We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Capitalists @ Work says STFU

…to the UK’s anti-capitalist left in a truly splendid rant:

The callous capitalist west is happy to house you if you want to be housed. It will educate for free from 3 to18 years. It will attend to your medical needs, cradle to grave, regardless of what you do to your own body. It agrees to protect you from hostile countries with a military and from hostile fellow citizens with a police force, whether or not you yourself are a criminal. If you catch on fire it will send someone round to put you out. It will have a justice system to ensure you are fairly treated and will provide a lawyer for you if you need one.

The state doesn’t care what religion you are. What you call yourself. What you wear or where you travel. The state will provide infrastructure every citizen may use regardless of how much taxation that individual has contributed to its development. Anyone may use terminal 5 or New Street station or the M25. It will give you money every week and ask only that you sign for it once every month. More money if you’re ill. Or if its cold.
When you’re sixty five or sixty eight it will give you more money if you have never saved or earned any any of your own.

It won’t even ask you what you’re doing with the cash. It will let you spend it on cigarettes, booze, Cheesy Whatsits, gambling or an E Harmony subscription. The state doesn’t care.

It won’t demand you serve in the military or a national service labour scheme. It doesn’t even ask you to give blood or take part in medical experiments. Or sweep up the streets or even just sign an agreement that you promise only to say nice things about the government.

And that’s just a democratic government. Capitalism adds choice. Technology. Medical advances. Communications. Longevity. Energy. Transportation. Travel. Comfort.

The whole of civilisation has been a struggle to secure enough food to eat and enough shelter to survive.

That’s the argument. The last line stands on its own: what the Wolf-Klein-Monbiot corner sees as the wicked selfishness of trade and the terrible vulgarity occaisioned by choice and freedom, are medicine, not sickness. Read the whole thing here. (H-T: Worstall)

7 comments to Capitalists @ Work says STFU

  • Peter Horne

    Problem is the West is not capitalist in any meaningful way (ie free markets and free trade) but a mixture of state socialism and authoritarian corporatism (ie the fascist economic model). It is true to say that the most efficient and wealth creating parts of the economy are the privately owned bits. There are other factors which make the west superior to other parts of the world, not just economic but cultural but if it was truly capitalist it would be incomparably better. Thai’s not going to happen because it would take power out of the hands of the ruling elite and give it to ordinary people.

  • Sam Duncan

    I have to agree with Peter here. Having said that, it is the world they’re protesting against, and it’s the capitalist bits that ensure there’s enough wealth to pay for all the socialism.

    I could go with it if “capitalist west” was in quotes.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    It is, I think, appropriate to tag this with Robert Heinlein’s comment on ‘bad luck':

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

  • veryretired

    The author makes some fun points, and calls the collectivists out for their exaggeration and deception, but makes the all too common error of taking them at their word that they are criticizing capitalism for its failings and harshness.

    The collectivist opposition to capitalism is based on its successes, its advantages, not its failings.

    Oh, they cite this unfeeling aspect here, or that money-grubbing activity there, or some dangerous condition that is common in a certain line of work, but this is all window dressing and misdirection.

    Their opposition is based on their implacable hatred for two very distinct characteristics of capitalism, indeed, the very elements that most distinguish it from collectivist economic and social theories.

    First, capitalism rewards the practical and efficient, and is not overly concerned with the political ideology or emotional desires of some self-appointed elitist.

    Secondly, and even more infuriating than the first, capitalism allows each person to make decisions based on their own evaluation of what is needed, and what works best to satisfy that need.

    As Shannon Love has so often described in his posts at Chicagoboyz, there is no position of power in capitalism for the articulate intellectual whose only accomplishment is to have formulated opinions based on some complex ideology that, by definition, is too complex for the uninitiated to comprehend.

    Since their genius cannot be sold to the unwashed and unenlightened who fail to understand it, it must be imposed. Of course, this imposition is always for everyone’s good, and the elite’s motivations are only compassion and unselfishness.

    If they actually disapproved of scarcity, hunger, poor living conditions, pollution, violence, dangerous working conditions, or oligarchic elitism, etc., etc.,their obvious targets would have been the many failed statist/collectivist regimes which have come and gone, or still exist, across the globe.

    But, obviously, that is not the case. While they pass over the gruesome collectivist monstrosities that pepper the globe, such as North Korea or Zimbabwe or Cuba, their collectivist hearts burn with rage because of some picayune real or imagined lapse on the part of the evil capitalist west.

    Good things achieved don’t matter any more than evil things committed matter—all that matters is ideological and political purity.

    Western collectivist theories are secular heresies of christianity. They are religious doctrines disguised as scientific theories of economics or principles of social
    organization. That is why they are so attracted to an alliance with radical islam.

    Their common denominator is undying hatred of the system which exalts the individual and his works—industrial, technical capitalism.

  • Roue le Jour

    Good points, veryretired. I have argued before there are no socialists, i.e. individuals who will willing share what they have worked for with ungrateful strangers, only people who support socialism in the expectation of being given other people’s stuff.

  • David James Roberts

    Roue le Jour, I have respectfully to disagree with both your points.
    In my view many libertarians are socialists, by your definition, as they are individuals who will willing share what they have worked for with ungrateful strangers, although being human, appreciative strangers are preferred.
    My perception of most socialist voters is that they are unconsciously afraid of being adult and envious of those who are adult. Socialist politicians then pander to these feelings.

  • Paul Marks

    The problem with the defense that Guy cites (not his own – I am not attacking Guy) is that these benefits (payment for not working, free medical care….and so on) are not sustainable.