Thursday, December 01, 2011

Again With the "Capitalism"

Reading some of the comments on Facebook about the recent Daniel Hannan article on what we Evil Capitalist Pigs really believe.

You know, like "Capitalism isn't bad in and of itself. Just like any other tool or structure it is only good or bad depending on the use people put it to"  or  they say they hate "Capitalism" but can they show me WHERE capitalism is being practiced in the U.S.? I only see Mercantilism

We've mentioned before -- on this blog and other webulous places, that Capitalism isn't a "system" in the sense that some person or persons sat down and said "here's how it should work" ... like, say, Karl Marx et. al. did.

It is the Tao of Economics.  The Way of Things.  It falls directly out of human nature.   It's basic structure is I have A, you have B.  You want A, I want B.   And we work out some sort of deal on how we swap A for B that is acceptable to the both of us.  That's the essence of a Free Market.

I can't remember who it was I was talking to, but this person mentioned that the word "Capitalism" didn't show up until the middle 1800's ... right around the time Marx et. al. were formalizing their forced wealth redistribution systems.  Which are incompatible with a Free Market.  But something called a Free Market is hard to demonize.  However, another "ism", a counter-ism, a word to use to put some distance between the concept of a Free Market and the connotation of the new "ism", and then demonize the new word by assigning it abuses of trust associated with market fraud --- much easier.

So I don't like arguing about "Capitalism".   It's a misrepresentation of what we are really for, and that is Free Markets.


Severian said...

For any leftists who might read this post, I'll make it real simple: capitalism -- small "c" -- is a description of a basic (possibly the basic) human activity, the exchange of stuff for other stuff in which both parties seek their own individual advantage. This will never cease until the planet is overrun by superintelligent apes, because it's hard-wired into our genes -- one of the first things a child learns, in fact, is that it can't simply cry or overpower its way to everything it wants, so it has to trade something it has (comic books, GI Joes, baseball cards, whatever) for something another child has.

On the other hand, Capitalism -- big "C" -- is an ontological construct dreamed up by Karl Marx. He asked "why are poor people poor?" and, being of that dour, Manichean cast of mind that assumes life is a zero-sum game, he answered "because they're getting screwed by somebody!"

That's it; that's all there really is to Marx's vaunted theories. Take the kind of mind that can't see the world in anything but binaries, throw in a walloping dose of envy and daddy issues, and mix liberally with gassy Hegelian verbiage, and you've got your perfect socialist "intellectual."

That this comically wrong nonsense has influenced so many for so long is, in my mind, the best possible case for everyone getting the Seven Deadlies beaten out of them by a group of nuns before they leave grade school. Marxism isn't "scientific" or "dialectical;" it's window-dressing for envy and spite, pure and simple. Indeed, it's so obviously wrong that every child in America has refuted it at the dinner table by the time he's eight years old-- when Mom says "eat your green beans, there are kids starving in Bangladesh who'd be happy to have them," the kid invariably replies with some childish version of "what does me eating my green beans have anything to do with anyone in Bangladesh?"

In other words: Life isn't a zero-sum game; there aren't X number of green beans to be divided up among all the eight year olds in the world, and you eating yours has nothing at all to do with some kid in Bangladesh not getting to eat his.

But I guess people feel smart when they finally memorize how to spell "bourgeoisie," and even smarter when they use it in a term paper, so Marxism will be with us always.


philmon said...

"Marxism isn't "scientific" or "dialectical;" it's window-dressing for envy and spite, pure and simple."

Oooooooh, I am so stealing that!

Severian said...

be my guest!!

tim said...

Hell, I want to memorize/steal every word Severian said. Good stuff.

Arguing over if capitalism works or not is like arguing whether oxygen is essential.

Go take a bath ya’ freakin’ dumb hippies…and get the hell off my lawn! And take your needles with ya'!

James Coyne said...

As you eluded to - all evil is born in the human heart - to not covet your neighbors stuff is in the ten comandments. Envey is a human frailty that needs to be guarded against and rooted out or it will grow and end in great evil - murder, slavery and violence.
James Coyne

philmon said...

I really enjoyed (and agree with) this bit, too:

everyone getting the Seven Deadlies beaten out of them by a group of nuns before they leave grade school :-)

Whitehawk said...

Whew, send Severeian in with an ax!