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Commentaryism... sticking my oar in where it's not wanted.





Some lovely people were exercising the right to free speech afforded them by Mark Zuckerberg talking smack about the bizarrely named political philosophy called anarcho-capitalism. The discussion was around the amusing meme pictured above.
But that's not all. A high-larious meme about conversations that non-ancaps have with ancaps about the world today got my attention, and I present it below, along with what I said in response. The meme suggests two contradictory things an ancap could say in an argument. My response follows immediately beneath the image!




The left one, always & without exception.

Clearly arguments about capitalism require the employment of economics and by some miracle not every ancap you've had a comment war with is an economics buff. This shouldn't be very surprising considering it's the dismal science.

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I am, however, so I know where talk of econ begins and ends;

the point of being an ancap is not to apologise for capitalism (since it's a mode of production, not an ideology, making name anarcho-capitalism a mistake)

ancaps are anti-statist liberals just as you are presumably anti-statist socialists...

why only socialists can call themselves anarchists mystifies me considering the respective sounds and etymologies of the words society and anarchy...

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Now onto econ;

I think we agree that capitalism is, specifically, a set of economic activities, rather than just "private ownership of the means of production etc..." right?

Cos if it means the latter that makes every instance of exclusionary property rights, even when exercised by tribes like the Tiv, Piaroa or Merina, or by anarchist co-ops and communes capitalist, which is clearly bizarre and renders the word useless.

So the capitalist mode of production is;

Entrepreneurs pitch a resource allocation plan for the production of a good or service to financiers;

Financiers pay for it, entrepreneurs implement it, usually alongside non-entrepreneur fellow labourers - all are paid wages in return for their time and trouble at a rate that represents the supply of and demand for labour in each particular labour market, or how easy or difficult they are to replace. (Doctors are usually more secure in their employment than street sweepers.)

When do the entrepreneurs and financiers get a return on the venture they've given up resources to create, and when do the labourers get paid their wages?

The answer to that question also answers why people accept wages rather than wait to share in the revenues of the business. Since they didn't set it up or put any of their own resources at stake they are not magically entitled to just take things off others. For why not, see all those flourishes gift economies worldwide like the Tiv, Piaroa, Merina I mentioned earlier.

The goal of the plan was to make a good or service more productively ( more produced for the same input of physical stuff, work hours, etc... ) and more efficiently ( less waste - waste is costly ) so that per quantity of the good sold more of the gross income would be left as net income ( profit ) but here's the rub;

When it doesn't work, the entrepreneurs and financiers ( the capitalists ) lose money and are less well off.

When it does work, and the production process is more efficient, and people do want the good or service in question, then this team of capitalists have inadvertently painted a big red X on their backs alerting other such teams that there are wide profit margins to be had.

Such teams join in, and before long folks at the first team are looking for ways to stand out in the eyes of their customers. The ways forward are further product change, lowering price, or both. The only alternative to these is to bow out of the industry for this good or service altogether.

Meanwhile, the non-entrepreneur workers have earned a wage that is not timed to coincide with revenues precisely because they don't want their lives to hang on every quarterly statement.

In the long term, as in over decades and more, this capitalist mode of production results in continually falling prices - for example from 1800 to 1900 even the price of housing fell in real terms in both the US and UK.

I say 'even' because it's infamous for rising in the 20th and 21st Centuries. In fact house prices today are pretty much the only reason there's any relative poverty left in both countries.

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Corporatism is basically a kind of state socialism but for rich people. It's the gathering of many interests around the lightning rod of the government in a constant rush for favours like government outsourcing contracts, so for example the passenger railways industry in the UK would count as corporatist.

This is completely compatible with capitalism, and any ancaps saying otherwise are doing so because they are not econ buffs.

Corporatism as national policy was the economic approach of the fascist regimes of the early-mid 20th Century, with the possible partial exception of Nazi Germany, which had a greater emphasis on central planning and outright state control than Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania or Bulgaria.

This is why Sheldon Richman characterises corporatism as a kind of bastard-child of socialism dressed in capitalism's clothes, but again that's using the "private ownership" definition of capitalism.

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I don't see capitalism as either friendly or malignant, being as it's just people trading stuff with each other and pushing to make stuff more efficiently.

To my eyes capitalism is compatible with corporatism so the "that's not true capitalism" argument is one I find unedifying myself. It's not a true free market, but I'm sure most of you would agree with me on that anyway.

Hell, some of you here actually want free markets absent "property" (per Proudhon) right?

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