Democracy Against Capitalism: Markets

While the development of capitalism certainly presupposes the existence of markets and trade, there is no warrant for assuming that markets and trade, which have existed throughout recorded history, are inherently, or even tendentially, capitalist. Democracy Against Capitalism, Kindle Loc. 2355

Human beings have always enjoyed markets and trade. In The Histories by Herodotus, written in the Fifth Century BCE, there are many mentions of markets and trade. In this excerpt, he describes a huge excavation project, and adds this:

Now there is a meadow there, in which there was made for them a market and a place for buying and selling; and great quantities of corn came for them regularly from Asia, ready ground. Book VII § 23.

There certainly wasn’t any such thing as capitalism 2500 years ago, but people still bought and sold in markets and carried goods to markets over remarkable distances. Markets and trade are found in all societies as far back as we can see. In a society with complex division of labor, they seem essential as a mechanism for distribution of production. Wood takes up the question of the role of markets in capitalist societies in several places. For example:

It is not capitalism or the market as an ‘option’ or opportunity that needs to be explained, but the emergence of capitalism and the capitalist market as an imperative. Kindle Loc. 2360

One important aspects of the transformation of feudalism into capitalism in England was the enclosure of lands. That concentrated land ownership in the hands of the aristocrats and landed gentry, a very small group. Some small farmers were able to participate in the market for land leases, giving them access to the means of production and maintaining and reproducing themselves. But the only way for them to raise cash to pay their rient was to sell their produce in the market. The small group that controlled most of the land used markets to get cash as well, having no need for all they produced and desiring cash returns. Instead of market as optional means of distribution, markets became imperative.

Agricultural workers with no access to the market for leases were forced to sell their labor to those with access, thus becoming participants in a labor market, and to use their wages to buy the food and other goods they produced. This is the early stage of capitalism, when its drives become clearer and more demanding. Small leaseholders can only raise the cash they need to pay rent by selling their produce. Their profits increase if they can extract more labor from the workers or pay them less. They are competing with other small leaseholders, so they benefit by crushing their competition or by crushing their workers. These are the seeds of the transformation identified by Wood.

Wood is clear that there is nothing inherently problematic with markets as means of distribution. The problem is the ideology and use of markets in capitalist systems, which Wood despises. First, she rejects the theory that markets are self-regulating,

… the guarantor of a ‘rational’ economy. I shall not explicate that distinction here, except to say that the ‘rational’ economy guaranteed by market disciplines, together with the price mechanism on which they depend, is based on one irreducible requirement, the commodification of labour power and its subjection to the same imperatives of competition that determine the movements of other economic ‘factors’. Kindle Loc. 5679,

This is the same idea we see in Polanyi’s The Great Transformation. He describes labor as a fictitious commodity, as I discuss here. Like most European intellectuals, Polanyi was well-versed in Marxist thought, but there is little direct evidence of that in his book, a point Wood makes. Kindle Loc. 3074. It’s another illustration of the way Marx’ historical materialism has influenced intellectuals. It’s the method that’s important, but Marx’ conclusions and even his history and sociology are open to argument and correction. I do think Wood herself is less open to questioning and correcting what she finds in the Marx canon; I can’t find much where she engages with her contemporaries outside her fellow Marxists. I’d welcome a correction on this.

Criticism of the notion of a self-regulating market has recently risen to a level that makes it almost impossible to take it seriously. After the steady string of economic crashes brought on by deregulation, only the most rigid among us cling to that idea. But it’s useful to remember that Wood wrote this in the early 1990s.

Second, Wood says that capitalists use markets to further the ends of capitalism instead of to meet the needs of human beings. The market is a tool to establish dominance and control over producers. Wood puts it this way:

I have suggested throughout this book that the capitalist market is a political as well as an economic space, a terrain not simply of freedom and choice but of domination and coercion. Kindle Loc. 5997.

Indeed, throughout the book Wood argues that the market is an imperative, not a choice in a capitalist society. Few of us have the ability to produce to meet our needs. If we want to eat, we are forced to sell our labor. Even those who can produce goods and services must, as the tenant farmers Wood describes, sell their goods and services to get cash for other needs. Capitalists produce those things they think they can sell without little regard to the long-term consequences, and without any input from interests affected by such production. Wood quotes Marx from Das Kapital:

The real barrier of capitalist production is capital itself. It is that capital and its self-expansion appear as the starting and the closing point, the motive and the purpose of production; that production is only production for capital and not vice versa, the means of production are not mere means for a constant expansion of the living process of the society of producers. Kindle Loc. 2647

In other words, the point of capitalism is to provide returns to capital. The point isn’t to make life easier or better for the vast majority of workers and citizens. In the exact same way, the point of markets is to provide a return to capital, not to provide the best allocation of resources or to provide the lowest price for goods and services. We see this more clearly as neoliberalism tightens its grip on the economy. Big Pharma is a good example.

These two criticisms are closely connected to the division of the political sphere from the economic sphere. We can think of the “market” as a proxy for the economic sphere, which in capitalist systems is separated from the political sphere. Wood puts it this way:

… the so-called economy has acquired a life of its own, completely outside the ambit of citizenship, political freedom, or democratic accountability. Kindle Loc. 4579.

The separation of the political and economic spheres has given private interests the dominant position in the lives of workers. They control the hours worked, the nature of the work, the kinds of things that are produced. This control arises through the property relations established and enforced by the state. With the sanction of the state, these private interests have the power to decide people’s income and whether they are allowed to earn an income at all. We even see private interests setting limits on the speech and assembly rights of individuals. Private interests have the power to limit health care benefits, vacations, and childbirth leave, just to name a few. Legislation to assert the interests of workers is routinely defeated, and when not defeated, is always watered down, in the name of efficiency, or of profit, or of the absolute rights of people/corporate entities to the property they control.

I don’t see any argument here that could not be made by a neutral observer of modern neoliberal capitalism.

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40 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good illustration of why the academy has withdrawn sociology and geography from study by the general student population and relegated it to study by the elite.  They focus too much on agency: how, for whom, and at whose cost people, physical goods and power are distributed.  Their study would deprive economics of its mythic power – and its mythic isolation from politics and social choice.

    “Markets” have moved from being a location at or a process through which goods are distributed.  They have become an end in themselves, a mythically self-correcting godhead best left untouched by man and, more importantly, by government, even as government is essential to their creation and functioning.

    That economic mythology leaves markets to their strongest players.  They self-correct only in that they reinforce the power of those few players, leading ultimately to monopoly or oligopoly.

    The idea that competition adequately corrects market excesses is fiction, most recently illustrated by the financial crash in 2007-08, where many of the worst players were not only shielded by government from the market’s discipline, but rewarded for their destructive risk taking.  The mythology also ignores the costs of allowing economic behemoths to careen around the world, banging into so many delicate lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems.

    • Ed Walker says:

      I’ve been wondering how much of neoliberal ideology is the result of seeing economic systems as relatively static,  in the sense that the broad outlines are not affected by the regular perturbations of markets. Because of this, people don’t see that a whole lot of that small thing might have bad outcomes.

      As an example, look at AirBnB. For years we traveled in Europe renting apartments first through catalogs we got in the mail, then online through sites like VRBO. There weren’t that many available, and most were owned by people who planned to move there. Then along came AirBnB, and suddenly the number of apartments was increased to the point that it affected the local people. Owners could make more money renting a couple of times a month than they could on long-term rentals. Now the entire system is under attack, including the apartments we liked, and it’s really hard to be sure of what your’e getting even if you can find something. It’s easy to identify other instances like this, for example my discussion of Krugman’s view of NAFTA as not really likely to have a significant impact.

      Maybe sort of like chaos theory, where things change gradually and then instantly fall apart as a tipping point is reached.

      The elites are pushing markets in the same way. That can’t be good.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    AirBnB is a good example. Its business model is as a free-rider, avoiding the costs of maintaining the market in short-term rental housing while reaping a disproportionate portion of the reward. A rentier’s dream and a common model that pushes its costs onto others, which means that part of the profits are due to private as well as public subsidy.

    • NJrun says:

      Hedges once was eloquent, or so I thought upon reading his old essays on war, but he has completely been off the deep end for a long time. He’s wrong about the coming collapse, but anyone can forecast. Where he is really off is in his description of the present, this dystopia he describes. Fact is, the economy isn’t as awful as he describes, crime is at long-term lows, politicians cheat, yeah there are problems but on the whole there are far fewer than there were in previous generations.

      Like the values people who think America was so much more moral in the past, leftist economic thinking overstates how prosperous people were in the past.

      And he is the most infuriating of pontificators, an angry leftist who saves his most extreme ire for those politicians who are closest to him on the ideological spectrum.

    • jonf says:

      He has a rather bleak outlook on the economy and our future. It is a little much; however, I do tend to agree  though that we could well be headed to another financial collapse as in 2008 as debt continues to increase. It is significantly greater than it was ten years ago. One sector we all may have heard about is the fracking industry. It appears they cannot break into positive cash flow and just continue borrowing.  And we applaud it since we are now an oil exporting nation – though it could be short lived. The stock market, labor markets and the economy are riding the wave of the tax cuts, both corporate and individual.  But that corporate debt is a very dark cloud, and student debt is also a crushing burden on many young people.

  3. Trip says:

    Please let me know when it’s appropriate to make critical comments about the speeches, the call to end incivility, the hailing of bi-partisanship and the messianic approach to McCain at his funeral. It ties into all of this.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      From the Chris Hedges’s article you cited.  He is depressingly accurate in his diagnosis – and his prognosis.  Here he skewers the press over its role in the era of Trump:

      The press is one of the principal pillars of Trump’s despotism. It chatters endlessly like 18th-century courtiers at the court of Versailles about the foibles of the monarch while the peasants lack bread. It drones on and on and on about empty topics such as Russian meddling and a payoff to a porn actress that have nothing to do with the daily hell that, for many, defines life in America. It refuses to critique or investigate the abuses by corporate power, which has destroyed our democracy and economy and orchestrated the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history. The corporate press is a decayed relic that, in exchange for money and access, committed cultural suicide. And when Trump attacks it over “fake news,” he expresses, once again, the deep hatred of all those the press ignores. The press worships the idol of Mammon as slavishly as Trump does. It loves the reality-show presidency. The press, especially the cable news shows, keeps the lights on and the cameras rolling so viewers will be glued to a 21st-century version of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” It is good for ratings. It is good for profits. But it accelerates the decline.

      He skewers the establishment end of the Democratic Party just as ably, noting how, “It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country.”

      He notes how ably Trump taps into and skillfully manipulates the angst created by both parties ignoring the needs of their constituents in order to pander to their corporate donors.

      He concludes that Trump is emblematic of both parties’ neglect of the people of America in pursuit of their own personal hierarchical power.  The Age of Trump is not an aberration, it is where all this has been headed for over two decades.  Altering course will require taking it to the streets, as the nation’s teachers started to do this Spring.

      • jonf says:

        Having voted for a democrat my entire life, it is sad to see the party abandon the progressive origins starting with FDR and LBJ. I sometime find myself thinking the only way back is another recession to wake everyone up. That young lady in the Bronx is something of an inspiration to me. Alexandria has not given up.

  4. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    One of my favorite quotes: “There are no markets… only interventions.” –Chris Powell, GATA President
    Maybe the most brazen admission of the Western central bank scheme to suppress the gold price was made by the head of the monetary and economic department of the Bank for International Settlements, William S. White, in a speech to a BIS conference in Basel, Switzerland, in June 2005.
    There are five main purposes of central bank cooperation, White announced, and one of them is “the provision of international credits and joint efforts to influence asset prices (especially gold and foreign exchange) in circumstances where this might be thought useful.”

  5. Kordo says:

    Marcy, I hope you will forgive me, but I have been broadwaving your work relentlessly on Facebook (I know it’s the Devil, but it has a large audience). If any bobos wander in here, I’m likely to blame.

    No pertinent comment here (this post was a revelation for me, I’ll be reading Wood as soon as I can get to the library), just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy your work. You have a gift for winnowing out the bullshit and explaining complex legal matters in a way us non-lawyers can understand. I will stop gushing now…

    • Ed Walker says:

      I don’t ever mind being confused with Marcy, but I wrote this post and the preceding discussions of Democracy Against Capitalism which you can find by clicking on my name at the top of the post and scrolling down past the inordinately long bio. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have. I read a little Marx in college, but I hadn’t read contemporary Marxists until I found this book in a penny sale at Verso online, so this is a revelation to me also.

  6. Trip says:

    Tried to reply to you @earl, but get page not found. Maybe another time.
    Salon has some great points on civility:

    There is more at issue in the discourse of “incivility” than ideological obfuscation and a flight from social responsibility on the part of the dominant classes. There is the reality of Trump’s language of violence and hate, which labelling (sic) “uncivilized” will only serve to reproduce existing modes of domination and concentrated relations of power. There is also the corollary of minimizing Trump’s behavior as merely “uncivil”: When his opponents engage him using argument, evidence and informed judgment – when they hold power accountable or display a strong response to injustice – their arguments can similarly be dismissed as a species of bad manners, rude behavior or even the effect of self-preening, liberal lifestyle choices associated with middle-class cultural capital. In this discourse, matters of power, class conflict, racism and state-sponsored violence against immigrants, Muslims and minorities of color simply disappear. If Trump’s bitter railing against elites is mere “rudeness,” then on what grounds can legitimate anger against oppression be expressed and expect to be taken seriously?
    Removed from the injuries of class, racism and sexism, among other issues, the discourse of incivility reduces politics to the realm of the personal and affective, while canceling out broader political issues such as the underlying conditions that might produce anger, or the dire effects of misguided resentment, or a passion grounded in the capacity to reason. Trump is reduced in this case to a rude clown rather than a dangerous authoritarian who now happens to be in control of the most powerful nation on the planet.
    https://www.salon.com/2018/09/01/are-the-politics-of-incivility-paving-the-road-to-an-american-fascism-part-1-of-2/

    And when we examine the bipartisanship, especially in recent history, it tends to be where both sides agree upon give-aways and goodies for the upper echelon and corporations, bent toward the right. Trump is a horror show, no question about it. But he isn’t alone, it is the entire GOP, with enablers like Schumer and Cuomo, to name a couple. Schumer’s acceptance of Kavanaugh and Cuomo who is happy keeping Trump and Pecker’s money.

    • Trip says:

      This got left off, I guess too long:
      On McCain: Condolences to his loved ones: Loss and grief is a bitch. If you met McCain in a bar, or you were part of government, or the military, I’m sure he was a nice guy. I don’t know if I could have toughed out the POW conditions and torture that McCain endured. For that he deserves respect, because I think he believed in the military actions, even though it was a shitty war that (Kissinger) stretched out for far too long (to get Nixon reelected), massacring scores of civilians in Vietnam. He was, no doubt, a better person than Trump. He had some core principles, even if I disagree. But was he really good for most Americans? I mean, what was the most significant legislature that he sponsored for the good of all? Perhaps I am simply ignorant. But, from what I’ve seen, he spent most of his service to the country in government working for the 1%. Not much different than any other GOP member. He voted along with Trump at about 90% as well, even though he could not contain his contempt for the man.

      We’ve reached this point in time where surface is all that seems to matter. Both Bush and Kissinger at the funeral (treated by the “left” media with utmost respect)? But hey, they didn’t call anyone a dog, even though they were both technically war criminals. Is that the standard of quality of life that US citizens deserve above all else?

      And on the mavericky nature, a reminder of how little he was an outlier:

      Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., praised federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh after his nomination Monday evening to the Supreme Court as someone with “impeccable credentials” and who is a “fair, mainstream judge.”
      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/john-mccain-praises-supreme-court-nominee-brett-kavanaugh

      Anyone calling Kavanaugh “mainstream” is wholly disingenuous. Kavanaugh will do damage to MANY Americans, likely most of them in collaboration with Gorsuch.

      But creating or producing legends and changing the subject is a nifty media magic trick.

      Thank you for the post, Ed. They always get me thinking.

      • bmaz says:

        I’ve met McCain in numerous places, including several bars. He is everything bad politically and temperamentally that people claim. He is also the gregarious, engaging and patriotic person people claim. He had multitudes. If you want background, search for the tag John McCain on this blog and search the 2007-2009 period. You will find an abundance of material from me.

        But you are wrong as to Kavanaugh, he is extremely GOP mainstream right now and they have the power. Elections have consequences. Maybe next one people will get their heads out of their asses and understand how the revanchists are winning.

        • Trip says:

          Interesting and still not resolved:
          Timothy Noah‏Verified account @TimothyNoah1
          On eve of Kavanaugh hearings we still don’t know how-after his name appeared on a list of Trump Supreme Court possibles-he abruptly paid off longstanding debt possibly exceeding 200k. Accepting no-strings cash got Fortas kicked off high court in 1969.
          https://twitter.com/TimothyNoah1/status/1036342108083421184

          If Kavanaugh is “mainstream” Republican, then McCain was no maverick and no different than anyone else (GOP) in power.

          • bmaz says:

            There is no “Maverick” McCain, and there never was. That was an invention by Mark Salter and John Weaver. Seriously, before you go too much further, there is a long history right here on this very blog. We have been around a while you know.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        i think i mentioned elsewhere that Kavanaugh’s views are extreme and, creating a conservative majority, they would do great damage to the United States.

        But I agree with bmaz: Kavanaugh’s views are entirely mainstream GOP right now, as is Donald Trump, which the GOP are backing to the hilt.  His decisions would further entrench white male supremacy and corporate influence over government, the economy, and the academy.

        To borrow a line from the Good Shepherd, Kavanaugh and his brethren think they own the place.  The rest of us are just visiting.  Kavanaugh himself has been treated as a crown prince his whole life, which means it’s time for a little prince and the pauper.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I get tired of the “he’s a rude clown, not a dangerous authoritarian” schtick.

      Sure, Trump is crude, rude, a boor, incapable of disinterested or generous thought, even in passing.  He is a clown, but a harsh, dangerous, unrestrained authoritarian one just the same.  He attracts around him a lot of people just like he is.  His cabinet, as bad as its members are, is their politce public face.

  7. Rusharuse says:

    Good luck Chuck . .

    ChuckGrassley
    @ChuckGrassley
    @POTUS
    &@FLOTUS My prayer is that our President can be as disciplined in his discourse and speeches like last two wks b4 his election/Then we will be successful in next two months like he was successful
    5:27 AM · Sep 3, 2018

  8. Kordo says:

    Ed, I feel like a giant ass right now. My apologies, i should pay closer attention to the text, and the author. In my defense, i do a lot of drugs, and consume a frankly unhealthy amount of alcohol. This sometimes leads to lapses of attention, and uncomfortable conversations with law enforcement personnel. From now on I will be more careful before I hit Post. The gist of the comment is still valid, however: I really like your work.

  9. Watson says:

    There’s an old argument about whether socialism is unworkable because central planners are unable to replicate the countless economic decisions made by society’s myriad actors in their numerous markets. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_calculation_problem

    But that argument is nearly 100 years old. Computers have made the concept of ‘countless’ obsolete, and you would not want to eliminate most consumer-type choices anyway.

  10. To be continued says:

    What about supply-managed resources? Is it better to subsidize our farmers so they can produce food at lower prices or pay producers a set price for their product and not subsidize…US vs Canada models?

  11. NJRun says:

    Earl, Hedges really is nuts. Russia meddling is an “empty topic?” Life in the US is “daily hell?”

    I was at Jockey Hollow the other day, where soldiers were conscripted and left families to fend for themselves on the frontier and were stuck in the bitter cold and snow without shoes, coats or food. A lot of them died of exposure, and then at the end of the winter had to walk to South Carolina. The other day, I read an essay in Buzzfeed about rampant abuses at Catholic orphanages in the middle of the last century, which housed not only orphans but the children of poor people, who dropped off their kids because they couldn’t afford to feed them.

    I could go on, but idiots like Hedges rarely stop to think about how much convenience we have today, especially in this country, compared to past generations. Even his point about the media is stupid. Yes, the media is infuriating, but implicit in his view is there there used to be a fair and good press, which isn’t true if you read the press that existed for the first 200 years of history of this nation.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree, some people choose not to stop and think.  For the have nots – a considerable majority of Americans – who are wrestling with the opioid crisis, empty jobs that rentiers describe as the gig or warehouse economy, the GOP withdrawing citizenship and access to health care, student loan debts that would make any parent cry, public schools – the backbone of American democracy – getting by while DeVos steals from their budgets to subsidize private, for profit schools and withdraws protections from discrimination, yea, life can be a daily hell.

      As for Hedges’ derisive attitude toward Russian interference, he agrees with Greenwald that the interference may not be nothing, but it is built on over a century of electoral manipulation by both parties, especially the GOP.  Take a peek at the North Carolinian or West Virginian legislatures for a cornucopia of examples.  Or at the careers of Kris Kobach and Hans von Spakovsky.  Or the government’s and the DoJ’s near abandonment of the civil rights and voting rights acts.

      The US has a lot of problems.  The Russians know all about them and are using the weapons they find ready made, which establishment figures have long been using against their own people.

      By all means, let’s counter Russian influence and imprison Americans who have committed crimes by aiding and abetting them.  But let’s not imagine that would be a silver bullet that would end the problems that need addressing.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    >>”…In other words, the point of capitalism is to provide returns to capital. The point isn’t to make life easier or better for the vast majority of workers and citizens.”
    ——————-

    Yes, and then add in the invention of double entry bookkeeping, and much later the spreadsheet, and you have more ways to obsess on counting capital than on who is spending it, saving it, betting with it, etc, etc.

    Capital does not need to be restricted to such a lifeless, stale purpose as ‘returning capital’; however, in our present situation, ideologues on the courts equate money (i.e., ‘property’) to speech. As a result, money has become speech, which must surely mean that speech can be calculated, divided, and multiplied. Why, or to what purpose, the courts seem entirely clueless to articulate.

    I’d argue that politics and economics are two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, the politics side has become suppliant to the economic claims. It’s a lack of political leadership and political vision, although in Sen Sanders, Sen Warren, and a few on the left, we are starting to see politicians bold and visionary enough to start unpacking the stupidity of bad economics. Bad economics has damn near killed politics (at the national level, not necessarily municipal governments). if economics is to improve, our politics need to be a whole lot more honest, practical, and insist that economics serve a higher, social purpose than simply ‘returning capital’ to people who already have plenty.

  13. Charlie says:

    How the father of member of parliament, Jacob – a right wing Tory Brexiteer – saw the future.
    “The Sovereign Individual”

    1) The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.
    2) The rise of the internet, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, will make it impossible for governments to intervene in private transactions and to tax incomes, thereby liberating individuals from the political protection racket of democracy.
    3) The state will consequently become obsolete as a political entity.
    4) Out of this wreckage will emerge a new global dispensation in which a “cognitive elite” will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals “commanding vastly greater resources” who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.

    By Baron William Rees-Mogg
     
    So there it is for the elites. What about the other 99% of humanity which comprises “honest citizens”?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sour puss conservative, former editor of the conservative Times of London, fellow traveler of arch-neoliberal Margaret Thatcher.  His views are those of a senior member of the elite who wants old-fashioned government: one that works solely for the elite, and is occasionally nice to other people, but only as a matter of whim, not policy or obligation.  He makes the early Churchill look like a raving Commie.

      To call either William or his Tory Brexiteer youngest son, Jacob – Eton and Trinity, Oxford – an anachronism would be an insult to the anachronistic.  They are throwbacks.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      The mindset of a guy who has accounts in the Caymans, Bahamas, NZ, Mauritius, Cyprus, Panama, the Channel Islands, and every other hidy hole that bends its knee to tax havens.

      Actually, Nicholas Shaxson’s “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World”, tells a compendious, huge story of how post-colonialism morphed into a global network of tax havens. (HSBC, anyone…?) And Rees-Mogg is probably a proponent, recipient, and beneficiary of tax havens.

      IOW, he’s proud of ill-got gains, and views that kind of money as totally legitimate.

  14. Watson says:

    ‘Legislation to assert the interests of workers is routinely defeated, and when not defeated, is always watered down, in the name of efficiency, or of profit, or of the absolute rights of people/corporate entities to the property they control.’
     
    Speaking of efficiency, waste should undoubtedly be avoided, but capitalists have never scrupled about redundant production when it serves their purposes, for example in advertising or armaments. Would it be so bad if the world had a surplus of housing or HIV medication?

  15. orionATL says:

    – there is not now, nor has there ever been, a self-regulating market, aka a free-market. all markets are regulated markets. the question is always who, what individuals, are regulating that market.

    -“isms” are abstract constructs; they have no existence; they have no reality. they do not and cannot regulate anything. 

    – all markets are controlled by some individuals or groups.

    – the most useful markets of any kind to a society are those that the society regulates in the best interest of all its members.

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