It amazes me how capitalism is the whipping boy for the world's woes, when it is merely a system of interactions, not a motive.
Capitalism is that system by which individuals own property and control the use of it. In my three-word definition of both capitalism and libertarianism, it comes out like this: you own yourself.
Many people ascribe greed, avarice, and a host of other negatives to capitalism, when it is so clear that these motives are just as common- if not moreso- in countries that are less capitalist than the United States. For a fuller definition of capitalism and libertarianism, I use this: "you are free to do what you like with your life so long as you do not initiate force or fraud on another human being".
After failing to see anything of interest in the political coverage of this morning's Star, I turned to the New York Times best seller's list. There at the top of the Hardcover Non-Fiction List is Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?"
I won't make the crack about Moore's book being in the Non-Fiction list that is so common. What I will point out is that Moore attacks capitalism, yet Moore is a capitalist.
Observe that his book is not atop the "Hardcover Most Given Away to Libraries List". Nor is it on the "Hardcover Produced by a Non-Profit Organization". Nor is it atop the "Hardcover Produced by a Collective List".
Interestingly, even though Moore himself claims the book is a collaborative work, with a team of fact-checkers poring over every assertion, Moore takes sole credit for the work on the front cover. His books are sold as property to anyone who can afford to buy them. They are not subsidized by the government. They are not sold at a reduced price to those with a lower income. Readers do not flock to Canada to buy Moore's books at a discount (Amazon.com saves you the trouble).
Of course, that is all as it should be. Michael Moore owns himself, and is free to do what he likes with his life so long as he does not initiate force or fraud against anyone. As far as I can tell, he lives out my philosophy to a 'tee'. It does make me wonder why he rails so against the very way he lives his own life, though...
Flipping through Mother Jones is always an excruciating experience for me. The mag has so much potential in being a self-proclaimed hellraiser, but they are so interested in curbing the corporate power they see across the globe that they turn a blind eye the monstrous government power here in the US.
Corporate power does leave me leary, but not in fear, as it does Ma Jones. (A Google search for 'Mother Jones' turns up their link with the description, "A bimonthly magazine of investigative journalism that exposes the evils of the corporate world".) After all, corporations are a device of ownership. Corporations are staffed by people who want to earn money, but rely on voluntary interaction. People in corporations who want to earn money have to offer me something worth my trading my money, or they don't get it.
Can you imagine Wal-Mart rounding up people who haven't bought anything there and forcing them to go to the store and buy things?
Government power is different. Governments are a device of management. Governments are staffed by people who want to manage human interaction, but rely not on voluntary interaction, but on compulsion. People in governments who want my money do not have to offer me something worth my trading my money. They get some of it by intercepting it from my employer before it gets to me, and the rest via the threat of force.
Ma? Given the difference, why so afraid of corporations? You can picture- imagination unnecessary- the IRS rounding up people who haven't paid Federal Income Taxes.
Interestingly, as Mother Jones pushes the socialist from my old neighborhood, Dennis Kucinich, touting his progressive protectionsim in their new issue (not on the web yet), they are just like Michael Moore in being capitalists by accepting scads of advertising dollars from other capitalists, including a few big multinational corporations, like Toyota and Virgin.
The ads are the most fascinating part of Mother Jones. There are ads from Non-Profits such as the ACLU and Amnesty International, but the vast majority are from capitalists. Aveda makes hair products. Eden Foods makes soy milk. Pax World offers mutual funds from companies that pay CEOs less, workers more, are non-defense contractors, etc. These companies are pure capitalists, operating for their own selfish reasons, from the principles they choose, not from ones imposed upon them.
Of course, that is all as it should be. Mother Jones Publisher Jay Harris owns himself, and is free to do what he likes with his life so long as he does not initiate force or fraud against anyone. As far as I can tell, he also lives out my philosophy to a 'tee'. It does make me wonder why his magazine rails so against the very way he lives his own life, though...
The bitter irony is this: capitalists don't really care what your motives are. If you have a product to sell, whether or a book or a magazine, a hybrid car, hemp products, whatever, capitalists say, "welcome to the marketplace, may the best seller win". Indeed, capitalists are incredibly tolerant people, dealing with the competition of other sellers that threaten their very livelihood, even if they dispise the motives of the producers, allowing the choices of consumers to dictate. Capitalists are willing to live side-by-side. Socialists and other attackers of capitalism, on the other hand, are incredibly intolerant and very eager to eliminate the competition of those they dislike, lobbying vigorously to erect laws that would stamp out the producers and methods they dispise, unwilling to co-exist and so contrary to their stated beliefs in tolerance and co-existence.
The other bitter irony is that Mother Jones and other anti-capitalist mags, suhc as the Nation, have more advertising than their pro-capitalist counterparts, such as Reason or Liberty.
Status? Sanity still does not prevail.