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Old December 12 2012, 06:19 AM   #22
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

gturner wrote: View Post
No, they are very, very different. Communism is a cousin to the oligarchical system, if not exactly the same thing. The self-annointed rulers get the perks and decide who is allowed to work, who is forced to work, and what work will be done, while the peasants stand in line for bread at empty bakeries.

Adam Smith started studying capitalism because England was getting rich (something that was historically unprecedented for them) and nobody could explain exactly what had changed, because it certainly had nothing to do with anything the nobility had done. What had happened is that they lost control of the populace, giving up on keeping them in their rightful place working the land and deciding to just go ahead and tax them. Some of the third world is now going through social changes that England went through in the 1600's. Much of the rest is still stuck reliving France in the 1600's, where to own a piece of land or start a business requires a team of well-connected lawyers, lots of bribes, and winning the favor of government ministers.
All that really demonstrates is that capitalism produces better outcomes for the general population when more of the population is allowed to participate on equal terms. That tends to happen when the population -- through some means or another -- manages to arrange a shift in the existing power structure to allow greater access to the market than before; that access eventually closes again once the new power structure settles into place, which is EXACTLY what happened in England. Capitalism definitely benefits the public interest when the public is enabled to participate in it, but capitalism itself doesn't include this as a feature.

More to the point: the market appears to be VERY free to those well connected landowners and oligarchs who have all the economic opportunity laid out in front of them. Much the way the American economy appears to be free to anyone who makes more than $20,000 a year.

We are all the investor class.
No, we are not.

Most Americans own stock.
Actually, about 55% of Americans own stock, and most of those that do keep it as personal investment (e.g. 401(k) or similar long-term retirement/emergency funds).

More importantly, 2% of all Americans own about 90% of the equity in publically traded companies, which they use for actual market activity.

So no, we are NOT all the investor class. The investor class are those who have the economic power to actively engaged in venture capitalism if they so chose. Those who lack that capital are in the position of seeking the support and cooperation of those that do, as they would under most circumstances be unable to raise that capital themselves.

At the end of the day, the only real difference between the latin American oligarchies and western capitalism is what kind of people you have to impress if you want to start your own business.

The freeing of ordinary people to take part in capitalist enterprises (as opposed to having a closed and tightly-guarded 'capitalist class') is what marks the transition from medieval European fuedal systems or socialist systems to our modern economy.
And the slow removal of that freedom by increasingly shifting economic burdens onto what used to be a thriving and self-sufficient middle class is what marks yet another full circle in capitalism's evolutionary cycle (and is nothing new, when you consider what constituted the tightly-guarded 'capitalist class' in the southern states until at least the 1970s).

Um, no. They weren't all that far from Soviet communism and even controlled food distribution. A third of the population worked for the state.
The baathists ENGAGED in food distribution, again using those enormous oil subsidies as part of a wellfare state. They did not CONTROL it the way the Soviet system did, not even close.

All the oil revenue was used as patronage almost everyone in government was corrupt, and nothing happened without approval from the local branches of the Ba'ath party.
Who otherwise didn't care who did what as long as they got their weekly bribes on time. That's, again, the gangster-capitalism of the Saddam regime, but the average Iraqi was still free to start his own business if he just played ball.

Trying to teach Iraqis how to conduct business after decades of state control drove our military coordinators nuts.
Yes, because MILITARY COORDINATORS are exactly who you would send to teach people how to run a business.

I suspect I've read alot of the same books you have -- or maybe a few that you missed -- and clearly recall that one of the fundamental blunders of the occupation was to try and reopen the Iraqi stock market with a computer-based system that none of the existing stockbrokers knew how to use, nor were they interested in learning, and wound up turning off the computers and using the screens as chalkboards as they had been doing for the past thirty years.

The country was close kin to Libya and Syria, also socialist states.
Libya and Syria are "socialist" inasmuch as Kim Kardashian is an opera singer.
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