A high school teacher wanted to demonstrate the principles of socialism to his students. He distributed the results of a recent test. Obviously, those who received high grades were quite pleased while those who scored poorly were not.
Then the teacher said he would determine the class average and each student would receive that grade.
Needless to say, those who had studied hard were unhappy and those who had not, were delighted.
For an even more realistic representation of socialism, I would take the additional step of adding up the scores, deducting a portion of the total for “the government,” then dividing the remainder among the students.
Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips interviewed students (in the video below) at Florida International University recently to find out if they supported a socialist GPA policy.
When asked if they supported socialism over capitalism, many students felt that socialism was the best way to go. However, when Phillips asked them if they would be willing to, you know, spread their GPAs around, give up a portion of their high GPAs to students with lower GPAs, most of the student demurred.
Here is what the students had to say:
One young woman laughed and told Phillips, “That’s completely different.”
Phillips asked her, “How is it different?”
She replied, “Cause I’m like studying all day for my grade.”
Another asked, “What do you mean by sharing it, like giving somebody a chunk of my GPA?”
“Yup,” responded Phillips. “This is like helping the less fortunate.”
How is that funny?
A young man who had expressed support for socialism said “I’m going to say no straight up.”
Phillips asked, “But, what’s the difference between earning a high GPA and not wanting to give it away, and earning a lot of money and not wanting to give that away?”
The student paused and then said, “Well, I feel like the difference is that you study for your grades, right, and grades often reflect how much time you spend studying.”
Phillips said, “You’ve got to work pretty hard to become a millionaire.”
The student said, “I mean, I’m not denying that fact either, but for the regular working person, you know…”
Yes, we do know.
Another male student didn’t think the two were comparable and explained that, “your GPA is not directly linked to your quality of life necessarily.”
Phillips asked, “Yes, but you still have to earn it in the same way you’d earn a salary, right?
The young man replied, “Well, I don’t think most rich people in this country earn it. Much of that money is inherited, much of that money is earned from the stock market and they’re not actually working for it. They’re pressing a button on a computer.”
Try it buddy.
Other students did seem to get it.
One young man told Phillips “I’ve sacrificed a lot to get my GPA, I don’t go out as much as I’d like to. But that’s for something like a greater goal in the future. That’s the way I see it, so no, I wouldn’t sacrifice my own things like sacrifice my own time to help somebody else who didn’t want to make those sacrifices.”
Another young man said, “No, I don’t think that would be a good idea, because then you’re taking away from people who earn that grade and what about the ones who aren’t really working hard for their grades. So, they’re just going to get something they really don’t deserve.”
“Got it,” Phillips replied. “And do you think it’s similar with your salary?”
“Yeah, I definitely do.”
I can’t think of a better way to help students understand how socialism works. Students understand grades. They take pride in their hard work as they should and are disinclined to “give away a chunk of their GPA” to their less diligent peers. The smart ones see the connection.