America is Not Capitalist

Most people, when they think of a “capitalist system”, think of a relationship between established businesses and politicians — the two always scratching each other’s backs for unearned favors. Each gains favors from the other: The business person is allowed to survive and perhaps make more profit than he otherwise would make, in a free market; and the politician gets benefits such as taxes or being able to do favors for contributors that keep him in power. It all happens because the politician is given the right to initiate coercion against the business person, in exchange for the business person being given the right to sometimes (when the politician allows) initiate coercion against a competitor or some other private party. This is NOT capitalism. It’s true that this is what people call capitalism, but this isn’t capitalism. Capitalism consists of a system in which all property is privately owned (except for court houses and military bases) and all profits belong to those who gain them from people who voluntarily pay for their goods and/or services. Government is very important in a capitalist system, but in only one respect: To protect the property rights of everyone involved. Government does not “set the rules of the game” under capitalism, because those terms are negotiated between customer and business owner. This is not what we have in America today. What we have today might be termed “crony capitalism” which is another name for pseudo-capitalism. No, we’re not a dictatorship. But we’re not capitalist, either.