Capitalism is Not Failing

Citing “capitalism” as a defense no assassin would be set free because he killed for money. Nobody in their right mind would accept a defense of capitalism for someone who robbed, poisoned, shot, stabbed, or stole from a person or company if the defense was “I did it for the money.” That’s not capitalism. It’s robbery, assault, murder or theft.
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Politicians manipulate us with labels. The goal is not capitalism or money. The goal is a better life. Capitalism has proved better than other systems at achieving prosperity, strength, consistency and quality, but it hasn’t been perfect. Like all systems it needs to be fine tuned continuously to make sure we don’t fall back into a feudal systems where a few mega rich people have all the power and use it to get more power by subjugating the rest of us.
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Politicians who advocate making capitalism work better for everyone are not just capitalists with conscience. They are the ones who keep revolutions from happening when inequality becomes too great. And they are the the ones who conserve our capital by preventing businesses from tossing off their expenses onto the public who pay the expenses of individual businesses either directly through subsidies or indirectly through tax breaks — i.e., exemption from taxes that increase the tax burden on the rest of us.
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They are leaders preventing the breakdown of a society that while encouraging people to get rich, fails to regulate the conduct of transactions such that gross inequality of income and wealth cause social unrest. When that happens change occurs very quickly and all too often violently.
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There is no “right” path. History shows that humans never get it quit right. There are always continuous swings in societal norms that lead us into prosperity and contentment and then into war and brutal exsanguination of large portions of our population. If humans evolve into a cooperative species instead of a competitive one that might change. But the change might be for the better or for the worse. We don’t know.
As politicians lose traction they resort to labelling other candidates in derogatory ways. If someone wants to increase aid to education, which the public wants, the opponent calls them  elitist to scare off people who would otherwise vote for the educator. If someone wants to include damage to the environment as a potential liability reported by a public company — in an effort to stop passing on welfare payments of taxpayer dollars to such companies — they can be lauded for saving public money but they can also be condemned as a socialist.
I have studied the lives and speeches of all of the potential candidates for president. They are all capitalists. Even Bernie sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, is using that label disingenuously. His life thrives on the capitalist infrastructure. He has some considerable wealth compared to most people. And he should. He has earned his place in society the old fashioned way. Vote for him or don’t. But we must acknowledge those who are major influences on the content of our conversation. Trump has earned the same distinction.
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In actuality everyone is actually promising or planning to make capitalism work better to prevent social unrest and a sudden backlash when people get fed up — like watching dozens of private jets take off from an airfield from a vantage point of a refrigerator box called home. I think the election of Trump was the canary in the coal mine. He got elected because enough people were fed up. They were not getting their fair share and they were not getting their voices heard. He gave voice to their anguish.
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If you think that is the end of it, think again. History shows that such movements are either averted by major structural changes or they result in a generational shift toward cruel retribution against the “establishment” including many people who never considered themselves part of the establishment.
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It’s true that 1/2 of a capitalistic economy is the premise that humans are greedy and will compete for more money even if they don’t need it.
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The other half — the defining half — is that we raise capital for new and existing enterprises by allowing companies to sell parts themselves to get money to make more money.
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Both the business side of profit seeking and the financial side of capital seeking are premised — and always have been — on the belief that market forces will make the needed corrections when people and companies go too far in selling junk or price gouging.
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Society as a whole eventually makes those corrections by not buying junk and not paying high prices when there are competitors who sell for less. Society will not  advance capital to those who seek money for the sake of getting money and not to do business. That’s not capitalism. That is a gift or more likely fraud.
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All of that actually does work. Adam Smith was right. Eventually the invisible hand of market forces will correct for inequalities and discrepancies and even criminal behavior. It’s true. And that is why many things that could be regulated by government in a different system of government are not regulated. Regulation of most things is not needed as long as opposing market forces are effectively operating.
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If opposing market forces are not operating effectively then obviously the invisible hand not only cannot be seen, it cannot be felt and it has no effect. Companies and people are bound to pursue more money as long as society allows them to do so. They might not remember or think about the fact that it is society’s permission that allows them to pursue riches but that is the case. And they of course will resist being taxed on such a privilege, but they will be taxed at whatever rates society imposes.
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Looking at a society largely based upon upon capitalistic principles like the U.S., the obvious policy is to make sure that effective opposing market forces are operating. What is regulated therefore is free access to information and limiting control over the market by one or more of the players.
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Cancel disclosure and regulatory control over domination and you no longer have effective opposing market forces. Capitalism fails. It will lead to either a communist regime where labor runs the show, or a fascist regime where management runs the show. Either way it is not capitalism. Both lead to violence and brutality because dominance by one side or the other never lasts for long.
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Hence the very reason for government — producing and stable, orderly society — is defeated and usually violently replaced by succeeding governments leaning one way or the other until they find the middle ground — competing economic forces on a level playing field. Capitalism is clearly the way to go until we find some manner of cooperation that effectively replaces competition. No such plan is on the horizon.
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None of this is new. Neither is it new that that  players will use the word “‘capitalism” as a cover for behaviors that try to cancel any opposing force and thereby defeat market forces. If such actors win, then the government must step in to right the ship and put it back on course. That is what Teddy Roosevelt did when he busted the trusts and that is what we must do now to bust the trusts.
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Market forces cannot correct bad or useless behavior if the opposing forces are not present. It cannot work without that. If labor grows too strong, management must employ strategies to balance the leverage each party has over the other. A labor force that gets all the profit leaves nothing for shareholders and thereby no reason to invest in new or existing companies. That would defeat the entire capitalistic premise.
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If labor has been successful at controlling the narrative in legislatures and the courts to the point where laws are passed and enforced that prevent management from competing effectively with the overriding power of labor, then government must step in to right the balance, to protect the capitalistic economy from vanishing.
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A labor force that gets too little of the fruits of their labor also undermines capitalism.  Without getting a fair share of the profits labor cannot afford to buy the products and services offered by their employers. Purchasing drops, profits drop and again shareholders are left with no reason to invest in new or existing companies who are all losing money. That is exactly what has happened in the ;alst 40 years. By making credit more available than payment for a day’s work, the entire economy has shifted toward the banks and away from the the goal of making life better and more endurable for most citizens.
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If management has been successful at controlling the narrative in legislatures and the courts to the point where laws are passed and enforced that prevent labor from competing effectively with overriding power of management, then government must step in to right the balance, to protect the capitalistic economy from vanishing.
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Although politics demands that one side call the other innately evil the truth is simply that they are merely competitors, as intended by our society. They are not wrong or right. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing to create opposing market forces so our society will work well.
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If we want capitalism to work, then we must elect those who will pursue policies that correct imbalances that result from the stifling of opposing market forces.
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At the moment that means paving the way for more bargaining power for labor, consumers, borrowers and investors. It means regulation of disclosure so that it is meaningful and it enables the party receiving the disclosure to make an informed choice.
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Inequality and excess have become so extreme that capitalism is endangered by the absence of opposing market forces that could lead to tyranny by management and companies who have enjoyed a long run of success in dominating the narrative in law, politics and even the courts. They have pursued legitimate goals — making money — but they are now doing so at the cost of capitalism, because there is no effective opposing market force to control their behavior or aspirations.
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Since management  basically has control of the microphone, it takes critical mass of people who understand they are not on a level playing field and who can reject the current imbalance by peaceful voting procedure. Candidates for office will be successfully branded as radical or socialist for promoting anything that changes the current imbalance in which the large majority majority of the public cannot rely on collective bargaining power to oppose the market forces of management.
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Management is not bad for trying to stifle this opposition. They are simply doing their job. Now it is time for the people to do their job.

6 Responses

  1. Exacy the discussion we need to have. I would say Bernie’s democratic socialism will restore a functional form of capitalism. If we dont make a change the Trump and Pelosi oligarchs will be toasting w their Russian masters.

  2. Vote TRUMP! 2020!

  3. Thank President OBAMA for allowing the bank to steal your home. It was HIS Justice Department that allowed the fraud to reign.

  4. Capitalism is no good without regulation and oversight….corporations should not be allowed to run rogue.

  5. Every problem with “capitalism” can be laid squarely at the feet of a private central bank and the incestuous relationship they have with the government in providing “free” money in any quantity as a way to destroy value through inflation and transfer wealth to the bank… and for government officials to buy power.

  6. Oh boy, capitalism came close, but in the end it failed to greed. Capitalism, the way we know it is obviously not the solution. The benevolent king does better, much better but it depends on what you need to achieve. We know nothing except capitalism – there is a better way and it was there for a long time. This is evolution of the mind, a fight for the soul – but only if you really know the rules and when there are no rules “modern money dynamics” it will be posted to the scrap heap of human endeavour. It came close but greed and consumerism won the day – a matter of the soul.

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