Dissecting Anti-Capitalist Bias

A Strange Paradox: How can so many people believe that a political ideal rooted in ‘freedom from coercion’ is somehow tied to injustice, oppression, war, and even prison! This is nuts. But many people believe that non-coercion is somehow deeply tied to coercion.

A Strange Paradox: How can so many people believe that a political ideal rooted in ‘freedom from coercion’ is somehow tied to injustice, oppression, war, and even prison! This is nuts. But many people believe that non-coercion is somehow deeply tied to coercion.

I often encounter students that equate consumerism, greed, and authority, with ‘capitalism.’ It is an interesting phenomenon. It makes no conceptual sense, in that advocates of free markets are not advocates of any of these things. It does make sense on a practical level though since teachers and professors continue to preach that all the ills of humanity can be captured by the boogeyman: capitalism. It doesn’t survive careful scrutiny, as most vague emotional doctrines don’t stand up to anything. They are like silly putty: they can bounce around, and they can mindlessly copy news articles. Likewise, they become flaccid when you calmly and slowly examine them.

Since free markets require freedom, the level of coercion must be minimal (focused only on acting against violations of natural negative rights). (See Locke, Nozick)

Since free markets do not benefit from strife and instability, free markets are anti-war (wars do not improve the economy if you look at them objectively) (See Rothbard, Rand, Bastiat)

Since free markets encourage investment, saving, and long-term planning, free-market advocates encourage production, building, and cooperation. Yes, a business within any market wants you to buy from them. However, the important thing is this: in a free market (where it is that case that the government does not force you to buy anything, the only tool is persuasion). Assuming that persuasion is better than coercion, then free markets are clearly better than forced, inefficient, centrally planned economies. (See Problems with Central Planning)

Cronyism is ANTI-FREE markets! I’m shouting because I’ve seen too many students equate cronyism, where a certain business gets some special deal with the State, either a subsidy or some cheap loan, etc, think this is capitalism. But this isn’t capitalism. This is cronyism. The very idea that cronyism could be conflated with cronyism, or that fascism could be connected to free-markets, is absolutely insane. This is like saying ‘minimal authority’ is ‘maximally authoritarian.’ Or, ‘coerced markets’ are ‘free markets.’ Seriously, sometimes it is like we live inside of a chapter of 1984. (See Munger, Hayek)

A similar prejudice relates to a bias against profit (See Carter). To combat these prejudices, you can review my advice on avoiding fallacies, critically thinking through conversation, and learn how to refute arguments.

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Author: TheCommoner

I am a philosopher that is interested in what makes life worth living, what is worth pursuing, and how we can learn from the past. I believe that good philosophy benefits everyone and that there should be philosophers that present philosophy to those outside of the academy.