Category Archives: Capitalism

Defining Liberty, by Jeff Thomas

Governments always move to curtail their citizens’ liberty. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Here we have a most interesting collection of signage. Some low-level civil servant who’s in charge of deciding what the motorist may do at this particular junction has become quite thorough in creating restrictions.

The motorist may not proceed, may not turn left or right, and, most interestingly, in the second sign from the bottom, may not reverse out. In essence, “You’re stuck here and whatever you do to get out, you’re in violation of the rules we’ve placed upon you.”

Of course, if we were to encounter this particular intersection, we might say, “That’s absurd – they can’t possibly hold me to this.”

But, interestingly, under the traffic laws, a policeman can cite us for violating the signage. If we’re lucky, he might agree that it’s absurd and give us a break, but his job is to enforce it, regardless of its absurdity. And if he enjoys his position of authority, as many in his position do, he just may choose to demonstrate his power.

And, if we defy him, we’re in real trouble.

How many laws exist in the US today? The answer is that no one knows. It’s too complex to define. There are roughly 20,000 laws regarding gun control alone – and that’s just the federal laws. State, county and city laws also exist in abundance.

The level of governmental dominance now exists to such a degree that literally everyone is a criminal, whether they know it or not. It’s been estimated that the average American commits about three felonies per day, in addition to many lesser crimes. If, for any reason, the authorities wished to victimize you, they’d find their task quite simple.

Yet, there’s a general assumption amongst those who simply accept the laws that are heaped upon their shoulders, that they were somehow “necessary,” that legislators only pass laws if they have no other choice.

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Why Social Democracy is Failing Europe, by Alasdair Macleod

Socialism and freedom cannot coexist. From Alasdair Macleod at mises.org:

There is a certain tension in the phrase, “social democracy,” and the description of someone as a social democrat. Social in this context is socialism by the state. A democrat supports the freedom for individual electors to express and defend personal interests in regular plebiscites. The two positions are incompatible.

At this point we should note that in economic terms there is little philosophical difference between European socialism and communism. Both seek to relieve capitalists of the means of production in favor of the state, either by ownership or control. Marx himself saw socialism as a temporary phase on the way to full communism. However, we all know from experience that communism fails by impoverishing everyone except a coterie of leaders. The same problem of the state’s inability to calculate prices, other than with reference to labor costs, and to foresee what consumers require on the morrow bedevils both socialism and communism. The principal difference between the two is the speed at which economic disintegration takes place, tied to the rate at which the socializing state removes personal freedoms and destroys wealth.

Social democrats assume that moderate socialism does not lead to those outcomes, which is a mistake1. They are deceived.

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What if America Tried Capitalism, by Bill Bonner

Every form of socialism that fails is not “true” socialism, and in fact it’s often mistakenly called “capitalism.” Meanwhile, true capitalism has worked everywhere it’s been tried. From Bill Bonner at internationalman.com:

It’s no secret that socialism – in all its forms – doesn’t work very well.

You soon run out of other people’s money. And people don’t always want to give up their money readily. Or let you boss them around.

Inevitably, the more ambitious your plans, the more people you need to kill.

Reform Capitalism

But today, we turn our attention to those who say we need to “reform” capitalism to save it.

In this category, we lump all those who claim to support free markets – such as most of today’s Republicans and Democrats – but still think they can make them work better, with trade barriers, phony tax cuts, fake money, fake interest rates, regulations, controls, etc., etc.

Journalist Edward Luce, for example, writing in the Financial Times, explained that we need to “save American capitalism from itself.”

Whenever you read somebody in a newspaper suggest that “we need to,” you can be almost sure that the next words are nonsense. This is no exception.

“The question America’s financial and tech elites must ask,” Luce continues, “is ‘what price social peace?’”

Circuses are not enough; the mob wants more bread. And after having cheated them out of trillions, Luce thinks we should at least toss them a few crumbs.

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How Fascism Comes to America, by Doug Casey

How does fascism come to America? Gradually, and then rapidly. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

I think there are really only two good reasons for having a significant amount of money: To maintain a high standard of living and to ensure your personal freedom. There are other, lesser reasons, of course, including: to prove you can do it, to compensate for failings in other things, to impress others, to leave a legacy, to help perpetuate your genes, or maybe because you just can’t think of something better to do with your time.

But I’ll put aside those lesser motives, which I tend to view as psychological foibles. Basically, money gives you the freedom to do what you’d like – and when, how, and with whom you prefer to do it. Money allows you to have things and do things and can even assist you to be something you want to be. Unfortunately, money is a chimera in today’s world and will wind up savaging billions in the years to come.

As you know, I believe we’re well into what I call The Greater Depression. A lot of people believe we’re in a recovery now; I think, from a long-term point of view, that is total nonsense. We’re just in the eye of the hurricane and will soon be moving into the other side of the storm. But it will be far more severe than what we saw in 2008 and 2009 and will last quite a while – perhaps for many years, depending on how stupidly the government acts.

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Nearly Everyone Is a Socialist Now, by Alasdair Macleod

Socialism is ubiquitous, and even much of what is termed “capitalism” is actually socialism. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

The expansionary phase of the global economy is almost certainly ending. A combination of excessive debt and trade protectionism is likely to become economically and politically destabilising. If, as seems increasingly likely, the world is destined for another credit and economic crisis, the colour of the political establishment will shape outcomes. This article examines the political scene and concludes that socialist puppet-masters will use the opportunity in an attempt to crush capitalism.

Introduction

In 1975, I watched from the Strangers’ Gallery the debate in the House of Commons when the Referendum Act for membership of the Common Market was in its second reading. It was to be the first referendum ever held in the UK, and as one would imagine was contentious for that reason. The Labour government of the day had laid an act before Parliament for a referendum to ratify the European Communities Act of 1972, in other words, the UK’s membership of the Common Market.

The debate was not about membership, but the precedent of holding a referendum and its potential to undermine parliament’s sole right to take decisions on behalf of the people. In those days, MPs made proper speeches, not the time-limited five or so minutes permitted by Mr Speaker. A debate of this sort was worth listening to.

I was struck by the similarities of argument put forward by the two greatest parliamentary orators of the day. Michael Foot was the doyen of the extreme left in the Labour Party, and Enoch Powell was said to be on the extreme right (he wasn’t – he was a staunch free marketeer: more on this to follow). From their different perspectives their arguments were almost identical, and both spoke eloquently without notes.

Foot had a distinctive style we see less of nowadays. He was an old-fashioned socialist rabble-rouser, with his arguments and timing honed to perfection on the hustings. His was the traditional Labour campaigning style; a throw-back to pre-war socialist tub-thumping. He was, at that time, the best exponent of this type of oratory in Parliament, made all the more credible by his unwavering belief in the Marxist cause.

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Name the State, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Many debates about government policy fail to note the nature and scope of government involvement in the issue under debate. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at aier.com:

The number one problem of all public debate about politics and economics is the failure to name the state. If this would change, so would public opinion.

There is no shortage of examples. People talk about health care for all, solving climate change, providing security in old age, universal educational access, boosting wages, ending discrimination, and you can add to the list without end.

That’s one side.

The other speaks of national identity, protecting jobs, making us more moral, forming cultural cohesion, providing security against the foreign enemy, and so on.

Obfuscation

All of this, no matter how fancy the language, is obfuscation. What all of this really means is: put the state in charge. What’s strange is the unwillingness to say it outright. This is for a reason. The plans the politicians have for our lives would come across as far less compelling if they admitted the following brutal truth.

There really are only two ways to allocate goods and services in society: the markets (which rely on individual choice) and the state (which runs on compulsion). No one has ever found a third way. You can mix the two — some markets and some state-run operations — but there always is and always will be a toggling between the two. If you replace markets, the result will be more force via the state, which means bureaucratic administration and rule by force. If you reduce the role of the state, you rely more on markets. This is the logic of political choice, and there is no escaping it.

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The Reasons Behind The Relentless Ideological Onslaught Against Free Markets, by Brandon Smith

Free markets are the most defensible economic arrangement ever, but few defend them and the attacks are as unremmiting as they are fallacious. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

I sometimes think that the free market concept is treated like The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’s Quasimodo in the long novel of global economic history. It is considered ugly and undesirable by most people who judge it at a mere glance without bothering to understand it. It is a bogeyman; a scapegoat for numerous societal problems that it has nothing to do with. In reality, the only time free markets do cause trouble is when they are manipulated or misused by elitists seeking to turn them into something other than free markets. And, even when free markets display their great value and internal beauty, many still prefer other systems that are intrinsically corrupt but flashier on the surface.

There are many reasons behind this persistent attitude. However, they are not coincidental or natural. Human beings actually tend to gravitate toward free markets over and over again in history, and away from centralized government interference and dominance in economic trade. But whenever they do, they get hammered down by the-powers-that-be. In our modern era, establishment elites have chosen to be more subtle (for now) and dissuade people from free markets through disinformation and propaganda.

To break it all down to a simple observation – Whenever disaster strikes economically, free markets are blamed. Whenever something is fixed, even if that fix is a temporary band-aid on a sucking chest wound, government involvement and socialism are applauded. And so the cycle continues until free markets become a pariah with no place in our world and centralization becomes the prevailing answer to everything.

Free market trade is ever present at a local level and always has been. But, those who favor globalism are hell-bent on putting an end to any and all private unregulated commerce forever.

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