Now here is the flipside of the coin.  Those of you living in the United States, do NOT have a capitalist economy.  Capitalism is meant to be self correcting, absent any regulation.  Market entities that misbehave or act contrary to the market would be automatically culled from the market.  An inability to adapt to market conditions, new products and innovations, or over spending, over borrowing, or extreme risk are all factors that contradict the market.  Markets are inherently risk averse, and the word itself "market" implies goods and services.  The way banks and Wall Street act are contrary to this idea.  They don't produce anything.  They bet.  And not only do they bet, but they bet using several hundred times their own market capitalization.  In laymens' terms, they use a hell of a lot more money than they have to wager on which way the market is going to go.

        Betting in an inherently risk averse environment is simply stupid.  And wagering more money than you have, given this, is even more stupid.  But the market should correct themselves in the cases when the bets go bad.  In the case of the 2008 crash, there were dozens of companies that simply should have ceased to exist.  They should have gone broke, and a lot of jobs would have been lost.  A lot of money would have been lost.  But the market correction would have likely prevented this from happening again.  Regulatory agencies (which ideally should not be necessary since the market would have corrected itself), should have stepped in and prosecuted those responsible.  The moment large corporate entities cease to be subject to market forces the economy becomes less and less capitalist, which is to say free market.

            Another good example of this is corporations that seek to control their competition.  Fast food chains have infiltrated every level of the production sector, all they way down to the cattle farms where the beef is raised.  What they do is use their control over the production chain to dilute the base product.  In the case of hamburgers, they have become so saturated with chemicals and flavoring agents that the end product is barely edible (and not at all edible for many).  But since there are no real competitors, the chains can afford to bottom out the price and continue to sell a product that is not only bad for you, but present a serious health risk.  Capitalism, when allowed to prosper correctly, allows for the best products to be produce in furtherance of competition, not despite it.  There was a time when chains raced to create a better burger.  Now they only compete to create a cheaper and more addictive one.

      Finally, another element that undermines a free market economy is the stock market.  In todays market, the value of stock is determined almost exclusively by a companies' "earnings".  I put that word in quotes because earnings does not mean how much a company makes in a given quarter.  What it really means is how much a company has now, compared to what it had 3 months ago.  This money could conceivable come from anywhere.  In the case of electronics companies, they sent millions of jobs to China in order to produce their products more cheaply.  The result was a noticeably decline in the quality of electronics across the board.  The companies that are producing the products are falling into the same trap.  Once the market for specific products becomes saturated, they either have to increase the price of labor or find some other means of reducing costs.  Otherwise their profits would stagnate.

     The idea of the Evil Communist Empire has become so embedded in our consciousness that the people who truly seek to subjugate us have gotten us to do their dirty work for us.  Communism, or even Unitarian government structures (like the USSR) are so unpalatable to the American taste buds that there is no way any of us would accept it as a means of government or economy.  But the masters of the, so called, free market are also masters of marketing.  They have taken a completely different form of totalitarianism and dressed it up as the "free market".  They have plied us with cheap (though unhealthy) food, inexpensive lifestyles, and discount nobility.  Every American has become so averse to Communism that we despise anything collective, even effort (with the exception of Unions, which is another post altogether).  So what we have is a society of individuals. 300 million tyrants replete with shifting allegiances and temporary alliances.

         The fact remains that too much of anything is bad.  Our economy has passed the free market setting on the guage decades ago, if it ever was one.  We are more and more becoming subjects of what I call Mercantile Totalitarianism.  Collectively we are the market, but as individuals we are the product and the consumer.  As fewer and fewer people control more and more of the countries' wealth, we become more and more beholding to a market that we no longer have a say in.  Does anyone else find it odd that our lack of participation in government has lead to leader who no longer care what we think?  And at the same time our willingness to accept the garbage that corporations peddle to us is interpreted by corporate executives as a tacit acceptance of sub-standard products?  What about the negation of free market forces through trillion dollar bail outs?

        To sum this up, corporations have been gradually infiltrating sectors of economy and government and becoming "too big to fail".  This means that our economy has become so reliant on these corporations that if real market correction were to take place, the country would be hurt irrevocably by it.  Politicians, concerned about the impact this could have on their political (and actual) coffers, as well as their re-election chances, stave off the market wolves.  In effect, these corporations are holding the country hostage.  Meanwhile, mega-retailers are driving wages down, and manufacturing are sending jobs elsewhere.  This leaves the American people at the mercy of corporations and elected officials alike.  As the process continues, our country will begin to look like the thing that we've been told to fear, what USSR and China really are:  A political and economic oligarchy where only the very select few have any agency at all.

About the author
J. Austin Yoshino
Author: J. Austin Yoshino
That's what I do; I read and I know things.
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