I have to agree with Tony on this one. Capitalism is no more naturally occurring than Socialism. Just because it didn't have an official name before a socialist named it doesn't make capitalism any less of a doctrine. It's still the brainchild of a few key economists and shaped by rules that use government to protect private property.

(for temporal context: when Louis Blanc coined the word "capitalism" in 1850, that "private property" included slaves here in the US. He gave the ideology a name so that the anti-capitalist movement could articulate what they were fighting against)

I enjoyed your piece "Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism." As you say there, "One can notice that in their pure ideological concepts, capitalism and socialism are exact opposites."

They're two economic ideologies sitting on opposite ends of a sliding-scale that nations moved along throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The US ~naturally~ slid towards the socialist end of the scale during our Keynsian period after WWII (and, ironically, the 1950's and 60's are generally regarded as the heyday of U.S. cultural dominance). Then the US ~naturally~ slid back to the capitalist side under Reagan in the '80s after an oil-induced recession.

To frame the problem today as "Socialism vs Capitalism" is a false dichotomy that restricts our imagination. As Tony says here, circumstances are much different now than they were when Smith, Blanc, Marx, and even Keynes & Rand were developing their work. Further, both "Capitalism" and "Socialism" are deeply poisoned wells. Most advocates for one will outright reject proposals from the other without even considering their merit. Instead of adapting 200 year old ideas, we should focus on developing our own solutions. 21st century economic models to address 21st century economic problems.

Labels will come later -- they always do.

I'm very appreciative that you publish all types of ideas here on Virtual Agora! It's so important to engage in these conversations, because at the end of the day I believe we all want the same things but have differing opinions on how to get there.

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Top Writer in Gov, Politics, Economics. Love nature, technology, and standup! Bachelor’s in Communication Studies & Mechanical Engineering @ Cal Poly SLO.

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Adrian Eaton

Adrian Eaton

452 Followers

Top Writer in Gov, Politics, Economics. Love nature, technology, and standup! Bachelor’s in Communication Studies & Mechanical Engineering @ Cal Poly SLO.