Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is True Capitalism a Form of Anarchy?

Is this video too extreme or right on the money? What say you?


  1. Anarchy as it's currently portrayed in the media and the general mindset gets a bad rap. It's not chaos and the absence of order and law. It's merely the absence of a central state. I guess I'm a closet anarchist.

  2. By anarchy in this video I think they mean Adam Smith's invisible hand rather than the very visible hand of government trying to manipulate outcomes.

  3. Too extreme in my view. We need government. Whenever you get more people you need more government. A law has to be passed otherwise people will spit on the sidewalk.
    Economics has shown that there are massive externalities. There are principle/agent problems in our corporate structure. The video doesn't deal with these issues.
    Bill Gates would control the internet except for government intervention.
    At least that's my take. It's great to imagine that pure capitalism would lead to the end of wars but I don't think so.
    Maybe Lennon should have wrote "Give Capitalism a Chance".
    I hope this doesn't kick me out of the free market club.

  4. I'll be happy to debate you on whether Microsoft would have controlled the Internet or not. From what I've seen they've been rather inept at exploiting the internet to their advantage, and their browser is just awful. A good chunk of the hosting side of the Internet runs on Linux today. I don't have a Microsoft product in my house and I have more software choices than my friends who run Microsoft.

    On the other hand, I do agree there needs to be basic laws and rules that govern how business is transacted between various parties so that we all play by the same rules and both buyer and seller know what to expect. However, we've gone way beyond that with government manipulation of entire industries, crony capitalism, etc. which in my opinion crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed.

  5. I agree we've gone way to far. No argument there. But to just let the Enrons, AIGs, and even mortgage bankers go wild in the name of capitalism is going in the wrong direction also I believe.
    I'm afraid of what we would have ended up with if Microsoft could have controlled browsers through their DOS.

  6. Anarchy is a word that is often misused. If by capitalism we mean free and voluntary exchange between people, then yes, it is anarchistic in the sense that it does not require government to function. So, pure capitalism = anarchy. Is it stable without some arbitrer of force though? Who knows?

    Government is really about monopolizing power. The benefits of that are that you get a common set of laws that apply across a wide span of land, and I think the drawbacks are pretty obvious as well. I don't think we can see a pure absence of government simply because power doesn't work that way... at least, it hasn't worked that way for the past few thousands of years. In the future, as technology allows power to be more and more decentralized, maybe we'll see a new paradigm emerge, where every individual is sovereign. That would be "anarchy" in one sense, but it wouldn't be lawlessness and disorder.

  7. Just to elaborate further, the laws of human exchange and supply of demand exist in anarchy and always hold, with or without government. Pure capitalism can exist in anarchy. It is debatable whether this system is more stable than the current way which is capitalism + various power-backed monopolies and institutions. However, I think the trend due to technology is heading toward a world that looks more and more like pure capitalism/pure free market, and IMO, that is a good thing.