The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

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Science Fan
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The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Science Fan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:52 am

I recently responded to the article Uncertainty and Public Policy, which appears in the section about Philosophy Now articles. I would like to expand a bit on why I disagreed with the article. Especially after watching a video earlier today by the right-wing American commentator, Robert Shapiro, in which he claimed that "capitalism is altruistic." This is an ideological claim, which seems very prevalent, and has no factual basis.

The ideological belief is that free-markets came into existence first, and then as a result of free markets, economics itself gave rise to our other freedoms, like freedom of speech, democracy, and equal rights under the law. The reason this ideological belief is so powerful is that it undermines western civilization by making the fictional claim that our entire civilization can be run by economics alone.

What are the real facts? Is capitalism altruistic? Did free-markets give us freedom of speech and our other liberties? No. This is not even remotely true. Democracy came from ancient Athens, thousands of years before the Industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. Capitalists fought tooth and nail against child-labor laws and claimed they would go out of business if children couldn't work for them 14 hours a day. Was that capitalism being altruistic? Capitalists fought tooth and nail against employee safety laws where workers would not have to get their arms torn off working on equipment that had no safeguards. Capitalism existed for how long without people having voting rights?

How come free-markets in China and Singapore have not led to other liberties?

The truth of the matter is that our political freedoms were what was used to reign in the abuses of free-market capitalism, which then gave us a capitalism that we could live with. The people who want to ignore history and get rid of all regulation of capitalism, since they claim none are necessary, because capitalism is "altruistic" are really wanting to burn civilization to the ground.

I have a feeling the author of that Philosophy Now article is an ideological sibling of Shapiro.

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henry quirk
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I tell you this as a BIG promoter of Free Enterprise...

Post by henry quirk » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:54 pm

...an unrestrained, unrestricted (free) market (or, Free Enterprise) is utterly amoral.

Anyone who sez otherwise is deluded or lyin'.

You have to bring your morality to the table cuz you'll never find an iota of it on the table.

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Re: I tell you this as a BIG promoter of Free Enterprise...

Post by wtf » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:10 am

henry quirk wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:54 pm
...an unrestrained, unrestricted (free) market (or, Free Enterprise) is utterly amoral.

Anyone who sez otherwise is deluded or lyin'.

You have to bring your morality to the table cuz you'll never find an iota of it on the table.
IOTA! That's my favorite cryptocurrency.

A completely restrained, restricted, State-controlled market is even worse. Look at Venezuela. Look at Cuba. Look at the Soviet Union. Controlled economies cause people to starve because economic activity requires freedom.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:50 pm

"A completely restrained, restricted, State-controlled market is even worse."

Seems to me: the primary problem with the restrained market is such thing is used as a 'moral instrument'; and the primary virtue of the unrestrained market is its amorality.

In one: someone else calls the shots, dictates what is permissible (a largely static assessment, codified, with little probability of being changed or modified).

In the other: you (the buyer or seller) call the shots, dictate what you will sell or buy (what is permissible shifts as the wants and needs of countless transactors shift).

One tries to ensure that no one fails (meaning, no one succeeds); the other guarantees nuthin' to nobody 'cept that you will be left alone to rise or fall (to enjoy your fruits or to curse your weeds).

Science Fan
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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Science Fan » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:08 pm

WTF: Where did I ever state, anywhere, including in my original post that we should have an exclusively state-controlled economy that did not allow for any price mechanisms? Never did. All I was stating is that our freedoms did not magically come from free-markets existing. It wasn't as if capitalism couldn't exist alongside blacks and women not even having the right to vote. My point was not to abandon capitalism, which would be dumb as hell, but to never distort actual history because some ideology today finds it fashionable to lie about capitalism being the source of democracy, freedom of speech, and the beneficial treatment of workers. Not exactly true.

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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by wisdomlover » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:24 am

My take on the capitalism debate, for what it's worth, is that free markets benefit the vast majority of people, although some sort of safety-net -- voluntary (charity) or involuntary (taxation) or a combination -- is needed for folks who wind up in serious difficulty.

But what we know as "capitalism", although sometimes mistakenly equated with a free market, is something very different. One huge problem is what is called "limited liability." The people who make up a modern corporation are allowed to pay only a small percentage of any damage the corporation causes.

In a free market, if you hurt someone you would have to fully compensate them. Human beings do not individually have limited liability.

But corporations since about the 1840's have manage to wrest from governments the gift of limited liability. As just one tiny but unforgettable example, the people responsible for the Jonestown Flood (I think that's the title of a David McCullough bk.) never paid full restitution for what they did.

Limited liability is what gives corporations undue power in negotiating with workers, polluting the environment, and so on.

A free market without limited liability has never been tried, as far as I know.

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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Dalek Prime » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:19 am

wisdomlover wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:24 am
My take on the capitalism debate, for what it's worth, is that free markets benefit the vast majority of people, although some sort of safety-net -- voluntary (charity) or involuntary (taxation) or a combination -- is needed for folks who wind up in serious difficulty.

But what we know as "capitalism", although sometimes mistakenly equated with a free market, is something very different. One huge problem is what is called "limited liability." The people who make up a modern corporation are allowed to pay only a small percentage of any damage the corporation causes.

In a free market, if you hurt someone you would have to fully compensate them. Human beings do not individually have limited liability.

But corporations since about the 1840's have manage to wrest from governments the gift of limited liability. As just one tiny but unforgettable example, the people responsible for the Jonestown Flood (I think that's the title of a David McCullough bk.) never paid full restitution for what they did.

Limited liability is what gives corporations undue power in negotiating with workers, polluting the environment, and so on.

A free market without limited liability has never been tried, as far as I know.
In the past it has. Limited liability is 19th century, as is the modern corporation. There are other issues you are neglecting, but you can read those in Joel Bakkan's book.

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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Science Fan » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:28 pm

Limited liability is a legal doctrine that protects people who invest in a corporation, and who do not manage it, so that any losses they face are limited to their investment and not their personal assets. That's not even remotely the same thing as stating that the corporation itself has limited liability. In fact, many governments have limited liability so that people cannot even sue a government when it harms them in a wide variety of circumstances. So, if you think there is some major problem with limited liability for tock investors, which helps expand an economy, then you should be even more incensed over governments hiding behind a doctrine that literally stems from the mythical idea that the king can do no wrong.

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Gwen
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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Gwen » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm

An example: Greece is a motherland of democracy and now conquered by foreign capitalists who take over its property (hubs, ports, airports, other) :roll:

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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Science Fan » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:46 pm

Gwen: Greece is definitely imploding.

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Gwen
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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by Gwen » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:50 am

Gwen wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:33 pm
An example: Greece is a motherland of democracy and now conquered by foreign capitalists who take over its property (hubs, ports, airports, other) :roll:
Still, the prices are democratic haha :D

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Re: The Ideology of Markets Promoting Freedom

Post by -1- » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:54 am

wisdomlover wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:24 am
My take on the capitalism debate, for what it's worth, is that free markets benefit the vast majority of people, although some sort of safety-net -- voluntary (charity) or involuntary (taxation) or a combination -- is needed for folks who wind up in serious difficulty.

But what we know as "capitalism", although sometimes mistakenly equated with a free market, is something very different. One huge problem is what is called "limited liability." The people who make up a modern corporation are allowed to pay only a small percentage of any damage the corporation causes.

In a free market, if you hurt someone you would have to fully compensate them. Human beings do not individually have limited liability.

But corporations since about the 1840's have manage to wrest from governments the gift of limited liability. As just one tiny but unforgettable example, the people responsible for the Jonestown Flood (I think that's the title of a David McCullough bk.) never paid full restitution for what they did.

Limited liability is what gives corporations undue power in negotiating with workers, polluting the environment, and so on.

A free market without limited liability has never been tried, as far as I know.
Hoo, boy, have you ever misunderstood the accounting principle of "limited liability".

First of all, liability is not any inherent part of a capitalist system. It can be part of any economic system, and it is a concept of law, not of economic system.

Secondly, "limited liability" means that the owners of a company that becomes insolvent, can keep their private properties. For instance, if I own company X, and I own a house, and I drive a car that company X owns, then if and when company X becomes insolvent, then I lose company X, and the car, but I keep my house.

For this privilege, I pay much higher taxes on my income (at times when company X shows a profit and/or when I get dividend income for my holdings on company X).

Limited liability means simply that private property is not liable to be paid to creditors when a LLC goes bankrupt.

The LLC, such as my company X in the example, is fully liable to pay for damages it has caused as described by the law of the land.

Furthermore, if company X commits an illegal act, then its executive officers can be and are jailed (should the crime demand a mandatory jail sentence).

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