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Paul Farrell On The 10 "Doomsday Trends" Set To Destroy America

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Feeling like the daily dose of objective "truth" from Tim Geithner's latest media circuit has got you down? Fear not: here is MarketWatch's Paul Farrell summarizing the 10 ways in which the very system is destroying America, to lift your spirits up. To wit: "Doomsday Capitalism? Capitalism is killing America? Yes, that’s the message in my tenth book. “Doomsday Capitalism, 10 Self-Destructive Trends.” But you’ll never see it in print. No one, even book publishers want to read this truth: Capitalism is destroying America. Why? Super-Rich Capitalists get rich off these macro trends. They want happy talk. Back in 2007 Vanguard founder Jack Bogle called my warnings “prescient.” But that didn’t stop the meltdown. Next time financial historians warn of a bigger meltdown; a total collapse has been the destiny of every nation for eight centuries. This time, capitalism is the saboteur." Cheerful stuff.

10 Doomsday trends America can’t survive

Capitalism has become a religion for the Super Rich, with many such
“saviors.” Heresies must be denied, such as this one: Doomsday
Capitalism is destroying America from within. Here are highlights, with
links to a few of the earlier hundred columns on topic. Ten macro trends
building to a perfect storm, a critical mass, a flash point:

1. Doomsday Capitalism: Death of the American dream, spirit, soul

After our bankrupt Wall Street was resurrected in 2008 — thanks to their
Trojan Horse, an ex-Goldman CEO inside the Treasury conning trillions
from a clueless Congress — it became obvious that
capitalism is killing America’s soul.

Nobody trusts government. And no matter who’s elected, wealth, Wall
Street and the Super Rich rule America; total collapse is coming.

Why? Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, said it best:
“There is a war going on in this country … the war waged by the
wealthiest people in America on the disappearing and shrinking middle
class of our country. The nation’s billionaires are on the warpath. They
want more, more, more. Their greed has no end and they are apparently
unconcerned for the future of this country if it gets in the way of
their accumulation of power and wealth.”

2. Doomsday Democracy: ‘Mutant Capitalism’ killing ‘We the People’

Stop kidding yourself, democracy is dead: “All men are created equal” is
a quaint political fiction. The public has no real say in a nation
where wealth buys votes, a naive public is easily manipulated and
elected officials have a price.

In “The Battle for Soul of Capitalism,” Bogle warned us the “Invisible
Hand” no longer serves “We the People” nor the public welfare. Today,
Wall Street and the
insatiable Super Rich 1% rule America.

And they are obsessed with restoring the same unregulated free-market
Reaganomics that loves gambling in the same speculative $580 trillion
derivatives casino that triggered the 2008 meltdown.

3. Doomsday Conspiracy: Wall Street takeover, the new ‘Invisible Hand’

The Super Rich have always had some hand in America’s destiny, operating
from the shadows. Today, this conspiracy of Wall Street, Corporate
CEOs, politicians and Forbes 400 billionaires operates openly, with
absolute power and an arrogance that is corrupting the nation’s soul,
their souls, your soul.
This conspiracy has no moral compass

, yet ironically, is legal.

Why? Wealth can easily buy favorable laws, making even the most
unethical, selfish, corrupt behavior legal by fiat. And their
high-priced lobbyists all over Washington, Congress, government
regulatory agencies and the Fed all have the power to grab the rewards
of capitalism for the Super Rich, while transferring the liabilities to
the other, clueless 99% of America’s taxpayers

4. Doomsday Politics: Monopoly of Super-Rich Anarchists rules America

Forget buzzwords like oligopoly, plutocracy, socialism. Today Washington is a
pure anarchy, a game

played by tens of thousands of high-priced lobbyists squeezing the best
deals out of America’s budget, solely for their clients’ interests,
never the general public. Our economy is a monopoly of Super-Rich
Anarchists. They know the only votes that count are in Congress. And
they’re for sale.

Lobbyists are “brokers.” Today there are 261,000 lobbyists brokering
special interests, all fighting for the maximum possible slice of a $1.5
trillion federal budget pie — special regulations, exemptions, loans,
tax loopholes, earmarks, access, agency appointments, defense contracts,
you name it — endless gambits that further consolidate the power and
wealth at the top for Super-Rich Donors

5. Doomsday Economics: Growth is a numbers game for politicians

The principle of grow or die, once a given in economics and politics, is being challenged by new
“growth and die”

research, while a bizarre
numbers racket

is used by economists as propaganda to hide the truth, manipulating investors, consumers, voters, the public.

All economists tend to be biased, work for banks, politicians, corporate
CEOs, think tanks and the Fed, all with political agendas. They’re more
speech writers, supporting partisan slogans like “drill baby drill,”
ignoring long-term consequences. For example, global population will
increase 50% by 2050, yet old-school economists keep pretending natural
resources are infinite.

6. Doomsday Psychology: The broken promises of behavioral science

Back in 2002 behavioral science offered investors hope: Psychologist
Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics, exposing Wall
Street’s myth of the “rational investor.” Their promise: We’ll help you
understand your brain, make better decisions. You’ll be “less
irrational,” control your brain, be a successful investor.

Wrong. That will never happen. Why? Because
your brain will always be irrational.

Worse, Wall Street quants are always light-years ahead of our
home-school brain rewiring; they know you’re vulnerable, easy to
manipulate. They also hire the top neuroscientists for their casinos. No
wonder the house always wins.

7. Doomsday Technology: Innovation, derivative casinos, the singularity

Sophisticated new technologies, mathematical algorithms and neuroscience
all guarantee Wall Street insiders huge margins
gambling in their derivative casinos,

leveraging deposits from Main Street’s “dumb money.” Today Wall Street
is even more obsessed, grabbing for high-risk profits in a tough “new
normal” of high volatility, increasing risks, lower returns.

Average investors are no match for Wall Street’s high-frequency traders
who easily win by huge margins on this rigged playing field. Still,
naive Main Street investors keep betting despite warnings that the more
you trade the less you earn.

8. Doomsday Warfare: Pentagon math: population + commodities = wars

The Pentagon predicts that by 2020
“warfare will define human life”

as global population explodes 50% to 10 billion in 2050. Powerful
commercial, political and ideological forces drive globalization.
Emerging nations compete for scarce resources. This is “the mother of
all national security issues,” warns the Pentagon.

“Unrest would then create massive droughts, turning farmland into dust
bowls and forests to ashes. Rather than causing gradual,
centuries-spanning change, they may be pushing the climate to a tipping
point. By 2020 there is little doubt that something drastic is
happening. As the planet’s carrying capacity shrinks an ancient pattern
reemerges: the eruption of desperate, all-out wars over food, water and
energy supplies and warfare defining human life.”

9. Doomsday History: This time really is different — the final meltdown

Bubble/bust cycles have been well documented for eight centuries. But
the lessons of history are never learned. Euphoria blinds us in boom
times. We deny risk. Bubbles blow. Meltdowns happen. We will always
recover.

Wrong. Many now challenge that naive assumption. Financial historian Niall Ferguson comments in his
“Rise and Fall of the American Empire:”

“Collapse may come much more suddenly than many historians imagine.
Fiscal deficits and military overstretch suggests that the United States
may be the next empire on the precipice. Many nations in history, at
the very peak of their power, affluence and glory, see leaders arise,
run amok with imperial visions and sabotage themselves, their people and
their nation.”

10. Doomsday Investing: Survival strategies in the post-capitalism era

Former Morgan Stanley guru and hedge fund manager Barton Biggs, offers
his Super-Rich Investors a doomsday strategy in his “Wealth, War and
Wisdom.” He warns of “the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized
infrastructure.” No hippie radical, he says “think Swiss Family
Robinson, your safe haven must be self-sufficient, capable of growing
food, well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine,
clothes. And be ready to fire a few rounds over the approaching
brigands’ heads, to persuade them there are easier farms to pillage.”

But will that work for Main Street investors in the next meltdown/depression? Read our
12 tips

and
six worst-case scenario rules

for average investors preparing for the doomsday scenario.

Farrell's conclusion: eat the rich... more or less

Has America passed the point of no return?

Can’t we deflect the trajectory? Yes, but America would need a
fundamental shift in how our leaders think, says Jared Diamond in
“Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” We need leaders
with “the courage to practice long-term thinking and make bold,
courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become
perceptible [like in 2011] but before they reach crisis proportions.”

Bottom line: Underneath America’s endless political drama lie deep
wounds that are widening the gap between the Super Rich and the other
99% of America, wider today than before the 1929 Crash. And now as then,
we know the Super Rich don’t really care about the needs of the rest of
America — witness their agenda in states like Wisconsin and Michigan,
and the GOP’s new “Path to Prosperity” budget, a rush to restore failed
Reaganomics policies.

 

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Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:24 | 1183489 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

BS - capitalism does not inherently assume fraud, lying, theft and corruption; dont indict a system for failure of individuals

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:32 | 1183503 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Backwards thinking.  I commend you for noticing that something is wrong, but the failure is not where you think it is.  

Capitalism IS individuals, that is the "system".  What we have is not capitalism, and you can not blame the failings of our fascist system on capitalism, a concept that has been undermined since 1913, and which has been totally absent for most intents and purposes since 2008.  

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:34 | 1183520 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

There has NEVER been true capitalism in any country at any point in human history. It has always been corrupted by the oligarchs. That can also be said about capitalism's supposed archenemy -- communism. Any kind of "ism" is nothing more than an ideological smokescreen for the financial elites to use to their own advantage against the rest of the country's populace.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:43 | 1183541 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

The CEO of JP Morgan, one of the big beneficiaries of the bailouts, received in his total compensation 843 times the median household income of the United States.

Dimon’s total compensation jumped nearly 1,500 percent to $20.8 million in 2010 from $1.3 million a year earlier, based on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s compensation formula, a regulatory filing showed.

Dimon did even better in terms of the value of money and shares actually received: his salary, bonus and stock and options from grants made largely in previous years that were actually exercised in 2010 were worth around $42 million.

By way of comparison, real median U.S. household income was just $49,777 in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

http://www.mybudget360.com/banks-gone-wild-jp-morgan-ceo-makes-843-times...

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:54 | 1183571 Cindy_Dies_In_T...
Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Hey what did u expect: they have the best Congress and White house money can buy.

 

Ps--This has all already been covered by Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:03 | 1183618 tmosley
tmosley's picture

So?  THat doesn't excuse calling real, literal fascism "capitalism".

I'm not making a "no true free markets" argument, I am admonishing people for twisting the meanings of words.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:29 | 1183762 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

most of the posters here cant read.  they play ZH like a video game

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:11 | 1184018 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

some of them cant write propurly either

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:43 | 1184468 Vergeltung
Vergeltung's picture

I feel ya.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:30 | 1184097 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Perfect competition should theoretically impose normalized profits on any particular market...  what capitalism and economists in general ignore or, at the very least, fail to appreciate is the degree to which rational actors will behave to avoid the normalization of profit.  I contend that we simply wear different economic dresses, none of which fit perfectly nor are particularly flattering...  and, in periodic fits of rage, we decide to burn a particular dress and only wear another...  until it wears out its welcome the same...

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:05 | 1183639 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

What crap.

 

The 'goal' of capitalism is for each individual to 'accumulate capital' - hence the name. It's a little foolish to complain about this happening when it's the aim of the game!

This is where so many people get confused, you don't like the result of the game - but it is inevitable. It's also inevitable that when people are successful and accumulate capital - the result is they can use that capital privilege to help them accumulate more - with decreasing effort and ingenuity.

 

The existance of the oligarths is because of capitalism - not in spite of it. Any idea of successful capitalists being 'replaced by younger and fitter versions' is quite frankly free market fantasy.

 

This is one of the many reasons that capitalism is doomed. It promotes earnings without effort - it actually takes the most productive people from society and allows them to be un-productive.

In the early days even Warren Buffet had to 'work' for his money - now his success is measured by his ability to make a fortune by doing very little (his stake in Goldman being a classic, once he invested there were plenty of fools to follow him in - ensuring the survival of (fuck) Goldman Sachs.

 

Anyone who runs a small business is all to aware of how large corporations can use their capital position to take profits from you without being innovative or even trying very hard. As advertising alters people's perceptions of value, need and moulds the consumer into a imperfect participant - this is usually out of reach of the small business.

 

Most people realise globalisation and corporatism don't work - but you aren't going to stop it now. All the free market theories are failed - and it's not because of Government interference - if you look through history the market problems existed first and the Government interference was a reaction to that problem. This is why I don't believe regulation will EVER solve the problem.

 

Capitalism is inherently unstable and contradictory. Systems built on contradictions have weaknesses - and a crisis every decade (and a big one every 70 years or so) will continue as long as we persist with this system.

 

Most people agree that less (or rather no) Government is the ultimate goal (socialists, communists, Libertarians, anarchists avan free marketeers) - the only disagreement is how to get there.

 

Handing it over to the private sector will not work if the private sector is in fact a small number of corporations. The ability to make private sector ownership fair only comes with egalitarian wealth.

 

your claim there has never been 'true capitalism' is untrue - in Victorian Britain there was almost no state - there were workhouses for the unemployed and even children had to earn their keep.

 

The result was social deprivation - to the point where Phillanthropy was born from the guilt of the poverty, but as this was unreliable - the state was required to step in.

Why? - because without making provision for the poor they tended to riot a lot - making running a business impossible - or at least hugely costly.

 

liek most capitalists you live in a bubble, blowing bubbles. You cannot see the long term consequences of your choice to remove the support the bottom rung needs - and how those choices will eventually cost you far more.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:39 | 1183828 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Your thinking is so backwards I can't even begin to address it.

I will leave it at this--you constantly warp definitions, and by doing so, you fail to see the truth, and instead build a comfortable pseudo-reality for yourself.  By claiming that capitalism, a system where by definition people deal with each other without violence, causes violence, you pervert your entire worldview.  

Until you fix this fundamental failing, you will never be able to speak intelligently on the subject.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:52 | 1183889 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

My thinking is backward - or it just undermines all your beliefs?

Maybe you need to read a little bit more history before you start making the same old mistakes as your forefathers did.

We have had free market capitalism - it failed - but now you want to go back to it because 'it will be different this time' - yeah right, where have I heard that one before?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:16 | 1184033 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Once again, you are using the wrong definitions.  We have had fascism.  You keep claiming these are the same thing, but they aren't.

You seem unable to think logically.  Makes sense that you would then take the "feel good" route of Marxism.  Too bad those guys killed more than a hundred million people with their "non-greed" philosophy over the last hundred years.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:51 | 1184197 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

not that you care but you lost that arguement.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:50 | 1184531 tmosley
tmosley's picture

lolwat?

How, EXACTLY, did I "lose" the "argument" by asking the child to define the words he was using incorrectly?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:51 | 1184540 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

Not really, he won it without pointing out the obvious fallacies.

 

Government came after Capitalism, LOL! Not that is a winning comment /sarc.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:16 | 1184291 TrafficNotHere
TrafficNotHere's picture

Thumbs up

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:46 | 1184508 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Here is the the bottom line-

Clinging to (your) definition of a word (capitalism) doesn't help you express your ideas in competitive way.  You're all like 'blah blah capitism means this not that blah blah.'

1. Your current model of reality doesn't fit all of the facts.

2. It has been destroyed.

3. You need to put the pieces back together, once you do, you'll have a better model of reality that fits the facts better.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:29 | 1184757 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

OK, then let's just say the better model of reality doesn't include free markets. The current model is where government allows and encourages fraud, and backstops greed, and eliminates fear of market retribution for the biggest players. The government is interfering to such an extent that capital is unnaturally, inorganically being forced up to the 'top', like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed. This may or may not be a 'consequence' of capitalism, but it is not capitalism itself, because the movement of capital is distorted by government (i.e., the use of force to subvert markets). Capitalism ceases to be capitalism once the government steps beyond its bounds.

But nevermind the word 'capitalism'. The problems can be described without using that word, or any other laden 'ism'. We can stick with basic concepts like 'who is allowed the initiation of the use of force', 'do the current laws support or infringe individual rights and freedoms', and (more specifically) 'why is government force involved in maintaining a monopoly on the control of currency'.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:42 | 1185338 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

I keep hearing everyone talk about these mythical "Free Market" things.I have always wondered where these might exist or have existed.

Where are they in reality? I'm not talking about academic BS modeling and Liberatarian holier-than-thou pontifications and the usual web bulletin board rhetoric.

WHEN have they ever existed (in a modern industrial society).

I know it's really popular to blame the evil guvmint for corrupting everything. However, if you spend a little time looking, most of those laws that governments enact were done so at the behest of businesses trying to close markets, or protect their markets, or shutting down entry into their market, etc... So, in many ways, the guvmint is really just an extension of businesses. Even with all of the licesnsing and other regulations many businesses must deal with and right-wing radio bitches about daily, it's highly likely people in those businesses set up those laws and regulations as barriers to entry.

I know the Founding Fathers are near untouchables for any criticism whatsoever, but for all their blather about freedom and liberty, etc... they really did a good job of giving themselves freedom and liberty, and protecting their interests. However, if you were a woman or a black man in the South or decisded to not be a land owner, your freedoms really didn't matter. So, this whole system was really set up to protect the freedoms and interests of businessmen...which is pretty much the agenda of both our political parties. It's just feudalism evolved a little.

The concepts of Capitalism and Free Markets have become religious in nature. Just as Christians cannot talk critically about Jesus, neither can true-believers of Capitalism and those mythical Free Markets.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:39 | 1184453 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

You are so right! Socialism rules! Give up freedom so that our betters can guide us through life without a care or creative thought. Why look at the pure capitalism we have today with a government declaring prices in medicine through Medicare, the Gem that is Social Security, and who took control of GM?  Rank free market capitalists like Cass Sunstein and Obama.  When I think great societies I think the UK! What a wonder, how many Americans go over there to truly be free? Thankfully, they do not come here. Why, not even Dutch Dairy Farmers would want to come here.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:50 | 1184535 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

What specific freedom(s) are you giving up?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:58 | 1184877 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

The freedom to choose which currency to use as 'legal tender', free markets, the freedom to keep the money I earn, the freedom to acquire and own property outright, the freedom to not participate in paying for unconstitutional government spending (wars and unsustainable welfare programs, for example)...etc etc. (not to mention the innumerable social infringements which are justified in the name of the 'greater good'.)

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:30 | 1184999 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

So.. the freedom to exclude yourself from the group once you've taken what you perceive to be yours, the freedom to behave like a child and 'take your ball and go home' when things don't go your way.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 05:31 | 1187226 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

All freedoms come at a cost to others freedoms - only the ideological free market theorist can believe that they live in a bubble and that when they talk about 'freedom' they are doing so from their own narrow self interested point of view.

 

This is why most western people canot see the link between their demands for cheap oil, their demands for cheap goods - which come under the banner of 'I should have the right and the choice to buy these things at the cheapest possible price' - and the oppression in the Middle East and the slave labour in China.

 

It's a divorced logic - and when those oppressed people in the middle east find their democracy - suddenly the west will be moaning about the impact on their 'freedom' as they can no longer afford to drive where they want (as it will be unaffordable)

Freedom of movement within your nation is something held dearly by the west - I wonder how they will feel when their freedoms are curtailed by 'realistic fuels prices'.

America will be hit hardest - it's a big country.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:10 | 1184263 Cow
Cow's picture

+100 for tmosley

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:43 | 1184467 Badabing
Badabing's picture

capitalism is not a crime Fraud is

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:57 | 1183918 FLIP THAT BOND
FLIP THAT BOND's picture

Yes, The 'goal' of capitalism is for each individual to 'accumulate capital'.  When it's done through the government, though, you can call it what you may, but it's no longer capitalism, it's "something else".  Right now we have the "something else", not capitalism, so don't confuse yourself. 

And how in the world do most socialists and communists think that less or no government is the goal when it's based on having common ownership of the means of production and allocation of resources which means people need to get together to plan and control the system, which I think is called "government"?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:06 | 1183989 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

...if you had read Marx then you would know that the dictatorship of the proletariate is merely a stage on the way to the government 'withering away' as it is no longer needed.

 

...but you would need to read a little bit more to know that - you're confusing Marxism with Stalinism. A common problem amongst those who get their definitions from Sesame street.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:31 | 1184378 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

You idiot. Marxism is the political and economic manifestation of nihilism-- the total negation of the individual. The individual ceases to be under Marxism, and is defined completely by his relationship to the State.

The idea of the government "withering away" under Marxism is absolutely absurd. It is a complete contradiction in itself. Marxism is the complete triumph of the State over the individual. That is the exact opposite of "withering away".

You Marxist fucknuts really crack me up. Either the logical part of your brains don't work (i.e. you are a "useful idiot") or you are a demon straight from hell. Hopefully for you, it's the former.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:49 | 1184511 Holodomor2012
Holodomor2012's picture

Not only that, but Marxism does nothing to address the root cause of the exponential growth cycle created by usury.  Marxists hide their usury behind a central bank, just like the USSA.

 

This is why the big Jews of NY funded the Bolshevik revolution. 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:55 | 1184574 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

I'm pretty sure Karl (as in Karl Marx) did not define it that way.  Karl said that communism occurs when the workers own the means of production.  That can occur with or without a state and even in a theocracy.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:05 | 1184620 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Don't be fooled-- obfuscation and misdirection were the tools of Marx' evil trade. Look through the nonsense and boil it down to its essence, and you'll see that Marxism is nihilism, the total negation of the individual.

Look at the idea of the "workers owning the means of production" and really think about what collective ownership means-- it is the negation of the individual in favor of the collective. Scale that all the way up and you are left holding a bag full of nothing.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:17 | 1184688 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Blah Blah Blah.

You cannot simply reduce Marxism to nihilism and extrapolate from there.  You can make that argument about any individual in any system.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:07 | 1185143 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Wrong. The actions of individuals are central to the free market system, in fact, free markets cannot work unless individuals take responsibility and make decisions independently, and accept the full consequences.

Under Marxism, everything is defined in terms of the collective-- collective decisions, collective consequences. Individuals on their own are meaningless.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:48 | 1185365 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

In fact, free markets DONT work because (not all) individuals WON'T take responsibility for their decisions.  Fixed that for you.  Those that don't take responsibility get rewarded if they can get away with it.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 18:53 | 1186019 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

In a collectivist system, the individual, while his ownership is watered down, can cast a vote for the decision, giving him some say and an identity.  In politics, this is known as a democratic system.  Ownership of the means of production clearly does not imply nihlism.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:12 | 1185155 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Wrong. The actions of individuals are central to the free market system, in fact, free markets cannot work unless individuals take responsibility and make decisions independently, and accept the full consequences.

Under Marxism, everything is defined in terms of the collective-- collective decisions, collective consequences. Individuals on their own are meaningless.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:22 | 1185210 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You rock, dude. It's why the theoretical marxism always ends up as the theoretically different Stalinism. It is a false distinction. Marxism always ends up as a party backed dictatorship...everywhere, always, no exceptions for the reason you stated. Well, done.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:47 | 1184828 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

Funny.

You completely ignore the his point: namely that you are applying the term 'capitalism' to an incorrect definition.

Then... You ridicule him for applying a term to an incorrect definition.

Kettle, meet pot.

This was, I believe, TMos' point to you above - that you are applying the term 'capitalism' to a number of phenomena that are 'not capitalism'.

The fact that you've not addressed this, either to say, "Why yes, this is capitalism" (which would then lead naturally to a dialogue investigating the differences in your definitions, and likely common ground), or, "Oh - well that's not what I meant", leads one to believe that you're disingenuous.

Your assertions that the current state is a natural outgrowth of capitalism (defined as "a condition where property owners manage their property for profit in competitive conditions"), is patently false.  The diatribe you posted above, decrying the rich tilting the tables in their favor violates the "in competitive conditions" portion of the definition.  In that case, it's not capitalism - it doesn't meet the definition.

One could just as easily (and validly) state that the current state of affairs in our economy are all rooted in failures of Marxism (by simply misdefining the term, as you've done above).

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:25 | 1184058 mdwagner
mdwagner's picture

Free markets fail because government does not protect property rights.  Government should be the police of the free market, not complicit in theft and removal of free markets by allowing and encouraging monopolies - like giving big corporations unfair advantage over small business because of overly complex regulations and tax laws.  Or by just handing them trilions of dollars while letting small businesses fail.  Or by guaranteeing that they cannot fail by putting risk on the backs of taxpayers while letting them keep the rewards.

 

The main problem when defining 'isms' is that the level of corruption is not measured when declaring something better than something else. 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:13 | 1184288 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

"Government should be the police of the free market"

 

Total contradiction. Things which are 'free' do not require 'police'

Why do so many people try to argue both points at the same time?

 

"We should have freedom" - fair enough

"others freedom should not impact me , or my freedom" - whoops, someone has to give up their freedom.

 

This is the problem with individualism.

 

"Free markets fail because government does not protect property rights."

 

By that very statement you bring on the end of the free market - I'm not blaming you for saying it, but you cannot have a free market in which laws are required to esnure the running of that market (laws are merely regulation after all)

All roads lead to where we are now.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:42 | 1184472 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Government provides the referee. Its called the court system.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:59 | 1184580 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

The wealthy(er) capitalist owns the court.  None of this occurs in a vacuum.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 05:50 | 1187237 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

It's amazing isn't it? - the only way to justify a contradictory system is to be contradictory.

 

Free markets need policing (immediately they are not free - theory failed)

Individualism is paramount but nothing has ever been produced by an individual - other than on a very small scale. (i.e. collectivisation of production is the source of Capitalist profit)

Freedom to choose is absolute but others freedoms cannot impact my own.

 

These are the contradictions captialists use to justify their contradictory system - which is why it continues to fail.

 

It's the same contradictory argument used to attack the bank bailouts - I'm not saying this was right or wrong, but it was neccessary - the alternative being total economic chaos.....which no free market thinker will admit.

In their 'bubble' they think that Lehmans could have failed, then AIG, then Freddie and Fanny...etc. and the effect of these failures would have been to pull down bigger banks like Goldman, JPM etc.

Are there any free market theorists out there who are so deluded as to suggest Warren would have backed Goldman with his cash if he didn't already know the banks were going to be saved by the Governments? - Come on, be realistic.

It's easy to suggest that the free market dictates failure would have been the correct thing to do - but there weren't many voicing that opinion in the middle of the crisis in 2008. You see self interest ensures that even free market capitalists don't like to lose their savings under Caveat Emptour.

 

...it's just contradiction after contradiction...

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:22 | 1184067 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I officially brand your post as an unfounded rant. You feel things but do not reason them out. Personally, I would like to ban the word "capitalism" as it has become a word without meaning. In fact, it seems to mean anything any write wants it to mean. In the case of those favoring large powerful states it tends to be synonomous with greed, avarice, cheating, lieing, manipulating, etc. This makes sense because Karl Marx invented the term. However, it is an economic, not moral term. 

I think I would replace it with the term "voluntary trade". At its core that is all it is. It starts with, "I will give you two fish for six bananas." and works it's way up to "I will sell you an income stream based on AAA mortgage notes." You may or may not want to do it and you set the terms of any trade voluntarily. You learn from experience and you set up trading rules and modify them as you need to...without government interference.

This type of true capitalism-voluntary trade does not exist anywhere with significant alterations and limits by government. Several other posters have gotten this exactly right. As we get closer to true volutary exchange we will do better and be freer. Contrary to the statists, deception and swindles will decrease, not increase. It does not remove all vice from the human spirit but it does limit the damage.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:56 | 1184215 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

you can not redefine things just because you want to

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:51 | 1184838 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

How odd that's exactly what humans do everyday. Redefine the meaning behind the wods they use.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:24 | 1185237 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I do NOT redefine it. I am accusing others of redefining it. It happens so often that I want to use a different phrase that more accurately represents the economic truth.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:24 | 1184339 TrafficNotHere
TrafficNotHere's picture

We haven't had true capitalism in this country in ... well, let just say we have been moving farther and farther away for years. Most recently at break neck speeds.
But we hear the rallying cry, "We Need More Regulations" and the big corporations love to here this. It creates the barrier to entry (which they help write), enforcing thier market control, destroying the free market causing more of the claimed "greed, cheating, lieing, manipulation."

I find it saddening that those who rail against the "free market" by advocating more regulation and government control because of the "Greed, destruction of the middle class, etc" are advancing the forces which have been creating this mess.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:32 | 1184406 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Indeed. Instead of government regulating the markets, we need markets regulating the government.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:03 | 1184610 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Right, we need more wealth influencing government.  That works out great for everyone.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:06 | 1184641 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

No, not at all. Your imagination is greatly impaired.

Try imagining a world where you can shop for your own government. Where governments aren't tied to the land, but rather, are voluntary relationships between individuals. If one government stops meeting your needs, you can leave it and join another one-- without having to physically move your place of residence or place of business.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:12 | 1184666 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

I don't have the luxury of imagining worlds, I have to accept reality and try to understand it.  Until you have a better understanding of reality, you cannot hope to shape it.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:51 | 1184845 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

I wonder how that worked out for all of those Inventers that created everything you use in your daily life without realizing that not that long ago, someone had to IMAGINE something that would change the world.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:36 | 1185024 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Exactly how many inventions are not built on the ideas of other people?  How many patents are there in one ipad?  You act like invention comes from nothing, arrises from the dark space.  You probably think that intelectual property is good for a society.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:17 | 1185180 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

This makes no sense. I'd invite you to try again, but I'm not sure you'd do any better.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 05:54 | 1187246 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

They don't understand - they actually believe that individualism is the driving force behind invention. That's because history cleverly attributes the invention of the telephone to Alexander Graham Bell - when in fact he worked with other people enhancing their existing inventions.

You can see this in the history - right from his first invention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell

I also seem to recall that whilst John Logie Baird is credited with inventing the television - an identical idea was also prototyped by an American on the other side of the world who had no idea about Baird's work. That defeats the idea of 'intellectual property' - and yet there are many laws enforcing it.

 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:08 | 1184916 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Yes, and the reality is, if government were not balls-deep involved in our economy, many of these 'super-rich' whom you decry would be much less rich, and power would be much more balanced.

You act as if government had no choice in the matter. They've got all the guns, they can do anything they want. So instead of protecting individual rights and freedoms, they choose to enhance their own power by ignoring the Constitution, and getting in bed with big business and financial interests. It's mutual aid and enhancement of rights and privileges for the political and financial elites, and destruction of rights for everyone else...until change happens, either externally or internally.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:33 | 1185012 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Might be they would, might be they won't.  You're still speculating.  Do you ignore the power that wealth has in your fantasy world?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:18 | 1185183 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Well, you're either an idiot, or a troll.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:36 | 1185307 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You don't get it. Corporations, wealthy, etc. cannot oppress you or take your money because they have no police force to force you. It is not theory. It is reality. The British East India Tea Company could not force colonists to pay higher prices or taxes without the power of government which came with red coats and muskets.

I try to be patient waiting for others to "get" this fact, but it is hard. Government is so entrenched in our minds.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 16:03 | 1185456 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Xe

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:02 | 1187254 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Really?

 

You need to do more research - the East India company hired mercenaries - they did not need Government backing. Nelson himself acted as chief mercenary sinking ships on the command of the wealthy merchants - not the Government.

 

The EIC did not need to force the colonists to pay higher taxes or prices - they merely used 'market deception' to convince the colonists they needed their guns and gold more than they needed their rubber or tea. You can still make a profit without resorting to coercion or violence - well within the rules of capitalism.

 

This is where FMC's get confused between perfect and imperfect markets and knowledgeable market participants.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 11:29 | 1188302 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Actually, you need to think it through. The East India company hires mercenaries. Whose ships did they sink? If they sink members of "empire" then in theory the government/the crown should prosecute them, right? If they don't then the operate with at least the implicit approval of the government. Why would the crown do this? Because they were also owners of the company! When they sink or seize ships of other nations and competitors...well, you have the age of kings and empires and that's the way it goes...not that it's right. Remember when they were seizing Americans to serve on British ships? You cannot divorce government from this equation by any means.

It is possible in theory that WalMart might hire thugs to force you to buy their products. How do you suppose that will work out? If we have a second Amendment and the State has not removed our right to protect ourselves (which they are actively doing) then Walmart will be balanced.

Practically speaking no business/private entity today can use force of any sort against the public without the help of government. I will include farmers getting subsidies (during record commodity prices, no less!) as well as banks getting bailed out. Banks fail and government forces you fund their failure...for your own good, for the collective good of the nation, of course! Voluntary transactions eliminate this possibility.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:32 | 1185268 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Do you understand the problem in what you stated? The problem is not wealth. The problem is not even influence. All of life is about influence. You try to influence your kids to do the right things. You influence customers to shop in your stores. You influence employers to pay you more. You influence employees to do better work. You influence nonbelievers to become believers. All of life is about influence.

The problem is POWER. If government had no significant power over you the wealthy, unions, AARP, etc. would not try to exert influence. It is because of our government's now unlimited power to interfere in every aspect of life and more importantly to redirect money, regulations, tariffs, etc. to advantage that makes it important to influence government. It's a protection racket of sorts and you'd better be playing. Other's are trying to appropriate advantage over you and your wealth.

Always work toward increased liberty and less government power. Someone should write a document to limit government power. I tell you that someday someone is going to think of this.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 17:20 | 1185764 TrafficNotHere
TrafficNotHere's picture

+1,000

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 18:12 | 1185926 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

You simply cannot separate wealth from power.  Go smoke another fatty.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 11:33 | 1188324 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You cannot separate wealth from influence. You absolutely can separate it from power. Check how the Roman empire shook down its wealthiest. A rich man is one guy with one gun and some gold/fiat. To coerce you he has to find ways to use the gold to corrupt someone else to help him. This is where the breakdown occurs and this is where a moral government helps you.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:36 | 1184435 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

This nation went from protecting the individual from the excesses and abuses of capitalism to guaranteeing everyone the benifits from capitalism. Credit became the avenue for that guarantee. No one but the capitalists lending the money benifits from the accrued debt, ironically leading to the ultimate capitalistic excess and abuse. Maybe next time the avenue to enjoying the fruits of capitalism will be to actually involve one's self in capitalism.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 20:04 | 1186280 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I like the way you put that. It is something interesting, unique and true. Collectivists look at the prosperity of capitalism and indirectly freedom. They then tell you that if you will surrender your freedom they will give everyone the same benefits of capitalism. In essence, you are promised the goodies and benefits of capitalism, i.e. prosperity without actually having to do the things of capitalism like valuable work, taking risk and using good judgement. Credit prevents the work from actually having to be done. Well done!

I have recently begun saying that socialism (or collectivism) is for cowards and aspiring autocrats. I think our statements are intertwined.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:40 | 1184136 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

Captalism isn't going anywhere, because capitalism IS, it's not just a theory. Our problem stems from capital-free capitalism. When one risks ones own savings on a venture the damage to the economy is quite limited if one fails - it's your ass, and more importantly it's wealth that one made somewhere along the line that gets transferred to the winners. When one leverages to increase reward, risk is transfered to other players, so failure inflicts damage beyond the individual. But at least there's collateral of some kind (at least there used to be) to ballance the books. When ones central bank prints fiat to loan out in hopes that the aggregate wealth creation will return that fiat with interest, then when that venture fails so does the fiat as the assets against which that money was lent, or that were purchased outright, are crap. In the meantime, the money is made in doing the loaning and hiding the inherent risks, wealth is preserved by hiding the losses until fortune turns and the losses are reversed, and power accrued by government in the facilitiating. Credit becomes the greatest national product, even a natural right.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:08 | 1184638 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Your theory of reality doesn't address unemployment.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:08 | 1184655 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Unemployment isn't a problem of the free market. It is a problem that each unemployed person must face and overcome on his or her own.
Free markets require individuals to take responsibility for themselves. I know this seems like an difficult concept in today's socialist and statist world. If we actually had free markets, the good news is, it would be a lot easier for people to take responsibility for themselves.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:14 | 1184677 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Unemployment absolutely has to be addressed by your system, otherwise your system is worthless.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:15 | 1184944 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Employment is not a right.

Our current unemployment problem was not caused by voluntary, free economic relations between people. It was caused by massive market distortions brought on by government intervention, fiscally, monetarily, and regulatorily. The ever-widening systemic boom and bust cycles we've experienced are caused and enabled by a government who chose to skim more and more prosperity off the population, to its own benefit and that of the financial elite, until there's none left to skim.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:36 | 1185032 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Never said it was a right.  Fortunately, we'll never live in Faustian Bargain's imaginationland.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:17 | 1185190 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

No, it seems that your argument is worthless.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:05 | 1187256 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

You clown - unemployment is a neccessary factor in free markets - otherwise what motivates the bottom rung workers to accept the pay and conditions offered (other than the army of unemployed waiting to take their place - i.e. competition)

 

I thought this was a serious debate - now we have unemployment - which is an undeniable requirement of any free market - being blamed and assigned to the 'individual'.

 

You've taken it down to kindergarten level.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:08 | 1184776 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

The Theory of Relativity doesn't address Coke vs Pepsi. What's your point? That it's an economy's duty to provide full employment? I don't think so. My point is that an economy can expand much faster with capital derived from printed fiat backed by theoretical future wealth production than if it expands using/risking only currently-available capital already produced in excess of need. It can expand faster, but it will also crash harder and far more jobs will be lost than were created due to the cascading effect of interlocked risk.

There is an organic capitalism, one risking existing wealth for gain, and a capitalism on steroids where debt backs debt backing debt, loss is taken in an undisclosed future, and liabilities exceed income without those liabilities creatively accounted, which is where we've come to today.

If you want higher employment, produce more. The only place to get production is to "steal" it from other nation's production. Borrowing to buy what we're not paid to produce only makes the lender rich (until he's not paid) while suppressing employment. But the discussion was about capitalism's failures. Efficiently making our own stuff to consume, for example, requiring only half the adult population to make it, would not be a failure of capitalism because the other half sits idol. Therefore, exporting that production in exchange for higher-paying jobs in the financial sector, which worked for a while as far as employment numbers went, was a net-tax-revenue policy-driven decision within a world-wide capitalist system, not a failure of capitalism.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 18:17 | 1185041 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

I'm sorry, is capitalism dogma or a model again? I'm confused.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 21:22 | 1186449 Matto
Matto's picture

Maximum thrax, i like the way you think. Capitalism requires the accumulation of capital  but when the asset is derived from/measured in debt you cannot escape the underlying debt, hence net wealth isn't created - only an expansion of debt to match (and then exceed due to interest) the wealth created.

Capitalism is impossible in our debt money system, even if the government gets the hell out of the way. In practice we will only end up with more efficient creditalism.

 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:18 | 1184707 DiverCity
DiverCity's picture

Bingo!!  Capital-free "capitalism" boils what we have to its essence.  It's a giant ponzi scheme.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:32 | 1184759 Hot Piece of Bass
Hot Piece of Bass's picture

I would like to add that our current corporate/financial oligarchs are completely dependent on the existing legal structure of the state.

Where would microsoft be without the absurdity of our current patent law?  How about Pfizer pharmaceuticals? 

Where would agriculture be without the massive subsidies they get courtesy of tax payers?

Would these enterprises survive at all without the state and its legal apparatus?

Why is splitting a meal at a restaurant acceptable but sharing your wifi/cable with a neighbor illegal?

Just the same, I think that it is overly simplistic to casually regard all regulation as bad.  The above scenarios should give any thinking person an idea of just who is making those laws and who they benefit.

IT MATTERS WHO MAKES THE LAWS.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:45 | 1185341 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You're on the right track. Patent law and copyrights simply protect products and intellectual property. It allows people to prosper from their ingenuity. Now, how long patents last and so on is debateable. It definitely matters on who makes the laws as well as the legal limits under which they have to work. I would propose a document...let's call it a Constitution which could limit what anyone can do in the name of government. That should prevent the possible and even probably excesses of "who" is making the laws. What do you think about this idea? Of course we will have to agree to be bound by this document.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 00:08 | 1186913 Hot Piece of Bass
Hot Piece of Bass's picture

I dunno man.

Hell, they don't even follow the constitution we have now.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 11:36 | 1188343 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Exactly! That's why we are screwed. Think about it. If there are no enforceable limits on government then they can do anything. There's no rulebook we can all read. There are only refs making it up as they go and picking winners and losers. Why play the game then?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:02 | 1185127 mind_imminst
mind_imminst's picture

"Most people agree that less (or rather no) Government is the ultimate goal (socialists, communists, Libertarians, anarchists avan free marketeers) - the only disagreement is how to get there."

 

Socialists and communists don't want bigger goevernment?!! That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:08 | 1187259 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

...then you should read more books on the subject and educate yourself rather than flinging out some tripe you were told from your (wealthy oligarth owned TV channel)

 

See the problem here? - poorly read Americans always take on the easiest explanation to keep things simple.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 20:32 | 1186348 buzzard
buzzard's picture

+476 C.E. It is unbelievable that all these people immediately begin arguing about the meaning of the word 'Capitalism' and ignore the plainly true message of the article. I see no hope of us turning this ship around when argue about what direction east is.

We will so deserve what we get.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:08 | 1183988 PD Quig
PD Quig's picture

Hear, hear.

The notion that our current form of corrupt corporatism is 'capitalism' is as ludicrous as the usual tripe from the myopic fool, Paul Farrell. How did this dumb fuck get a podium?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:33 | 1184112 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

You clown - what we have today is an inevitable result of a system which is based on capital accumulation

i.e. capitalism.

Do I need to put it in really simple language for you?

Capitalism is contradictory

Contradictions cause the crises

Crises warrant government intervention (regulation) - or alternatively chaos (bad for us all)

Intervention causes bigger Government

Bigger Government and the biggest capital accumulators (corporations) work together to enslave everyone else.

 

Don't you get it? You stare all dewy eyed into some theoretical book and dream of a system which is meritocratic - and don't realise how you get from there - to here - and how it is unavoidable???

 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:50 | 1184177 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

We're where we are today, on the edge, because government is so indebted that it will do whatever for revenue. Those who provide the lions' share of revenue get the support of the government to make even bigger incomes, bonuses and profits, at the expense of others. The financial sector is making the money today, and its product is the easiest to distort ( you can print money and "hide the loss," but you can't print a steer and you can't both send one to market AND bury its corpse).

Captalism isn't contradictory. Accounting is. 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:03 | 1184238 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

The people with all the money change the accounting rules (and regulations, and laws) to suit themselves. This is undeniably true. Even the rich admit it.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:12 | 1184265 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

This is logical - their purpose is to accumulate more capital - changing the rules to suit you and to help you achieve your goal is entirely reasonable (to the capitalist).

 

You cannot blame capitalists for 'trying to win' anymore than you can blame the fox for eating your chickens.

 

The solution is to not play a game where the winning of a few is to the detriment of the rest.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:39 | 1184374 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

Changing the rules may suit you, but what's in it for the government to let you make those changes? Today, the answer is desperately-needed revenue. There is and always will be regulatory capture, but the degree of corruption and damage done is proportional to the size of government being corrupted. Ours is twice the size it ought to be from entitlement spending alone. And both our government and its people get what they want through endless credit expansion. Our very existence depends on it, and so today those who can assist in that credit expansion get the Love form Uncle Sugar.

 

It's not capitalism that's the problem. It's our reliance on government to borrow what we cannot borrow, and our personal reliance on credit to afford our standard of living.  That leads to the effective deployment of capital by some into governmental affairs for financial gain, and the reciprocal reliance on taxes from those profits by government to manage accrued debt.

Pulling demand forward isn't capitalism. Spending tomorrow's taxpayers' money today isn't capitalism. Making boatloads of fiat getting everyone in debt is capitalism, but it is a choice to borrow to the extent we have. Now that our ability to roll-over and even add to the nation's debt is connected to the taxes collected from the financial industry, and the profits of the financial industry are connected to government collusion in hiding losses, each are connected at the hip and will have to do a Butch and Sundance of the cliff together.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 20:36 | 1186364 buzzard
buzzard's picture

Governments only exist as a tool of control for the elites to use against the population.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:33 | 1184417 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

But notice, they have also eliminated other "games"; women work in offices, children prepare for careers in corporations, seniors are farmed out to carehomes in the grip of health care debt until they die filled with wires and hoses.

They first made us dependent. They offered leisure and easy living, the siren song of the ages. For this we gave them our freedom to think for ourselves. We abandoned our time-honored skills, destroyed family farming, and destroyed small towns and merchants. Then they stripped away our very ability to escape. Home debt, credit debt, student debt, debt instead of meaningful work. Then fear of being destitute, fear of growing old, fear of appearing vulnerable. So you have to stay on the wheel, hope for the best, hope you can outsmart them. Hope you are the one-in-a-hundred that doesn't die abandoned and impoverished.

Most of the people I know personally are trapped with no means of escape. Their nightmare is long-term illness, unemployment, and food stamps. And that is what many of them will get ere the end.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:11 | 1184261 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

that's an oversimplification

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:25 | 1184360 TrafficNotHere
TrafficNotHere's picture

"You clown - what we have today is an inevitable result of a system which is based on capital accumulation"

No, what we have today is the result of government getting involved into every sector of the economy, creating barriers to entry and destroying the free market. 

Advocate regulations and you create barrier to entry ensuring that big corpoarions can rule unchallenged, resulting in the crushing of the middle class.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:39 | 1184438 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Fantasy. Government does not create monopoly. Money does.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:52 | 1184554 TrafficNotHere
TrafficNotHere's picture

"Fantasy. Government does not create monopoly. Money does."

Government passes a law that only one company can provide a service, the result is a monopoly.

Only government can create and enforce laws and through these laws, create barriers to entry. Barriers to entry support the pre existing large companies, reducing compitition and the free market. 

Do you have even the slightest clue or is being a DU troll a hobby of yours?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 13:08 | 1184654 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Is this some definition you are resorting to?  Microsoft had/has a monopoly in spite of the governments efforts to stop them.

That is one example of what happens in the real world.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:23 | 1184968 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Microsoft does not have a monopoly. They have market dominance. They also still keep developing their operating systems, which, however inefficient they may be, you can bet they would be worse if their 'monopoly' were enforced by the government.

But I would also suggest there's probably a lot more going on behind the political scenes than a simple anti-trust suit.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:43 | 1185051 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

fb chooses to define monopoly in his idealized way, rather than the functional use of the term that everyone else uses because that usage supports his gestalt.  We're shocked over here.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:52 | 1185391 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

You moron. Did you ever hear of Apple? Apple chose not to license it's software, Microsoft did. They both got the results of their decision. There's unix, now, too. Microsoft had zero, nada, no, null set lobbyists. Then they got an antitrust suit from the protection racket called Congress. They have fixed their lobbyist shortage and now pay the racket fees. This is a problem of a powerful government.

Microsoft could never force you to buy anything. They made good business decisions, adequate products, and a reputation that fairly earned them market dominance.

Only governments can create and enforce monopolies!!! Find any monopoly without government backing. Try it.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 18:19 | 1185937 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

Apple and *nix have never been serious competition to MS on the desktop.  MONOPOLY

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 21:41 | 1186490 Matto
Matto's picture

Yah but what about market concentration? are we served better by having the worlds media owned by a handful of mega corporations, where the guy with the biggest bank in his corner gets to buy out everyone else? Its only fair right, free market/individual choice?? Now the media's concetrated position is used as a tool to maintain said position by silencing any critique. Where I live we used to have media concentration laws put in place by the government and repealled under lobbying from the 'private sector' Personally i want the old laws back and i want the government to bring them back. Glass steagall too.

 

Thank fk for the internet anyway.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 21:40 | 1186494 Matto
Matto's picture

I like the free market, i get to choose who i spend my money on and i also get to choose who i give my vote to as well.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:11 | 1187265 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

...but is that decision made with full knowledge - or disturbed knowledge?

 

How many of your children demand a certain toy because they saw an advert on the TV, only to go off the toy rapidly when it's bought for them because it didn't make cartoon people come out of thin air to play with?

 

Your decisions are subject to the same deception - but on a more subtle level. When you 'chose' to buy that T-shirt from the retailer - were you aware that it's come from an enslaved child....and that one day that child may grow up resenting the oppressive western 'choice' and decide to blow himself up on the metro?

 

You cannot have a free choice without perfect knowledge - and you cannot have perfect knowledge in a world where deception is key to making profits.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:24 | 1184970 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

You're wasting your time.  His internet connection from the capitalism wet dream of Somalia is only 2400 baud. 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:46 | 1184484 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Ah, contradictions! You are a pure Marxist. But you are not quite TS Eliot yet.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:02 | 1184891 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

Fascism is a system based on capital accumulation as well.

So is communism.  Capital simply accrues to the state.

By your own definition, "what we have today is an inevitable result of a system which is based on capital accumulation i.e. communism".

Equally valid as your assertion above.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:15 | 1187268 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:15 | 1187269 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:13 | 1187270 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:14 | 1187271 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:16 | 1187273 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:17 | 1187274 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

..the difference being of course that with communism the idea is that accumulated capital is owned by everyone - whereas under capitalism it's owned by a minority.

 

...but of course you knew that - right?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:13 | 1184025 Hernando
Hernando's picture

What we need is for 100 sorties by fully loaded B-52s to carpet bomb Greenwich, Conn and Scarsdale, NY. on a Saturday morning.

The USAF crews would go down in history as heros!

 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:32 | 1184398 Alienated Serf
Alienated Serf's picture

eh

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:22 | 1184342 Holodomor2012
Holodomor2012's picture

I agree, while the "ism" changes, the group behind the curtain remains the same.  But what this article fails to mention is simple and most obvious.  You cannot fight the hidden hand until you can identify the group behind the "ism". 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28098778/The-Secret-World-Government-or-the-Hidden-Hand

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 16:40 | 1185624 Newsboy
Newsboy's picture

I can't believe that this obvious statement about the "smokescreens" of "capitalism" and "communism" just being decoration for the workings of the power elites got junked 3 times. How could that be the least bit controversial in this crowd? Where in the past or present is there a case of actual capitalism, in the absence of conspiratorial regimes like the East India Company, or the open conspiracies of the US bankers in the long depression of the late 1800s. The closest cases for communism are certainly not called that, but "socialism". Norway and Sweden are those cases. Obviously, they are neither pure capitalism or communism, but do share the virtues of even handed regulation, wide compliance and cooperation, and well-distributed benefits as a result.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:50 | 1183564 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

+1

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:00 | 1183602 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

Well, the average American is going to have enough trouble accepting the main points in the article. Calling it Fascism, or Corporatism, is going to turn off the receptors completely. By calling it the term which is currently widely used, one at least has a hook which can be grasped on to. The message might reach a few more people, than otherwise.

And it is an excellent synopsis of a number of key threads.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:12 | 1183680 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Fascism is the obvious result of capitalism.

Capital accumulation will ensure eventually that the wealthy are able to design society around their minority needs and desires with a corporatist view (Which is the definition of fascism)

 

I mean does anyone really think that after accumulating capital over centuries that major corporations are going to be 'outdone' by snivelling little SME's?

 

You must be foolish if you do.

 

Most people treat capitalism like subsidence - the surveyor tells you the house is going to collapse and it's going to cost $100,000 to underpin it. That's money you don't have - and it's a lot of upheaval - so you take the advice of the 'dodgy builder' who claims it can be done in half the time for a fraction of the price. When the house does collapse the builder is nowhere to be found - the total cost is now $150,000 to put it right.

 

The house is the Economy, the subsidence is capitalism, the surveyor is your common sense talking and the dodgy builder in the next politician proposing 'solutions without pain'.

 

.....and the voter (homeowner) falls for it every single time...

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:21 | 1183719 tmosley
tmosley's picture

You are wrong in a truly epic way.  How does wealth concentration lead to the merger of corporate and government power, without destroying capitalism?

Your argument is equivalent to this metaphor:  cleanliness leads to filth, therefore, we should never clean ourselves, and as such, will avoid becoming filthy.

All you have to do to keep the wealthy from merging corporate and government power is to keep the government so small and powerless that it isn't worth it.  Further, capital accumulation does not work the way you think it does in a free system.  When you remove banking interests, most businesses tend to gravitate towards profit reinvestment rather than debt for growth.  With few regulations, anyone can start a business and grow it in this manner.    Without debt, capital accumulation becomes a function of pure service to society and nothing else.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:42 | 1183835 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

"All you have to do to keep the wealthy from merging corporate and government power is to keep the government so small and powerless that it isn't worth it."

.....you don't need a Government to be in control - look at the Feudal Lords in Britain - they chose the King, he was merely a puppet - they were the land (capital) owners - they had the power. You might think it's better to be a slave to a private owner than a government  - but I'd rather not be a slave to either thanks.

...and you're misisng the point - the GOAL of capitalism for the individual is to accumulate capital - and then use that capital to accumulate more. Forget debt - it's just a way of advancing capital to make the system turn faster and more frequently giving the impression of 'wonderful growth' so the capitalists can point to the system and claim it is the best for human progression.

 

Your idealistic dream does not hold up to reality - we had a free market system - it failed - that's when regulation was introduced and the Government grew in size. It's the inevitable conclusion of free market capitalism.

 

Add into the mix inherited wealth and you might just start to understand why the winners always win and the losers always lose.

 

You're lookingat Fascism to narrowly - it's not just about Government and Corporations merging - it's about money and power merging to support a minority view against the majority. It doesn't matter if it's a Government, Feudal Lord or Ming the Merciless - it's the same result.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 10:51 | 1183898 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Uhh, the feudal lords were the government.  The fact that you can't see that is yet another example of your warped perception of reality.

Existence of capital is not the same as capitalism.  And the "goal" of capitalism is not to accumulate more capital, any more than the "goal" of communism is to accumulate more communes.  In both cases, the capital or the commune are a means to an end.  That end is different for every person.

You are still warping definitions.  You need to write out a definition for every term you use, and then compare them.  You will then see where the contradictions in your thinking come from.

Corporations=money, governments=power.  The definitions you gave are no different from mine.  You simply can't see that any entity that exerts force on a systematic basis is the same as a government, and therefore is a government.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:06 | 1183973 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

"And the "goal" of capitalism is not to accumulate more capital"

 

Two words - "Profit motive"

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:16 | 1184045 tmosley
tmosley's picture

So it is bad that people would provide goods in return for the ability to buy other people's goods?

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:35 | 1184119 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Guns?

You provide them so Gaddaffi can murder his people? - in free market capitalism this is A-ok!

However it does go against the grain of humanity.

..then you need regulation...

....then you start down the same road.....

Inevitability Mr Anderson.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:06 | 1184250 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

you are winning

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:56 | 1184559 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Right, because no-one ever used a gun for anything else.  No such thing as self defense, or hunting.

The problem with Gaddaffi is that he uses force, not that some "capitalists" sold him guns.

The United States of America is the world's largest gun dealer.  Until its collapse, the USSR was the second largest.  Does this tell you anything?

Probably not.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:11 | 1185151 narapoiddyslexia
narapoiddyslexia's picture

The USSR didn't sell enough guns? Just a guess....

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:22 | 1187281 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

I think you'll find the USSR and the USA were 'arming the world' in an ideological war - it was called 'the cold war' - and you can look it up on the internet and read all about it.

 

I'd like to see Gaddaffi use 'force' without weapons sold to him by private arms companies - I bet the people of Benghazi would flee for the hills when they saw Gaddaffi's men turning up in VW camper vans sporting giant water pistols!

 

The motivation for selling arms was very different between the USA and the USSR - one was trying to create satellites of defence for their ideology (rightly, or wrongly) - the other was doing it for profit.

 

Ever seen 'lord of war' - now that's a capitalist for you. Selling weapons to both sides because it profitable - regardless of the cost of human life.

 

 

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 15:56 | 1185419 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Profit is simply a reward for efficiency in producing a product for less than the market price. You make a profit by serving your fellow man and voluntarily providing a product which he, without government force or influence buys by trading you his labor and products for yours. It's a beautiful thing and it drives every advance in history and our standard of living. Name a better arrangement.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 17:00 | 1185693 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 06:29 | 1187285 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

"It's a beautiful thing and it drives every advance in history and our standard of living"

 

Don't you think that has more to do with human progression than capitalism?

 

You really need to ask yourself how the collectivisation of the USSR (even though it turned into a Stalinist dictatorship, it was still collectivised production) they went from 'farmers' to 'space explorers' in less than a generation. Meanwhile the USA could only compete with such progress by engaging in their own publicly funded space program (NASA).

 

Doesn't say much for the free market does it? we would never have got to the moon if it were left to the market.

 

Once you accept this fact then you can realise what the cold war was really about...

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 11:45 | 1188400 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Actually, that's a simple answer. They captured some of the German rocket engineers after the war, stole technology and essentially pushed the state to one central goal. Even a collectivist society can make some advances. It happened even under kings and queens. Should we therefore argue for monarchies because Newton did quite well in the French empire? The Soviets did fairly well in all things related to the military. They had quality problems but they made some advances. They had active campaigns to steal and copy technology from the West. Notice that we got to the moon first, developed a space shuttle first, sent probes to Mars first, etc., etc., etc.

You have to ask yourself why they crumbled in the space of about 70 years. Even the Czars lasted longer than that with more prosperity.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:44 | 1184164 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Nice conversation.

I think the inherent contradictions of a capitalist should be pretty obvious, but they tend to get neglected in a discussion which leaves out some of the critical components of capitalism.

A free market is not capitalism, right?  It's just one component.  It's a component that most folks seem to favor.

A component that appears to me to generate the most internal conflict is the abstraction of ownership from involvement.  To use an example: people likely work at Ford Motors because they want, at least on some level, to build cars.  These people are stakeholders in the business--some of them would not want to keep their job if they came to work one day and were told Ford is now a company that processes tax returns.

But for the people who buy Ford Motors stock, "building cars" is 100% completely incidental to the point of the investment.  The purpose of the investment is generating a return on capital.  If that means Ford transitions from building cars to processing tax returns because there's a better ROI, no problem.  (See the past history of car companies which became banks because loan-interest was more profitable than delivery of cars, etc.)

Now whether this is a good thing or a bad thing may be debated, but it is certainly an internally contradictory thing.  If one imagines the economy as some kind of virtual machine, this would be a pretty major "wobble."

I don't have a useful conclusion about how to fix such a thing, but I do think it should be pretty easy for people to see, and pretty easy to understand why it introduces so much conflict/instability/whatever.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:10 | 1184258 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

a worthy contribution

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:23 | 1184967 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

A thoughtful post.

to my thinking, the abstraction of ownership doesn't constitute a contradiction, though. 

For instance, if I have saved a portion of my income, and wish to invest it for a return, I needn't invest it in my own enterprise if I can find a greater return elsewhere, must I?  If I can trade 10000 conch shells for an ownership stake in a fish salting operation in Malta (whether it be a corporation or not), and it meets my personal criteria (return, any moral factors), where's the contradiction?

If there were only one investor in the economy, then yes, I see your point - wobbliness would tend toward the maximum.

However, when millions of individuals with their own surplus to invest, using their own criteria for doing so, invest their capital, it will, in aggregate tend to smooth out those wobbles.  Further, to the extent that individuals had diversified their holdings among disparate enterprises, they would be better able to withstand any catastrophes that may befall one or more of the individual enterprises.

If I win, I win, and if I lose, I lose.  I own the consequences.

Where I do see a problem is when actors in the market are insulated from the consequences of their actions.  Bailouts, anticompetitive regulatory barriers, etc. are anathema to a free market, which, as you point out, is an essential element of capitalism.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 16:16 | 1185504 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

The contradiction doesn't occur "internal" to the investor, and it doesn't occur in some holistic view of the entire market-system.  It occurs in the "investor/institution" relationship.  Ultimately, the investor doesn't have any reason to share the "goals" of the institution, but he is the "owner." 

So to use an entertaining analogy: let's say like in some sci-fi B movie, your hand becomes possessed by an alien intelligence, and seeks to destroy your brain so it can control the actions of the body.  Would you agree there is a "conflict" or "contradiction" in the relationship that now exists between your hand and your head?  Yet from either individual perspective, there is no contradiction--the hand wants to remove the brain to seize control and the brain wants to prevent the hand from doing so.

One potential workaround would be to argue that an institution cannot meaningfully be said to have goals.  The catch is that would invalidate the concept of the corporate charter and (more generally) corporate personhood.  In other words: since the corporation exists *solely* to return on invested capital, there's no reason for the corporation to follow any guiding principle or even perform any specific task.  If it returns more capital by destroying itself, that is what it should do.

And that calls into the question the original essence of "capitalism" as conceived by the guys who started buying shares on potential future ships' cargo.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:28 | 1184972 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

Oops - duplicate.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 14:29 | 1184979 Klaus Daimler
Klaus Daimler's picture

and again.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 12:47 | 1184491 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

How's things going over at OFA and Bold Progreessive?  I guess I shouldn't be surprised their drones found this place. Rave on!

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:30 | 1184094 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

"Fascism is the obvious result of capitalism."

You only missed it by 180 degrees. Fascism is the obvious result of statism-socialism-collectivism. It is actually the brighter form of socialism wherein the state realizes that it needs a money cow, private enterprise but needs to milk it and control it. So, the all-powerful state partners with business for profit. It then socializes losses as a form of protectionism and privatizes gain...which should filter back to the State in the form of essential bribes and protection money.

The foundation cracking is not because of FREE people and markets. It is because of the exact opposite. This is the typical lie of the leftist-statist.

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 11:37 | 1184128 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Pop quiz.

Why was regulation introduced?

a) For a Government to take control?

b) In reaction to crises of Capitalism?

 

When you can answer this you will see the difference between 'cause' and 'effect'. You're diagnosing the patient and suggesting 'sewing up the nose' in order to sure the common cold.

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