Increasingly, there are two camps that dominate politicised economic discussions. On one side are socialists that decry capitalism’s corruptibility, and purport to favour a people based economic approach. On the other are Right-Liberals, who gloat over socialist failures, and purport to favour a freedom based economic approach.
But outside of this narrowly constructed framework, there exists an economic centrism which utilises the best parts of capitalist and socialist doctrines, while disregarding the damaging aspects.
Before proceeding to outline this vision, it is necessary to establish the definition of 3 key terms; capitalism, socialism and the free market.
- Capitalism: “An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”
- Socialism: “A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
- Free Market: “An economic system in which prices are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses.”
Positive Aspects of Capitalism
Capitalists are correct when they point out the generally superior economic development experienced in capitalist countries, compared to those who chose a strictly socialist route; North Korea, Mao’s China, Cuba, the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. So while materialism can be problematic (as shall be discussed later), this author contends higher levels of economic development is an ostensibly beneficial trend. For economic development provides people with more comfortable lives, fulfilling work and freedoms largely inaccessible to the impoverished third world. Higher economic growth also ensures stronger countries in times of civil/ international tension, and a greater capacity to protect one’s people.
Private citizens owning industry can be helpful in giving people the freedom to charter their own lives. While poverty is the default human condition, the nature of a capitalist system allows individuals to make profit and escape out of this predicament. Capitalism is useful by channelling our natural inclination to resource consolidation and survival towards ends that are productive, and not intrinsically violent as transpires in the state of nature.
When an individual rather than bureaucracy is dealing with his/her own money, they are more motivated to use it responsibly. In many cases this leads to more efficient financial decisions, when poverty serves as the stark alternative.
Capitalism’s close cousin in the free market can also be useful. For when the contrasting self interests of consumer and trader compete against one another, prices are often reduced, and product quality enhanced.
Likewise, certain aspects of President Trump’s deregulation and tax cut efforts have been useful in safeguarding business viability. While workers rights are important, when commercial activity is made exceedingly expensive in a country, businesses leave for cheaper areas of production. And without business, no amount of unionisation can help unemployed workers.
Negative Aspects of Socialism
When the means of production are entirely controlled by government, said economies are notoriously inefficient. During the Cold War, Soviet tractors fell far behind the quality of American tractors, because government was incapable of the same innovation seen in the American private sector.
This is the fundamental flaw of socialism: that while government ensures you can’t fall behind, you can’t get ahead either, which burdens the innate human desire for individual resource consolidation.
Socialism’s false construction of equality burdens humanity’s natural state. Individuals possess unequal talents across a range of fields; intelligence, sporting prowess, charisma, attractiveness, artistic performance, leadership, and courage. Hence, a system formed to enforce wholesale equality across economic lines in light of these inherent inequalities, is an unsustainable one.
There are also issues with progressive economies that favour the welfare state and higher taxes.
Many modern welfare states discourage employment, are dysgenic and destroy the character of long-term users. And when welfare states act as magnets for Third World parasites, these systems are destined for insolvency.
Moreover, exorbitant income taxes placed upon the rich are immoral (to a certain extent), as they can act to unjustly punish the successful movers in society.
But far worse than a high income tax, are excessive estate taxes, which prevent hard-working individuals from providing for those they love most. This makes the estate tax deeply incompatible with nationalist thinking: which recognises a creator/ gift-maker’s wishes trump other concerns and thus, people have the heritable right to enjoy what was left for them. Essentially, the estate tax is akin to government double dipping: as it taxes a person’s income throughout their whole lives, only to tax once more after death. For government to strip people of their life’s work, is a massive disincentive to living a virtuous, productive, family oriented life. To the contrary, if one understands his/ her wealth will be stripped from their bloodlines upon death, this incentivises degenerate, destructive hedonism, and a society built upon flimsy foundations.
Negative Aspects of Capitalism
Having said that, capitalism is far from flawless.
Capitalism is an economic system committed towards profit maximisation for those who control the means of production. Yes this means a potential for economic mobility, but capitalism’s primary concern is to further the profits of the business owning class. This can be harmful when what is good for big business is detrimental to the wider community, and there are many examples of this. These include;
- Elite American banks and financial firms profited billions from speculative loans, which later caused the GFC.
- Facebook and Twitter ban Right-wing users to satiate Leftist demands. However, this restricts the free exchange of ideas in what are modern-day public spaces.
- Whilst high immigration boosts profits for big businesses, it depresses wages for the working class.
- Big business is often in favour of free trade to increase profit, by enabling the transfer of jobs from highly developed countries to those less developed.
- Farmers can also obtain large profits by selling to wealthy foreign buyers, but this harms our long-term national interest.
- Capital generated from foreign purchases in the Australian housing market boosts our GDP, yet deprives young Australians of housing opportunities in their own country.
Through encouraging the individual pursuit of maximising wealth, capitalism necessarily enables materialism. While material items can make life comfortable, excessive materialism is harmful in directing people towards short-term pleasures with an expiry date, away from long-term, more rewarding investments, such as family, love and relationships. Likewise, studies have established that income earned over $75 000, does not make people happier despite the tremendous sacrifice, work and commitment required. Anthony Bourdain’s recent suicide showcased the finite benefits that emanate from wealth and materialism. Evidently, we need more than capitalist exercises in profit-making, if we are to ensure our own civilisational and mental welfare.
It should always be remembered that our economic systems were founded and are upheld by man, and subsequently man maintains a right to interfere in the capitalist economy when it has harmful consequences. Thus, the survival and welfare of citizens, must come before progress in unemployment figures or the GDP. But under capitalist doctrine, the free market is an ends in itself, not to be tampered with. Many Right-Liberals argue this in response to calls for Facebook and Twitter’s regulation, rebutting criticism by claiming they’re ‘private businesses’. This is where capitalism goes astray: when its advocates place ideology before real-life consequences and turn blind eyes to expansionist monopolies, so long as private businesses are the culprit.
Positive Aspects of Socialism
Alternatively to capitalism, socialist governmental actions can be utilised to serve the people’s best interest (in countering the negative implications of immigration, social media, the banks, free trade, and foreign ownership).
When properly implemented, welfare programs can aid in giving the vulnerable a hand up, rather than a hand out. Under these circumstances, the welfare state is righteous by ensuring that all citizens, enjoy a basic standard of living. The welfare state is also unlikely to significantly scale down in years to come, with artificial intelligence threatening to uproot traditional work as we understand it. Right-wing minded folk should approach the welfare issue accordingly.
The state engaging itself in certain areas; policing, the military, the environment, prisons, and water regulation is also desirable. For in these areas, a reliable delivery and long-term control of services is more important than financial gain, particularly when profits become difficult to come by.
Furthermore, the services provided by the state: in coercively upholding the rule of law, protecting the rights of contracted individuals, and providing external and internal security, morally justifies the enactment of regulatory, interventionist measures taken against the individual. Comes the retort from a Right-Liberal: “But taxation is theft!” Yet, while hard work is generally required for wealth accumulation, the whole equation isn’t this simple. The reason Australians can reliably earn money whereas Libyans can’t, isn’t a matter of economic policies or work ethic. Rather, Australians can rely on voluntary business transactions because they enjoy the protection of compulsory, stable government, whereas Libya is a failed, anarchic state, where law-breaking is not consistently and sufficiently punished. When viewed from this perspective, the 2012 Democratic slogan of ‘You didn’t build that’ rings true.
There exists an enormous gap in ideology between the unbridled capitalism of a rootless, internationalist elite, and socialism’s extremes. Within this gap, there exists room for an economic nationalism which moves past the dispensable Left/ Right paradigm, that places our own people first.