Socialism and communism have killed more than 100 million people worldwide, yet millions of (mostly young) people across the country think socialism is a better form of government.  

If you’re wondering how to help someone understand that socialism is dangerous, our colleagues at the Independent Institute have the answer. 

The Independent Institute has a list of 40 books everyone should read about the folly of socialism.

According to a release from the Institute, the list was compiled by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Williamson Evers, Ph.D., who offers this “counter curriculum” highlighting some of the most insightful critiques of socialism ever written. The books highlight the necessity of competition and voluntary free markets, rather than coercive monopolies of industries such as energy, banking, and technology in a socialist society.

“If you can read just one book on this list, then make it Red Plenty, by Francis Spufford,” Evers said in the release. “If you can read only two, make your second pick Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, by Ludwig von Mises.”

In the release, Evers says young people enamored with Scandinavian-style socialism need to realize that most so-called democratic socialist countries are actually capitalist countries; they have high income taxes but also have no price controls such as minimum wage laws, and actually have freer trade than the United States in many cases. Real socialism, says Evers, usually promises the public that it will be democratic socialism, but soon puts into effect dictatorships that crush constitutional liberties.

Books on the list include; The Gulag Archipelago, by Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell, and The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek.

Williamson Evers is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Educational Excellence at the Independent Institute. He is also the Assistant Editor for The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy. Dr. Evers was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development from 2007 to 2009; Senior Adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings during 2007; and former Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy research and educational organization that shapes ideas into profound and lasting impact through publications, conferences, and effective multi-media programs. Their mission is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.

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