Yes but no but yes St. Vince

It depends upon which of the two meanings he, umm, means here.

His fetish for demonising bankers and executives of any type is surpassed only by his attack on capitalism itself. \”Capitalism takes no prisoners and kills competition where it can,\” Cable plans to say today. Any sane business secretary would know capitalism encourages competition unlike the monopoly provision of goods and services favoured by state controlled economies. The market allocates resources to compete in activities enjoying unusually high returns, which brings prices down and pushes up value for consumers.

If Vince means that capitalists will happily kill off whatever competition they can then he\’s right: which is as Damian Reece points out, why markets are such lovely things. They enable both the maintenance of what competition there is and the creation of more competition to counteract that capitalist desire to close it down.

But Reece is wrong to say that capitalism and markets are the same thing: they\’re very much not. As we\’ve pointed out around here many times, capitalism is a description of a method of ownership, markets of a method of exchange.

And between the two markets are vastly more important than capitalism or capitalists. For it\’s the markets which encourage the competition, not the capitalism.

Here it\’s mostly a semantic argument: but in the larger world it\’s a very important distinction to make. Capitalism and capitalists will, where they can, shut down competition to the detriment of the consumer. Which is why we\’re so enamoured of markets which create and maintain the competition to keep the capitalists in line.

2 comments on “Yes but no but yes St. Vince

  1. Reece is wrong to say that capitalism and markets are the same thing: they’re very much not. As we’ve pointed out around here many times, capitalism is a description of a method of ownership, markets of a method of exchange.

    EXACTLY. Tis why an obvious lefty like me is frequently more likely to agree with “right wing” market liberals than I am with a large number of less liberally inclinced lefties.

    Vince is an old mutualist at heart, and the level of ignorance coming out from elements of the media is indicative.

  2. I tried having an argument in a pub with someone recently (“there’s always going to be a monopoly, and the state is the best one there is”) and I was too drunk to draw the difference between capitalism and markets. I shall be better prepared next time!

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