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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Haliburton, Railroads, and Marxist Capitalism

This is another one from a discussion forum, in response to a comment that "'capitalism' is not getting the job done right in Iraq."

Haliburton does not represent capitalism! Haliburton could not exist under capitalism! There are no market forces affecting Haliburton and how it manages its operations. Supply, demand, competition mean nothing to them. There is no consumer demand for their services; the only reason they can exist is because we have a central government that is free and able to sell political favors.

The Pyramid of the Capitalist SystemThis is, however, 100% capitalism in the Marxist sense, in the sense of business and government coalescing to rob and rape the common people. Another perfect example of capitalism that is not capitalism is the 19th century railroad tycoons. They did not have to rely on market forces to obtain the vast amounts of land and capital required to construct continental railroads. They had buddies in government who could steal money, rob people of their land claims, and keep any legitimate competing rail lines from posing any threat.

Capitalism is a term invented by Marx to describe these processes. Its original definition, which many sociology students also use, has nothing to do with free markets. Lately, I've been describing myself more and more often as an "advocate of free markets" rather than as a capitalist, whereas not very long ago I (literally) wore that term on a shirt. The entire of logic and reason is built on definitions, and the real definition of capitalism (the one represented by Haliburton and co.) is actually the system I have been actively fighting against for the past year or so.

In conclusion:
Haliburton, dead railroad tycoons, FCAT, Florida bars that allow customers to smoke, New York taxi cab companies, etc. = Marxist capitalism.
Free markets = Classical liberal capitalism.


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