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Thread: Chomsky on capitalism and the "free market"1975 days old

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    Default Chomsky on capitalism and the "free market"

    I think this is a correct observation by Chomsky, but first, Wikipedia's definition of "free market":

    A free market is a market economy in which the forces of supply and demand are free of intervention by a government, price-setting monopolies, or other authority. A free market contrasts with a controlled market or regulated market, in which government intervenes in supply and demand through non-market methods such as laws creating barriers to market entry or directly setting prices. Although free markets are commonly associated with capitalism in contemporary usage and popular culture, free markets have been advocated by market anarchists, market socialists, proponents of cooperatives, and advocates of profit sharing.[1]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market

    And this is Chomsky's criticism of the term:

    “I should say that when people talk about capitalism it's a bit of a joke. There's no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat. Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That's right up to the present. I mean, the Reagan administration for example was the most protectionist in post-war American history. Virtually the entire dynamic economy in the United States is based crucially on state initiative and intervention: computers, the internet, telecommunication, automation, pharmaceutical, you just name it. Run through it, and you find massive ripoffs of the public, meaning, a system in which under one guise or another the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized. That's very remote from a free market. Free market is like what India had to suffer for a couple hundred years, and most of the rest of the Third World.”
    ― Noam Chomsky ("Sovereignty and World Order", Kansas State University, September 20, 1999; source, 01:27:31-01:28:49)

    However, not so much over the reasons explained by Chomsky, but because "freedom" is a propaganda term that has no specific meaning, and is used in different, quite varied ideological contexts. Capitalists talk a lot about free this, freedom that, as do communists. Most ideologies have their own concept of freedom. The so called free market is heavily regulated by copyright laws, competition laws, patents and patent trolling, as well as trademarks and whatnot. Calling it "free market" is indeed a joke, or dishonest irony to say the least.

    Another example of "freedom" used in an ideological context, is the GNU General Public License, a software license authored by Chomsky's MIT colleague, Richard Stallman. This copyleft license grants software developers lots of freedoms and rights if they follow the rules of the license, but one important freedom is not given: the right to close the source code. If you are the only developer of a software project, you can close the source code in the next release, but you can't close the source code of previous versions, and if you're not the original author, you can't close the source code at all. Yet it's called a free software license, and for all intents and purposes, it does give the individual lots of freedoms with the source code, but the GPL makes it very difficult to monetise the source code.

    Likewise, it's very difficult to make buck in a really free market, because there are no laws and regulations that protect your company from competitors exploiting your brand and eating up the market share of your product. In the really free market, anyone can make a shitty, cheap copy of your product, which is the case in China where lots of Android powered iPhone knock-offs are made (although they're actually technically superior to the iPhone since they're not sold with iOS), knock-offs you don't have to pay taxes and licensing fees for.

    This thread isn't for discussing the GPL, but that was just an example of how the term "free" is misused. The GPL is a communist software license, pretty much, and the "free market" is a euphemism for state protected, copyrighted, trademarked private/intellectual property. Case in point:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyri..._Extension_Act

    ^^ The Mickey Mouse Protection Act, is possibly the best example when a corporation has, in Chomsky's words, "resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power." Sony Bono succeeded in extending the copyright of Mickey Mouse in the name of corporate welfare, pretty much indefinitely, so as long as Disney is profitable, they'll own the rights to profit monopoly on Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc., as opposed to intellectual property characters such as Mickey Mouse, Superman, Spiderman etc., becoming public domain after the original authors of said characters, have been dead for a number of years.

    That said, are you still of the opinion that there is such a thing as a "free market" in the capitalistic, for profit, Western world? Is freedom really attractive for business?
    Last edited by EliasAlucard; 2014-05-22 at 09:48.
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    Quoted for truth:
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaron View Post
    Anatolian Urhemait supporters are mostly butthurt Meds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drgs View Post
    Poland is a misunderstanding. It is a country which lies on the frontier between western and slavic world, and which combines elements of both.
    In fact, they are not even the Europeans in strict sense, meaning European as in bearing the responsibility and understanding of European interests. Poland has always been an subordinate country, on one side sucking German dick, on the other side -- Russian one, some kind of "novice" europeans, who are full of inferiority complexes, hysteria and obsessity neuroses. This is also true for all Baltic countries

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    Say man, do you believe there should be any government regulations on banks and businesses?
    No, as the government is not there to protect you or the people's interests. If the over 100 million deaths as a result from 20th century democide wasn't ample evidence already, just look at the exploitative policies in the EU and U.S. over the past 16 years.

    European and American whites should keep in mind that it was the "Welfare" state + government programs, government schools, and "free" healthcare that enabled the unprecedented influx of low skill, low IQ, crime-prone immigrants to survive in 1st world nations at your expense.

    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    Yeah, Obama is a puppet, and I'm sure Dodd-Frank is severely flawed (like anything else Obama pushed for), but the notion that banks and especially corporations should be given complete freedom to do whatever they want, is absolutely dangerous. We'd end up in a world completely ruled by corporations, and Monsanto is an excellent example of such a future. That's why I appreciate Putin's ban on GMO and Russia equating it with terrorism (GMO is actually much worse than terrorism).
    Couple of misconceptions here:

    1) Banks, large businesses, etc only have power in society through government exploitation. There's only so much a Pizza Hut can accomplish without lobbying the coercive monopoly of violence (the State) to stifle competition through incessant "regulation".

    2) Crony Capitalism (economic model present in most of the developed world including US) is not representative of Free Market Capitalism (voluntary, win-win trade without coercion involved). In a Free Market system, GMOs (assuming they're proven to be deleterious to humans) would be non-viable and easily out-competed by orgnaic foods. Conversely, when governments subsidize GMO producers under the guise of "rising food costs", they'll be a potential threat for much longer.


    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    Personally I don't like Trump's "free market" anti-regulations dogma. The Republican party of today isn't so much pro-libertarianism as it is pro-corporations.
    Sure, the Republican party (notably establishment Neocon shills) advocates for crony "Capitalist" policies, but that's infinitely more preferable than the Socialist/Communist legislation coming from the Democrat party. Trump's proposed reforms are also directly beneficial to the American middle class and small business (no preferential treatment for multinational corporations a la competition-hindering regulation).

    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    Hillary was right about one thing: the Democrats reign in the excess of capitalism (she said it during the primary debates with Bernie), or at least they try (they're not really doing a good job). America's unregulated nutritional supplement market sucks compared to Sweden's, and that's why protein spiking is a major issue in American protein powders, whereas here in Sweden, protein powders and multivitamins are regulated much like real food. It's just one of many examples, but I guess you anarco-capitalists are okay with crap like that.
    Excess capitalism is paradoxical. Regulation is the antithesis of innovation and quality, BTW, which is why the overwhelming majority of technological advancements and superior products come from relatively Free Markert societies. Take a look at economic indexes comparing the relative economic freedoms of a country and its populations' average income + standard of living. Suffice to say, there's a very positive correlation between those two variables.
    Last edited by randomguy1235; 2016-11-30 at 02:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    No, as the government is not there to protect you or the people's interests.
    It depends on the government and the actual people running it.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    If the over 100 million deaths as a result from 20th century democide wasn't ample evidence already, just look at the exploitative policies in the EU and U.S. over the past 16 years.
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    European and American whites should keep in mind that it was the "Welfare" state + government programs, government schools, and "free" healthcare that enabled the unprecedented influx of low skill, low IQ, crime-prone immigrants to survive in 1st world nations at your expense.
    That's not actually true. The most pro-third world governments in Sweden have been run by pro-capitalism parties ("Moderaterna" as they're known here, or "The Alliance"). Sweden saw its highest influx of Muslim immigration under the Moderates in both the 1990s and this millennium.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Couple of misconceptions here:
    Okay, let's clear out the misconceptions then, shall we?

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    1) Banks, large businesses, etc only have power in society through government exploitation.
    That's true. However, a solid, responsible, strong government capable of rejecting bribes and profit-corruption, can also limit their power when it sees fit. The problem here is that these banks and businesses have been bribing politicians and corrupted the hell out of various governments, most notably the anti-American US regime (which has at this point, become hostile to the biosphere and life at large).

    Corporations and CEOs have basically attained sacrosanct status among libertarians and the like, which is the main reason these businessmen can get away with bribing the government. It's of course very difficult to get a government that does the right thing, but it can be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    There's only so much a Pizza Hut can accomplish without lobbying the coercive monopoly of violence (the State) to stifle competition through incessant "regulation".
    There's a huge difference between a corporation like Pizza Hut, and Monsanto. Not all corporations are the same, nor equally detrimental.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    2) Crony Capitalism (economic model present in most of the developed world including US) is not representative of Free Market Capitalism (voluntary, win-win trade without coercion involved).
    Actually, it is. Crony capitalism is what you get when there's no responsible government preventing such corruption, bribery and generally speaking, anti-competitive monopolist tactics. Little to no government capable of protecting the market competition through legislation, and you'll inevitably end up with corporations cutting deals to protect their own monopolies. In fact, Intel did just that to AMD like ten years ago (back in 2006, AMD was seriously pwning Intel's ass, so Intel had to resort to cheating because it couldn't compete through pure quality alone):

    In July 2007, the European Commission accused Intel of anti-competitive practices, mostly against AMD.[266] The allegations, going back to 2003, include giving preferential prices to computer makers buying most or all of their chips from Intel, paying computer makers to delay or cancel the launch of products using AMD chips, and providing chips at below standard cost to governments and educational institutions.[267] Intel responded that the allegations were unfounded and instead qualified its market behavior as consumer-friendly.[267] General counsel Bruce Sewell responded that the Commission had misunderstood some factual assumptions as to pricing and manufacturing costs.[268]

    In February 2008, Intel stated that its office in Munich had been raided by European Union regulators. Intel reported that it was cooperating with investigators.[269] Intel faced a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue, if found guilty of stifling competition.[270] AMD subsequently launched a website promoting these allegations.[271][272] In June 2008, the EU filed new charges against Intel.[273] In May 2009, the EU found that Intel had engaged in anti-competitive practices and subsequently fined Intel €1.06 billion (US$1.44 billion), a record amount. Intel was found to have paid companies, including Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC,[274] to exclusively use Intel chips in their products, and therefore harmed other companies including AMD.[274][275][276] The European Commission said that Intel had deliberately acted to keep competitors out of the computer chip market and in doing so had made a "serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules".[274] In addition to the fine, Intel was ordered by the Commission to immediately cease all illegal practices.[274] Intel has stated that they will appeal against the Commission's verdict. In June 2014, the General Court, which sits below the European Court of Justice, rejected the appeal.[274]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel#...2.80.932008.29
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanc...v._Intel_Corp.

    ^^ That's normal when you have a pure anarcho-capitalist society. And if you disagree, please explain what's there to stop corporations from cutting deals and bribing each other for the purpose of protecting their own assets and patent portfolios? A strong government? No such thing in anarcho-capitalism. The general public? Sorry, it's too iGnorant to understand hardware specs, never mind the importance of competition for quality and so on. If consumers knew any better, they wouldn't have rewarded Intel's cheating by buying their shitty i7 processors to the point that Intel's high end CPUs cost 1000+ USD today. Nor would consumers be buying dumbed down toys like the iPhone if they actually had functional brains. But that's the situation today, because mainstream people are incurably iGnorant

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    In a Free Market system, GMOs (assuming they're proven to be deleterious to humans) would be non-viable and easily out-competed by orgnaic foods. Conversely, when governments subsidize GMO producers under the guise of "rising food costs", they'll be a potential threat for much longer.
    It's true that GMOs do have some government protection (especially in the US), however, GMOs are much better labelled or outlawed in Europe, exactly because our governments are a bit more responsible with that stuff (not to mention more pro-people). In a pure free market anarcho-capitalist society, GMOs would never be labelled, much less outlawed. And since you're a proponent of abolishing the EPA and the FDA (and they should be abolished or at least seriously reformed, because they're doing a shitty job), please explain to me, how you're going to get GMO labeling when there's no food or environmental agency there to point out how harmful GMO is for both humans and the environment? I don't see it happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Sure, the Republican party (notably establishment Neocon shills) advocates for crony "Capitalist" policies, but that's infinitely more preferable than the Socialist/Communist legislation coming from the Democrat party.
    I'm not sure I can agree here. The neocons have been a seriously destructive force in the past 15 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Trump's proposed reforms are also directly beneficial to the American middle class and small business (no preferential treatment for multinational corporations a la competition-hindering regulation).
    That remains to be seen. I hope he'll do some good for a change.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Excess capitalism is paradoxical.
    In what way? And who's to say you can't have excess capitalism when there's no government capable of regulating it from going that far? I think excess capitalism is the natural evolution of anarcho-capitalism (or really, capitalism in general). In Swedish, there's a good saying: mycket vill ha mer (much wants more). America throughout the 20th century can be defined very accurately by this Swedish proverb.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Regulation is the antithesis of innovation and quality
    That's not true. First of all, most Western countries aren't free markets, and second, the purpose of regulation isn't to decrease quality (although, it's possible that can happen, but it's not the main purpose of regulation), but to protect consumers and the general public at large, from harmful business practices. Ironically, regulation often leads to higher quality products at the end of the day.

    All regulation I've seen so far, have increased quality. For example, the EU regulated Microsoft from bundling Internet Explorer in Windows, thereby cutting down on Microsoft's monopoly tactics, and what was the result of that? Internet Explorer used to have a 90% market share or more back in 2006. Ten years later, we now have a rich, healthy variety of largely open source based web browsers, like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and so on, and IE no longer has a majority market share. That was good for software diversity (and open, royalty-free web standards) and as a consequence, increased internet security. It also led to Microsoft not only improving security, but also adding more functionality to IE (which had been in stagnation for years as a result of Microsoft's 90% market share).

    Of course the ideal scenario would be that governments shouldn't have to step in and point fingers, and that consumers should be open-minded enough to try out other browsers on their own. But because mainstream thinkers aren't enlightened, you need some government regulation to give the mainstream crowd a push in the right direction. People are seriously stupid you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    BTW, which is why the overwhelming majority of technological advancements and superior products come from relatively Free Markert societies.
    I'd say the superior high tech products today, are coming from China and Taiwan (high IQ + ant-like work ethics = win-win). Not sure if you classify those two countries as free market, but have you seen the awesome shit Asus has been pumping out lately? Their Aura RGB Sync is some serious shit! I just bought this mobo for my upcoming Castlevania: Symphony of the Night-styled rig:



    ^^ I like

    Quote Originally Posted by randomguy1235 View Post
    Take a look at economic indexes comparing the relative economic freedoms of a country and its populations' average income + standard of living. Suffice to say, there's a very positive correlation between those two variables.
    Could you give a few examples?
    Last edited by EliasAlucard; 2016-11-30 at 21:50.
    ReactOS <--- support this project so that we can get rid of Windows!
    Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 LTS | PRISM-Break! | Windows7sins

    “A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion.” ― Chinese proverb

    “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.” ― H. L. Mencken

    “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.” ― Socrates

    “Damnant quod non intelligunt.” ― Latin proverb

    Quoted for truth:
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaron View Post
    Anatolian Urhemait supporters are mostly butthurt Meds.
    For the lulz:
    Quote Originally Posted by drgs View Post
    Poland is a misunderstanding. It is a country which lies on the frontier between western and slavic world, and which combines elements of both.
    In fact, they are not even the Europeans in strict sense, meaning European as in bearing the responsibility and understanding of European interests. Poland has always been an subordinate country, on one side sucking German dick, on the other side -- Russian one, some kind of "novice" europeans, who are full of inferiority complexes, hysteria and obsessity neuroses. This is also true for all Baltic countries

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