Category Archives: Capitalism

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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$15 Minimum Wage Imploding; Tight Labor Market Better Path to Higher Income, by Joe Guzzardi

The consequences of higher-than-market minimum wages are everywhere and always tragically predictable. From Joe Guzzardi at theburningplatform.com:

Raising and sustaining higher wages for American workers is impossible as long as the labor pool keeps expanding. Serious discussion about lasting improvements to the lives of the 40 million Americans stuck in low-paying jobs has to include an equally thoughtful discussion about limiting immigration.

While many in Congress and private sector economists embrace raising the $7.25 federal minimum wage where it’s been frozen in place for a decade, few speak out about reducing immigration as a permanent income-boosting cure. The academic exercise is basic – the more available workers, the better for employers. Conversely, tighten the labor pool, then advantage shifts to workers and job seekers.

Recently, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Raise the Wage Act which would, if it became law, gradually raise the federal minimum wage over five years to $15 an hour. So far, six states – California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – and the District of Columbia have adopted $15 as their minimum wage. Although not enough data is available to make a final conclusion about the $15 wage’s broad effects, Georgetown University public policy professor and former Clinton administration Labor Department economist Harry Holzer predicts significant job losses that would hurt low-skilled, less-educated minority employees who would resort to accepting cash off the books, and thereby forfeit any benefits they may have had.

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In Defence of Free Markets, by Alasdair Macleod

Despite it’s unrivaled record as the freest and most productive and prosperous economic system, people whisper the word capitalism, if they say it all. Even the author of this article uses the term free markets, not capitalism. Socialism, despite its terrible record, is hailed as humanity’s salvation. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Why is it that no one defends free markets, and socialism, despite all the evidence of its failures, comes back again and again? Unsurprisingly, the answer lies in politics, which have always led to a boom-bust cycle of collective behaviour. Furthering our understanding of this phenomenon is timely because the old advanced economies, burdened by a combination of existing and future debt, appear to be on the verge of an unhappily coordinated bust. But that does not automatically return us to the free markets some of us long for.

Cycles of collective behaviour

Throughout history there have been few long-lasting periods of truly free markets. Contemporary exceptions are confined to some small island states, forced to be entrepreneurial by their size and position vis-à-vis the larger nations with which they trade. The governments of these islands know that the state itself is not suited to entrepreneurship. Only by the state guarding the freedom of island markets and the sanctity of property rights can entrepreneurs serve the people in these communities and create wealth for all.

This is not the normal condition for larger nations. Before the Scottish enlightenment which nurtured David Hume and Adam Smith, the benefits of free trade were barely understood. Since then, the wealth created by free trade and sound money has nearly always been the springboard for detrimental change. Sometimes a political strongman, like Mao or Lenin dictates to the people what they can and cannot do. Alternatively, a leader courts popularity by taxing heavily the few for the alleged benefit of the masses. This is the model of welfare states today. Debasement of the means of exchange is an extension of these socialising policies, furthering the transfer of personal wealth to the state.

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“Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore”, by Jeff Thomas

Under the weight of creeping socialism that’s incorrectly identified as capitalism, the economy will collapse. Capitalism will be incorrectly blamed, but it will soften people up for creeping to become galloping socialism. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Recently, an American colleague commented to me, “We no longer live in a democracy but a dictatorship disguised as a democracy.”

Is he correct? Well, a dictatorship may be defined as “a form of government in which absolute authority is exercised by a dictator.”

The US today is not be ruled by dictatorship (although, to some, it may well feel that way.)

But, if that’s the case, what form of rule does exist in the US?

At its formation, the founding fathers argued over whether the United States should be a republic or a democracy. Those founders who later formed the Federalist Party felt that it should be a democracy – rule by representatives elected by the people. Thomas Jefferson, who created the Democratic Republican Party, argued that it should be a republic – a state in which the method of governance is democracy, but the principle of governance is that the rights of the individual are paramount.

He argued that, “Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty one percent can vote away the rights of the other forty nine.”

At that time, Benjamin Franklin has been credited as saying, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.”

Very well stated.

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