Reply to YouTube comment about Capitalism

yet pure capitalism means unsafe work conditions, low wages, and no workers rights because the government plays no role in regulating the system As they choose, this only changed when the government made laws protecting workers, broke up monopolies that controlled entire industries, and labor unions became common. The idea that capitalism is somehow a perfect system that doesn’t need improving is dangerous. Look at the third world, large corporations pollute the environment at will to increase profits and the government’s do nothing to protect the health, safety or even lives of its citizens. That’s why a system like in Europe, or Canada is best, balancing a capitalist system with social programs to help those the system would otherwise abuse, and protecting workers so everyone has the opportunity to succeed, because in a capitalist system most people need to end up at the bottom of the totem pole, someone has to do the hard dirty work in a society, and they should always at least be able to live a decent life.

Dylan Haugen

I’m not defending anarcho-Capitalism. Of course there needs to be a state guaranteeing the individual rights and „putting the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control“ like Ayn Rand put it.

The problem with terms like „decent“ is though that it’s highly subjective. In Germany it isn’t considered a decent living standard to live in a trailer park and you are not allowed to have it as your official address – even if you wish to. I, as a trainee, would love to have my own little trailer and only have to pay 100-150€ a month for a small spot to place it. But no: other people have decided that it’s „not decent enough“ for me to live that way. Instead, I have to pay 470€ for an Appartement and beg the state for money to even be able to pay for it. Money that it has stolen me in the first place. Money that I’m not getting back because the social security office and the employment office both told I’m not entitled to it. And then I read about some guy with 13 kids and 3 wifes living completely off of tax money. Very decent, right? That’s what happens when the state plays the “good Samaritan”, which is not his job.

Regarding Pollution: I once saw a documentary about jeans production in China. There was a father and his son, who lived next to a river near a jeans factory. They lived there for years before the factory started dumping all their toxic waste in it, so they were suddenly robbed of their livelihood (the fish they were selling on the market were dead). Such reports are often used to make us feel bad for our consumption. Yet, in reality, it only shows what happens in a collectivist system like China, where individual rights are either not sufficiently formulated or simply ignored because the collective matters more than the individual. The Chinese government, as far as I can tell, doesn’t give a shit about those people. Quite the opposite: They arrest reporters, when they point out these or similar conditions in factories. They sacrifice these two men for “the common good“. In western countries the two men could sue the hell out of the company.

It is, by the way, a common misconception that capitalism allegedly promises everyone to get rich or to become anything one wants. It promises only that neither the state nor other people will hinder you by force in trying. Also: “because in a capitalist system most people need to end up at the bottom of the totem pole“. That’s wrong. History has shown that this is total nonsense. Millions of people were lifted out of poverty, since China opened their markets. In my country, the ownership of a television is considered a subsistence*. A device that only wealthy people could afford half a century ago. People are so spoiled today that they won’t see how incredibly high the living standards for poor people have risen since the industrialisation.

“someone has to do the hard dirty work in a society”

  1. What is „dirty work“? Who decides what this is? One mans „dirty work“ is an other mans dream job.
  2. Nobody has to do anything. In a free society, nobody is forced to take any job.

“Productive work” does not mean the unfocused performance of the motions of some job. It means the consciously chosen pursuit of a productive career, in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability. It is not the degree of a man’s ability nor the scale of his work that is ethically relevant here, but the fullest and most purposeful use of his mind.

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

*At least that’s what I thought. When I googled it, I found out that there was only a woman filing a lawsuit for money to get a TV, but it was dismissed by the court. So a TV is not considered a substinence in germany. Unfortunately many other things, too many things, are.

Mises: The Essence of Economic activity

“All human action, so far as it is rational, appears as the exchange of one condition for another. Men apply economic goods and personal time and labour in the direction which, under the given circumstances, promises the highest degree of satisfaction, and they forego the satisfaction of lesser needs so as to satisfy the more urgent needs. This is the essence of economic activity — the carrying out of acts of exchange.”

Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

“Alles menschliche Handeln erscheint, sofern es rational ist, als ein Vertauschen eines Zustandes mit einem anderen. Die zur Verfügung stehenden Gegenstände des Handelns – die wirtschaftlichen Güter und die eigene Arbeit und Zeit – werden in die Verwendung gebracht, die den höchsten unter den gegebenen Verhältnissen erreichbaren Grad von Wohlfahrt verbürgt. Auf die Befriedigung weniger dringender Bedürfnisse wird verzichtet, um dringendere zu befriedigen. Das ist das Um und Auf der Wirtschaft. Sie ist die Durchführung von Tauschoperationen.”

Ludwig von Mises, Die Gemeinwirtschaft – Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus (1922)

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Mises: The welfare state and socialisms goals

“No longer should individuals by their buying or abstention from buying determine what is to be produced and in what quantity and quality. Henceforth the government’s unique plan alone should settle all these matters. ‘Paternal’ care of the ‘Welfare State’ will reduce all people to the status of bonded workers bound to comply, without asking questions, with the orders issued by the planning authority.”

“To abolish private property in the means of production, to make the means of production the property of the community, that is the whole aim of Socialism.”

Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

“Nicht mehr sollte der Einzelne durch seinen Kauf oder Kaufverzicht bestimmen, was in welcher Menge und Qualität produziert werden soll. Fortan sollte der einzigartige Plan der Regierung alle diese Angelegenheiten regeln. Die “väterliche” Betreuung des “Wohlfahrtsstaates” reduziert alle Menschen auf den Status eines Schuldners, der verpflichtet ist, die von der Planungsbehörde erteilten Anordnungen zu befolgen, ohne Fragen zu stellen.”

“Das Privateigentum an den Produktionsmitteln abzuschaffen, die Produktionsmittel zum Eigentum der Gemeinschaft machen, das ist das ganze Ziel des Sozialismus.”

Ludwig von Mises, Die Gemeinwirtschaft – Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus (1922)

That is the ultimate consequence of socialism. Whether you like it or not. Therefore, it can not work and will never work, because people have free willand reason. And they have to use them to sustain their lifes. A system that reduces people to drones is EVIL, out of touch with reality and can not work – no matter how much the oh-so-social left writhes. It is stupid and paradoxical to even call this system “socialism” because it is the exact opposite of social.
No offense, but people who defend something like that either have no idea, are cowards or just hungry for power.

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Nathaniel Branden: Why Capitalism works

“Der große Verdienst des Kapitalismus liegt darin, dass er die Erfordernisse des menschlichen Überlebens und die Notwendigkeit von Wachstum erfüllt. Dadurch, dass er dem Menschen die Freiheit lässt, zu denken, zu handeln, zu produzieren und das Neue und Unversuchte zu versuchen, funktionieren seine Prinzipien in einer Weise, die Einsatz belohnt und Passivität bestraft.”

– Nathaniel Branden, Die Tugend des Egoismus

“The great merit of capitalism is its unique appropriateness to the requirements of human survival and to man’s need to grow. Leaving men free to think, to act, to produce, to attempt the untried and the new, its principles operate in a way that rewards effort and achievement, and penalizes passivity.”

– Nathaniel Branden, The Virtue of Selfishness

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Ayn Rand about Americas success

“America’s abundance was not created by public sacrifices to “the common good,” but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance—and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way. Do not, however, make the error of reversing cause and effect: the good of the country was made possible precisely by the fact that it was not forced on anyone as a moral goal or duty; it was merely an effect; the cause was a man’s right to pursue his own good. It is this right—not its consequences—that represents the moral justification of capitalism.

– Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

“Amerikas Überfluss wurde nicht durch öffentliche Opfer für das “Gemeinwohl” geschaffen, sondern durch das produktive Genie freier Männer, die ihre eigenen persönlichen Interessen verfolgten und ihr eigenes privates Vermögen machten. Sie zahlten nicht den Preis für die Industrialisierung Amerikas. Sie gaben den Menschen bessere Jobs, höhere Löhne und billigere Waren mit jeder neuen Maschine, die sie erfanden, mit jeder wissenschaftlichen Entdeckung oder technischem Fortschritt – und so bewegte sich das ganze Land vorwärts und profitierte, statt zu leiden, jeden Schritt des Weges. Machen Sie jedoch nicht den Fehler, Ursache und Wirkung umzukehren: das Wohl des Landes, wurde exakt durch die Tatsache möglich, dass es niemandem als moralisches Ziel oder Pflicht aufgezwungen wurde; es war nur eine Wirkung; die Ursache war das Recht eines Menschen, sein eigenes Wohl zu verfolgen. Dieses Recht, nicht seine Konsequenzen, repräsentiert die moralische Rechtfertigung des Kapitalismus.

– Ayn Rand, Kapitalismus: Das unbekannte Ideal

“In Amerika wurden keine menschlichen Anstrengungen und keine materiellen Ressourcen für öffentliche Denkmäler und öffentliche Projekte enteignet. Sie wurden für den Fortschritt des privaten, persönlichen, individuellen Wohlergehens individueller Bürger ausgegeben. Amerikas Größe liegt in der Tatsache, dass seine wirklichen Monumente nicht öffentlich sind. Die Skyline von New York ist ein Denkmal von solcher Größe, dass die Pyramiden oder die Paläste sie nie erreichen oder übertreffen können. Doch Amerikas Wolkenkratzer wurden weder durch öffentliche Mittel noch für öffentliche Zwecke erbaut: Sie wurden erbaut durch die Energie, die Initiative und den Wohlstand von privaten Individuen für persönlichen Profit. Und anstatt das Volk zu verarmen, haben diese Wolkenkratzer, während sie selbst höher und höher wuchsen, den Lebensstandard gehoben – den der Einwohner der Slums mit eingeschlossen, die im Vergleich zum Leben eines ägyptischen Sklaven oder eines modernen sowjetischen Arbeiters ein luxuriöses Leben führen. Das ist der Unterschied zwischen Kapitalismus und Sozialismus – sowohl in der Theorie als auch in der Praxis.”

– Ayn Rand, Die Tugend des Egoismus

“In America, human effort and material resources were not expropriated for public monuments and public projects, but were spent on the progress of the private, personal, individual well-being of individual citizens. America’s greatness lies in the fact that her actual monuments are not public. The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendor that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach. But America’s skyscrapers were not built by public funds nor for a public purpose: they were built by the energy, initiative and wealth of private individuals for personal profit. And, instead of impoverishing the people, these skyscrapers, as they rose higher and higher, kept raising the people’s standard of living—including the inhabitants of the slums, who lead a life of luxury compared to the life of an ancient Egyptian slave or of a modern Soviet Socialist worker. Such is the difference—both in theory and practice—between capitalism and socialism.”

– Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

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Mises: Free Markets and Democracy

“Die freie Marktwirtschaft ist eine ökonomische Demokratie, in der jeder Penny das Recht gibt zu wählen.”

“Wenn wir eine kapitalistische Gesellschaft als Konsumendemokratie bezeichnen, meinen wir, dass die Verfügungsmacht über die Produktionsmittel, die den Unternehmern und Kapitalisten gehören, nur durch die täglich auf dem Markt gehaltene Abstimmung der Verbraucher erworben werden kann.”

“The free market economy is an economic democracy in which every penny gives the right to vote.”

When we call a capitalist society a consumers’ democracy we mean that the power to dispose of the means of production, which belongs to the entrepreneurs and capitalists, can only be acquired by means of the consumers’ ballot, held daily in the market-place.”

Ludwig von Mises, Die Gemeinwirtschaft – Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus (1922)  Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

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