Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Socialism, Communism, Mercantilism, and Capitalism?

rated by 0 users
Not Answered This post has 0 verified answers | 31 Replies | 4 Followers

Top 25 Contributor
Male
4,914 Posts
Points 70,630
wilderness posted on Tue, Jun 2 2009 8:43 AM

I've been reading mainly political theory books, but now I'm reading to throw in an economic book.

I'm looking for a book that discusses capitalism.  I would like to start with a book on capitalism that shows history, but also gets into some theory.  An introductory book would be most helpful, though, I'm a bit keen in some regards.  So I'll throw out how I see this and the questions I have to help figure out what I'm looking for here as follows:

     I guess what I'm looking for is I keep seeing this thrown around in other circles on the internet that socialism and communism have killed a lot of people (we know that).  Yet an argument is trying to be made that so did capitalism.  I know mercantilism is different from capitalism.  I think capitalism has nothing to do with the State or does it?  Therefore it's better to call it a free market, instead, to delineate the kind of economic system that would happen without a State.  Socialism and communism is all about the State, but isn't mercantilism too?  And capitalism is saving, well, capital (money, investments, goods) for hard times, such as demand is low on the consumer end, so, capital has been save to weather these inevitable low times.  So to me capitalism has nothing to do with the State but is how a business exchanges with consumers.

thoughts on what I wrote and recommendations for further reading?  much appreciated Big Smile

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 65

All Replies

Not Ranked
34 Posts
Points 535

Have you read Reisman's Capitalism?

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." -H.L. Mencken

  • | Post Points: 50
Top 25 Contributor
Male
4,914 Posts
Points 70,630

sapSUCKER:

Have you read Reisman's Capitalism?

No I haven't.  Does it get into all that I brought up above?

 

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
333 Posts
Points 6,365

we must separate the death count into two categories- people who were executed and people who died of starvation and disease. the number of people who were actually executed under stalin and mao was not because of socialism per se. they were killed because their leaders were nutjobs, not because of the calculation problem. in contrast most statistics of "capitalist death" falls under starvation and disease in africa. the problem is that africa is not really free market.

besicly what im going on about is that many socialists are technicly right about deaths of capitalism, but only in a strict sense. after all, just cause a country has wage labor and private ownership of means of production (the main features of capitalism) doesnt make it free market. hell, even zimbabwe has wage labor; does that make it free market?!! with that logic i could name dozens of countries that are very statist and poor and yet contain the main featurers of capitalism that socialists identify it with- namely wage labor, worker non-ownership of factories, and a market.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
4,914 Posts
Points 70,630

garegin:

we must separate the death count into two categories- people who were executed and people who died of starvation and disease. the number of people who were actually executed under stalin and mao was not because of socialism per se. they were killed because their leaders were nutjobs, not because of the calculation problem. in contrast most statistics of "capitalist death" falls under starvation and disease in africa. the problem is that africa is not really free market.

besicly what im going on about is that many socialists are technicly right about deaths of capitalism, but only in a strict sense. after all, just cause a country has wage labor and private ownership of means of production (the main features of capitalism) doesnt make it free market. hell, even zimbabwe has wage labor; does that make it free market?!! with that logic i could name dozens of countries that are very statist and poor and yet contain the main featurers of capitalism that socialists identify it with- namely wage labor, worker non-ownership of factories, and a market.

Very interesting.  Can capitalism be attributed to starvation in these instances cause if the leaders of these countries are "nutjobs" are the leaders coercing capitalism into some bastard form?  If it is some bastard form of capitalism, then is it really capitalism still?  I guess I'm wondering if capitalism can be considered to have a central statist planner aka those nutjobs.

Thanks I appreciate your response.  This is helping.

 

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
7,105 Posts
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Im sorry, socialists dont get a free pass on death by executive order of Stalin and Mao and his cronies, you can refer to Hayek Road to Serfdom and others, but Mises calculation argument proves that to 'get things done' (to the limited extent it is possible) under socialism is to force people and use the gun. The political death are all built in to socialist ideology. they preach revolution and theft, and death to capilists at the outset of the socialist uprising, and then the threat of poltiical death does not diminish for those supsected of being 'capitalist' beourgois' or whatever-isexpedient-to-cal-lpeople-so-you-can-shoot-them-for-the-general-welfare.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
7,105 Posts
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

wilderness:

Very interesting.  Can capitalism be attributed to starvation in these instances cause if the leaders of these countries are "nutjobs" are the leaders coercing capitalism into some bastard form?  If it is some bastard form of capitalism, then is it really capitalism still?  I guess I'm wondering if capitalism can be considered to have a central statist planner aka those nutjobs.

Thanks I appreciate your response.  This is helping.

What has been described are socialist interventions into freemarket capitalism, so the death are caused by the socialism that is present.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
333 Posts
Points 6,365

i never said that they get a free pass. after all, lot of people did die under socialism because of starvation and disease. but lets be honest, what was the actual reason that millions were killed?

"is to force people and use the gun"

absolutely. the workers in ussr were not free, they worked in a certain place because they were ordered to. but luckily for the leaders people complied with govt orders. millions were not killed because they were rebels.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
7,105 Posts
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

anyone that was a perfect socialist worker would not have been a candidate for political death....

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
333 Posts
Points 6,365

thats why after stalin they didnt have to murder millions to make ladas.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
7,105 Posts
Points 115,240
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

after stalin the socialists had become 'somewhat' less commited to socialism, mayhaps?

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
4,914 Posts
Points 70,630

nirgrahamUK:

wilderness:

Very interesting.  Can capitalism be attributed to starvation in these instances cause if the leaders of these countries are "nutjobs" are the leaders coercing capitalism into some bastard form?  If it is some bastard form of capitalism, then is it really capitalism still?  I guess I'm wondering if capitalism can be considered to have a central statist planner aka those nutjobs.

Thanks I appreciate your response.  This is helping.

What has been described are socialist interventions into freemarket capitalism, so the death are caused by the socialism that is present.

That's what I was thinking.  So capitalism has nothing to do with the State whatsoever.  Is capitalism the same as the free market?  Understandably there are varying forms of capitalism such a crony capitalism, but any of these vary forms (other than free market capitalism) is socialism, fascism, or a mixture of both (which I see the U.S. being a mixture of both)?  Correct?

 

"Do not put out the fire of the spirit." 1The 5:19
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
444 Posts
Points 7,395

'capitalism' was invented by Marx and co.  It is a chimera like term used to mean all sorts of things.  In opposition free market means one thing: trade without coercion.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
4,850 Posts
Points 85,810

Firstly, Socialism and Communism are interchangable words.

Secondly, a good book on the history of Socialist theorists would be The Socialist Tradition by Sir Alexander Gray. A wonderful witty book on the top theorists.

Third, if you want a book that covers Socialism AND capitalism, mercantilism etc. then I suggest Rothbard's History of Economic Thought. Another good work by Sir Alexander Gray is The Development of Economic Doctrine. It covers Smith, Ricardo, Marx, and even the early Austrians. Not so much Mises or Hayek.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 100 Contributor
Male
901 Posts
Points 15,900

Laughing Man:
Firstly, Socialism and Communism are interchangable words.

Not exactly.  Democratic socialism, libertarian socialism/social anarchism, utopian socialism, and technocracy are all examples of non-communist socialist thought.

Market anarchist, Linux geek, aspiring Perl hacker, and student of the neo-Aristotelians, the classical individualist anarchists, and the Austrian school.

  • | Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 3 (32 items) 1 2 3 Next > | RSS