- Capitalism and Alternatives -

With libertarian Newspeak it's tough to communicate

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on November 19, 1999 at 10:43:35:

In Reply to: Jeez, don't get so distraught over it. posted by MDG on November 18, 1999 at 18:01:07:

: Sorry, Charlie. Since I always seem to agree with Keynes whenever people write/speak about him, I guess it behooves me to read up on him, but really, no need to get SO tired over it. Not everyone knows everything you know, and patience is a virtue.

SDF: Actually, my complaint is with people who pretend that "everything I know" doesn't really exist, that furthermore I don't really work at anything, and whose definitions label you a "fascist," since after all you are part of the government regulation of the economy. It's not with you, MDG -- the rest of you, you know who you are.

: What I was trying to say in my own clumsy way is that the conservative politicians (and their supporters) who bark loudest about the glory of laissez-faire capitalism (LCF) are also often the first to beg for government intervention when their own interests are threatened. The programs I work for involve food, and if LCF had its way, many food items would be far cheaper than they are now. Yes, I've bastardized the definition of socialism to fit my political ends, but what do you call non-laissez faire capitalism?

SDF: I don't know what you're really referring to here, since "laissez-faire capitalism" is usually held up as this impossible ideal (since the laissez-faire capitalists always inevitably BUY government and use it as an "aid" to investment). It's just hard to work under the vocabulary-restrictions of libertarian Newspeak, that's all.

"Laissez-faire" also serves as a "conservative" alibi for whatever disasters these same believers in "laissez-faire" happen to have once endorsed ("it's not REAL capitalism," which is the nonsense the Thatcherists spew about their "success story" Russia). This further discredits it as a topic of discussion. (Please see Laszlo Andor and Martin Summers' MARKET FAILURE for more about this...)

Are you thinking about Keynesian capitalism?

: After all, capitalism is the distribution of goods and services in a competitive free market, and that is NOT what is at play right now in the U.S.

SDF: But of course the market isn't really going to be "free" anyway, there are always going to be entry costs, and political costs, and the US plays MOSTLY according to that "free market" ideology anyway, as after all this belief in the "free market" is so often used the self-justification for the capitalist practices of so many American "self-made men" as well as serving as a justification for the WTO and its practices.

And, if you're a Keynesian, you of course don't believe in the "free market" of libertarian ideologues anyway, as the multiplier effect amounts to "government control of the economy," which is what Don calls "fascism". Best of luck in communcating your responses.

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