill visited Prussia to see howrnits system worked. Labour membersrnnumbered several dozens in that parliament,rnand they showed no interest whateverrnin such reforms. They had beenrnelected with one purpose only: to changernthe laws that restricted the unions. A welfarernstate meant nothing to them.rnBetween the world wars, conservativerngovernments widened welfare provisions,rnand again Labour was unimpressed. Ifrnyou are trying to abolish capitalism, itrnmakes no sense to humanize it. In 1942,rnat the height of Worid War II, WilliamrnBeveridge wrote a report that led to a nationalrnhealth service. It corresponded tornnothing in socialist policies, and thernLabour leaders derided it. Beveridge hasrnleft a record of their opposihon in a memoirrncalled Power and Influence. By thern1945 general election, they had beenrnforced to concede the principle, and allrnthe parties, including the conservaHvesrnunder Churchill’s leadership, were committedrnto the measure. Beveridge, whornwas never a socialist, lived to be shockedrnby the readiness of Labour leaders to takerncredit for national health. Above all, hernhated the phrase “socialized medicine”rnas inaccurate and tendentious, and therncontributory health scheme that Britainrnhas enjoyed since 1948 always left roomrnfor a large and growing private sector.rnIn Europe at large, similarly, there isrnno historical connection between socialismrnand social welfare. By the 1950’s,rnFrance, Germany, and Benelux, underrnreligious coalitions, had more extensivernwelfare provisions than Britain after sixrnyears of Labour; and when the two Germanysrnbecame one in 1990-91, it was discoveredrnthat the welfare provision of therncapitalist West was at least twice that ofrnthe socialist East. Socialism was stingy.rnFor one thing, it was incapable of creatingrnthe wealth that high welfare spendingrndemands. For another, its ruling elitesrnwere more interested in lining their ownrnpockets. Now the story is out. In Februaryrn1991, Todor Zhivkov, the formerrncommunist dictator of Bulgaria, cheerfullyrnadmitted at his trial in Sofia that hisrnhuge gifts to friends and relatives werernnormal before the Soviet collapse. “Thisrnwas the situation in all socialist countries.”rnHe was right. Any centralizedrneconomy is a honeypot, especially in arnone-party state, and you sweeten yourrnfriends out of the public purse.rnThat is a paradox still to be digested.rnOn a long view, extravagant welfarernspending seems to be an aberration ofrncapitalism. New York City has beenrnclose to bankruptcy for no less a reason,rnand no one doubts that New York is capitalist.rnWlien I first knew California, inrnthe flourishing days of the I960’s, it offeredrna wide-open access to higher education,rnunknown in any socialist state onrnearth, called the University of California.rnOr consider this contiast from a grimmerrnage. In the early 1930’s, at the depth ofrnthe Depression, America had souprnkitchens while Ukrainian peasantsrnstarved to death. A soup kitchen may notrnbe much, but it is better than dying in thernfields.rnSo whether you look to the top or thernbottom of the scale, capitalism is morerngenerous than socialism. The phenomenonrnseems to be general, and it is still tornbe observed in the two Koreas or the twornChinas. To be sure, capitalism has morernto be generous with. But no one shouldrndiscount the possibility that a free marketrnis more generous than a state economy byrnits nature. It offers its people a chance tornprosper, which is itself a generous instinct,rnwhatever the outcome. If it is arndemocracy, it carries within it a powerfulrnmotive to let no one starve, since electionsrnare not won on famine. Socialism,rnby contrast, offers monopoly ruled by anrnelite which, if you are lucky, dispenses favorsrnto those who are not too proud to begrnfor them.rnNonetheless, the egg has been wellrnand truly wiped from the face, and surprisinglyrnfew ex-socialists are ashamed ofrnthemselves. “Have you never believed inrnFather Christmas?” Danis Healey remarked,rnwhen asked why he had been anrnactive member of the Communist Partyrnas an Oxford student before the war. Hernlater became deputy leader of the LabourrnParty and is now a member of the Housernof Lords, so communists can come a longrnway. On the other hand. Lord Healeyrnhas an interesting point. When you arernyoung, you see politics as a moral drama,rnand fall in love with what Michael Foot,rnanother Labour leader, has called thernpolitics of paradise. Later you come tornsee it for what it is: a clutch of difficult,rneven intractable problems like Kosovo orrnUlster.rnThe point needs to be pushed furtherrnhome. When you are young you do notrnknow much, and that helps a lot whenrnyou are asked to accept that socialism favorsrnthe poor. You probably do not knowrnthat socialism once starved millions inrnthe Ukraine. You probably do not knowrnthat conservatives and liberals, not socialists,rnpioneered the welfare state, at a timernwhen socialists were indifferent or hostile.rnWhere, in the writings of Marx andrnEngels, do you find any proposal for a nationalrnhealth service? Still less do yournknow that socialism means rule by anrnelite, and that Marx and Lenin openlyrnconceded that it did. You have neitherrnread much nor seen much. And if yournwere at Oxford, you may not even havernheard of the University of California. Sornthere are times when ignorance helps.rnSometimes it is the only thing that does.rnGeorge Watson, a Fellow of St. John’srnCollege, Cambridge, is the author, mostrnrecently, of The Lost Literature ofrnSocialism (Lutterworth).rnFOREIGN AFFAIRSrnWhy DemocracyrnWon’t Workrnin Russiarnby W. Bruce LincolnrnRussia is in crisis again. Bad debts,rndevalued currency, corrupt officials,rna political system that verges on paralysis,rncompeting visions of the future that allowrnno room for compromise — the list ofrnproblems grows longer as its componentsrnbecome more complex.rnObservers attribute the crisis to thernhuge difficulties connected with trying torntransform a once-inert socialist economyrninto a dynamic capitalist one. They seernthe crushing weight of Russia’s Sovietrnheritage as the evil force underlying thesernproblems. And they hope for a knight inrnshining armor to save Mother Russia inrnher hour of need.rnHopeful Western observers (and not arnfew opportunistic Russians courtingrnWestern support) insist that the knightrnwill wear the mantle of Western-stylerndemocracy. But the facts of Russian historyrnargue otherwise. Not only has Russiarnnot tried democracy until now, but itsrnhistory shows that its leaders have alwaysrnattempted to solve its many crises by antidemocraticrnmeans.rnThe currents of Russia’s anti-demo-rn46/CHRONICLESrnrnrn