February 21, 2014

"Once Everyone Understands Capitalism, We'll Replace it"

Capitalism is as misunderstood as it is maligned. Mostly, I think, because of all the government "smoothing of rough edges." Dictionary.com defines capitalism as,

an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

But this must be some kind of brainwashing or something, cuz the internets give the real definition:

The system in which some people own businesses and stock and others have no choice but to work for them and generate surplus value is called capitalism.

I guess the people who do have a choice are born with a dollar sign on their bellies or some such.

This comes from a largely anonymous website that has as its homepage a 7-point bullet list explaining what capitalism is and why it is inferior to "many noncapitalist systems." Applying a new skill that JK taught me, bullet 1 misdefines capitalism and throws in a false criticism for good measure; bullet 7 baldly asserts that capitalism is obviously an inferior system; and bullets 2-6 attempt to establish the connection between the false premise and the premeditated "conclusion."

May I indulge the reader to consider my take on a few points?

1) "Capitalism increases wealth stratification" because capitalism increases wealth. Good, no?

2) "Wealth is power" but government is absolute power. Shall we talk about increased government?

3) I like to keep what I create or earn, and feel justified in doing so and supporting laws that protect my right to keep what's mine. No apology or defense is required. After all, it didn't exist before I made it.

4) There are no "classes" of people. There are individuals who choose in varying degrees to be productive, thrifty and ambitious - or not.

5) In order to end misery one must recognize that he is as capable of spending less than he earns as is anyone else. Since wealth is power, earn some and save some, then use it wisely.

6) What was wrong with wealth "stratification" in the first place? Can't you be happy enough with a home and some savings and a loving family that thinks the world of you because you can comfortably support them, despite what anyone else has?

"Unfair" is a word invented by social organizers to keep you feeling "poor, hopeless, desperate, distracted, overbusy, deluded, oppressed and generally miserable." Why not just be happy instead?

Philosophy Posted by JohnGalt at February 21, 2014 6:22 PM

You inspired me to look up the definitions of "capitalism" on Urban Dictionary. The results were funny.

Posted by: T. Greer at February 21, 2014 7:48 PM

Wow, way more "fo' real" than I expected tho. Check it:

Capitalism has existed in a limited form in the economies of all hoods, but its modern importance dates at least from the Industrial Revolution that began in the 18th century, when bankers, merchants, playas and industrialists (the bourgeoisie) began to displace landowners in political, economic, and social importance, particularly in Great Britain.

Comparing that era to ours there is a parallel between 18th century landowners and modern "one percenters" or, more directly, those with "stratified wealth" or "money for doing literally nothing but already having money" that seems to justify redistributing that wealth. After all, locking up all of a nation's wealth in the hands of a few families who then hand it down to their descendents generation after generation is not only unfair, it is counterproductive.

But there is a phenomenally important difference between land and capital wealth. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

Land is fixed and bounded. Capital wealth is fungible and able to be created, not merely redistributed.

Or in the vernacular of the urban dictionary, "You peeps need make your own dough, cuz this playa done earned all this bling. Then you can keep yours - that's the fo' real deal. You can call it capitalism or some shit but I call it pwnage."

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2014 12:01 PM


Posted by: jk at February 24, 2014 1:03 PM

Not impressed, blog brother? I thought we might reach an underserved demo with this messaging.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2014 4:06 PM | What do you think? [4]