Posts Tagged: capitalism

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Beyond the Boss: Protection from Business in a Free Nation

What would life be like in a libertarian society — a society with a completely unregulated, laissez-faire market? One worry that many critics have is that, without the various government regulations that aim to protect the weak from being exploited by the strong, consumers would be at the mercy of producers, employees would be at the mercy of employers, debtors would be at the mercy of creditors, and tenants would be at the mercy of landlords.

Some libertarians, of a rightward-leaning bent, are unmoved by these criticisms, because they regard the regulations that currently exist as stacking the deck in favor of consumers, employees, debtors, and tenants. The removal of regulations, as they see it, would simply restore equality. Such libertarians reject the leftist notion of business interests as a powerful and potentially dangerous force in modern society; they tend instead to agree with Ayn Rand’s characterization of Big Business as “a persecuted minority.” (Rand also referred to the military-industrial complex as “a myth or worse.”) Leftists find this blindness to the power of business so baffling that they tend to dismiss libertarians as apologists for the ruling class.

But libertarians have not always been so friendly to business interests. Adam Smith fulminated against what he called the “mercantile interest”; more recently, libertarian authors like Karl Hess, Paul Weaver, and Mary Ruwart have denounced the pernicious effects of big business. (And even Ayn Rand was sensitive to the problem in her novels, though for some reason not in her nonfiction.) …

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"If it seems to be too easy for we libertarians to assert that markets simply regulate themselves, consider that in fact it is competitors who are continually regulating each other. Doubtless in a free market these competitors could band together, voluntarily forming monopolistic trusts in order to squeeze consumers. But free and open competition sans coercive barriers to entry disincentives this at every turn, whereas the arbitrary power of central government agencies virtually guarantees that the politically connected will use agencies’ rule-making authority to destroy potential competitors and accordingly form cartels."

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Liberalism: What’s Going Right

… RFK, Jr. is a good example. He refers to markets in a positive way, but (unlike Obama and Goolsbee) sharply distinguishes the free market from corporate capitalism. In fact he demonizes the corporate economy in terms of free market principles,

You show me a polluter and I’ll show you a subsidy. I’ll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market and load his production costs onto the backs of the public.

… Free markets, when allowed to function, properly value raw materials and encourage producers to eliminate waste – pollution – by reducing, reusing, and recycling…

The truth is, I don’t even think of myself as an environmentalist anymore. I consider myself a free-marketeer.

Corporate capitalists don’t want free markets, they want dependable profits, and their surest route is to crush the competition by controlling the government.

Let’s not forget that we taxpayers give away $65 billion every year in subsidies to big oil, and more than $35 billion a year in subsidies to western welfare cowboys. Those subsidies helped create the billionaires who financed the right-wing revolution on Capitol Hill and put George W. Bush in the White House. …

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'Capitalism', 'Crony Capitalism', and Advice For Market Libertarians

The youtube channel AnarchistCollective discuss three defintions of capitalism with many accolades for C4SS writers Kevin Carson and Gary Chartier.

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This booklet collects three Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) feature articles by left-libertarian writer Anna O. Morgenstern, examining the rel­ation­ship between anarchism, capitalism and pro-capitalist “libertarian­ism,” including: “Anarcho-Capitalism is Im­pos­s­ible,” “Anarchism & Capitalism: A Revisitation,” and “Market Anarchism vs. Market Statism.”

“Goals sometimes lead people toward certain means, but it is the means that determine results, not the goals. And if the anarcho-capitalists follow anarchist means, the results will be anarchy, not some impossible ‘anarcho-capital­ism.’ …

“Anarchy does not mean social utopia, it means a soci­e­t­y where there is no privileged authority. There will still be social evils to be dealt with under anarchy. But anarchy is an important step toward fighting those evils with­out giving birth to all new ones. My take on the impossibility of anarcho-capitalism is simply as follows:

  • Under anarchism, mass accumulation and concentration of cap­it­al is impossible.
  • Without concentration of capital, wage slavery is im­poss­ible.
  • Without wage slavery, there’s nothing most people would re­cog­nize as ‘capitalism.’

“Even assuming an ‘anarcho-capitalist’ property re­g­ime, any­thing recognizable as ‘capitalism’ to any­one else could not exist. In fact the society would look a lot like what ‘an­archo-socialists’ think of as ‘social­ism.’ Not ex­act­ly like it, but much closer than anything they’d imagine as capitalism… .”

The essays in this collection first appeared in 2010 and 2014, as Featured Articles at the Center for a Stateless Society, a left-wing market anarchist think tank and media center. They appear here in print for the first time.

Anna O. Morgenstern, a Contributing Writer at the Center for a Stateless Society, has been an anarchist of one stripe or another for almost 30 years. Her intellectual interests include economic history, social psychology and volunt­ary organization theory. She writes frequent com­ment­ar­ies for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Support C4SS with Anna O. Morgenstern’s “Anarcho-‘Capitalism’ Is Impossible”

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Three provocative libertarian perspectives on the liberation, corporation, and the Big C.Charles Davis writes that libertarians are very confused about capitalism, and that a radical re-appraisal of the debate shows that libertarian principles should go a lot further than mainstream libertarians have been willing to take them. David S. D’Amato argues, against business reformists, that inclusive capitalism is a contradiction in terms. And while many more libertarians are beginning to wake up to the structural problems in the corporate economy,Kevin Carson points out it’s the capitalism, not the cronyism that’s at the root of the problem.

“Let’s start over. The wealthy elite are too tainted by the current system of state capitalism for us to rely on a “good” and “bad” distinction when it comes enormous wealth. No one worth more than $10 million is able to get that much money without systemic state violence. There is no reason they should get a head start in Liberty Land… . no matter what one replaces it with, dismantling an unjust system requires addressing the injustices that system created. If you don’t, then your idea of “freedom” will be attacked as the freedom to be exploited by the same people running the world today. And with good reason.” — Charles Davis.

“The political-economic reality in this country, confirmed by recent studies as well as well-nigh everything we can observe about the political process, is that big capital keeps American policy­makers comfortably and securely in its pockets. And, sad to say, an ‘in­clusive’ kind of capitalism — oxymoron that it is — is not and never has been the order of the day… . In conditions of economic freedom — mean­ing circumstances in which land and opportunities are no co­erc­iv­e­ly monopolized — labor would simply enjoy far more bar­gain­ing pow­er, able to maintain self-sufficiency apart from the Big Business economy. In­deed, the way to fabricate a system wherein the vast majority of indiv­id­u­als are inclined to work for a pittance of a wage at huge, face­less org­an­iz­a­t­ion is to use the power of legal and regulatory authority to fore­close other options… .” — David S. D’Amato.

“Conservatives & rightwing libertarians drastically under­est­i­mate the extent to which state intervention has been struct­ur­al­ly central to capit­al­ism as a historical system since its very beginnings. The en­clos­ure of open fields for sheep pasture in late medieval and early modern times, the Parliamentary Enclosures of common woods, waste and past­ure in the 18th century, the colonial enclosure of land in the Third World and eviction of native cultivators, the engrossment of Third World mines and mineral resources, the enslavement of nonwhite populations – no­thing remotely resembling the contemporary concentration of economic pow­er and wealth, or the model of corporate capitalism most people think of as ‘normal’ …” — Kevin Carson.

“Libertarians Are Very Confused About Capitalism” was written by Charles Davis and published in November 2013 by the online magazine Salon.com. Charles Davis is a radical columnist, producer and researcher in Los Angeles, California. His work regularly appears in publications such as VICE, Salon, AlterNet, and Al Jazeera English. He keeps a website at charliedavis.blogspot.com

Support C4SS With ALL Distro’s “CAPITALISM”

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"The current structure of capital ownership and organization of production in our so-called “market” economy, reflects coercive state intervention prior to and extraneous to the market. From the outset of the industrial revolution, what is nostalgically called “laissez-faire” was in fact a system of continuing state intervention to subsidize accumulation, guarantee privilege, and maintain work discipline."

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"Put the two principles together, and you get a model of “revolution” based on starting from the myriad seeds of the future society within the present system, growing and nourishing them, and building the new system within the shell of the old. Meanwhile, we starve the old system by shifting increasing amounts of our labor, money and resources out of it and into the new one of our own making. Eventually the growing seeds will coalesce into a full-blown system that supplants the old one, and the old system will survive only as shrinking islands of authority and exploitation within a fundamentally different society based on freedom and abundance."

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C4SS Media presents 's “We Should Abandon The Term ‘Capitalism” read by James Tuttle and edited by Nick Ford.

Advocating liberty means opposing the use of force to restrain peaceful, voluntary exchange. But it doesn’t have to mean calling a system of peaceful, voluntary exchange “capitalism.”

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"In Kolko’s view, all historically existing capitalist systems have relied on the state. Once state-promoted railroads had become the biggest 19th-century investment sector, their subsequent difficulties necessarily called forth further aid from a political system eager to help. Given their origins, American railroads essentially rested on gross over- or malinvestment, a situation made worse by the land speculation they encouraged, as well as watered stock and endless promotional scams. Alas, just enough sharp fellows had scrambled into railroading to create a degree of competition that might ruin or certainly inconvenience the owners once they actually had to transport something and make money on their massive fixed capital. Following regulatory proposals through Congress (and elsewhere) between 1877 and 1916, Kolko concluded that railroads dominated overall and got most of what they wanted. This was the birth of self-conscious political capitalism. (Meanwhile, one could add, the railroad industry had done much harm, economically and socially, by fostering “economies” on a new and artificial scale [“national markets”]; and, as economist Michael Perelman writes, the railroad industry’s seeming immunity to market forces confused economists, who developed new — and not necessarily better — economic theories.)"