Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In Praise of “Free Market” Capitalism

There is a well accepted economic fiction among the elites who make up the MMIC (media military industrial complex) that the United States represents the paragon of free market capitalism, meaning that markets are unhindered by regulations/inhibitions from any source; instead the so-called law of supply and demand are said to determine the cost of goods and services vis a vis market forces. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is not one legally recognized industry in the US which operates exclusively by free market principles. Virtually every one is regulated in some fashion and or is the recipient of federal/state funded corporate welfare or special treatment. Protestations by those who vociferously champion free market capitalism not withstanding, the United States currently has no legal free markets and in fact guarantees many monopolies which accrue primarily to the benefit of the elite financial class.

Equally fictitious is the notion that our nation practices or is enhanced by “free-trade.” The free trade agreements which this country has entered into over the past 15 years have been extremely costly to American industry, middle class and poor American’s (in terms of lost jobs) and to foreign workers who have become the equivalent of indentured servants/slave laborers while corporate internationalists become richer at their expense. Not only is this type of arrangement costly, it is demonstrably immoral. Free-trade so constituted amounts to legalized theft. Workers are being subjected to having their wages and livelihoods stolen and or destroyed.

Too many “free-trader’s” argue that the Wal Mart effect [of losing American jobs to foreign (sweat shop) labor] is responsible for keeping consumer prices low thus benefiting the poor and middle class. Apparently the reasoning is that even though millions of American’s have lost the jobs which once provided an adequate standard of living, they should be satisfied since they can now pay less for needed purchases. It should be unnecessary to state that if one has a minimum wage job or none at all, the Wal Mart effect is of little consolation. The only group(s) which has clearly benefited at no risk from the current “free-trade” agreements is the corporate internationalists.

Totally free market capitalism while not even a good idea in theory (at least from a moral perspective due to its inherent lack of concern for the financially challenged who still require the goods necessary for human flourishing) has never been successfully applied in practice. So-called constitutional democratic republics which attempt to construct free markets; always (due to the nature of majority rule [either by absolute number or monetarily]) end up creating oligopolies in which only a select few truly benefit financially and to an unjust degree. It is way past time for poor and middle class Americans to register their displeasure with the status quo. A good start could be made by addressing relevant concerns to the 2008 presidential candidates.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert