A conversation about Capitalism

What if I told you I am a hippie and capitalist at the same time

What if I told you I am a hippie and capitalist at the same time











ɣ shared this and . . .

α: I’d ask you to define capitalism.
. . .


β: Capitalism in a nutshell (for those who don’t know):

1. Human beings are sentient individuals with unique perceptions, thoughts, ideas and abilities.

2. Through these abilities and attributes individuals are capable of creation in the physical world.

3. These creations, whether they be a table made of sticks, or a painting, or a fish caught, are a physical manifestation of the individual’s ability, ingenuity and labor. The individual uses his or her intangible unique potential and creates tangible value through effort. These creations constitute “private property”.

3. Private property being derived from the unique nature and effort of the individual is an extension of that being into the physical world. Therefore, to violate private property without consent of the owner is to violate the individual themselves.

4. Individuals may voluntarily trade private property with other individuals often for property of mutually agreeable and equitable value. In this process wealth is created.

That’s it. It is natural economic interaction between humankind.

People want to have apples to apples conversations with respect to capitalism and socialism. You can’t. Capitalism isn’t a form of government. It isn’t democracy, it isn’t feudalism, it isn’t fascist corporatism, it isn’t mercantilism, it isn’t monarchy and it sure as hell isn’t any derivative of socialism. All of the Statist systems listed were created at least in part to govern “capitalism”. Each Statist system has the result of concentrating the wealth generated by capitalism into an ever shrinking elite cabal while hoodwinking the population into the belief that they are enslaving them for their own good.

Marx, who is responsible for the gobbledegook that socialists constantly whine about, never described what capitalism was even though it was all he bitched about. This type of dishonest and amorphous wordplay is a hallmark of socialists. It’s kind of like the term “social justice”. No one can ever really tell you what it means, so it can literally mean anything and prevent focused, productive conversation.

The goal posts can constantly be moved when you don’t define your terminology, but that is the point.



α: i’m sympathetic, but Patrick, your definition of capitalism is gobbledegook. What you defined sounds a lot more like voluntarism, agorism, or anarcho-capitalism, and it’s broad enough to include almost any pre-capitalist market. And if you’re excluding pre-capitalist markets, then i’m not sure the capitalism you define has ever existed. Capitalism that exists now and actually historically developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.

How do you guys address these concerns?

The Coercive Power of Capitalism – naked capitalism


β: α, no it isn’t. Capitalism pre-Marxism was exactly what I described. You posting something from a socialist website does not change this fact. It’s article is complaining about corporate fascism which is a derivative of socialism, traced back to Marxism. As for it being gobbledygook it can’t be any simpler. “anarcho” implies “without rulers” so, yes. It is capitalism without the state which is exactly what I described, Where people like you get lost is in the idea that capitalism is a form of government. It is not and never has been. You then blame “capitalism” for it being bastardized and warped by the state and the powerful when they rape the population of the wealth created by voluntary economic interaction in a free-market.


ɣExactly as soon as I read Marx got it ‘right’ and it’s definitions of fascism and corporatism conflated with ‘capitalism’ I stopped reading. I seriously wish people could study some basic economics before indulging in Santa Claus…I mean Marx



β: Curious if you’ve ever seen “A Soviet Story”, Jamie? You should look for it on YouTube and check it out. It is about the rise of Socialism in Europe and the branches that became National Socialists (Nazis) and the Soviets or global socialists. Both were rooted in Marxism and of course Statism but Nazism was the sacrificial lamb because it was ultimately on the losing side of the war. The fabian socialists live on and they’ve spent the last several generations convincing the world that Nazism and Communism are the left and right of the political spectrum when the reality is that they are the left and right of socialism which is to say the left and right of the left. The left and right of the State. This shared heritage between the totalitarian Statist ideologies was highlighted by the film.



β: I haven’t seen it. I’ll have to check it out. But I know the history. FDR was part of the plan too. FDR pushed the movement on the west big time during the same time frame. *Socialist/communist movement in the Western Hemisphere that is.



ɣGoebbels would be so proud of today.



β: Yes he would. The Third Way Fabian Socialists have nearly instituted their economic program with minimal resistance. He’d be a proud papa.



ɣAs the saying goes. No one ever learns from history. Till it’s too late.



α: So you didn’t address anything I said and went off on a tangent about statism instead. Pretending corporate capitalism isn’t a form of capitalism is a bizarre misappropriation of the use of “capitalism.” 

And you stopped reading too soon and missed the good stuff,

“If you have a system that requires that people sell their labor as a condition of survival, yet fails to provide enough opportunities to sell labor to go around, you have conditions for revolt. Hungry, desperate people having nothing to lose. That, and not charity, is the root of the welfare state, to provide a buffer for when the capitalist system chokes up and presumably on a short-term basis, fails to provide enough jobs (that and to provide for people who are infirm, handicapped, or otherwise cannot work, which communities in England did in the early modern era).

So you can see the obvious tension: the capitalist classes in America, to increase their riches further, have been squeezing workers harder by not hiring as they did in the past. We’ve never had a “recovery” in the post-WWII era with so little of GDP growth going to labor (meaning both hiring and wage increases). In the past, the average was over 60% and the lowest was 55%. I haven’t seen a recent update, but the last figures I saw was that the level for this “recovery” was under 30%. Yet simultaneously, theres’s a full-bore effort on to gut the remaining safety nets. If this isn’t a prescription for social and political instability, I don’t know what is.”



ɣPretending? It’s description is conflated with the State. It’s called corporatism it’s not the same as capitalism. Personally the article just kept obfuscating both capitalism and it’s mixture with the state. A common misconception.
If anything I agree with this http://radgeek.com/…/Markets-Not-Capitalism-2011… more than that editorial. It’s more of a Mutualist perspective. As for hardcore anti-capitalists, Syndicalists, Marxists writings of the likes you shared I’ve read enough of that stuff years ago. And still dabble in it when a source gets tossed at me. I read it fully this time for you and again will tell you it’s completely filled with State controlled economics, calling it capitalism. I don’t agree with Marx’s static opinion on labor. He constantly misses the point. The individual is an entrepreneur. It’s called human action.



α: I think we both want similar things but the history of capitalism is intertwined with the state, so it’s strange to say that the only true capitalism is stateless. There’s a reason anarcho-capitalism uses a prefix.



α: I still think this, “What [Patrick] defined sounds a lot more like voluntarism, agorism, or anarcho-capitalism, and it’s broad enough to include almost any pre-capitalist market. And if you’re excluding pre-capitalist markets, then i’m not sure the capitalism you define has ever existed. Capitalism that exists now and actually historically developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.”



ɣ: The capitalism described or completely freed markets has never been fully adopted and has always lead to peversion by the State historically. So yes in essence pre-capitalist design would be excluded if there was no state. This doesn’t make voluntary exchange or a medium of exchange fraudulent just because it’s associated currently with the State. That would be a false dichotomy. It’s redundant circular logic that often anti-capitalists use. So you seem to grasp that and yes I’m sure both of us more or less want the same things for humanity.



β: α– you’re lost in semantics and that is the entire point of my “rant”. You are one of the lost people I’m describing. In Brave New World, Huxley used a metaphor of a rose with delta class babies. The babies would marvel at the beauty of the rose and approach it to inspect it in greater detail. As they did they were electro-shocked by overseers as that class of people were conditioned to have an aversion to nature by their masters in the higher castes. I see quite a bit of that in your confusion. What I defined is capitalism. What you are describing is fascist corporatism which is a derivative of Marxism. I have read Das Kapital, I have read biographies on Marx and I am a student of history if nothing else. It is crystal clear that you are relying on contemporary socialist sources for your worldview. I insist that before you start trying to correct people or start claiming that something I describe “sounds like” you educate yourself. You’ve had a difficult time reconciling “anarcho-capitalism”; so what is it if it isn’t what I described. As for the reason “anarcho-capitalism” uses a prefix it is to separate it from the other factions in the anarchist movement, many of which are collectivist or tribal in nature. Nothing more.



ɣWell said β.



α: Of course, I’m “lost in semantics” that’s been my entire objection this whole discussion. You’re not using the dictionary definition when you exclude “perverted” capitalism in your definition of capitalism. Your use of the word “capitalism” is political and not representative of its common use or its historical practice.



ɣ: Wittgenstein said it best. Words. Just mere words. It’s the token matrix. 



β: I am using the historic definition because I refuse to use the Marxist pejorative which is amorphous and leads to obfuscation with claims of “types of capitalism” and your class rhetoric. I strip all of that away. Capital is a created, stored value. Capitalism is the creation and trade of that value. Research the the etymology of the pejorative you describe. You continue to prove your ignorance. In the pejorative sense “capitalism” is a meaningless blob of philosophical drivel created by Marx himself. He never even described it in his writing and yet statists/socialists are quick to blame all perceived ills on it. It is the great trick of the socialist, dishonest word play.



α: Thank you for finally agreeing/coming clean that your use of the word “capitalism” is political and not representative of its common use or its historical or present practice.



β: Where did I agree with you? By rejecting your Marxist babble? Interesting form of argument.



α: “I am using the historic definition because I refuse to use the Marxist pejorative which is amorphous and leads to obfuscation with claims of ‘types of capitalism’ . . .”

I though you were admitting your use is not representative of its current common use or its historical practice or do you actually want to give a counter example instead of insisting i’m speaking Marxist babble.

I’m just using the dictionary definition, and wanted to clarify that you weren’t:




β: And where does your dictionary definition differentiate from mine? In its mention of corporation? Is it different that it doesn’t expressly separate the concept from the state? Is it different in that I explained the philosophical underpinnings of private property? 

If anything your dictionary definition proves that you’ve been spouting word salad about “different types” of capitalism while introducing socialist notions of class to the dialectic. It proves that your articles are socialist bastardizations as has been pointed out repeatedly.

It’s all been laid out for you and yet you remain willfully and stubbornly ignorant.

This is what you’ve been complaining about and it is not capitalism:

“Fascist governments encouraged the pursuit of private profit and offered many benefits to large businesses, but they demanded in return that all economic activity should serve the national interest.[8] Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because “the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise… Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.”[9]

One significant fascist economic belief was that prosperity would naturally follow once the nation has achieved a cultural and spiritual re-awakening.[10] Often, different members of a fascist party would make completely opposite statements about the economic policies they supported.[11] Once in power, fascists usually adopted whatever economic program they believed to be most suitable for their political goals. Long-lasting fascist regimes (such as that of Benito Mussolini in Italy) made drastic changes to their economic policy from time to time. Stanley Payne argues that while fascist movements defended the principle of private property, which they held “inherent to the freedom and spontaneity of the individual personality”, a common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism.[12]


α: Lol. I don’t know who you think you’re arguing. But you’re clearly the one not understanding. Capitalism has never existed without the state.



β: It is basic human economic interaction and trade. “I don’t know who you think you’re arguing”? I’m not arguing, I’m educating. You’re regurgitating and failing repeatedly. You’ve been able to back up none of your assertions and in fact have unwittingly supported everything I’ve stated. You’ve got nothing in each successive post except to abandon your last. And please stop moving the goal posts. Not once did I speak to the state in the context of your “argument”.


The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism


In the realm of economics, capitalism applies the principle of individual rights to the production and exchange of goods and services. Viewed from the perspective of economics, capitalism is the system that completely separates economy and state. Under this arrangement, individuals are left free to produce, trade, and consume economic values, both material and spiritual, according to their own rational judgment. The government plays only the role of neutral umpire, providing a system of objective laws that protects property and contract, and that punishes the initiation of force and fraud in economic relationships.

α: β, you’re not educating. You’ve been unable to understand what I’ve been saying this entire time. Please give me an example of moving goal posts. This is the same thing I said in the beginning.“Capitalism that exists now and actually historical

ly developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.”The baseline structure of every economic system is POLITICAL.

Your description of capitalism is an ideological fantasy and you have not once given an example of it existing.

Btw, I’m not a statist. I’m not a Marxist. The blog post I linked to was authored by Yves Smith “Yves has been in and around finance for over 30 years as an investment banker, management consultant to financial institutions across a large range of wholesale banking and trading markets businesses, and a corporate finance advisor. She has also written for the New York Times, Aljazeera, the New Republic, Salon, the Conference Board Review, the Australian Financial Review and other financial publications. ”

Her blog is not a “socialist blog.”

α: I think this is close to the crux of our disagreement.Corporate capitalism IS actually included under the umbrella of capitalism.

The capitalism you defined doesn’t exist/ has never existed.

β: No it isn’t. What you are describing is not capitalism and is part of the Marxist dialectic. I told you exactly what capitalism is. I’ve explained it as best I can and given you ample resources which you continue to ignore. The Clemson University site included. You can call it what you will. You can say it is a fantasy, whatever floats your boat. The fact is this is what capitalism is.

I don’t care what the authors credentials are, as we have pointed out there is conflation and continues to be. By her credentials she’s a corporate fascist. When the government intervenes in the market capitalism ceases to exist. Period.

Call it whatever you want. I reject your terminology because it is wrong. When the government blends its interest with the corporation and the public absorbs private losses that is fascism. It has no resemblance to capitalism.

And I’ll give you an example of moving the goal posts. When did I ever mention any of your Marxist pejoratives? You introduced them, not me. You attacked my illustration of capitalist economic interaction without a leg to stand on. You’ve tried in vain to create some standing by flailing away with “corporate capitalism” and your other assorted nonsense that I never mentioned.

β: One other interesting bit to this conversation, your insistence in the last few paragraphs that capitalism has never existed is pretty funny considering that is one of the major critiques of Marx and his inability to describe what he was criticizing. It’s also interesting in that this is exactly what Jamie and most other free market advocates have been saying for a long, long time. It hasn’t existed and yet it has been blamed repeatedly for statist/socialist blunders.
α: Your definition of capitalism has never existed which means that when everyone else uses the term, you aren’t having the same conversation. You have admitted that your definition is not equivalent to the dictionary definition and haven’t ever addressed that the creation and foundation of “capitalism” of any kind is political. Of course you’re frustrated that I don’t accept your definition of capitalism, it’s just an ideological obfuscation. And of course capitalism that actually operates can be blamed for things and of course it’s not the same capitalism as the fantasy that never existed. Your definition sucks and makes conversations with everyone who isn’t in your ideological bubble suck. And i’m not even a statist.
α: Was the U.S. ever capitalist by your estimation? When did it stop being so?
β: α, you’re doing it again. Let’s recap;

You interjected because I defined the economic basis for capitalism with a simple step by step description.

You continue to insist that “individuals left free to produce, trade, and consume economic values, both material and spiritual, according to their own rational judgment…” is a kind of economic interaction that does not exist or that it is the basis of some type of fantasy or “sounds like” anarcho-capitalism. (surprise, surprise!)

You’ve wasted everyone’s time by insisting that it is wrong when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

Thank you for your time. As for your assertions about what I have said, people are free to read my words. They and the content of this thread speak for themselves.

When you decide to acknowledge reality the world of possibilities will expand for you.

I hope that this has been as informative as it should have been for you. If you take a step back, do a little reading and don’t try so hard to shield the ego, you’ll gain so much knowledge.

As for your final shift of the post I encourage you to read about the history of central banking in the United States and then decide for yourself.

From there I’d encourage exploration of the forces that financed the Bolsheviks. It is fascinating.

α: Condescension isn’t education. Some day you might understand what I was saying.
β: No, I won’t. It’s impossible to understand when someone is saying nothing at all. You’ve not made one sensible point in 10,000 words in spite of the inclusion of a number of sources including a school of economics at a major university and your own dictionary choice proving you’re clueless.
You’ve engaged in projection by insisting that I’m the one obfuscating when I couldn’t have been more clear and you’ve illustrated perfectly the strategies developed by the Frankfort School to obfuscate and broaden definitions while going as far as to unwittingly engage in critical theory, a Marxist tactic.
It is mind numbing to waste time on someone who has spent the last several days effectively trying to argue that capitalist economics and the free-market are mutually exclusive and that capitalist free-market interaction does not and has never existed except in fantasy. If I’m coming off as condescending it’s because you’ve come off as obnoxiously obtuse and deserving of derision.
α: Condescension isn’t education. Some day you might understand what I was saying.
α: Really thought you’d be able to realize that a freed market is incompatible with the state.