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What Is Capitalism?

Tyler Durden's picture


On a day when the sad reality of our (AAPL-free) centrally-planned economy came a little unhinged, it is perhaps useful to reflect on just how different our 'capitalism' in the US now is from other 'capitalist' societies and the one we had in the 1900s. Robert Murphy (of The Politically Incorrect Guide To Capitalism book fame) explains how everyone has an agenda - yet everyone agrees that they despise capitalism. Capitalism is the system in which people are 'free to choose' and this is compared to socialist economies (where prices are set by the Fed state and assets can be confiscated for the benefit of the people). The fear of capitalism's citizenry running riot with unregulated actions leaves critics focused on a belief that regulators and bureaucrats know better than private citizens how to make their own decisions. This brief discussion ends with a sprinkling of Ayn Rand, Obama, Geithner, Barney Frank, and Harry Reid and their efforts to evade Capitalism's features, misrepresent its nature, and destroy its last remnants.



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Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:50 | 2322424 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

"Capitalism is the system in which people are 'free to choose'"

Isn't that actually Anarchy?

Capitalisim is making a profit from peoples choices.

Making the choice freely is Anarchy.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:52 | 2322430 spiral_eyes
spiral_eyes's picture

I wrote a primer on this last year. Basically capitalism, means that the citizens are free from central planning to experiment with different forms of production, and to keep the fruits of their labour.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:57 | 2322450 battle axe
battle axe's picture

What happens when the fruit tree has  been stolen? JPM/GS/etc etc etc etc

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:11 | 2322486 Badabing
Badabing's picture

What is capitalism?

You really want that answered?

HFTs until someone cuts the fiber lines or feeds them a virus.   

Spok: listen carefully, everything he says is a lie.

Captain Kirk: I’m lying.

Robo bitch #3: Norman coordinate…….. Boooooooooooooooooop

pftp smoke from ear.      

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:43 | 2322590 AnonymousAnarchist
AnonymousAnarchist's picture

"Capitalism" is a word and you should have no attachment to a word. When "capitalism" refers to a truly free market, then I'm a capitalist. When "capitalism" refers to state-capitalism, I'm an anti-capitalist.

I hate to say it but, just as Proudhon and Tucker failed at keeping the statists from hijacking the word "socialism", the free market capitalists have failed to keep the statists from hijacking capitalism. It's statism 101. It keeps people fighting over things that don't matter. If you can get 2 people fighting over what a word means then it might keep them from noticing that they both see freed markets as a solution.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:08 | 2322713 CH1
CH1's picture

Well said, friend.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 11:48 | 2324438 ratso
ratso's picture

This is really awful propaganda.  All the real evils of amoral capitalism are denied and captialism is uphelp as some paragon of truth containing ideology. What crap!!

Robert Murphy Booo! You are just the quiet speaking tool of ruthlessly exploitive capitalists. 

Just remember that there is nothing about capitalism in the constitution or the declaration of independence and that China is a great example of how capitalism doesn't need freedom it just needs to be able to control the workers.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:26 | 2324644 centipede
centipede's picture

Great thinking! Are you really implying that China is a capitalist society? :-)

Capitalism is defined as a freedom of any coercion if you do not coerce anybody yourself. How can China be "a great example of how capitalism doesn't need freedom" if its politicians coerce the citizens, allow even to business oligarchy to coerce and control the workers in a blatant conflict with the very definition of capitalism?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:07 | 2325336 ratso
ratso's picture

Wrong exploitation breath.  Words like freedom are attached to capitalism to try and dress up the problems it presents for the exploited workers.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 19:04 | 2323580 trembo slice
trembo slice's picture

"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."

- John Adams

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:49 | 2323913 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

I like someone who defines their used words. . .

beyond that, your reasoning skills are right up there,  couldn't agree more!

plus many. . .


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:22 | 2322520 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


"and to keep the fruits of their labour."

No. They would be free to make a PROFIT from the fruits of their labor.

But the same would be true with Anarchy.

Essentially, with both Anarchy and Capitalism, people either choose to cooperate or compete for goods and rescources and services.

an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:10 | 2322720 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

You are co-mingling a 'political' system (anarchism) with an 'economic' system (capitalism).   The most likely system of economics under an Anarchistic Society (or Libertarian) would be Capitalism....

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:59 | 2322945 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The most likely system of economics under an Anarchistic Society (or Libertarian) would be Capitalism....



Anarchy is the guarantee of no social order while capitalism requires a social order enforcing private property rights.

More US citizen propaganda.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:16 | 2323027 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

China-bot, you are always so simplistic.    If there was no enforcement of property rights, there would be chaos and rudimentary economic/cultural development, you know, like in your neighborhood.


Play chess with the idea for awhile.   Take both sides of the argument and then send me a pulse-gram

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:37 | 2323116 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Where is my neighbourhood?

Rudimentary economic cultural development?

Are you telling that the respect of property rights is what explains development of economy and culture?

If so, please explain the US of A.

I want ever more US citizen cheap propaganda.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:51 | 2324140 faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Are you saying that respect of property rights is what the US of A has? Because if you are, you would be either mistaken, or yourself guilty of propagandizing.

Mmm, yummy trollburger.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:23 | 2324010 LvM
LvM's picture

No, 'anarchy' mean without rulers. Rulers != social order. Read David Friedman's 'The Machinery of Freedom' (free pdf online) for a way this could work, or google 'spontaneous order'.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:59 | 2322946 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The most likely system of economics under an Anarchistic Society (or Libertarian) would be Capitalism....



Anarchy is the guarantee of no social order while capitalism requires a social order enforcing private property rights.

More US citizen propaganda.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:16 | 2323030 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

See above  ;)

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:08 | 2323180 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Hard to see vaccuum.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 19:34 | 2323638 ffart
ffart's picture

Social order for who? And anyone who doesn't want to live at the expense of this social order just gets a double tap to the back of the head?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:46 | 2324090 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

Capitalism is a politico-economic system.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:42 | 2322570 AlaricBalth
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"Basically capitalism, means that the citizens are free from central planning to experiment with different forms of production, and to keep the fruits of their labour."

...And to deal with the consequences of misguided or incompetent decisions and to not pass them on to taxpayers.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 19:01 | 2323568 RECISION
RECISION's picture

Ahh, yes.

Not pass them on to the taxpayer... that would be the socialising of the losses and privatising the gains...

So I guess that means we really need to eliminate the limited liability company - and have Unlimited-liability.

Because otherwise, inherantly from word one you have set up a system where someone else has to take a loss for your mistakes.

Interesting how everyone want to benefit from the "Fruits" of their labours, but no-one wants to take the losses.

Capitalism is a rather slippery sort of concept really isn't it...

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:32 | 2323894 AlaricBalth
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Unlimited gain or loss. That is the essence of pure free market capitalism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:45 | 2324037 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

I like that definition, and it works.

It accounts for human behavior and allows for the maximum amount of freedom while maintaining a functioning society.  With the real threat of total personal devistation, most would take only modest risks, and gain modest rewards.  There would be some who were willing to accept more risk and responsibility, and gain massive wealth accordingly- but we have that now anyway.  

The biggest problem is still the government safety net.  Were it not for that, a lot of the oligarchy would have been devestated in 2008, and we would be well on our way back to recovery.  I don't mind people having more money than me- but I do care when I am forced to settle their bad bets for them.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:07 | 2323998 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

The corporations is indeed an invention of government, not the free market.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 20:35 | 2326896 citizen2084
citizen2084's picture

Bingo! The evolution of the state lic. corp is what is missing from this dialogue.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:44 | 2323909 batterycharged
batterycharged's picture

Yep. People read so much into what capitalism means, it simply means capital is owned by private entites and not the state.

To say "compare this to socialism" is idiocy. Who wrote this article, Rush Limbaugh?

The opposite of capitalism is a command economy.

Socialism isn't necessarily a command economy. Europe has private enterprise and socialism, we have socialism and capitalism.

Wow, how did this article get on here?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:36 | 2324254 Marco
Marco's picture

"Actors in economies should be free to experiment. Good ideas should be free to succeed, and bad ones to fail. The role of the government should be to provide a level playing field for experimentalism (and enough of a safety net for when experiments go wrong)"

This isn't what most the ZH crowd recognises as Capitalism, which is to say Rothbard type capitalism. Rothbard doesn't recognise the need for a level playing field or a safety net ... Rothbard has the magical belief those properties will emerge from capitalism proper, not government. This is more capitalism in the earlier sense, Locke's provisio and all that ... which doesn't have the nice simple answers which Rothbard has.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2322432 Straying from t...
Straying from the flock's picture

Profit from choices.  That is the sad state of our system.  A dime a day ENDS the charade. Cast off your chains and live free.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:29 | 2322816 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

^^^all spam, all the time, BiCheZ!^^^

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:38 | 2324030 Straying from t...
Straying from the flock's picture

This spam free comment has been submitted just for your reading pleasure.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2324547 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

toy-boy troll

go away, asswipe!

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2322433 spiral_eyes
spiral_eyes's picture

Whoops double post.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2322437 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

I'd rather be a bit closer to anarchy on the spectrum than were we are now.   We are heading toward total control, not total anarchy.  Well, it might get to total anarchy if they fail at total control.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:11 | 2322729 CH1
CH1's picture

Real anarchy is actually very cool, and better for all producers.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:02 | 2322962 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Real stuff is usually better.

The best real thing ever is real US citizenism, the best real thing that has ever happened to real human beings.

Alas, what we've got now is fake US citizenism.

It is not like in US citizenism, everything is meant to be fake but the core processes that are extorting the weak and farming the poor.

But, yeah, the real thing is so better cooler, but in a real way.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:40 | 2324256 prole
prole's picture

Hundreds and thousands of FoxConn employees killing themselves yet you live on. Oh the humanity

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:54 | 2323916 downrodeo
downrodeo's picture

i've always maintained that anarchy is an absolute necessity in a free society because it is a counter force to governement expansion. government grows in only one direction; that is to say it will only get larger as time progresses. for instance, there is no such thing as an anti-terrorist attack that would cause congress to repeal the patriot act. anarchy/anarchists are needed to slow the inexorable growth of the parasite we call the state.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:38 | 2324550 juangrande
juangrande's picture

The only thing that needs to be free is our minds! Until that happens collectively, we'll just keep perpetuating the great circle jerk!.....Free your minds and the rest will follow....

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:56 | 2322442 drink or die
drink or die's picture

Anarchy is really more of a political system, capitalism is economic.  Unfortunately in todays world, politics and economics are hand in hand.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:57 | 2322558 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

'anyone against the status quo is an anarchist' [were it to be on any timeline in recorded history] -- todays', status quo in amerika is not socialism, but rather a hybrid facilitator of ingsoc,... pacifying the confused masses, whom crossed the rubicon long ago, into a life-decision game of triangle-toss, that of desperation and a queer kafkaesque-situation submerged in benign hope - where the awkward pointed linerar pryimid rules the day [your life -your future - your destiny] -- the  outcome be it socialism, communism, or fascism always gravitates upon totalitarianism its central axis -- simple, ya can't escape, but, you can be a progressive neo-anarchistic for change[?] we can believe in? -- refuse to cross that rubicon of no return, and burn down this bridge to nowhere! -- your war cry shall be "Catitalism Rules"! never forget ye never to be serfs,...never forget!


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:17 | 2324377 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Anarchy is really more of a political system

Anarchy is the total lack of ANY system.

It's where anything goes, and there is no CENTRAL AUTORITY.The people have 100% control............and is lawless.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:47 | 2324894 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

The framers were "ANARCHIST"!

The "Enlightenment" was Anarchy!

and yes, even the  "Bolshevik Revolution" was of fomenting aggression, ''Anarchism"! 

Indeed; "and all is lawless", were it not for a lawless society to berth a scuttled vessel of debauchery upon its citizenry, as a panacea of aggression and blatant disdain for the Constitution and the center-piece of humanities being - The Bill-of-Rights ?                      

Please by all means question the action-ability of the "Commander and Chief"___ ask Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Black, Haynes, Yoo, Hayden, Wolfowitz, Addington, Gonzales, Chertoff, Tenet, "The Bush White-House", "The DOD" and "DOJ", and the shameless list goes on --- right into the next adminisrtration!

Question Authority! [as Cartman would say,... athorium - Go SouthPark***] 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:12 | 2322490 Comay Mierda
Comay Mierda's picture

Gully Foyle - proud employee of the CIA Blog Provocateur Department

Dedicated to twisting truisms for the purposes of making ZH out to be a anarchist/terrorist blog

Attempting to place ZH high on the list of sites to be deleted after the passing of the soon to be drafted 2013 Terrorist Blog Act

Gully Foyle, you are an idiot 


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:24 | 2322529 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Comay Mierda

Dude, you flatter me.

I wish I had the CIA bucks rollling my way. And the get out of jail free card that comes with the job.

Explain to me how an "idiot" can be intelligent enough to be "Dedicated totwisting truisms for the purposes of making ZH out to be a anarchist/terrorist blog".

That is contradictory.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:09 | 2322714 malek
malek's picture

Well said, Comay Mierda.

And to answer GF: copy/paste?

But in general most people fail to understand that "freedom to choose" is not just freedom to select or bid, but also freedom to offer.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:37 | 2323108 GernB
GernB's picture

Implied in your argument is that we must enslave people to avoiod anarchy.

And, you are exactly backwards, capitalism is the consumer profiting from the choices they force upon the rich and powerful.

Making choices freely is freedom, calling it anarchy is the trick tyrants have pulled for centuries to convince themselves they're tyranny is justified.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 08:17 | 2324288 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Try not to drink heavily before you post on here. Comparing capitalism with anarchy is asinine.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 10:13 | 2326037 Nukular Freedum
Nukular Freedum's picture

It is not valid to discuss the doctrine of free markets independent of the theory of liberty in general. The former is a logical corollary of the latter. Marxists attempted such a false seperation for sinister ends and the misnomer of "Capitalism" was born. But if one believes in liberty one must believe in free markets ipso-facto. Here is my take on what it means and on the role of economics and economists.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:51 | 2322427 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

It sure as hell isn't what we have now, whatever that may be.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2322435 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Capitalism, like Communism, is a textbook definition, designed by financial and political criminals, to take your eye off the ball, while they rob you blind.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:24 | 2322528 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Right....and I love how the guy suggests we are in a socialist system. 

We are not.

He says that it's better to be under the wing of an asshole boss, than it is under a state technocrat. 

I say, fuck them both!

The point of capitalism, true, free market to have a "FAIR" chance of living a decent life.  And not only that, but also be able to judge what, to you, is a decent life.  And that not only are *your* decisions to be accounted for, but also the decisions of others.

If making 50K a year suits your needs, because you don't consume much and just want enough to make you happy....that should be as good as the greedy asshole broker who tries to make as much money as possible. 

When people like Peter Schiff ask those at OWS, "Don't you want to be a part of the 1%?", that implies a shitload of money=happiness.  Now, it may for some...but in the end, it won't for most.  Most people don't need 4 cars, a McMansion, a hot spouse, to feel content.  All they need is security, stability, and a good sense of purpose. 

Peter Schiff and Wall St shouldn't determine people's happiness.  That's not their job; but since they've bought the government, they *think* it is...because they have the reciept in form of legislation. 

If people think that having a state technocrat is bad; wait until that state technocrat represents a private entity.  Then you get IBM and the Jews. 

Money doesn't make you happy.  Being comfortable, which lots of money can provide you with, makes you happy.  There is a big difference in that....and the people will realize that once hyperinflation happens, and after some mayhem fighting over resources, we'll all realize (I hope), just how fucking stupid the "Incredible Paper Chase", as Mos Def puts it, is.

We are living under a neo-feudalist, quasi-fascist system today....where government technocrats, backed by corporations, want to form and shape the way we feel good about ourselves.  The worst part, is that it is COMPLETELY ignored as such.  There is *no* free competition; its the haves and the havenots.  There are no uniform rights for workers, just those who get paid well, and those under them who they have been given the green light to yell at.  There are no protections for investors.  The only safety net that's 100% guarunteed are for TBTF institutions who only exist through hierarchy and hierlooms.

That's not only bullshit, it is completely unsustainable.  Humans, like all organisms, come out of the womb free (probably the only time they do so).  They should live their lives free.  But for 99% of us, the only *true* time we are free, is when we die.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:12 | 2323185 Tramp Stamper
Tramp Stamper's picture

the only *true* time we are free, is when we die.


Truer words have never been spoken.

As soon as we are born, we are, at best, a serf.  The passing of the 16th Ammendment to the Constitution and the creation of The Federal Reserve made sure of that. 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:02 | 2322687 malek
malek's picture

So who has the right definition and what is it?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:13 | 2322737 CH1
CH1's picture

When I use the word nowadays, I define it myself.

"Capitalism - and by that I mean completely free, unregulated trade - is..."

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 18:22 | 2323479 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

I have always liked Ayn Rand's definition which I extracted from her book, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

"Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

Get the book and you will get a good education on what is capitalism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:37 | 2324029 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

re-read that.     private ownership does not mean the individual.   for her it meant the corporation like the cccp.   don't mix her banker finnance capitalism with the capitalism of a real savings rate,

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:26 | 2324072 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture


While Rand allowed for the formation of corporations, your slant is off-base.  She was very specific regarding the formation and use of capital, and never advocated anything akin to the kind of corporations we see in many cases today.

I'm sure that you can pull a line or two from the text to back up your point, but there are literally thousands and thousands of pages with a consistant message and theme that would make that exercise disingenous at best.  In particular, refer to her character treatments of Howard Roark, Ken Danniger, Ellis Wyatt, Henry Reardon, and the other "case studies" she used in her two flagship works.  In most cases, Rand's heroes where sole proprietors who had the personal characteristics of Nietzschian supermen.  In the case of her ficticious idols, there was example after example of those characters accumulating startup capital directly from private investors- not banks or government subsidies.

Her villians, by and large, were corporate stooges and politicians who used influence to gain favors and amass fortunes- and from what I read into your comment, that is what you are claiming she advocated.  

Corporations are not inherantly evil, provided they are not subsidized- large projects require capital, and selling share to private parties who expect a return on their investment is the most equitable way to gain that startup capital.

Look at it on a smaller scale- when I was 14, I was apprenticed in my uncle's machine shop.  It was a small business, comprised only of him, his son and myself.  He had no cash register, so when a customer paid him in cash, he just put the bills in a glass jar on the counter, to be deposited later.  One day, I asked him for an advance on my wages, and he explained to me that he could not.  He did not really own the business, he was incorporated- and even though the shareholders were all members of our family, the money in that jar was not his to give to anyone, and had to be disbursed through dividends and payroll.

When I started with him, he was running the company out of a three-car garage, and if he had had the inclination or legal right to clear out that jar whenever he wished, it would have stayed there- but because he had incorporated, and honestly held to the discipline that his incorporation imposed, he quickly amassed the capital needed to purchase a new building, and hire more employees while enriching every person who showed enough faith in his abilities to purchase shares.  His business is not a giant multi-national squid that oppresses Chinese workers- it's a small shop that makes cutting tools for other local producers, and it works fine.  The fact that it is a corporate entity did not turn him into a blood-sucker, or banker, or anything else- it just made it possible for him to build a modestly successful business that he has since handed off to his son.

That is the kind of corporation that Rand supported- she was fond of gigantic, brassy ventures that were wildly sucessful, but every depiction she gave of them had the same basic story at the core- a single entreprenuer with a dream and some determination builds a functioning business that enriches themselves and others who invested it it.  If anything, people try to make it too complicated, but it's a simple, simple philosophy- I'm continually amazed at how it is misunderstood by so many.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:50 | 2324264 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Well stated.

This is my concept of capitalism as well. And as your life example shows, it requires ethics, starting at the very top to remain successful and capitalist in nature. 

By way of another example, I don't think anyone has a problem with Oprah Winfrey using some of her vast fortune to invest in "green energy". Most people do and should have have a problem with being forced by the state to invest along side her as that becomes crony capitalism...something completely different and involuntary.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:51 | 2324093 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

dogbreath, by your comment I know you have never read Ayn Rand or your just ignorant and cannot comprehend. Go back to your government school, I'm sure they will teach you some more.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:05 | 2324238 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Lad, dogbreath is Eddie Shack to your Larry Zeidel....

get yur best licks in now, cause yu won't be movin up when the big league calls.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:54 | 2325005 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

I read the fountainhead and was impresed at the time.   I started to read atlas shrugged and gave up because of the continuous multi page diatribes and realized the fountain head wasn't really much different.   

I can't respond at length to what all of you have commented but my objection to rand boils down to this.   What happens when the corporations own everything.   I have no use for big government of the nanny state kind and no more use for big corporate government.   Aren't we in Rand's nee Zinovievna's eutopia.  


Her name should be Ann Rant

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:00 | 2322449 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Capitalisme = getting rid of the competition without a lobbyist and a brown enveloppe

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:50 | 2322630 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

Good point. The free movement of capital is one thing. The problem is the freedom of people to use their wealth to influence trade, fix prices or sell access to markets.

On the smallest scales, even a bit of corruption is seen as benign. The problem we struggle with as a society is how to offset the natural progression to monopolies and oligopolies. It occurs when a market participant becomes as big as the market itself. At such a point all the idealism of libertarianism and free market capitalism run into trouble. What's wrong with a wealthy person or organization buying all the means of transport of product and then only transporting their product? It's a free world isn't it?

Even socialism works pretty well in small groups like collective farms and things like that. We know that rules for small groups don't transfer well to large groups but our legal system isn't well equiped to make quantitative choices because it's based on logistic (wrong/right) principles.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:29 | 2322748 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Even socialism works pretty well in small groups like collective farms and things like that


I dunno about that.    The Pilgrims couldn't make it work.   FDR and his loonies couldn't make it work in their 'model' cooperative farms/settlements either.    It alsways disolved to the same issue -- those that did most of the heavy lifting resented having to put in more of their time to feed those that didn't 'earn their keep'.    Works great under the threat of death though.    Stalin proved that


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:16 | 2323032 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Socialism works well if it's VOLUNTARY, e.g. the Mondragon corporation.

STATE Socialism works for shit.

Same goes for ANY system.  If it's VOLUNTARY, it works great, because everybody participating wants to do so.

If it's COMPULSORY, everybody throws some degree of the middle finger at it, and it eventually collapses.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:40 | 2323124 Thisson
Thisson's picture

I say let the free market sort it out:  let's make bribery legal and then dispence with voting and replace it with bidding.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:46 | 2323261 Kayman
Kayman's picture

At one point we had Trust Busters and enforced anti-trust laws. No more.

Look at Buffett.  The only thing he invests in is monopolistic/oligopolist markets.

Open up competition by busting up the Federal Reserve and I will once again find faith in "Capitalism".

Until then, assume that all people in political power are liars, dupes and/or puppets and you might stand a chance.

Commies, "Crony Capitalists, and Socialists all want to take your personal assets.  The only difference between them is the method.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:02 | 2322678 malek
malek's picture

You failed to explain how there can be real capitalism without competition.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:15 | 2322742 CH1
CH1's picture

Competition is merely the result of a large market with many players. It is a side-issue only.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:20 | 2322759 malek
malek's picture

Wrong. Competition is the central force making capitalism work.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:30 | 2322818 CH1
CH1's picture

I don't need a competitor to do business with my neighbor.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:32 | 2322830 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

But, in all cases, you compete for scare resources.   A MAJOR tenent of Capitalism is that it tends to allocate resources more effectively.    You don't need competition to do business with your neighbor, but unless your neighbor HAS TO DO business with you, he might not want to do busienss with you if he can get a 'better deal' elsewhere

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:08 | 2322999 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

A MAJOR tenent of Capitalism is that it tends to allocate resources more effectively.


And per competition, this includes allocating resources to eliminate a concurrent.

So what is wrong with today's version?

Can a US citizen tell what their griefs lie?

No, just kidding. The answer is known: I dont get my fair share of the loot. I am being tossed out of the bowl. My middle class dream is being destroyed.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:22 | 2323050 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

So what is wrong with today's version


It isn't capitalism

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:39 | 2323121 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Sure it is not. Well, it can not be until I get my fair share of the loot.

If I can fulfill my US citizen middle class dream, it cant be capitalism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:00 | 2322454 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Sad that the politicos are better at propaganda ... You think the Capitalists would have figured out how to get themselves better PR, but the short-term results-oriented bastards keep selling the media to long-term ideology-oriented socialist lackeys.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:16 | 2322750 CH1
CH1's picture

True, but don't forget that the politicos get to spend everyone else's money.

Capitalists have only their own.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 18:34 | 2323509 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

The whole purpose of Ayn Rand and Objectivism is to provide capitalism with its philosophical base which it did not have and without which it was doomed  to perish. Objectivists are radicals for capitalism. Objectivists fight the battle where it has to be fought: on moral-philosophical grounds.

Objectivism primary interest is not politics or economics as such, but "man's nature and man's relationship to existence, and that we advocate capitalism because it is the only system geared to the life of a rational being.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:02 | 2322462 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

What we have right now is capitalism.

Redistributing wealth is capitalism. Never failing is capitalism. Everyone being equal is capitalism. Welfare Nanny state providing all goods and services at the expense of others productivity is capitalism. Too big to fail is capitalism. Being SO fat you get put on SS disability is capitalism.

Feel the capitalism. Love the capitalism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:13 | 2322494 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Unregulated capitalism does indeed grow monopolistic in time becoming socially unstable. Up to now there have been three separate social 'reactions', all collectivist in nature: fascism, socialism and Marxist communism.

Fascism is basically an outgrowth of untouched 'markets' and private enterprize gone apeshit.

Socialism is usually nationalistic in nature and looks to rent seek on behalf of the 'collective'.

Marxism is just not relevant here unless you're a frat boy.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:33 | 2322553 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Name me one, just one monopoly that existed for any length of time that didn't get support from a government, which is itself a monopoly of force.  Turns out the best move a company can make is invest in political power as it has the highest ROI on Earth.  As Company A I can't send a team of goons to assault Company B for a myriad of reasons, but I can buy political power to have the State send goons to assault Company B. Or invest in political power so I get fat contracts at the expense of my competitors and the public.  Hardly sounds like capitalism to me, basically all forms of government are fascism, just different levels of embracing it.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:41 | 2322579 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Standard Oil

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:53 | 2322648 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Wait are you claiming that John D. Rockefeller didn't have or use/buy political connections?  Or the use of the Trust system didn't serve to protect their interests where others could not fully take advantage?  Care to explain that?  I would love to see documents showing that there was not 1 crooked land deal or political payoff on the rise or dominance of standard oil.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:57 | 2322660 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Dude, Rockefeller paid EVERYONE off or put them out of business.

Corruption exists in EVERY political system.

The government wasn't trying to help Standard oil, in fact, the government broke them up.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:06 | 2322681 Shameful
Shameful's picture

So by your own admission he paid people off.  And do a little digging and he still maintained control through the trust system, but it did solve a lot of PR problems.  After all once one attains enough power it's best not to be in the public light anymore.  Don't want the rabble to see to much wealth unless have a divine right to it via the State. 

So he used the power of government same as all powerful entities do.  What is your argument then?  Every political system is corrupt and therefor we must have a government to be taken advantage of...kind of non sequiter.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:01 | 2322682 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

I like when you say "the government" as if it is one monlithic entity that exists throughout time. Your statism is showing, statist.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:06 | 2322702 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

STFU fag

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:19 | 2322754 CH1
CH1's picture

STFU fag

The final argument of the troll.

For those who care, get a book called The Myth of The Robber Barons. Monopolies require coercive force to survive, and that is provided by states.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:27 | 2322801 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Ok - I'm a troll


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:43 | 2322585 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

This is why the Austrian school seems to simply deteriorate into another dogmatic doctrine. Everything is black and white, no gray area. No government! Fuck yeah! Or maybe I misunderstood, you're an anarchist?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:52 | 2322636 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

can you give me an example of a gray area? 

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 06:37 | 2327417 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

LOL, I'd ask you can you give me an example of a non-grey area?

something that is so universally true and holy and sacred and unshakeble until the end of times? pure black? pure white? then you might already be talking about theology and left the world of humans behind you

use dogmas as you wish - it's your mindset you screw up...

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:11 | 2322673 Shameful
Shameful's picture

If you believe the government should intervene in markets, you are in effect saying the government can and should have the power to pick winners and losers.  Then the only thing restraining the government from picking winners and losers is the morality of the men in power.  You are in effect placing your trust into the 'good' hearts of men who by their nature must be evil to gain power.  Now if you want a 'good' fascism, fine just say so.  But that is not capitalism, and should not be labeled capitalism.

It is black and white.  Show me a government anywhere where the people in charge don't use it to fuel their own ends.  So the more powerful the government the more wealth can be stolen.  If you want a government that can restrain the market, you are calling for a government powerful enough to dominate the market.  Seems like we are living in the world you want, why are you even here?  Your government is in control, turn on the TV, grab a beer and relax.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:41 | 2322862 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Compelling, truly. Listen, just please help yourself and try to find some critique of your dear Austrian 'Free Market' mania. It isn't a replacement for religion nor even a panacea. It is literally riddled with logical flaws, you'll find if you look. The Post-Keynesians Moore, Minsky are a good start in addition to the link I posted earlier. I've been through my Rothbard, Hayek, Von Mises, Hazlitt etc etc.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:01 | 2322958 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Please point out my errors.  If you can find me a man or woman in which there is no sin, or greed, or selfishness to be the centralized planner I will certainly look.  A being of pure divinity and purity possessing an absolute intellect to make the best decision for all at all times. For the religious minded this is the Kingdom of Heaven, but I look around and I don't see it in this existence.

I would suggest you look into even older books.  Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy talks about the flaws of democracy, well before our modern era.  The flaws of feudalism are clear to see for anyone who is not at the apex of society.  Collectivism only functions when the gears are greased with mass murder, which is not fun to be a target of that.  I can no more trust you to make the right decision for me than you could trust me, a total stranger, to make a decision for you.

I fully accept that we will always be cursed with a state apparatus, because the majority of people either wish to dominate or be dominated.  But I cannot see a government anytime, anywhere, that existed 'for the people'.  It was always for the few at the expense of the many, only some cases more egregious than others.  So the only way I could see myself rooting for the State is if I either lacked the will to make decisions for myself and needed a strong hand to dominate me, or I sought power in the system to dominate others.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:23 | 2323058 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Singapore, Norway and even Iceland until recently have had a decent equilibrium. Unrestrained industrialists are your curse, not the state despite what the corporate media has been repeating for decades. It makes little sense to speak of 'small' or minimal government when the discussion should be about government that has a clear mandate and works honestly and properly. Size makes no difference contrary to Ron Paul rhetoric because the size would constantly fluctuate IF it weren't stuffed with former GS heads. A functional government could be any size so long as it is functional if you ask me.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:51 | 2323117 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Iceland was a financial fraud run wild, at least they did the right thing and didn't get saddled with the speculative debt by a complicit government, though their government sure tried.  The people didn't allow it, the government, of the people, seemed eager to sell them into bondage.  Norway is a Oil Emirate in Europe, when the North Sea oil runs out the piper will need to be paid.  My guess is they will enter into a death spiral when that ends, didn't do well in UK.  Singapore is quite free economically but with stricter social laws, and is a place I have looked at in the past.  Far from perfect, but we live in an imperfect world.  But then Singapore is more or less a dictatorship of the Lee family.  Turns out to be of the benevolent sort, but it is what it is.

How can government be honest?  Are thieves honest?  When something exists openly as an engine to expropriate money, how can there be consent?  The consent that is there is largely but the desire to be dominated by some and the fear of the monopoly of force by the rest.  There is a reason that the duly elected representatives for the US government are passing laws such as the NDAA.

Any size?  Then why not make everyone an employee of the government?  By that rational we should all be able to trust the government as we are all part of the government.  You do not seem to have a problem with 'government' productivity so surely this is an equitable solution for all?

Also please explain what GS has to do with this?  If it wasn't them it would be another group.  You cannot tell me that GS execs were pilfering the public coffers of Ancient Greece, the Roman Republic/Empire, or Medieval Venice.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:27 | 2323878 NoClueSneaker
NoClueSneaker's picture

France was a decent country with the highest social standard in the world.

Corrupt socialists went on rampage, inventing the €U-profit maximizing  fer da lameass aparatchiks. Change brought the incestuous fascist cleptocrats in the guberment, which choose the GS-bussiness model as the new credo for "La Grande Nation".

Three lameass banks destroyed  Europe as we know ( from 1789 ), and the "intellectuals" gave a hand to the viagra conservatives.


GS took a biggest part ( 2 Tr. ) of forfeited 2008 money from the Feds ( 16 Tr. ), and foddered the greediest suckers pretty much everywhere, just to short them.

Criminal energy of GS, and the genocide they effective executed has no match in the human history.

Goldman Sux killed more ppl. then Nazis, Soviets, American armed forces and Chinese together.

Any objections ?






Sat, 04/07/2012 - 08:38 | 2324301 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

The countries you use - as well as Sweden - which is used by others, all have the same advantages going for them that the US does not;

1. They have strict, no bullshit immigration laws. Thus, their populations are static. Try to get in to one of those countries. You'll either have to have lots of money, be of family provenance, or marry someone indigenous to the country.

2. Indigenous populations, such as Iceland, Norway and Sweden for an example, have the same set of values, morals and standards. A better "fit", if you will, for a socialist central plan. Conversely, diverse countries such as the US, have all types of the aforementioned morays. One look at the U.K. bears this out. Their open immigration policies have led that once indigenous population into financial ruin, with their dual sword self-stab of governmental health care.

3. Lastly, you assume governments can be run "honesty". Our founding fathers - Jefferson to be sure - warned of this, and counseled to "question authority". Our government's track record of running anything has been abysmal. Either they bankrupt it, ruin it, or over-regulate it. Our government is THE authority on monopolies. The USPS is just one example. They have sole right to each person's mailbox. Imagine if Microsoft were THE only software maker/GM THE only car company, etc.

The government well knows that if they opened the competition to UPS and Fed Ex for your mailbox, they would have to;

*LOWER their rates

*Vastly improve their services

*Offer more features

...or be run totally out of business. Hell, they can't even turn a profit WITH the monopoly. why capitalism works. Freedom to CHOOSE the best for the least cost.

CONSUMERS - if given the choice, always choose the best for them.

This is why I teach to my students that we are really a CONSUMERISM nation.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:48 | 2325003 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

What in the hell is a "decent equilibrium?" I love your precise economic calculation. So would one think the equilibrium has a bra and panties? Did you learn what your say from government schools? You must have gotten good grades from all your socialist teachers. Give us all a break and find another blog site. Maybe, MSNBC or the Huffington Post.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:11 | 2323008 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

If you believe the government should intervene in markets, you are in effect saying the government can and should have the power to pick winners and losers.


Huh, no, the government is just a tool that winners use to win. Losers fail to use the government.

Free marketeers have this tendency to think ethereal entities that exist independently of the others.

The markets, the government...

US citizen cheap propaganda.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:25 | 2323069 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'Free marketeers have this tendency to think ethereal entities that exist independently of the others'


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:43 | 2322591 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture


The very existence of "corporations" implies government protection -- granting privilege to some market actors over others, via political means.

This is why the use of the word "capitalism" is so dangerous, nobody views it as "free market" but rather a market run by corporations (protected by government).  The definition has been hijacked.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:49 | 2322623 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Incorrect, Annie. You and your buddy should read:

and while visiting realityville please also check out the work of Michael Hudson.

You and your pal are contradicting yourselves unknowingly.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:30 | 2322821 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

From the description: "Chang shows, today’s economic superpowers—from the U .S. to Britain to his native Korea—all attained prosperity by shameless protectionism and government intervention in industry."

That is exactly my point.  What has been labeled as global free trade was in fact nothing of the sort.

I think you and I are probably agreeing, but misunderstanding each other.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 11:15 | 2324420 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Michael Hudson is a fucking Marxist. That's a fact.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:15 | 2323019 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The very existence of "corporations" implies government protection -- granting privilege to some market actors over others, via political means.


Absolutely. And it is of course not part of the competition process of allocation of resources to manipulate the rule, no, no, sworn.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:56 | 2324404 DosZap
DosZap's picture

This is why the use of the word "capitalism" is so dangerous, nobody views it as "free market" but rather a market run by corporations (protected by government). The definition has been hijacked.

Then INCORPORATE YOURSELF..............................

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 18:37 | 2323516 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

ALCOLA aluminum.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:49 | 2322620 Belarusian Bull
Belarusian Bull's picture

Under a free-market system, monopoly is impossible, unless it serves the best interests of it's customers (low prices, high quality). In this case, monopoly is a good thing.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:55 | 2322654 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

exactly. well said. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with  people  preferring one option over another.

don't like it start your own. it has happened tons and tons of times when companies have had a dominate market share


On the other hand when a mixed economy supporting government supports true monopolies like AT and T or to big too fail banks there is not even an option for choice.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:12 | 2322730 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'Under a free-market system, monopoly is impossible, unless it serves the best interests of it's customers (low prices, high quality)'

That is a great line. Sadly, it can only work to mesmerize the man-children in the Infantocracy the US has become. Somehow these primarily decent and kind individuals have come to embrace a system that is keeping them hostage under a guise of security, turning a blind eye to global exploitation. A rootless utterly confused 'nation' worshiping their own slavery.

In the final analysis, it matters not. The dominoes have been arranged so and the 'capitalists' will hang themselves ultimately just as they desire. Hopefully, America can get rid of one of its most central sins, naivete, and start anew.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:26 | 2322795 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

and we will all aspire to become as wise the great genemarchbanks a true intellectual giant with so many words the generate awe and wonderment , a patriarchal tone that creates confidence and a misuse of language that is sure to not mean anything  but through its contortions justify his desire for  power that he has never been able to gain through his own effort.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:28 | 2323082 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

and we will all aspire to become as wise the great genemarchbanks a true intellectual giant

+1 I hope so as well. You're too kind.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 11:18 | 2324421 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture




Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:59 | 2324143 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

let's see....

after a series of exchanges(see below 14:29. etc.) in which you fail to muster the ammunition to address or refute any of the guys' actual points, you indulge in an whiney kind of extended defamation of the personal sort that actually mirrors what yu impute to be the problem of the guy yu be maligning, and then to top it all off, treat us to the spectacle of an homage to the tired rhetoric of the great trotskyite neo-con icon herself, as if to announce to the assemblage that you have just graduated to the stage of adolescence where Randian semantics are of hypnotic allure....

please enjoy your visit.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:18 | 2324506 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

How do you respond to nonsense like this

can only work to mesmerize the man-children in the Infantocracy the US has become.

(talk about adhominens, he starts off discrediting the person as a man-child who lives in an infantocracy. Hard to argue with a name caller.)

 A rootless utterly confused 'nation' worshiping their own slavery.

(he does a diservice to the actual slaves that have an do exist. I can leave anytime I want, I can go off the grid anytime I want, he is making stuff up to make himself feel better and doesnt work) 

In the final analysis, it matters not.
(Again no chance to argue because he already has said it is pointless to disagree with any thing he says because it doesn't even matter)

Regarding the "Randian" stuff, would it be possible for one just one Rrand basher to have a rational argument with out resorting to name calling and claiming things like sophmoric, or adolescence. Use facts to dispute what she claims. Show me where there are conflicts in what she claims, or can't you?


Mon, 04/09/2012 - 06:41 | 2327419 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

LOL - Joyful, you nailed it! LOL

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:36 | 2322843 Stax Edwards
Stax Edwards's picture

The appropriate role of government is to assert its authority to break up monopolies if and when they form (particularly when they pose a threat to the population).  Government has shown an unwillingness to do this, rather they want to hang the taxpayers out to dry to save the monopolies.  We will find out what our .gov is really all about in the next couple years when we see if they will do their part and break up TBTF Banks.  I can accept that the system had to be saved.  I cannot accept that once the save has taken place they will not follow through and break em up.  TPTB have a real opportunity in front of them to restore trust.

It is telling that even Wen Jiabo is now advocating the break up of the behemoth chinese state run banks.  Global coordination is required here for success.  Me thinks that globally speaking, whether or not the Swiss will play ball is the tell.  China and US can and will push for it.  UK will go along. I am all about free markets but in a finite global environment too much concentration becomes a detriment to society as a whole.  We shall see soon which path is chosen.  I differ from the hardcore austrians in this belief.  Competition is good.  Monopoly with an implied taxpayer guarantee is BS.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:53 | 2325009 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

Even Marx said that capitalism must run it's course before you get to his utopian socialism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:18 | 2323036 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Under a free-market system, monopoly is impossible, unless it serves the best interests of it's customers (low prices, high quality). In this case, monopoly is a good thing.

Ideal cases are study cases.

Usually, they do not exist.

It will converge toward the ideal case.

Monopolies are idealistic.

Oligopolies are the practical thing.

When a competition process runs to its end, the usual result is a state of oligopolies.

So yes, no monopoly but oligopoly.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:58 | 2324096 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

Alcoa was a natural monopoly because they did not go to the government trough. It is very hard to maintain a natural monopoly because you always have competitors trying to make a better product at a lower price. In the case of Alcoa all the competitors went to the government and wella we have anti-trust laws.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:33 | 2322547 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

then what is socialism and fascism? smart guy.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:44 | 2322594 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

The difference between Mussolini and Tito?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:53 | 2322640 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

and the difference between mussolini politics and too big to fail?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:42 | 2324395 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

Socialism and fascism are the same. They are collectivism and totalitarian.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:20 | 2324637 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

In fact they're not. Thanks for playing.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:58 | 2325017 jpmrwb
jpmrwb's picture

In fact they are. Tell all your socialist teachers that you have found that they are wrong and there is a better world. Thanks for not playing.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 06:46 | 2327421 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

eh? they are both totalitarian, but the one is collectivist and the other is corporativist

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 07:13 | 2327432 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

You've been lied to. It's OK though. Compartmentalization of social movements is indeed very tempting mostly because it takes away the ambiguity of all of these very different movements.

Nazism, fascism, socialism are all basically social phenomena and there isn't one true interpretation of all these historic movements. You feel threatened having decided that I'm a socialist or somehow defending it, which only reveals your severe bias and lack of critical thinking. What we can safely say is that they are all reactions to unrestrained capitalism except for fascism which is just simply capitalist logic taken to its most extreme.


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:00 | 2322674 malek
malek's picture

 you forgot to sign with

Your Ministry of Truth

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:05 | 2322466 HamyWanger
HamyWanger's picture

"The robber barons" have actually helped the poor"

I've laughed on this one. How did Rockefeller and his Standard Oil improve the living conditions of the poor?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:14 | 2322488 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Uh, by bringing them oil to heat their homes more cleanly than they could with wood and coal? Oil to help run industry more efficiently so they could afford to buy the stuff they were making. Oil that to this day makes life so much better for billions of people despite environmentalist BS to the contrary.

Reminds me of the "What have the Romans ever done for us?" scene from Life of Brian.

Hamy, you continue to demonstrate a lack of vision beyond the tip of your nose.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:26 | 2322533 q99x2
q99x2's picture

The capitalist revolution is coming for the banksters, the Rockefellers and for your square oligarchist's flag. MoFo

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:28 | 2322534 narnia
narnia's picture

You have a lot to learn:


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:28 | 2322537 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

Does this help you hamy?

Rockefeller’s improvements, which can be enumerated almost indefinitely, helped lower the prevailing per-gallon price of kerosene from 58 cents in 1865, to 26 cents in 1870—a price at which most of his competitors could not afford to stay in business—to 8 cents in 1880. 


Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:38 | 2322854 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

The issue is framed incorrectly.  The issue is not whether some people incidentally experienced improved conditions as a result of  the Rockerfellers (and their associates activities) in route to becoming Planetary Rulers of us all.  The Robber Barons were motivated strictly by greed.  They came out on top in a scramble to see who could obtain dominance.  The improvement of the conditions for some was a byproduct of the need to recruit customers (debtors, users of products and services) rather than a desire to help others.  Anyone who has researched the Rockerfellers can attest to this.

The correct way to frame the issue is to ask how could the available resources have been most efficiently utilised to do the greatest good for the greatest number, over the long term.  The fact that the Robber Barons suceeded is in no way an endorsement of their methods being the only way, or the best way.  And fast forward a century later, and we find that some rather serious complcations that we are now experiencing on a Global Scale were part of the Baggage that came with the way things unfolded in the early 1900s.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 01:08 | 2324102 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

Don't be a twit.

Oil made everyone's life better, and continues to do so.  Rockefeller and Standard Oil did that, and he deserves credit for it.  I don't support his hiers using their inherited money to control financial trusts that peddle influence to gain more money and power without producing anything, but the original Rockefeller was a humanitarian in a way that many find surprisingly difficult to understand- yes, he got filthy, stinking rich, but he did it by serving others, and paving the road for them to become rich as well, provided they had the ability to use the opportunity.  Even better- those who have little ability and produce almost nothing get a piece of that pie too.

All of this crap sounds like simple jealousy to me.  There is no question about how the resources could have been most efficiently ultilized, because without the guy that made it happen in the first place, there would be no resource for you to control and distribute.  And when the next thing comes along, it's origin will not be a government think-tank or a group of people ensuring that resources are being allocated according to some arbitrary scale that preserves the status quo.  It'll come out some some guy's garage, and the power that made it possible will have been supplied largely by oil bought on the free market.  That oil makes the power, provides the lubrication, makes the plastics, and produces the food that makes the modern world go 'round.

Let the big-talking planners control things, and innovation will end.  Why bother to make something new and bring it to market, when it's only going to be stolen?  You should thank Rockefeller every time you get in your car, fool- not sit around bitching about him on teh interwebs.  If you don't like oil, then don't use it.  I'd be happy to make *you* filthy rich by purchasing your cheap, portable, and easily available source of alternate power- so get on it, and I'll be happy to defend your wealth, too.

Forget your dumb theories, and look at the reality all around you.  This world was brought to you courtesy of men like Rockefeller and Tesla- that doesn't mean you need to be a slave to thier children or grandchildren, but it does not give you the right to badmouth your betters (To be clear, I mean the prime producers of wealth- not their families or organizations.)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:06 | 2324129 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

thanks, for what must be the most confused comment ever laid in the magpies' nest..

This world was brought to you courtesy of men like Rockefeller and Tesla

...and the oddest bedfellows ever!! Your post is chock a block with equal gems of unintended hilarity...

You should thank Rockefeller every time you get in your car

and you call him a twit?!?!?!? If we could get yu together with M$B, the world would be set right at last!!!


p.s.  note to VC...thanks for providing the necessary corrective to a part of the thread that was in danger of becoming a parallel universe of inverted logic!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 09:24 | 2324339 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

Appreciate your support for my post, Joyful.  And I have to agree with you about those gems in Prometheus reply.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 09:09 | 2324322 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

Your ad hominem reply is indication of lack of substance and logic.

"without the guy that made it happen in the first place, there would be no resource for you to control and distribute "

Your implication above that the petroleum would be still laying around unused if it had not been developed by Rockerfeller is shallow and uninformed.

You then try to put words into my post that I never wrote creating a "straw man" and then attack that position.  Lookup logical fallacies on the internet and see that your post is composed of several of these logical fallacies strung together.

Your post contains distortions and false assumptions.  As it stands, its not worth any more of my time.  I'll leave it at that.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 04:30 | 2325784 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

Probably more an indication of Vodka consumption, but there is a point to the above.

We go on and on about how everyone is manipulated and abused by TPTB, but not every case is the same in the same way.  I have researched Rockefeller, and while he may have been an asshole, he was the right kind of asshole.  The guy continually improved the refining process, and continually lowered the price for everyone- his competitors were not able to keep up, and folded.  That inexpensive oil that he made possible represents one of the single greatest gifts to humanity in history- his personality is irrelevant in the face of that.  It's like Henry Ford- he was an asshole, too- but he was the asshole that made the middle class possible by paying employees enough to buy his product.

Your assertion was that the use of oil should have been controlled and dispersed in some manner other than it was, but you left the method for this blank.  In every case I've encountered, this is an argument made by those who support state allocation of resources.  Yes, things would have been different if the government had held the reins on oil, but I can't see any evidence at all that it would have been better- they don't exactly have a great track record.

A great deal of this comes from having moved a bit up the food chain in the past couple of years- I know what both sides are saying, and to be honest, I have less and less sympathy for those who simply repeat actions created for them by others, and then whine about how unfair their lives are.  Didn't realize it until I had to deal with underlings, but frankly, the 99%'ers are a bunch of asses- while I was next to them, I assumed that they were doing what I was, and sympathized with how the mean old boss-man was making their lives difficult.  But then I grew up, and had real responsibilities- all of a sudden, people bitching about not getting this or that day off seems pretty stupid.  They weren't actually doing what I was doing, and that is why they stayed where they are.

It's the same old story it always has been- you'd make different, better decisions if they'd only let you- until you have to, and see the rest of the puzzle.  I'm not going to change your mind, but I will leave you with this- If everything you've been taught is a lie and propiganda created by a shadowy PTB, then why were you taught that Rockefeller was a Robber Baron that exploited the working class, and only the courage and heroism of Nast was able to curb his evil ways?  Hell- I don't know that you were taught that, but I know that when I was in school, that was the party line.

Everyone has personality flaws that can be used to cast them in an unfavorable light- yet we see those who produce and provide the most villified time and time again, while wastrels who produce nothing but hot air are continously lionized as champions of "the people."  Why do you think that is?  Who are the real powers that be?

I don't pretend or presume to have every answer- but I do know that the answer has not yet been discovered.  We've had boogeymen thrown up for our two-minutes hate sessions, but they aren't the puppet masters- I think if we knew the real truth about everything, it would surprise everyone.  Just keep an open mind- "alternative" dogma is still dogma, and maybe not everyone lives to see the world burn.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:07 | 2322480 Marduk
Marduk's picture

After 350 SPX points rally , when ZH finally called for a melt up last week, I knew we were in trouble.

I am guessing we will see 2 to 3 DD post per minute at the market bottom





Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:20 | 2322519 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

We may be in bigger trouble when our commentators actually start doing math and/or reading:

From March 21

"Dumb Money" Refuses To Be The Dumb Money For Yet Another Week


Goldman screams it is a generational buy, Larry Fink goes all in stocks, Notorious BIGGS is 90% long, anchors on comedy-financial fusion channels are channeling the producer in their earpiece and screaming at the teleprompter to "sell bonds and buy stocks", even as stocks are at their highest in nearly 5 years and... what happens? In the latest week, ICI just reported that domestic equity retail funds just saw another $2.9 billion outflow, the 4th consecutive in a row, and the 23 of out 27 outflows during the entire parabolic blow off top phase the market has undergone since October, and instead put another $9 billion in fixed income funds "soaring" yields be damned. What does this mean? Probably that the stock ramp is about to get uber-parabolic for the simple reason that this is the only thing left in the status quo's arsenal - to keep doing the same old same old, hoping for a different outcome, because this time it's different. Only this time the dumb money either doesn't have the cash to burn, or just doesn't want to participate in a rigged, corrupt, centrally-planned market. Whatever the case, the Primary Dealers and the Fed will just have to keep hoping more central banks pull a Bank of Israel and sell the hot grenade axes to them, since Joe Sixpack is done being the "dumb money."

Then two weeks later, just as the market peaked...

"Won't Be Fooled This Week Either": Retail Celebrates Highest Stock Prices Since 2007 With Biggest Redemptions Of 2012


Another week of artificial stock rampage courtesy of a transitory, one-time $2 trillion liquidity spike (that is now ending, if only temporarily), and another week of retail investors refusing to be suckered in (and joining corporate insiders who just sold a record amount of their own stock). In the week ended March 28, domestic equity mutual funds per ICI saw another $3.5 billion in equity redemptions: the biggest since the start of 2012, bring total 2012 YTD outflows to $19 billion, nearly 100% more than the outflow for the comparable period in 2011, which saw "only" $10 billion in outflows. Truly a good way to celebrate the highest artificial stock market high since December 2007. And to all the "but the money is simply going into ETFs" apologists: you are right, with one caveat: Bond ETFs! ... And of course, the TVIX.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:52 | 2322635 Hedge Fund of One
Hedge Fund of One's picture

Where was the call for melt-up? I didn't see that one. Have seen sarcastic remarks of how bad news "might be good for another 10 point ramp", etc.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:54 | 2322922 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

as tyler sez:  the commentators (not the commenters) may need to study a bit more

a commentator might have seen "long positioning" from certain players and been reluctant to short;  another might have seen it too, and, especially w/ the quarter ending, been ok in stocks, last week;  maybe a "call" to not fight the tape here?  up means up!

these types of ideas were in the essays here;  not coming from tyler, tho, as he sez

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