Discussion in 'Economy' started by Kevin_Kennedy, Apr 11, 2009.
Be Careful What You Wish For by Peter Schiff
I once wished for a life in the country, one where I didn't have to constantly make other people rich like I'd been doing my whole life, and one where I could pursue my own intellectual muse.
Big mistake. My wish has been granted
Sadly, it appears that my intellectual muse is as much of a slacker as I am.
The obsession with Peter Schiff is rather absurd. Heterodox economics is necessarily dependent on predicting the failure of (actually existing) capitalism, so it's not miraculous that Peter Schiff was able to do so to a limited degree.
CApitalism is a remarkably adaptive system of economics.
I expect to hear of the extinction of cockroaches before I hear that capitalism is dead.
Capitalism can work in practically any political system and any system it cannot work with it perverts into something it can work with.
Say what you want about its many potential flaws, capitalism is here to stay until men become angels.
That's actually well-said.
Capitalism can never die. It never has. It is even lurking in the most unseen corners of the earth, like North Korea and Cuba. Yep, somewhere in those two nations, right now, someone is buying a quantity of something in hopes to turn a profit.
Communism is a perfectly valid system of economics as well, and is very successful where it is done correctly, notably the Amish Country. Why are the Amish so successful with their communism? It's 100% VOLUNTARY. When a kid reaches 16 years of age he can leave, and sometimes does.
Cuba, Viet Nam, China, the USSR never were and are not communists. You cannot force someone to share and actually expect it to work. Communism can only work with people who are completely and totally willing to share. If that's their wish, go for it.
As for me, I like capitalism. I like the idea that I can buy a bunch of widgets and sell them at a higher price, go buy more widgets (or make them) and sell them for a higher price.
Of course, the part of capitalism that stings is when you buy a hundred widgets, and get stuck with all of them.
Communism doesn't require much intelligent thought. Capitalism challenges the mind.
Why is freedom such a hard idea to grasp? It's the progression of economic systems up to this point in history. Get the King/Queen/Lord/monarch/government out of deciding what you should be doing for a living and how much of your money is for them.
I think any system where your overlords at government get to decide your economic fate is a horrible regression and transgression on your rights as a person. You should not be forced to decide what you want to do, but whenever government gets involved, this ideal is slowly chipped away.
Not that I disagree about the evidently perpetual status of capitalism, but that does seem somewhat of an oversimplification. There are varieties of socialism that retain market exchange (and merely aim to correct markets so that they adequately address supply and demand criteria, for that matter), and even (libertarian) communism obviously permits for the free exchange of personal possessions. It's the means of production that are subject to collective democratic management.
It of course goes without saying that certain forms of private management are effectively as tyrannical as any state or government could be. For that matter, the state served its role in class creation during the primitive accumulation phase; it now reinforces that creation through protection of private control of the means of production, a condition inherited from the openly coercive phase of primitive accumulation.
From that point on comes the institution of wage labor. Indeed, the economic framework of capitalism necessitates a scheme in which the private ownership of the means of production and consequent hierarchical subordination of labor under capital enables the extraction of surplus value from the working class in the production process through the use of wage labor and subsequent utilization in the circulation process in order to perpetuate a vicious cycle of capital accumulation.
Considering the positive relationship between equity (which must be distinguished from total equality), and efficiency, a capitalist economy will therefore tend towards firm mismanagement due to the creation of artificial and costly management techniques. It's a bit of an oversimplification, but it captures the chief point.
Separate from our interest in maximizing efficiency, however, we have the morally suspect nature of coercion in a capitalist economy, which is a component of the aforementioned utilization of wage labor. Since the means of production are privately owned, large components of the public have no alternative but to subordinate themselves under an employer. The best way to illustrate this form of authoritarianism is to use the "robbery analogy." If a person were to be violently tackled by an assailant and have his/her valuables torn out of his/her pockets, we would accurately call this a robbery. Now, if the assailant were to instead point a gun at the victim and demand that the valuables be surrendered, we would still call this a robbery, as coercion was used to gain the valuables, if not outright physical violence. The fact that the victim technically "consented" to surrender his/her valuables is not pertinent, since it was consent yielded while under duress.
The inevitible pertpetuation of capitalism is NO justification whatsoever. Murder has been and will continue to be perpetuel - that doesn't make it justifiable.
Secondly, most people seem to view economic philosophies in terms of extremes: we must either be totally free market or totally communist - there is no inbetween. This is of course absurd. No soceity has ever or will ever be either. By arguing against the most extreme cases of either, it becomes easy to disparage anything that has the slightest element.
Thirdly, the anti-government sentiment espoused by most capitalists, supposedly justified by the principles of the American revolution, is a complete misinterpertation of the nature of the British government at that time and of the nature of the Revolution. The Declaration of Independance was addressed to the failings of the British King:
"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states".
In fact, what makes a King a King is WEALTH. The American Revolution was against the TYRANNY OF THE WEALTHY, not against anything close to a democratically elected, representative government like the current U.S. government.
"Taxation without Representation" was the gripe of tour Revolutionary forefathers. They had no gripe
against taxation with representation.
The free marketers try to propose anything but absolute economic freedom is a violation of their fundamental rights (though no such rights were ever delineated in either the Declaration of independance or the U.S. Constitution). Any freedom of economics can only be deduced because of the limits on power that the Constitution places on the government.
However, as is true with all Freedom, even those clearly stated in the Constitution and Declaration of independance:
-All freedoms are limited Freedoms (This has been reiterated countless times by the supreme court)
-With any freedom comes responsibilty (This has been reiterated countless times by countless 5th grade teachers - it is as much as any truth: self-evident.)
Furthermore, the best guide for determinig the limits on any freedom is the statement from the French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen":
"Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights."
The "Capitalist Free-market" system has created a TYRANNY OF THE WEALTHY. They have acted without reasonable limitation and without responsibilty.They have perpetuated a system of the economically advantaged taking advantage of the economically disadvantaged. In doing so they have extremely violated the rights of the working people of this world.
It is the responsibilty of the government "for and by the people" to act in the best interests of the people, to insure the reasonable and limited freedom of economics for working Americans by insuring reasonable limits on the economic freedom of the wealthy.
Well, to analyze things in a just manner, it's accurate to agree with the laissez-faire crowd in that free markets haven't created a tyranny of the wealthy; actually existing capitalism (what they would term "corporatism"), has. Regardless, free markets are an unachievable dream. A communist utopia in which conflict is eliminated and all live harmoniously is a similarly unachievable dream. I'm inclined to think that well-functioning socialism isn't, but that our current political and economic state of affairs simply isn't conducive to any chance of its existence in the near future.
As for the Founding Fathers and others of that time era (the oft-mentioned Adam Smith comes to mind), their existence in an agrarian society did not allow them to predict the consequences that primitive accumulation would have in an industrialized society, in which tyrannical consolidation of control over the means of production could facilitate such an explosive utilization of effectively coercive wage labor. Adam Smith, for instance, supported "free markets" inasmuch as he thought they would have relatively egalitarian consequences. There's virtually no similarity between him and modern free market parrots.
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