Long story short: Limbaugh goes out every year at this time and claims that the system in the Colony was first "socialism" and that was failing and then they converted to "capitalism" or a "free market" and they lived happily ever after; then last year apparently Stossel glommed onto this Limbaugh thing and did his own twisted take on it. Here is a link to my write up last year and I still stand by my take there for the most part.
So I had hoped to revisit this issue this year at this time and have been reading a bit from the actual account of Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony; there is a free Google book online. The government and economic arrangements in the Colony do not appear to be as simple as most apparently believe. It reads like there were several settlements within the overall Colony that had some autonomy in how they arranged their own economies. So there was not just some sort of homogeneous group of "Pilgrims" who all lived in the same community and ran things one certain way, which is what you have to believe if you believe the Limbaugh/Stossel story, in addition to believing that they all only wanted to eat "corn on the cob".
So if you look at the post I put up here last year, there indeed was a point where government leadership intervened and changed the arrangements within one of the settlements that was under the leadership of a Mr. Weston that was failing, to one where each family was allotted land on which for them to grow corn (which I surmised could have been both used as food and a feedstock). This is the event that Limbaugh/Stossel seizes on as a transition from "socialism" to "capitalism"; I'm sorry Rushbo, but if you read Bradford's complete account surrounding this event, it looks like it was in some ways almost exactly the opposite!
You can read this portion of Bradford's account here for yourself; but apparently the subject settlement was in the former case operating in quite a "free market" of chaos. Here's an excerpt:
It may be thought Strang that these people* should fall to these extremities in so short a time, being left competently provided when ye ship left them, and had an addition by that moyetie of corn that was got by trade, besids much they gott of ye Indans wher they lived, by one means & other. It must needs be their great disorder, for they spent excesseivly whilst they had, or could get it; and, it may be, wasted parte away among ye Indeans (for he yl was their cheef was taxed by some amongst them for keeping Indean women, how truly I know not). And after they begane to come into wants, many sould away their cloathes and bed coverings; others (so base were they) became servants to ye Indeans, and would cutt them woode & fetch them water, for a cap full of corne; others fell to plaine stealing, both night & day, from ye Indeans, of which they greevosly complained. In ye end, they came to that misery, that some starved & dyed with could & hunger. One in geathering shell-fish was so weake as he stuck fast in ye mudd, and was found dead in ye place. At last most of them left their dwellings & scatered up & downe in ye  woods, & by ye water sids, wher they could find ground nuts & clames, hear 6. and ther ten. By which their cariages they became contemned & scorned of ye Indeans, and they begane greatly to insulte over them in a most insolente maner; insomuch, many times as they lay thus scatered abrod, and had set on a pot with ground nuts or shell-fish, when it was ready the Indeans would come and eate it up; and when night came, wheras some of them had a sorie blanket, or such like, to lappe them selves in, the Indeans would take it and let ye other lye all nighte in the could; so as their condition was very lamentable. Yea, in ye end they were faine to hange one of their men, whom they could not reclaime from stealing, to give ye Indeans contente.*It certainly looks like it was quite a "free market" of chaos in the 'Weston' settlement complete with gluttony, kept native women, theft, deaths due to exposure, malnutrition, lynching, depression, lack of a coherent plan, etc. How would they escape these dire conditons? Well it's a good thing that Limbaugh wasn't in charge and would have "let the free market work", rather we pick up the account whereby:
* That is, Weston's people. — Ed.
All this whille no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expecte any. So they begane to thinke* how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length, after much debate of things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler,f and in that regard trust to them selves; in all other things to goe on in ye generall way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no devission for inheritance), and ranged all boys & youth under some familie. This had very good success;I don't know about you, but this reads to me like an enlightened government had to intervene and wade into the utter chaos, and implement some judgement.
And in a move that reads like it came right out of the God of Israel's playbook from thousands of years before, assigned an allotment of land to the families in corresponding measure with their number and ability, with no ownership rights to private property. From the scriptures:
"To a larger group give a larger allotment, and to a smaller group a smaller one; each is to receive its allotment according to the number of those listed."The leadership of the Plymouth colonists were deeply devout and extremely well read into the Sacred Scriptures, as evidenced by Bradford's writings in this account, and apparently used the economic arrangements the God of Israel gave to them in that day as a basis to impose a system on this 'Weston' settlement that was intended to deliver the best economic results for they also. In fact if you continue to read the account, the author goes on to write:
The experience that was had in this coihone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times; —that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in coihunitie into a confone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God.
So it is indeed deceptive to depict these events in any other light today. What was done was that the enlightened Plymouth government created legal arrangements whereby no settler could be separated from direct legal access to a means of subsistence, access to agricultural land was guaranteed to each family unit and no property ownership rights were conveyed. This was to, in effect, implement a "Job Guaranty" in Plymouth's agricultural based economy, as in a similar way, MMT proposes today to implement one in our contemporary multi-faceted, integrated economy.
The implementation of this Job Guaranty is what actually led to economic bounty and hence a "Thanksgiving".
The actual participants in these very serious life or death events here in North America hundreds of years ago, looked upon the choice of economic systems as NOT between one of "socialism" and "free market capitalism", but rather, a choice between an enlightened approach designed in accord with the action of the economic laws of the God of Israel vs. one that they looked upon as a Platonic approach of collectivism.
There is a BIG difference if you have been given eyes to see it.