ISSUE BRIEF: Damon Dunn Shares Stories from His Rise from Poverty, Makes the Case for Why Socialism Doesn’t Work


Recalling his experiences overcoming extreme poverty, former collegiate and pro football player and successful businessman Damon Dunn makes the case for why socialism doesn’t work in a new brief published by the nonpartisan, California-based think tank, the Pacific Research Institute.

Download a copy of “My Rise from Poverty and Why Socialism Doesn’t Work.”

Dunn writes that his family should have presented the ideal conditions for the embrace of socialism, but his grandfathers – who each worked factory jobs for low wages – instilled in him a sense of personal responsibility, while his mom taught him the importance of a good education.

“My grandparents showed the importance of personal responsibility. The living wasn’t high but it was enough and it was good because it came from what they earned. My mom then showed the path to move forward even more. She was the first person in our family to go to college, and after coming back for me at age 11, made it clear from that point onward that college was in my future as well. In her mind, education was the path to success.”

While some social programs helped, Dunn argues generations have become mired in a cycle of dependence because assistance creates barriers to moving ahead.

“Most of my peers didn’t have the same encouragement at home. Their default expectations were what they experienced in their families and what they saw around them in our community. Government assistance was the only answer they knew, the primary means of getting by. It became the answer as well for the next generation as their turn came to step into the cycle of dependency.”

At a time of growing support for Medicare-for-All, universal basic income, and free college, Dunn offers a warning to those – especially Millennials – who are attracted to these socialist ideas amid a time of economic disruption:

“. . . Socialism is by its nature fundamentally a reactionary response. Rather than make the economy more efficient and increase income and jobs, rather than working with workers and communities to develop the skills and resources they need to share in the growth, socialism instead calls to preserve what is there by shifting ownership over to the government . . . Innovation no longer comes from individuals acting as entrepreneurs in the economy or in the policy realm or from debates over competing ideas, but instead relies on diktats from the state masquerading as the common will.”

Damon Dunn is a fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, where he writes the twice-monthly “Free Markets 101” column for PRI’s “Right by the Bay” blog. He is a successful real estate developer, investor, and businessman, and former collegiate and pro football player.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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