Would you trade cooperative enterprise for ‘capitalism?’ Pt 1

Part One of Two

If ‘capitalism’ was founded on voluntary, uncoerced trade, then how did it become ‘dog eat dog competition’ that most people regard as abhorrent? Did capitalism fail or was it forced? If so, by whom and for what purpose? Is ‘capitalism’ a problem or a victim?

Capitalism, originated in America and permitted the greatest moral and materialistic advances in all human history, bar none. Its core tenet was ‘voluntary, uncoerced trade’ without interference. It liberated Man from drudgery, enabled advancement, enlivened thought, invention and prosperity. From education through science and the humanities, to Mans health, longevity and prosperous advancement, no other principle of trade has excelled in all history!


What is the principle of trade? 

A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He deals with men by means of a free, voluntary, unforced, uncoerced exchange—an exchange which benefits both parties by their own independent judgment. A trader does not expect to be paid for his defaults, only for his achievements. He does not switch to others the burden of his failures, and he does not mortgage his life into bondage to the failures of others. —Source [emphasis mine]

Trade, is the moral principle of voluntary value exchange based on justice. Free trade can only exist when there is no ‘third party interference;’ i.e. rules, regulations and statute laws that regulate and control trade.

Capitalism’s ruin

Capitalism did not fail. ‘Third party interference’ utterly destroyed it! Government grasped that capitalism had to be destroyed, else its despotic rule over Man would be ended! Their evil attacks succeeded, way beyond their wildest dreams!

By inserting itself as ‘middle-man,’ Government imposed inescapable restrictions so to control and tax every incentive and every profit on both sides of all trading equations. In other words. they ‘stole’ from every trade, at every step, through product design, manufacture, packaging, marketing, distribution and retailing; adding a consumption tax on completion.

Traders fell for this underhanded trick. Suppliers stupidly believed that if other suppliers in ‘their market’ were penalised in some way, such would advance their own business and greater profits would ensue. With that acceptance, they signed their own death warrant.

Government grasped their acceptance of interference and amplified it. Minimum wage rates, regulated trading hours, different tax rates, penalty rates, import taxes, and a thousand other regulations drove wedges between different segments of each and every market. ‘Dog eat dog competition’ proliferated.

Capitalism’s annihilation

Two factors drove the (supposed) demise of capitalism.

  1. Competition amongst suppliers replaced (market) cooperation between suppliers and consumers. Capitalism’s focus was immorally switched, from its market, to its competitors, and has not recovered to this day!
  2. Focus was also switched from a moral system to a monetary system. The moral core of ‘capitalism’ never gained traction, thus was utterly destroyed and has not recovered to this day!

This last was exactly what the evil-minded market imposter intended. It succeeded. Suppliers pay dearly for this interference. Products and services are no longer what the market wants, necessarily, but are instead what results from suppliers battling with needless regulatory constraints.

Market research, properly commissioned to learn what the market wants, becomes little more than wasted effort, and expense.

Glimpse these simple truths, begin to question, and the ‘evils of capitalism’ will be thrust in your face. Industry and commerce is cutthroat, you will be told. It’s a viscous world, everyone striving to beat competitors into the ground. Increase sales. Boost productivity. Undercut competitors. Beat last month’s sales or you’re fired. Be ever thankful for government import tariffs, different tax rates, free trade agreements, licensing requirements and so forth; meaning this is ‘capitalism,’ get used to it!

Capitalism’s renaissance

That is not capitalism! Its purported evils are one of the most blatant lies in all human history. Its foundation is another story. 

America’s founding ideal was the principle of individual rights. Nothing more—and nothing less. The rest—everything that America achieved, everything she became, everything “noble and just,” and heroic, and great, and unprecedented in human history—was the logical consequence of fidelity to that one principle. The first consequence was the principle of political freedom, i.e., an individual’s freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by the government. The next was the economic implementation of political freedom: the system of capitalism. —Source:

Having smashed the ‘principle of political freedom’ and inserted cutthroat competition in its place, it is now almost universally “believed“ that capitalism is evil. ‘Capitalism’ has been falsely branded ever since, yet that claim is utterly false.

The ‘principle of political freedom’ and its implementation as capitalism, has not changed one bit! Both remain as vital, and as vibrant as ever they were!

What changed instead? Mans agreement. Man has collectively agreed third party (political) intervention in what would otherwise be free, uncoerced trade. Free trade’ agreements between nations are ‘permissions, licences, registrations, rules, artificial contrivances between “national governments” who produce no products or services whatsoever. They are not ‘freedoms.”

Morality’s renaissance

What should Man have agreed instead of political interference? A politic that fully protects (free, uncoerced) trade, one that upholds the moral principle of capitalism, such as to absolutely forbid any interference in its (voluntary, uncoerced) lawful mechanism. In short, a moral politic, supportive of mutually agreed value exchange, absent any/all (interloper) interference.

Within every category of goods and services offered on a free market, it is the purveyor of the best product at the cheapest price who wins the greatest financial rewards in that field, not automatically nor immediately nor by fiat, but by virtue of the free market, which teaches every participant to look for the objective best within the category of his own competence, and penalizes those who act on irrational considerations. –Source

Money is a medium of voluntary, uncoerced exchange; no more and no less. Money is a ‘medium,’ a tool, an (intermediary) instrument for mutually exchanging value for value. It has no extrinsic value, save scarcity and availability of the medium itself; such problem readily overcome by mutually choosing a different medium or tool of exchange.

Nonetheless, Man lost the plot entirely. Regulation and coercion did not smash capitalism, instead it intruded upon voluntary value exchange so as to force expenses that did not ordinarily exist. Thus commerce and industry was stripped of the values it created and forced to grapple with pseudo values based on falsity and fraud. Small wonder that an army of people now beg to be rid of money.

Sadly, they’ve lost the plot also. Having swallowed the ‘capitalism is evil’ pill, they concur that money is evil, love of money is evil, and that money must be eliminated therefore! Disciples of this notion have all missed the vital lesson.

Exactly as the ‘principle of political freedom’ and its progeny of ‘capitalism’ survives untainted in theory, but not in practice, so the principle of voluntary, uncoerced value exchange only survives in theory.

What’s needed is a renaissance in true value exchange, absent third party interference. Easier said than done, but vital nonetheless.


Go to Part Two

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© Ken Bartle 2016