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I’m continuing my reporting on the current installment of Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.

Yesterday Mr. George how human beings can have morality without Religion and Tradition. This was a detour made necessary by his earlier demonstrations that neither Religion nor Tradition could provide the moral underpinning needed for decent society.

Today he resumes his attack on the Major Myths of conservative thought by taking up the seventh and last of them: the Myth of Capitalism.

The orange linguini lead you to our account of today’s post.

Mr. George begins by defining the Myth of Capitalism:

Free-market capitalism is an unquestionably beneficial and moral economic system.
He traces the main lineaments of this idea, pointing out that those who believe it also tend to think that Capitalism was the maturing of a historical growth of economics into its perfect form. This growth culminates in what they think is the most evolved state of economic activity—that all markets should be free to operate as they will, without the intervention of government.

He then shows the slight difference between conservatives and liberals in America regarding their attitude toward Capitalism:

Almost everyone in America believes some form of this Myth. Conservatives live and die for it. Most of them are completely oblivious to any negative consequences that arise from Capitalism. Liberals too believe the myth, although some of them may be more circumspect about the negative consequences. But then they blame some error in the system or some bad actor. Ultimately, they too see nothing essentially wrong with the system. In their view, if something bad comes out of Capitalism it must be because the good system is being used badly.
Finally, he says that beginning tomorrow, we will see that this belief is utterly false. He promises to show us in the next installment that Capitalism is not at all what most Americans take it to be:
The Myth is as wrong as can be. Capitalism is intrinsically immoral; the immorality cannot be removed; and Capitalism only acts relatively well when its intrinsic immorality is controlled, restrained, and minimized.
You can read the whole post here.

Tomorrow, Mr. George will demonstrate that Capitalism is intrinsically, and essentially, immoral.

I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Intrinsically immoral" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'll buy that. Or rather I think I would say that capitalism is intrinsically amoral, kind of like the internal combustion engine-- a good servant but a poor master.

    I think part of the problem is that we talk about Capitalism (always capitalized like the name of the one God) as our system. In fact, to the extent it is a system we don't practice it. Capitalism is rather a method for managing a part of the affairs of society.

    Even the most ardent of Randians acknowledge that there are some functions of society that cannot be managed along capitalist lines. So really the argument is necessarily about the proper scope of capitalist methods.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:40:30 AM PST

  •  The Shock Doctrine proves this premise also. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:58:39 AM PST

  •  If one defines capitalism as the accumulation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and preservation of assets for future use, then it seems obvious that it describes a process which is dependent on the perception of time and usefulness and consequence. An organism which does not perceive process cannot be a capitalist even though, like the squirrel and the pack rat, accumulation is one of its habitual behaviors. Indeed, we might even posit that capitalism depends on the ability to remember and to think in a linear fashion. And, if that's the case, then it would explain why some humans, lacking the capacity to engage in linear thought, are endemically unfit for accumulating capital. Though they may well, like the squirrel, accumulate out of habit, or even obsessively.
    Some people seems convinced that capitalism is restricted to the accumulation of money, the symbolic representation of assets, rather than material assets themselves. I don't think the two are synonymous. Assets can be virtually accumulated in the form of money, but an accumulation of money is not ipso fact capital. Because, and this may be my own idea, for capital to be capital there has to be an intent to use and produce. So, for example, a structure that provides no shelter to productive or reproductive enterprise is just a geegaw.

    The acquisition of geegaws, whether in the form of jewels or more practical artifacts, has been promoted in the U.S.  But, instead of categorizing the citizenry as materialistic in consequence of having succumbed to the lure of owning things, I'd argue that the ownership of things has been held out as a sop to compensate for the fact that their human rights and the free exercise of their properties (speech, perambulation, creation, association, reproduction, sustenance)  have been systematically restricted in the culture of obedience. That is, the acquisition of things has served as a token of subservience -- evidence that one's behavior has been such as to deserve to exist. There is a right to life, but continuing to live is contingent on obedience.  And obedience, being essentially abusive, gets transmitted from generation to generation via the threat of violence (embodied all too often in the gun).

    If one boils it down to its essence, capitalism is about how and when assets are used, regardless of ownership. Some ideologues argue that ownership is determinative -- that when individuals own things, they take better care of them and use them well. That was the argument propounded in "The Tragedy of the Common."  Subsequent developments give no credibility to that proposition. If it were credible, we would not be swamped by private property whose use and usefulness has been abandoned. Not to mention that communal ownership in China has not inhibited the development of social and individual capitalism at all.
    If anything, ownership inhibits productive enterprise, to the extent that it is necessary to devote time and energy to protecting accumulated assets from being accumulated by someone else. It is hard to be productive when one has to stand guard over one's cache. Accumulation may be antecedent to production, but it is not a prompt. Neither production, nor reproduction happen automatically.
    Of course, people who don't understand process are not likely to understand that. It's all magic.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:39:25 AM PST

  •  but it is not capitalism.. (0+ / 0-)

    it is a plutocracy borne world of speculation and futures on money that doesn't even exist.

    it is a form of perverted, post modern fascism - where governments serve as platforms to insure the status-quo of those at the very top.

    it is now a world where everyone is a small byte of info demonstrating their assets, credit worthiness, and liability- to determine who might live in the debt bubble, and those that don't qualify.

    This is not conventional capitalism-- not anymore

  •  huge # of USA in poverty; why? (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

    by Churchill on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:49:04 PM PST

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