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Is Capitalism an Anachronistic Institution?

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  • Is Capitalism an Anachronistic Institution?

    Originally posted by Marlow, in a thread currently active on the Current Events Board,
    I wish we did have an alternate means for non-academic types to have athletic opportunities, but, like capitalism itself, which itself is based on GREED, it's an anachronistic institution that serves a greater goal than ever envisioned.
    Do you really think that capitalism is an anachronistic institution?

    [I started a new thread with this because it had the potential to muck up a perfectly good discussion about college sports with a sidebar that would probably be split off, even if it didn't deteriorate to the point of getting the whole thread pulled.]

  • #2
    It would be interesting to come up with an operative definition of the word, "capitalism". At what point of regulation, or federal bailouts, does capitalism stop being capitalism, and become something else?

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    • #3
      The pursuit of capital...mmm. labeling it greed is kinda negative, howz bout freedom to pursue $ opportunities.
      phsstt!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rasb
        At what point of regulation,
        That's where it stops being capitalism.

        Not that it bothers me. Just answering the question.

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        • #5
          Communism is a MUCH better concept that capitalism - too bad it's impossible to maintain in the real (aka greedy) world. Capitalism is totally predicated on greed to succeed. Luckily we all have that in spades. A laissez-faire capitalistic market-place would be the most natural state of man, but we can't leave it alone, hence tariffs, quotas and bailouts.

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          • #6
            Thank you, Marlow. You didn't really answer my question, but I'm not going to probe further. I know I started this thread, but for now, I'm outta here.

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            • #7
              As I see it, capitalism is here to stay, and will likely grow
              stronger, not weaker, as time goes by. (Although the amount of
              regulation vs. laissez-faire (sp?) may vary, possibly even beyond the
              previous norms.)

              The reason: If we compare communism and capitalism (the discussion
              would be similar for other systems) they haven an ideal version based
              on people volunteeringly keeping to the rules. This ideal version is
              invariably corrupted by rule-breaking, egoism, and similar. (Consider
              e.g. an executive who abuses his employer for his own personal gain, a
              communist politican who does the same with his party, and many
              variations on all levels of the systems.)

              In communism, this corruption goes against the general principles, and
              causes a sub-optimal functioning, possibly even a break-down.

              In capitalism, the corruption exaggerates the general principles, and
              does not damage functioning in a major way (looking at e.g. wealth
              generated---other components, like fairness, can obviously suffer). It
              is even conceivable that the a not-too-corrupted version of capitalism
              could generate more wealth than the, preferable, ideal.

              Unless we can somehow make people nobler and more altruistic (and do
              we have the right to do so, if we could?), capitalism will win out.

              Side-note: Obviously a too unregulated, anarchy-style capitalist
              system (arguably the complete exaggeration) would soon fail---as would
              a communistic, or any other, anarchy. Some level of control is
              absolutely necessary.

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              • #8
                The biggest economic problem (not the only one, but by far the greatest) of communism is a poor productivity.

                There used to be a saying: "The workers pretend they work and the government pretends they are being paid for it."
                "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tandfman
                  Thank you, Marlow. You didn't really answer my question, but I'm not going to probe further. I know I started this thread, but for now, I'm outta here.
                  Capitalism is anachronistic and the proof is that we CAN'T leave it alone (bailouts, etc.).

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                  • #10
                    The problem is not capiltalism per se. It is the intervention and oversight of governments. It is not a matter of regulation but who is going to regulate (or should we say - who is going to ajudicate contractual agreements in free exchange within society) - the people or an entity that steals wealth from its citizens and consolidates power, while benifiting certain private corperations on its way to a socialist state.

                    Here is a little quote from a book titled 'Not a Zero Sum Game - The Paradox of Exchange'

                    'Understanding that in a market economy a person can only get rich by enriching others torpedoes claims to the moral high ground of those who propose that government redistribution of wealth is a means to alleviate poverty' "...one cannot "make a fortune" at the expense of others, but only by offering others a better deal and, thereby, making them richer.' ' In a very real sense, we all compete to enrich others.'

                    Capitalism is at the heart of humanity but it only works when people groups don't conspire to artifically manipulate and allocate resources and talent.

                    The economic situation here in America is not truly capitalism. Congress has handed over control to the central banking system and is in bed with the Fed and its offspring is that you are less better off and they are far better off. That is not capitalism but a racketeering Market backed with your tax dollars.

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                    • #11
                      However you define it, I notice that the people currently being covered on CNN are trying to create maximum distance between their opinions, and the concept of "unfettered capitalism". I wonder why that is...
                      Strange bedfellows, indeed !

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                      • #12
                        "...one cannot "make a fortune" at the expense of others, but only by offering others a better deal and, thereby, making them richer.' ' In a very real sense, we all compete to enrich others.'

                        Capitalism is at the heart of humanity but it only works when people groups don't conspire to artifically manipulate and allocate resources and talent.
                        I'd submit that this sort of idealistic view of capitalism is just as unlikely to ever occur as the Marxist utopian vision ("from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"). What proof exists to support the blind faith that either ideal has been or ever could be achieved?

                        Pure communism assumes everyone could learn to be generous and compassionate... a dumbfoundingly naive notion.

                        Pure laissez-faire capitalism assumes that if everyone behaved in his own best interests then everyone would be prosperous... another dumbfoundingly naive assumption.

                        Seems like the lessons of history are that neither ideal world will ever exist so we'd better find some middle ground with a flexible but regulated free market.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhc68
                          "...one cannot "make a fortune" at the expense of others, but only by offering others a better deal and, thereby, making them richer.' ' In a very real sense, we all compete to enrich others.'

                          Capitalism is at the heart of humanity but it only works when people groups don't conspire to artifically manipulate and allocate resources and talent.
                          I'd submit that this sort of idealistic view of capitalism is just as unlikely to ever occur as the Marxist utopian vision ("from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"). What proof exists to support the blind faith that either ideal has been or ever could be achieved?

                          Pure communism assumes everyone could learn to be generous and compassionate... a dumbfoundingly naive notion.

                          Pure laissez-faire capitalism assumes that if everyone behaved in his own best interests then everyone would be prosperous... another dumbfoundingly naive assumption.

                          Seems like the lessons of history are that neither ideal world will ever exist so we'd better find some middle ground with a flexible but regulated free market.
                          I don't think that the statement was meant to be an ideal but a principle that actually works, from the basic level of two individuals to greater and greater populations so long as organized interference is minimized (decentralization). Lets not forget that small groups within the states did ajudcate issues of trade when they got out of hand without even appealing to the state let alone the Federal Government. Hell the civil war was fought over such economic issues. The Wild West was not so Wild. The principle can still work with local regulations - the problems we see going on in central banking tied to government and big corporations is not about regulation, in fact more regulation actually hurts - it protects said system because it has an intrest in it. Government was ment to protect freedoms not restrict (oversee) them while gaining from it. Congress giving the Bankers the right to print and lend credit while Congress spends and spends and proctects its intrest has not helped anyone outside the top ten percent of the population. In fact such regulation is a means to tranfer wealth not created it or protect it - that is the peoples wealth. Less is always better in this regard. We're are not talking anachry here.

                          Seems like the lessons of history are that neither ideal world will ever exist so we'd better find some middle ground with a flexible but regulated free market.

                          The Market if it were truly free would regulate itself (the market is the peoples intrest on both sides unhindered) One can only truly - not artifically- gain when the other also benifits. It is the intrusion and or greed of regulation of the politicians (whom we have not held accountable because of ignorance or preoccupation with self) and the bankers that causes an inbalance in property rights and purchasing power under the disguise of helping those with less or providing jobs or expanding the money supply or putting tariffs, blockades, ect. to create and protect failing allocations of time and money and resources - this the market would reject outright left unhindered because they do not truly benifit anyone except those at the very top. Futhermore, having money backed by gold and silver would make our money sound and everyone better off in relation to the market. True Capitalism is the free market. That's why when I here Obama say that the free market was suppossed to run free but it ran wild and cused these problems - I know he does not know what the hell he is talking about. Also because McCain does not want to get rid of the Fed Res. he is only protecting the enterprise. Obama want to tax the 250,000 and upers not realizing that this will diminish capital formation and generate more goverment oversight to run his redistribution plan therby allowing the Fed and Congress to continue the cycle. Everybody is looking in the wrong direction.

                          For edification:

                          http://mises.org/story/2104

                          http://mises.org/humanaction/chap15sec3.asp

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                          • #14
                            Let me quote that little book one more time -- '...that division of labour and exchange result in two distinct and seperate effects: one is generally recognized gain from increased individual skills (productivity) that results from specialization. The other is more subtle. Even when there is no individual productivity, group productivity increases when tasks are allocated according to the least costly combination for dividing up the work. The prospect of mutal gain through subsequent trading emerges and therefore one can anticipate it. It is the prospect of saving one's resources, labor, and time that drives the exchange which results in mutal gains.'

                            That is not an ideal but a fact. Can you figure out why?

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                            • #15
                              That is not an ideal but a fact. Can you figure out why?
                              No, Proof, I can't figure it out. Of course commerce seeks the "least costly" means of production. How does this benefit the dollar-a-day 3rd World laborer?

                              Free market advocates, IMHO, are not realists, they have embraced a fantasy in an act of faith similar to a religious belief. Communists and laissez-faire capitalists always have the same complaint: the system is perfect if it weren't for all those damn people who screw it up and interfere with the mechanism.
                              Reminds me of the old Fawlty Towers show when John Cleese would constantly complain that the hotel would work flawlessly if not for all those unreasonable guests!!!

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