- Capitalism and Alternatives -

almost responding..

Posted by: bill ( bill ) on September 27, 1999 at 01:40:57:

In Reply to: Not quite ... posted by Dr. Cruel on September 20, 1999 at 02:20:31:

: Sorry, Gee, but there is actually a rationale for anti-monopoly legislation. The principle behind it, shown so vividly by the robber-barons of the 19th century, was that a monopolized industry could easily set prices higher than in a protected market, and do so artificially. This is because, money itself being a form of power, coersion can be exercized by sufficient levels of capital investment - much in the same way that military assets can be used to coerce an artificial, undemocratic outcome in economic and political decision-making. If I own all the train lines, I can artificially raise the cost of moving freight by rail, over and above what might be expected in a competitive market. If the capital investment in such an enterprise is sufficiently high, or the assets to develop are sufficiently rare, this sort of thing can be kept up indefinitely, barring government intervention. Thus, one can keep the cost of freight shipment expensive by owning the means of transporting freight, or the means of engaging in long-distance communication, or keep competing computer operating systems off the market through all sort of subterfuge, or crush MPEG3 as a transmitting medium for independant artists via existing and future contractual agreements, and so on.


: This is not to say that communists and socialists ought to be allowed to legislate this issue; they frequently wish to establish the most far-reaching monopoly of all - an all encompassing control over any sort of money-making enterprise whatsoever, to be managed solely by a nepotistic elite of their choosing.

But why should this be so? Is it so impossible to design a system that is both democratic and transparent? That would make nepotism an impossibility? Containing within it the necessary safeguards to prevent abuse?

:Thus, the need for capitalists to manage their own affairs in this regard, lest outside opportunists and charlatans do it for them, using the 'will of the people' as an excuse for a wholesale looting of the economy.

What you describe is usurpation of the "will of the people" and that for some reason "capitalists" are constitionally different from "charlatans" and "opportunists".

I will admit that oft times state run programs have shown a singular lack of creative development. (sometimes this is exaggerated to promote privatization schemes) The problem may be one of design. The judicial system is a state run enterprise - complete with its own formulations of motivation - (sense of justice, prestige, financial reward etc. It has problems, but I shudder at the thought of its privatization.

It always seem to get down to individual "good" vs "social good". Those supporting the capitalist position tend to argue that the motive of individual profit in any (legal) enterprise will be a productive engine that will issue forth social good as a derivative product - like smoke from a smokestack or the famous "invisible hand". But it seems that the "success" of a venture rests on two things. The creative use of talent and the "creative" promotion of the product. The first IMO does not necessarily depend on a profit motive...and the second, while imperative for a capitalist economy, is not neccessary in the same way in a socialist economy.

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