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posted on 24 January 2018

It's Time To Retire "Capitalism"

by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Our current socio-economic system is nothing but the application of force on the many to enforce the skims, scams and privileges of the self-serving few.

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I've placed the word capitalism in quotation marks to reflect the reality that this word now covers a wide spectrum of economic activities, very little of which is actually capitalism as classically defined. As I have explained here for over a decade, the U.S. economy is dominated by cartels and quasi-monopolies that are enforced by the Central State, a state-cartel system of financialized rentier skims that has no overlap with Adam Smith's free market, free enterprise concept,i.e. classical capitalism.

This is what passes for "capitalism" in modern-day America: the super-rich get super-richer, a thin slice of technocrats, speculators and entrepreneurs advance their wealth and the vast majority lose ground or stagnate:

Here's another snapshot of state-financier "capitalism" in modern-day America: the centralized organs of the state (the quasi-public Federal Reserve) creates trillions of dollars and hands the nearly free money to financiers, insiders and speculators, all of whom benefit immensely as this flood of cash pushes stocks into the stratosphere:

There are other versions of "capitalism" that are equally rapacious, all of which are iterations of crony-capitalism: gangster-capitalism, theocratic-capitalism, colonial-capitalism, and so on.

The key feature of these forms of organized pillage that mask their predatory nature by claiming to be "capitalist" is they ruthlessly suppress the three core dynamics of classical capitalism:

  1. Competition
  2. Open/free markets
  3. Free flow of capital in all its forms (financial, social, intellectual, etc.)

The only way the few can pillage the many is if the many are denied access to competition, open markets and freely flowing capital. All the predatory, parasitic and exploitive systems that hide behind the word "capitalism" skim the wealth of the many into the hands of the few by limiting competition (cartels and monopolies such as sickcare and higher education), controlling markets (you must buy from the state-mandated cartels and monopolies) and and restricting capital to insiders, financial elites and cronies of the state--three terms that describe one elite.

Once the few eliminate competition, open markets and access to capital, the many are enslaved, regardless of how many times the magic words "democracy" and "capitalism" are invoked to cover the systemic exploitation.

I propose we start calling things by their real names: state-financier systems of rentier skims, and all the other predatory, parasitic exploitive systems operated by the few at the expense of the many will no longer get the cover of the word "capitalism." They will be called what they are: exploitive, predatory, parasitic pillaging that enriches a corrupt self-serving elite that is enforced by a corrupt, self-serving state.

I propose we call free-market, free-enterprise, voluntary systems STOC:sustainable, transparent, opt-in, competition.

These dynamics are the antithesis of the state-cartel hierarchies that dominate the global economy and that function by enriching the few at the expense of the many. If a system is a sustainable, transparent, opt-in free marketplace of open competition, no elite could wrest control of the system to benefit itself at the expense of all the other participants.

I've explained why centralized hierarchies have only one possible output: soaring inequality and injustice in my books Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, Why Things Are Falling Apart, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege and Why the Status Quo Failed and is Beyond Reform

I've sketched out an alternative way of living in my books Money and Work Unchained and A Radically Beneficial World.

If an economic/financial system isn't sustainable, transparent, opt-in, and wide open to competition, it isn't capitalism--it's a self-serving rentier skim trying to mask its predatory, rapacious reality. Remember, good ideas don't require force, and our current socio-economic system is nothing but the application of force on the many to enforce the skims, scams and privileges of the self-serving few.

It's time to retire the word "capitalism" and strip the predatory, self-serving and thoroughly corrupt elite of their phony cover.

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