T Nation

Riddle on Capitalism

Some weeks ago I posed a question for the forum goers regarding Socialism; the responses were most interesting. Now I’ve got a differant question to pose to you.

Capitalism is all about the free exchange of goods and services. However, over time a disproportionate amount of wealth will accrue in the hands of a minority. This leads to inequal situations in which those of lesser wealth are left open to abuse at the hands of the wealthy. This includes everything from coercive monopolies to collaborative monopolies to the expenditure of wealth to circumvent the law.

My question is this. For Capitalism to remain true capitalism, the invisible hand must be free to swing about without regard for the wealth or social status of the individual. How much government regulation is required to assure a genuinely free market?

I reject your premises.

Show me a coercive monopoly outside of the state.

The “question” is nothing but a string of assertions.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
The “question” is nothing but a string of assertions.[/quote]

It is so loaded that the thread will simply topple over.

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
The “question” is nothing but a string of assertions.[/quote]

It is so loaded that the thread will simply topple over.

[/quote]

And “capsize”.

[quote]orion wrote:
I reject your premises.

Show me a coercive monopoly outside of the state.

[/quote]

oil

Wrong.

Got another one?

But you are getting close, a natural resource that is only found in one place and is absolutely irreplacable, that would be a natural monopoly.

[quote]pittbulll wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:
I reject your premises.

Show me a coercive monopoly outside of the state.

[/quote]

oil[/quote]

Care to try again?

The state has their nose firmly planted in the ass of big oil companies.

Edit - Orion beat me to it.

[quote]Dustin wrote:

[quote]pittbulll wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:
I reject your premises.

Show me a coercive monopoly outside of the state.

[/quote]

oil[/quote]

Care to try again?

The state has their nose firmly planted in the ass of big oil companies.

Edit - Orion beat me to it.[/quote]

Damn, and I thought it was their tongue - but that way they could nose fuck them and bathe their balls at the same time.

And that is the least they could do for all the money they get paid.

no one controls OPEC, governments may have their head up OPEC’s ass

[quote]orion wrote:
Wrong.

Got another one?

But you are getting close, a natural resource that is only found in one place and is absolutely irreplacable, that would be a natural monopoly.

[/quote]

I believe that the closest to a true monopoly of a natural resource is nickel, and INCO in Canada.

However, INCO doesn’t act like a monopoly because other metals can be used in place of nickel.

[quote]pittbulll wrote:
no one controls OPEC, governments may have their head up OPEC’s ass [/quote]

Haha, OPEC you mean the Cartel that is filled with royal families from theocracies states who own the oil fields that they nationalized from American companies…government subsidized monopoly if any kind of monopoly. Not Natural Monopoly.

And that is not a monopoly anyway, it is a cartel. OPEC is made up of multiple suppliers, all who collaborate for their best interest. Kind of like a Union in a free-market.

Coercive monopolies outside of the state… well, for starters… Microsoft. And Apple has been going that route with their efforts to keep independantly produced apps off their iPads. Or cable service providers. As for collaborative monopolies, some years ago there was quite a scandal about cereal manufacturers such as Kellog’s and Post and the gradual increasing of prices until sugary breakfast cereals were more expensive than steak. (and I’m not surprised if none of you remember that, since forumites here tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup laden foods)

However, this was a question regarding inequal situations of all sorts, not just coercive monopolies. All sorts of inequalities caused by the disparity of wealth, including flouncing the rule of law with violence(try googling “Coca Cola assassinate union leaders” and see what you get). All of these things create a polarization, preventing the hard working poor from becoming wealthy (and there’s no reason why we can’t all be rich as hell. Especially when even the poorest forumite here enjoys luxuries that kings of europe would never have imagined centuries ago). The question is simple: how much regulation is required to assure a genuinely free market?

[quote]Archone wrote:
Some weeks ago I posed a question for the forum goers regarding Socialism; the responses were most interesting. Now I’ve got a differant question to pose to you.

Capitalism is all about the free exchange of goods and services. However, over time a disproportionate amount of wealth will accrue in the hands of a minority. This leads to inequal situations in which those of lesser wealth are left open to abuse at the hands of the wealthy. This includes everything from coercive monopolies to collaborative monopolies to the expenditure of wealth to circumvent the law.

My question is this. For Capitalism to remain true capitalism, the invisible hand must be free to swing about without regard for the wealth or social status of the individual. How much government regulation is required to assure a genuinely free market?[/quote]

Actually, the correct and educated question would be that of the opposite. How much should government regulation be allowed? The question however is unanswerable, however if you are speaking of government from the state, then the answer should be none. However, that does not dismiss private government and law. How much regulations that come from private government and law is a different and much harder question to answer since, the market will determine that.

Let’s take an example, back around after the Civil War in South Georgia. The citrus farmers owned most of the land around, a Northern carpetbagger came down and bought a cheap piece of land to set up his manufacturing plant, nothing wrong with that. However, this new plant brought with it something that these Georgian farmers did not appreciate. And, this something was pollution, it poured smoke out of its chimneys. The owner producing pollution in the form of smoke, this made him an aggressor on the farmer’s property and hurting the farmer’s crops. In this case the regulation from private law (based on private property) would have gone up regulating the plant that it could not pollute the air. With this example, the plant could have never came to that area, therefore, the regulation by government would have not gone up at all. Looking at what actually happened the Federal Government allowed the plant to stay where it was and to continue to pollute as is, because the ‘economy’ needed another plant polluting the air.

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:

[quote]pittbulll wrote:
no one controls OPEC, governments may have their head up OPEC’s ass [/quote]

Haha, OPEC you mean the Cartel that is filled with royal families from theocracies states who own the oil fields that they nationalized from American companies…government subsidized monopoly if any kind of monopoly. Not Natural Monopoly.

And that is not a monopoly anyway, it is a cartel. OPEC is made up of multiple suppliers, all who collaborate for their best interest. Kind of like a Union in a free-market.[/quote]

What makes that NOT a free market, they are free to collaborate

[quote]Archone wrote:
Coercive monopolies outside of the state… well, for starters… Microsoft. And Apple has been going that route with their efforts to keep independantly produced apps off their iPads. Or cable service providers. As for collaborative monopolies, some years ago there was quite a scandal about cereal manufacturers such as Kellog’s and Post and the gradual increasing of prices until sugary breakfast cereals were more expensive than steak. (and I’m not surprised if none of you remember that, since forumites here tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup laden foods)

However, this was a question regarding inequal situations of all sorts, not just coercive monopolies. All sorts of inequalities caused by the disparity of wealth, including flouncing the rule of law with violence(try googling “Coca Cola assassinate union leaders” and see what you get). All of these things create a polarization, preventing the hard working poor from becoming wealthy (and there’s no reason why we can’t all be rich as hell. Especially when even the poorest forumite here enjoys luxuries that kings of europe would never have imagined centuries ago). The question is simple: how much regulation is required to assure a genuinely free market?[/quote]

How do you define “coercive”?

Who gives a shit about disparity of wealth? Would equal distribution of wealth be more desirable if quality of life in general was worse? I say the system that best grows quality of life, and increases wealth for the society as a whole, is the best system.

My quality of life is absolute, not some fraction of what my neighbor enjoys. Take my neighbor down a peg does not increase my quality of life.

[quote]pittbulll wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:

[quote]pittbulll wrote:
no one controls OPEC, governments may have their head up OPEC’s ass [/quote]

Haha, OPEC you mean the Cartel that is filled with royal families from theocracies states who own the oil fields that they nationalized from American companies…government subsidized monopoly if any kind of monopoly. Not Natural Monopoly.

And that is not a monopoly anyway, it is a cartel. OPEC is made up of multiple suppliers, all who collaborate for their best interest. Kind of like a Union in a free-market.[/quote]

What makes that NOT a free market, they are free to collaborate [/quote]

You mean besides Saudi Arabia Nationalizing it?

And to your question, yes they are free to collaborate I have never argued that.

[quote]Archone wrote:
Coercive monopolies outside of the state… well, for starters… Microsoft. And Apple has been going that route with their efforts to keep independantly produced apps off their iPads. Or cable service providers. As for collaborative monopolies, some years ago there was quite a scandal about cereal manufacturers such as Kellog’s and Post and the gradual increasing of prices until sugary breakfast cereals were more expensive than steak. (and I’m not surprised if none of you remember that, since forumites here tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup laden foods)[/quote]

Microsoft? How are they not outside the state?

Yes, the government does subsidize Microsoft directly, they do allow for Microsoft to hoard knowledge and to prevent people to use some knowledge through patents.

[quote]
However, this was a question regarding inequal situations of all sorts, not just coercive monopolies. All sorts of inequalities caused by the disparity of wealth, including flouncing the rule of law with violence(try googling “Coca Cola assassinate union leaders” and see what you get). All of these things create a polarization, preventing the hard working poor from becoming wealthy (and there’s no reason why we can’t all be rich as hell. Especially when even the poorest forumite here enjoys luxuries that kings of europe would never have imagined centuries ago). The question is simple: how much regulation is required to assure a genuinely free market?[/quote]

When talking about unequal situations, you have to explain your point of view. Are you looking at it from the state or the citizen (law or economic). We’ll address each individually, first the state.

In America no one is equal, not even from the government point of view. With Rule of Law, the government has strayed from Rule of Law. Regulations are inherently a violation of Rule of Law, because they do not apply to everyone. Regulating a industry is telling a group of people that they cannot do what they wish with what they own, and when it comes to the State that is a violation of Rule of Law, and also making people unequal.

Further on the State, if it were to make everyone equal, it would first have to make everyone unequal to the State, as the State have the power and others do not, second they would not treat others equal because if one person is a businessman from the school of hard knocks who has the knowledge and ability to make a billion dollars a year for his business (Carnegie), and the other person the businessman is being made equal to is someone, is an idolater and of very little knowledge and ability, then they can by no means be treated equal. Even if from they from the external point of view look equal, they are not equal in ability, need, or want. And, they are definitely not treated equal. The businessman is being kept down, the other is being brought up, both not based on their ability but by the States opinion of their needs, which may actually not be correct of the individuals needs.

From the citizen’s point of view, if the Rule of Law is held they of course will not be equal economically, but they will be equal when it comes to the law. Therefore, the responsibility is held by the individual and not the State. Simple as that, I would rather not be equal to my neighbor, but treated equal with tolerance. If I choose to make a fortune for myself, then I can. Under regulation it now treats me either as a privileged person or an unprivileged person. I either am allowed to do something by the State, or I am not. And, as I said, with Rule of Law, or private law that is not the case. I may be halted from doing something, but so is everyone else.

So, I’ll restate what I said before, no regulation from the State is needed.

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Who gives a shit about disparity of wealth? Would equal distribution of wealth be more desirable if quality of life in general was worse? I say the system that best grows quality of life, and increases wealth for the society as a whole, is the best system.

My quality of life is absolute, not some fraction of what my neighbor enjoys. Take my neighbor down a peg does not increase my quality of life.[/quote]

Thats true, but when unequal distribution of wealth starts to equal different laws for different people, one person having better health because he has more money, and social immobility guaranteed for you and your kids, it starts to become part of the problem. Basically, when government becomes a tool for the rich to stay on top.

Not related, but are taxes right now set up so that working wages get taxed and “unearned” income doesn’t??