Skip to comments.Is It Possible to Criticize Some Aspects of Capitalism, Without Being Labelled a Socialist?
Posted on 02/17/2012 8:05:14 AM PST by pinochet
The leader of the Russian Communist Revolution, Vladmir Lenin, once declared that: "The capitalists will give us the rope, which we shall use to hang them".
For most of American history, capitalism has been a force for good, because most of America's leading capitalists were patriotic citizens, who were also devout Christians. So long as American capitalism is in the hands of patriotic Christians, the forces of capitalism can be harnessed to do a lot of good for America and the world. J. D. Rockefeller's fortune built the University of Chicago and other useful projects during his lifetime. American capitalist funds converted Harvard, Princeton, and Yale - which were founded as Christian seminaries to train clergymen, into world class universities. But the Rockefeller Foundation, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, have been hijacked by anti-Christian forces, and been used as tools to undermine American culture.
But we have to consider the possibility that a capitalist system can be very dangerous, if it is in the hands of people who hate America and hate Christianity. Do you remember when the Clinton administration was bribed by defence contractors, into permitting the transfer of US missile technology to China? China may attack America one day, with American missile technology. I am also opposed to selling US arms technology to Islamic regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt. These regimes have turned virulently anti-Israel, and may one day attack Israel using American technology. Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation, that should receive advanced weapons from America, because they are America's only true ally. American national security depends on putting the interests of Americans first, ahead of the corporate profits of defence contractors, who are notorious for bribing administration officials and congressmen.
Those of us who support capitalism should have a healthy debate among ourselves, in order to build a capitalist system that reflects our values, rather than one that undermines those values, and puts us in danger of destruction.
By the way, I have nothing against defence contractors. Planned Parenthood is a capitalist organization, that makes profits out of killing American babies. The more babies that Planned Parenthood kills, the more profits they make. Like other corrupt corporations, Planned Parenthood receives subsidies from the taxpayers, in order to make their profit margins even higher, and has a powerful lobby in Congress. While I oppose the military-industrial complex, I am even more opposed to the baby-killing industrial complex, which kills more people.
Crony Capitalism yes... Captialism... NO!
If your thoughts were of a school of fish, they would all be herring...red herring.
And this is more effort than your original statement deserves.
It’s not capitalism at fault, because all capitalism is an agreed exchange of assets for provided goods and services.
Capitalism without morals is a problem.
However, even in that incarnation it is better than any other economic system by far!
without the ‘military industrial complex’, our troops
would be left out in harms way holding nothing but their whazzits.
Capitalism is neither good nor evil. It is a system that, when combined with individual liberty, harnesses man’s inherent greed and unleashes man’s inherent creativity.
The undermining of individual liberty and capitalism is all traced to “tolerance” of those who want a different system.
Just as a religion cannot survive unless it enforces its beliefs, capitalism and individual liberty cannot survive if they tolerate socialists and collectivists.
Only through expulsion can these systems survive without being undermined from the inside.
It should be.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: Capitalism is the worst economic system in the world, except for all the others.
There is no such thing as vulture capitalism, that was just a stupid ass remark on “the Texas doofus” perry’s part.
I would say it’s impossible to criticize any aspect of capitalism without being called a socialist, liberal, and invited to go join the DU, here at FR.
However, I agree, capitalism in the hands of those who dislike America, and are conveniently patriotic, (that is, only patriotic when military protection is needed), as well as lacking moral grounding, can be less than positive.
While all things on earth can be “abused or abusive” (our new PC language, there) capitalism in the United States has been an indisputable engine for achievement and production in every field. However, the disturbing scenario now seems to be that we no longer produce anything to speak of in the US.
Another development I don’t quite understand is that under the name of capitalism we no longer are even able to practice stewardship because we don’t have to. We opted decades ago for insurance! Insurance of every stripe.
Before insurance there were great strides made in medicine, the doctor came to your home in many cases, and the cost of research, development and delivery was manageable from top to bottom.
Doctors of course did not have two or three half million dollar homes, and cash on hand for toys and investment in resort development, etc., etc.
I can’t explain it, but so much capitalismm has gone from a very local and independent universe to one of capital investment cartels of global magnitude, and disproportional profits of an entirely different nature from early capitalism.
There never will be a set of rules that are detailed enough to stamp out immorality. So the real question is — what system works best in the overall scheme? History reveals a clear path to propserity.
As for morality ...
A. What religions make people more moral and less moral?
B. What philosophies make people more moral and less moral?
History answers those questions too. Simple really.
I think Christian charity works best in a prosperous nation.
Capitalism can't have morals -- only people can. It's important to make that distinction. Capitalism exists (it's not really even a "system") where people trade freely with each other without the permission or control of the government. Dishonest or unethical people do not sully capitalism any more than liars diminish the freedom of speech.
Milton Friedman’s videos should be required studies for all highschool students.
The only problem I see with capitalism is that there are not enough capitalists.
Capitalist system can be very dangerous when in the hands of the socialists,Obama&Co have proved it for the last three years.
If I’m not mistaken, the very word “capitalism” was coined by Marx. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
Even by using the word, you are accepting Marx’s premises.
To me Liberty and Freedom (which are much older words and concepts) are the points to be debated. If you are not free to buy and sell goods and services then you are not truly free. Or so it seems to me.
That does not change the principles upon which Capitalism is based; it merely acknowledges the fact that Capitalism w/o moral and ethical leadership is dangerous to our Republic and our system of governance.
The problem is; moral and ethical leadership cannot be legislated or enforced by SEC rules and regulations; it must come from within ...from the character that should be instilled within ourselves and our leaders. The lack of these qualities is merely an example of the rot that permeates our entire culture.
Of course any attempt to discuss this within Republican “circles” will be immediately shouted down by the GOP-E, their media minions and a host of unwitting acolytes. They are not w/o blame; thus they protest most vociferously in order to obfuscate the issue.
Planned Parenthood is an organization which exists in a semi-capitalist country. Do you want to debate capitalism or abortion? The two have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.
According to what you've posted, you misstated your thread's title. This isn't about capitalism, it's about the government-dominated, mixed welfare-state economy we've been allowing to grow since the thirties.
Capitalism is another word for freedom and, no, you can't criticize it without being labeled a socialist.
Thanks to Rush, multi-national corporations are holy, while Main Street should move over for the big box stores. Shame on Rush.
Main Street is free enterprise = good.
Multi-nationals are our dictators = evil
There is nothing wrong with Capitalism. Everything you state as a downside of “Capitalism” isn’t the fault of Capitalism, but of those seeking to subvert it.
Methinks Wikipedia doth protest to much on the etymology of the word capitalism.
They seem to go to lots of trouble to find citings of the word before Marx and Engels and then go on to say that Marx and Engels used the word and leave it at that.
Maybe Marx and Engels weren’t the very first to use some word that had “Capital” in it - but then algore wasn’t the first to think about the internet either - but we all know he gets credit for its invention. ;)
. . . capitalism - the word and the concept - was the brainchild of Karl Marx. As well as offering an -ism opposite his own -ism, it describes a rigid class society in which one class possesses the means of production, the other nothing except its labor. The latter class is called The Proletariat who, as Lenin declared, can lose nothing but its chains when it rises against the oppressor.
This is not the place to argue whether capitalism was the appropriate way to describe certain European societies. The point is that owning things has always been open to Americans. The moment you buy one share of stock, you part-own means of production, not to mention owning your home and arriving at your place of work in your own automobile - a very American image.
America never had a proletariat.
In that case, America could not have been a capitalist country.
To the best of my knowledge, no one has redefined capitalism after Marx, and it is inappropriate to use a word whose meaning is different from what the speaker has in mind.
Perhaps what we have in America is best described as a free-enterprise system.
- Balint Vazsonyi -
Bribery, in the form of campaign contributions, and likely other emoluments in the form of steering jobs and work to friends of politicians, is not capitalism.
It’s actually socialism, in that market forces have been replaced by poltical forces. The entire economy is subsidizing a bad choice of goods and services. This choice, in fair and free market competition, would never have been made.
In its role as provider of the common defense, the USG allowing the Chinese solid-rocket booster secrets was treason, and again, a crime, and not something that is an economic question.
The USG, as customer, can direct a defense contractor to keep secrets and market their technology only to them, since what the USG is ordering is essentially custom engineering. ‘Allowing’ the Chinese to buy it from willing sellers, again, isn’t an economic question, since what was offered to the Chinese was custom work, not a product intended for authorized purchase on a retail defense arms market.
Clinton committed a crime, and he’s going to skate on it.
This has ZERO to do with economics.
All of the great economic crises in the last 20 years were touched off by the USG changing a regulation that was put in place because of the economic crises that came before it.
What is completely stupid about it was that the Long Term Capital Management collapse happened a year before Clinton signed the Glass-Steagall act repeal. He’s not completely to blame, in fact, it was Phil Gramm and Jim Leach that floated the bill in the first place.
The Glass-Steagall repeal was just the beginning of the ‘unlearning of hard historical lessons’.
Another boneheaded move by the USG was the ‘Mark to Market Ruling’. This allowed Enron to realize a capital gain on a major industrial development at the time the deal was booked, not at the time the development came on line.
This removed any motivation at all by Enron to actually ensure the development saw the light of day. “That was last year’s sale - I’ve already been compensated for it.”
Add some world class accounting fraud, faulty audits, and poor management and you had Enron.
And let’s not forget all the simple math that got thrown out the window at about that time with Fannie and Freddy.
The USG held a gun to the banks heads and said, “We want you to make more loans to minorities and the poor.”
Banks: “They can’t pay it back. We’ll be holding those loans on our books.”
USG: “We’ll back the loans with taxpayer dollars.”
Banks: “We have a plan - we’ll bundle it and sell it like we sold junk bonds in the 1980’s - high yield stuff - people will know what they are getting into.”
USG: “That’s no good, people are going to know that the average taxpayer is basically making loans to people who can’t pay it back.”
Banks: “Well, if you’re backing them, then wouldn’t those bonds carry the same rating as the USG, even if the loans in the package aren’t worth a dime?”
USG: “Warren, what say you? Willing to rate this crap as golden if the schmuck taxpayer is floating the tab? . . . “
Warren: (in the background) “ Easy Liz!! It’s viagra, not coke! (in the call) “Uuuh, yeah, sure. Let’s make some money and help some poor people out at the same time.”
USG: “You know, there’s just no end to doing good for the people of this great country.”
Lenin has NOTHING to do with it. This is all the USG. All of it. You ought to hear what they tell freshmen congressmen and senators when they get it:
“You can’t be on top of it all. You have to pick an area you are going to be as expert on as you can, and then you’re going to be our guy on it, and what you say about it is essentially going to influence in large member how the whole party is going to vote on it. It’s a team effort, and you’ll have to trust your teammates on the issues you aren’t an expert in.”
That’s how you get here. The blind leading the stupid, who in tern lead us. Mark Twain said this over a 100 years ago. All these guys were ever really good at was getting elected. What makes anyone think that just because they could get elected, they could also lead?
Defense contractors selling secrets to the Chinese? Is that the best example you have? Do you mean to say that socialist regimes have no traitors?
“While I oppose the military-industrial complex...”
Yeah, Eisenhower warned us about that, and yet he was CiC of the military and the top general against Hitler in WWII. He even had to contemplate the Nazis on the verge of atom bomb technology; imagine that. Even before he became president, Truman and FDR had messed up with the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the world — Stalin had already stolen our atom bomb secrets.
So obviously, we had a greater need than ever for strong military during Ike’s “industrial military complex” warning. The CIA was so infiltrated, as I understand it, that they wanted JFK to ignore warnings about nuclear missiles in Cuba. The most dangerous complex back then was a mommy complex by our academe to nurture the USSR and marxism.
Whatever concerns Ike had at the time were nothing compared to our current crisis.
Year of the Rat exposed Clinton’s nuclear treason reg. Chinagate.
If you are too stupid to make a fair deal for yourself you are too stupid to be wandering around without your keeper.
The socialist notion that the government has the right to legislate equality of outcome, to redistribute wealth, to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, is the root cause of our current financial disaster.
Both branches of the BIG GOVERNMENT PARTY are guilty and should be outlawed and disbanded. They are nothing more than organized criminal enterprises.
Individuals responsible for passing or implementing unconstitutional “feel good” socialist laws and policies should be prosecuted for violating their oath of office, given a fair trial and sentenced to imprisonment for life in hard-time penitentiaries.
Replace “Capitalism” with “Free Markets”. Free markets do not mean that there are no restraints on behavior. For instance, throwing a bomb into a competitor’s business might be good “business”, but it has nothing to do with Free Markets, since it involves a “transaction” to which your competitor did not agree. And we if we do not restrain you, who is going to restrain your other competitors?
Almost *any* interference with free markets does harm, in principle. In the very few instances where there may be a case for government intervention in free markets, in principle, in practice the government regulations tend to do (much) more harm than good.
I do not see environmental law as a case where government interfers with free markets, rather it can be a reason restraint on behavior, regardless of whether the behavior is commercially motivated or not. Of course, special interests have abused common sense environmental law and turned it into bludgeon with which to throttle industry, leaving us all poorer.
Milton Friedman does a better job of defending free markets than I ever could. To paraphrase him, the free market is the most remarkable invention for lifting people out of poverty that has ever been invented.
“Everything you state as a downside of Capitalism isnt the fault of Capitalism, but of those seeking to subvert it.”
You almost hit the nail on the head. So close!
All large scale corruption that seems to be due to capitalism is indeed due to subversion [as you say], but petty corruption is in all forms of government.
“Capitalism is neither good nor evil. It is a system that, when combined with individual liberty, harnesses mans inherent greed and unleashes mans inherent creativity.”
Say this again. Say it loud. Say it clear. Then say it yet again and again.
“Capitalism” is a pejorative word invented by Marxists; I have no idea why those of us who support economic freedom should adopt our opponents’ terminology to describe ourselves.
The concept of anyone claiming to be pro-capitalism is bizarre. Are they really claiming to support everything that every businessman has ever done? Really? I don’t support capitalism, I support freedom, and one component of freedom is economic freedom, which means that the individual has the right to order his business activity as he sees fit - regardless of whether I approve or disapprove. It seems we understand other types of freedom better. Most of us support freedom of speech (or at least claim to), certainly that doesn’t mean we agree with everything that anyone has to say. Further, we can agree with the concept of freedom of religion without adopting the theology of every disperate religion on the planet. Yet when it comes to the economic realm there seems to be no shortage of those eager to enforce their will upon others.
You can’t criticize capitalism without being called a socialist. It’s called demonizing.
The term "capitalistic production" was in widespread use long before Marx and referred simply to any process that employed capital (tools) to enhance the raw labor of man.
And "Capitalism" is a perfectly valid description of a system where individuals own those tools -- the means of production, i.e., capital. Capital is not just big gobs of money, it is a farmer's barn and his tractor. It's his seed corn and his cows. Everything he uses to produce the goods which we buy.
Capital is also the money saved up by the entrepreneur (or borrowed from funds others have saved) to purchase raw materials and pay his employees' wages while waiting for production to be completed and his products sold.
Marx's premises were completely wrong, illogical, and unworkable. Without private ownership, trade, profits, and prices, economic calculation is impossible and a socialist system must eventually collapse under its own mounting inefficiencies.
It's also important to remember that Marx admired capitalism and credited it with the amazing increases in production and living standards already seen by the mid-19th century. He believed it would end naturally and be replaced by socialism simply as a result of new production methods which would render it obsolete.
At any rate, I think we should explain capitalism and revel in it. Not try to paper it over with other less-loaded terms. We're just caving to the socialists if we do.
Private sector ponzi schemes can be pretty large scale though [though not as dangerous as government ponzi schemes].
Tricky, but generally speaking, we are right.
There is nothing evil about multi-national corporations or capitalism. There is however something evil about any institution big or small using it’s wealth and influence to bribe politicians to force/prevent/incentivise/discourage/etc... free people from purchasing one product or service over another. The evil is not in the capitalism (freedom). It is in the government interference(force).
I think ‘capitalism’ is an evolving word, the same as ‘conservative’ is. When the left tries to demonize something, it often is given a boost in peoples’ minds. Weird, huh?
You know, like a Republic with Democratically elected representation that is limited by some form of written codex or constitution. Maybe tack on a list of basic Rights that that Countries citizens could use as a protected "starter set" of privileges and immunities.
If only we knew of a Country that still ran under such a system...
If you want to throw your money away, then may God have mercy on you.
Please wake up. The Rockefellers were evil personified, in bed with the Reds from the getgo. Hello, the UN is built on Rockefeller property.
Crony capitalism is MONOPOLY capitalism is FASCISM. Any company too big to fail or big enough to sway the market and cause manipulated profit or collude with or extort agreement from competitors to form raw materials and price fixing cartels, should be dismantled. The Federal Reserve, a non governmental banking monopoly needs to be deconstructed ASAP. Capitalism is about COMPETITION where bad ideas get weeded out before they can destroy the economy.
The Price of “Capitalism”
What is American Corporatism?
“Husbands are like fires. They go out if unattended.” — Zsa Zsa Gabor
Much the same rule applies to capitalists. They are in continual competition with circumstances as well as each other, so if allowed to operate without regulation, they will tend to run amok. Importantly, even they realize this, so if they are not regulated, they will automatically seek to gain political power, both for themselves, but also to prevent other capitalists from running amok.
They crave order. Not chaos and anarchy, and not micromanagement. But the healthy middle between those extremes.
The 20th Century demonstrated this very well. First, the communists tried to nationalize everything, thinking that government could run things better than capitalists. And this was an *organizational* catastrophe.
Then Fascist economists created the idea of “public-private partnerships”, which had great appeal, and many examples of which still exist. It amounted to government telling corporations what to produce, but then leaving it up to them to figure out *how* to produce it. But this is still too far on the micromanagement side.
The US is still afflicted with examples of both of these models, as well as the extremes of micromanagement and the extreme of chaotic, anarchic capitalism.
The reason that the law affords human rights to corporations goes back to the pre-war Lincoln administration, when states tried to exploit national companies, especially the railroads, that did business through them. Today, however, it has become the fundamental core of business law.
Eventually, it will probably need a constitutional amendment to create corporate rights as “separate and distinct” from human rights and the Bill of Rights.
By the turn of the Century, capitalist competition had become so fierce that monopolization (the ‘Trusts’) had become a major problem, so government had to intervene to bust up such cartels. But it took from almost the start of the 19th Century for things to get this bad.
Today it is still a problem, with “oligopolies”, like big media, exploiting their cartel position to foul up the marketplace.
It is ironic, I suppose, that Al Gore has come out to proclaim that corporations should not report on a quarterly basis, as it makes it too easy for investors to figure out and dump when they are scams. Such as the scams he generates.
Yeah, just another evil capitalist hypocrite.
Capitalism is the economic system that is compatible with natural rights. When a country is a threat to the natural rights of America (China), or a group has declared war against America (Moslems), America has the perfect right to use force to protect its natural rights by limiting the economic freedom of companies that do business with its enemies. Also, when an American company does business with America’s enemies, it forfeits its economic freedom.
By the way, bribery and corruption can be and are rife in almost all systems and have to do with corrupt people not something inherently bad about our capitalist system.
In fact, IMO, many of the government controls put on our system have made it more susceptible to bribery and corruption.