They’re just not the same damn thing

But I think the governing class in Britain, which includes Labour moderates, has a serious problem with public rejection of the market economy; that the political consequences could be disastrous; and that fragile democratic consent for capitalism must be sought.

Capitalism is useful, works rather well. Markets are vital, economic systems that don’t use them don’t work. It’s vital to understand this difference.

12 thoughts on “They’re just not the same damn thing”

  1. But I think the governing class in Britain, which includes Labour moderates

    The governing class is mostly Labour moderates. No-one is seriously suggesting that government departments, local councils, NHS trusts, the media, the Law, etc have a minority of Labour supporters?

  2. But we don’t have a Capitalist government, we have an Interventionist government, an unholy miss-mash of the worst aspects of socialism and capitalism, with the blame of failure laid firmly on the capitalist aspects, underlining the Left-leaning majority in the institutions. There is an argument that most of the damage done to UK plc in recent years has been through the adoption of debt socialisation by successive governments, the bank bail-outs and unrestricted PFI being two flagrant examples. While a preponderance of the electorate are willing to suspend disbelief, and convince themselves that free stuff really is free courtesy of the magic money tree, nothing will change and the likes of Jezza will receive a hearing.

  3. Can we have a definition–your definition–of how capitalism exists separate to markets Tim?

    Assuming you are not referring to Capitalism when you mean Corporate Socialism (modern fascist socialism without the jodhpurs) sometimes called Crony Krapitalism in the USA.

  4. Well, the basic point stands that if the proles believe the system is gamed too far in favour of “the rich” they will revolt and change the system. And likely they will not usher in a free market liberal utopia. It’s not as if there aren’t hundreds of historical examples of this.

    The irony being that the system, far from being a free market, has drifted towards rent as the chief method of enrichment. Much of the economy is already the zero-sum game (or even negative sum game) of Soviet lore.

  5. I sneeze in threes

    I always thought a market for capital was rather an important too. Otherwise are you not just left with a market for the output of some statist system that finds it for efficient or equitable just to produce one size of only left footed boots?

  6. +1 to Mr Ecks.

    Show me a economic system that has fully free markets, but no freedom to own capital and the means of production.

    As far as I can see the two go hand in hand. Free markets require freedom to produce, and freedom to produce requires ownership of capital and the means of production.

  7. BiG- yes if you “believe” and peoples minds. Yes and there are always plenty of people ready to bullshit their way to power.

    I like tim’s approach of being honest. This is what you want? Ok take the money and spend it. Far better than market rigging and intervention. And when you take it do it in the least harmful way to the population.

  8. ‘fragile democratic consent for capitalism must be sought’

    It can’t be fragile, else people wouldn’t invest their money.

    “But we don’t have a Capitalist government”

    Correct. The strong, autocratic central regulatory processes of the U.S. and UK and the EU are the definition of fascism. I dare say Western fascism of today is way more broad than in 1930s Germany. There is government content in EVERY product.

    When I hear that WWII was “The War to End Fascism” I cringe. It was the war to replace the tyrant of Western Europe with the tyrant of Eastern Europe.

  9. It is true it’s noisier now than at anytime in the post Margaret world. However the volume of sinister anti-market, anti business, anti trade noise being generated though is not the same thing as groundswell of opinion. Slightly more worrying is that some of that noise has found its way on to the front bench and into manifestos. In a limited sense that may still have happened in the naughties but it was firmly supervised by control freaks like Gordon.

    So Matthew overstates it i think, because inequality is not the same as unfairness, and a lot of the noise of the propaganda treat them as synonyms. Where he does have a point is that it’s not electoral suicide to want to curb the free market or business profits (since Jeremy did survive the General Election) it’s just that each extra vote in the middle is marginally harder to attract.

  10. Didn’t Mises explain how you can’t have markets without private ownership? So the two concepts are ultimately inseperable.

  11. Timmy is definitely getting more unreliable on capitalism: says its not the same as markets which are where his loyalty lies. Is very wobbly on who creates money and is a diehard Land Taxer like his idol Adam Smith. Must be tricky keeping his clientele on here happy : they call anything not capitalist in tooth and claw communist, believe banks lend their customers’ money out at interest and that you should tax income rather than land.

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