Skip to comments.The Limitations of Capitalism
Posted on 03/02/2014 11:05:06 AM PST by re_tail20
Dear Reader (Including the growing number of you who dont want this newsletter to be a safe place where you can share things),
Heres something I dont say everyday: Capitalism aint all that.
Dont get me wrong. Im still the artist behind the spoken-word album, Capitalism Is My Bag, Baby. But heres the problem. Because most people on the right love and respect capitalism and pretty much everyone on the right feels the very real need to defend capitalism from the Occupiers, technocrats, sans-culottes, nudgers, equalizers, faux pragmatists, and other members of the Social Justice League, we dont spend enough time focusing on the limitations of capitalism. I say limitations rather than faults, because limitations arent necessarily faults. This is a really important distinction that is sometimes lost on people. A car that cant go more than five miles per hour is faulty. A car that cant drive through solid rock is simply a car. Water has no protein. But few would say that water isnt essential or good. Water does what it does, but it cant do things water cant do. Air is awesome. I use it every day. Im using it right now! But if ever there was a good illustration of how necessary and sufficient arent the same thing, air is it.
And so it is with capitalism. Okay, technically we dont need capitalism the way we need air or water. Cavemen didnt have it. And, as a result, they ate a lot of grubs, scraped their dangly bits on rocks while running away from large hungry animals, and usually died a violent or painful death at a young age. The North Koreans dont have capitalism and many North Koreans would count themselves lucky to live like cavemen...
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
The Limitations of Capitalism ?
Seems like the people I know say that because some people are greedy, we need to get rid of capitalism.
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
First liberals destroy morality, then they offer to fill in the gap with tyranny. It really is that simple. But, thanks to liberal indoctrination, no one wants to hear about virtue and morality.
The question we are addressing is: Is there enough self-discipline for virtue and morality? The problem with conservatives is that they believe that everyone wants to be moral. They all claim to, but liberals want morality to incorporate all of their self-indulgent vices and to make moral what is not.
That then introduces the complaints of “judgment”, which Evan Sayat’s speech to the Heritage Foundation addresses very well:
How do you sell goodness and how do you define it without a religion that respects life? This is the current struggle within the GOP between the Christians and those who wish only for economic freedom. They haven’t figured out that you can’t have one successfully without the other.
Do you want to give them the bad news?
Capitalism, like science, is amoral.
The scientific method allows us to discover the truth about certain natural processes. It is absolutely silent about how we should use our knowledge. Any morality in science comes from outside science. For instance, any scientific criticism of Nazi experimentation on human subjects must be based on whether they experiments were well-designed, not on whether they were immoral.
By capitalism I’m assuming we’re really referring to the various processes of a free market. Which allow us to determine the methods for most efficiently distributing resources. As with science, capitaalism has no morality. The historical slave trade and the present-day market in sex slaves and illegal drugs are impeccably free market mechanisms. Morality must come to capitalism from outside.
Capitalism also has a great deal in common with biology in evolution. It has no predetermined end point or goal. The structure of the economy just “evolves.”
As with evolution, capitalism does not always achieve the optimum results from a purely rational POV. The history of economics is full of times when objectively superior products or processes fell by the wayside.
What capitalism (and evolution) do is provide “good enough” results over time to keep the system moving forward. No other known system is capable of doing this.
In America, at least, those who believe most strongly in economic evolution are least likely to believe in biological evolution, and the reverse. This has always seemed odd to me, :)
What he has described needs some explanation.
In all times and places, people have what are called “social sanctions”, the *unwritten* rules that all people are more or less required to follow, that are enforced by most everyone in society. Yes, like everyone else, America has them as well, for example:
A man puts on a t-shirt with the letters NAMBLA on it. To further reinforce the point, the back of the shirt says “I have sex with young children”. Now that man goes for a walk down a busy sidewalk. In most of the US, how far do you think he gets before being interfered with?
This is because he has violated one of our social sanctions.
Politicians are always big on trying to turn such unwritten laws into written ones. Hopefully to ride a popular wave of such sentiment to power.
And because Democrats and leftists want government to do everything for all people, they are constantly trying to push the public into abandoning its old social sanctions and adopting new ones. Ones that fit their agenda.
Conservatives, however, are somewhat caught in a quandary. They do not want government doing all these things, and want social sanctions to exist and evolve naturally. But for the people to do this takes much longer than for the government to order it, right or, for the most part, wrong.
And Democrats and leftists have figured out how to manipulate and force the debate in most cases. As the author said, conservatives just don’t have the knack or motivation to try to get others to do things. It goes against the grain.
Within this is the requirement that the operators of that enterprise be free to set prices such as to generate that surplus, if they can, subject to the freedom of their customers to deal with them or not as they choose. It has that, and only that relationship to human freedom.
Goldberg is certainly correct that to expect capitalism to supply moral and psychological needs is to expect something it cannot deliver. That is not particularly profound, patronizing comparisons to air or automobiles despite. Capitalism does offer free men and women a mechanism through which they may pursue moral and psychological satisfaction in a way that socialism does not, despite loud protestations to the contrary on the part of people who haven't learned from history.
Goldberg appears to link this to issues of domestic felicity raised by feminist cant in a way that, frankly, escapes me. MS magazine is a capitalist enterprise. So is Playboy. So what? Of course the mechanics of producing those magazines are dissociated from related moral and psychological issues, and Goldberg is correct, to criticize capitalism on that account is an exercise in irrelevancy. Why on earth does he continue going on about it?
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Free markets(capitalism) were around before governments and will be around when they fall.
USA is built upon private enterprise. More than 80% of people work in private/small businesses.
It’s all about preventing externalities. The government’s role should be limited to that.
There is an important aspect of capitalism often overlooked when capitalism is discussed.
Capitalism is not limited to a free people. Capitalism exists regardless of the societal structure. The difference is simply in who owns or controls the capital. Americanism promotes private ownership and control of capital whilst Communism owns and controls all of the capital.
America's constitutional guarantee of a republican form of government establishes a government whose main function is to protect the individual's private property rights. Protected property rights is why capitalism thrives among a free people.< p>
Not just greed, but limited minds and imperfect information. Although the price system aggregates useful supply/demand information in the best available way, it is still limited.
Achievement of happiness, the good life, life proper to a rational being, and well being, require gaining and keeping certain values and real goods. One of the real goods is wealth.Wealth is gained by a modern division of labor society. A modern division of labor society requires the institutions of capitalism.And the institutions of capitalism require rationality and rational preconditions.
What should be done with wealth is to protect the preconditions and the institutions, and to enlarge the division of labor, and promote economic progress, and to produce even more wealth and prosperity.