Recently there has been a lot of discussion about capitalism in the news and among activists. Many people are taking stances on either one side of the issue or the other, but very few are stopping to consider the fact that capitalism may have never even existed. This concept may come as a surprise to some, but it shouldn’t. If you examine most of the words used to describe our society such as democracy, freedom, representative or capitalism, you will find that these words are simply abstract euphemisms which are used to disguise the true nature of authoritarian civilization.
We are supposed to believe that we are represented by people who don’t represent us, that we are somehow “free” in a situation where we are constantly being exploited and ordered around. Much in the same way that we are told we are “free” in our personal lives, we are also told that we are “free” in our financial lives. The word “democracy” is used to make our oppressive political system seem more benevolent and legitimate, while the term “capitalism” is used to give the impression that we operate under a “free market” economy. Obviously, neither are true.
Capitalism itself has been defined many different ways, but the rights to private property, as well as private production of goods and a free market economy, cross over between all of these definitions. Currently none of the above rights are being fully respected in the United States and most Western countries that claim to be capitalist. Sure, at face value it may seem like these ideas are prevalent in Western culture, but when you take a look at property taxes, government subsidies for big corporations and the mountain of red tape faced by entrepreneurs it should become painfully obvious that capitalism has probably never existed in this country; perhaps it has never even existed in this world.
The system that we have in place today could more accurately be called fascism, mercantilism or cartelism. These words describe a system where the elite use their power in government to control the rest of society, as well as prop up their businesses by eliminating competition through the political system. The monolithic corporations that now exist would have never been able to grow into what they are today without the help of government intervention and protection. Without government intervention, the infamous lobbyists in Washington would become obsolete because there would no longer be any ability to manipulate the marketplace through bribes or coercion. Government intervention and protection is the primary means by which the world’s biggest corporations have devastated their competition and developed massive monopolies.
In a system of true free market capitalism there would be absolutely no need for a government, because any “service” that is apparently provided by the government can actually be better handled by entrepreneurs. In today’s system we don’t have independent businesses working on a level playing field, instead we are left with a few massive corporations and cartels that use their power in government to maintain their monopolies and stomp out their competition. This is the very definition of fascism — the merger of state and corporate power — this is the dominant economic system in the world, and has been for centuries, in various different forms.
In fascist countries there is really no line between government and big corporations; both types of organizations use legislative power to establish and maintain monopolies. When it comes down to it, both of these organizations rely on violence and threats of violence as a means of getting their way in the marketplace. Essentially, the government is an organization that is used to justify violence, from the military to the tax collectors to the police. This constant use of force is said to be keeping us safe, but in reality it just instigates further conflict and makes our lives more chaotic and violent.
For any authoritarian government to stay in power they must convince their subjects that they are providing them with safety and security. This is the typical public relations scheme of every oppressive government; the idea that they are providing worthwhile services. This is sadly a myth. The government doesn’t provide services; they monopolize services. In other words, they make sure that they are the only organization that can provide schools, hospitals, roads and other utilities to the public because this creates a situation where the people are completely dependent upon the state for survival. This doesn’t mean that a government is the only type of organization that is capable of providing these services. In fact, community groups and entrepreneurs would most likely do a far better job at providing these services because they would actually be judged by the integrity of their work, unlike politicians and corporations.
Oftentimes when the government is providing a service they are actually doing a very poor job, but no one can really tell the difference because there is no competition to judge it by. If you look at the goals that government organizations apparently set out to achieve, you will see they always fail miserably. Therefore, if the government is claiming to provide maximum safety and security, it would be safe to assume that this goal will not be achieved. In the most authoritarian countries where the “leaders” claim to have established an extreme level of security, things are actually very unsafe and citizens in these kinds of countries live in constant fear. Just because there is a very high level of control does not mean that there will be adequate safety or order within a society. The most controlling type of government in today’s world is without a doubt a fascist one.
Fascism is defined as an authoritarian system of government that has strong nationalist and corporatist values. Fascist governments often have strong military cultures and use force to establish themselves as authority figures, both at home and abroad. A Fascist government never refers to themselves as such; to do so would be to admit that they run unjust and oppressive regimes. Fascism exists in many economic systems that claim to be capitalist or communist and can develop even in countries that call themselves democratic.
In fact, most fascist “leaders” tell their people that they live in a free and democratic society so the public takes their grievances to the polls, instead of taking them into the streets where they could actually make an impact. Currently one of the most fascist nations on Earth is called the “Democratic Republic of North Korea”. Likewise, the government in America and the European Union are some of the most fascist regimes in history, yet they still claim to operate under systems of “capitalism” or “democratic socialism”. Like anything else in politics and economics, it’s a word game that’s designed to disguise the truth.
Personally I believe that the economic system of the future that will finally bring us peace, freedom and opportunity has yet to be discovered. However, there are some basics of capitalism and voluntarism that should be considered necessary if we are going to establish a new economic system that is designed to empower the people. The rights to private property, the freedom for people to open businesses and trade freely amongst themselves are elements of capitalism that will ensure freedom in a future economic system. The idea that all interactions in society should be voluntary and free from threats, coercion and violence will ensure peace. These are some good places to start our discussion, but to establish a system that will actually work in our best interest, we, the 99% need to hit the books and put our heads together.
Today, almost every economy in the world is totally dictated by the ideas of two long-dead aristocrats. Karl Marx on one end representing communism, and Adam Smith on the other end representing capitalism. Our whole way of doing business on this planet has changed very little since the time that these two characters were alive, and that right there is the root of our problem. Imagine if a few people in every city across the world wrote their own economic manifestos and got together to respectfully discuss their ideas. We refuse to accept yesterday’s television shows, IPods and PlayStations but without thinking we have accepted ways of living that are centuries old. It’s time for us to work together in creating strategies where everyone can meet their needs without violating the rights of others.