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In the “Capitalism vs. Socialism” Debate, Freedom Is Found in Capitalism, Not Socialism

George Reisman has 13 illustrations of the benevolence of capitalism. It is a must read, in my view.

It is quite lengthy, but here are some excerpts that caught my eye:

(6) … in a market economy … private ownership of the means of production operates to the benefit of everyone, the nonowners, as well as owners. The nonowners obtain the benefit of the means of production owned by other people. They obtain this benefit as and when they buy the products of those means of production. To get the benefit of General Motors’ factories and their equipment, or the benefit of Exxon’s oil fields, pipelines, and refineries, I do not have to be a stockholder or a bondholder in those firms. I merely have to be in a position to buy an automobile, or gasoline, or whatever, that they produce.

Moreover, thanks to the dynamic, progressive aspect of the uniformity-of-rate-of-profit or rate-of-return principle that I explained a moment ago, the general benefit from privately owned means of production to the nonowners continually increases, as they are enabled to buy ever more and better products at progressively falling real prices. It cannot be stressed too strongly that these progressive gains, and the generally rising living standards that they translate into, vitally depend on the capitalist institutions of private ownership of the means of production, the profit motive, and economic competition, and would not be possible without them. It is these that underlie motivated, effective individual initiative in raising the standard of living.

(10 ) … capitalism is in actuality as thoroughly and rationally planned an economic system as it is possible to have. The planning that goes on under capitalism, without hardly ever being recognized as such, is the planning of each individual participant in the economic system. Every individual who thinks about a course of economic activity that would be of benefit to him and how to carry it out is engaged in economic planning. Individuals plan to buy homes, automobiles, appliances, and, indeed, even groceries. They plan what jobs to train for and where to offer and apply the abilities they possess. Business firms plan to introduce new products or discontinue existing products; they plan to change their methods of production or continue to use the methods they presently use; they plan to open branches or close branches; they plan to hire new workers or layoff workers they presently employ; they plan to add to their inventories or reduce their inventories.

Ironically … socialism, as Mises has shown, is incapable of rational economic planning. In destroying the price system and its foundations, namely, private ownership of the means of production, the profit motive, and competition, socialism destroys the intellectual division of labor that is essential to rational economic planning. It makes the impossible demand that the planning of the economic system be carried out as an indivisible whole in a single mind that only an omniscient deity could possess.

What socialism represents is so far from rational economic planning that it is actually the prohibition of rational economic planning. In the first instance, by its very nature, it is a prohibition of economic planning by everyone except the dictator and the other members of the central planning board. They are to enjoy a monopoly privilege on planning, in the absurd, virtually insane belief that their brains can achieve the all-seeing, all-knowing capabilities of  omniscient deities. They cannot. Thus, what socialism actually represents is the attempt to substitute the thinking and planning of one man, or at most of a mere handful of men, for the thinking and planning of tens and hundreds of millions, indeed, of billions of men. By its nature, this attempt to make the brains of so few meet the needs of so many has no more prospect of success than would an attempt to make the legs of so few the vehicle for carrying the weight of so many.

But as Dr. Reisman notes at the beginning of the essay, freedom is the essential element in free-market capitalism. So, I will add that besides economic freedom which is necessary to raise the standard of living for all, there also needs to be personal and political freedom as well. The freedom of speech and the Press, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to due process, and the right to be secure in one’s person, papers, houses and effects are important freedoms for a prosperous as well as free and civilized society.

In the U.S. we seem to be losing more and more of those personal and political freedoms, as well as the economic freedom that existed here prior to World War I and the imposition of the income tax-theft.

In Orwellian China, what they have now is some sort of “Social Credit Score,” in which almost everything the people do is monitored by the government. Their traveling behaviors, the trains they take or their behavior as a pedestrian following or not following the street lights, their social media expressions, and so on.

If they get a score of “untrustworthy,” those people are barred from trains and planes, and are “unable to move even a single step,” as the bureaucrats have stated. So I assume that the people of China are not or will not be able to “vote with their feet,” if they are not physically able to travel out of the country. How will they be able to travel out of such a tyrannical dictatorship hellhole? The former East Germany would shoot people trying to escape. Those trying to leave the former Soviet Union were considered deserters and traitors, according to Wikipedia.

Hmm, not being able to “vote with their feet” to leave tyranny reminds me of the uncapitalistic national socialist Donald Trump, except his restrictions and the government Wall he wants to surround his utopian closed society are presumably to keep people out and prevent foreigners from going to a better place as they attempt to flee tyranny. (But what will future Washington administrations use the Wall for, Donald? Hmmm?)

So, despite whatever capitalistic reforms China has attempted to make in recent years, it seems to want to become more like North Korea, rather than more like the U.S. (I want to say, “the former U.S.,” given how down the totalitarian drain Amerika has gone. Oh, well. We have the college campus craziness with the suppression of dissent from PC idiocy, and the Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes of the world who want to turn America into a socialist utopia, which, if you read the above Reisman article you will understand how such a utopia is literally impossible and historically always failed.)

If Donald Trump really wants to have the U.S. compete with China, he should dismantle all impediments to Americans’ freedom, especially economic freedom, not increase such impediments as he keeps threatening to do. Dump the tariff-taxes, get rid of the unconstitutional bureaucracies whose purpose is mainly to live high off the hog on the wealth those bureaucrats suck away from the workers and producers of society. Just as the area around Washington, D.C. is the wealthiest part of the country (because of all the parasites associated with U.S. government and all the wealth they siphon off the actual producers of America), the bureaucrats in China are also of great wealth.

As far as the increasing Orwellian government surveillance and molestation of the people and their private lives and movements in the U.S., what we need to do is have some sort of private agency, or agencies, to make government bureaucrats, including all lawmakers, law enforcers, judges, and executives like governors and Presidents, report all their activities and submit to 24-7 monitoring by the people, rather than the other way around. We really need to make it very uncomfortable and unprofitable for anyone to be a government official of any kind, which should help to ensure a freer and healthier society.

Published inBureaucracyDecentralizationEconomicsPrivate propertySocialism