INTERESTING QUESTION. I”LL TRY TO DO IT JUSTICE.
The west has been more ‘capitalist’ since its inception 4500 years ago, because it’s been more individualistic, and it’s property rights have been more widely distributed and therefore power has been distributed and balanced for most of our history. It’s also true that enfranchisement in those property rights has expanded and contracted along with prosperity. YOu had more under rome, and less under feudalism. More under english common law, and less under european napoleonic law. More in the 19th century and less today.
‘Capitalistic’ means that property rights are distributed. ‘Socialistic’ means that property rights are concentrated in the state. The concentration of large amounts of credit under a network of contracts is illogical and unnecessary under concentrated socialistic systems that we associate with totalitarian governments.
You could argue that the invention of Venetian accounting, followed by English and Dutch mercantilism is the origin of our modern political model, and that it was formalized into language by Smith, Hume, and the American Constitution.
Most people, I think, would argue that Napoleon created the nation state and the concept of ‘total war’ and that the system of credit that developed in response to the Napoleonic wars was the origin of our capitalist state.
Others would argue that the 20th century development of fiat money, fiat credit, the practice of regulating unemployment, and the state as the insurer of last resort was probably when we developed an institutional balance between capitalism, socialism and corporatism.
Most modern states are ‘capitalistic’ in that they use consumer capitalism and individual property rights to run their economies. Most modern states levy taxes and and redistribute those taxes under the social democratic thesis that we must have capitalism but we can abscond with a considerable amount of the profits people make, and treat those profits as common property, even if all property is held privately. Most modern states subsidize key industries as a means of creating an internationally competitive product that gives the country an economic advantage – this is corporatism.
When the socialist movements succeeded in Europe and Canada, they did not succeed in the USA – probably because we were the military and political center of western civilization in the post war period. Instead, the combination of the Vietnam war, the temporary economic rise of the proletariat due to the rest of the world’s economic collapse from the war, the increase in proletarian birth rates that gave us the 60’s and 70’s, the racial movement of the 60’s, feminism because of birth control, and various other factors led to a fracturing of american society that continues to effect us to this day.
It had become apparent that socialism had failed in theory (incentives and calculation) and as the 70’s progressed we learned that the great society programs ambitions were also a failure, so socialism was a failure in practice. And finally in the 90’s we saw the collapse of world communism and the universal adoption of consumer capitalism.
1) Starting in the 50’s progressives and liberals (socialists) began trying to develop a philosophical and political framework given that socialism was failing in theory, and because the american people were not ‘buying it’. This system of philosophy was called ‘postmodernism’. Postmodernism is an attempt to use the technique of monotheistic religious dogma to propagate falsehoods, that must be passionately treated as moral truths (equality, equality of outcome, relativity of morals except postmodern morals, relativity of cultures except western culture which is bad, and a dozen more.) Postmodernism and postmodernists have been successful and has effectively become the state religion in america. This is because it both sells goods and services, as well as promotes concentration of power in the state.
2) Staring in the 70’s conservatives and libertarians developed a series of strategies to combat socialism and postmodernism. This included what we see today in think tanks, policies, and ideologies. All of which were designed to combat the state.
These ideas fell into the following groups:
1) The most rigid was that the state would bankrupt capitalism, and destroy our traditional society if capitalists didn’t bankrupt the state first. This meant effectively hiring the corporations and financial empires by granting them privileges and protecting them from taxation. This approach has been successful – mostly, because Keynesian economic policy requires that the government use the financial sector to insert money into the economy, and the profit available to the financial sector provides them with the incentive to fight the state.
2) The more practical approach was to promote libertarian policy solutions to social democratic problems, which would accomplish redistribution without empowering the state and expanding its bureaucracy. This approach has been marginally successful. Most voucher systems or privatization in both Europe and America, were the result of these libertarian ideas.
3) The ancient approach has been used too. The purpose of organized religion is largely to oppose the state. As the state has grown, the more traditional segments of the populace have turned increasingly fundamentalist as a means of opposing the state. For ancient reasons, it is not possible in america to interfere with religion. And religions determine the limits of political power. So religious fervor has increased as a means of opposing the state’s attack on the nuclear family and traditional roles for men and women – and therefore the status signals available to people in nuclear families.
4) The marxists were extremely successful in promoting ideology instead of philosophy – ideology is a collection of statements for the purpose of obtaining power by appealing to emotions instead of reason. (This is, again, a tactic taken from the monotheistic religions.) The conservative and libertarian think tanks began promoting conservative and libertarian ideology, as well as launching news networks and talk radio shows as well as books and magazines. Ideology and religion are more effective than reason in a population because we are, in total, when voting, expressing our moral feelings, not our rational understanding.
Capitalist ideology (libertarian and aristocratic conservative) , and socialist ideology (postmodernism and democratic socialism) are opposing means of running a society and so we are constantly subjected to extremist arguments form both sized. Meanwhile we vote our morals. And our morals are almost entirely a reflection of our reproductive strategy. Since women have more in common in their reproductive strategy than do men, as the number of single women and single mothers increases, the vote continues to move to the socialistic (feminine) social model. However, immigration and the minioritization of the white population are causing a consolidation of parties into racial and gender distributions that are fairly predictable.
So most of it is noise.
It is not possible to have any means of production that is not capitalistic. Money and prices contain information and convey incentives that cannot be done in this level of complexity by other means. However, it is also true that it is possible to expropriate the profits from individuals and redistribute them while preserving the capitalist system of information and incentives.
Given that a population is small and heterogeneous enough, it appears that a combination of socialistic redistribution and capitalistic production is politically possible. However, heterogeneous societies resist redistribution and increase competition and friction in the state.
For this reason we will likely continue to have friction here in America until the demographic system plays out with white minority status, and likely some serious conflict at that point.
The capitalistic system evolved over thousands of years and is one of the primary reasons why the west, despite being small, poor, and on the fringe, developed rapidly both in its ancient and modern periods.
Today we are in less of a capitalistic system but capitalistic rhetoric is very high because of the minoritization of whites, and the opposition to the state.
Furthermore, regardless of rhetoric you will always live under a capitalistic system because it’s not possible to coordinate a complex division of knowledge and labor without capitalism.
I hope this helps provide some clarity amidst the nonsense we are subject to every day.
The Propertarian Institute