Capitalism as an ‘unknown ideal’ continues to be demonstrated in our popular media and discussion shows daily. Common fallacies about both capitalism and variant forms of socialism persist.
Two recent on-line discussions featuring well-known personalities – one between Russell Brand and Candace Owens, and another between Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson – provided perfect samplings of how both those on the ‘left’ and ‘right’ share many of the same anti-capitalistic sentiments. These myths demand a response because when acted upon, undesirable consequences arise for all of us.
‘Capitalism’ has become the word used to describe the economic condition that arises in a political and social environment of freedom. It is the ‘economic dimension’ of freedom and is only made possible when freedom’s other dimensions are in place.
Unfortunately, the word ‘capitalism’ was effectively created by Karl Marx so as to turn the idea of capitalism into a ‘political’ concept, which, unlike socialism, it is not. Whereas capitalism operates on the economic principle of supply and demand (under freedom), socialism operates by fiat.
Socialism is the exercise of state control over the ‘supply and demand’ functions of the economy. Socialism is ideologically motivated by the very fallacies that persistently lead to a hatred of capitalism, fallacies that are increasingly being found in our popular discussions.
Confusion arises because whether under socialism or capitalism, government is a necessity. But the role of government with respect to the economy is radically different: Figuratively expressed, under capitalism government is the ‘referee,’ while under socialism government is a ‘player in the game.’
Ironically, the ‘bottom line’ on this seemingly ‘economic’ discussion is that it turns out not to be economic at all! In concluding that “morality and virtue” are ultimately responsible for the condition of freedom to arise, Ben Shapiro is among the few in the popular discussions who got it Just Right about capitalism as well.