Friday, March 07, 2008

Capitalism is not a political ideology

When people talk about political ideologies they often make the mistake of lumping capitalism in with them, but capitalism is NOT a political ideology. It is an economic system which is comfortable in all political strategies - although that doesn't mean that all political strategies are comfortable with capitalism.


The opposite of a capitalism is not communism - as many people seem to think - but is, in fact, corporatism. Of course, communism is corporatism in it's ultimate statewide incarnation - where the state is the ultimate corporation - but the essential reason corporatism exists is because of the economic system of planning where the laws of supply and demand (and, therefore, the market) are altered by over burdening businesses with regulation, inspection and interference.


Planned economies are always socialist and undemocratic so corporatism exists because of an absence of democracy and the presence of socialism - not because of capitalism. Planned economies are always authoritarian and undemocratic because the system is proven to fail - so allowing the people to have their say would result in the ejection of a government that believed in planned economy. Because of this the state must adopt an authoritarian and undemocratic approach.


But that does not mean that an authoritarian state can not have a capitalist economy. China proves that. After 50 odd years of the failure of a planned economy CHina adopted the capitalist system and the result was a booming Chinese economy, but - and this is a big but - because of the authoritarian nature of China - the nation has moved quickly from capitalist to corporatist.


In China's case this was all deliberate, but often in recent times the move to corporatism is not intentional. Globalisation is not the result of capitalism - why do people think that when capitalism existed for centuries with no prospect of globalisation which is an entirely recent phenomenon? - globalisation is the result of undemocratic institutions introducing rules, regulations and "plans" which, although usually introduced with good intentions, have the effect of stifling true market forces and opening up the way for corporatism on a global scale - and hence globalisation.


These undemocratic institutions are many fold and at all levels - from the UN and EU down through global NGO's and on to local quangos and "authorities". They interfere in the market at every level and all have one thing in common - nobody votes for them.


Anonymous said...

Capitalism is a 20th century parasitic rentier, political ideology, it is not an economic system. Before capitalism was foisted upon us by government, Wall Street and the Banks, we had a true economic system of Free/Private Enterprise operated under the principles of Enlightened Self Interest, where Capitalist endeavors were limited to Wall Street and their multi-state spanning, listed industries.

Anonymous said...

If you study Economics, my basic economics textbook calls most countries we think of as being non-communist as being "mixed economies" not "capitalist".

Actually the literature tells us there has never been a pure capitalist society or economy. They also tell us that the communist societies that have exited in history do not last very long.

I don't know if anyone actually knows what is happening.

I got exposed to this when I was 10 years old by religious people who don't care about anyone. I am now nearing 60 and haven't found any answers.

I can go out today and start the paperwork for forming a corporation and I suspect this would be a solely owned corporation, by me alone. This would be capitalism in a pure form - an individual owning his own business.

Of course, I own my business now just without the limited liability I'd have running it as a corporation.

Most of the questions concerning communism and capitalism seem to be bullshit. If anyone knows the "answers" they aren't telling us.