The Fruits Of Socialism And Capitalism

Photo by Greg Balzer

Hugo Chavez recently blamed his country’s economic woes on “unfettered” capitalism.  In the same breath he said that if a particular industry could not deliver its goods and services to the consumer at the prices set by the socialistic government of Venezuela that he would nationalize that industry.

The absurdity of these conflicting notions becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in the hands of a “compassionate” dictator.

Beneath the velvet glove of a “compassionate” dictator, lies the mailed fist of a tyrant.  When we leave the corporal works of mercy to the government we will be enslaved rather than free, and we will be made poor rather than prosperous, and our souls will be made sick.

You can see what the Socialists really have in mind for us through the glimpses we get in the constant drumbeat of regulations at an exponential rate, and the obvious desire to wreck the State economies, and even the integrity of the balloting process through the vehicles of Acorn and like organizations.  The plans of Cloward and Piven are alive and well and in the process of implementation by their adherents.

As a free people, we must help one another and care for one another; but, we must also accept the fact that some will not be as generous as others.  Freedom carries that risk; but, in the end the people remain free to do good things for others, and they will have the means to do so as well.  Generosity, freely given, raises the spirits of both the giver and the receiver.  When forced by socialistic programs to redistribute the wealth, the self esteem of both giver and receiver are demeaned and the greed of the self-perpetuating entitled destroys any sense of self reliance or respect for the well being and property of others.

Unfettered capitalism is an interesting term.  It seems to conjure up images of greedy war lords engaged in taking all but a marginal existence from the people doing the work.  But, what is it really, or what is it not, and where does it exist?  Real capitalism generally exists where prices are allowed to float with changes in supply and demand and where the integrity of the value of money is preserved.  In that process, some enterprises are more successful than others, but the country as a whole becomes more prosperous because true wealth is created, not merely subdivided.

Unfettered capitalism did not exist in Czarist Russia.  In fact, it can only exist where people are free.  If by unfettered capitalism one means capitalism without any regard to the law or ethical behavior, then reasonable people will be against it.  In that context drug cartels might be termed as examples of unfettered capitalism.  If by unfettered capitalism, one simply means real capitalism being allowed to flourish on its own terms within the constraints of laws enacted in a Constitutional manner, one is really talking about free enterprise as it should be practiced.  It does not mean unrestrained in any way, it just means that it gets to authentically be itself.  Some regulations, such as those against fraud and outright deception in the market place, are compatible with free enterprise.  Others, designed to pick winners and losers, are not.

Allowing, but not causing, a failing company to fail would be an example of real capitalism at work.  While this is termed “Darwinism” by those detractors who would have the government make all of these decisions, in fact the quickest way for the effects of a failed enterprise to heal is to allow capitalism to work by the attempts of other investors to fill the void.  This is called “natural destruction” but it could just as well be called the “natural healing process”.  That pain is involved is unavoidable; but, prolonging the misery, by propping up something that is built on a flawed model or on the flawed execution of a good model, is destructive to the human spirit and unmerciful.  Beginning anew in some fashion is restorative to the spirit.

Unfettered capitalism does not exist in the bailouts of financial institutions.  It does not exist in putting pressure on financial institutions to make high risk loans as was done in the housing industry.  It does not exist in the bailout of an automobile company as was done with General Motors.  It does not exist in pouring so-called stimulus funds into alternate energy companies which do not presently have a viable market or marketing plan.

Unfettered capitalism does not exist in a climate of government officials demonizing the entire petroleum industry.  The petroleum industry almost single-handedly saved the whale from extinction and our forests from decimation.  It played a huge and essential role in increasing our ability to produce food in increasing amounts on smaller plots of ground; and, it helped create the economic engine that provided a higher standard of living for more people on earth than was ever possible in centuries past.  Real capitalism, free enterprise, and freedom itself enabled these events.

The practice of Keynesian economics and the machinations of the Federal Reserve are not examples of unfettered capitalism.  The special treatment to one company or industry at the expense of another one is not an example of unfettered capitalism.  These are all examples of government power rewarding the chosen favored at the expense of the un-favored.

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