Friday, 16 March 2018

But is it capitalism?

[Hat tip Prodos]


  1. Where on this chart would you put a definition of Capital? I don't think the horribly bastardised currency circulating (esp. since the 1970s) can still be called Capital. Chinese funny money seems to rule out being called Capitalism as well

    1. D'you mean "capital" or "capitalism"?

      1. The simplest definition of capital is probably "wealth reproductively employed."

      That said, it is certainly important to distinguish between so-called 'human capital' and 'social capital' (which are more metaphors than real things) and money capital and capital goods. And to recognise that capital has a structure, as per Menger's definition of capital as a “hierarchical, organised, structural combination of goods to produce other goods.”

      So in that sense, China is certainly capital-ist.

      2. Dictionary definition of capitalism is simply "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state." A more 'causal' definition (Ayn Rand's) is "a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."

      So in that sense, China at the macro scale at least is very much not capitalist.

      3. Funny money? That would be a bogus claim on existing goods and services. That itself seems to be everywhere; and is presently undercutting capitalism, just as Karl Marx and Maynard Keynes said it would.

      That probably doesn't help. But it might. :-)


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