My views changed after reading this article...

Teralek's picture
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My views changed after reading this article...

Singapore is not a capitalist state by some standards, even though ranks 1st in free trade index...

Most developed economies in the world seem to be a mix between state regulation and intervention. In different levels and degrees.


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 I would agree with most of

 I would agree with most of what the author says. There are very few true communists, socialists or marxists in the occupy movements and all three words have been extremely perverted by modern political rhetoric. I would bet that 95%+ of the people who use them have no idea what they mean. Similarly, very few people actually support free markets. Even among those in the American political right who use the rhetoric of "free markets" on a regular basis don't actually support free markets when you start discussing policy specifics with them. 

You say most, I would say all developed economies seem to have defaulted to a system that is broadly capitalist in that they allow private property and private investment in most businesses, but have varying levels of state control. Even within the same country, the amount of control the state has in a particular sector of the economy can vary dramatically. What is regulated and what isn't seems to be more of a function of which interest group has more political power on a particular issue rather than any kind of broad ideology.

I see this quite often in my own political discussions where a person will generally claim to support increased regulation or claim to support a free market and then adopt a completely opposing position when discussing the particulars of whatever business they are in. They say they want a free market, but then claim it is necessary for the government to license people in their field, or they say they support increased regulations for A, B and C, but regulations on their business are stupid.

The bottom line is that our economies are not designed with any kind of broad intention. They are the result of a hodgepodge of laws, passed separately and most of them are ignored by everyone except for the small group of people who are directly impacted by them positively or negatively.

Probably the closest thing the world has ever seen to a laissez-faire capitalist system was the US in the mid-19th century. There were plenty of laws regulating the economy, but all of them were from the state level and were not particularly effective. By the early 1900's the US federal government had started implementing significant levels of regulation and we became the last country in the developed world at that time to have a central bank.   

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