- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I Read it

Posted by: Asarualim on May 22, 1999 at 23:25:37:

In Reply to: another correction posted by borg on May 22, 1999 at 15:58:23:

: : : She grew up under a communist regime.

: : State Capitalist.

: : :Life sucked. She went to the US and saw that capitalism worked,
: : Laissez-Faire Capitalism.

: Mises is right.

: See this.

Ok, I saw this and I perused it and I discovered a few problems. Defining monopolies as, "(M)onopoly is a grant of special privilege by the State, reserving a certain area of production to one particular individual or group." is a tad bit extreme. Certainly many monopolies occur in this way both now and historically, for example the monopolies the British granted companies in the 16th and 17th century concerning international trade with her colonies. A modern day example would be pharmaseutical firms of other high technology firms that maintain price making power because of patents and copyrights. While these are not perfect monopolists, they do have considerable pricing power. In fact, the only really good working definition of a monoploy is a firm that has substantial control over prices for its goods and services. This could result from either an absolute control of the market or control of a sizble portion say 70%.

Besides, monopolies make up a very small portion of the American economy, approximately 3% of GDP. There not that important and their also not necessaryly bad either; monoplies (in some areas) can be much more benficial than pure competition.

"(a)ll forms of government regulation of business, in fact, penalize efficient competitors and grant monopolistic privileges to the inefficient." Ok, I'll grant cartels, virtual cartels, licensing, certificates of convenience, tariffs, and quotas as forms of regulation that help business and hurt consumers and the general common good. However, quality standards, safety codes, immigration, conscription, minimum wage, conservation, franhises (this is not even goivernmental, its a form of business contract!?), and bribery (whose regulating whom in this instance?). Eminent domain is a little more vague; it can be used to promote the common good by reclaiming polluted lands or industrial rust parks and replace them with buildings that provide public goods and services. However, it can alos be used to benefit big business by evicting people from there homes and selling teh land at low prices to local businesses; this is common practice in Las Vegas.

Quality standards and safety codes do not openalize the efficent, unless you define "efficent" as a firm that churns out large quantities of faulty goods by skipping on protection for their workers. Immigration and conscription help to limit workers and thus bid up prices for wages; this forces less efficent firms to the wall while benefits more efficent firms. Minimum wage laws DO cause some unemployement (it varies from economy to economy the exact amount); however, it does ensure a living wage for those that remain employed. I can live with that. Furthermore, it encourages businesses to replace labor, which is now more expensive now, with capital (if it can) thus boosting productivity and efficency. This increase in efficency may or may not compenstae for the lost output due to the increase of the costs of production from the wage law; its different from case to case. Conservationism, the protection of natural resources for their future exploitation, does benfit mainly large firms
because when it comes to the resources that are protected the industry is allready heavily consolidated.

"The result of such measures was an economic "triumph of conservatism" by means of what Kolko calls "political capitalism": the conscious use of the State to favor established interests against the "irrationality" and "cutthroat competition" of the unhampered marketplace."

Yeah, i'll grant you that a lot of progressive meaures did and do benfit businesses, but who really cares? As long as the general public dervies some benfit from the regulation then who cares if some business men are better off than others. Besides, we like competition only insofar as it serves our needs, when it ceases to serve the function of promoting "the good society" (whatever your conception of this may be) then we abandon it.

I'l also grant you most of what teh article says about imperialism as true. However, I think that the reply that imperialsim derives fro an abscense of free markets is false. The reason why capitalism IS the cause of imperialism is its very strengths; production. Capitalism can produce more goods, services, and capital than the domestic economy can ever possibly absorb; if its not absorbed tha we fall into recesssion or depression, which is bad for all around. Hence we export it, and to rpotect "our" interests overseas we create a huge militrary machine. This military machine is also an excellent means by which excess capacity may be soaked up.

Uggh, I'm tired of all this typing! I think this is enough for you to mull over. Right a reply soon so we can continue the conversation.

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