@Nate – “I'm arguing against the wrong kinds of laws”Fair point and no doubt government creates all sorts of distortions in
the marketplace through bad laws. Regarding Obamacare (which I
largely agree is an unwieldy mess… I thought the relatively simple
Wyden-Bennett bill was far superior) it may prove on balance to be a step in the
right direction for the main reason that healthcare suffers from two inherent
market failures that the free market seems unable to correct. Namely, (in econ
jargon) a vertical demand curve when you’re sick, and an asymmetrical
information problem between providers and patients. I think
there’s a good reason why no developed country in the world has a purely
free market healthcare system.RE: Financial crisis – yes, the
government created distortions through Fannie and Freddie, but I think a far
larger contributor was the securitization actions of Wall Street (fanned by
their perverse compensation structures) seeking to spread risk. Their actions
are really what caused this thing to be a global toxic mess, all the while
getting fabulously wealthy in the process.So yes, we definitely need
good laws where applicable…
@Tyler DNo, we don't always agree, but I like that you're
thoughtful and willing to talk about ideas."without strong
laws..."You seem to think I'm arguing against laws.
I'm not. I'm arguing against the wrong kinds of laws. Good laws have
general application and protect all parties equally. Bad laws are arbitrary, and
protect the wealthy and powerful from their competitors. Obamacare, for example,
with its dozens of "the secretary shall determine" and its thousands of
waivers, allows the law to be whatever the administration wants it to be,
applied to whomever it chooses. And it's designed to become the only game
in town. It's horrible law."access to political
power"You are pleading my point here. Crony capitalism is not
capitalism at all. When government intervenes in business to reward its
supporters, the market is no longer free. It's interesting that you chose
the financial crisis as a bad example, because this has government fingerprints
all over it. Bad public policy created the financial crisis.Free
enterprise means no subsidies, no bailouts, no price supports, no corporate
welfare of any kind.
Capitalism is the main reason most people immigrate from their homeland to the
USA.Hey... maybe if we did away with Capitalism we would do away
with our illegal immigration problem at the same time!
@Nate – “Leave capitalism to itself, and the bloated corporations
don't stand a chance.”Always enjoy reading your comments.
We disagree quite a bit but your points are always well argued and for the most
part intellectually honest – something I find in short supply with many on
the Right (who have spent too long going to school on Rush Limbaugh
tactics… lots of half-truths, straw men and logical fallacies).Overall I think your view of capitalism (for all its many merits) is a bit
naive – without strong laws with real teeth corporations will always have
tremendous advantages in the market and will always have more access to
political power. Also, without FULL transparency in the marketplace consumers
are further disadvantaged and can be easily run over in all sorts of ways
involving externalities, market failures, and even simple transactions (e.g.,
the many cases that came to light after the financial crisis). Hard
to really flesh things out in a 200 word post, but it would be fun to dive into
some of the details on the limits of capitalism and the proper role of
government to correct some of these problems.
@Mike in Cedar CityYour definition of socialism is overly broad.
Socialism is state or collective control of the means of production. The only
items on your list that come anywhere close to this are infrastructure
improvements such as roads and highways. However, they fall well within the
constitutional category of "general welfare."I do make use
of public accommodations, and there is no inconsistency in my doing so. I
don't define every public good as socialism.I'll dispute
your previous point that "capitalism left completely to itself inevitably
leads to a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few." It requires
collusion between business and government to achieve this. Leave capitalism to
itself, and the bloated corporations don't stand a chance.
Nate, I don't think you have a good understanding of Socialism. Let me make it simple. Socialism is your police force, fire department,
public roads and highways, your public buildings, your courts, your public
library, your national forests and monuments, oh, and yes your Army, Navy,
Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. The truth that right wingers never seem to
grasp, is that socialism in nothing more than those services that we
democratically decide that the government should perform or provide.. So, if
you are an anti socialist purist, you must be willing to argue that all these
should be privatized and make a powerful case for that. And, until you do,
perhaps you should not be hypocritical and use any public accommodations. If you
have a car, put it away because private roads are pretty much a thing of the
long dead past.
@Open Minded Mormon "the church DID own the means of production and
distribution of goods."Yes, the Church as a corporation had
private ownership of these things. They were not owned collectively by members
of the Order, and they weren't owned by the state. People who joined the
Order were deeded property of their own, as QuickRick has described."Can any one really deny that 'FAMILES' [sic] fit the definition
of socialism?"Yes, I will deny it. My property is owned and
controlled by me. It is not collectively owned, nor is it owned by the state.You don't seem to have a firm grasp on what socialism is. Perhaps
if you did, you wouldn't be such an advocate.
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is
wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams I would suggest that the same is true of "free market capitalism."
Morality and ethics have been set aside and the monster of Greed rages in the
hearts of many American businessmen today, especially in Utah. It explains the
finding that three of the larger suburban centers in Utah are among the
fastest-growing poverty centers in all the nation; the advent of the HB116 guest
worker program and its Utah origins; and the rabid push for summary passage of
the Gang of Eight bill which would drive wages down even further by flooding the
nation with new, foreign labor which would provide American businessmen a way
around having to pay their fellow Americans a fair wage. The gross
disease of Greed -- of Capitalism without a Conscience -- may well destroy this
nation. "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of
God." Matthew 19:24
The problem isn't capitalism per se, it's unregulated capitalism. We
long ago learned, but have forgotten in the last 30 years, that capitalism left
completely to itself inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in the hands
of a few, and to financial practices that cause the economy as a whole to
periodically become unstable, as it did again in 2008. Many of the economic
controls that could have prevented or lessened the 2008 recession were removed.
Laws like Glass Steagall, a federal law that prevented commercial banks from
involving themselves in investment banking, were unceremoniously dumped as a
part of the misguided policy of "deregulation".
@QuickRickBrigham City, UTaccording to Merriam Webster,
Socialism is defined as: 1: any of various economic and political
theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of
the means of production and distribution of goods2a : a system of
society or group living in which there is no private propertyb : a system
or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and
controlled by the state.----Can any one really deny that
"FAMILES" fit the definition of socialism?.FYI -- You
are wrong about the United Order, the church DID own the means of
production and distribution of goods.The mills, the newspapers, the
stores, the railroads, the mines, all owned and operated by the Church.
I think republican believe in something other than Christianity. First they
believe in every man for themselves, and among the survivors a nice nod while at
church - as long as you don't actually need anything.
Limbitis Randiantitis – caused by prolonged exposure to Rush Limbaugh or
Ayn Rand novels (or by second-hand exposure – i.e., to Tea Partiers)
whereby otherwise intelligence people experience a steady decline of neural
activity in the pre-frontal cortex culminating in chronic binary thinking and a
pathological affinity for straw men.Disease is the only rational
explanation for this article being authored by the same Bob Bennett who
co-sponsored the most intelligent healthcare proposal of the decade – a
bill far superior to Obamacare.
To Mountanman: Yes, let us compare East Germany (communist) to West Germany
(social democracy). Many posters on this board refer to social democracies as
socialist, some uninformed posters even call them communist.
Good reasonable comments and questions and then comes.."Compare N. Korea
(communist) with S. Korea (capitalist) or the former E. Germany versus W.
Germany. Yep, lets give communism a chance! After all 100 million dead people
ordered by Stalin, Mao ste Tung, Pol Pot and other fine communists isn't so
bad is it?"
Poverty has been declining for decades and capitalism is the reason. When people
gnash their teeth about "the gap between the rich and poor" , "the
1%" and "fairness", it's simply lib-speak for "I want what
that rich guy has, but I don't want to work for it". It's a great
thing that there are more rich people than ever. The gap between the incomes of
the top and the bottom is meaningless. We are not sharing a pie. We are creating
wealth and growing the pie. That's how poverty is defeated!The
problem with "Progressives" is that they hate "the rich" more
than they hate poverty.
Well said 10CC...
Compare N. Korea (communist) with S. Korea (capitalist) or the former E. Germany
versus W. Germany. Yep, lets give communism a chance! After all 100 million dead
people ordered by Stalin, Mao ste Tung, Pol Pot and other fine communists
isn't so bad is it?
The short term threats to capitalism come within the system itself.Periodically, capitalism has had to be "tempered" to avoid the
revolutions once predicted and feared. Teddy Roosevelt pushed through the
"square deal", the notion that the wealthy are smartest to cultivate a
middle class, child labor was outlawed, the 40 hour workweek implemented,
etc.The threats of today are widening economic inequality, more
& more of a "winner take all" competition in technology, the
corrosive effect on middle class jobs that technology and globalism represent,
etc.Capitalism has been a great engine for achievement, and works
best when the rising tide lifts all (or at least most) boats. To the extent our
current challenges lead younger generations to question the entire system, we
need to roll up our shirt sleeves and address the present problems. Odds are that some bright minds will concoct modifications that will take the
edges off the Darwinism that capitalism can quickly and easily devolve into, and
we'll move forward.
Re: Tekakaromatagi, Cont.In the United Order, neither the government
nor the church owned the means of production and distribution of goods. Members
who chose to live it donated their property to the church. The church
(represented by the Bishop) then met with the person and between the two of them
came to an agreement as to what the person needed to support his family. That
was deeded to the person to use as he chose. If he worked hard and produced
more than he and his family needed, he was encouraged (but not required) to
donate the excess back to the church. The church did not own that property or
control what he did with it.Can any one really deny that China, the
Soviet Union, Cuba, etc., fit the definition of socialism? In fact, the leaders
of those nations proudly proclaim their socialism.
This is an extremely simplistic editorial from someone who should have a far
better understanding of economics. Bennett is engaging in the typical
two-dimensional thinking that dominates politics. The underlying assumptions are
that communism and capitalism are the only two possibilities and that they are
opposites. Both assumptions are false. In fact, communism in its many
manifestations and global corporate capitalism, which we practice in most
countries today, are more similar than they are different. Both are
authoritarian systems in which the wealth accumulates in the hands of a few.Bennett is also wrong about capitalism improving the lives of the
majority. Only up to a certain point. Our system of capitalism has passed a
threshold and for 30-odd years has been allowing more and more to slip through
the cracks as American capital shifts to Third World countries, leaving American
workers out of the profit equation, except as consumers.If we really
wanted to reform capitalism to make it more consistent with Adam Smith's
original vision, we would encourage worker ownership of businesses. Fat chance.
re: TekakaromatagiWhat definition of socialism are you referring to when
you equate the "Mormon United Order" with socialism and say that
"Cuba, Venezuela, China, the Soviet Union, France, etc are not
socialism." according to Merriam Webster, Socialism is defined as:
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or
governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and
distribution of goods2a : a system of society or group living in
which there is no private propertyb : a system or condition of society in
which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
Once again Sen Bennett has set up a strawman argument (nobody has raised or
suggested) to knock down. Who exactly has suggested that the USA abandon
capitalism?I'll be looking forward to his next article which I
assume will cover why we should not abandon sitting on chairs or celebrating
I think socialism is a great idea when everyone is poor. Capitalism is fine
when people get out of poverty. Having said that the only socialistic societies
that I know of are the Mormon United Order, the Quakers and a lot of native
American and Pacific islander cultures. (And for all the political dogmatists
reading this: they all had a strong religious element). Cuba, Venezuela, China,
the Soviet Union, France, etc are not socialism. Maybe they are crony
capitalism, maybe they are feudal, but not socialistic.
Capitalism ceases to be capitalism when you add "crony" to it. More
unintentional irony from the honorable Robert Bennett.
The type of economic system does not make the character of the men running it.
It is the character of the men running the system that makes it good or bad. An
economic system is good or bad depending on how well it satisfies the needs of
the society who owns it. Capitalism, communism, socialism or any
other system could be called good if only good men were chosen to run the
system. The only thing is, there are few if any good men in this world. Bad
men running a capitalistic system is every bit as bad as bad men running a
communistic system. We cannot change the nature and character of
men but we can change the rules by which they live. In order to have a good
capitalistic system, we have to have proper and good rules.
Who's abandoning Capitalism? What is Capitalism anyway? Is it the form which was practiced in the 17th century with nearly half
of the entire workforce in bondage? Is it the form which was
practiced in the mid 19th century which heavily subsidized the railroads? Is it the form which was practiced at the beginning of the 20th century
which allowed Wall Street and Big Banks rule everything? Which, in the 20s, led
to them running our country and economy, into the ground?Is it the
form, in the 30s and early 40s, which relied on heavy regulation of Wall Street
and Big Banks and used government spending to save capitalism from eating
itself?Is it the form practiced in the 50s-70s where the CEOs
didn't make much more than the common worker?Is it the form
practiced from the 80s to today which relies on deregulation, massive stock
market crashes (and bailouts), and heavy subsidies from the government to big
AG, Oil, and military defense?Shouldn't there be more
regulation these days? Or have we learned nothing from history? What is keeping
the banks and Wall Street from running our economy into the ground again?
Beyond the smoke and mirrors of the business people are some truths that we
should consider. Capitalism:is and has been the mode of
business ever since business was invented. is a process that allows
and promotes the notion that one can profit from the labor of another. is the manner in which nations interfaces and compete with each other.
Is the root cause of all wars. War is the ultimate of economic
competition. Is good, when operated by fair rules that provide
it’s benefits to all the people it touches. It is not
necessary to do away with private capitalism to bring back the balance of
benefits of earlier times. We only have to change the rules to accommodate the
technology of today.
Who has abandoned capitalism? Have you checked the stock market lately? How
about the billionaire's bottom line? The wealthy just keep getting
wealthier and the poor keep getting poorer. It's literally a
capitalist's dream come true!
President Eisenhower once gave a speech in which he said that the genius of
American capitalism was that an average working man could buy a nice house, a
nice car, and put his children through college on his income alone. He also
stated that the countries that were ripe for communist takeover were the
capitalist countries in which a few people controlled most of the wealth, while
working people did not share in the prosperity.In this same speech
he said reason for this was that America's business elite understood that
it was in their own long term interest to see that prosperity was shared among
all workers. Our current business elite has forgotten that lesson.They now wants
it all for themselves, and they see cutting worker pay and benefits as the way
to their prosperity. We can't have a stable society in which
half the population is unable to prosper, even though communist takeover is no
longer on the horizon.
I agree with the Senator's general premise that capitalism has the capacity
to raise people out of poverty. But let's not overlook the issues in early
21st century American capitalism, either. In the name of economic
prosperity we have created a consumer culture that has racked up $38T in private
debt, 250% of our GDP. We have largely outsourced the manufacturing
of goods in favor of a nebulous "services" economy. Now many of those
jobs are also being outsourced.Middle class wages have been stagnant
for over 30 years while an increasing percentage of total economic growth has
been concentrated at the top 1%.The economy is increasingly
dependent for growth on the financial sector, with its rapacious need for
capital and increasingly exotic debt instruments, ultimately resulting in the
2007-2008 bubble-bursting. The dollar is tied to global petroleum,
encouraging higher budget deficits and giving other countries the ability to
chip away at the dollar by encouraging oil denomination in other currencies.
This is a recipe for catastrophe.Interest groups dominate politics
with money in exchange for economic favoritism.This is not Adam
Smith's vision of capitalism and we cannot ignore it.
This is going to be like a debate with the "7 Blind Men and the
Elephant." Until you can agree on a single definition of capitalism,
comments will be all over the board. What usually passes for capitalism in so
many discussions these days is better known as "crony capitalism" where
government picks winners and losers. A prime example is that a few big banks get
bailed out while the rest are left twisting in the wind. Genuine capitalism
works only without government intervention but with government enforcing laws
equally, regardless of business size. "Too big to fail" undermines
capitalism.An essential feature of capitalism is that money
production is not a monopoly. Under capitalism, money is created by the free
market, not by government. Capitalism will not exist as long as government
grants a monopoly to one money-creating body and proscribes anyone else from
Not unless you're the Communist-in-Chief. Then it's a good idea. Let's see, the Dear Leader has surrounded himself with obvious
"progressives" who's entire agenda agrees completely with what the
Communist Part, USA touts, the most influential mentor of his life, Frank
Marshal Davis, was a hard core Soviet style communist and he is doing exactly
what was recommended by the socialists, Cloward and Piven to create a financial
crisis. He believes in a single payer health care system and the redistribution
of money taken from those who succeed and given to those who either won't
or aren't interested in helping themselves. Doesn't all this sound
like a communist?If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duct, acts
like a duck and looks like a duck, what do you think it is? A horse?