Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

December 4, 2007


Filed under: capitalism, politics — Tags: , , , — codesmithy @ 10:29 am

There was a comment on Reddit that was declared “The Best Political Comment on Reddit.” It urges a middle way between “progressives” and “libertarians.” The reason why socialism, or any other planned economy, always leads to totalitarianism is found in a train of thought evident in works such as “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich von Hayek. I haven’t read the book myself, but the free market orthodoxy site gives a cartoon which is likely accurate. Given it is 272 pages, I’ll probably get around to reading it this summer. I’m going to make a point to check it out from that socialist institution: the library! I already purchased “Capitalism and Freedom,” “Atlas Shrugged,” and “The Way Things Ought to Be.” I figure I shouldn’t give any more money to those with purely antithetical belief systems in an attempt to balance my views. Which is a shame, because if the book is anything like the cartoon, I’m sure it is going to be absolutely hilarious.

I always find it sort of odd that the free market orthodoxy consistently warns of the dangers of a mixed economy, that will eventually turn into a state run, planned economy. Because, it always seemed to me, that if we followed directly what free market fundamentalists were prescribing, we’d end up at an end state that remarkably resembles actual serfdom. Instead of the horrors of state-run schools, we’d have a system of private schools where only those who could afford it could attend. To me, freedom means two things, having a choice and being able to exercise that choice. The fundamental issue is that socialized economies force everyone to pay (even for those that don’t need the service), to subsidize the service for those that do. If society fails to do so, problems develop such a free-loaders, underfunding, etc. In short, it quickly devolves back into individuals paying for services they need, and if they can’t, they don’t get it.

If there is a service that the society wants to provide to all of citizens, it makes sense to socialize it. Various forms of insurance, education, protection are all good examples of services that make sense to socialize. Natural resources that represent vast areas of wealth can be nationalized to lower the tax-burden on everyone. The best example of socialism are the socialist democracies in Scandinavia. Michael Moore took some time to explore Norway. Although, typically socialism is associated with the failed Soviet Union, China, Cuba, or the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. Noam Chomsky explored the relationship between the Soviet Union and Socialism and concluded that the Soviet Union did not live up to socialism, although it repeatedly stated that it did.

Libertarianism is a whole-sale adoption of free market orthodoxy. Libertarianism allows the market to decide, well pretty much anything. However, there are reasons to believe that this is actually bad. One, the market is extraordinarily bad at regulating itself. Paul Krugman describes how our market innovated its way into the current credit crisis. Two, the market is fundamentally based on money. There is a developmentalist theory that states that democracy leads to socialism because people will band together to vote themselves more money. Thus constantly equalizing society. In a market based approach, it is no longer one person one vote, it becomes one dollar one vote. So those with money can vote themselves more money through the market. In short, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Right now, corporations are the dominant economic institution, so it is reasonable to believe they’ll have the most votes in a free market system. The sad fact of the matter is that very few Americans are actually capitalists. A capitalist as defined as earning money through returns on assets. In fact, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki is primarily about turning a person into a capitalist as opposed to a wage slave. However, one shouldn’t be blind to the fact that capitalists have extraordinary incentives to absorb or otherwise kick out other capitalists and keep people as perpetual wage slaves.

In short, there are reasons to believe that libertarianism, with its brand of free market orthodoxy will lead to oligarchy or corporatism. However, until a dictator rises in Norway or Sweden, there is no reason to believe socialism actually gives rise to totalitarianism. Freedom is a weasel word in the free market fundamentalist arguments. However, a truly free society is one where people have the most choices available to them in theoretical and practical exercise. Someone’s decision to not pay into an insurance pool is weighed against another persons inability to see a doctor. A society that has wealth equally distributed (within certain bounds) is more free than a society where wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals. Paradoxically, libertarianism is to corporatism as socialism is to democracy.



  1. Just brilliant! Libertarianism is the way,libertarian socialism that is. (i.e. anarchism and communism). All out Capitalism turns into slavery. Most capitalist states use socialist policies to maintain power and raise the majorities living standard. Just so they can turn around and say “Look at China and the old Soviet union is that what you want?”. Most have no idea Leninism abandoned it’s socialist principles I’d say around 1917. Buhahahaha

    Comment by Iz_RaH_FeL — December 13, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Just wanted to note that my little rant about Capitalist states maintaining power and using socialist ideas. Including using nationalism to get the masses to frown on the opposing country is the same exact thing going on in the named countries above. We all have more in common than we’d like to admit. Except our minority running the show is richer than their minority.

    Comment by Iz_RaH_FeL — December 13, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  3. I’m sorry but this post and it’s comments are not well thought out.

    First of all, your assumption that private education necessarily leads to the poor being uneducated is absolutely ridiculous. Before public education was shoved down America’s throat by the bankers, the Churches were providing free education in America’s communities. Private education through tutors and homeschooling was vibrant.

    Regarding ‘freem market capitialism’ – which is often blamed for our current sitution – it should be said that we haven’t had true free market capitalism in America for a long time. Some would argue that we never have. the problem is not a free market, the problem is evil men, and an evil people who vote for evil men. The only reason the free market cannot regulate itself is because it’s filled with men who cannot regulate themselves. The same is true of any form of collectivism.

    We have been living in a quasi-socialist country for 150 years – this is why it is failing. The central bank – controlled by a bunch of socialist corporate bankers – have done a great job at slowly destroying the American economy in such a way as the American people have not noticed.

    There is little debate over the fact that America is now more socialist that some historic socialist/communist states. The difference in America is that the socialist is managed not only by the state, but by corporations. The Anglo elite have been successful in their attempt to set up a corporatist socialism ‘middle road’. The two party system is a huge stage and American’s are taken by the actors playing their parts. The socialists and the corporatists (republicans and democrats) are working together.

    Free market capitalism isn’t to blame for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The blame for that can be place on the American people who refuse to read, and act. The rich don’t force American’s to sit on their couches and watch tv. The rich don’t force people to not-care. The rich doesn’t force people to continue to vote for Fascists (read the German Workers Party platform and you will find that Hitler was a Socialist).

    Having said that our socialist education has been controlled by the banking establishment since the late 1800s (read the “underground history of American Education”. This ‘corporatists’ cannot do anything without socialist government. This is why the bankers funded Marx’s Message, along with communist Russia, Hitler, Italy, China, etc. All of these socialist countries have been funded by the same Anglo Bankers.) This socialist education in America has destroyed America. All one has to do to destroy America is make sure that one generation never reads history.

    I’m must on a rant now, so I’m going to shut up.

    Comment by tnn — December 22, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Gee whiz tnn, starting off with an insult? Although, I have to ask, in the alternate reality that you must live in, is there any evil that cannot be traced back to the bankers?

    I’ll thank you for proving my point, however. Without public education, people would have to rely on the church or their own resources. However, I would hardly call what a church would provide an education in any modern sense. Richard Dawkins has explored religious “education” quite well and has highlighted a few of the problems. (starts around 22:40).

    I can only imagine the 150 year figure comes from your belief that the free market ended when the income tax was introduced.

    As for the rest of your rant, the one thing that free market fundamentalists, socialist revolutionaries, and software developers frequently get wrong is that there is no such thing as a “tabula rasa.” One has to figure out a way to get there from here, not how to start the whole thing over again to avoid the problems you didn’t want to address.

    I don’t want to debate World War 2 Germany with you or the various communists states, it is too loaded. So, let’s start with the social democracies of Scandinavia. What specific problems do you have with Sweden or Norway? What problems do you see them facing in the future due to their obvious socialistic policies? How would America be destroyed if we tried to adopt policies that seemed to work over there with regards to public ownership of natural resources, education, health care or law enforcement?

    Comment by codesmithy — January 1, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  5. Yeah TNN is right we should let the church educate the poor like the good ol’ days. lol

    As I stated before most capitalist fail to see that no absolute free market capitalism has ever existed because it is the very nature of such rapid competition that leaves a few the victors in that particular market, this destroys democracy and freedom at the peoples expense so a few individuals may have their property rights. Now free trade is still available for the dominant but as far as anyone else having a chance against monopolies is ridiculous. So go ahead and label everyone stupid and lazy if that makes you feel better but the reality is that a minority dominate the free market and have done so since the conception of our country. The state and it’s petty-bourgeoisie socialism is a means for the rich to maintain their power. They bank on their property rights while the state attempts to raise middle and lower class living standards to prevent revolt or appearance of failure. SO I find it funny that you say the problem is Socialism when they are merely using a mild form of it as a band aide. But never the less if you were to reform America into an absolute free market the same would happen all over again. Sir just because you are unfamiliar with politics of countries further east doesn’t mean you should display your ignorance to the world. The word Socialism is such a subjective term and has been abused more than the word freedom. The Soviet Union spread “socialism” in a similar fashion that the United States spreads “freedom” it’s a politicians lie. Actually READ “My struggle” from Mr.Hitler and then read “The Poverty of philosophy” or “The Communist Manifesto” by Marx. If you can’t tell the difference than this is the very incompetence you have publicly displayed by not seeing the necessity for the rich to manipulate the state to maintain conditions that are in their interests.

    On the final note I would like to inform those who will reply with the typical rhetoric that their is a major difference between Marxism, Leninism and the fascist idealistic government during the period of Stalin and his predecessors in other countries which lead to similar governments popping up because they wanted to break away from the U.N. so they had to declare ideological allegiance to Stalinism. If you ask any Marxist or Anarchist the revolution failed not in 1991 but in 1928. Fascism, Totalitarianism and Capitalism (w/ petty-bourgeoisie socialism only) dominated the world. Stop making you political bias evident by mis educating people. Thank you

    Comment by Izrah — March 17, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  6. ever bought a socialist Scandinavian manufactured product ?….Junk! Volvo, Saab, Jonsered. Socialism destroys innovation and zaps the individual’s work ethic.Japan is a free market role – model that enjoys an extremely high standard of living without womb to the tomb nanny state care.

    Comment by Buckeyebill — December 31, 2008 @ 6:04 am

    • Hi Buckeyebill,

      I love how you claim that Scandinavian manufactured products are junk, as if your declaration is sufficient grounds for such a statement. What amazes is that you seem blissfully unaware that we live in an information age. It is annoying to have to do the homework for the unwilling or incompetent, but it really only takes like two seconds to google.

      Just look at JD Power’s ratings by brand.

      No, the Scandinavian car manufactures aren’t the best but they aren’t exceptionally bad either. Volvo beats or is equal to many Japanese companies in overall quality, as an example.

      Socialism destroys innovation and zaps the individual’s work ethic.

      Repetition doesn’t make a statement true. Get some data to back up your assertions.

      Furthermore, Scandinavian countries seem to be the most innovative countries in caring for the welfare of the average citizen (this is according to the human development index).

      Isn’t that worth something? How about Linux then?

      Japan is a free market role – model that enjoys an extremely high standard of living without womb to the tomb nanny state care.

      Japan, really. The country that experienced a “lost decade” from falling into a liquidity trap is your free market role model? I applaud you sir. It is amazing to see a self-refuting argument made in so few words.

      Every country has problems, but America’s dogmatic and reflexive dismissal of anything that is labeled “socialism” because of a delusional fear that it would lead to a totalitarian state holds progress back.

      Comment by codesmithy — December 31, 2008 @ 8:46 am

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