Too much capitalism kills capitalism
Free market, as with all economic theory, is based on a general philosophy. That general philosophy is that human greed, left unchecked, will be the motor of societal development to extends that are more efficient, and therefore more beneficial to humanity than competing economic theories. The development model could be summarized as:
- Increase individual freedom as much as possible
- Increase market freedom as much as possible
The roadmap is pretty straightforward but it is extremely resented by governing administration that have, since the night of the ages, tended to go against point 1 and 2 with all the might they could muster.
However, administrations that have followed this roadmap have usually seen an increase in the size of their economies and an increase in the level of comfort of its population. In turn it makes said administration more powerful so it's a pretty good selling point. Most importantly, under the right conditions of freedom, people can't seem to help coming up with new moneymaking ideas that sometimes takes humanity one notch further on the scale of innovation and development. Capitalists have invented stuff like cars, telephone and computers.
And indeed, capitalism seems to have shouldered the most intense period of progress that the earth has ever witnessed. It is often credited for the success of the development model that currently prevails around the world. But it might be that this steep development line that draws itself on the chart of humanity is the beginning of a bell curve. That capitalism, implemented the way it is now, generates strong innovation in its infancy, but reaches a limit after which it will plummet.
Great fortunes are made out of great ideas. Some of the inventors that brought humanity to a new level of development are still some of the richest entities in the world. Bell, Toyota, Apple... On the other hand, some of the poster-capitalists haven't contributed much to the progress of humanity. I could cite Microsoft, Wal-Mart, BP (or anything in oil), Goldman Sacks (or anything in finance)... But in both cases, actual innovators or not, there are good evidences that, as of today, those capitalistic mastodons are seriously slowing down the development of humanity.
Why would they do that? Well, because sometimes, it is profitable for them to do so. Successful capitalists tend to end up owning the market that they took on. They find themselves in the position of writing some of the rules of the market. They sometimes even find themselves in the position of having laws written that will confort their dominance. They almost always find themselves in the position of being able to crush an innovating competitor before he becomes too big to be a threat to their profit margins. And, really, what's going to prevent them from taking advantage of that position ? Conscience ? Capitalism is based on greed, remember. Being greedy is what a capitalist is good at. Taking advantage of a situation is what he does for a living. So these big names will invariably use their weight to keep their hold onto what they consider their market, trampling the development of humanity along the way.
What can we do to make sure humanity is not slowed down by the very actors of its development? So far, the answer has been in regulation from governments. Now, if you've got a good buffer, you probably remember from the beginning of the article that the base condition for a working capitalism is freedom from government regulation. So we find ourself in a strange position of having to save capitalism with its greatest arch-enemy. As you can guess, it's a pretty explosive mix. Remember that those big fuckers are usually in the position of having laws written for them. So planning on using the law to tame them is at best foolish. What usually happens once the idea that government regulation as a tool to make capitalism better is accepted is laws that end up crushing the innovating competition instead of keeping the dino-capitalist in check.
As example for laws passed by mechapitalists to protect their billions from innovation: any law related to curbing copying a product sold by a capitalissimo. Whether they are pop CDs (anti-piracy laws), patented drugs or trademarked items (Louis Vuitton being the superhero of anality here). Those regulation might sound normal to you because they've existed for so long and have been propagandized as "good things" by the trusts and the government that answer to them, but they are as anti-capitalist as you can get. They thoroughly violate the concept of a free market, where anyone making a similar but better product than you would naturally prevail. Capitalism doesn't concern itself with who was first, only with who's better.
And we've reached a point nowadays when any time some cool kid in a garage invents some pretty fucking great new stuff, we almost expect jackbooted thugs hired by some big corporate bastard to bust in, break everything and scare the kid into submission. "Jackbooted thugs" is just an image, they are usually wearing costumes and beat the crap out of the kid in courtrooms. With the very laws they have had their pal in the Parliament pass for the day they might need it to drive an innovator into the ground. The result is the same however, innovation is stifled, the cigar-touting obese businessman with an ugly evil face that we usually picture at the head of the megacorp can keep making billions, muah ha ha.
The next step
We have reached that point, when the capitalists are doing more harm than good. When the general philosophy thought out by venerable Adam Smith reaches its limit and might soon start plummeting. More government regulation will not cure capitalism, it will only make society rot further. We need some sort of paradigm shift around here.
Thank god, there are many innovative general philosophies for economic theories for us to experiment with. Neat stuff made by witty philosophers that leverage the stuff that we have (internet, y'know...) and that are totally new. We just need to try some of the good looking ones, and they might snowball. That is, if the government-capitalists league let us. Because, you know, they are in the position of crushing the emergence of a new economic theory that would be better than capitalism.
Enough already with blog articles?