Isn't socialism against human nature?

Common Objections to Socialism Answered:
from The People, October 5, 1991, pages 1, 6.

But isn't it human nature for some people to want to rule others and have more wealth than others? Isn't socialism against human nature?


Much of what is believed to be "human nature" is actually the product of the materiahconditions and social environment under which people are raised. We live in a social system and culture that teaches us that the way to survive, and "get ahead" materially, is tp compete for positions of power, gain dominance over others, and, ultimately, become an owner of productive property and exploit others. Not surprisingly, many people come to greedily and competitively crave power and wealth above all else.

But such behavior is not a fixture of human nature. People clearly have the capability of being cooperative as well as competitive, supportive and helpful as well as antagonistic, egalitarian as well as selfish. All of these qualities are part of "human nature." We can and do choose to employ one quality or the other, depending on how our material circumstances and interests affect us, and how we perceive our own self-interest. It is also part of our human nature to think, to evaluate our circumstances and change our behavior when we conclude that doing so is in our self-interest.

Accordingly, socialism is not contrary to human nature. For the vast majority of the people who belong to the working class today, it does no good to be greedy, competitive or power-hungry; capitalism rewards them with hardship. Sooner or later, a majority of workers can and will come to the realization that their own self-interest demands the creation of a new social system based on social ownership of the industries and cooperative production for the common good. Once a socialist society is established, the material and other rewards of that system will continue to reinforce cooperative behavior and nullify selfishness, greed and the desire for power over others.