Re: BOOK: The Mystery of Capital

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 17:45:22 MDT

> |[...] 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 <> <>
"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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