The discussions the last few days around the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd has resulted in some interesting thoughts coming out on all sides. A few weeks ago (months ago?) Mr. Stella claimed that I must know that Capitalism is a failed enterprise because I refused to answer Noam Chomsky’s claim that capitalism would not survive for five minutes without government. A claim that tonight I call nonsense. And I will tell you why, Mr. Stella. It is because in the first place, what Chomsky refers to as capitalism in most of his “intelligent” discussions is actually nothing more than a convenient manipulation of the definition of capitalism in order to fit his argument.
Mr. Chomsky’s entire argument is based on you first accepting his definition of capitalism, his facts around what it is and how it works. Unfortunately, Mr. Chomsky is working from a false premise, probably caused by his hanging around liberal higher learning types for so long that he forgot that you have to start with the truth to end up at the truth. He starts from a false definition and has been getting patted on the back for so long by libtards that he now actually believes his definitions and premises to be true. They are not. But then again how could they be true? He has never stuck to any one definition or belief with any consistency.
There is this little nugget…
Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level — there’s a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward.
Business Today, May 1973
Or these thoughts on Capitalism…
Capitalism is basically a system where everything is for sale, and the more money you have, the more you can get. And, in particular, that’s true of freedom. Freedom is one of the commodities that is for sale, and if you are affluent, you can have a lot of it. It shows up in all sorts of ways. It shows up if you get in trouble with the law, let’s say, or in any aspect of life it shows up. And for that reason it makes a lot of sense, if you accept capitalist system, to try to accumulate property, not just because you want material welfare, but because that guarantees your freedom, it makes it possible for you to amass that commodity.
Interview by David Dobereiner, John Hess, Doug Richardson & Tom Woodhull, January 1974
Or is it that Capitalism doesn’t exist at all?
I should say that when people talk about capitalism it’s a bit of a joke. There’s no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat. Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That’s right up to the present.
“Sovereignty and World Order” at Kansas State University, September 20, 1999
Or capitalism used to exist but doesn’t any longer, which certainly flies in the face of the capitalism wouldn’t let 5 minutes without government…
The “corporatization of America” during the past century has been an attack on democracy—and on markets, part of the shift from something resembling “capitalism” to the highly administered markets of the modern state/corporate era. A current variant is called “minimizing the state,” that is, transferring decision-making power from the public arena to somewhere else: “to the people” in the rhetoric of power; to private tyrannies, in the real world.
Profit Over People (1999)
As you can see, Noam Chomsky is simply all over the place when it comes to defining capitalism or even discussing the concept of capitalism. And that is because he practices what many intelligent manipulation professionals are so adept at: Appearing to never be wrong because for each premise they espouse, they first alter and set forth precise definitions and parameters that will specifically support whatever point they will make that day. As a result, they seem extremely intelligent so long as you don’t follow them enough to notice how often their definitions and parameters change as needed. What he lacks is consistency, because consistency in his definitions would paint him into a corner that he can’t avoid contradictions in.
So there is my answer on Chomsky, Charlie. I see him as little more than a very intelligent snake oil salesman. He is so intelligent that people don’t really challenge him to his face for fear of being embarrassed. Yet the more you read of him or listen to him, if you are doing so with rational skepticism, the more you see the contradictions and false assumptions. In his world, A+B+C= Pasta. And he will always be right so long as no one challenges his definitions of what A, B, and C are.
Now on to the claim that Capitalism wouldn’t last 5 minutes without government.
Do you really not see the ridiculousness of this claim? What is the “real” definition of capitalism? I will leave it to Webster’s:
an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market
What exactly does government have to do with that? None of that economic system defined above requires government to survive. In fact, as far as capitalism goes, government doesn’t even need to exist. All that needs to happen for capitalism to survive is for a free market to allow things to happen without government interference. Now, whether you believe that is a good idea or a bad idea is a whole different story. You can believe that capitalism as defined above is a horrible idea. But that wasn’t the question. The question was how do I answer Chomsky’s claim. And I answer it by saying that he is dead wrong. In fact he couldn’t be further from the truth if he tried. The reality is this:
The length of time that capitalism will exist is directly proportionate to the amount of interference that government will put in its way under the guise of “controlling outcomes.” The claim that capitalism cannot exist without government is utter nonsense. The reality is that capitalism cannot exist BECAUSE of government.
Capitalism may very well be dying. If it is, the reason will ultimately be because government continued to attempt to control it. It will be because people were manipulated by people like Chomsky into believing that socialism should replace capitalism as a reigning ideology (in other words believing that it would be better to have ten ultra powerful super rich folks and everyone else equally poor than to have thousands of super rich folks and “too much” disparity among the rest).
And that, my friend, is what I say to Chomsky’s nonsense. In Part II, I will deal with Capitalism on a broader scale, devoid of Chomsky’s nonsense…