Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Capitalism =/= the "market"

Part of being a committed political blogger is evaluating and re-evaluating your views over time. While I remain committed to the demise of the state, along with market economics, I've come to accept most of the leftist critique of modern capitalism.

As the economy currently stands, large corporations and banks maximize returns for a dwindling number of wealthy absentee owners--who contribute no real labor (entrepreneurial or otherwise) to their enterprises. For obvious reasons, this tends to slant the entire economy in their favor, at the expense of everybody else. One credible study concluded that "reductions in wages and benefits explain the majority of the net improvement in [recent profit] margins."

It's not just the inevitable (excessive) inequality of this arrangement that's problematic. It's the fact that the absentee owners couldn't care less about workplace safety, workplace liberty, leisure time, or local communities. A democratically-run firm would have a far stronger incentive to care about all four, instead of being concerned only with profits for outside investors.

That's not to say that there wouldn't be investors under my version of market anarchism. Investment is a form of mental labor that deserves to be compensated in the form of interest. But most capitalist "investment" consists of merely buying stock from other absentee owners, rather than pumping fresh capital into productive enterprises.

There would still be managers and entrepreneurs, as well. The difference is that everyone in the firm would have democratic control over people put in managerial positions (assuming they don't choose to manage in a more cooperative fashion). The division of labor remains intact, but the gratuitous authoritarianism of modern corporate America is dealt a big blow.

Kevin Carson et all were right all along. Markets =/= 'capitalism'. We can and should embrace the first concept without the second.

1 comment:

  1. Capitalism =/= greed, if -ism implies respect of capital like health.


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