> |[...] A lot of people who attack what they call "capitalists", for
> |example, just assume that capitalists would favor right-to-work laws, for
> |example, that libertarians in fact oppose. They assume that trade unions
> |are anti-capitalist, when in fact they are a fine capitalist concept.
> |Most assume that capitalists support intellectual property, when that
> |issue is orthogonal.
> |Once we agree on what we're talking about, productive discussion might
> |become possible (assuming those doing the discussing are themselves
> |capable of rational thought).
> I suggest you summarize the libertarian definition of "capitalism".
> After Mr. Bokov summarizes his definition we can start discussing
> relevant matters instead debating the meaning of words.
Here's what _I_ mean by the word "capitalism", which is also my
impression of what most libertarians mean as well:
A capitalist system is one in which:
- The courts protect the private property rights of every
individual without bias or prejudice. Access to the court
system is universal, and relatively cheap. Access to a police
force to back up court decrees is universal and cheap.
- The courts likewise enforce the terms of all freely-entered
contracts between private parties, without bias or prejudice,
and do not arbitrarily overrule contract terms that are
"against public policy" as our courts do now.
- The courts prosecute private torts, awarding damages to
wronged parties fairly in proprtion to damage done. Pollution
is a private tort.
- The government does not have the power of eminent domain to
steal people's land and give it to developers. Nor does it
have the power to arbitrarily restrict the way a land owner
can use his land with zoning laws.
- The government does not subsidize any industry, provide
price supports, or tax relief to some industries and not others.
Likewise, it doesn't tax some industries more than others for
public policy reasons, or tax businesses or individuals
- The government does not impose import/export tariffs.
- The government does not legislate in favor of business or
in favor of labor, but stays out of all disputes, other than
to enforce the terms of freely-entered contracts and to
punish torts. It provides no special protection for trade
unions, nor protects any business from strikes or from
"closed shop" contracts.
- The government does not regulate prices, wages, production,
distribution, or any other method of business. Things like
workplace safety, sexual harassment, false advertising, and
other practices are handled as private torts.
- The government does not regulate or restrict gambling,
prostitution, usury, or the drug trade (except perhaps
where children are involved).
- The government does not grant or enforce monopolies for
public utilities, public services (like mail), public
roads, or anything else than can be handled by the free
market (whether or not public defense can be privatized
is an open issue).
- The government does not redistribute wealth in the form of
welfare programs; nor does it interfere with private
efforts to do so (as our government does).
- Education is private, not mandatory, and unregulated
(except with regard to child safety).
Intellectual property is a contentious issue. I happen to
believe it is an anti-capitalist idea, being a government-
granted monopoly. Many others disagree, thinking it is a
natural extension of tangible property.
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <email@example.com> <http://www.piclab.com/lee/> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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