Thursday, February 1, 2018

Is Capitalism Voluntary?

In response to:  I wrote...
Interesting comments.  The problem I see with it is that nobody is born with the ability to provide for themselves.  People can only survive by getting the cooperation of others, which means that we have to prosper in the system that we are born in.  Free markets by far have been the best system for rising people out of poverty, and socialism has been a colossal failure.  And socialism by its nature is far more coercive than the supposedly coercive capitalism.

​Let's get some definitions clear:  Capitalism is a system where the means of production is privately owned.  It should be incredibly obvious that private ownership has done much better than state ownership of the means of production.  Taking away private ownership is taking away your freedom to start your own business.  Leaving capitalism is the same as leaving a free market.  In a free market all exchanges are voluntary.  If you want something I have, and I want the money you have, then the exchange benefits us both.  However, socialism does not benefit both parties because government uses coercion to accomplish its aims. Usually this means stealing from one person, which is involuntary, and giving to another.  However, it can also mean the government dictates every part of your life, which is what happens under socialism.  So "Thought Slime" complains that he is not "free" to leave a system of free voluntary exchanges, so as to move to a system where his life is much more coerced by the state.  

Even Milton Friedman admitted that the concentration of power in private hands can be a threat to freedom.   However, having the state control everything is the ultimate concentration of power, and always leads to a corrupt dictatorship.  

"Thought Slime" is complaining that he is forced to work under capitalism, but we start in this world with nothing and can only survive and achieve anything of value through barter with others who have the resources we need.  If you were the sole occupant of an island, you would still have to work to survive, and you would probably do less well and not live as long as you would in a capitalist society.  But people fair far worst in socialist countries, because if you are not allowed to own the means of production then you are slave to those who control the means of production.  It is almost unfathomable that anyone would think that state ownership of the means of production is a better system. ​

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