Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Putting the Capitalist Experiment into Practice

If Capitalism as a thought experiment sounds like a society populated by psychopaths, you shouldn’t be surprised.
Thus far, such a society does not exist, but Monetarists (inspired by the philosophy of Objectivism, founded by Ayn Rand), who became highly influential after the 1970s, in particular in the Anglo-Saxon world, had a chance to get closer to it.
After implementing these principles into the financial and industrial sectors of the Anglo-Saxon civilisations (as much as they dared), and exporting them to other developing nations (as much as they could get away with), the end result, after almost thirty years, was a near-total collapse of the financial and industrial sectors of the Anglo-Saxon civilisations and their dependent economies in the developing world. The only thing that prevented a total, catastrophic collapse was that the Monetarists convinced governments around the world to pay for their irresponsibility. They could convince them because the governments knew the alternative was likely to be the eventual collapse of human (or, at least, Anglo-Saxon) civilisation.
There is another word for this: extortion. This is the “do-what-I-say-or-else” line of thinking. It is also how criminal gangs cultivate protection rackets; by fear. By Capitalist standards, even a protection racket can be called a legitimate business as it offers a service in exchange for money: the service of safety. The difference is that a security company offers a consensual form of security (payment against the risk of crime), whereas a racket is a coerced form of security (payment against crime).
When the governments bailed-out the banks, this was, in effect, the largest example of coercion in financial history. They were rewarding criminal behaviour because the alternative was the death of Anglo-Saxon civilisation. In this way, the actions of the Monetarists during the Financial Crisis display all the hallmarks of psychopathology: Financial Irresponsibility; Impulsive behaviour and failing to plan for the future; recklessness; lack of guilt for the harm caused to others; deceiving and conning others.

The bailout was a typical example of Capitalist passive-aggressive behaviour; there was no direct use of force involved in the bailout on the part of the Monetarists, but it was clear to the government that in this “transaction”, there was no option on the government side.
The government agreement with the Monetarists just over thirty years ago was, in effect, like a Faustian pact. Like Mephistopheles, who sold his soul to the Devil, the governments of the Anglo-Saxon world surrendered financial responsibility to the Objectivist psychopaths.
Put another way, when put into practice, Capitalism is like nuclear energy: it creates enormous amounts of energy (profit), but is highly unstable if left unregulated and has potentially unimaginable destructive power. So why would “rational” governments, and people, take the risk? The reason is because, like Mephistopheles, they can become seduced by greed.

Because the Monetarists/Objectivists/Capitalists knew that all governments are, by nature, “irrational”, they also knew that they would be able to convince governments that “greed is good”: because this precisely coincided with the Capitalist world view. What is more intellectually puzzling is how Capitalists view government’s greed as “irrational”, but Capitalist greed as “rational”. The Capitalists exploited governments’ greed for their own ends: the Monetarists, who routinely accuse “government” as acting as a parasite on the individual, acted like a parasite on the government itself.
At the risk of tiring the metaphors, the philosophy of Objectivism is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Under the cloak of promoting freedom and individual rights, society is destroyed and the individual wakes up discovering that, in fact, he has NO rights. The only “right” he has (in terms of being guaranteed from birth) is the right to breathe and the minimum of law and order. Everything else in the world is up to his own efforts. Everyone is competing to survive. Everything is up for grabs. Everyone is out for what they can get from everyone else. True, you are free to speak your mind, but what is the point of having an opinion if you can do nothing with it? What is the point of “freedom” if you have no money?

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