“Socialism has risen from its own ashes perhaps more often than has any other political ideology on earth.” When the Berlin Wall collapsed, a few of us were dreaming that a lesson was learnt, concerning socialism and its economic and social effects. We were wrong. In part because it was argued that socialism goes by degrees (you can collectivize *some* means of production and not *all* of them) and Western countries have themselves adopted quite a few socialist measures and policies themselves. In part because many just asserted that socialism, as implemented in the Soviet Union, was not *true* socialism: and the same applies to Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, et cetera.
Bill Evers has put together an excellent reading list for the Independent Institute. It brings together a series of serious works on socialism, which includes economic classics such as Collectivist Economic Planning, edited by F. A. Hayek but also important historical works ranging from Conquets to Dikötter and, yes, novels, that are often the best instrument to dig into the abyss of the human heart as well as the unintended consequences of political utopias. The bibliography comes out at a moment in which socialism is newly popular, particularly in the United States, but these works have a value that go well beyond political contingencies.