To be fair, in the same way that you claim that socialism leads inevitably to totalitarianism, critics of capitalism claim that it leads inevitably to corporatism.
Yes, but that’s incorrect. It only leads to corporatism if there is also a large and powerful central government hellbent on manipulating the economy, which we have. If the feds weren’t trying to micromanage the economy, then corporate interests wouldn't be throwing money at the politicians in order to control them.
Hence, the small government conservative. Let’s keep capitalism, but let’s also keep federal programs and regulations to a bare minimum, letting the states take the lead. If California wants single payer health care and Texas wants HSA’s, go for it.
They would argue that they are in fact indistinguishable, because you cannot have a capitalist system without large corporations that aspire to monopoly power, a process driven by the maximisation of profit that defines capitalist economic practice, in my view. This has been true since the days of the Dutch East India Company.
There’s obvious bias in that view, the bias being that “big is bad”. Big is not bad unless (a) big is trying to use its money to manipulate the economy for its own benefit, and (b) the politicians are complicit in letting them.
The biggest issue here is how to define capitalism. Most people follow Milton Friedman and associate capitalism with markets and free trade. I disagree, as I think that definition is a misrepresentation of history that does not hold up to scrutiny. Markets are much older than anything that you can call capitalism, unless you are willing to trace it back to the birth of urban societies.
Hmmmmm. I’m sort of a Freidmanite, and I am not sure he would disagree. A market appears as soon as an actor obtains X for $X.xx, adds value to it, and sells it for $Y.yy, and other actors, both in competition with the first actor and the buyers of the product, create the competition dynamic and the supply/demand dynamic.
If THAT system is privately owned it’s capitalism.
So…..capitalism and free markets are not the same…….but they are not entirely different, either. Especially considering that if the first actor was the government (socialism) then the competition dynamic never gets set up, and the supply/demand dynamic is dysfunctional.
If you look at the early industrial development of countries like Germany, Japan or even the US, it is decidedly protectionist. Whether liberalizing or protectionist policies are adopted depends very much on the position of a particular country in the landscape of global trade.
Well, protectionism and global trade adds another layer to the matter. That’s a bit of digression from the original point.
I am no anticapitalist, precisely because I wouldn’t know what to replace it with. However, there are very significant works on the history and theory of economics coming from the Marxist tradition, and I would encourage you to engage with authors like Robert Brenner (The Economics of Global Turbulence) before assuming that “people in the left” don’t know what they are talking about economically. It seems to me that most economists don’t know what they are talking about historically.
I wholeheartedly agree with the last sentence. I will say only here that I believe that the desire to engage in commerce as an individual is as close to genetic in the human being as procreation is, almost. The Marxist “economists” can pontificate all they like about their utopian society, but unless you get buy-in from the citizenry, whatever they come up with will fail, and even then, STILL may fail, because the government is insulated from the competitive and supply-demand dynamics.
In short, they will fail not because their “system” is unworkable, but because the people will refuse to play their game. Hence my conclusion that socialism leads to totalitariansm, because when the people tell the government to bugger off, the government has only two choices — either to bugger off, or point a gun at them.