Capitalists and coercion.

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Wed Oct 04 2000 - 12:13:09 MDT

From: "J. Hughes" <>

>Capitalism as a system has always required coercion, i.e.
>governments, simply to exist, if only to enforce contracts. And as
>attractive as the libertarian fantasy of reducing governance to
>simply the enforcement of contracts might seem, real-existing
>capitalism, dominated by various kinds of capitalists in alliance
>with various kinds of military thugs, fascist thugs, liberal
>democratic polities, and all the other forces of modern politics
>real capitalists have always used the coercive aparatus of the
>State in far more extensive ways than libertarians would like.
>Which is why very few capitalists have ever been consistent

Your mixing economics and politics here. I am a capitalist
(economically) and a social libertarian (politically). Capitalists
can also be oligarchs, which appears to be what you are talking

>Capitalists are by definition interested in making profit, not in
>maximizing the greatest good through libertarian or democratic
>social policy. Different groups of capitalists respond to the
>economic and political terrains they face in different ways.
>Sometimes things are so dire they think their best bets are with
>backing military dictators, religious zealots, and racist
>demoagogues in order to squash trade unions and leftist parties.
>Sometimes they think backing democratic or even populist
>politicians is the best way to stabilize their economies, achieve
>social peace, fund education, health and other social investments
>important for a healthy workforce, etc. But in the end, the
>"bottom line" for people who control finance and industrial
>capital, i.e. the owning classes, is what will make profit, and
>maintain and reproduce their wealth.

Capitalists are by definition those who practice capitalism, i.e
the private or corporate ownership of the means of production and

The politics some use to try to achieve wealth are something
completely different.

>Libertarian policy, such as a laissez-faire attitude towards
>monopolies or dropping prescriptive control of drugs, in many
>cases has been been as violently opposed as social democratic
>policy by real-existing capitalists in real-existing capitalism,
>precisely because it threatens the profit-making of existing
>capitalists. To define slavery and slave camp labor as not really
>capitalist since it involves coercion, therefore, is absurd.
>Coercive labor, which includes killing labor organizers,
>union-busting, and so on, is not libertarian or democratic, but is
>definitely capitalist.

No it most certainly is not. Coercive labor is just that, coercive
labor, it has nothing to do with capitalism.

The fact that some may try to defend what they are doing by calling
it capitalism is simply inaccurate.

I am a capitalist, I am also a Union electrician, incompatible with
your statement above.


Extropy Institute,
Adler Planetarium
Life Extension Foundation,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
Mars Society,
Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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