Category Archives: Capitalism

Freedom and Capitalism: The Cure For Sexual Misconduct, by Anders Ingemarson

Competition has opened up the entertainment industry and news media…and given victims of sexual harassment in those industries more employment options if they go public. From Anders Ingemarson at separatestateandtheeconomy.com:

Yes, yet another article about the depravity of entertainment, media and political high rollers! Don’t despair—we’ll cover an angle that deserves more attention: the fact that freedom in general, and capitalism—with total separation of state and the economy—in particular, provides the best long-range protection against predatory sexual behavior.

Rob Tracinski of The Federalist made the point a few weeks ago at the height of the Harvey Weinstein affair:

“For those like Weinstein who are out in the private sector, we need to leave people as free as possible to speak and publish so they can criticize and expose the corrupt elites, which is the only thing that eventually stopped him. And we should leave the economy as free and vibrant as possible so that people have more ways to get around creeps who like to set themselves up as gatekeepers whose favor you have to curry if you want to get ahead.”

A major reason why so many media and entertainment personalities are being exposed now is the radical reshaping of their industries. Since the dawn of the internet, and especially since bandwidth became abundant and cheap enough to allow for streaming to a screen near you (flat-screen, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.), competition has dramatically intensified and become more diversified for both the delivery (cable, satellite, phoneline, wireless, broadcast) and content (Netflix, Amazon and others entering the field). Gone are the days when the power was concentrated to three major broadcast networks and a few studios.

With the power diluted, the incentives to protect the Harvey Weinsteins of the world have been reduced. Women pursuing an entertainment or media career have more professional options than they used to, meaning that both “coming out” about the past and saying no in the present are less likely to be a death sentence for their careers.

And main stream media journalists, feeling the competition from bloggers and other online writers, are being forced to throw some caution to the wind to stay relevant. Caution that previously contributed to the cover-up of sexual misconduct that supposedly “everybody knew about” but nobody exposed.

To continue reading: Freedom and Capitalism: The Cure For Sexual Misconduct

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The Last Redoubt? by Eric Peters

The little known story about how government regulation brought America the SUV. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Some of you may remember station wagons.

Before SUVs and crossovers – before minivans – station wagons were the family car of choice for millions of American families. They were as everywhere as SUVs and crossovers are today. As minivans were, before SUVs and crossovers supplanted them.

Wagons were natural things, created as the result of market demand for them. They were in demand because they could comfortably carry more than five people and a bunch of stuff in the back plus pull a trailer, if the need was there. Such attributes appeal to families, to people who have kids and often have to cart around other people’s kids, too.

The big wagons were based on the big sedans that were dominant at the time – the time being the ’60s and ‘70s.

This was the time before government got into the business of dictating to the car industry how many miles-per-gallon cars would have to deliver in order to avoid being fined for noncompliance. When cars were designed to meet buyer – rather than government – demands

 When that reversed, the car business hit the equivalent of a patch of black ice and skidded in a different – and unplanned – direction. Station wagons disappeared almost overnight, because the large sedans they were based on had been fatwa’dout of existence by fuel economy mandatory minimums which made them too expensive to build, due to the “gas guzzler” taxes heaped on them.

But – at the time – there was an end-run.

Pick-up trucks were not yet subject to the fatwas – which only applied to passenger cars. It occurred to someone at one of the car companies – it was Ford that hit paydirt first – that pick-ups share the same basic attributes which made large sedans – and the station wagons spun off from them – so popular with the market. The were big and had lots of room inside. They had big engines.

And they were rear-wheel-drive.

Exactly like the big sedans and wagons extincted by fatwa. Just with a bed out back, open to the elements.

Well, how about we enclose that bed? Lay down some carpet, bolt seats to the floor? Add extra doors?

To continue reading: The Last Redoubt?

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

“Capitalism Has Failed”, by Jeff Thomas

People point to present systems, none of which are capitalism by the usual definition of capitalism, and say that capitalism has failed. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

“Capitalism Has Failed”

Today, more than at any time previously, Westerners are justifying a move toward collectivist thinking with the phrase, “Capitalism has failed.”

In response to this, conservative thinkers offer a knee-jerk reaction that collectivism has also had a dismal record of performance. Neither group tends to gain any ground with the other group, but over time, the West is moving inexorably in the collectivist direction.

As I see it, liberals are putting forward what appears on the surface to be a legitimate criticism, and conservatives are countering it with the apology that, yes, capitalism is failing, but collectivism is worse.

Unfortunately, what we’re seeing here is not classical logic, as Aristotle would have endorsed, but emotionalism that ignores the principles of logic.

If we’re to follow the rules of logical discussion, we begin with the statement that capitalism has failed and, instead of treating it as a given, we examine whether the statement is correct. Only if it proves correct can we build further suppositions upon it.

Whenever I’m confronted with this now oft-stated comment, my first question to the person offering it is, “Have you ever lived in a capitalist country?” That is, “Have you ever lived in a country in which, during your lifetime, a free-market system dominated?”

Most people seem initially confused by this question, as they’re residents of either a European country or a North American country and operate under the assumption that the system in which they live is a capitalist one.

So, let’s examine that assumption.

A capitalist, or “free market,” system is one in which the prices of goods and services are determined by consumers and the open market, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.

Today, none of the major (larger) countries in what was once referred to as the “free world” bear any resemblance to this definition. Each of these countries is rife with laws, regulations, and a plethora of regulatory bodies whose very purpose is to restrict the freedom of voluntary commerce. Every year, more laws are passed to restrict free enterprise even more.

To continue reading: “Capitalism Has Failed”

The Fascinating Psychology of Blowoff Tops, by Charles Hugh Smith

Parabolic market runs are fun to watch, but not the inevitable crashes that follow. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Central banks have guaranteed a bubble collapse is the only possible output of the system they’ve created.
The psychology of blowoff tops in asset bubbles is fascinating: let’s start with the first requirement of a move qualifying as a blowoff top, which is the vast majority of participants deny the move is a blowoff top.
Exhibit 1: a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJ-30):
Is there any other description of this parabolic ascent other than “blowoff top” that isn’t absurdly misleading? Can anyone claim this is just a typical Bull market? There is nothing even remotely typical about the record RSI (relative strength index), record Bull-Bear ratio, and so on, especially after a near-record run of 9 years.
The few who do grudgingly acknowledge this parabolic move might be a blowoff top are positive that it has many more months to run. This is the second requirement of qualifying as a blowoff top: the widespread confidence that the Bull advance has years more to run, and if not years, then many months.
In the 1999 dot-com blowoff top, participants believed the Internet would grow at phenomenal rates for years to come, and thus the parabolic move higher was fully rational.
In the housing bubble’s 2006-07 blowoff top, a variety of justifications of soaring valuations and frantic flipping were accepted as self-evident.
In the present blowoff top, the received wisdom holds that global growth is just getting started, and corporate profits will soar in 2018. Therefore current sky-high valuations are not just rational, they clearly have plenty of room to rise much higher.
Skeptics are derided as perma-bears who’ve been wrong for 9 long years. This is the third requirement of qualifying as a blowoff top: Bears and other skeptics are mocked and/or dismissed as irrelevant.

Why You Should Embrace the Twilight of the Debt Bubble Age, by MN Gordon

How will America pay for the recently enacted tax reform bill? The same way it pays for everything else: with debt. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

People are hard to please these days.  Clients, customers, and cohorts – the whole lot.  They’re quick to point out your faults and flaws, even if they’re guilty of the same derelictions.

The recently retired always seem to have the biggest axe to grind.  Take Jack Lew, for instance.  He started off the New Year by sharpening his axe on the grinding wheel of the GOP tax bill.  On Tuesday, he told Bloomberg Radio that the new tax bill will explode the debt and leave people sick and starving.

“It’s a ticking time bomb in terms of the debt.

“The next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society.  How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut?  We are going to see proposals to cut health insurance for poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security.  One could not have made up a more cynical strategy.”

The tax bill, without question, is an impractical disaster.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s abnormal.  The Trump administration is merely doing what every other administration has done for the last 40 years or more.  They’re running a deficit as we march onward towards default.

We don’t like it.  We don’t agree with it.  But how we’re going to pay for it shouldn’t be a mystery to Lew.  We’re going to pay for it the same way we’ve paid for every other deficit: with more debt.

A Job Well Done

Of all people, Jack Lew should know this.  If you recall, Lew was the United States Secretary of Treasury during former President Obama’s second term in office.  Four consecutive years of deficits – totaling over $2 trillion – were notched on his watch.

 

To continue reading: Why You Should Embrace the Twilight of the Debt Bubble Age

The Corporate Socialist, from The Burning Platform

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/12/23/the-corporate-socialist/