Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Defense of Capitalism

Here a fellow outlines the conflict between the capitalists and the communists, and comes down for capitalism, for its putative generation of wealth:

The populist/reform movement was concerned primarily with the distribution of wealth, not its creation. Lloyd and his fellow reformers viewed wealth as a static quantity, and rather than encourage further production, they preferred to advocate more equal distribution of that which already existed. However, they overlooked the fact that when production is discouraged, the amount of wealth available to distribute ultimately falls. This is why plans to achieve equal wealth invariably result in equal poverty.

So the capitalists create wealth and the communists distribute it, but they are mutually exclusive in his view.  Distributionism leads to poverty.  No doubt, but I doubt capitalism creates wealth.  There are some elements of what seems to be free markets in capitalism, but in toto it is no such thing.

Free markets on the other hand, both create wealth and justly distribute it.

Here is a serious mis-definition:

In a capitalist society, in which the government has no control over the economy,

I've seen many definitions of capitalism, even the laughable one above, but no definition that condemns charging interest (usury).  What evils capitalism engenders is directly and almost exclusively the result of usury (interest) which is a practice not sustainable without government protection.

The article continues:

However, American society was the first in which that wealth was attained, not by conquest or confiscation, but by production and trade.

True, true.  If you do not count people of some African heritage.  And the pre-columbian peoples here.  But if you do count the people conquered, slaughtered and lands confiscated, then USA is no different.

And the article summarizes:

But the Founding Fathers were political philosophers, not moral philosophers; therefore, capitalism was never provided with the proper moral justification.

What?  Adam Smith was specifically a moral philosopher, his title at the university.  He wrote plenty leading up to "Wealth of Nations" published in 1776.  Perhaps the lack of proper moral justification comes from an impossibility to provide one.

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.