AC in NC writes:
I’m working from this definition of capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
It seems a little ethnocentric to think that Western Values and Christianity are the primary source of the inclusion of things like compassion and charity in the “profit” that private owners seek. I believe in Natural Law that can be derived independent of, or complementary to, any of the many human belief systems (except Islam absent reformation and other cultish enterprises). It is within the context of Natural Law and a balanced relationship with nature and our fellow man that private enterprise “profit seeking” would include tangible and intangible non-monetary “profits”.
Society works best not by elaborate system of rules but in a social construct where the commonality amongst tribe and transcendental goals hold each to a higher standard where they would be embarrassed to take too great a share within the context of otherwise wealth-maximizing activities which are the key to providing a rising standard of living for all. A perfect example of this is hospitals before they are corporatized back I think in the 60’s or 70’s. Before that hospitals would have a board of community leaders who would’ve felt greatly shamed amongst their fellow citizens were they to not provide health care to the indigent. But once behind the corporate shield, it becomes a different story.
Jim Goodnight locally here with SAS Institute maintains a private company and extends extraordinary benefits and working conditions to his employees maintaining jobs even in downturns. They even go so far is to demand most or all employees NOT take laptops and work extra hours from home.
Elon Musk at SpaceX (although he’s got some leaching off the government crony-capitalist stuff going on) nominally seems to be setting his company up to forego maximum monetary profit to seek his goal of expanding humanity off earth.
We spend something like $10K per person per year on health care in the United States. But this money is spent with virtually no price transparency, virtually no incentive to shop for value, and with virtually no checks on unnecessary costs. Can anyone deny that health care prices would plummet if barriers to competition were eliminated, people re-insured at their own discretion for liability, that $10K was distributed each year to every person in a tax exempt account for spending according to various rules where family could help family or people could “crowdsource” small contributions to atypical expense, with private charities stepping into cover the most tragic cases (or not).
Every health care system results in some kind of explicit or implicit rationing. Rather than some bureaucratic scheme that wastes enormous money on end-of-life care, let people decide amongst themselves what is worthy. Those 10K/person/year accounts would build year after year, would be an asset that could be passed along. The people could pay their own bills, would have an incentive to be healthy, would be denied care and die if they’d made horrible decisions. Providers would get paid without enormous back office paperwork. Unnecessary care would be eliminated because people would push back and not pay for it and Provider Liability (absent criminal charges) would be eliminated and so no one would be prescribing tests and such for fear of lawsuit.
Similar thing with Universities. Anyone can teach themselves anything online today. If it weren’t for the government sanctioned stranglehold of accreditation of colleges, business could be required to treat an independent accreditation business as equal to college degrees. Then an accreditation agency could arise that simply provides testing to ensure that someone has college equivalent skills. But now we tell everyone they must go to college, jam loans down their throat, and send them off to learn gender studies at $200K for 4 years paying some professor $180K a year to teach one class. And no hope of future earnings.
Capitalism is almost perfect requiring only a set of strong constraints around the periphery. Crony- and hyper-regulated capitalism is just devolves into criminal rent-seeking enterprise. However it is still better than more complete central planning approaches. But it still sucks.
I am going to respond to the commenter personally in this comment. AC in NC, you are advocating Libertarianism. There are no barriers to competition in health care. Why would there be.
There are no problems with the government strange hold on accreditation. This was necessitated in the first place because privately run universities were not able to police themselves and regulate themselves. I assume that any private accreditation system would soon devolve into corruption the way the accounting firms have. Private for profit education is complete crap. And it’s utterly unregulated. And a lot of nonprofits like National University are pure shit too. These are also unregulated.
The fact that National is accredited shows that the state is not doing a real great job of accrediting schools. They are accrediting too many crappy schools but that is just as the Libertarians want it. Surely the state having no monetary interest in school accreditation is the only thing that accredit a school. And if the state’s doing a lousy job and letting crap schools slide, I assure that the any private agency or agencies would be even worse. They would have to be according to the laws of capitalism because these would be paid on the basis of how many schools they accredit.
Business is incapable of policing itself. It’s never been able to. This is why the voluntary regulations that business insists on never work. If you make a regulation voluntary, nobody does it. Worse, the firms that agree to voluntarily regulate find themselves at a disadvantate and will be outcompeted by the firms that declined to regulate.
I know you are a Libertarian because you consider an extreme free market to be better than regulated capitalism and you hate the idea of the state doing or regulating anything. Also you invoke crony capitalism over and over. This is what Libertarians do. Crony capitalism is where the state favors some businesses over others. There’s no such thing as crony capitalism. So the only problem in crony capitalism is the existence of the state. However, the state does not favor any one business over another except in the cases of monopolies which it refuges to break up, but Libertarians like that.
Also you have almost religious love for and worship of capitalism. Obviously you can’t see what’s wrong with it. And in some ideal capitalism bullshit which does not exist, the capitalists are going to be real nice and loving and giving and shit.
Yes a few capitalists are being decent but that is only because we socialists have been screaming at them and guilt tripping them forever. True capitalism seeks no constraints on profits ever for any reason. That is why voluntary regulation always fails. So we need socialists in the state to regulate capitalism by putting limits on the profits of businesses.
When is this dream state with all these kindhearted capitalist business owners going to exist? Yes a few business owners are acting decent but only because leftwing socialists have been screaming at them forever. This is not typical in the US and of course it is not typical in the world.
There is no dream capitalism where the capitalists all act really nice and stuff. You think this is the natural, normal state of capitalism. Once again you are advocating Libertarianism. Libertarians and you do not even understand how capitalism works. They think in some perfect free market system everything is going to be all groovy and cool and all the problems of capitalism will just go away. Furthermore in this perfect free market of the Libertarians the market is going to fix everything and all of the problems that we socialists are bitching about.
Look, I wish Libertarianism or pure free market economics could solve all of the problems we socialists bitch about and give us in a sense the world that we dream of, only purely capitalist instead of purely socialist. If this pure capitalism could deliver us everything we want in our socialist dream world, we would all just pack it up, bury socialism and become capitalists in a New York minute. I know I would.
But this has almost never existed and the closest things to radical free market totally unregulated have been severe catastrophes of the worst sort. You guys keep arguing that we have never tried the real pure free market capitalism because there’s always government in there somewhere screwing stuff up. But it probably can’t exist and the closest stuff to that is a place like Somalia. A totally free market with no state simply devolves into warlordism.
You keep talking about putting some sort of corral around your capitalism which implies some limits or regulations but you never tell us what this corral will look like and what limits or regulations will encompass the fences.
You guys are pie in the sky dreamers at best, winking and prevaricating cynics more typically and advocates for nightmarish dystopias at worst.