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Capitalism Versus Statism

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talked a lot of sense this guy

so when will people realise that the demagogues are the problem

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From the very first we run into grave problems with the term "capitalism." When we realize that the word was coined by capitalism's most famous enemy, Karl Marx, it is not surprising that a neutral or a pro-"capitalist" analyst might find the term lacking in precision. For capitalism tends to be a catchall, a portmanteau concept that Marxists apply to virtually every society on the face of the globe, with the exception of a few possible "feudalist" countries and the Communist nations (although, of course, the Chinese consider Yugoslavia and Russia "capitalist," while many Trotskyites would include China as well). Marxists, for example, consider India as a "capitalist" country, but India, hagridden by a vast and monstrous network of restrictions, castes, state regulations, and monopoly privileges is about as far from free-market capitalism as can be imagined.[1]

If we are to keep the term "capitalism" at all, then, we must distinguish between "free-market capitalism" on the one hand, and "state capitalism" on the other. The two are as different as day and night in their nature and consequences. Free-market capitalism is a network of free and voluntary exchanges in which producers work, produce, and exchange their products for the products of others through prices voluntarily arrived at. State capitalism consists of one or more groups making use of the coercive apparatus of the government — the State — to accumulate capital for themselves by expropriating the production of others by force and violence.

Throughout history, states have existed as instruments for organized predation and exploitation. It doesn't much matter which group of people happen to gain control of the State at any given time, whether it be oriental despots, kings, landlords, privileged merchants, army officers, or Communist parties. The result is everywhere and always the coercive mulcting of the mass of the producers — in most centuries, of course, largely the peasantry — by a ruling class of dominant rulers and their hired professional bureaucracy. Generally, the State has its inception in naked banditry and conquest, after which the conquerors settle down among the subject population to exact permanent and continuing tribute in the form of "taxation" and to parcel out the land of the peasants in huge tracts to the conquering warlords, who then proceed to extract "rent." A modern paradigm is the Spanish conquest of Latin America, when the military conquest of the native Indian peasantry led to the parceling out of Indian lands to the Spanish families, and the settling down of the Spaniards as a permanent ruling class over the native peasantry.

"In a profound sense, the free market is the method and society 'natural' to man; it can and does therefore arise 'naturally' without an elaborate intellectual system to explain and defend it."

To make their rule permanent, the State rulers need to induce their subject masses to acquiesce in at least the legitimacy of their rule. For this purpose the State has always taken a corps of intellectuals to spin apologia for the wisdom and the necessity of the existing system. The apologia differ over the centuries; sometimes it is the priestcraft using mystery and ritual to tell the subjects that the king is divine and must be obeyed; sometimes it is Keynesian liberals using their own form of mystery to tell the public that government spending, however seemingly unproductive, helps everyone by raising the GNP and energizing the Keynesian "multiplier." But everywhere the purpose is the same — to justify the existing system of rule and exploitation to the subject population; and everywhere the means are the same — the State rulers sharing their rule and a portion of their booty with their intellectuals. In the nineteenth century the intellectuals, the "monarchical socialists" of the University of Berlin, proudly declared that their chief task was to serve as "the intellectual bodyguard of the House of Hohenzollern." This has always been the function of the court intellectuals, past and present — to serve as the intellectual bodyguard of their particular ruling class.

In a profound sense, the free market is the method and society "natural" to man; it can and does therefore arise "naturally" without an elaborate intellectual system to explain and defend it. The unlettered peasant knows in his heart the difference between hard work and production on the one hand, and predation and expropriation on the other. Unmolested then, there tends to grow up a society of agriculture and commerce where each man works at the task at which he is best suited in the conditions of the time, and then trades his product for the products of others. The peasant grows wheat and exchanges it for the salt of other producers or for the shoes of the local craftsman. If disputes arise over property or over contracts, the peasants and villagers take their problem to the wise men of the area, sometimes the elders of the tribe, to arbitrate their dispute.

There are numerous historical examples of the growth and development of such a purely free-market society. Two may be mentioned here. One is the fair at Champagne, that for hundreds of years in the Middle Ages was the major center of international trade in Europe. Seeing the importance of the fairs, the kings and barons left them unmolested, untaxed, and unregulated, and any disputes that arose at the fairs were settled in one of many competing, voluntary courts, maintained by church, nobles, and the merchants themselves. A more sweeping and lesser-known example is Celtic Ireland, which for a thousand years maintained a flourishing free-market society without a State. Ireland was finally conquered by the English State in the seventeenth century, but the statelessness of Ireland, the lack of a governmental channel to transmit and enforce the orders and dictates of the conquerors, delayed the conquest for centuries.[2]

The American colonies were blessed with a strain of individualist libertarian thought that managed to supersede Calvinist authoritarianism, a stream of thought inherited from the libertarian and anti-statist radicals of the English revolution of the seventeenth century. These libertarian ideas were able to take firmer hold in the United States than in the mother country owing to the fact that the American colonies were largely free from the feudal land monopoly that ruled Britain.[3] But in addition to this ideology, the absence of effective central government in many of the colonies allowed the springing up of a "natural" and unselfconscious free-market society, devoid of any political government whatever. This was particularly true of three colonies. One was Albemarle, in what later became northeastern North Carolina, where no government existed for decades until the English Crown bestowed the mammoth Carolina land grant in 1663. Another, and more prominent example was Rhode Island, originally a series of anarchistic settlements founded by groups of refugees from the autocracy of Massachusetts Bay. Finally, a peculiar set of circumstances brought effective individualistic anarchism to Pennsylvania for about a decade in the 1680s and 1690s.[4]

While the purely free and laissez-faire society arises unselfconsciously where people are given free rein to exert their creative energies, statism has been the dominant principle throughout history. Where State despotism already exists, then liberty can only arise from a self-conscious ideological movement that wages a protracted struggle against statism, and reveals to the mass of the public the grave flaw in its acceptance of the propaganda of the ruling classes. The role of this "revolutionary" movement is to mobilize the various ranks of the oppressed masses, and to desanctify and delegitimize the rule of the State in their eyes.

The steady decline in the underpinnings of our civilization began in the late nineteenth century, and accelerated during the World Wars I and II and the 1930s. The decline consisted of an accelerating retreat back from the Revolution, and of a shift back to the old order of mercantilism, statism, and international war. In England, the laissez-faire capitalism of Price and Priestly, of the Radicals and of Cobden and Bright and the Manchester school, was replaced by a Tory statism driving toward aggressive Empire and war against other imperial powers. In the United States the story was the same, as businessmen increasingly turned to the government to impose cartels, monopolies, subsidies, and special privileges. Here as in Western Europe, the advent of World War I was the great turning point — in aggravating the imposition of militarism and government-business economic planning at home, and imperial expansion and intervention overseas. The medieval guilds have been re-established in a new form — that of labor unions with their network of restrictions and their role as junior partners of government and industry in the new mercantilism. All the despotic trappings of the old order have returned in a new form. Instead of the absolute monarch, we have the President of the United States, wielding far more power than any monarch of the past. Instead of a constituted nobility, we have an Establishment of wealth and power that continues to rule us regardless of which political party is technically in power. The growth of a bipartisan civil service, of a bipartisan domestic and foreign policy, the advent of cool technicians of power who seem to sit in positions of command regardless of how we vote (the Achesons, the Bundys, the Baruchs, the McCloys, the J. Edgar Hoovers), all underscore our increasing domination by an elite that grows ever fatter and more privileged on the taxes that they are able to extract from the public hide.

The result of the aggravated network of mercantilist burdens and restrictions has been to place our economy under greater and greater strain. High taxes burden us all, and the military-industrial complex means an enormous diversion of resources, of capital, technology, and of scientists and engineers, from productive uses to the overkill waste of the military machine. Industry after industry has been regulated and cartelized into decline: the railroads, electric power, natural gas, and telephone industries being the most obvious examples. Housing and construction have been saddled with the blight of high property taxes, zoning restrictions, building codes, rent controls, and union featherbedding. As free-market capitalism has been replaced by state capitalism, more and more of our economy has begun to decay and our liberties to erode.

In fact, it is instructive to make a list of the universally acknowledged problem areas of our economy and our society, and we will find running through that list a common glaring leitmotif: government. In all the high problem areas, government operation or control has been especially conspicuous.

Let us consider:

* Foreign policy and war: Exclusively governmental.

* Conscription: Exclusively governmental.

* Crime in the streets: The police and the judges are a monopoly of government, and so are the streets.

* Welfare system: The problem is in government welfare; there is no special problem in the private welfare agencies.

* Water pollution: Municipally owned garbage is dumped in government owned rivers and oceans.

* Postal service: The failings are in the government owned Post Office, not, for example, among such highly successful private competitors as bus-delivered packages and the Independent Postal System of America, for third-class mail.

* The military-industrial complex: Rests entirely on government contracts.

* Railroads: Subsidized and regulated heavily by government for a century.

* Telephone: A government-privileged monopoly.

* Gas and electric: A government-privileged monopoly.

* Housing: Bedeviled by rent controls, property taxes, zoning laws, and urban renewal programs (all government).

* Excess highways: All built and owned by government.

* Union restrictions and strikes: The result of government privilege, notably in the Wagner Act of 1935.

* High taxation: Exclusively governmental.

* The schools: Almost all governmental, or if not directly so, heavily government subsidized and regulated.

* Wiretapping and invasion of civil liberties: Almost all done by government.

* Money and inflation: The money and banking system is totally under the control and manipulation of government.

Examine the problem areas, and everywhere, like a red thread, there lies the overweening stain of government. In contrast, consider the frisbee industry. Frisbees are produced, sold, and purchased without headaches, without upheavals, without mass breakdowns or protests. As a relatively free industry, the peaceful and productive frisbee business is a model of what the American economy once was and can be again — if it is freed of the repressive shackles of big government.

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A more sweeping and lesser-known example is Celtic Ireland, which for a thousand years maintained a flourishing free-market society without a State. Ireland was finally conquered by the English State in the seventeenth century, but the statelessness of Ireland, the lack of a governmental channel to transmit and enforce the orders and dictates of the conquerors, delayed the conquest for centuries

and now they are being coerced into voting yes to the europeans

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It's the nature of the state that is really the determinant factor.

In the big wide world,since time began,the chances of survival as an individual agains the rigours of nature and would-be predators is pretty small.

so we club together in clans,share skills and hunt in packs.

it's just now the packs are very very big indeed.

statism is more like the ant colony,where each individual caste is assigned it's own function,and stays in it's own little box.

and it eventually topples as the workers get restless and overthrow the hierarchy.

happens every summer in your back garden.

if the state sees itself as club administrator,then things stay pretty fair.

if the state sees itself as the omnipotent master you will have problems.

Edited by oracle

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Why is this thread called Capitalism Vs Statism?

It's as if you are trying to say Socialism is inherently linked to the State, whereas Capitalism isn't.

Well he is, because that's how it is.

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Well he is, because that's how it is.

Pure Socialism means that the land & the means of production be in the hands of the people, not

necessarily a proxy such as the State, as the Communists or Social democrats would have it.

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Pure Socialism means that the land & the means of production be in the hands of the people, not

necessarily a proxy such as the State, as the Communists or Social democrats would have it.

Theres no such thing as "the people" and theres no such thing as "land" either I can own stuff and you can own stuff but land is a chimera, a myth.

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Pure Socialism means that the land & the means of production be in the hands of the people, not

necessarily a proxy such as the State, as the Communists or Social democrats would have it.

Did you vote for the monkey?

Because you might as well vote for a monkey as a Socialist.

If the PG tips monkeys had been running the country for the last 10 years we could hardly have been in a bigger mess than we are now.

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Theres no such thing as "the people" and theres no such thing as "land" either I can own stuff and you can own stuff but land is a chimera, a myth.

It's going to be a long night..........................

:lol:

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Theres no such thing as "the people" and theres no such thing as "land" either I can own stuff and you can own stuff but land is a chimera, a myth.

No set if individuals have anymore right to own the means of production & the ground where resources are stored & where we camp down to live, than any other is the point.

They do so at the expense of all the other individuals.

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No set if individuals have anymore right to own the means of production & the ground where resources are stored & where we camp down to live, than any other is the point.

Yes that's what I said.

No one has a right to parcel up raw materials and claim them as theirs, or to draw imaginary lines on the earth and claim the imagined zone is there.

People have every right to things they have factually created from raw materials.

They do so at the expense of all the other individuals.

Only if it's forced.

Me taking something raw and turning it into something else makes it mine and not yours.

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Yes that's what I said.

No one has a right to parcel up raw materials and claim them as theirs, or to draw imaginary lines on the earth and claim the imagined zone is there.

People have every right to things they have factually created from raw materials.

Only if it's forced.

Me taking something raw and turning it into something else makes it mine and not yours.

Then you haven't successfully contradicted my point about pure Socialism not being inherently linked to the state, you only made pedantic comments about my use of language.

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Then you haven't successfully contradicted my point about pure Socialism not being inherently linked to the state, you only made pedantic comments about my use of language.

By carrying on with the fiction land, you haven't changed anything.

You are a statist to all practicl apurposes, but want different beneficiaries.

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By carrying on with the fiction land, you haven't changed anything.

You are a statist to all practicl apurposes, but want different beneficiaries.

By that definition, somebody who uses the collective term "forest" for a group of

individual trees is a Statist.

Surely that is a logical non sequitur.

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Yes that's what I said.

No one has a right to parcel up raw materials and claim them as theirs, or to draw imaginary lines on the earth and claim the imagined zone is there.

Thats completely impractical though. Ok, nobody has the right to draw lines all over the place but to do anything but this would cripple any form of stability you need for normal everyday living. You have to have some boundaries somewhere to keep your house and your possessions safe.

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By that definition, somebody who uses the collective term "forest" for a group of

individual trees is a Statist.

Surely that is a logical non sequitur.

Thats right.

If you make a mistake in your thinking, you'll then act on it and make a state.

It's the same as people who think theres an objective value that we should all conform to - ultimately they have to either go for totalitarianism or abandon their philosophy.

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Thats completely impractical though. Ok, nobody has the right to draw lines all over the place but to do anything but this would cripple any form of stability you need for normal everyday living. You have to have some boundaries somewhere to keep your house and your possessions safe.

The boundaries are your property, your actual stuff.

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The boundaries are your property, your actual stuff.

There's no difference between that and a state claiming that they're defending their turf from intruders because they're protecting their stuff.

Instead of one big state you would prefer lots of individual states (who then club together to form a big state, for protection purposes)

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There's no difference between that and a state claiming that they're defending their turf from intruders because they're protecting their stuff.

I didn't say attack anyone.

Instead of one big state you would prefer lots of individual states (who then club together to form a big state, for protection purposes)

Why do you think that?

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I didn't say attack anyone.

Neither did I, I said the state would defend itself based on its imaginary (but practical) claim to borders.

Presumably you would do the same.

Why do you think that?

Because the outcome you favour would be inherently unstable so it would useful to make pacts with neighbours agree to protect each others' claim to turf from outsiders. Sound familiar? It should do because you've just created a state and legitimised your use of force. Your philosophy may say otherwise but in reality this would be the likely outcome.

Edited by chefdave

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Thats right.

If you make a mistake in your thinking, you'll then act on it and make a state.

Not necessarily.

If I set up a voluntaristic worker owned co-operative that uses no force or coercion whatsoever or organize a collective that runs on voluntary donations it doesn't become anything like a State simply because I call it Socialist.

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