No sooner had I written a post extolling the virtues of capitalism and I find an article written by Paul B. Farrell. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/capitalism-is-killing-our-morals-our-future-2013-04-27?pagenumber=1
First of all who is this guy? He does have an impressive list of credentials, too long to list here. So I’m sure he expects that working class idiots like myself are unable come up with any valid argument against anything he pontificates. In other words, I bet he’s one of those intellectual bullies I have written about. Well, I’m gonna take him on.
In his piece, he quotes Micheal Sandel, a Harvard philosopher (those last two words are meant to make you stop in your tracks and never question anything that he says) and accuses capitalism of being the source of all our present financial woes. Here’s a little bit of it:
Over the years, “market values were coming to play a greater and greater role in social life. Economics was becoming an imperial domain. Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone. It increasingly governs the whole of life.”
Examples: New free-market capitalism trapped in American brains
Yes, it’s everywhere: “Markets to allocate health, education, public safety, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, recreation, procreation, and other social goods unheard-of 30 years ago. Today, we take them largely for granted.”
Examples ... for-profit schools, hospitals, prisons ... outsourcing war to private contractors ... police forces by private guards “almost twice the number of public police officers” ... drug “companies aggressive marketing of prescription drugs directly to consumers, a practice ... prohibited in most other countries.”
More: Ads in “public schools ... buses ... corridors ... cafeterias ... naming rights to parks and civic spaces ... blurred boundaries, within journalism, between news and advertising ... marketing of ‘designer’ eggs and sperm for assisted reproduction ... buying and selling ... the right to pollute ... campaign finance in the U.S. that comes close to permitting the buying and selling of elections.
What these guys fail to tell us is that markets always exist – for everything. Simply having the government “not allow” something does not make it go away. We have a market for illegal drugs, don’t we? Yes, we do, and it causes more problems than any of the legal markets for the things he listed above. That’s why they’re called BLACK (as in bad, like black magic) MARKETS. Outlawing economic activity only hides it under a cloak of illegality, seldom helps anyone, and worse inflates the value for the items bought and sold.
Now no one expects that inner city gangs would be dealing the products and services he mentioned if free markets for such things didn’t exist, but those items would have to be supplied and paid for in some fashion. Now if the exchange of these items is not going to be regulated by a free market, who is going to be in charge of administering it? Governments? We all know what a wonderfully efficient job they do at such things. Gimme a break!
Capitalism is for the most part self-regulating. If someone is overcharging for something, someone else will come in and sell it for less. The problems with capitalism usually result from governments infringing on a free market’s (and free people’s) ability to do this. Farrell mentions that 1 billion people in the world live on less than $2.00 per day. Since the population of the U.S. is only about 350 million, it’s safe to say that they don’t live here in this great bastion of evil capitalism, and don’t give me any crap that the deplorable conditions in some shithole third world country are the fault of the United States. Those blame for the conditions in those countries rest squarely upon their own governments that more often than not do not afford their citizens the freedom for capitalism to work effectively.
Lastly, let’s address the campaign finance thing and the “buying and selling of elections”. Corporations are made up of large groups of people including employees, officers, and stockholders. They’re just a group of people with a common interest. How is that any different than any other groups that have a political agenda? It’s not. If you are against corporate money in politics than you better be against any groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the ACLU, and People for the American Way, etc. entering the political fray too. Trying to eliminate money from politics has similar results to trying to eliminate free markets. Things just become more covert and less fair.
With all the examples we have seen over all these years of the ineptitude of governments, Farrell and Sandel still expect the rest of us to believe that they can deliver goods and services more efficiently and fairly than a free market. As time goes on I become less and less confident of guys like this and the universities that produce them. If there’s anything wrong with the free market, it’s the fact that these guys are making big bucks and I’m doing this for free.