Socialism is like most social/economic theories in system a fantastic idea, however the human influence is the ultimate decider of whether this system fails or not. Of all the ideal systems though I would choose socialism as it provides equality but with that equality comes big sacrifice from many as everyone must be willing to contribute. So in a perfect world socialism could work, but humans are not perfect.
Theoretically with the best leader who has the right intentions and manages not to be corrupted by power, we could have a working communist or socialist state. But that is nearly impossible because the few perfect leaders would likely be assassinated by the few they piss off or who want the power... Humanity
Socialism calls for equality, affordability, and a strong economy. Currently, the most Socialist countries are: China, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, and Belgium. I would say that most of the countries on this list are thriving. Finland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium all have better educated people and education systems than most nations like the United States. Also, the countries of Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, and Finland are all in the top 10 happiest nations. All of these nations also happen to be democracies (besides China which is actually a Communist-almost dictatorship). But, wait... Doesn't Socialism call for a dictatorship? No, this is not true. We associate Socialism with dictatorships because of countries that have been known to be historically Socialist, such as: Cuba, North Korea, Soviet Union, South Yemen, Congo-Brazzavile, etc. So yes, Socialism can work under the right constitution and leadership.
If the person who is a leader do not change their mind and never get old, socialism could work. But currently living as an immortal is impossible which means that socialism would not be able to work even thought there is a good leader, because peoples mind can also change too
Socialism does not work, not because it mystically seems to attract dictators, but because it is a system with fundamental faults in its reasoning.
Firstly, it is no mystery why socialism attracts tyrants, socialism is a cause of the people that requires the use of power. People drawn to power for powers sake are going to want to exercise an excess of it, and socialism has given them licence to do so while simultaneously maintaining the popularity and plebeian support needed to keep that power in the political game these leaders operate in. It is the ultimate tool of the tyrant.
Also, the reason why socialism doesn't work is not that its leaders are so often awful, it is that socialism removes the incentives to achieve more than the lowest common denominator, it predicates placing managerial power in the hands of an already overworked proletariat, and it restricts the freedom to trade. Working is not fun, we do not do it for our health, we do it to earn what we create. Restricting the capacity for someone to earn their share of their workload removes any incentive to work harder than they must. Socialism requires that the means of production be placed in the hands of the worker, along with the task of managing it. There is a reason why managing is not just a full time job, but a team of full time jobs. Expecting people who have been breaking their back to work all day to come and spend many more hours after work to sit around and manage is unrealistic, which is exactly what they would have to do to remain competitive. Finally, people trade, when two people want each others things more than they want what they've got, its what they do. When one restricts the freedom of people en masse to trade their goods, black and grey markets develop, this is evident by the massive black markets that exist in the industrial capitalized world (let alone the socialist one) in areas that trade is restricted like prostitution, drugs and heavily regulated goods and services. It is also evident by the massive black markets that popped up in actual communist countries like Yugoslavia, Red China, and the soviet union for all kinds of goods and services. From bikes to ration tickets, people would risk their safety and freedom to better their circumstances through illegal trade. ("Mao's great Famine", Trade). These are the problems of socialism on a mass scale.
If one is referring to the social programs of liberal democracies in the west. One might want to look at their budgets, debts and deficits to see just how economically efficient those social programs are. For an ideology-neutral look at the cost of social programs and the facts about US deficits and debts look at (http://www.Youtube.Com/watch?V=3ugDU2qNcyg).
Socialism as practiced today in the west is parasitic and economically inefficient. Socialism as practiced as a socio-economic system is disastrous for the reasons mentioned above, not because of bad leaders.