We often say that socialist societies are epistemologically deficient, and thus their economies stagnate because they cannot create growth. This is not a false point, but it obscures the equally plausible observation that socialist societies and their governments cannot manage growth, or co-exist with growth, and thus react by attempting to constrain it.

They cannot manage growth because it disturbs the status arrangements that are the principal desideratum of socialist policy. But growth is not uncommon in socialist societies, in spite of poor policies, largely because people neither do what they are told, nor what they say they want. While people support and even applaud stable status arrangements, they behave otherwise, engaging in contractual relationships to increase their own wellbeing. When this occurs, the socialist administration reacts to the threat of disruptions to the status order by actively discouraging further growth, by dissipating the energy of growth in malivestment. It must do this because other than maintenance of the status order it has no other functions.

Put another way, we think of socialist failings too frequently in terms of the inability to deliver wealth, but there is also a definite and necessary hostility.