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

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 08:50:14 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Jerry Mitchell writes
> > "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."
> That definition was supplied by Barbara, Jerry, not me :-)
> > Nature imposes Capitalism, man imposes all other forms.
> Too many libertarians, in my opinion, forget the importance
> of culture. Actually, a hunter-gatherer communism is probably
> more "natural" than capitalism. But even very developed societies,
> such as the Inca, might very well somehow make some form of
> communism work (lots of things are possible when your leader
> really is God).

Hunter-gatherer communism is more natural in groups the size of
hunter-gatherer tribal units. This doesn't supplant capitalism, either,
because even in hunter gatherer groups you have specialization of labor
(shaman, healer, hunter, gatherer, leader, toolmaker, etc) where
individuals trade on a voluntary basis to mutually agreed upon prices
the value of their respective work. Additionally, you have in such
cultures free market trade occuring between hunter gatherer groups of
goods that are plentiful in one locale but rare in another. This basis
of comparative advantage is of critical importance to the continuance of
a hunter gatherer culture.

> We can probably safely state, however, that for human beings
> capitalism is "natural" if
> 1. there is a sufficient tradition of liberty in a culture
> 2. the ruling government or state is not overly powerful
> 3. no existing religion has absolute control, unless it's
> fairly mild and isn't antithetical to profit
> I think that I see why you wish to describe capitalism as
> "natural"

THis is correct, because the above conditions exist when man is 'in a
state of nature'.

> > Capitalism is after all is what happens when one quits
> > trying to impose systems on man.
> While I can't agree with that for the aforesaid reasons, it's
> true that in comparison, systems that arise from the concentration
> of power at a central focus seem artificial in comparison.

Yes, they do.

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