Posts Tagged: 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.)"

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"Albert Jay Nock used to say that the state was created for the criminal purpose of creating a dependent class without access to property, for the benefit of the elites with access to land. The Brazilian state, in its uncompromising defense of big corporations’ “private property” combined to its ever dedicated effort to deprive poor of their property and control their access to land, is proof of that criminal intent. After all, from whom are the all the World Cup and Belo Monte property-less going to claim restitution?"

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"Our whole economy is governed by a set of metrics that equates the consumption of inputs to the creation of value. The greater the cost of inputs consumed to produce a given good or service, and the higher its resulting final price, the more value is created. This is the opposite of the commonsense approach we take in our daily lives. When we find a way to meet our needs at a lower cost, and with less effort, we consider ourselves better off."

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"Over two hundred years ago free market economist Adam Smith pointed out that, when businesspeople get involved in government, it’s to protect themselves against competition and rob the public. And it’s just as true of the Kochs as of the rest of them."

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"That it makes these unstated assumptions is of course unremarkable, because they are at the core of the official ideology of the big business-big government nexus that defines the existing capitalist system. The dominant players in the corporate economy have a vested interest in promoting the erroneous assumption that their concentrated wealth and economic power are legitimate because they result from superior performance in “our free market economy” or “our free enterprise system.” And advocates for the regulatory state have a similar vested interest in promoting the equally erroneous assumption that state intervention is necessary to prevent rising concentrations of economic power and disparities of wealth."

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"But a basic law of economics is that when you subsidize an input, people tend to use more of it. And businesses will tend to substitute that artificially cheap input for other inputs. The distorted price system will give an artificial advantage to firms most heavily dependent on that input. For example, subsidies to long-distance shipping infrastructure will tend to benefit the firms with the largest market areas, and the largest-scale production facilities shipping their output the furthest distance. It will make them artificially competitive against smaller, more localized — and more efficient — forms of production. It will create artificial economies of scale at levels where they would otherwise have levelled off, and lead to an economy of artificially large firms serving centralized markets."

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Only 13 percent of people worldwide actually like going to work

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"The unique potential of electrical power, for many decades, was diverted into a mass-production cul de sac. Only with the decay of the Sloanist system, beginning with the economic stagnation and oil shocks of the 1970s, did electrical power begin to live up to its decentralizing potential."

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"A great deal of what is called “progress” amounts, not to an increase in the volume of consumption per unit of labor, but to an increase in the inputs consumed per unit of consumption—namely, the increased cost and technical sophistication entailed in a given unit of output, with no real increase in efficiency."

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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

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