Two Words for Capitalism

It is a truism of government that it rarely serves all, equally. And it is also a truism that money talks in politics. So, dirigistic capitalism amounts to little more than plutocracy.

This sad truth comes as a shock to those who hail from the left. Those leftists who propose to make capitalism more dirigistic often merely serve as useful idiots for the very rich. Businesses have a long history supporting mercantalist policies, policies that so-called “progressives” thought “regulated business.” Instead, regulations most often help business cartelize, even monopolize, their positions. Getting the upper hand is something many businessmen attempt, and attempt through government.

via The Lesson Applied » Two Words for Capitalism.

This is a marvelous article that fills a void in my understanding. I was unfamiliar with dirigisme. Most arguments about capitalism are usually arguments about how dirigiste a capitalist system should be, the alternative extreme being laissez faire. If everyone used this terminology, discussions would be much more clear. When critics accuse Obamacare of being socialistic, they are wrong. They would be correct if they said that it would make health care dirigiste. And Obamacare supporters would agree with them!

The value of this terminology, in addition to lowering the rhetoric, is that we can examine dirigisme in it’s historical context and see what worked, what didn’t, and why. The economic concepts and arguments remain the same, but they would have greater clarity.

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