RE: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 10:59:46 MDT

Daniel Ust wrote:

>That's true, but the nature of the movement itself is not anti-free market.
>That's the problem with people confusing free markets and property with
>hierarchy and conservatism.

Which re-introduces a query I posted yesterday: What meaning do people on
this list give to the term "capitalism." My dictionary defines it as "an
economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital
goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by
state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that
are determined mainly by competition in a free market."

This definition is not very useful without definitions for "private
decision" and "state control." Clearly, this definition assumes that the
practice of capitalism is consistent within the jurisdiction of a political
state, since the definition includes ownership of capital goods by
corporations, which are creations of the state. (in this context, it's
interesting to note that the U.S. Tax Code doesn't require that a Form 1099
be filed for corporate payees)

Although the distinction between state and corporation is clear where the
corporation is very small (in terms of resources controlled) relative to the
state, the distinction becomes much less clear when corporations are as
large or larger than the state under whose laws they're registered.

"Minarchism" might be a more useful term than "capitalism," but I believe
that even minarchists would allow the existence of corporations.

It would probably be useful to examine the various characteristics of
corporations (perpetual existence, limited liability, management separate
from ownership, etc.) to see which of these tend to undermine truly free


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:50 MDT