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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 - 18:04 | 2323425 The Alarmist
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Maybe Tyler needs to broaden the stable of commentators.  Are you up to it, Slewie?  I am.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:09 | 2322483 apberusdisvet
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Multi-choice Question

Capitalism:

a) is the opposite of all Congressional legislation

b) is what Obama says it is

c) is anathema to all government policy

d)  is a discredited religion

e) all of the above

f) none of the above

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:46 | 2324260 prole
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A) and C)

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:12 | 2322491 Marley
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Lost me at Freedom to Choose.  Right.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:15 | 2322501 TideFighter
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Isn't it Capitolism, or Kapitolism?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:15 | 2322502 kralizec
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Capitalism beats socialism everytime, unless politicians screw up the whole damn thing!

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:31 | 2322506 Dicite justitiam
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If you're TPTB, Capitalism is controlling information so that you can make the proverbial panties drop and plunder her treasures.

If you're struggling up the ladder like me, Capitalism is cranking your bullshit detector to 11 and trying to find some damn Achilles heel in the beast.

Either way, it's about who controls the information.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:31 | 2322826 spentCartridge
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Achilles heel = don't play

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:17 | 2322507 tony bonn
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"capitalism" is often an ideological demagoguery to justify corporate imperialism....its benefits acrue to the 1% but everyone else can eat shit....

naomi klein has done an excellent job of deconstructing "capitalism" in her book the shock doctrine. government under the control of mammon is dangerous and despotic but this is not the form of free enterprise which john adams envisioned.

mammon is out of control and has become a totalitarian terrorist on all but the 1%.....laws are for little people...

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:02 | 2322685 AustriAnnie
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And so capitalism has become the clever term used to disguise central planning as free enterprise.  When the sheeple are railing against the symptoms of central planning, but call it "capitalism,", then TPTB get to rush in and save them by giving themselves further power.  By equating corporatism with capitalism, then the sheeple pick one of two sides (which they think are opposing sides, but which are actually the same).  They either pick the side of the corporations, or the side of the gov't to control the corporations.  Never realizing that the two have the same locus of control: the partnership between the gov't and its largest beneficiaries.

Its the art of distraction, perfected.  Do not look at the men behind the curtain.

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:40 | 2322853 Dicite justitiam
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I was reading a bit about Wikipedia manipulation on Bryne's blog, and it hit me like a thunderbolt: the only thing that matters is controlling the mass distribution of "reliable" information. 

Reliable is a loaded term. Peer-reviewed scholarship?  Reliable (let's not go there right now).  MSM report?  Reliable.  Educational system?  Reliable.  This is an authority network that operates outside of elected control.  It is based on truthfulness and empirical credibility.

That's great, right?  That the truth will win!  It is, unless the distribution of information is controlled by agents with interests opposite our own interests.  Control of the distribution of information allows one to subvert any fact that impinges upon this artificial truth-network.

So, as you say, it is the art of distraction.  Epic battles between blue and red, while grey picks your pocket.  Wonderful magick on stage, while your civil rights are stripped.  Manufactured racial issues splashed across front pages while enemies of the Constitution continue their financial crimes.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:06 | 2322984 Cathartes Aura
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when applied to a state enforced education, irrespective of which state is forcing it, your argument takes on real depth.

two questions worth answering (for each individual):

  • what is true?
  • who do you trust for information?

 

when everyone realises NOT everyone starts at the same point, nor arrives at the same goal, then we'll have the beginnings of awareness of which systems/realities we all live under. . .

thought-full post dicite.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:14 | 2323012 AustriAnnie
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"Peer-reviewed scholarship" = information only published after full acceptance by the collective.

The good news is that when truth is discovered, and truly understood, there is no going back.  Suddenly information-manipulation is easily spotted and rejected.

Someone who discovers that he is being manipulated becomes a bit paranoid, and sees manipulation everywhere he looks.  This paranoia is actually healthy, because it rejects even the truth at first.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:21 | 2322510 dwdollar
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A truly FREE market would look so different from today's economy, it's basically a lie to claim today's economy is capitalism. Don't believe it? Let the banks fail and you will.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:20 | 2322514 riphowardkatz
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Robert Murphy should have just left the whole thing to Ayn Rand who does an unparralled job of explaining capitalism 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/capitalism.html  

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:23 | 2322523 rwe2late
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It is not the case that public leaders are supposed to be so much "smarter" than their private sector counterparts. And it is misleading to depict it that way.

It is rather that the public servants are supposed to head democratic and open public institutions which can counterbalance against the abuses of private autocratic and secretive institutions.

There is now complete failure in that public duty, and an alliance between big government and big corporations, ... to the detriment of small business, individual liberty, and general well-being.

Laws are now made or ignored to protect the finances of global corporations and stifle local enterprise; militarism supports a global war industry and global corporate expansion; health and the environment are degraded so as not to reduce the profitability of insurance, food, chemical, and energy giants.

 - The so-called capitalist economy is one centered around profit.

At its core, all “capitalist” profit is based on one form or another of limited access, whether to markets, resources, or labor.

It is the ability to turn a good or service into cash flow. And this, in turn depends upon the power to exclude - the power to deny customers a valuable product , rivals from a market.

Without property “rights”, patents, licenses, captive markets, or captive labor, profits diminish. There is a built-in bias toward monopolization of resources and production, and labor arbitrage - and the symbioses with government, … all done to establish and protect privileged access.

“Capitalism is not about free competitive choices among people who are reasonably equal in their buying and selling of economic power, it is about concentrating capital, concentrating economic power in very few hands using that power to trash everyone who gets in their way.”
-David Korten

Profit is a man-made concept. It is a limited concept. Profit does not and cannot measure the worth of every and all things and be the ultimate guide to human conduct. The concept nonetheless underpins the whole notion that the pursuit of micro self interests will result in the best of all possible worlds. And it is that mistaken notion which is often used to justify the worst of all outcomes, and pronounce that the solution to our miseries is to increase business profits.

Never mind the profits made by ruining forests, rivers, and oceans. Never mind the profits from destroying the fisheries and polluting the air. Never mind financial parasitism. Never mind sweatshops, child labor, and poisoned foods. Micro profit, it seems, does not measure the environmental losses to society, nor the debilitation and destruction of human beings. But yet, it is to be the ultimate arbiter of human conduct. Or so we are told.

A system based on maximizing work, maximizing production, maximizing consumption ultimately values neither leisure nor the quality of life, human or other.

The corporation is the apex profit-driven organization of a misnamed and mythological “free market” capitalism. It is autocratic and elitist, with a narrow single-minded goal, denigrating all that stands in its way.

Government, like corporations, has symbiotically evolved around the pursuit of profit. Government has become to be like corporations, autocratic, secretive, and obsessively entangled in the furthering of corporate profit-making, to the detriment of all else.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:27 | 2322799 CH1
CH1's picture

Government is coercion, deception and confusion.

Always, forever.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:16 | 2323033 Cathartes Aura
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subtle changes in language / labels, over time.

public servants, public representatives, public leaders, lawmakers, law enforcers, etc.

when one realises not everyOne wants the same thing from "elected" government drones, we can start picking apart the mess.

some people do want to be led - public leaders.

some people seek representation in government - public representatives.

some people desire laws - law makers.

some people demand laws be adhered to - law enforcement.

the label describes the game - not each individual's interpretation of the label, or the human using it - but the actual label - and if it doesn't fit or describe the position, then seek to change it to something more use-full.  what is it that "we" want here?

+ 1

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:23 | 2322525 Sandmann
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Capitalism works so long as Capitalist Enterprise is not allowed to become Oligopolistic. The fact is that Cartels are back in fashion and global networks whether KKR or Kraft or GM have sucked the life out of innovation and competitive pricing. Letting things like Wal-Mart get a hold made food processors consolidate to resist retailer power. It is a sclerotic and cartellised bureaucrtatic society that is terribly boring and media reflects its sterility

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:37 | 2322560 GeneMarchbanks
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'Capitalism works so long as Capitalist Enterprise is not allowed to become Oligopolistic.'

Here is where the logic gets tricky, who bears this responsibility to 'not allow'? The State? By admitting the need for a check on this doesn't that simply admit that capitalism tends toward oligopoly?

'It is a sclerotic and cartellised bureaucrtatic society that is terribly boring and media reflects its sterility'

What a horrendous truth. Not to mention impotent.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:47 | 2322605 Saro
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I think he's got it backwards, since it's precisely the state who actively intervenes to make the system oligopolistic.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:54 | 2322646 GeneMarchbanks
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He's an economist, what are you?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:57 | 2322661 Saro
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Paul Krugman is an economist, what's your point?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:03 | 2322692 riphowardkatz
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really no point in arguing with these guys, they are statists, they worship the state. it is like trying to convert a devout believer of a faith because that is really all they have, faith.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:16 | 2322746 GeneMarchbanks
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Actually just the opposite, you worship your own enslavement. I keep worship outside the purview moneycomplex and politics.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:29 | 2322817 riphowardkatz
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if you say so. that is usually what your nonsense boils down to. You making some proclamation based on no facts, no reality just lots of nonsense piled on more nonsense.

try doing something with your life. provide value and be rewarded for that through other people valuing your work and giving you money. it feels very good. not about worship it is about self esteem, productivity and reason and ultimately about happiness. 

Anyone can change for the better at anytime. I know that is true even for you. Happiness is within your reach you just have to work for it. 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:17 | 2323014 Stax Edwards
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In response to the above I offer sports as the appropriate metaphor.  .gov plays the role of referee/umpire.  All of the teams are free to strategize as they see fit.  There are some 'rules' to the game that everyone must play by.  Cheating gets you banned from playing for awhile.  Etc, Etc.  What we have now is a situation where the officials are knowingly not calling fouls on the more powerful teams.  They are intentionally throwing the puck to one team at the face off.  We need .gov to play a policing role.  We don't need them to pick winners. We need them to provide a framework where by we never again have to say that we are going to let one team win, because if we do not that their will be no more league play ever again.  It is this difficult definition that needs to be redifined and implemented.  We can get there, I am really confident we can. 

Krugman and his ilks solution is disband sports and just watch musicals and plays from here on out.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:47 | 2323139 AnAnonymous
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All of the teams are free to strategize as they see fit. There are some 'rules' to the game that everyone must play by. Cheating gets you banned from playing for awhile. Etc, Etc. What we have now is a situation where the officials are knowingly not calling fouls on the more powerful teams.

_____________________________________________

No. The US citizen sport scene is rigged but yet...

In US citizenism, the umpire derive their revenues from the big teams. They do not generate revenues by exerting their rule.

As such, it is the best interest of umpires (without any contribution from the players) to favour the big teams.

Eg: a semi final, fielding teams A,B, C and D. A final facing A vs B will generate 100 millions out of which the umpires are paid.
The final between C and D will generate 15 millions.

Semi final: A vs C, B vs D.

Without any contribution from A or B, the pursuit of the best interest imposes the umpires to favour A and B, to get the most favourable event for them.

US citizenism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:18 | 2323194 Stax Edwards
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We had a system that worked from from the implementation of Glass-Steagall all the way up until its repeal.  Maybe the simple answer is reinstate glass-steagall it worked for its entire duration.  It did not ever fail, the banks under clintons leadership had it removed.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:23 | 2323054 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

try doing something with your life. provide value and be rewarded for that through other people valuing your work and giving you money. it feels very good.

___________________________________________

Receiving money usually feels good. Pretty sure that people who receive money without doing the rest also feel good.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 17:02 | 2323301 riphowardkatz
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They may feel good in the short term. Feeling good is not happiness. Happiness is something that requires long range effort. When you lie to achieve something it forces you to disintegrate your mind, the one lie lead you to create others and more and more. This is unproductive and doesnt allow for the integration of reality which is a requirement for human life.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:21 | 2322766 AustriAnnie
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All systems of individual freedom will tend toward some centrally planned system as people attempt to use politics to fuel their own purpose.

Freedom has to be KEPT.  It has to be constantly fought for.  Not only does the state intervene to limit individual freedom -- individuals allow them to.  It is the responsibility of every person to defend themselves and their neighbors against the State.

Yet, each individual has some issues upon which they think the state should intervene.  These issues are "exceptions" to the rule of individual liberty, because they are "important", "essential".  And so the erosion of individual rights begins, as each individual lobbies the state for one or two important issues.  Then at some point people with different issues realize they can work together and pass a bill that includes all of their laws together.  This is what we call "bipartisanship", "compromise", etc.

"The government" that intervenes to end a system of individual freedom, is not an abstract being.  It is made up of those individuals.  

We allow individuals to take our own power.  It is not taken from us.  We would not hand a handsome stranger on the street our wallet and tell him to spend it as he will.  If that man tries to tell us how we should run our lives, we would tell him to fuck off.

But if that handsome man runs for Senate, we will hand over our wallets and our power.

The idea that we should only do this if the man in office is "good" is ridiculous.  No matter how "good" a stranger on the street might be, we would never ask him to spend our money and take over the education of our children, decide whether or not our house is safe for us to live in, start wars in which our children will have to fight, etc.

It really is that simple: people hand over all their rights to random strangers.  And anyone who questions this process, is a dissident, a terrorist?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:39 | 2322855 Shameful
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The real secret is deep down most of humanity wishes to be dominated.  It's not something they will admit to even to themselves, but the weight of history screams it.  Then there are those that seek the levers of power for self aggrandizement, and seek to be those who dominate.  Together they form the majority and ensure that this current state of man will endure so long as man still walks the Earth.  Those who wish to not be a part of the master slave/relationship are not welcome.

Only when there are new frontiers is there a chance of liberty.  However the world is only getting smaller, so only liberty will be found in those small places, the cracks in the wall.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:28 | 2323078 Cathartes Aura
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when you write

Those who wish to not be a part of the master slave/relationship are not welcome.

one can't help but wish that if only those who seek to play that relationship out would leave those who don't alone!

while I like your analogy, I would add a slight variation - in amrka most people seek to be provided for - some desire infrastructure, some desire rules of trading that favour their citizenship over others in the world, some desire cheap plentiful resources to gain advantage over others in the world, some support the MIC working overtime on other's dime, some want all the benefits of a system, and none of the work to acquire, etc. etc.

it's a symbiotic relationship at first, then parasitic, then collapse.

again, if only those who wish to play and ply each other would leave those who don't out of their equations.

 

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:53 | 2323131 Shameful
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Why would they?  Look into the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

People everywhere want free shit.  The US is in effect a gigantic parasite on the globe.  As a nation we guzzle up goods and services we cannot afford and emit fiat notes in return.  It's one hell of a rush to get money for nothing and chicks for free.  But now that we creep closer to the abyss, and the horror of horrors, not living above our means and deep fear has set in.

Not only will there be a hue and cry at home complete with riots and cities burning and/or martial law, but wait for our international rep to 'shine' when it becomes common knowledge to the peoples of the world that they were fooled into selling their goods and services for an illusion.  But in the mean time there is a pillaging to be done by the big boys, and enough HFCS and junk food to keep the masses fat dumb and happy.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 22:18 | 2323942 Cathartes Aura
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agreed Shameful, why would they?

we're all talking idealistically, in theory, but reality tells us otherwise with a slap upside the head.

and to AAnnie,

Those of us who want to be left alone wish to also leave others alone.  The concept of security cannot be this way, you can only fight for it by taking away someone else's.

which is why I don't pay attention to politics, nor do I vote - as long as the people give "them" power, through whatever means, they will use it over us - irrespective of who one decides to choose, it's the institution of government that decides, not the individuals campaigning. . . no one who desires to be a (paid) part of government can also keep their minds focused on true liberty for the individuals.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:47 | 2323141 AustriAnnie
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"if only those who wish to play and ply each other would leave those whodon't out of their equations"

Therein lies the source of the fight for liberty over security.  Those who fight for individual liberty fight for everyone's liberty.  Those who fight for security, fight for security of some, at the expense of others.

Those of us who want to be left alone wish to also leave others alone.  The concept of security cannot be this way, you can only fight for it by taking away someone else's.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:41 | 2322860 Dr. Acula
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>All systems of individual freedom will tend toward some centrally planned system as people attempt to use politics to fuel their own purpose.

And all socialist systems, in which a violent abolition of the free market is attempted, will tend toward a free market system as people use voluntary exchanges to prosper.

Societies exist in a kind of equilibrium between peaceful, voluntary bonding and violent, hegemonic bonding. It is impossible for a completely free market to exist with imperfect human beings. It is impossible for central planners to enforce violent abolition of the market as the enforcement could not be maintained while simultaneously facing the destruction of civilization and death for most people.

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:46 | 2322878 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Ah, the great US citizen explanation.

We have the perfect system, unfortunately, human beings are imperfect, by such, our perfect system cant deliver all its promises.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:56 | 2323163 AustriAnnie
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No system exists in a vacuum.

It is the extent to which peaceful voluntary association exists in the face of socialism at any given time that measures our degree of freedom.

It is in the fact that there are imperfect human beings that the argument for the free market finds its root.  The goal is to remove as much of the power as possible from central control by these imperfect beings.  The power is never fully and successfully removed, because it is inherent in people to seek power.  So the battle to keep it from them is constant.

There is no idealistic end-game, where we arrive at perfectly free system.  It is just a constant power-struggle between individual and the state.

Its not supposed to ever end, we are supposed to be constantly aware and fighting for our own individual rights.  The idea that we deserve to get them and then keep them, without any effort to protect them, is flawed, IMO.  It leads to this sense that some enlightened leader will restore our rights to us and we have only to wait until he runs for election.  The restoration is our responsibility.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:18 | 2323197 John_Coltrane
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Indeed, all systems where central "experts" attempt to set prices of anything (including money, hear that FED?) develop underground market economies.  Examples, the Soviet Union, North Korea, China etc.  Even the pain of death cannot deter them!  The US has a big one in drugs, cigarettes etc.

Here's a conundrum for all those who hate markets and thus the central defining aspect of capitalism?  How can the price of anything (and I mean anything) be determined without the market mechanism?

Some examples:  price of milk, gas, medicine, La Bron Jame's salary

Capitalism:  the worst economic system except for all the others.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:52 | 2322911 rwe2late
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 It isn't just government. It's all organizations or institutions, religious, military, business ...

"One truth is well demonstrated: Man by his very nature, full of arrogance in the higher positions, inclines necessarily toward despotism; we sense now that we must hold in arrest, in check, the established authorities; without which they become all-oppressive in power. Let us not seek to counterbalance them by each other; all counterweight which is not that of the people itself is false."

 - Jean Varlet in France, circa 1773

There are typically advantages when humans organize, but there are also pitfalls to organization. That, to date, has been an inescapable human conundrum.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:24 | 2323062 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

But, but, but, I want to start my own government. I am outcompeted when it comes to join the current way of government. I thought my chair and the chair of my dynasty was guaranteed by US citizenism but, but...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:30 | 2324251 Sandmann
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They always taught me that the objective of every Capitalist is to establish a Monopoly - Oligopoly simply reflects his inability to triumph

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:35 | 2322545 bob_dabolina
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F/A 18 just crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach fully loaded with fuel from Oceania airbase

Pilots are safe. 1 pilot landed on the porch of a rescue worker.

So close to where I live, I heard it happen.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:41 | 2322575 pods
pods's picture

Damn!

Did the apartment complex NEXT to it collapse?

Just wonderin.

pods

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:44 | 2322593 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

I don't know but I'm pretty sure Bush/Cheney are behind this

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:31 | 2323094 Cathartes Aura
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here's a pic of what a jet looks like when it crashes into a building:

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120406/NEWS/120406025/Plane-crashes-in...|head

the parts lend credence to the "jet" theory. . .

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:45 | 2322595 I_ate_the_crow
I_ate_the_crow's picture

What is capitalism? What is socialism? What is communism?

What is the Hegelian Dialectic?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 19:53 | 2323682 ffart
ffart's picture

I guess they're all really just straw men set up by the wizened narcissists who wish to dominate us all, describing different ways of associating with other people within rules that involve some government determining how you're allowed to live.

Even capitalism was coined by Marx to label people who simply wanted the freedom to make their own decisions.

Because the one choice that will never be presented to you is the choice to voluntarily associate of your own will without obtaining the forbearance of some power hungry narcissists in fancy suits.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:57 | 2322601 Dr. Acula
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IMHO the word "capitalism" is a horrible, vague neologism that should be avoided.

Everyone loves and uses capital, even the most primitive peoples. Robinson Crusoe, after constructing a fishing net, is a capitalist because he is in possession of capital - a higher-order good (the net), designed to facilitate the production of lower-order consumer goods (caught fish). In this sense, "capitalism" is a boring topic to discuss because the only alternative is "starvationism".

A more interesting question is how property rights are initiated, transferred, and enforced. Every social system must provide an answer to this question.

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:02 | 2322686 Belarusian Bull
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Good point. I might add that "property" should apply not only to goods, but to human body and mind as well. For example, criminalisation of cannabis should be considered as violation of property rights.

P.S. That "starvationism" has a proper name ... it's called War Communism

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:21 | 2322772 Dr. Acula
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>For example, criminalisation of cannabis should be considered as violation of property rights.

I don't agree.

If you live in USA and have marijuana in your pocket you do not have property rights over it. It rightfully belongs to the government and it is in your hands wrongfully. Your neighbor is free to take it and dispose of it himself and there is little recourse for you. Social norms say so. A vast apparatus of coercion says so. And if you are arrested, you will lose property rights over your own body. You can try to get them back in court.

It's important not to confuse de facto property rights with "natural rights", "human rights", what is moral, etc. (BTW if you have any suggestions on alternate terms I should be using, or how I can write more accurately, please help me out.)

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:54 | 2322921 riphowardkatz
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I think he is talking about what ought to be not what is. 

In a proper world social norms would not be laws and  I will continue to hope that some cultures social norms never become laws. 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:03 | 2322974 Belarusian Bull
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Yeah, that was the original point. Moral and social norms should never be set into laws.

Distinguishing between property rights for goods and for own body opens a wide pass to this.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:35 | 2323112 Cathartes Aura
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I'm all for establishing individual body rights.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:57 | 2322936 rwe2late
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 All property "rights" are essentially privileges assigned and protected by the government.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:36 | 2323113 Cathartes Aura
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Daddy.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:58 | 2322940 Belarusian Bull
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IMHO, there are actually no "natural" or "human rights".  Every of those rights can be easily taken away, same as property right for goods. When state criminalise cannabis (for instance) they are taking away my natural right to consume the fruits of my labour (cannabis was either grown by me, or was bought for my hard-earned money).

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:16 | 2323024 Dr. Acula
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>IMHO, there are actually no "natural" or "human rights".

Interesting. So do you think it's OK for a government to shove someone into an oven for having a wrong-shaped nose?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:26 | 2323073 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Ah, the dead line.

So the US citizen answer: no, it is not okay. But does not mean you cant do things within that limit.

Everything performed by US citizens under that bar is okay.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:28 | 2323076 Belarusian Bull
Belarusian Bull's picture

No, i don't think so. But i try to point out, that by government-enforced law, it can be easily done, the same way as they do now to cannabis smokers.

History have seen hundrets for cases of genocide... Wrong-shaped noses are at least a metric, while people were executed based merely on information against them.

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:06 | 2322985 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 Agreed

The transfer of public or "unowned" lands and waters, ideas and labor, patents and contracts is key.

The "privatization" of the "discovered" American continents should give some idea as to how the preceding has historically been accomplished. Some would call it "divine intervention" or the "hidden hand", but conquest, rape, and plunder are more descriptive.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:48 | 2322609 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

Capitalism is a idealogy that blames all it's follies on its lack of TRUE implementation, or just scapegoats and blames it all on socialism.

j/k

Capitalism is capital seeking seeking more and more capital. Id say we have a pretty healthy capitalist system right now.  Those with the capital are calling all the shots and aquiring gookoo capital at a pretty radical rate.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:50 | 2322896 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

But, but, but, my family was promised through generations a share of the loot. I have yet to receive any substantial. Where is my share? If I dont have my share, then we dont have capitalism.

Enough said.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:49 | 2322624 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Watch this, and tell me if we live under a free market system where we are free to choose:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#46973330

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:53 | 2322647 New American Re...
New American Revolution's picture

Capitalism in its purest sense, is that economic system practiced and endemic to a government operated under a Constitution of Liberty, such as that which America founded in 1789.   The capitalism practiced in America today, resembles true capitalism in the same measure that our government mirrors a government based upon Liberty.  

If you believe there is a wide dispartiy in either/or, you are correct.   And the only way to correct this problem is to first restore Liberty.   And the only way to restore Liberty, is to return those constitutional powers of Congress as specified in Article I, Sec 8 & 9, back to the Public Forum of Congress.   For it is in these sworn power/duty(s) of Congress lie the basic machinery of running a great nation.   And it is in Congress's governance of this basic machinery operating within the Public Forum, that the transparency necessary for the constitutants of Congress to determine their representatives performance is revealed to the constituent voter, the American Citizen.  Because a government only justifies its authority through the Consent of the Governed.  

It is both difference and definition that separates Liberty from Tyranny.   We can define Liberty, but only define Tyranny by that which is not Liberty.   And without the transparency only made possible by the aforementioned restoration of the power and performance of the constitutional power/duty(s) of Congress within the Public Forum, it is impossible for the people to be able to give their Consent to any government.   The machanism has been disconnected.

Until this breach is restored and secured, you will never restore pure capitalism until we have restored this break from Liberty.   It is not a question open to conjecture, but upon the simple fact of whether Congress is 1) executing its constitutionally assigned power/duty(s) as defined by Article I, Sec 8 & 9 of our U.S. Constitution, and 2), whether these powers are being performed within the Public Forum.  

As to the first, Congress does everything but perform upon its constitutional powers and duties.   As for the second, it is predicated upon the first.   Should you ever desire to understand the role of the Public Forum within the operating machanism of our Constitution, I would refer you to the 1796 Farewell Address of President George Washington, where he rips into the result of Congress outsourcing just one of its constitutional powers, in 1796.

You might be surprise what he has to say about America's first experiement with a private central bank.   How did he put it?   .... "This is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.".... yeah... that's it.   www.nar2012.com

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:01 | 2322680 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>Capitalism in its purest sense, is that economic system practiced and endemic to a government operated under a Constitution of Liberty

Question: wouldn't capitalism "in its purest sense" involve corporate charters rather than a "government operated under a Constitution"?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:47 | 2322886 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

no it wouldnt. capitalism is a socio-economic political system. it requires government to enforce property rights and provide a judicial system for settling disputes. 

What you mention has existed (see the hudson bay history) inevitably even in a civilized implementation there are matters that must be abjudicated.

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:11 | 2322969 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>[capitalism] requires government to enforce property rights and provide a judicial system for settling disputes

You think "capitalism" means government ownership over the means of production of arbitration services. Interesting.

So if the US government decided to outlaw and shut down private arbitration firms, would you say that action moves us closer to capitalism? Or further away?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:52 | 2323276 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

no I do not think it means government ownership over the  production of arbitration services. If two people agree through contract to arbitration and then one party breaks the agreement there has to be one entity entrusted with the use of force to remidiate the situation.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 13:56 | 2322659 jplotinus
jplotinus's picture

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

That sounds like a gross oversimplification, describing neither capitalism nor anything else.

"...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). "

One of my biggest pet peeves with ZH is the overall lack of understanding of socialism. One thing is clear, though and that is one should never, ever rely on any avowed capitalist, or capitalist sympathizer, to define, let alone explain, socialism.

The USA has not got the least bit of socialism anywhere in any aspect of its economic system.

Ask yourself: How many self-identified socialist party candidates are on your state's ballot this year? The universal, Amurkin answer will be <0, +\-1or2 at most.

Amurka is the least socialist country on earth.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:12 | 2322707 Belarusian Bull
Belarusian Bull's picture

So it isn't socialist, unless it's called socialist?

Calculation and Socialism <<< video lecture

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:51 | 2322905 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

So it isn't socialist, unless it's called socialist?

_______________________________________

Same could be said with so called capitalism.

The reality is that what is in action is US citizenism.

The differences between so called capitalism and socialism are minor.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:20 | 2322767 WTFx10
WTFx10's picture

One of my pet peeves is assholes like you complaining about ZH. Get the fuck off if you don't like the community.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:39 | 2322856 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

Yep, ZH is full of brainwashed capitalist utopians blaming the very follies of capitalism on socialism.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:49 | 2322898 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

How is to big too fail capitalism?  it is wealth redistribution by government edict. can you answer that one very simple question.

How is money printing capitalism? It is wealth redistribution through government edict. Can you answer that one simple question?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:06 | 2322982 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'How is to big too fail capitalism?  it is wealth redistribution by government edict.'

Had Hank not been a former Goldmanite, I'm not sure things would have progressed the way they have. It was their interest he was protecting not the American people's as SoT. TARP wasn't wealth distribution it was theft.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:56 | 2323286 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

Wealth redistribution is theft.  And there in  lies one of the problems with a mixed economy (which is the economy of the US) or anything but pure laissez faire capitalism.  The government that is supposed to protect the people's rights ends up stealing from the people and subjugating their rights to the "greater good"

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:29 | 2323084 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

it is wealth redistribution by government edict. can you answer that one very simple question.

_____________________________________

But wealth redistribution by government edict is the history of the US of A.

That is the way it is.

US world order.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 17:07 | 2323315 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

The greatness of the US which is fading is based on wealth creation by individuals

This is opposed to communist idea that humans are cogs in a machine whose souless bodies are used to serve the whims of the elite.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:25 | 2324382 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 Whatever "greatness" existed in the US was predicated on a democratic/representative form of government, and guarantees against persecution, habeaus corpus, prohibition of torture, abolition of slavery, religious freedom.

Those are what has faded.

The "wealth creation" you speak of is root cause of what endangers humanity and all other life on this planet. The "profits" gained by war production, conquest, and destruction of the environment have been the foundation of "wealth creation" in North America. The riches and power accrued in that process by an elite few should not be confused with "greatness".

Global corporations are the apex development in allegedly efficient "wealth creation". They are organized around, and fixated upon, a single goal of monetary "profit". Any detrimental effect that does not have to be paid for only adds to the bottom line of profit. Whether the detriment is to the worker, the environment, or the consumer, the object is to avoid paying for it. Government is harnessed for that purpose to weaken labor, environmental, and consumer protections, to avoid liabilities - as well as to create monopolies, restrict competition, and compel society to accept and pay for warmaking and financial burdens.

Talk about "souless bodies" serving an "elite"!

Materialism and consumerism, aka "wealth creation" are not measures of "Greatness". 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:49 | 2322892 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>The USA has not got the least bit of socialism anywhere in any aspect of its economic system.

Ever hear of "social security"?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:34 | 2322833 Scalaris
Scalaris's picture

 

A market system which allows for the evolution of the lobbying industry into prominence based on generation of profitability according to demand.

"Their research showed the return on lobbying for those multinational corporations was 22,000 percent. That means for every dollar spent on lobbying, the companies got $220 in tax benefits."

Measuring Rates of Return for Lobbying Expenditures: An Empirical Analysis under the American Jobs Creation Act 

by Raquel Meyer Alexander, Stephen W. Mazza & Susan Scholz

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 08:58 | 2324316 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

I realize that is more bang for the buck than a company might get with capex or investments in productive assets, but when you think about it and the compression effect that must be there due to the lower bound of taxable income, 22k% isn't really all that spectacular.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:53 | 2322899 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture

Most people make this topic WAY too complicated and difficult.  It's really rather simple.

Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production.

You don't like that?  What are the alternatives?  State ownership?  Communal ownership?  Nobody owns anything?  No thanks.

The complaints that people levy at capitalism are misdirected.  The problems  and inequities that people rail against are the result of a LACK OF FREE MARKETS!!!!

I have ZERO issue with the private ownership of the means of production.  It's just as God intended as far as I'm concerned.

I DO have a problem with so-called crony capitalism, state directed capitalism, and other misleading perjorative terms used to misidentify the problem as being inherent in private ownership of the means of production.  The problem is a lack of FREEDOM and FREE MARKETS.  Pick your poision:  central planning, regulations, legislation, fiat currency...  It's all COERCION and distorts the market.

A third grader can be taught in about 10 minutes what a politican can't grasp in a lifetime of public theft, errr service.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:08 | 2322995 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production...

Then we aren't totally capitalist.

There is not private ownership over the means of production of security and arbitration services (e.g. armed forces, police, and courts).

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:22 | 2323038 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture

and?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:33 | 2323101 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The means to produce freedom shall be privately owned.

ummmm, well... Crony capitalism does not exist.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 14:55 | 2322920 Hohum
Hohum's picture

What is capitalism?  Good question.  It may be the best, but unfortunately 90% of this board will probably end up worse off.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:00 | 2322951 MrBoompi
MrBoompi's picture

This GOP Super Pac ad is total horseshit and should be considered offensive to anyone with an IQ over 100.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:03 | 2322973 proLiberty
proLiberty's picture

Norway ony has "capitalism" as a figure of speech.  The Treaty of Rome, a founding docuemnt of the European Union states their economy is based on "social market economy", which is not "capitalism".  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 06:10 | 2324220 Colonial Intent
Colonial Intent's picture

Thats because the european system is ran to promote long term social benefits for its citizens above short term profits for corporations.

(not saying it works too good)

It boils down to do you want more than you need, if so go to america where you can screw over your fellow man for bits of colored paper and 15 mins of fame and they will welcome you bigtime, also they appear to be running short of sheeple lately.

God = Hate

Gold = Greed

Guns = Fear

These three things rule america now, good luck to you all in the coming apocolypse:-)

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:10 | 2323002 Dorelei
Dorelei's picture

In the late stage of a capitalist economy, big compagnies grab  the power trough lobbism and are able to block every atempt by entrepreneurs to enter the market.

That's why passed a certain time period capitalism will not work anymore and will slowly autodestroy .

Schumpeter , who studied entrepeneurship and creative destruction came to the conclusion that socialism is the only  solution once capitalism start destroying  itself....

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:22 | 2323056 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>In the late stage of a capitalist economy, big compagnies grab  the power trough lobbism and are able to block every atempt by entrepreneurs to enter the market.

"Late stage"? Ridiculous. That stuff happens all the time. Ever heard of medieval guilds? Ever hear of the candlemaker's petiton to block out the sun?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:24 | 2323063 Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar's picture

attaboy Bastiat!

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:51 | 2323272 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

d0_re_lei:  this schumpeter? 

An ‘automatic’ gold currency is part and parcel of a laissez-faire and free trade economy. It links every nation’s money rates and price levels with the money-rates and price levels of all the other nations that are ‘on gold.’ It is extremely sensitive to government expenditure and even to attitudes or policies that do not involve expenditure directly, for example, to foreign policy, to certain policies of taxation, and, in general, to precisely all those policies that violate the principles of [classical] liberalism. This is the reason why gold is so unpopular now and also why it was so popular in a bougeois era. It imposes restrictions upon governments or bureaucracies that are much more powerful than is parliamentary criticism. It is both the badge and the guarantee of bourgeois freedom – of freedom not simply of the bourgeois interest, but of freedom in the bourgeois sense.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:14 | 2323015 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

There's nothing about "capitalism" that implies support of free enterprise; it always works towards monopoly and rewards entitlement instead of creativity. Indeed, the 'capitalist' relies upon the state to enforce distortions of the market and to maintain the primacy of force over contract. Private assets can & will be confiscated in any system which attempts to conflate the two opposing tendencies. MFG was the perfect embodiment of "state capitalism" as directed by an archetypical state subsidized capitalist - Corzine...there really is no other kind of capitalism.

The term itself (which did not appear until the tail end of the C18th), describes of a phase that thinkers from so called Age of Enlightenment  supposed to exist in a progression from primitive communism to slavery followed by feudalism then capitalism, and ultimately, socialism. It stands to reason then that the biggest backers of "capitalism" have always been the Marxist influenced theoreticians, who as with Marx, held that no stage of history ends before it's productive possibilities fully mature.

Likewise, the same way that socialists saw capitalism as a necessary precursor to their desired goal, kartel monopolists saw socialist style state planning as a good and necessary aid to their goal of commandeering all levers of power in society - and therefore pushed  their funds and connections forward on behalf the revolutions which would end all feudal holdovers AND [more importantly], those manifestations of free economic activity which threatened their monopolies.

"Capitalism" is a phony construct designed to confuse people into supporting the institutionalization of limitations on their productive capacity -  "history" is the narrative used to enforce compulsory acceptance of it's tenets. Neither Richard Cantillon nor J.B. Say required use of the term to describe the role of the entrepeneur, or business cycles,  nor it is intrinsic to any description of what a society in which money serves inventiveness(instead of the other way round) would look like.

"What is capitalism?" ...The concentration of unproductive assets in the hands of the serially unimaginative: the opposite of what an unbridled market economy would look like.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:32 | 2323092 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>"capitalism" ... always works towards monopoly and rewards entitlement instead of creativity

So Apple has a bigger market cap than Microsoft and $10^11 in cash because it was entitled to it?

Does capitalism work toward monopoly when a company is so large that it loses the ability to operate rationally or perform economic calculation for internally exchanged goods and services that lack market prices?

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:34 | 2323106 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Of course, that is the expected result of a monopoly...

More fantasy.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:32 | 2323099 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

Maybe you should watch the video where it describes how capitalism is none of the stuff you just said.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 01:38 | 2324116 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

negative.

Poor ROI....having spent the better part of half a century de-conditioning myself from your suggested storyline, I would be reluctant to invest further time in re-conditioning...r u peddling a new self-hypnosis course in beating the market?

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:43 | 2324683 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Your usual sobriety has left the ZH 'free market' monkeys a little lost.

It even goes deeper than your description once you look into England and the industrial revolution. Let's not even mention the damage and misconceptions of Darwin and the emergence of sociobiology as another way to justify exploitation and cruelty. I suppose Butler and Spencer are the true propagators but it still stands that Darwin ushered in an era that has allowed for enormous confusion.

You must be careful, there is an entire crew here of self righteous imbeciles who have somehow merged 'capitalist' principles and the grim Protestant 'ethics' of Weber into a hodge-podge that I cannot even describe as Utopian fantasy since it's almost too fantastic for words.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 02:07 | 2325573 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

An interesting thread, if only for it's demonstration of how many confuse depth of passion with acuity of insight...I can only quote the sublime Dr. Johnson -

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.
  Samuel Johnson, Taxation No Tyranny

As to being careful, I did take careful note of your willingness to sail into enemy harbors like some kind of C16th English privateer, and though pummeled by the shore batteries and outgunned by the opposition, refuse to break off the engagement!  "Caution to the winds, there's treasure to be had!"

To all of which spectacle, in our usual sobriety, we could only look out upon with awe and chagrin, having arrived too late upon the battle to effectively intervene!

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:42 | 2323127 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

Actually I think I agree with you but I became confused because what you are calling "capitalism" is what I would call "cronyism".

These "isms" mean different things to different people and lead to nothing but confusion :(

 

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:50 | 2323271 dataanalytics
dataanalytics's picture

...is what I would call "cronyism".

Or Doc, what I would rather call Corporatism.
Either way, we're f**ked.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:44 | 2323132 GernB
GernB's picture

The concentration of unproductive assets in the hands of the serially unimaginative can only occur when competition does not destroy the unproductive for being unproductive. I mean in this supposed capitalist system you describe who is subsidizing those unproductive goods and services? Surely not consumers. I wouldn't pay for them. The fact that power can concentrate to the detrement of the consumer is proof that external forces are warping the system to subvert the market forces which would run out of bussiness any organistion which does not provide enough value to convince someone to buy their goods or services.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 01:27 | 2324109 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

...I mean in this supposed capitalist system you describe who is subsidizing those unproductive goods and services?...

I'll pretty much stay with the answer contained in my original comment; the 'state' is subsidizing them...we are watching a textbook example of this unfold right now in Zamerika...

capital sequestered by theft is removed from the productive part of the economy(farmers and downstream traders wiped out)to be utilized in ever more intricate methods of chasing wildcat profits by means of financial instruments of dubious intent that are protected from prohibition or even examination by a bureacracy that is *financed by the taxpayers most likely to suffer the damages resulting from the conjunction of predatory capital with their judicial and executive branch puppets in a classic stealth coup détat covered over by a compicit media arm of the same octopus. Public purse controlled by private parties.

MFG...welcome to your world, muppets.

*it's specific to your guise as taxpayer, not consumer that you will be (involuntarily) subsidizing the unproductive privateer class. But also, in your role as creative participant in the economy, you can also expect to be subject to confiscation of your intellectual capital(see M Armstrong, Promis, etc,.) or even, in the case of atypical resistance capital punishment ...aka...accidental death by suicide via multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

I hope this is one of those klassic Friday afternoon threads that have the legs to last through the weekend...it certainly has the potential!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:49 | 2324137 GernB
GernB's picture

I'll pretty much stay with the answer contained in my original comment; the 'state' is subsidizing them...

In part that was my point. We don't have capitalism and we sure as hell don't have free markets now. In a free market with genuine competition you don't have the state subsidizing companies or regulating in favor of the biggest and most powerful. In a real free market, consumers make choices and companies live or die by whether the consumer likes them or not. The consumer has the power and the corporations and their owners bow before the consumer. Give the government the power over individual property rights and politicians the ability to gain from it and that power will corrupt as it has and you will no longer have capitalism you have what we have now, some warped, state managed, monstrosity that reduces the consumer to serfs. Then those same people in power, who corrupted the system will point out all menner on inequity and propagandize it to get the serfs to surrender even more of their power, for the good of the people.

Just wait, when the crash comes, and it surely will. It will be the early 1930s again and the people will rise up and protest, and those who hate freedom will whip up the serfs so they demand more government control, not realizing we haven't had free market capitalism for a very very very long time, and it is that fact that caused the last depression and what is causing this one.

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:52 | 2324580 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

This is an insightful comment, but it might miss the real cause of the "concentration of unproductive assets" in the wrong hands.

There need be no subsidization of "unproductive" goods and services--if the interests of the competing providers of goods/services are similar enough, they all TEND TO MAKE similar decisions about offerings, resulting in a very limited array of consumer choices. 

Simple example: why do eggs come in 6 or 12 or 18 packs?  Why aren't they sold individually or in smaller packs?

This does not appear to be the result of government regulation.  And there *are* competing egg-producers out there--any one of them could make a decision to provide a different option for the potential customer.

It's parallel evolution, and its result is barrier to that free and private trade that individuals may engage in.  There's no easy explanation for the exact mechanics in any given case, but the effect is so prevalent precisely because it is a NATURAL result of goods/services specialization.  Once a sufficient number of choices have been made by the producers, the market itself becomes coercive.  You may find yourself looking at a selection of products which appear very different, but all of which contain the same materials from the same producer, or all of which possess some feature which you would *prefer* to avoid.

In theory, market demand comes into existence and will eventually be filled by a competitor.  In practice, most consumers will adapt to the market offerings because of the vast power disparity between one dissatisfied shopper and a few dozen producers/providers.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 04:04 | 2546169 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"Simple example: why do eggs come in 6 or 12 or 18 packs?  Why aren't they sold individually or in smaller packs?"

They're sold as any number you want - if you know someone with chickens - and they're sold in various sizes making it easier to fit in groceries bags or a fridge.

You're forgetting often eggs are eaten 2 at a time & 3 x 2 = 6 hence multiples of 6 suit a family well for some integer number of days.

It's the consumer, not the producer, deciding the package-size long-term.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 17:41 | 2323379 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Cronyism and real capitalism are not the same things. 

In Atlas Shrugged John Galt opted out of the crony system of "Moochers and looters" as a protest because it was punishing the most productive members of society and rewarding the crony bureaucratic moochers and looters. Marxism/socialism is a political system masquerading as an economic system.

If you are opting out and buying physical PMs then there is a little John Galt in you.

 

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 04:02 | 2546168 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

There is no "marxism/socialism"

Socialism is not Marxism

Marxism is not Socialism

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 03:47 | 2546162 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

There's no such thing as unproductive assets.

If they could exist no one would hold them then they'd stop being assets.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 15:45 | 2323133 ItsDanger
ItsDanger's picture

The necessary criticism of the current system goes well beyond the ususal Democrat suspects Im afraid.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 20:37 | 2323787 barroter
barroter's picture

"Free to choose..."  Yep, free to choose from expensive insurance products to..other expensive insurance products. Or, how about your choice in gasoline, from one station about $4 a gallon..to another about...$4 a gallon.  I could go on but I won't. 

Collusions, cartels, monopolies...all the same to me.  "Choice?  What BS...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 02:59 | 2324141 GernB
GernB's picture

Ahh, are we referring to "free to choose" from the limited choices in insurance that the state has made sure remains expensive through what they allow the insurers to sell to you? Or how about "free to choose" from gasoline that has been made expensive the government created shortages, that exist because the state has systematicly prevented corporations from developing nearly every practical energy resources. How does onw collude or maintain a monopoly when everyone and their brother is standing ready to run you out of business b y undercutting your prices. Oh that's right, everyone and their brother are prevented from starting that business they can't because of the barriers to entry into the market created by excessive regulation. You're lack of choices is not due to capitalism or freedom, it is due to it being taken away, and people being brainwashed into thinking we still have a free economy.

When Apple was on the ropes, there was a lot of grumbling about Microsoft being a monopoly. Ask Apple how that monopoly is working for Microsoft now.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:25 | 2323879 The Proletariat
The Proletariat's picture

The internet is Capitalism

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2324485 headless blogger
headless blogger's picture

Yes, it is our best example of modern day Free Market........but that is changing with the ensuing police state being installed on the internet by Google, Facebook, Yahoo, the owner of Oracle (who has openly advocated a police state), etc, in conjunction with the State.

What it looks like THEY want to do is eventually have the internet as the only means of communication with one another. The postal system is sinking and looks to be used as only a means of moving physical goods around. It looks like Cash is on the way out:

A Cashless Society May Be Closer Than Most People Would Ever Dare To Imagine

Save the internet!

 

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:35 | 2324900 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Interesting, then, that it was created by the government and implemented only at government dictate, wouldn't you say?

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 21:27 | 2323886 David Wooten
David Wooten's picture

Capitalism means individual liberty with private property rights.

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 23:32 | 2324024 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

Thought provoking article.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:26 | 2324073 hangman
hangman's picture

What is capitalism?  Capitalism is not socialism, isn't it?

 

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 00:36 | 2324082 ItsDanger
ItsDanger's picture

What is capitalism?  Would be a great 1st question for the debate between Obama & Romney.  Does anyone have the nerve to ask it?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 03:09 | 2324151 GernB
GernB's picture

Sadly capitalism is not what either one of them wants. Obama because he advocates government interference in markets at every turn. Romney on the other hand is only slightly less statist. He thinks it's just peachy that social security forces people to save for their retirment against their will, and apparently does not have a problem with medicare deciding what doctors will get paid, or the FDA deciding that your'e to stupid to decide what drugs you can have access to. And of course we can't have quality education without central planning and control. No, competition couldn't possible run poor educational organizations out of business and promote those organization and ideas that best serve the students and their parents who pay them.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 03:13 | 2324154 liszt
liszt's picture

Capitalism is the system you cannot save anymore, what ever you think about Obama etc. Obama is capitalist.

What ever you whish, because of the fallicy of J.B. Say's Law, no one will be able ever, to go on running capitalism.

The end is 100 % sure who ever rules this system. And it will come soon.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 07:40 | 2324257 Zola
Zola's picture

To all the brainwashed socialists , here is a video that should make you think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo&context=C46a33c7ADvjVQa1PpcFOjgwTwFXPRufJ-5nO2FflniQbJvNF7L80=

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 08:50 | 2324311 Itinerant
Itinerant's picture

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

 

Come on. Were nomads and stone-age humans capitalists? Is everybody in a capitalist society a capitalist? Are the labourers capitalists? This is ahistorical bullshit, an ideological axe. Zero clarity.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 09:11 | 2324328 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Capitalism is a theoretical system by which people can trade the application of their human capital to others for theirs in a system of free and fair exchange.

Since you always have thugs who try to free-ride, you rarely get anything approaching capitalism, since productive human capital and it's fruits get diverted to either placating the thugs, serving some "protective"master" or fending off the thugs, but that does not mean it isn't worthy of being attempted.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 11:51 | 2324450 headless blogger
headless blogger's picture

The "robber barons" were making deals with the politicians back then, too! People were living in terrible poverty in 1900. The average life span was 47 years old in the U.S. It was NOT fair at all in 1900....And sure, capitalism does not concern itself with fairness, because the idea is that free markets will create fairness. But where is the fairness in half the population being denied their right to vote or the lifespans of many US people well underneath the 47 year average?

Were mentally ill and mentally retarded being taken care of by families? Most were thrown into "charitable" institutions, where they were treated in most terrible ways. It was bad for these unfortunates, and communities cared as little for their welfare then, as they do now.

This kind of Extreme Libertarianism, promotes the NWO agenda (for the time being at least), because it softens people up for when all the "human cattle" are left to die when programs are cut suddenly (and purposely). Nothing worse than creating dependents of everyone, then cutting the programs they have learned to rely on. Now THAT will accomplish what the Depopulationists have been talking about real quick.

I don't think there is such a thing as a pure Capitalism. It's a fantasy, just like Socialism is a fantasy of Utopia.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2324545 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Here is a story of capitalism for you; remember the lottery fever last week?

MegaMillions lottery 'winner': I think I lost the ticket

Her co-workers at the fast food restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, fear Haitian immigrant Mirlande Wilson is hiding the ticket to avoid paying what they insist is their share of the more than $100 million (£63 million) prize.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9191098/MegaMillions-lottery-winner-I-think-I-lost-the-ticket.html

Her colleagues say she bought the ticket on behalf of a work syndicate – but she insists the winning numbers were on one she purchased separately for herself.

Boy, those Haitian immigrants pick up on the core values of capitalism quick don't they? 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:39 | 2324551 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Well that sure was some shallow shit.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:03 | 2324946 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

... as opposed to deep shit. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:30 | 2324653 Monk
Monk's picture

Actually, it's a system where people are "free to choose" as long as they have money to do so.

 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:08 | 2325197 boiltherich
boiltherich's picture

Silly Monk, haven't you figured it out yet?  Your human value is equal to your liquid assets plus a portion of your non liquid assets minus your debt and a fair per capita part of corporate and government debt.  The latter two debts are in the neighborhood of 210,000 smackers, so to have any value at all in our system you must have liquid assets that offsets that plus your personal debts. 

I know this is true because republicans remind me of it every single day.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 02:44 | 2327334 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

In my opinion, Capitalism simply means giving priority to capital over everything else, and Socialism/Communism means giving priority to society over everything else. The problem with both is that they produce abusive leaders to represent them.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 03:42 | 2546159 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Neither Capitalism nor Socialism requires leaders.

The problem with abusive leaders is LEADERS.

We don't need no steenkin' leaders.

 

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