Control by another name

This isn’t so much of a critique of laissez faire as it is a simple observation on the true nature of the system. An old school marxian may find this interesting and maybe even a little amusing to read. Many libertarians and conservatives truly want to believe that their sacred cow is truly guided by the invisible hand of the free market. That it really isn’t at risk for being controlled and it’s not an implicit means of control already.  I had previously done an article on the amorality of capitalism. So let’s revisit that a little.

The definition of free market is free from control and outside intervention. But does that really mean it’s free from human planning? No, I’m afraid not. The reason why I say that planning is something that is not eliminated from the economy is that there are entire professions dedicated to creating a demand or maintaining a company’s dominance. As much as I hate to give Marx credit for anything. The idea of  the boss taking all the wealth and the worker slaving away is fairly applicable to the market as a whole. The big business gets easy access to wealth while the small business has to work twice as hard for every penny. Don’t freak out I am not about to start shilling for communism or some other brand of left wing economics. But you have to give the devil his due.

I am completely fine with a mixed economy of some form. Protectionism ,and distributism should have more intellectual capital on the right than laissez faire does. Marketing and Accounting can do wonders for a company on top. Applying some basic psychology and good math skills can maintain an economic dynasty for ages. Even if their products get progressively worse.

But wouldn’t moving from a laissez faire system a bit just protect the already bad actors? It probably would. But it could also harm them depending on the political culture and how much the state actually chooses to get involved. A traditionalist state might request that Bill Nye get sacked from his new gig because of that vulgar trash that was on his show.

Libertarians will often saying that bringing back the fully free market would mean “pure competition”. This is depicted by them as a good thing and to some extent it is. But when you have pure competition eventually an elite will form to rule over the plebes. When you play survival of the fittest in this world. Sometimes the elite are the people that are willing to undermine nations and traditional norms just to turn a sweet profit. Weeding out the weak is good but you also have to ask yourself a question. Do I want the sort of person that would be willing to undermine the nation and culture that he lives in at the top of the wealth ladder?

A minimal state or a stateless society will inevitably be run by oligarchs in the end. Humans crave political hierarchy and if they can’t have it one way. They will obviously find another. Imagine a dog chasing a tail that he will never catch for the rest of time. Imagined it? That’s libertarianism. Here’s a fun fact for libertarians. Karl Marx supported free trade .

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2 Comments

  1. Correction: *all* states and societies will be run by oligarchs, as is natural and just.

    What is wrong with undermining “nations”? It was the liberal reformers like the Baron vom Steins and Count of Campomanes’ of this world who built nations by spreading the pamphlets of Diderot, Voltaire and co., by undermining foralismo in favor of absolutism, by promoting popular monarchy, by nationalizing church estates and removing the temporal power of bishops, etc. The “nation” used to be a synonym for the aristocracy as represented in a diet composed of hierarchical estates, as in Natio Hungarica or the Polish szlachta.

    Marx was a free trader because he was an accelerationist. Unfortunately for Marx’s assumptions, the capitalist robber barons were not the accumulation-obsessed automatons he thought they were, and in fact were quite content with living off the government dole. The burgher spirit of political equality, free conscience and freedom of vocation are incompatible with any withering away of the state, since such an event would have illiberal outcomes, not to mention no loans from state developmental banks and no juicy tariff rents.

    Protectionism has nothing to do with tradition, since protection implies an economistic/mercantilistic motive behind it, which is contrary to the largely moral tradition of canon law and its ordained hierarchy of obligations. It claims to be a liberation from capitalist materialism, only to impose on its subjects a system of politically costly handouts to industrialists, which entrench the amoral capitalists even further into government as recipients of patronage. The Prussian cameralists and the French Colbertistes were basically the first New Dealers.

    The owner has always been entitled to a greater share of the cut than his tenant. Lords of the manor would charge their serfs fees for the use of all sorts of appliances.

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  2. I agree with your general tenor towards “pure” libertarians, though they’re few and far between and, hence, your treatise doesn’t address the actual, more convoluted, self-delusionary, and adulterated reality-on-the-ground.

    As for your opinions on the free market – while it’s true and good that capitalism is amoral, that’s a system, not the people involved. If the people, i.e., the market, is moral then the suppliers of goods and services must also be moral more often than not or, at least, perceived to be so, in order to thrive. We’re actually beginning to see real world effects of that as boycotts and threats of boycotts are now obviously affecting corporate policies and choices.

    The above also impact the unavoidable oligarchy created by the free market since that oligarchy would be made up of those who abided by the rules, including the moral rules, or the market.

    Remember, it is more and more not the invisible hand of the market, but the very visible and vocal hand that starting to drive things.

    As for “survival of the fittest” – All ideologies that intersect with economics and power – which is every one of them that isn’t totally exilic, insular, and introverted, whether they admit or not, are staunch believers in that form of Darwinism. The only real difference is what they consider survival traits and what they consider traits to be culled.

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