Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wall Street Protests

I listened to a radio piece about the recent Wall Street protests that are spreading primarily around the U.S. and somewhat in other countries as well. One speaker repeatedly made reference to “global capitalism” and the problems it causes. I suspect that I agree to some degree with the speaker, but he and I have different definitions of “capitalism”.

A key part of capitalism is competition. We have capitalism when a market has many producers and consumers and no one participant or colluding group of participants dominates the market. This definition automatically precludes anything that is too big to fail.

Just because a company is in the private sector doesn’t mean that its actions are automatically capitalistic. In fact, the goal of most companies is to grow to dominate their markets and manipulate prices to destroy competitors and undermine real capitalism.

If we really had capitalism worldwide with governments setting sensible rules concerning product safety and other public concerns, we’d be much better off than we are right now. I’d like to see the current wave of protests make some positive changes. However, rather than eliminate capitalism, I like to see it restored.

1 comment:

  1. I would say that global capitalism has lead to the loss of most of our good middle class manufacturing jobs. I'm sure that plays into people getting angry at wallstreet. It all started going downhill when we entered 'free trade'. A nation that produces nothing can't survive. Where would Canada be if we weren't resource rich?