Capitalists love the term “free market” because embedded in the concept is relinquishing all moral responsibility for the ideal. The answer to the consequences of the “free market” is always it was not “free” enough. We in fact saw this fallacy in full bloom with the banks. Clearly a result of the extremities of an unregulated “free market” yet after the capitalists got their money, they tried to blame the bailouts on a distorted socialism.
A socialism that is devoid of historical context or meaning. A twisted distortion that equates both socialism and capitalism with what it isn’t. Socialism becomes equated with a Statism which it has no history of in the American context. Capitalism on the other hand always seem to invoke the libertarian free market discourse after it has robbed the taxpayers and refuses to take personal responsibility for its actions. Capitalism and Statism is the defining construct of the American experience, much more than any mythical socialism. Oh yes capitalism wants to be free from the chains of the state, but after it has used its power to rob the taxpayers and fix the game in its favor.
We are told it is the competition of the free market which will set us free. Government regulation is unnecessary and in fact harmful because the hyper rational agent through their immoral, self interest will create a competitive environment where capitalism’s best will rise to top. All of America’s capitalists were not too excited about letting the free market reign in regard to China. They expected the State to step in to protect all their innovation busting patents. These patents are anti-competitive by their nature and verge on unconstitutionality. Should a company get a patent for a “technology that allows people to share information”.
Capitalism by its very nature is anti-competitive, if we see competition as offering more choices. In the past two years of using Linux I have been given far more choices than I ever was using the Capitalists operating system. Unlike a Capitalstatist approach that needs a powerful legal apparatus to enforce draconian patents for propitiatory software that limits competition and consumer choice, Linux is based on an opensource model of software development.
In the truest sense it is socialist, by which I mean anti-capitalist and anti-statist. The code is not the property of an individual or company, but part of the commons. If the code is inferior and does not meet your needs you or developers are free to make it better. In this sense it is only in socialism one can have true competition – more personal choice. Since the code is part of the commons there is a very strong incentive to continue making your product better, if not you will be displaced.
In a twist of irony the promise of capitalism can only be realized in socialism.