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Capitalism and Democracy

Capitalism and Democracy
by Alex Merced

Detractors to Capitalism often will make satire of the idea of "the invisible hand" as if Free Market Capitalist believe there is an actual invisible hand. The Invisible hand is a metaphor for much more beautiful and plausible idea; that the actions and choices of every individual under no coercive influence can best manage scarce resources. I mean to anyone who calls themselves anti-establishment, how can this not be a beautiful idea, the lack of central power, the freedom from a top down world. Detractors will then make arguments about "Market Failure" essentially making claims that the market doesn't achive impossible and often impracticle goals such as EQUAL income distribution.

Proponents such as myself are always glad to point out any problems that do exist tend to often if not always come from the results of barriers to entry through prohibitions and costly regulations that inhibit the amount of choice and diversity that makes a market works to it's best ability. Essentially to believe in Free Market Capitalism is to believe in a sort of Market Democracy where instead of decisions being the votes of all individuals but by the purposeful actions of all individuals.

Detractors will claim that you can't trust people to make the right decisions with their resources and their lives, so of course you need a coercive foce such as government to correct these "failures". In order to choose who sits in government to make these corrections detractors will be proponents of a democratic process... believing that the choices of all individuals will put best people in power, basically a market for government power. My questions then becomes, if you don't believe peoples decisions individually can manage resources then how can you claim that those same individuals decisions on who to manage will be any better?

The counter arument would be "Like the markets, we believe it should be a regulated process", thus comes all the campaign finance rules, ballot access measures, and other regulations of the democratic process. Although, if this is a market process these regulations should achieve the same results we see in the market limiting choice thus limiting the ability for individuals to truly take actions that make the market mechanism work at finding the most valued result.

Bottom line...

If you can't believe in Markets, how can you believe in Democracy?

Posted Aug 11 2010, 01:38 PM by Alex Merced