Join in this debate between myself and Brian Domitrovic (Econoclasts) at the ISI “First Principles” blog.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. It is a recurrent theme around here to blame “capitalism” for the the depredations of liberal statism, the encroachments of economic, political and cultural Marxism and the sinfulness rooted nature of Mankind in general. This is as pernicious and puerile as it is unfortunate and dishonest: It is profoundly irresponsible.

    If you truly wish to “repair capitalism”, let me suggest that the best route would be to dispense with its enemies and then to let it flourish. Moreover, this would “repair” much else in our fraying civilization.

    Few things has brought such prosperity and liberty nor has expanded civilization as has “capitalism”. Those who rail against it are, in the main, irresponsible, vain and lazy. They cannot forebear a world were they must earn their own way; they cannot tolerate a world that does not value them as they would see themselves valued.

  2. “They cannot forebear a world were they must earn their own way”

    As a wage slave (or less) for the plutocrats? Yeah everyone should just desire that as the fullest expression of human flourishing.

    “Few things has brought such prosperity and liberty nor has expanded civilization as has “capitalism”.”

    Prosperity of the material kind only along with moral and spiritual degradation. “Liberty” only in the abstract liberal sense of being free to be a self determining consumer, as long as you can pay for it.

    Earning your own way is fine, but not when the game is rigged against you. That’s not earning your own way, but slavery.

  3. Retire capitalism? Perhaps we should retire democracy or its more measured form of democratic republicanism as well because they are flawed. Local economic vitality will not be returned until we wake up to the creeping fascistic impulses of the modern global State. It is not so much abandoning existing forms as it is waking up to their better angels.

    Federalism, as it has become known is simply Federal Control. So too has States Rights been tarred by the events surrounding the Civil War. But these are mythological characterizations of the real issue at hand and the modern State is more than happy to maintain the charade.

    We have existing means to begin the difficult and inevitable task of reform. Federalism, in its original chaste form, States Rights operating as a true laboratory of freely operating efforts and all functioning under the power of subsidiarity.

    The principle defect of historic programs of economic collectivism is the lack of Checks and Balances of the type that traditional Federalism left us, and left us in good stead for most of our 200 plus years.

    I do enjoy that the biggest labor backlash to hit this hollowed out economy is one where the principle participants are public employees. It is not a matter of finding the best of worlds, it is accepting the world as it exists, something I rarely do of course.

    An interesting discussion but the reform might be better pushed with memory rather than complete abandonment of successful vehicles.

  4. An excellent statement of what late capitalism has done to the ideal of the marketplace, John; thanks very much for writing it. These two sentences…

    “What did happen was the increasing financialization of the economy, with corporate profits deriving more and more not from making things (a task that was outsourced) but from financing them. Thus companies like GM and GE made products mostly for the purpose of making loans on them.”

    …concisely explains the financialization which masked the hollowing out of our manufacturing economy and which fed the delusion that deregulation and globalization produced economic growth during the 1980s as well as anything I’ve read lately. Good work.

  5. Capitalism has neither an ass to kick nor a soul to save. It is an Abomination upon the face of the earth, which has long since outlived whatever useful purpose it may once have served. It needs to be replaced.

    Now, the hard part. We know, from the attempts by such utopian idealists as V.I. Lenin, who didn’t live long enough to see the results, and Mao Zedong, who did, and turned senile with his hand still on the helm he should have long since turned over to others, that replacing capitalism does not happen by decrees, nor by banishing the free market by bell book and candle. There is a reason for markets: the individual natures and desires of human beings, the pattern of interactions between same, is far too complex to be administered effectively, coherently, much less justly.

    But, the subservience of human lives to the priorities of soulless corporations, the dependence of 90% of humanity on the largesse of those who, often through no merit of their own, possess capital, the unseemly scramble to offer massive taxpayer subsidies to beg investors to please come make a substantial profit in our state, the servile dependence of bread-winners on The Man who can “give me a job,” needs to be swept away.

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