Advocates of Freed Markets Should Embrace 'Anti-Capitalism'


golefevre's picture

The premise of this speech is interesting and certainly a speech I'd like to hear. However, I finding parsing of language more than just a little annoying, especially in light of how much damage has been done by others redefining conventional definitions. Chartier's simplest definition of capitalism is succinct (if little understood by most) and essentially what makes trade, wealth and true egalitarian prosperity possible for a growing majority of the population. Why confuse capitalism with corporatism?

Little Alex's picture

The question could also be: Why confuse an ethical free market with capitalism. It makes my dick itch when people fixate on semantics in politics, but I try to stick to original meanings as much as possible. The word that always comes to mind as the perfect example is 'liberal'.

'Libertarian' is rooted in egalitarian imperatives, but we work from the prefix, discuss ethics and there's nothing more libertarian that scrutinizing power at all times, so looser usages of 'libertarian' doesn't bother me because libertarians are scrutinizing the ownership of the term.

But 'capitalism' has an extremely distinctive meanings from the roots of the word's creation by Karl Marx. I think it was a mistake for classical liberals to equate laissez-faire philosophy with the corporatism Marx was identifying as capitalism. The Misesean definition is the reactionary one -- isolating the definition of 'socialism' to be Bolshevism and 'capitalism' as the opposite of that -- not what Prof. Chartier is discussing.

golefevre's picture

Now THIS is why I enjoy this site so much. I learn something new every time I visit. I honestly did not realize that Marx was the originator of the word "capitalism." I had a very clear, simple understanding of the word capitalism (one of an accountant, really). But what we find as a core really isn't the true definition of capitalism, is it? Maybe laissez-faire IS the better term. I've invested some time reading various authors in the subject of economics (mainly because the Keynesian models that were crammed down my throat in business school began to be personally rejected a few years ago), but it seems that I really am at a point where I need to read Marx and understand the origin of some these terms better. I've been dismissive of Marx, always deferring to others on the subject of "Das Kapital." This is a good impetus to pick up a copy and try to work through Marx's text.