The American system is not capitalism, by Bob Livingston

Here’s one hint that we have here in America is not capitalism: governments spend abour 40 percent of the GDP. From Bob Livingston at personalliberty.com:

the word "capitalism" marked out

One of the great myths of our time is that America is a capitalistic country. It is not, and has not been close to capitalistic for more than 150 years.

Capitalism is a social system in which an individual’s rights, including his rights to own property, are recognized and all property is privately owned. In a capitalistic society, governments acknowledge that individuals and companies can and should compete for their own economic gain, and the prices of goods and services are determined by the free market. The role of government in capitalistic societies is to ensure that markets function without interference and to protect individuals from fraud and/or the use of physical force by others.

Capitalism is not about greed. Capitalism is about human freedom, or as we term it, personal liberty. As Adam Smith posited in Wealth of Nations, when individuals are permitted to pursue their self-interest through markets, they are amazingly good at finding ways of bettering not only themselves but society as well.

In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand writes:

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control… In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit. The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree — and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind.

Americans no longer have property rights. Think you do? Try going a year or two without paying tribute to the king (via property taxes) and you’ll see who owns your property. The local sheriff will evict you; the state or local government will seize your property and sell it to the highest bidder or its favorite crony.

To continue reading: The American system is not capitalism

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