Capitalism and Statism

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  • #1
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loseyourname said:
Besides, it's hard to see what's "unnatural" about man-made institutions. Is man not a part of nature? It's also a little difficult to think of capitalism as a man-made institution. All it is is the lack of state regulation of commercial transactions, leaving all details to the privately negotiated contracts between buyer and seller. It's the items exchanged that are man-made.
Capitalism is man made too. Without the state to enforce ownership and property "rights", and to prosecute unfair business practices and fraud, there wouldn't be any "markets" or laissez-faire capitalism.

Markets are institutions just like anything else in state capitalism.

(I don't know what everyone's going on about "natural" and "unnatural" for, so i won't address it.)
 

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  • #2
loseyourname
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Smurf said:
Capitalism is man made too. Without the state to enforce ownership and property "rights", and to prosecute unfair business practices and fraud, there wouldn't be any "markets" or laissez-faire capitalism.
It doesn't give you any pause that the world's most fervently capitalistic people are anti-statists? I agree that, for a market to operate cleanly, some entity must exist with the power to enforce contracts, but I don't see any reason why a state is required.

Now that I look back on my post, though, I'm not sure why I initially said that it's difficult to think of capitalism as being a man-made institution. It seems trivially obvious, even tautological, that any institution of man is man-made.
 
  • #3
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loseyourname said:
It doesn't give you any pause that the world's most fervently capitalistic people are anti-statists?
Can you show me some of these anti-statist capitalists?
but I don't see any reason why a state is required.
How else would you enforce it?
 
  • #4
loseyourname
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Smurf said:
Can you show me some of these anti-statist capitalists?
www.mises.org

Hardcorest bastards out there. A friend of mine swears by Mr. Ludwig von; of course, I think he's insane, but he, like you, thinks that anarchy is the answer. Also, there is Polly's favorite blog:

www.lewrockwell.com

I don't know if he still is, but Lew Rockwell was the president of the Mises Institute.

How else would you enforce it?
How does any group that operates outside of a state structure enforce the contracts they make amongst each other?
 
  • #5
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loseyourname said:
How does any group that operates outside of a state structure enforce the contracts they make amongst each other?
Good question. In fact, I think I just asked it.
 
  • #6
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loseyourname said:
www.mises.org
Hardcorest bastards out there. A friend of mine swears by Mr. Ludwig von; of course, I think he's insane, but he, like you, thinks that anarchy is the answer.
I think he's a ****ing nut too, actually.
 
  • #7
loseyourname
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Smurf said:
Good question. In fact, I think I just asked it.
The state is a relatively new phenomenon in human history, smurf. Social norms existed, and managed to be kept alive (including such things as the keeping of mutual agreements - z.B. marriage or pederesty) either long before the birth of the state or outside of the jurisdiction of the state. Even frontier settlements and isolated tribes still have rules that individuals follow, and there are consequences when the rules are broken.

Heck, I'm sure you make agreements with your friends at times, and neither of you is bound by law to keep them, but most of the time you probably do, correct? Consider property rights at the most basic of levels. I live with my girlfriend, and we share a lot of things, but some of things are just mine, and some are just hers. They belong to us as individuals, and the other - generally speaking - respects that property right and does not do anything to the other's possessions with his/her permission. Neither of us invokes the threat of legal sanction to ensure that this continues to take place.
 
  • #8
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loseyourname said:
The state is a relatively new phenomenon in human history, smurf. Social norms existed, and managed to be kept alive (including such things as the keeping of mutual agreements - z.B. marriage or pederesty) either long before the birth of the state or outside of the jurisdiction of the state. Even frontier settlements and isolated tribes still have rules that individuals follow, and there are consequences when the rules are broken.
Heck, I'm sure you make agreements with your friends at times, and neither of you is bound by law to keep them, but most of the time you probably do, correct? Consider property rights at the most basic of levels. I live with my girlfriend, and we share a lot of things, but some of things are just mine, and some are just hers. They belong to us as individuals, and the other - generally speaking - respects that property right and does not do anything to the other's possessions with his/her permission. Neither of us invokes the threat of legal sanction to ensure that this continues to take place.
What happens when a business (or individual) can make a huge profit from breaking a contract? If there's no force outside of common decency to force them to adhere to the contract, why should they? Control of popular opinion can stifle the ill effects of being a "cheat" fairly well, as long as you don't personally cheat a lot of people.

Let's say an individual or group gains huge economic power through the skillful management of their business(es). Lets say that business controls, say, the vast majority of the steel production in the world. What's to stop them from raising prices as they see fit?

An extension of the above point: That business decides to expand into other areas. They gain more and more power. Who will keep them from gaining enough wealth to control the creation of small businesses, thus stifling possible new competition.

edit: I seem to have strayed VERY far off topic. Sorry.
 
  • #9
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Anarcho-capitalism cannot really exist imo. Capitalism requires the state and the law to enforce ownership. This is the inherent contradiction between capitalism and liberal socialism (anarchy).
 
  • #10
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What happens when a business (or individual) can make a huge profit from breaking a contract? If there's no force outside of common decency to force them to adhere to the contract, why should they?
This happens ALL the time right now anyway. Buisness break the law if the ROI in doing so is worth while. Sometimes they dont even care about this.
 
  • #11
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Big bussines make the law!!!! they have fluid contacts with mebemers of the goverment, they have plenty of money to bribe, they have groups to lobby and in many cases their CEOs and directors switch places between goverment and bigbussines.
 
  • #12
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Government has broken monopolies before, and they do enforce contracts (though I don't know how effectively).

For one point, capitalism elevates some people to positions of great wealth, which equals great power. At a certain point, becoming richer isn't the game; the game is to be the most powerful. So, they use their skills to gain more power. This pretty much leaves an oligarchy ruling over everything, since they could pay off the government if they wanted to (and control the media, etc).

Another point is that capitalism requires physical force to not be used to gain economic advantages. Capitalism is the switch of battlegrounds from the field to the market. The problem arises, however, when certain individuals gain the power I mentioned above. Such people can change the rules of the game (the government is not separate from us mortals, ie, it's not God or whatever).

Capitalism is an excellent driving force, but the end result is either rebellion or oppression (the interim is wonderful, though).
 
  • #13
loseyourname
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X-43D said:
Anarcho-capitalism cannot really exist imo. Capitalism requires the state and the law to enforce ownership. This is the inherent contradiction between capitalism and liberal socialism (anarchy).
I do think that capitalism works better when there exists at least some minimal agency with the sole power to enforce contracts, which is independent of the private firms themselves, but that doesn't mean it requires this.

Besides, my point was only that those stating that capitalism is equal to statism are ignoring actual capitalist thinkers that are fervent anti-statists. Usually, they argue that sure, there will be problems when all problems are solved solely by the market, but these are less than the problems created by a state, of any kind, no matter how limited its power.

Anyway, those saying that this is going way off-topic are right. This has nothing to do with Castro or Bush.
 
  • #14
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I think if you say capitalism doesn't require a state you're really talking about a different kind of capitalism than what that term's usually used to imply. Capitalism seems to me to require a state because it requires some for of property enforcement. If you don't have a state to do that then you can't have free markets, which is kind of the defining point of capitalism.
 
  • #15
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Smurf, if you read the Libertarian parties website, they are staunchly pro free-market and anti-state. They don't advocate the abolishment of the state as a whole, but they are in favor of instantly cutting the Federal Budget at least in half, and instituting measures that would rapidly degrade the State's effectiveness to do anything. They don't say that they want to abolish the state, but pretty much any Libertarian will argue that they're anti-state.

Smurf said:
I think if you say capitalism doesn't require a state you're really talking about a different kind of capitalism than what that term's usually used to imply. Capitalism seems to me to require a state because it requires some for of property enforcement. If you don't have a state to do that then you can't have free markets, which is kind of the defining point of capitalism.
If there were no states, people would just have to take it upon themselves to enforce agreements and protect their property. I suppose every large corporation would essentially hire militias to protect their property, and would have forceful means of getting people to cooperate with their contracts.

Of course, that'd probabally lead to a new kind of Statism, where corporations set the rules.

Though I don't see how you could abolish any state without something like this happening. Governments are the most powerful organizations in todays world, if you got rid of them, then it just makes sense that the second most powerful organizations (some would argue the most powerful), large corporations, would just take over.
 
  • #16
How property rights are protected without a state...

In a capitalist society, regardless of the existence of a state, there will be a network of business associates. This syndicate looks out for the interests of those who are members and affiliates. If a person breaks a contract the members can get together and use their collective force to extract payment and punish this individual for not upholding their end of the contract. The syndicate could also forego any use of force or extraction of payment, simply cut all contracts with this person and make sure they do not do business with the syndicate any longer. All of this can happen in a fairly informal manner or even a very sophisticated court like process without the existence of an actual state. Ofcourse it can easily be argued that this syndicate simply becomes the state in this instance.

The state and enforcing property rights...
In regards to enforcing property rights and contracts the state simply becomes a more formal and organized version of exactly that which I have already described except that it is supposed to be fairer and more balanced since it is a seperate entity and supposedly impartial. As we all know though the state is not necessarily any fairer or any more impartial.

No matter the situation though (state or no state) as long as any one entity or group of entities has more power and influence they are going to be more likely to get away with breaking the rules.
 
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  • #17
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wasteofo2 said:
They don't advocate the abolishment of the state as a whole.
I know, I've done a lot of thinking about them. They're frighteningly inconsistant with their reasoning. Any Libertarian who is not also an Anarchist hasn't thought it through properly.
 
  • #18
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TheStatutoryApe said:
How property rights are protected without a state...
In a capitalist society, regardless of the existence of a state, there will be a network of business associates. This syndicate looks out for the interests of those who are members and affiliates. If a person breaks a contract the members can get together and use their collective force to extract payment and punish this individual for not upholding their end of the contract. The syndicate could also forego any use of force or extraction of payment, simply cut all contracts with this person and make sure they do not do business with the syndicate any longer. All of this can happen in a fairly informal manner or even a very sophisticated court like process without the existence of an actual state. Ofcourse it can easily be argued that this syndicate simply becomes the state in this instance.
Exactly. The reason you can't have property rights enforcement without a state is because to enforce it you need something that can't just be ignored by whoever is trying to rip someone off. If it can't be ignored it pretty much has to be, or be affiliated with, some sort of state structure.
 
  • #19
The discussion of anarchy for me has always come down to what constitutes a state or lack there of. Most people feel that as long as there is any sort of structure to a community then that is sufficient to say it has a government. I've had someone tell me that a pack of wolves does not live in anarchy because it's community structure is a "government". It's just rediculous really.
 
  • #20
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I'm not completely convinced though, this thread has made me think about enforcement and capitalism. In the end it's a matter of definitions.
 
  • #21
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TheStatutoryApe said:
I've had someone tell me that a pack of wolves does not live in anarchy because it's community structure is a "government". It's just rediculous really.
yeah, it is.
 
  • #22
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Even without governments, it is a rational economic decision for business organizations with the ability to exert coercion (private police, security and military forces) to exploit groups with less power. In this kind of environment, piracy, military imperialism, and slavery can be very profitable for them.
 
  • #23
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I really don't see a difference between a business organization and you're average democracy. They're both states in their own right and if you take one away the other would absorb it's power.

That's why I don't buy into this whole privatization crap, all it is is transfering power from one institution (the state) to another, more effective - but less ethical, institution (the corporations). It's bull****, you mine as well advocate fascism you corporatist bastards.

At least when things are owned by the state they're minorly accountable to the people through these symbolic elections, but more importantly, by the constitution.
 
  • #24
X-43D said:
Even without governments, it is a rational economic decision for business organizations with the ability to exert coercion (private police, security and military forces) to exploit groups with less power. In this kind of environment, piracy, military imperialism, and slavery can be very profitable for them.
That's rational? How is it rational? I would agree if you were to say that it is very possible and very likely to happen but I would not agree that it is the "rational" outcome.
 
  • #25
Smurf said:
I really don't see a difference between a business organization and you're average democracy. They're both states in their own right and if you take one away the other would absorb it's power.

That's why I don't buy into this whole privatization crap, all it is is transfering power from one institution (the state) to another, more effective - but less ethical, institution (the corporations). It's bull****, you mine as well advocate fascism you corporatist bastards.

At least when things are owned by the state they're minorly accountable to the people through these symbolic elections, but more importantly, by the constitution.
I think the idea is that the people themselves directly own and have an interest in property rather than through the government. In this way the citizens themselves become a direct power in the governing of their society in regards to this facet.
 

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