Fix corporatism, not capitalism

“We need to fix capitalism, not install socialism,” Thomas Friedman says. Laissez faire-capitalism never needed any fixing – it does not even exist in America. Its the Republican “style” limited government and the Democratic “nanny” state – corporatist socialism, or socialist corporatism – (which people “think” is capitalism) that needed fixing. But since words don’t matter – anything can be called anything; freedom is slavery, slavery is freedom – who cares?

Principled advocacy of the free market requires an understanding of the differences between genuine free enterprise and “state capitalism.” Although the Left frequently exaggerates and overemphasizes the evils of corporate America, proponents of the free market often find themselves in the awkward position of defending the status quo of state capitalism, which is in fact a common adversary of the free marketer and the anti-corporate leftist, even if the latter misdiagnoses the problem and proposes the wrong solutions.

Indeed, corporatism, implemented by the state — whether through direct handouts, corporate bailouts, eminent domain, licensing laws, antitrust regulations, or environmental edicts — inflicts great harm on the modern American economy. Although leftists often misunderstand the fundamental problem plaguing the economy, they at least recognize its symptoms.

Conservatives and many libertarians, on the other hand, frequently dismiss many ills such as poverty as fabricated by the left-liberal imagination, when in fact it does a disservice to the cause of liberty and free markets to defend the current system and ignore very real and serious problems, which are often caused by government intervention in the economy. We should recognize that state corporatism is a form of socialism, and it is nearly inevitable in a mixed economy that the introduction of more socialism will cartelize industry and consolidate wealth in the hands of the few.

Leftists usually understand how wartime provides politically connected corporations with high profits and cushy contracts. What is more often neglected is that the history of the American domestic welfare and regulatory state also corresponds closely to the rise of corporatism. It is no coincidence.

Read the whole thing; if nothing else, it will at least help those who swing between capitalism and socialism without understanding either, do that – understand. And then read how David Brooks, vanguard of collectivist authoritarianism (“what we need in this situation is authority”, “we are not free-floating individuals but are embedded in thick social organisms”), turns history and logic on their heads; he conjures up orthodox liberals and free market conservatives. Do benevolent fascists and conceited liberals (as opposed to “liberals”) exist? Ask Brooks.

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