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Anti-PC League

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Capitalism Is Not An "Ism"

I just finished reading Thomas Sowell's book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy . Excellent book with many thought-provoking points. Expect to hear more from it in the future. One section I got a kick out of was his rebuttal to the re-definition of the word "capitalism" made by those who wish to gloss-over what it is and assign their own "anointed" view:


Since capitalism was named by its enemies, it is perhaps not suprising that the name is completely misleading. Despite the name, capitalism is not an "ism." It is not a philosphy but an economy. Ultimately it is nothing more and nothing less than an economy not run by political authorities. there is no capitalist institutions; any number of institutional ways of carrying out economic activities may flourish under "capitalism"-that is, the absence of control from above. You may get good from a restaurant, or by buying it from the supermarket and cooking it yourself, or by growing the food on your own land and processing it all the way through to the dinner table. Each of these is as much "capitalism" as the others. at any given time, caravans, supermarkets, or computerized shopping methods may be used, but none of these is anything more than a modality of the moment. the do not define capitalism but are simply one ofthe innumerable ways of doing things when choices are unconstrained by authorities.

Many have argued that capitalism does not offer a satisfactory moral message. But that is like saying that calculus does not contain carbohydrates, amino acids, or other essential nutrients. Everything fails by irrelevant standards. Yet no one regards this as making calculus invalid or illigitimate. Once again, the selective application of arbitrary standards is invoked only when it promotes the vision of the anointed.
Good stuff to keep in mind the next time some dupe in a Che t-shirt tells you about how "oppressive" capitalism is.