We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, December 6. 2010
If advocates of capitalism want more sympathy, it’s past time to expose and shuck many so-called capitalists whose self-interest undermines capitalism.
Objectivist Richard Salsman cries for capitalism in Forbes, Where Have All The Capitalists Gone?
All true. And, misses much.
After all the manifest advantages of capitalism are appreciated, the inclination of some who are unproductive to take from the productive is discounted, and the false bravado is revealed of some who are wealthy – protecting their own with expensive lawyers – to suggest higher taxes, there’s great and increasing unease and anger at many of the biggees of capitalism.
Most of the biggees of capitalism have become “rent-seekers” (“In economics, rent seeking occurs when an individual, organization or firm seeks to earn income by capturing economic rent through manipulation or exploitation of the economic or political environment, rather than by earning profits through economic transactions and the production of added wealth.”) in unholy alliance with big government to line their own pockets and stifle competition from smaller firms and entrepreneurs.
It is not the socialists who are capitalism’s, and individual freedoms, worst enemy but the biggest companies themselves.
The invaluable muckraker Tim Carney provides us some examples.
The largest health insurers cozied up to ObamaCare, seeking protections and opportunities from the legislation, until too late in the game they awoke to find themselves, and Americans, screwed.
The largest food companies cozied up to enlarging the regulatory power of the Food and Drug Administration:
The biggees of government and capitalism enrich themselves and their clients through the revolving door.
The largest industrial companies fed at the trough of the trillion dollar “stimulus.”
Tim Carney’s recent book, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, is must reading.The revolt of the little-guys in the 2010 Congressional and state elections is our response. Most Americans did not replace Democrats just to enrich Republicans. Instead, most Americans stood up against capitalism’s evil-brother, the rent-seekers.
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If I may define my own terms a bit:
A "capitalist" might be one who owns significant resources for use in producing goods or services. A capitalist could be an individual or a corporation.
A "free marketer" is one who supports liberty and free exchange of goods and services,
The two groups overlap, but they aren't identical. Most important is the evidence that some "capitalists" are not "free marketers". These are the ones who would sell the rope that will be used to hang them, as Lenin said.
Rick Salsman would agree with you that capitalists who are "rent seekers" are part of the problem; he would tell you that laissez-faire would not permit or indulge rent-seeking behavior.
The simple truth is that big government creates big business.
Also of interest is that in the quarter that closed just prior to the Senate action on S-510 George Soros dropped a significant amount of money on one of the companies that stands to gain most from this insidious bill... Soros purchased 897,813 shares of Monsanto–his second-largest holding on a dollar basis–during the quarter.
Your TSA-designed spam filter will not allow me to direct you more directly to oxtones dot com wherein you can search Soros and look for the entry titled "George Soros: What’s His Fund Been Buying?"
Really!!!??? There are rich people who try to rig the system for their benefit?? Shocking!! Maybe if we rolled back how much the government was involved in the economy some of these people wouldn't be able to use the government to rig things in their favor. Whattaya think?
Tim Carney is right, and the point is that everything the federal and state governments do as far as regulating business just drives more small business out to the benefit of big business. We hear cries of the demise of the middle class, but go back 50 years when the middle class dominated the country and you will see that our economy was largely driven by small business. Tax laws, regulations, everything the government imposes on business actually eliminates competition for larger businesses which, coincidentally also fund the campaigns of the legislators who sign off on the squeeze put on the middle class.
Geoff, I agree whole heartedly and have been using the "capitalist" / "free market" nomenclature for some time.
I think there is substantial common ground here, for both the libertarians as well as the center-left; however, in my conversations with the center-left they seem to reflexively want to throw more gov't at the big businesses, leading to some face-palm moments... sigh
We should remember that Mattel poisoned children with imported lead painted toys then was a big supporter of the consumer protection law improvements that drive small competitors out of business and killed the resale/donation market for children's toys and clothing
Large corporations make noise about regulation but generally benefit from it. They are able through lobbying to influence its structure and the additional legal and administrative hurdles it sets up helps preclude new competitors from the marketplace.
I want to pass this along, as it's an insight I had from listening to The Road to Serfdom. Hayek mentioned something about the seeming chaos of capitalism versus planned economies.
I like to look at old photographs and there's a nice one of early Vancouver, WA in my lawyer's office. The waterfront is crowded with activity. There are houses and shacks everywhere and the whole area just seems alive. When you look at modern day photos of the same area, it looks like an architect's drawing. State DNR restricts use of the waterfront. Building is restricted. It dawned on me that I was seeing the difference in how free they were then, compared to now. When you see chaos and activity on a landscape, you are looking at freedom.