Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

25 April 2009

Kudlow: Call it Corporate Capitalism

Lawrence Kudlow, in a commentary called "Death of Democratic Capitalism" says we are now in the era of corporate capitalism, or state capitalism, or government-directed capitalism. I really dislike these terms because they all allow capitalism to be painted a failure every time the state or government misdirects the use of capital and labor, which we can be absolutely certain it will generally do. Government's purpose these days is clearly not to allow individuals the freedom to invest in property, to innovate outside of the bounds of government policy, or generally to provide the services many people want. No, instead, it is simply to pay off many groups with subsidies in order to buy their votes and a series of distractions and pretensions of helping the underdog to return our precious politicians to office. We, the great masses of the supposedly unwashed and unkempt serve these elitest politicians with their patrician university faculty and select wealthy backers. There is nothing in this system of payoffs, distractions, and pretensions that makes a society productive or rational.

Kudlow justifies calling our current situation corporate capitalism or maybe crony capitalism after Cato Institute's Don Mitchell with
It's not socialism because the government won't actually own the means of production. It's not fascism because America is a democracy, not a dictatorship, and Mr. Obama's program doesn't reach way down through all the sectors, but merely seeks to control certain troubled areas. And in the Obama model, it would appear there's virtually no room for business failure. So the state props up distressed segments of the economy in some sort of 21st-century copycat version of Western Europe's old social-market economy.
I do not believe socialism has to call for more than control of the economy. That form of socialism which calls for government ownership is communism, but fascism is also a form of socialism and it does not call for general ownership of the means of production, but only for its control. Of course, America is still a democracy, but so was Germany as Hitler acquired his initial power over Germany. The question is how long will America be a democracy or even whether it matters if it remains a democracy, as it becomes even more tyrannical as it squashes the rights of the sovereign individual.

So, let us not stain capitalism, the only system that allows every individual to pursue his own happiness and respects his property rights in his body, mind, and the results of his productive work while keeping him free from others, including government, who would force him to live in accordance with values other than his own. We stain it by associating it with any system which forces capitalism to kneel at the feet of government. This is the equivalent of forcing every individual to kneel at the feet of government. This system that Obama is now putting in place is much better termed corporate socialism or even fascist socialism.

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