Dog-eat-dog Capitalism

The Utopian dreams of Communism abound with adolescent attacks against free markets and trade.  For example,  "A dog-eat-dog struggle for goods will give way to a family of humanity." 

Ayn Rand was fond of saying that the "dog-eat-dog" description of capitalism didn't aptly apply to either dogs or men.  As a broad general statement of course, this is true.  However it goes far beyond that.  Capitalism, or volunteerism, or free markets, or whatever you want to call it is precisely the opposite of dog-eat-dog.  It is dog-please-dog.

Take the infamous and much hyped Cola Wars waged between Coke and Pepsi.  Despite the moniker, this "war" was waged over the opportunity to bring you the cheapest, sweetest, carbonated beverage imaginable and was waged without drones, planes, bombs, guns, whips, chains or military prisons.  I doubt so much as a fist fight broke out between the two sides, and I am not aware of a single unkind word officially spoken by either side about the opposition.  Yet to hear the enemies of capitalism tell it, you would think that two companies, engaged in a violence-free "war" to give you pleasure, were starving hyenas snapping at each other while ripping the flesh from  your cooling carcass.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.  The essence of capitalism is voluntary exchange.  The goal is an improved standard of living, and the means to achieve that goal is to provide it to your neighbor according to your ability and his needs.  But, and here's the big "but", you must do it without the aid of a knife, or a gun, or a mob, else you are a thief. 

If dogs were able to negotiate the trade of physical objects for  services rendered (think two chew toys for one dead bird), we would instantly transform into giggly 9-year-old girls, reflexively declaring "how cute" the exchange was.  Yet, when this is the behavior of men are we to believe it should be curtailed, that it must be bridled or else we will be strapped with run-away, free-wheeling, dog-please-dog capitalism?  The horror! 

Sic semper tyrannis

I always thought that "sic semper tyrannis" meant "death to tyrants."  I learned this, as I imagine pretty much everyone else did, in reference to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. 

You too?  Yea, it was probably because that is what you were told repeatedly in school by a history or "social studies" teacher who didn't really know much about history and didn't care to learn anything outside the textbook.  It really means "thus always to tyrants" which I learned from the very enjoyable film, The Conspirator.  It is also the motto of the state of Virginia, an interesting fact that I think could have been thrown in to the lesson plans.  Before you get ahead of yourself, I don't think there has been a conspiracy to modify the meaning behind Booth's proclamation, but we do ourselves a disservice if we perpetuate this myth for another generation.   

Happy Birthday Bastiat's Corner

Well, I've made it one year.  My first post was November 1, 2011, and I have been annoying anyone who would listen ever since.  I have posted 57 times, and I'm sure I have more than twice as many typos.  I want everyone to know that I appreciate all of the readership and all of the comments I have received over the course of the year.  I would especially like to thank all of the people who have come once, thinking they were in for something interesting, stayed for 5 seconds and left.  I couldn't have done it without you. 

I would like to take just a moment to review some of my favorites from the year. 

  • How Can you Defend Capitalism - That one is pretty self-explanatory and was a quick, fun write.  
  • Helicopter Government - This was my first attempt to coin a term ... we're still waiting for it to take off.  Helicopter parents... paternalism...Helicopter Government.  Makes sense right?
  • Hegemony Christmas - It wouldn't be the holidays without a little word play.  By the way, I capitalize "united States" that way for a reason.  Clever huh?
  • Jamaica is a Harsh Mistress - My love affair with Robert Heinlein begins with the New Year.  That won't be the last we're hearing of him. 
  • I published a two-part series on Keynesian Fallacies.  I don't think I have gotten to quite all of them yet, so stay tuned.  
  • Change In Which We Can Believe - More uber clever word play and some awesome graphics. Spoiler Alert: It's gold!
  • I observed that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich would make an awesome, real-life Pinky and the Brain team. 
  • I tried to point out the core fallacy of central planning and became the subject of a douchey rant on a philosophy blog. Then I responded, pretty solidly I might add. 
  • I equated Warren Buffet to James Taggart. 
  • I stood up for the humble moonshiner
  • I laid into the Penny4NASA movement in a series of posts. 
  • I wrote a critically acclaimed (by which I mean one guy really liked it) piece on Mandatory Blood Donation following an afternoon on the donation cot.   
  • Heinlein showed up again, foreshadowing Cash for Clunkers in The Door Into Summer.
  • I wrote an article on the how to argue with liberals.  I misspelled "tenet" in the title, and the liberals on reddit had a good time with that.  
  • I tried to define capitalism my way - big mistake according to the comments. 
  • I wrapped up the year with a review of the new Atlas Shrugged movie

So thanks again for stopping by.  Here's to another year. 

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