Skip to comments.Free Markets Killed Capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 Percentís Sick
Posted on 07/01/2014 7:42:29 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Free Markets Killed Capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 Percents Sick Triumph Over Us All
Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power -- and how we can restore fairness
Barry C. Lynn is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of two important books, End of the Line and Cornered, the latter of which describes the dramatic return of monopoly to the American landscape. Both books had a big effect on me when they appeared, as did Lynns periodic articles in Harpers Magazine describing the concentration of economic power in all sorts of different industries. One of the reasons his books startled me is the weird silence of virtually all our other popular economic writers on the subject. Monopoly is back, in a massive way, and yet it seems as though even liberals often have trouble talking about it. If were really going to do something about inequality, however, its time we looked this thing in the face.
Barry Lynn and I sat down and talked it over last week. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Monopoly: It sounds like a very old-fashioned problem. It sounds like an economic issue from the 19th century. Is it still a problem today?
Yes, absolutely, a huge problem. The American economy is more concentrated today than its been in more than a century, since the days of the plutocrats. Pretty much every sector of the economy is dominated by a few Goliaths, sometimes a single dominant corporation. And this poses immense economic and political dangers, to growth and the quality of our jobs, and to our democracy itself.
(Excerpt) Read more at salon.com ...
Oy Veh Ping.
Salon still publishing?
Another WSJ lefty that got the boot post-Reagan. Socialism dies hard, doesn’t it.
Free markets is what we need, not “capitalism”. Conservatives should favor free markets over “big business” any day.
“Pretty much every sector of the economy is dominated by a few Goliaths, sometimes a single dominant corporation.”
OK. Let’s say this is true, and the left fears a few Goliath corporations that control too much. So how in the world do they equate that with believing all will be better if the economy is dominated by a SOLE mega-Goliath, AKA the federal government? I’m all for breaking up big companies that use their crony capitalist connections with government to destroy competition, but putting faith in even bigger government to fix it all is doubling down on stupid.
We can’t have vibrant smaller companies when the huge corporations are the only ones capable of dealing with all the laws and red tape. Those laws protect the huge multinationals from competition.
Salon, The shampoo of objective journalism.
Wipe, flush, repeat.
I live in a neighborhood that works for a living, I have yet to meet a 1%’er.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
All my life I was trained to like Capitalism. Hey, it’s the opposite of Communism, right? It’s what American is all about, right?
Turns out — not so much. Capitalism, rightly understood, only exists when Big Government colludes with Big Business. All the regulations, the tax policy, the tariffs, etc. are written by lobbyists to help Government get bigger and help business get bigger. The old “Military-Industrial Complex”? It’s not just “military”: it’s “government”. That joining of forces is what strangles the Middle Class.
With an actual Free Market, you have actual people running actual businesses. That’s where the Middle Class comes from.
I’ll support Free Markets any day of the week. But not Capitalism. I say that Capitalism and Socialism all inevitably end up as Fascism, which is what we have here in the USA.
There’s no problem with “big business”, nor is there any real threat from monopolies either... Unless they are government-enforced. A natural monopoly in a free market is either efficiently deploying resources to provide value, or it is not and will be outmaneuvered by a startup competitor. It’s not the size of the company that matters as much as the barriers to entry they erect with the help of government. Drop the artificial barriers and most if not all monopolies are temporary.
I think you have your own definition of capitalism.
We don’t have free markets, we have a corporist system.
Large firm partner with the Fedgov in order to drive out competition.
The whole US Chamber of Commerce is in collusion with the government to make policies that benefit some companies at the expense of their competitors. Like being pro-amnesty.
All you’re doing is accepting the author’s premise.
All directly traceable to our Federal Reserve, fiat money, and the nanny-state. Oh, and by the way, that's NOT capitalism.
I think it’s the opposite of the authors premise.
Capitalism and corporate-government collusion has killed off the free markets. I think Clear Case Guy feels the same way.
Capitalism is a word invented by Marx, so it has always been a loaded term. Regardless, You should get the real definition of capitalism. capitalism IS free-markets. Whatever you are thinking of is not "capitalism."
Not mine alone.
Look at stock market regulations, auto industry regulations, airline regulations, energy, education, healthcare.
Can any big business exist without a heavy layer of government control and oversight? I say that this is exactly capitalism. Can you point to billionaires or Fortune 500 companies that are not directly in bed with the government?
I look for Free Markets, and I find none. I look at big business and I find Big Government calling the shots and telling us that they need to smooth out the inequalities of “Capitalism”.
The “solution” is actually the “problem”.
Where do you find “Capitalism” devoid of government control?
Bingo! You got it.
The thing is, in a free market, there may be a monopoly for a time, but the monopoly will only exist for as long as it is economically viable and provides actual value to the people who patronize it. That's because it still has to operate in accordance with the laws of economics.
Whereas a government monopoly can run indefinitely at a a loss, until it bankrupts the entire economy, as the government continues to operate it by printing money that has less and less value, until society ultimately collapses when the money become worthless.
Leftist economists make me sick.
You attach “ism” to anything and it turns evil.
Big Business forced the gay agenda and global warming agenda on us. They are going to force every other left agenda on us. is that a problem?
A 1% is a family that makes around $350,000 per year gross. A good income but hardly a millionaire. They are normally people who own small business like a retail store or franchise. Several of the people I met in business where the vaunted and diabolical 1%. Most often they where home improvement company owners who worked eighty or more hours a week.
Believe me, 1% are mostly working for a living and employing many people who rely on them for a pay check.
Of course through magic almost all congressmen and Senators are 1%’s even if they enter Congress dead broke. Somehow they all seem to become the Worlds greatest real estate and stock speculators.
Mike Lee is pretty much on our side of the argument:
The other day I was at the dentist, having a great time inhaling nitrous oxide as anaesthetic for a procdure when I had the following thought:
At the end of your life, or anywhere in the middle for that matter; anything whatsoever you read in the Atlantic Monthly, Salon and all manner of similar navel-gazing magazines discussing subtle nuances of nothingness, so painstakingly constructed by the intellectual titans who inhabit these publications; versus developing and enjoying your life according to simple, time-proven and fundamental principles, is vanishingly meaningless.
When big businesses collude, it is anti-free market. Most of the real bad guys in Atlas Shrugged were big business crony people.
Excellent observations and conclusions. Would that more Americans were aware of these facts.
This is the jack hole who wrote “What’s the matter with Kansas?”....a leftie bit of nonsense suggesting that conservatives are too stupid to vote in their own beat interest.
So you’re saying free markets are possible without capital?
I’m guessing you think “capitalism” (your quotation marks, not mine) differs from captial-based economic systems.
Capital is stored value. Capital is good. It’s also pretty much unavoidable. If you cut enough firewood to last all winter, you’ve stored up capital, and thank goodness for that.
The notion that some of us are putting forward is that “Capitalism” is a political movement in which government is deeply involved in economic matters. The politicians want to get friendly with the businessman and the businessman wants to get friendly with the politician. Capitalism is inherently about cronyism.
Free markets don’t involve politicians. They involve buyers and sellers.
“Free markets dont involve politicians. They involve buyers and sellers.”
And when a seller screws a buyer or vice-versa, to whom does the free marketer appeal.
Even F. A. Hayek concedes that some government is necessary for a functioning free market — most especially, a captial-based system.
Not what I said.
“Capitalism” as a term doesn’t mean free people buying, selling and producing freely. Wasn’t this a term coined by Karl Marx? What is state capitalism?
Imagine if FDR had his way and there was no price/cost competition within an industry, and government would decide who was allowed to get into an industry or not. It would still have been “capitalism”, but it would not have been what you mean by the term.
Free market economics are what the world needs.
We do not need a “capitalism” where government picking winners and losers, subsidizing some while taxing others, regulating small competitors out of business at the behest of the large business who donate to the right politicians. Where government decides who is allowed to make and sell a widget or grow peanuts.
It might be “capitalism” but it is not freedom and it is certainly not free markets.
All of these bad things I mentioned are still “capitalism”.
CAPITALISM is meaningless without free markets and free competition.
I’m not sure we are on different sides, I just think we are using words differently.
That’s not the point I’m making.
Fraud, theft, etc. — buyers and sellers need restitution when crime has been committed. So you need courts and government and laws. I’m not arguing for Anarchism. I’m not even arguing for Libertarianism.
I merely point out that Boeing, General Motors, General Electric — basically all the big players in the modern economy, are companies that get money and/or favorable treatment from the federal government. Just look at the bailout of General Motors. There is nothing remotely “free market” about that.
Government has a role to play. But picking winners and losers is not the proper role of government. But it seems to me that this is a primary role that the government is playing. And it’s been that way for a long time.
Part of the problem here is that the government is huge. They spend trillions of dollars every year. It’s our money. But government spends it to reward friends and punish enemies. It distorts the entire economy. It pumps up the stock market. It drives the Federal Reserve. There is no Free Market. There is merely a highly regulated system of Capital flow which is nothing less than political manipulation.
Oh, yes, Free markets. England was a nation of tea shop, millinery, and tobacco shop when Hitler invaded Poland. And England’s shop owners almost got their fannies kicked because the nation had little heavy industry—corporations, Mac.
Yes, I do believe we’re on the same side, interested in the same thing: Maximum (not absolute) individual freedom, especially in the economic sphere.
And yes, we are using words differently. A layman, non-econ major guy like me thinks capitalism equals an economic system where shareholders (individuals) own companies.
This is the first time I’ve seen someone equate capitalism to state capitalism. They already have a term for state capitalism: “crony capitalism”.
So I don’t see the benefit in changing the meaning of “capitalism” to state capitalism.
Thanks for clarifying.
“Government has a role to play. But picking winners and losers is not the proper role of government. But it seems to me that this is a primary role that the government is playing. And its been that way for a long time.”
Agreed. Especially with your specifics. Although I can see Boeing’s reasons for linking itself to the government, GE has less reason to be this way.
Jack Welch must be puking as he watches his hand-picked successor Immelt (a Republican?) become such a government suck up.
We’re going to learn about Free Markets and Capitalism from Salon and Barry Lynn?
That’s like trying to teach Christianity by reading from the Koran.
Rich people who want to perpetuate their political ideology.
I live in the SF Bay Area where many rich Liberals reside, many in tech. I never knew how someone who earned a living could ever be Liberal, but they are everywhere, PhD’s who laugh about Cheney and water boarding and squeal about Bush, even now, in the face of Obama’s multiple failures and scandals.
As a big ticket arbitrator, like the SEC, FDA...at 10% of current staffing levels. The world needs some laws, but self-serving crony “capitalist” nonsense. Regs just fund bureaucrats, it only hurts business and “saves” no one.
Our old pal Thomas (voting against their economic interests) Frank is back. His book “What’s The Matter With Kansas” was a pile of Marxist garbage.
It never occurs to people like Frank that the great majority of Americans like what corporations provide. Even most Republican-hating Dems wouldn't want to live in Frank's America.
The premise is fallacious...... capitalism is far from dead
It’s not big businesses colluding that was the problem in Atlas Shrugged. It was the cronyism. I don’t like the term “crony capitalism” because capital has nothing to do with it. It’s cronyism— the economics of “pull”— and then nothing else matters.
Even cartels, in a truly free economy, are doomed to fail. It’s only government with their laws and their courts and ultimately their guns...
This author claims to have read Atlas, yet proceeds to commit the very same errors as Wesley Mouch and the rest of the looters, and in doing so outs himself as a looter. The first clue is any time you you see someone emphasizing the difference between what “ordinary” people have, and what the very very wealthiest have. The “wealth gap” or the “income gap” or “income inequality” or whatever fashionable term they have at the moment.
If I’m an “ordinary” person making my way in the world... What conceivable difference does it make to me in my life what somebody else has in their life? Whether they earned it or inherited it or found it laying beside the road has absolutely zero effect on my life and my decisions. If they want to buy something I’m selling then it even has a beneficial effect on me— but beyond that, his wealth costs me nothing.
The difference— the gap— between rich and poor, or rich and less rich, or rich and anybody else... Is one of the more irrelevant measurements to ever try to make. Any time you hear that, it’s a moocher hoping to get your sanction and leverage your own envy against you by claiming to be looting someone else.