Friday, January 20, 2012

THE "EVILS" OF CAPITALISM

Let me start out by stating that I am a died-in-the-wool, unapologetic capitalist.

In its purest form, capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

It is a sad thing that in our country capitalism has been corrupted by politicians who have tried to use it to their advantage to get re-elected and business have tried to use it to their advantage to influence politicians to pass laws and/or regulations that favor them.

In a proper capitalistic society, a person (or persons) comes up with an idea that he believes people need or want, finds investors who believe the idea is good, produce the product or service and sell it to as many people as they can...if it will sell at all.

That last part is called "risk," for in a capitalist society a product might not sell at all or it might sell like iPods, it even become an icon like the Slinky.

Productivity is the key in a capitalist society.

When goods and services are produced, they are then sold at a profit. If they are not sold at a profit, the company that makes or provides them goes broke.

What has happened in our country is that capitalism and politics has become very mixed, like eggs in cake batter. The result is a sort of hybrid capitalism that produces the results mentioned above.

What we need is to get government out of capitalism and capitalism out of government.

The first person to come up with a viable way to do that will be the most important person in history.

I watched Charlie Rose (my favorite interviewer to hate) interview George Lucas, a capitalist who hates capitalism, even though he has benefited from it in his every endeavor.

For those who don't know (is there such a one?), Lucas is the one who gave us "Star Wars," and other really stirring movies.

In the interview, he was exercising his capitalism by promoting his newest film, "Red Tails."

I'm quite certain that he hopes the movie makes a profit.

To Rose's credit, he did note at the beginning of the interview that Lucas benefited from capitalism while philosophically being opposed to it, with which Lucas agreed.

Is that hypocrisy?

I don't think so, but you might disagree with me. That's OK. This is America and you have the right to be wrong.

The cry that capitalism is based on greed is a false one, even though there certainly are greedy capitalists, and in abundance, too.

But that is not capitalism's fault. That is the fault of a character flaw that is common to mankind.

There MUST be laws governing capitalism. More correctly there should be ONE law governing capitalism: Don't cause any physical or other harm to others.

How one defines "harm" might be open to discussion, but it does not need to take the form of endless government intrusion.

No business should be too big to fail, and no business should be restricted from succeeding.

We would be much better off as a country if government had kept its big nose out of business...period.

Then the legal system, or natural business forces, could deal with those who abuse the capitalistic system.

(The efficacy of the legal system is a topic for another day.)

Folks like those in OWS have made it clear that they don't understand business, capitalism, profits, payrolls, expenses or anything else about almost anything.

But in-and-of itself, capitalism has provided the most good for the most people of any system ever devised.

More "poor" people have been helped by capitalism than by any other system. More charities have been helped by capitalists than by any other world system. More Americans have been helped by capitalism than by any other system.

The only "evils" of real capitalism are those imagined by Utopians who think a benevolent government of dictators or despots can solve peoples' problems.

Note: For a really good discussion of capitalism click HERE.

14 comments:

sue hanes said...

Joe - I really think that Ron Paul said it all and spoke for all of us last night when he simply said that:


Government should stay out of it.


But Joe - Our Country was set up by the Founding Fathers themselves with Government as the Very Core of Our Existence.

Government needs something to do.

What little Job would YOU suggest Joe that would give Government something to do just to keep busy and Save Face?
~~~

Capitalism is inherently a Good Thing. It's just that the Bad People have manipulated the h*ll out of it until it is hardly recognizable any more.

Z said...

Joe, I've written many articles at my place about how capitalism really can't work without goodness, without people guided by something which keeps them from hurting others in any way in their own perfectly understandable and admirable pursuit of being the best they can be.

There are all sorts of media-made terms now like CRONY CAPITALISM, which make capitalism sound all bad; we understand the difference, many voting Americans don't. OUr kids are schooled to believe capitalism is for 'pigs', and the very rich journalists and news readers are on that bandwagon seemingly unaware that they won't look quite as good in Mao jackets as they do those Prada heels and low cut, sleeveless dresses they wear to give morning news, which capitalism pays for, for example.

The left wants to legislate human nature and it can't be legislated. We need to encourage capitalism as you suggest and clean out those who hurt others on an intentional wide-scaled basis, hiding behind the cloak of "evil capitalism"...

Fredd said...

Of course it's easy for the media to bash capitalism, since those for whom capitalism has not worked out so well are out in the open for everyone to see, as they languish in the gutter. And their subsequent sob story (rehearsed thoroughly) is relayed to the rolling cameras with a maximum of emotion.

The successful capitalists go relatively unseen, except as seen from the street of their gated communities.

Ducky's here said...

LUCAS: Well, I grew up in the '60s. I grew up in San Francisco. And so I'm informed in a certain kind of way about, you know, believing in democracy and believing in America. And I'm a very ardent patriot. But I'm also a very ardent believer in democracy, not capitalist democracy. And I do not believe that the rich should be able to buy the government. And that's just the way I feel.

-------

Is that statement controversial?

Ducky's here said...

For those who don't know (is there such a one?), Lucas is the one who gave us "Star Wars," and other really stirring movies.

In the interview, he was exercising his capitalism by promoting his newest film, "Red Tails."

I'm quite certain that he hopes the movie makes a profit.

-------------

He's also a hack. He didn't even direct the second and third films in the Star War series, not that it mattered.
His ego finally got hold of him and he produced and directed Episode 1 and we all know the crap that produced.

"Red Tails" is poorly reviewed and seems to have all the downside of a Lucas film. His ego doesn't permit him to admit he doesn't make very good films.

I'd contrast someone like Lucas who concentrates on blockbusters to the subsidized film makers of the French New Wave or any of many other subsidized film schools (including Iran's until recently).

The films were profitable although not on the scale of Star Wars and being subsidized allowed directors to be unconventional, experiment with technique and themes.

It reached America and here it became the "New Hollywood" which died almost before it was born with only Robert Altman able to fight it out for a career. Capitalism killed it.

So if you want to make a large profit make your film under capitalism. If you want to make an artistic statement try a more socialist environment although the Japanese studio system of the 50's and 60's was a bit of an exception.

Sorry for the rant but I can't sand Lucas or the distribution system he has helped create.

Ducky's here said...

Joe what form does your capitalism take? Laissez-faire or do you agree with the classical economists from Adam Smith on who understood that capitalism MUST be regulated in order not to become oppressive.

SR said...

"...I am a died-in-the-wool, unapologetic capitalist....."

So am I!
Except I'm more 'dyed' than 'died'.

"....but you might disagree with me. That's OK. This is America and you have the right to be wrong...."

Sometimes, in America, people are often not only not right, they are not even wrong they are so far off!

Joe said...

1. Absolutely no foul language. If you are not man or woman enough to control your language, you are not welcome here...go somewhere else.

Joe said...

SR: "Dyed-in-the-wool" is correct. My bad (does anybody say "my bad" any more?)

SR said...

Yins is a funny guy Joe.

Ducky's here said...

I guess nothing ever works for us. we’re fools, of course–
bucking the inside plus a 15 percent take,
but how are you going to tell a dreamer
there’s a 15 percent take on the
dream? he’ll just laugh and say,
is that all?

--- Charles Bukowski

Libs are whiners said...

Ducky, stop name the calling and go take your meds.

Christopher said...

Hey Hip Suburban White Guy XO, thanks for lending me that sexy lady book last nigh, the only trouble was that wen I got home and tried to read it, I found that the pages were all stuck together. What gives?

SR said...

My capitalism takes a similar form to the one championed by that little know economist, Adam P. T. Barnum-Smith - as interpreted by that well known capitalist Martha Stuart:

"There's an invisible hand born every minute and it's a good thing there is."