Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Socialist Myths vs Capitalism

Politics / Social Issues Jan 14, 2008 - 02:29 AM GMT

By: Gerard_Jackson

Politics I am forever getting emails from ignorant socialists accusing capitalism of all manner of heinous crimes. Clearly the socialist view of economic history is deeply rooted in Western society, a view based on facts that turn out to be nothing but socialist myths derived from political prejudices deeply hostile to the classical liberal order. This, I believe, accounts for the staggering ignorance of leftwing critics. The contents of one particularly stupid email immediately brought to mind an especially bigoted anti-capitalist tirade by Bryan Patterson that he wrote some years ago.


Patterson is the Herald Sun's religious writer. Now you might wonder what a religious writer would know about economics, economic history or the history of economic thought. In the case of Patterson, the answer is absolutely nothing. He made his ignorance abundantly clear by trotting out a number of socialist calumnies (Herald Sun 22 February 1998). Using his paper as a secular pulpit he attacked as vulgar the advice of eighteenth and nineteenth century ministers to their congregations "to work hard and be thrifty," making the absurd assertion that this advice drove the "poor into hands of greedy monopolists and financiers."

Exposing the unrepentant Patterson's phony critique is to expose leftist ignorance. According to Patterson's left-wing thinking, the advice was fallacious if not actually callous because it assumed that work is something done for money or power, rather than being an expression of man's creativity etc.

This is the thinking [asserted Patterson] that allows fruit and wheat to be burnt by the tonne, and fish to be used as manure while whole populations stand in need of food. [All of which allows] consumerism and the violence of militarism to dominate the world.

Needless to say, Patterson did not provide a skerrick of historical evidence to support what was nothing more than left-wing propaganda. It would have been clear to any reasonably educated person that given the economic circumstances of the time, the advice of work hard and be thrifty was basically sound (though there is no virtue in hard work per se but only in work done with a purpose.) Those were hard times — the times that preceded them were even harder — and mass poverty was the natural order of things, as it had been throughout history.

Urging people to be thrifty was the same as advising them to prepare for hard times, to try and provide for an uncertain future, not to spend what little they had on gambling gin and thus avoid the poorhouse. (This is the kind of "vulgar advice," incidentally, that lifted millions of Asians out of poverty in a comparatively short time). The growth of friendly societies, cooperative societies, self-help organisations, though slow in the eighteenth century, demonstrates that many among the masses had a far better understanding of the benefits of thrift than Bryan Patterson. (Incidentally, I am still at loss to understand how saving can make one a victim of monopoly.)

Now these ministers were not making any assumptions about work, power or creativity. They knew, as did everyone else at the time, that work for the mass of people was their only means to acquire goods, the rest was secondary. Only a comfortable middle class intellectual could suggest that work as a 'creative' activity could have any meaning in such societies. Where labour's productivity is low so are living standards. Extremely long hours engaged in monotonous labour have to be endured to obtain, by our consumerist standards, even the most meagre of goods. This is how the nineteenth century reformer Francis Place described conditions:

I know not how to describe the sickening aversion which at times steals over the working man and utterly disables him, for a longer or shorter period, from following his usual occupation, and compels him to indulge in idleness. I have felt it, [he was once a breeches-maker] resisted it to the utmost of my power, but have been obliged to submit and run away from my work. This is the case of every workman I have ever known. . . . (Dorothy George, England in Transition, Penguin Books, 1962, pp. 60-61).

Patterson's assertions about "greedy monopolists and financiers" are just left-wing hogwash. Monopolies exist where the state owns the firm or protects a firm or industry from competition. The same goes for financiers. Patterson completely ignored the fact — as do most socialists — that the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented rise in living standards. (Something not unrelated to genuine liberalism that was totally opposed to monopoly, tariffs or state granted privileges).

This was a period in which real wages quadrupled, even though the workforce grew by 400 per cent, and the output of consumer goods expanded by 1600 per cent. However nineteenth century conditions compare with today's, they became an incredible improvement on anything that had previously prevailed. For the first time in history production was for the masses and not an aristocratic elite.

The stupidity of his assertion that eighteenth and nineteenth century advice to people to save and work hard created the kind of thinking that wilfully destroys food while others starve is so bizarre that I reread it several times to make sure it was not my reading of his material that was at fault. (And to think he and those like him get paid for this nonsense.) Every single instance of food being wilfully destroyed has been on the instructions of the state.

This has been entirely due to the politicisation of food production, which in turn created surplus stocks that were later destroyed to maintain agricultural incomes. The market did not do this, Mr Patterson, politicians and bureaucrats did it because they defied the market. One of those politicians was the Sainted F.D. Roosevelt. (Amity Shlaes The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Harper-Collins, 2007, pp. 270, 275-77).

Like many critics of capitalism, Bryan Patterson accused it of "consumerism" without making the slightest effort to define it. If by consumerism he meant materialism he should have said so and left it at that. But materialism means to value material things in themselves rather than for the services they provide. Why capitalism should be more materialistic than any other society beats me.

Consumerism is an invidious concept used to attack capitalism, the most productive economic order ever known to man, something even Marx cheerfully admitted and welcomed. Despite its emptiness as a concept, consumerism conveys to the impressionable and the unthinking the vague feeling that capitalism is not quite moral, that there is something in it that is profane and hostile to basic human values.

As Ebenezer Scrooge once said: "Bah, humbug!" But this, unfortunately, is what we have come to expect from our intelligentsia. Only arrogant intellectuals would condemn an economic order that showered society with an unprecedented abundance of material goods and services, sanctimoniously condemning it as "consumerism". As I do not feel particularly charitable toward socialists, I shall call this attitude by its proper name — rank hypocrisy.

This brought Patterson to the charge that these ministers' advice could result in militarism. Once again, not bothering to define his terms. A militaristic state is one in which the armed forces are supreme; it is they who dominate political life. In such a society it is expected that the citizens obey the government just as troops obey their officers. There is no real freedom only discipline and obedience. Prussia and pre-war Japan stand out as typical examples of militaristic societies. To even hint that capitalism gives birth to these types of societies is completely absurd and reveals a lamentable lack of historical knowledge. Capitalism, as the military elites of these societies well knew, is subversive of militarism. They are deadly foes. As Keynes said of capitalism:

. . . dangerous human proclivities can be canalised into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of opportunities for money-making and private wealth, which, if they cannot be satisfied in this way, may find their outlet in cruelty, the reckless pursuit of personal power and authority, and other forms of self-aggrandisement. It is better that a man should tyrannise over his bank balance than over his fellow-citizens (italics added). (John Maynard Keynes The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Macmillan, St Martin’s Press for the Royal Economic Society, 1973, p. 374).

This observation was amply confirmed by the tyrannical history of communist states. But that never stopped anti-capitalist critics like Patterson. Quoting Dorothy Sayers we were told that lawyers now work for money instead of justice. Do this pair think it was once otherwise. What do they think paid for pro bono cases? He then approvingly quoted ex-priest Matthew Fox's silly suggestion that catholic schools should try to reconnect mysticism with science. (Yes, it got worse.)

Patterson finished his sanctimonious left-wing sermon with the assertion "that some people consider fulfilling work and ethics more important than profits". The fallacy here is the left-wing assumption that profits are unethical and never involve self-fulfilling work. This is typical self-righteous socialist drivel. Like all socialists he obviously has no understanding at all of the vital role that profits play in raising living standards and allocating resources. As for fulfilling work, this is something that only seems to obsess left-wing intellectuals.

Virtually the whole of human history has been one of lengthy backbreaking toil. It was capitalism that finally freed masses of people from this tyranny, not intellectuals. It was capitalism that generated economic growth and created unprecedented opportunities and wealth for the masses. And it was capitalism, unfortunately, that created masses of intellectuals like Patterson whose activities, to judge from their writings, appear to be totally superfluous to society's needs. Yet affluent left-wing intellectuals have got the bloody nerve to treat capitalism's achievements with contempt.

What is capitalism? It is not an ideology and it is not a system. It is a process the heart of which is voluntary exchange based on the principle of private property and the inalienable rights of the individual. Eliminate capitalism and you get tyranny: Mussolini understood this and this is why he stated: "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state ".

 


Like the vast majority of leftists Patterson is extremely soft on Marxist thugs. Back in 1997 he wrote a generous piece on Hanoi's murderous regime. Readers can determine for themselves what kind of journalist Patterson is by the fact that he refused to condemn the 1968 Hue communist massacre in which thousands of South Vietnamese civilians were murdered by an occupying force of North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong terrorists.

But readers must bear in mind that to socialists Marxist regimes can be excused their atrocities because they only commit mass murder and torture in pursuit of social justice and equality. If you think this is an outrageous exaggeration, allow me to draw your attention to the economic historian and committed Marxist-Leninist Eric Hobsbawm. He was interviewed by Michael Ignatieff for The Times Literary Supplement, 28 October 1994. The following is an extract:

Mr. Ignatieff: "What that comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow [a successful Soviet Union] actually been created, the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified?"

Hobsbawm: "Yes."

No wonder Martin Amis was moved to call Hobsbawm a "disgrace". (Martin Amis, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, Talk Miramax Books, 2002, p. 274).


By Gerard Jackson
BrookesNews.Com

Gerard Jackson is Brookes' economics editor.

Copyright © 2008 Gerard Jackson

Gerard Jackson Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Wingnut
14 Jan 08, 11:40
Capitalism

Yes, it was capitalism that is the Masonic pyramid scheme infested with servitude... that folks bought into. It was capitalism that caused the massive inequality. It was capitalism that causes our 18-yr-old children to be forced to "get a job" and thus forced into a religion called the church-of-competers (free marketeers). Yes, it is capitalism that is just like the childhood farmyard pyramid of stacked children, where the kids on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world's knees in their backs. It is capitalism that condones competing, which is the opposite of cooperating. it is capitalism that is based upon taking and fear, instead-of giving and love (Christianity socialism).

It is capitalism that holds the exclusive on the TYPE of certificates (money) accepted in supply depots. It is capitalism that kills 5000 for every person who makes it to "set-for-life". It is capitalism that puts up fences, borders, and security systems of all kinds. It is capitalism that is the toybox tug-o-war over luxuries and supplies... where something ALWAYS gets broken... either the tuggers or the tugged-over. Yes, it was capitalism that brought all this wonderful stuff. While we grew financially, we have totally flopped on efficiency, intelligence, logic, love, and general morals. Yep, it was capitalism that caused that flop.

What a fine system. AmWay - American Way. The pyramid scheme symbol is right there on the back of the USA one dollar bill. Its a join or die organization. Cute. That's felony extortion. Pay up or lose your wellbeing. Join, or starve. Nice. You're all going to federal prison if you keep participating in it. And I won't even START to mention what might happen to capitalists in the afterlife. I don't want to even think about it. Too gruesome.

Wingnut

MaStars - Mothers Against Stuff That Ain't Right

(anti-capitalism-ists)

Bessemer MI USA


Randolphe Palmer
18 Aug 08, 10:48
capitalism

capitalism is proof of just how low we can stoop..! Closely associated with crime,- organized crime (the Mafia and similar groups), the huge world drug problem, the trade in pornography,.(inc' the sexual exploitation of children), arms deals and arms trading, junk fiction about king and country, - in short, all that makes humans small and wretched!

We need to fight against it for a better world...


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules