Capital, Capitalists and Capitalism (Part I)

Mark Hendrickson teaches economics at Grove City College. He writes the "No Panaceas" blog at Forbes.com and is a contributing editor of the St. Croix Review. Hendrickson's most recent book is "God and Man on Wall Street: The Conscience of Capitalism" with Craig Columbus.


120905055240-money-bills-story-topIntroduction: It is difficult to think of terms in the realm of political economy that are less understood and more controversial than capital, capitalist, and capitalism. For the political right, these terms connote liberty, prosperity, opportunity, and the American Dream. For the political left, these words represent evil and injustice. Indeed, so vehement and hate-filled have been the condemnations of capital, capitalist, and capitalism over the years that the words themselves have been stripped of their objective lexicographical definitions. This hinders honest dialogue and renders rational debate nearly impossible. It seems that libertarians and conservatives on the one side, and liberals and other statists on the other, inhabit parallel mental universes in which the same words represent vastly different concepts.

An erstwhile socialist, I now am firmly in the camp of those who think these three c-words are honorable and worth vigorously defending against the ignorant and/or malicious attacks against them. The political left is comprised of individuals who, for a combination of psychological and ideological reasons, crave power over others. Seeking relentlessly to expand government power over individual lives, liberty, and property, leftists employ the scurrilous tactics of caricature, distortion, and Orwellian mutilation to disgrace these terms so that they can more effectively advance their agenda.

What I propose to do in the following 6-part series is to rescue and rehabilitate these three important terms from those who wish to permanently discredit them. Preventing the left from neutralizing our verbal tools by redefining beyond recognition is a necessary task in the struggle to halt their attempts to replace individual rights and liberty, and its economic corollary of the “invisible hand” described by Adam Smith with the heavy hand of government tyranny implemented by taking control over human economic activity.

Let’s get the easy term out of the way first. In fact, since capital is the root of the other two terms, it is the logical starting point anyhow.

Capital

Capital. “…In political economy, the product of industry which remains…after a portion of what is produced is consumed, and which is still available for further production.”—Webster1

“Cash or goods used to generate income”—InvestorWords.com2

Compared to capitalists and capitalism, capital is a term that should be relatively uncontroversial and the easiest for us to agree upon an objective definition for it. In its fundamental economic sense, capital is simply one of the factors of production—along with land (natural resources) and labor—that entrepreneurs or managers (whether singular or plural, private or public sector) employ in the production of goods and services. Capital is, or at least should be, a value-free word. It is no more “good” or “evil” than nouns like “rock” or “river,”3 or, more to the point, like “tools,” “machines,” or “equipment”—the various types of capital goods of which capital itself is the more liquid, elemental form.

Whether we are talking about financial capital or the capital goods into which financial capital is translated, capital comes from wealth that has been produced but not consumed. Economists sometimes refer to capital as the “produced means of production.”  The classic classroom example of capital is the farmer’s seed corn—the part of this year’s crop that isn’t consumed, but saved for producing future crops. Capital is the produced wealth that is saved so that it can be employed in producing goods and services for future consumption.

In a free society, capital comes either from the savings of individuals or the profits of business enterprises—in either case, from the surplus of income over expenses. In a society where the state controls some or all of the decisions about what and how much is produced, the state appropriates wealth from the private sector to obtain the capital for state-financed projects.

Regardless of the governmental system under which humans live, until we learn where to find daily manna or how to feed over 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes, it will remain true that every society, without exception, needs capital in order to survive and prosper. It doesn’t matter whether one favors socialism or free markets or some mixture of the two; it is an inescapable fact that people either accumulate and use capital, or languish in economic primitivism and poverty.

The old Marxian notion that capital is the enemy of working people is belied by a simple, undeniable truism: “A country becomes more prosperous in proportion to the rise in the invested capital per capita.”4 Without capital at their disposal, workers’ productivity remains low. The historical record shows that increases in wages and standards of living rise are driven by increases in the productivity of labor. In turn, the primary driver of the productivity of labor is how much capital labor has at its disposal.5

A ditch-digger who uses a backhoe not only moves more dirt per hour and consequently receives more pay, but he also is freed from the backbreaking exertions that a worker equipped only with a shovel must endure. Capital liberates labor from many forms of drudgery. A socialist regime may enforce strict economic equality and so fulfill a socialist theory of justice, but no government can legislate or decree wealth without capital and capital goods to multiply the productivity of labor, any more than a human being can travel at 75 mph or lift a ton of matter using only his own power.

Many critics believe that capital and labor are irreconcilable enemies—that capital evilly exploits labor and keeps workers poor. How then, does one explain the fact that the countries that have the highest capital per capita invested are the countries where the standards of living are highest or whose economies are growing at the fastest rates? The poorest countries are not those where capital is abundant, but where it is most scarce. Every year I break the “bad news”  to my Econ 101 students that we Americans have been “exploited”  by capital to a greater extent than any other people in the history of the world. It is tragicomic that leftist professors apparently can’t see the irony and idiocy of teaching their students that capital is rapacious, dehumanizing, and destructive when, in fact, more capital has been invested in the USA than any other country in the world and that the USA also happens to be the most affluent country in history.

Poor people in Third World countries don’t share American professors’ disdain for capital; on the contrary, although they may not understand the underlying economics, their daily hope and prayer is that they themselves some day will be “exploited”  (enriched) even one-tenth as much as we have been.

Just as foreign capital helped to make us the richest country in the world, so today the astounding explosion of wealth in China is turbo-charged by the jet fuel of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), i.e., foreign capital, added to China’s considerable supply of domestically accumulated capital. Although China is still nominally a Communist state and far from being a free society, their Communist Party leaders are unmistakably—indeed, emphatically—pro-capital. This stands in marked contrast to Barack Obama’s hostility to capital formation as manifested in his hostility to profits, one of the major sources of capital accumulation. Unfortunately, the hostility and misunderstanding that surround the terms capitalist and capitalism often rubs off on the neutral, objective term capital. The remainder of this series will try to rescue and rehabilitate those two tortured terms.

Read Part II of “Capital, Capitalists and Capitalism” in the next issue of FrontPage Magazine. 

Notes:

1 Webster’s Deluxe Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, (c) Simon & Schuster, 1983, p. 268.

2 www.investorwords.com/694/capital.html

3 Craig Columbus & Mark W. Hendrickson, God & Man on Wall Street—The Conscience of Capitalism; New York; Brick Tower Press, 2012, p. 18.

4 Ludwig von Mises, Economic Policy, South Bend: Regnery/Gateway, Inc., 1979; p. 14.

5 F.A. Harper, Why Wages Rise, Irvington, NY: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 1957; pp. 14-34.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    “Many critics believe that capital and labor are irreconcilable enemies—that capital evilly exploits labor and keeps workers poor. How then, does one explain the fact that the countries that have the highest capital per capita invested are the countries where the standards of living are highest or whose economies are growing at the fastest rates? ”

    The leftist gut feeling is that “capital” is used to “exploit” poor people (people without capital, or without enough capital to compete). Therefore this success is evidence of theft.

    Nobody should own property. Therefore nobody should own capital. It should be owned by the state.

    Who runs the state? Not God. It’s a 2 class (or more) classless society. So communism in the real world is just an oligarchy. You just dream and pray that it’s a benign one.

    That’s not even getting in to the fact that having no property rights removes most incentives for working hard or working smart – you go to jail if you refuse outright to work. Working smart becomes; working towards the appearance of working hard while putting out the least effort possible. The mind is less inclined to create solutions that would otherwise lead to improvements in productivity. In short, the worker has no stake in the success if his projects.

    “Just as foreign capital helped to make us the richest country in the world, so today the astounding explosion of wealth in China is turbo-charged by the jet fuel of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), i.e., foreign capital, added to China’s considerable supply of domestically accumulated capital. Although China is still nominally a Communist state and far from being a free society, their Communist Party leaders are unmistakably—indeed, emphatically—pro-capital.”

    Of course communists are also capitalists, as you explained. They’re just great liars, keeping most of the spoils while pretending to do it all “for the people” in the name of “socialism” or communism, or whatever.

    “This stands in marked contrast to Barack Obama’s hostility to capital formation as manifested in his hostility to profits, one of the major sources of capital accumulation. Unfortunately, the hostility and misunderstanding that surround the terms capitalist and capitalism often rubs off on the neutral, objective term capital. The remainder of this series will try to rescue and rehabilitate those two tortured terms.”

    0′Bama is not trying to build anything. He’s in redistribution mode. He’ll dabble in chic ideas like “green” tech, but that’s about it. Otherwise he’s got enough, so there is no need to actually worry about producing more stuff.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    Why was my comment deleted?

  • WW4

    Glad to see articles like this. “Capitalism” has a specific, objective meaning but is used by both Left and Right as a kind of shibboleth.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Glad to see articles like this. “Capitalism” has a specific, objective meaning but is used by both Left and Right as a kind of shibboleth.”

      Yeah, you’re right. But some times in the discourse we don’t have time to point out that someone has a flawed understanding. We just critique their concept without taking the time to go in to every detail. It then seems to some like we’re buying in to some of their BS.

      And I’m sure that some inexperienced conservatives just realize our system is fundamentally correct but they don’t understand enough to parse every concept correctly and rectify every flawed statement or word use.

      Nobody has that kind of time.

      And maybe that’s why some times when someone defends ‘capitalism” they think we’re defending a lot of problems that socialists and communists claim they can fix. We’re not. But they can’t fix it. That’s the main point, not that we’re greedy and want to exploit people. Capitalism is not exploitation, and socialism doesn’t make corruption go away. It makes it worse, but with different winners and losers. And it makes the pie smaller.

      So first you want to make the pie as big and nutritious as possible and then you decide what is the best way to ensure justice. Don’t let the pie owner exploit people according to the constitutional definitions of unlawful exploitation.

      If you helped make the pie, defend your individual rights to get your share. You have a right to band together with other workers. Don’t get suckered in to giving away your rights to frauds like the typical union boss. Make sure the members retain control of the union so that you don’t cannibalize your employer they way you don’t want him to cannibalize you. That would only lead to ever smaller and less nutritious pie.

      That’s as far as I can go for now…I don’t know how helpful that was though…

      Those are liberal conservative values as I understand them.

  • ReyR

    We need to shun any bias that political bullshit pros try to sell us. The fog goes away when we start using these terms conservatively just as an accountant does. Then a dozen of pigs in a sty and a ton of bricks in the yard – that is capital, but a zillion dollars represented somewhere in a computer’s entrails is pure speculation. Then a farmer who patiently grows his field of corn and pays wages to his laborers is a capitalist, but the posh millionaire is just a conman. Then thrift and creative work and patience is capitalism, but all the rest isn’t.

    • reader

      Did anybody in your family ever sell a house? And if they did, would it not be pure speculation under your own definition?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        I don’t think he’s defined his objection well enough for us to know.

        I think the kind of “speculators” that are often attacked by socialists and socialist dupes are the frauds. So fraud is already against the law for the most part. We even have quite a few regulations that require detailed disclosures and so forth.

        Socialism fixes nothing. It’s just a delusional fantasy that turns in to a wrecking ball. It makes a fire sale out of any functioning economic system.

      • ReyR

        Yes, I have sold my own property twice, and I own a fairly big house and some land. Is it relevant in the context? For all I know, residential property is a liability, not an asset; so it does not qualify as capital, unless you lease it out to tenants for profit.
        On the other hand, endless zeros in a stock market computer system are useless, they are putative, and not liquid more often than not. Most of the time, when you sell them, you just buy some other stock – more useless zeros. As long as something does not create tangible value, it’s not capita. You will insist that you CAN cash your securities, but then why don’t you ever? Delusion of grandeur, little more. Pinocchio’s money tree. Pure speculation.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “Yes, I have sold my own property twice, and I own a fairly big house and some land. Is it relevant in the context? For all I know, residential property is a liability, not an asset;”

          It’s both.

          “On the other hand, endless zeros in a stock market computer system are useless, they are putative, and not liquid more often than not. Most of the time, when you sell them, you just buy some other stock – more useless zeros. As long as something does not create tangible value, it’s not capita.”

          People use those numbers to marshal resources. They use it to quantify capital, not replace it. Unless they are frauds. Capitalism is not fraud, but fraud is of course possible in virtually any transaction.

          • ReyR

            OFM, by definition an “asset” must earn a profit; otherwise, it is a financial liability.
            Resources may be putative, ghost-like, delusional even. Like Saudi oil deposits or intellectual property or goodwill. Quite often the case with stock markets nowadays.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/asset

            as·set [as-et] Show IPA

            noun

            1. a useful and desirable thing or quality: Organizational ability is an asset.

            2.a single item of ownership having exchange value.

            3. assets.

            a.items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate(opposed to liabilities ).

            b. Accounting. the items detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to liabilities and capital.

            c. all property available for the payment of debts, especially of a bankrupt or insolvent firm or person.

            d. Law. property in the hands of an heir, executor, or administrator, that is sufficient to pay the debts or legacies of a deceased person.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/resources?s=t

            re·source [ree-sawrs, -sohrs, -zawrs, -zohrs, ri-sawrs, -sohrs, -zawrs, -zohrs] Show IPA
            noun
            1.
            a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed.
            2.
            resources, the collective wealth of a country or its means of producing wealth.
            3.
            Usually, resources. money, or any property that can be converted into money; assets.
            4.
            Often, resources. an available means afforded by the mind or one’s personal capabilities: to haveresource against loneliness.
            5.
            an action or measure to which one may have recourse in an emergency; expedient.

          • ReyR

            Exactly, thank you, OFM. You could not have obliged me in a more satisfactory way, by giving an illustration to my “lost in words”.
            On a down market, if the owner treats his property as an asset, he is in for a nasty surprise. I wouldn’t invest in property even here in Russia. In fact, I invest in farmland, which I can walk and work.
            Resources can be delusory as I said. E.g. if you and I start a rather unsophisticated mining business, say a coal mine or a marble quarry, the resources item on my balance sheet will come from an expert report, and we all know what an expert report is. But if we register our business as a corporation, we will be tempted to make the resources line as impressive as we possibly can, and we’ll not be the first to cheat. But this lie will sell well to stockholders who see us as another money tree.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Your concern is risk management. That is why law and order as well as due process are so crucial to the success of capitalism. I mean success for those willing to learn and work.

            Modern technology makes the entire world more complicated, and therefore more difficult to understand. It only follows that capitalizing activities will also become more complex. That’s again why a fair judicial system is crucial.

            But my main point is that this complexity also leads to higher risk, and highest for those who are not able to keep up with the complexities.

            Actually education about capitalism should have given us many of the solutions, but our schools have instead taught hatred of capitalism. More energy is spent fighting it rather than learning how to manage it.

          • ReyR

            Risk management, of course, I agree. But having lived most of my life in the Big Brother’s shadow, one learns to appreciate liberties and seek one’s way around a wall rather than climbing over it. Fish grow big in turbulent water, we here have learned it the hard way.))) When there’s too much law and order, I get suspicious and switch into the rear gear, just to be on the safe side. I prefer to deal with an individual officer, not with the office. An officer can become corrupt, but the office is corrupt from inception, it’s part of the system, because any big system gets rotten sooner than later.
            As far as I understand, there is no such thing as a fair judicial system, or at least I have yet to see one. This is just another junior scout tale. No system is perfect, and fail it shall. Just give it some time.
            Complexity, certainly, is a serious factor, and any system, however perfectly designed, can only evolve so long before it inevitably collapses. And arguably, even Russian socialism worked quite well at first, let’s say, until around mid-1960s. That is until it reached a natural threshold and was hijacked and run aground by parasitic elites and the Peter Principle complicated by other factors. This is god’s own truth, and I base my assertion on sufficient evidence, including first-hand observations and experiences. It’s my nation’s history.
            On the other hand, I believe that modern American tragedy is that you have had generation after generation of those who have done nothing to win their freedom. Ben Franklin said, “We’ve given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” Well, I fear that Americans haven’t kept it. I also recall Aldous Huxley’s narrative of three generations it takes to complete the capitalist cycle: one to amass the capital by hook or by crook, one to laundry it, and one to deny the first two and to squander the money. It looks to me that right now most of US-born wasp Americans belong to the fourth generation, if not sixth.
            The processes of your current historical phase as seen from my remote crow’s nest reminds me very much of what I observed in Russia during the late 1980s. Similarity is uncanny. This includes what you described as “More energy is spent fighting it rather than learning how to manage it”. But the whole point is that the system has entered the pre-collapse stage and become unmanageable now. This is also why I said above that America is lost in words. I remember vividly our nationwide debates just as we were balancing on the verge of the precipice. Except that at the time we didn’t know it. And now I get the feeling that I’m watching a replay, but this time it’s a different country.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As far as I understand, there is no such thing as a fair judicial system, or at least I have yet to see one.”

            It depends on how you define fairness and what you expect. There is no such thing as “social justice.” You have justice or anarchy. But there is no perfect justice either, so striving to be fair according to the constitution that is applied equally to each citizen is all we can expect.

            “No system is perfect, and fail it shall. Just give it some time.”

            A system doesn’t fail merely because it’s not perfect, unless you define failure as lack of perfection.

            “And arguably, even Russian socialism worked quite well at first, let’s say, until around mid-1960s.”

            You can only argue that it worked in terms of industrializing a nation. If we don’t care about individuals who are persecuted and even killed, that’s fine. But we reject this kind of collectivism as cruel and totally unjust. That’s why all of the propaganda was needed to convince Americans they were being cheated. The fact is most of the people the Soviets were trying to influence, maybe even all of them, would have been much worse off under communism and probably most of them dead or in jail.

            So my primary fundamental complete is the with lies. If you want to be honest, tell me it was worth killing and starving x number of people in order to be a player on the world stage as a nation. At least that’s honest and you can refer to Soviet Communism as successful in that context.

            Let me ask this question: What if the Russians overthrew the Czar and instituted a constitution that emulated the United State’s constitution and government? I’m not asking if they would have had immediate popular support. I’m asking where you think Russia would be today, or would have been by the time Germany was experimenting with socialism?

            Russian people are not the problem. Russia has plenty of resources. You’d probably be a superpower, and we in the rest of the world would have a lot fewer lies to contend with today that in reality originated in Soviet Russia.

            “On the other hand, I believe that modern American tragedy is that you have had generation after generation of those who have done nothing to win their freedom.”

            That’s really just another perspective that is consistent with our complaints. The very least we need to do is to educate our children about the price of freedom and how to react when it is threatened, from anywhere.

            “I also recall Aldous Huxley’s narrative of three generations it takes to complete the capitalist cycle: one to amass the capital by hook or by crook, one to laundry it, and one to deny the first two and to squander the money. It looks to me that right now most of US-born wasp Americans belong to the fourth generation, if not sixth.”

            It’s more parable than paradigm, but I take your point. And I’m not so sure it’s the WASPs that are the problem. Maybe many pseudo WASPs are rolling over, but there are socialist dupes from all walks of life. It’s much easier to fall for the lies if you have any reason to feel envy and or fall for the class victim narratives.

            “The processes of your current historical phase as seen from my remote crow’s nest reminds me very much of what I observed in Russia during the late 1980s. Similarity is uncanny. This includes what you described as “More energy is spent fighting it rather than learning how to manage it”. But the whole point is that the system has entered the pre-collapse stage and become unmanageable now.”

            It is unmanageable because of the lies and tensions those lies add to existing challenges of real life. That’s my entire point.

            There are so many overlooked opportunities to leverage capital and make the pie bigger and more nutritious than ever. People each have finite resources, and when they are distracted by fighting the very system that they should be harnessing, obviously the pie will not be as big as it could be. People are hurting themselves and blaming phantoms of the class warfare fantasies.

            The only thing that makes capitalism fail is lack of capital. Which is not the problem. The problem is lack of productive participation. That’s not a failure of capitalism. That’s a failure of society, and in this case that society is merely blaming “capitalism” without even understanding what they’re saying.

            “This is also why I said above that America is lost in words.”

            America is lost in competing definitions of words. Some times the lost can find there way.

            “I remember vividly our nationwide debates just as we were balancing on the verge of the precipice. Except that at the time we didn’t know it. And now I get the feeling that I’m watching a replay, but this time it’s a different country.”

            Right. You’re seeing the tensions between socialist fantasies and the need to go out and let people produce things, trade them, and live with a reasonable degree of liberty.

            The collapse of the Soviet system should have been a great lesson for the world, but apparently not.

          • ReyR

            OFM: I am beginning to enjoy this exchange, you sound like a sober thinker, and give me a hope that I can make myself understood.
            “If you want to be honest, tell me it was worth killing and starving x number of people in order to be a player on the world stage as a nation.”
            Frankly, I can’t see it your way, because Russians don’t hold monopoly on “killing and starving” if we compare modern Russian history with, say, the United States. Surely political oppression and atrocities are there, but we can find all that and more in modern American and British history. Like the Oklahoma famine that was blamed on the Dust Bowl and “poor farming practices”. But to explain why hell broke loose in Oklahoma, I rely on credible evidence from my former work-mates, US nationals who were there when it all happened on Route 66, and later in California. It was hell, they told me. It’s all history, and well documented. We can also read John Steinbeck’s novel (hardly a popular author now, and mostly for political reasons). Then again, Caldwell’s Tobacco Road has little to do with human rights and liberties. You see, I have read some pretty unpopular American writers, some of them out of print now.))) But of course Steinbeck was branded as a commie, his book banned and burned. Americans don’t seem to befriend the truth so much as they claim. So are we even surprised that your average community college graduate has never heard of Okies starved to death, or even about the Irish potato famine, but he does know about the Russian communist cannibals.
            Sure I could share some experiences just to illustrate that the West tends to exaggerate the atrocities of the Soviet era in Russia. Moreover, having lived about 20 years in South Russia, I have enough evidence to prove my point, but I fear that all this is usually wasted on a Western reader.
            In a nutshell, my impression is that Russian history is grossly and deliberately misrepresented in the West, caused by a blend of western interests and the bitterness of two waves of Russian emigration. This alone is enough for an independent paper, so I leave it be. As to how Russian history is misrepresented, I know stories enough to fill a book even from my personal experiences, but let’s walk some common ground. One example: it’s a fact that the Russians were the first to put the sputnik on the earth’s orbit, and Gagarin was the first man in space. But if we looked up “Space Exploration” in an English-language encyclopedia, we used to find mostly description of American achievements, with both Gagarin and the sputnik drowned in a sea of words. Yes, they were there somewhere, but the authors made it sure that the unprepared reader would never find them. This at least was the case before web-based encyclopedias became editable, and now our guys ensure that Gagarin and the sputnik are where they belong by right: in paragraph one. But I remember my amazement at the MS Encarta some years ago where I COULD NOT find Gagarin. This is but one example. But when I search my memory for any example of successful Russian propaganda in 54 year of my life, the list is pretty short. Russians have always failed in all brainwashing efforts pathetically, unlike the Chinese (who invented the word). Not that I’m much ashamed though.
            A serious flaw in the Russian national character as I see it is that politically we are unsophisticated; to put it bluntly, our average Russian is a poor liar. On the other hand, English speakers rise to unprecedented heights in the art of storytelling. This, btw, explains Hollywood and the indisputably best fiction writers in human history. The two sides of the same coin: bullshit and art – they are both storytelling. Our disability here is tragic. Just look at Germany: who committed more atrocities, us or them? Now, who is the devil? That’s how I see Russia’s bad international image mainly as a case of extremely incompetent PR management. Not entirely (blameless empires don’t exist), but predominantly.
            I am Russian-born but cosmopolitan, and the Soviet system punished people like me. At 25, I saw the West as superior in every way. The system denied us the right to walk around and make our own conclusions, and that was one of its really disingenuous features. In fact, one of the errors that triggered its self-destruction. Then the system expired, but we survived, and had decades to travel, observe, and ponder. Now I know for a fact that although life in the USSR did have its dark sides, they were outbalanced by the bright sides. Not because then I was younger and now entertain some emotional memories, but because of objective facts. Even as an off-margin individualist by nature and thus opposed to the socialist mob mindset, I have to admit now that the Soviet system worked well. But I would need a long discourse to present at least some of the evidence convincingly, the format of our dialog makes it impossible.
            Now about failing systems: all systems age, complete the cycle, and collapse. No system has existed forever, nor can it. Arrival of ever more complex technologies only accelerates the cycle. It took centuries for the Roman Empire to collapse. The British Empire’s cycle was much shorter, and we Russians managed to run the course in some 80 years. The American Empire rose after WWII, and you are bound to collapse before 2020 – an even shorter span.
            As to current events, it’s just the matter of the cycle phase. Our cycle goes before the US by some decades. We had a wave of repressions in 1930s, you all are going through a similar phase now. In 1980, SWAT teams made less than 3,000 calls; in 2012, they answered more than 80,000 calls, and on every average day, more than 100 American households are visited by a SWAT team. The US has the largest prison population in history right now. Sounds pretty much like Stalin’s purges to me.

          • WW4

            “You’re seeing the tensions between socialist fantasies and the need to go out and let people produce things, trade them, and live with a reasonable degree of liberty.”

            That strikes me as doctrinaire. Can’t the tension simply be between private interest and something we haven’t really discussed–the “pubic good” (or what used to be known as the “commons?”) This is an everyday social tension. Just because there is a “collective” element to it, and because government (local, state and national) is generally the avenue we collectively appeal to redress grievances, this doesn’t rise to the level of socialism.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Can’t the tension simply be between private interest and something we haven’t really discussed–the “pubic good” (or what used to be known as the “commons?”) This is an everyday social tension.”

            Sure, but that tension doesn’t bother me. It’s not a denial of that tension to point out that most of the political tension is either fundamentally caused by socialist delusions, or distorted by them.

            “Just because there is a “collective” element to it, and because government (local, state and national) is generally the avenue we collectively appeal to redress grievances, this doesn’t rise to the level of socialism.”

            Collective action is not necessarily collectivism.

            Definition of COLLECTIVISM:

            1: a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also : a system marked by such control

            2: emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity

            There are perhaps some subjective thresholds, but I generally give people the benefit of the doubt. I won’t say it’s collectivism until I can clear show where the rights of the individual have been compromised without any clear reason.

            Some clean water laws are rational public policy, collective action, and not collectivism. Collectivism is telling a man he can’t use too much water on his farm because of some nebulous greater good claim. If you don’t have specific groups of individuals whose rights are being weighed, that’s collectivism. That’s my threshold for it.

            Or put another way, the rights of the collective are legitimate when you are legitimately bundling the individual rights. If these rights of this supposed class can not be objectively connected with real individuals, then you’ve clearly gone over to the collectivist camp.

            In our civilization, it is legitimate to act collectively, but not to create theoretical classes as containers for rights that don’t exist. Only individuals have rights. Individuals can act collectively. Without those individuals, obviously you have a tyrant who is trying to create an elite class of social engineers either because they want the power, or because they’re so delusional that they think their plans are so great that they don’t need the legitimacy of getting consensus from the individuals they claim to represent. That’s why they use concepts of class so that nobody can prove or disprove that they truly represent that class, which should be in the end a bunch of individuals.

            “But Adam Smith’s invisible hand becomes even more invisible in an age where multinationals operate and subterfuge is institutionalized on a large scale in our State. It’s something I’m grateful we’re opening our eyes to, but it’s also something that in a sense, that we “asked for,” something that creates a social tension that is not “socialism.””

            I didn’t say that all social tension was socialist. I tried to imply that my concern regarding is the social tension caused by delusional socialist ideas. Even if the root concerns people have are legitimate, if their orientation is to forget about the rights of individuals and to forget that a group does not have legitimacy unless they truly represent the individuals they claim to, and balance their claims against the rights of the people they want to take from, those concerns are either rooted in socialist ideology, or their arguments are distorted by socialist ideology.

            I don’t denounce everything about them. They are not my existential enemies. I’m saying that if they want real progress, they need to learn how to understand how our economy, constitution and our governing institutions work.

            It’s a huge fallacy that conservatives oppose progress. They oppose delusion. And some times they disagree about specific progressive concepts, like sexual freedom and social mores. They expect progress to come primarily from the private sector, and for the government to ensure law and order according to the constitution. Which already guarantees equality before the law. The socialist delusion comes in when people want end-result equality, regardless of merit. Just because it seems fair or whatever.

        • reader

          Stock and commodity market create liquidity, which makes possible for people to trade assets, including your homes. Otherwise, you’d be stuck in your home and grow vegetables for your own consumption. Don’t you think that a person must have at least some rudimentary knowledge about the subject matter before bloviating about it?

          • ReyR

            1. Markets fall (like the US market). Businesses go bust and can’t afford buying commodities (like the US market).
            2. You guessed right: I do grow vegetables for my own consumption, I’ve got 4 acres of land and one farmhand for this specific purpose (he is more civil than you).
            3. Rudimentary knowledge may differ: economics-wise, you are pre-Ptolemaic, I’m post-Galilean in astronomic views.
            4. Seeing how worked up you are, I am much amused, oh profile-free reader. With you, I’m never bored. Be sure to come back, my friend.

          • reader

            Yeah, I see, another Bryzgalov. Afraid, not quite enough for Leo Tolstoy. Good luck living off your farmland, Vasya. Just one advise: reread Ilf and Petrov’s bit about Vasissualy Lokhankin. That’s be like looking in the mirror for you.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Have a little more patience before you decide that anyone here has an agenda to confuse you.

      What all of us should object to are frauds and liars. Now you need to understand more comprehensively how some things work before you can decide who the frauds are.

      • ReyR

        Some twenty years ago, a friend of mine, of old English stock and rather well educated, admitted: “I have no time for most of Americans, because they think they own the truth. Should I choose one word to describe them, it would be ‘obnoxious’”. At the time, his vitriol seemed groundless. Now, and quite frequently, I am tempted to accept his point of view.
        To claim objectivity (as your handle suggests), one must be able to look at things from at least two facets. Knowledge of a foreign language helps, obviously. I know English, Russian, and Chinese, I read and watch news in all three, every day, and occasionally I contribute to different forums, in all three. But I do not claim ultimate expertise, and I don’t think I’m oh so cool; bragging is not my nature, but you force me to mention my language skills, it’s just another objective fact that you insist you respect. And incidentally, responding to one of your quips thrown at me: I do not “translate” things, when I speak or write in English, I think in English. Even on the academic level, how much Russian or Chinese do you know, and have you heard the other party’s POV to discuss these matters so boldly?
        Now, on the practical level. Do you have any first-hand experiences of communism to share? I was born and bred in Russia, and the year was 1959. I saw it all, and I have had ample time to think it all over; but you are the one who sounds like you are the expert here.
        Ah, Americans! You know what’s wrong with you guys right now? Two things. Number one, you wasps swarm in a dream, and the reality around you is very different from what you perceive. In the US, every tube-fed handcuffed blue-pill salary slave sees himself as Conan the Destroyer or Rambo.
        Number two is derivative from number one: the blue pill makes you weak, you talk a lot, and try to be reasonable, although the time to be reasonable is long past. You guys are lost in words.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          So you object to the fact that I draw distinctions between communal living and communism?

          “Now, on the practical level. Do you have any first-hand experiences of communism to share?”

          True communism doesn’t exist. Socialist tyrants exist in every democracy. What matters is how much tyranny they get away with.

          I”m sure your experiences were way more emotional and worth bragging about but that doesn’t actually disqualify my comments in any way.

          “You guys are lost in words”

          So you’re more objective because you speak Russian and Chinese, and I’m not objective at all because I tried to define communism for you while distinguishing it from your examples of communal living.

          The USA is a free country and you can say what you want on the Internet. You might do better to pause and think a little more before you do, but as I said, I acknowledge that you’re free to say what you want.

          • ReyR

            Actually, I am not arguing, OFM. I mean, I am not trying to impose my PoV on you. But I must admit that the use of the term “communism” as an equivalent to the four-letter word set is totally vexing. About just as bad as the civilizational slur that begins as soon as someone knows that you are from the alternative universe.)))
            About “lost in words”, yes, I mean it. For centuries, we over here have been busy saving your asses about once every generation. On the other hand, Americans have never had a major war on their turf. Not that it is your fault, of course, just luck. But your relaxed and let go, you all are mostly sure that its’ because you’re so cool. This is how BHO & Co. showered you with words and stole your country from you. You are a police state now, not a capitalist state, and unfortunately this renders our discussion irrelevant. We might as well debate the reforms of Qin.

  • ReyR

    Communism works, but on very small scale. All primitive tribes worked on the communistic principle. A nuclear family is surely communistic, because it observes the principle: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Communism fails totally if attempted in large scale experiments, because large structures attract parasites who tend to co-opt the whole idea by use of mimicry, take over the function of distribution, and abuse the system until it is exhausted. If the system is large, they have long time to abuse it. In case of huge systems such as the USSR or the USA, they have decades. Sooner or later, the leeches will drink the host dry and die too, or migrate to another host, if they are lucky. Most of ex-Soviet officials moved over to the UK and the US. The US “elites” are sailing away even as we speak. But the “communistic” Americans stay put. Amish, for one, or some really close communities. Well, you know what I mean.
    On the other hand, BHO is a Muslim, and he is going by the book. It would be madness to expect a Muslim to live by any book other than drivel of their moon god’s messenger. In this light, BHO’s actions are logical: he is subjecting non-Muslim Americans to dhimmitude, and he installs the faithful above them, to milk the dhimmi cow.

    • WW4

      I’d say any -ism works on a small scale, given shared values and the relative manageability of small numbers.

      • ReyR

        Agreed, but there’s difference: Communism is an inherent feature of a robust nuclear family, while any other -ism is an external imposition. You can hardly imagine a robust family based on mutual racism, or on the principles of capitalism. My point is, communism as a doctrine promises to efficiently extend close family-like ties nationwide or worldwide, and that’s why it is a hoax. But in the nuclear family, communism is the modus operandi.

    • reader

      What are you talking about? Did you even read the Communist Manifesto? “A nuclear family” is something that commies always targeted, because breaking down family and family values on every level was always at the core of marxism.

      • ReyR

        BTD, faceless reader, let me guess right: your profile is not accessible for us mortals because you represent the ultimate truth? If so, I wonder why you stoop so low and get involved in our debates. Something to do with your attention span?

        • reader

          Nuclear family is going strong in Russia? Your an ignorant idiot pretending to know everything – the worst kind, and you definitely don’t represent Russians, many of whom a much smarter than you are, and you know it.

    • Paul of Alexandria

      One reason that communism, to a certain extent, works in a family is that the parents have an inherent reason – genetic – to be concerned for their children’s welfare, and each other’s. It also has a limited lifespan, since in caring for them I am training my children to be capable of supporting themselves in the world. One problem with communism on a larger scale is that it attempts to replace the family structure and encourages dependency by the lower classes on the government (thus increasing the leader/ “parent’s” power).

      Like everything else in life, social systems depend greatly on the scale. The Founders gave communities and states much greater flexibility and power than they gave the federal government. Some things work better on a larger scale, some things don’t.

      • ReyR

        My point exactly. Just one detail: in a truly human society, you train your children because they are your insurance policy for the old age. Other patterns came later, after the human link was severed and parasite-infested large social structures were established. The little secret of “micro-communism” is that people of the same blood identify with each other. On this scale, we humans don’t hold monopoly on the model; for example, wolves are known to feed their elderly pack mates when they are sick or disabled.
        Communism is a scam, because it usurps and abuses the pack drive. The scam of Islam, on the other hand, usurps and abuses the sex drive and fear of death, an even more lethal combination. Right now, communism is hardly a threat for the US, but the other scam is very material; it is a sleight of hand when the master juggler substitutes one for the other, but most of those who can see, keep mum. This is why Americans are all so gung-ho and ready to fight the obsolete communist threat, but totally blind to the creeping islamofascist revolution.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Communism works, but on very small scale.”

      No, communal living works on a very small scale, when it’s not coercive. That’s not communism. That may have been one of the things that inspired communism and socialism, but it’s not commun-ism.

      com·mu·nism [kom-yuh-niz-uhm] Show IPA

      noun

      1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actualownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

      2. ( often initial capital letter ) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity iscontrolled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

      3. ( initial capital letter ) the principles and practices of the Communist party.

      4. communalism.

      I can appreciate that it might be difficult translating with more precision, so take this as me helping you communicate more clearly plus the reminder about coercion.

      Communism, and even community living, are NOT alternative forms of government that can work without tyranny. The bigger the government, the greater the tyranny required, And that makes it radically hypocritical as well.

      Community living has nothing to do with sovereignty unless you have your own island somewhere. We’re talking essentially about forms of government and the politics of governing.

      As soon as you say that a group’s rights are more important, no matter how seductive the “greater good” argument is, you have made it difficult to get actual justice. Justice begins at the human level. That means individuals. As soon as you decide it’s more efficient to administer justice on a group level you’ve created a tyrant (or tyrant class) to rule over each class.

      “The US “elites” are sailing away even as we speak. But the “communistic” Americans stay put.”

      Hmm…well people are reacting to the growing socialist “transformation.”

      “BHO is a Muslim, and he is going by the book. It would be madness to expect a Muslim to live by any book other than drivel of their moon god’s messenger. In this light, BHO’s actions are logical: he is subjecting non-Muslim Americans to dhimmitude, and he installs the faithful above them, to milk the dhimmi cow.”

      It almost doesn’t matter how we analyze him as a person because his actions and ideas are influenced primarily by communist ideology, the propaganda that they spread far and wide in the West, and he is influenced by one of the supposed victims of “capitalist imperialism.” That happened because of his socialist father, communist stepfather or father role model, and because of his socialist mother who he lived with in Indonesia.

      He thinks he’s a one of a kind so it doesn’t bother him at all that he isn’t a purist in any sense. He’s right about that last part.

    • NAHALKIDES

      Communism only “worked” to the extent the primitive tribes you mentioned lived in miserable poverty. Communism’s failure become more obvious on a large scale, but it does fail on a small scale also – it must, because producers are not free to act on their own judgment.

  • WW4

    ofm…as we transitioned to economic systems from religion on the Aslan thread, I thought this might be a good space to copy my last reply as it is article-appropriate, and hopefully stays up a few days on the homepage.

    “You have certain ideas about capitalism that are flawed. Socialism can’t actually replace capitalism.”

    Not saying it should.

    “I have never argued against law and order.”

    But here is the rub, no? Government is required for law and order.
    But if government were only to be reactive to criminality, it wouldn’t
    be very effective in protecting its citizens. We’ve already been down
    this road. Whether we are talking about the myriad nakedly cruel, unjust and predatory situations of the late 1800s, or what we’re used to now, where at least the occasional Enron goes to jail, laws need to be made, and perhaps most importantly, government needs to be able to enforce.

    But when the enforcers are sent, or bought, by the people they are
    supposed to be watching? That affects my liberty. That puts me at a
    disadvantage. My access to justice is compromised. And I believe it is
    systemic, rather than what you seem to be saying–there’s a few bad
    apples. The bad apples defense is the same defense the communists used. Or Islam, for that matter. Why? Because that collusion between the enforcer and enforced is legal either in letter or practice, by design
    and by effort.

    I agree, case by case is the way to look at things, but let’s speak
    broadly for message board reasons. Regulations…or maybe better
    examples, labor unions, government agencies are things that are often
    onerous after they’ve accomplished their purpose and their reason for
    being becomes self-perpetuation rather than corrections to a specific
    problem. But it’d be the rare conservative who didn’t admit the
    necessity for them at their outset.

    You say “Socialism inverts the burden of proof making the citizen
    prove he needs liberty,” and you make a fair point–but doesn’t
    capitalism lead to the same? People didn’t start labor unions to be
    lazy nuisances; they started them because they were essentially slaves
    in all but name. There were no real choices–no liberty–for such
    people. Unions allowed families to better their circumstances.
    Regulations are a broad topic that should be looked at case by case,
    yes, but it is generally agreed that, say, dumping poison into a lake or
    river is something we want to nip in the bud before it happens, rather
    than simply hope to prosecute the poisoner after the fact.

    I think you can see in my posts a respect for or acknowledgement of
    conservative philosophy. Capitalism is not “evil.” And the interests of capitalists should be represented in government. To my liberal friends, I always say conservatives have two great points. One: the bigger government gets, the more incentives and opportunities for corruption exist. Two, we can’t afford the government we already have. Indeed, too many today blindly look at government as a magician or panacea without following the consequences of what they might advocate. But likewise, too many look upon capitalism as sacrosanct, when we might better say it mimics nature’s ebb, flow, and fight. But we value law and order, civilization, culture and peace, don’t want to live “in nature”–not really. Liberty is what should be sacrosanct. Capitalism is not sacred, but a man-made petri dish in which liberty can flourish if protected and constantly guarded against infection. Who does that guarding, and how, is what we argue about.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      But here is the rub, no? Government is required for law and order.

      Conservatives are not anarchists. Without government, you have no law and order. You have anarchy.

      “But if government were only to be reactive to criminality, it wouldn’t be very effective in protecting its citizens.”

      Reactive as opposed to what? Proactively figuring out who will break the law?

      “We’ve already been down this road. Whether we are talking about the myriad nakedly cruel, unjust and predatory situations of the late 1800s, or what we’re used to now, where at least the occasional Enron goes to jail, laws need to be made, and perhaps most importantly, government needs to be able to enforce.”

      If I’m for government of some form enforcing the laws, then I clearly agree that we need laws and enforcement and it’s only logical that laws stay current. I’d never argue otherwise. That’s why we need a congress to pass laws that are in the best interests of their constituents without violating the rights of others.

      “But when the enforcers are sent, or bought, by the people they are supposed to be watching? That affects my liberty. That puts me at a disadvantage. My access to justice is compromised. ”

      If I’m for law and order, I’m against corruption.

      “And I believe it is systemic, rather than what you seem to be saying–there’s a few bad apples.”

      I don’t mind you starting off with that theory. But stating a theory and then making your case are different matters. What’s wrong with our current constitution that prevents you from getting justice? It’s just EASIER to identify with “people like me” and then complain about something because then you are never personally responsible or accountable for finding out if you have legitimate grievances.

      That’s the essential difference between the left and conservatives in this country: individualism vs. collectivism. Even if you don’t realize that’s what seduced you.

      “The bad apples defense is the same defense the communists used. Or Islam, for that matter. Why?”

      Because we’ve analyzed the fundamentals and figured out a plausible explanation for some (or most) of the flaws.

      “Because that collusion between the enforcer and enforced is legal either in letter or practice, by design and by effort.”

      Um, OK…You’re talking about corruption and the “enforced” here are the bad apples that buy off their would be regulators.

      “I agree, case by case is the way to look at things, but let’s speak broadly for message board reasons. Regulations…or maybe better examples, labor unions, government agencies are things that are often onerous after they’ve accomplished their purpose and their reason for being becomes self-perpetuation rather than corrections to a specific problem.”

      Right.

      “But it’d be the rare conservative who didn’t admit the
      necessity for them at their outset.”

      Also correct. There is nothing wrong with unions per se. It’s their historical approach, using destructive, cannibalistic ideas in order gain power and wealth for the union elites first, maybe getting some value for it’s rank and file members as well, but eventually killing off the companies. Not always. But too often. And I’m not even arguing that they should be illegal. What is insane is when our government thinks that it should be pro-Union unless proved otherwise. In reality the government is pro Union because the Unions buy off the politicians.

      First and foremost I’m about warning people to be very cynical about any entity that wants to take care of you when you should be taking care of yourself. Whether that’s negotiating wages, feeding yourself, whatever. And then when you throw your lot in with someone, make sure you know exactly what they’re doing in your name and why.

      Second, a lot of the corruption comes from the unions. Unions are corporations too. But leftists are for some reason wanting to see them as the “true guardians” over the “people’s rights to live” or some BS like that. Please. There are few checks and balances within the organizations, and there seem to be no government agencies who are able to keep unions honest.

      But I’m not even arguing for new legislation right now. They’re not even our biggest problem. Not fundamentally. Fundamentally our biggest problems come from the public education we deliver. The fact that most teachers are also members of corrupt unions means suddenly they (the unions) get a lot of attention from conservatives. And some unions have been behind the failure of some of our industries. It’s the corruption that we object to, not collective bargaining. Unions are not intrinsically communist. Both grew out of a cultural reaction to the industrial revolution. It’s just that unions had the same short term interests as the communists.

      But what is better, joining a class to air your grievances and negotiate, or focus where your rights and merits as an individual matter more? And even if you need the union in a given moment, do you really want to give up on ever being judged on your own merit? I’m just saying unions as an idea are fine. Unions historically are bad. They need to be reigned in at some point. Just like any other large player in society, they should be subject to sensible regulations. Based on our constitution and values. Not based on collectivism because it seems smarter, because it promises more by promising transformation that isn’t actually possible.

      ——

      I’ll try to finish up later…

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “You say “Socialism inverts the burden of proof making the citizen prove he needs liberty,” and you make a fair point–but doesn’t capitalism lead to the same?”

      Not at all. Read the above article (I think you copied this from a previous comments section?). Capitalism is not a complete system of government. We can talk about justice and how to get what you earn without any need to resort to any form of collectivism. You must not compromise your ability to get justice as an individual even if on occasion you pursue your interests through a group. You must be careful about losing your rights to do so as an individual.

      “People didn’t start labor unions to be lazy nuisances; they started them because they were essentially slaves in all but name.”

      In some cases, that’s true. But that’s not explicitly communistic. That’s collective bargaining. Nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not coercive beyond what the constitution allows.

      “There were no real choices–no liberty–for such people.”

      That’s an exaggeration. But one thing they were free to do was to engage in collective bargaining, which is fine.

      “Unions eventually allowed families to better their circumstances.”

      The role of the union is to allow the workers to keep the employers from exploiting them by keeping them divided. So it should always be lawful for workers to unite. My problem with unions is not that they are intrinsically bad. My problem is that they’ve been corrupted by collectivist ideology. The difference is that those in power within the unions actually operate as if they represent themselves first. What are you going to do about that?

      I’m not anti-union at all. I have a problem with specific unions because of specific actions. Organized labor does not need to be hostile towards management unless it’s justified on a case by case basis.

      “Regulations are a broad topic that should be looked at case by case, yes, but it is generally agreed that, say, dumping poison into a lake or river is something we want to nip in the bud before it happens, rather than simply hope to prosecute the poisoner after the fact.”

      Right. But when you pass laws and prosecute people or people as corporations, you need to follow respect their individual rights. Just as with the unions, I think virtually every conservative has objections only with the abuse of power, not with regulations per se. Obviously there are corrupt people no matter what your economic theory or your form of government. Our system is the best for ensuring maximum liberty and justice. And when improvements or updates are needed, that is why we have congress. Conservatives expect congress to make it’s case and not write huge fat laws full of pork. That often don’t fix the problems. And then more useless laws are needed with more pork and so forth. Nobody likes corruption except for the corrupt. Our problem with corruption is not our system, but lack of fidelity in our system.

      If I distill what you’re saying about poisoning water and getting them “after” that is always true with criminals. I think what you mean is that we should not just have vague laws about “don’t spoil the water” and expect everyone to operate in good faith and then find out that gee, this stuff causes cancer but now our drinking water is already polluted. So in some cases it is reasonable to put the burden of proof on the new business or technology. We do that. No problem. But any time we expand government, and write new laws, it should be considered a very serious thing. We should not be writing new and some times contradictory or superfluous laws just because in that moment it seems right. We need to slow way down and demand evidence. It’s really serious.

      Look at the bills today in congress and I’m told that few who sign them have time to read them. Combine that with our corruption problem and what you have is a situation where our reps are paid to be careful and they’re spending all their time influence peddling.

      So how about passing a law that states no congress critter can sign any law that he is not swearing to have read. That would force them to spend more time on the bills, and force them to “debundle” and it would also increase our ability to call them on it when they make excuses later.

      I think we do need new laws about how we pass laws. That’s where most of the fed corruption creeps in.

      “But we value law and order, civilization, culture and peace, don’t want to live “in nature”–not really. Liberty is what should be sacrosanct. Capitalism is not sacred, but a man-made petri dish in which liberty can flourish if protected and constantly guarded against infection.”

      I hear you. I think when you hear rhetoric about capitalism you’re thinking that the argument is about how much it should be regulated. But instead this language is used to stigmatize successful people. If you support liberty, they you support law and order and reject corruption. Those are conservative positions. It’s the rhetoric that confuses people.

      I’m for the status quo, so I don’t want people to be confused. Who gains from this confusion? The corrupt and those who are duped in to thinking we need “transformation.”

      I am not for the status quo in terms of letting corruption stay where it is. But the burden of proof should always be on those who suggest programs, projects and laws.

  • mitaky

    Financial capital (money and credit) under central and fractional reserve banking do not come from wealth. We have a debt-based and not wealth-based money system. This is not recognized by most people, including economists. Nature of capital and capitalism has changed after fractional reserve banking and so-called democracy, where Government gave away the power of creating credit to central banks and private/commercial banks.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “Actually, I am not arguing, OFM. I mean, I am not trying to impose my PoV on you. But I must admit that the use of the term “communism” as an equivalent to the four-letter word set is totally vexing.”

    Communism is a complex ideology that comes in part from benign or even compassionate motives in some cases.

    However, in the end it has basically been used in evil and or delusional ways. And by the time you perform a detailed analysis of communism, you see that the theories are fundamentally destroyed when you rectify the fallacies.

    I think what happened in terms of the discourse is that people get frustrated with their inability to take the conversation towards those root fallacies and will declare it to be evil beforehand so as not to miss the opportunity. This some times baits the supporter of communism to call the bluff. If the anti-communist interlocutor knows what he’s talking about he can show that tyranny is an absolute requirement for communism and it also depends on theories of productivity that are easy to disprove.

    If you want to defend some historical communist or socialist movements, you have to acknowledge the fundamental flaws and clearly articulate what you’re defending. You might discover that at that point you’re not really defending communism.

    “This is how BHO & Co. showered you with words and stole your country from you.”

    He stole the country by promising “free lunch” to people who’ve been indoctrinated to think that if not for greedy “rich capitalists” then the government could make everyone else’s life better.

    Virtually all of those false ideas came from socialist and communist propaganda.

  • Stop lying to the blind

    I stopped reading this nonsense when i saw ‘libertarians and conservatives on one side and liberals and other statists on the other’ suggesting liberals are now statists, conservatives and (neo)libertarians are now antistatists. Haha. Who reads this propaganda? What happened to fact? Libertarians today (rothbardians, hayekeans) are minarchists, not antistatists. Rothbard says ‘we cannot call ourselves anarchists.’ Hayek and Mises were both statists. Traditional libertarian socialists, yes, they were more or less anarchists. As for having conservatives on the opposite side to statists? Come on. FFS. Next you’ll be saying communism was statist. Lol. This is either deliberate propaganda or just naïve idiocy.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Virtually everyone has drifted to the left, both “conservatives” and “liberals.”

      Generally speaking you won’t find a liberal on the right any longer. It’s often a cover label. True conservatives are of course on the right still. Not everyone lives up to their creeds.