In part I of this article I began discussing a speech given by David Simon that advocates for a mixed economy, as opposed to a completely Capitalist, or completely Marxist economy. But as I explained, we live with a mixed economy, and all the negatives that Simon points out in his speech are still present. What really causes those problems is the very system he advocates, yet he still claims that the economic woes are caused by too Capitalist a system. Simon does not understand that we are the market, and therefore a free market economy would heed our concerns. We would all have the ultimate regulatory power, if it weren’t for the force used by government to create our mixed economy; a crony capitalist system.
The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It’s a juvenile notion and it’s still being argued in my country passionately and we’re going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I’m astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?
The only juvenile notion here is that people somehow can’t solve problems without the force of government. You know what solved the racial divide in sports? The economic self interest of sports team owners who understood that they were sacrificing talent by excluding minorities. You know what reduced workplace discrimination against women? The economic interests of companies that no longer wanted to sacrifice half of the potential labor of the U.S. in order to satisfy their beliefs about a male dominated society. Today their is a growing market for environmentally friendly products, and growing awareness and avoidance of environmentally damaging companies like Monsanto. Monsanto’s control was only achievable through government contracts, subsidies, and bought off politicians and courts.
Government is the only thing standing in the way to the destruction of Monsanto. Popular opinion and boycott would have rendered the company bankrupt years ago if it didn’t have political protection that killed the First Amendment protected free speech of victims who would otherwise speak out. That is a mixed economy, the subsidies that flow to corrupt corporations who have political pull and don’t need to compete for profits. And Simon must be joking when he says that profit is not a valid incentive to integrate new generations of workers in a changing economy, that’s what capitalism does best! Capitalism allows individuals to specialize, and fulfill a need of society in exchange for a portion of the products of another person’s skills. To think that a disinterested government could organize better than entities which must succeed in order to post profits, is a juvenile way of thinking.
And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat [as minorities]… And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it’s not just about race, it’s about something even more terrifying. It’s about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?
But here Simon’s entire argument falls apart. Our economy has become more mixed, more interventionist, more Marxist, and more crony Capitalist every year. So how can he attribute the financial crisis to capitalism, when the mixed economy gave us the housing crisis, in an attempt to “mitigate” capitalism to provide affordable mortgages? How can he claim Wall Street’s power is derived from Capitalism, when all the big banks were bailed out, just handed money, by our government? That is the epitome of a mixed economy. Who would bail out failed predatory banks in a free market? No one, the fact that they were going bankrupt proves that: they didn’t have enough people to bail them out by their own free will AKA give them their business. And in a free market where people can bank their profits, banks can give out more loans with a lower interest rate because of the excess capital available to lend.
The biggest class problem we have now is the ruling class which sits in Washington D.C. for their entire lives literally leeching off the taxpayer. In the name of distributing the fruits of Capitalism, politicians, lobbyists and the corporations they support get rich off of the business class, the middle class, and the lower class. This isn’t because of a free market, it is precisely because we have gone away from a free market which allows the government to intervene “on the poor’s behalf”. But they just toss peanuts to the crowd for votes, and take the plunder for themselves. There is no way to set up a government that does not attract corruption if they can set up regulations and subsidies for businesses. The free market regulates naturally, because the only way to be a big company, is to deliver the product demanded by the market, the people.
The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what’s a good idea or what’s not, or what’s valued and what’s not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.
Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerged in any of that legislative process.
So I don’t know what we do if we can’t actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will.
And here’s where Simon hands me my argument, there should be no government to buy! At least not in the economic realm. A mixed economy inserts government into the market, if it is not inserted, there is nothing for capitalism to buy from politics. Who else would make these socially equitable rules if not the government, which will always be taken over by big money? The only solution is to give big money no choice but to compete, instead of setting a price at which they can buy freedom from competition. And how can this logic escape Simon that a mixed economy would obviously lead to big money taking over government? If the government is to do the regulating in a mixed economy, “advocating for the people”, then how do you stop big business from hijacking that avenue, and steering all the money to themselves and their cronies? Quite simply there is no way to stop it, except by banning the government from giving any subsidy, any bailout, any grant, any corporate welfare, or making any regulations. All those things are the tools meant to be used in a mixed economy, and those are the tools that have been taken over by business to form our crony capitalist system.
You know what is better at manifesting the popular will? The market which by definition is the popular will! Simon laments that we may have lost control over our electoral system, but a mixed economy that he argues for by definition takes control away from the people, and gives it to the government—and if the government is taken over by business, then business will essentially be regulating business. As a collective—and Simon loves collectives in every other sense—the market will regulate corporations based on what people buy, where they spend their money, what products and quality they demand. But a mixed economy is exactly what has led to the rich poor divide, because it does not negatively effect the regulators if they help a bad business with a bad product.
A corporation can’t “buy off” 300 million regulators in the market. If they did, it would be called delivering a good product that the market, all of us, demanded. Let the people advocate for ourselves instead of handicapping our consumer regulatory power with corrupt government regulation. Only when the government is completely absent in the market will the economy finally be free to grow, and the problems caused by our mixed economy will fade away.