CAPITALISM’S PERSUASION PROBLEM

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Fact: in politics, rhetoric is more persuasive than truth. I know you know this already.

 

This fact is especially troubling for Libertarians and other political groups that favor free market Capitalism because understanding the benefits of the free market takes time and effort.

Capitalism is often counterintuitive, it requires blind faith in the capabilities of mankind, it goes against desirable and emotionally satisfying worldviews, and it admits tough and sometimes undesirable realities.

 

Convincing people to vote for laissez faire policies and politicians is an uphill climb. To demonstrate, here is a list of premises one must probably concur with to view Capitalism in a positive light. I will present each premise somewhat cynically in order to demonstrate how negatively they are subject to being perceived.

  1. Invisible Hand/Spontaneous Order-There is no plan. You just have to wait. Things will work themselves out.
  2. Innovation-There is no need to commission an agency as a public good to solve problems. People will just do it. Don’t let your lack of imagination hinder the imaginations of others.
  3. Market Forces– There is no need to dictate which businesses should survive and which should fail. The best ones will survive, and the worst ones will fail. It’ll just happen eventually.
  4. Winners and Losers– Some people will succeed, and others will fail. It’s a competition like any other.
  5. Equality is Useless– We’re not going to be equal. Stop looking in your neighbor’s bowl, and start filling yours.
  6. Competition is Good– We shouldn’t play nice. We should battle each other for customers and resources.
  7. You Might Lose Your Job– The economy will shift from time to time. That means you might have to shift too. Keeping you permanently employed holds everyone back.
  8. Risk is Good– You are not safe, and you should never feel comfortable. It is vital that you are at risk to become impoverished or die.
  9. No Free Lunches- If you received something at no cost to yourself, and it was not given to you directly and voluntarily, you are complicit in thievery. You either earn or steal.
  10. Your Help Hurts-Whenever you try to create a system to take care of people, you wind up weakening them. Your systems cause immaturity, idiocy, and perversion.
  11. Greed is Good- Individuals wanting more for themselves and being allowed to pursue their desires is the only way to create wealth sustainably. The desire for material goods and security drives improvements in the populace’s quality of life, not compassion.
  12. Rich People Should Keep Their Money- Being mean to rich people hurts poor people. Being nice to them makes everyone richer.
  13. The Rich Contribute the Most- The reason rich people have money is because they add the most value to the most people’s lives. If you wind up with a lot, you’ve brought about a lot of satisfaction. If you wind up with nothing, you haven’t satisfied anyone.
  14. Sentimental Value Doesn’t Pay the Bills-It doesn’t matter how much you care about something. If it’s only value is sentiment, it will only provide you with a wealth of emotion. You need to add monetary value to incur money.
  15. Sharing is Bad- We shouldn’t share public goods or property. Private ownership is the only way.
  16. We Should Change the Environment- The environment is a violent and murderous villain. We have to alter and rearrange it to better suite ourselves.
  17. There is No Social Justice-Populations will never mirror each other. There is no reason for racial, gender, or random groups to be represented equally or to share equal outcomes.
  18. It’s Your Fault-You are going to make mistakes and miss opportunities. There is no one to blame for this but you. Find a mirror.
  19. Not Everyone Agrees with You-Unless other people like your ideas, they are not going to work out. You have to satisfy or create demand, not dictate it.
  20. The World is an Imperfect Place-Some people will work really hard, play by all the rules, and fail. And that’s that.

 

Juxtapose this to a Socialist like Bernie Sanders saying we can have free healthcare, education, and social security paid for by greedy, evil rich people. Who is generally going to win the crowd’s favor in that debate?

 

The irony is that the honesty free marketers value so highly is the very thing that holds us back. If we were comfortable lying like Socialists, we’d be violating our principles. Maintaining the principle of honesty and persuading the masses are generally mutually exclusive.

 

In my next post, I will try to explain these premises in a more convincing and lighthearted manner while also being perfectly honest. I believe this is necessary if we ever want our movement to grow and appeal to a larger audience.

 

https://howtocureyourliberalism.com/

Comments

The Burghal Hidage Added Jul 8, 2017 - 1:27pm
All true. Well said. 
 
Liberalism is entirely rooted in emotion, logic means nothing to them. Only their version of logic can be right.  The whole world would do well with a heavy dose of Social Darwinism. It's the only way you'll convince enough that they've been swallowing a lot of lies.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 8, 2017 - 4:46pm
Capitalism is necessary to grow the economy and pay a country's bills, even Russia and China eventually understood this.  Of course, we need to make improvements to help more people, but capitalism is still the foundation.
John G Added Jul 8, 2017 - 5:19pm
Capitalism is a class system that requires state intervention and there is no such thing as a free market.
John G Added Jul 8, 2017 - 6:06pm
Modern day 'libertarians' are religious zealots. To wit, your assertions above are presented as facts whereas they are contentious assertions at best. 
John G Added Jul 9, 2017 - 3:32am
It is vital that you are at risk to become impoverished or die.
That says it all about the mind set of libertoonians. The useful idiots of the oligarchy.
Bill Caciene Added Jul 9, 2017 - 8:19am
Good list but I don’t like what you said about greed.  Greed is a sin.  Accordingly greed is not good.  The problem is that people seem to believe that the desire to make as much money as possible or to maximize profit is evidence of greed.  In a capitalist country, that’s evidence of success.
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 9, 2017 - 11:24am
John, in my introduction I very clearly say, "here is a list of premises one must probably concur with to view Capitalism in a positive light." Please work on your reading skills before you comment next time.
 
Bill, fair points. But as I said in my introduction, "I will present each premise somewhat cynically in order to demonstrate how negatively they are subject to being perceived." My intention was to follow this piece up with a more persuasive explanation for each item, but I wound up doing it on my podcast instead. Here's the link if you are interested:
 
https://www.spreaker.com/user/howtocureyourliberalism/episode-8-capitalisms-persuasion-problem
Micahel Dolan Added Jul 9, 2017 - 11:51am
The Failing America;;
Hussein Obama whose phony dreams-transforming America. His phony dreams and aspirations exposed him as a small-man a mile wide yet less than an inch deep totally possessed with delusions of grandeur.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 9, 2017 - 4:50pm
Glenn, the more capitalism looks like a "rigged game" the less attractive it looks. Things such as buying insurance on investments that someone else owns, or taking a loss in a certain market to force a competitor out of business then when you own that market raising prices drastically, or asking the government to bail you out when you make poor investment decisions while you pay the people that made those decisions millions of dollars, all make capitalism look bad.
Please don't get me wrong, I think capitalism has built the greatest economies ever, but there are a few things that need to be watched and regulated, otherwise the "capitalists" will set up a game where they get rich and everyone else gets poor.  I put "capitalists" in quotes because the people that do such things aren't really the "capitalists" that they claim to be. Capitalism is fine, but the government has to be the referee, calling fouls and cheap shots when they occur.
More and more people rationalize that when they win, it was fair, and when they lose, it was not fair. Unfortunately, some of the people who take the measures to be fair end up losing to those who see no fairness, only winning and losing. There are people who I know that have the mentality that when they win it was fair, no matter what. I'm especially brutal with those folks, because no matter how fair they claim to be, they would screw their mother for a dime.
George N Romey Added Jul 9, 2017 - 5:04pm
Jeff its human nature to want to game the system.  Its been that way since the dawn of commercialism.  Therefore the system needs a referee.  The problem is that referees just as professional sports show are never 100% reliable or even unbiased.  When that happens in business and government people want to just throw out the refs. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 9, 2017 - 5:13pm
Precisely my sentiments George. I would love to rig the game, but I have never had enough power to do so, as well as the values and morals I was taught to be fair with everyone that have always kept me from playing unfairly. But the rigged game isn't capitalism, it is elitism.
John G Added Jul 9, 2017 - 5:20pm
Unrestrained capitalism is failing the many. PR ain't going to convince people anymore.
That's why the woeful 'centrist' Dems message of incrementalism and 'reform' is a losing strategy.
The left is coming back.
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 9, 2017 - 7:03pm
Jeff, bailouts are what I would call cronyism or corporatism, not Capitalism, and definitely not free market/laissez-faire Capitalism.
 
Capitalism can be used to mean "an economic system in which turning a profit is the main goal," which would fit some of what you described. But free market Capitalism is simply when the means of production are privately owned and private owners can exchange property freely. It's up to individuals to decide what's most important to them, hence voluntary exchange.
 
I don't believe that Capitalism is perfect (nothing is), but I think it's the most moral and most efficient system despite its flaws.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 9, 2017 - 7:34pm
Yes, Glenn I have at least one essay here on WB about crony capitalism, where the super-rich make deals to make even more money and insist that they are capitalists. Inside trading and sweetheart deals are not capitalism, as they are not, as defined, free markets at all, but captive markets that are not driven by the market forces at all.
John G Added Jul 9, 2017 - 9:06pm
Capitalism has nought to do with 'free markets' whatever they may be. Capitalism is about accumulation through monopolisation.
Mike Haluska Added Jul 13, 2017 - 12:27pm
Glenn -
 
Excellent article!  John G criticizes capitalism because he thinks it leads to "monopolies".  His solution?  Let the government seize everything and have one GIANT MONOPOLY run by politicians.  See Venezuela to find out how that turned out.
Mike Haluska Added Jul 17, 2017 - 4:06pm
Jeff - excellent point!  Here's another - Wall Street is NOT the US economy!  Wall Street is simply a means of trading assets (stocks & bonds) and when it comes to Futures Trading is also a casino disguised as a financial institution.  As far as I am concerned the only true wealth creating function of Wall Street is raising capital through IPO's.  The rest of their activity is a Zero Sum game.
Mike Haluska Added Jul 18, 2017 - 10:40am
Jeff - I agree with your sentiments about "rigging the game".  To me, the satisfaction of going to work, doing a good job, keeping your word is more important than "winning at any cost".  In my mind it would be like Don Corleone winning the Masters golf tournament by having Luca Brazi threatening every golfer.  Do you really think you accomplished something if you cheated to get it???