Question for Democracy@Work’s Richard Wolff: Libertarian-leaning people have asked, ‘Why criticize capitalism, as if it really existed in the US?’
Click here to listen to the audio answer to this question. 

Some people with a Libertarian-bent have written into the program and said: “You shouldn’t criticize capitalism as if it really existed because, in the United States we don’t really have capitalism, a real capitalism would be small enterprises and the government wouldn’t be saving any of them. We would have little businesses struggling against one another and that would be real capitalism.” 
My response to that is: Look, it’s a nice idea, but it has never existed. We’ve never had that kind of capitalism. And I understand what you’re saying (that we don’t have it now) and you’re right. But there’s a reason that we’ve never had it - it’s not workable. Capitalists have always turned to the government to help them, and they’ve always gotten governments to help them. And they’ve used those governments to help them. And when capitalists compete with each other, you know what usually happens? Some of them win, and others lose. And the ones that lose go out of business and when they go out of business, their workers get jobs with the ones who won and become bigger and over time capitalism eventually erases itself; many become few. We once had fifty car companies, now we have three or four. We once had a thousand cigarette companies, now we have two or three. There’s a reason this happens this way and going back to an earlier capitalism is partly going back to a fantasy and partly trying to go back to something which never existed and when we had something roughly like it, it self destructed and built the big corporations we live with now. So we gotta deal with that rather than imagining going backwards.  

Question for Democracy@Work’s Richard WolffLibertarian-leaning people have asked, ‘Why criticize capitalism, as if it really existed in the US?’

Click here to listen to the audio answer to this question. 

Some people with a Libertarian-bent have written into the program and said: “You shouldn’t criticize capitalism as if it really existed because, in the United States we don’t really have capitalism, a real capitalism would be small enterprises and the government wouldn’t be saving any of them. We would have little businesses struggling against one another and that would be real capitalism.” 

My response to that is: Look, it’s a nice idea, but it has never existed. We’ve never had that kind of capitalism. And I understand what you’re saying (that we don’t have it now) and you’re right. But there’s a reason that we’ve never had it - it’s not workable. Capitalists have always turned to the government to help them, and they’ve always gotten governments to help them. And they’ve used those governments to help them. And when capitalists compete with each other, you know what usually happens? Some of them win, and others lose. And the ones that lose go out of business and when they go out of business, their workers get jobs with the ones who won and become bigger and over time capitalism eventually erases itself; many become few. We once had fifty car companies, now we have three or four. We once had a thousand cigarette companies, now we have two or three. There’s a reason this happens this way and going back to an earlier capitalism is partly going back to a fantasy and partly trying to go back to something which never existed and when we had something roughly like it, it self destructed and built the big corporations we live with now. So we gotta deal with that rather than imagining going backwards.  

  1. twofistin reblogged this from shesawtheblog and added:
    Let’s have a Distributist debate. 'You're a usurer!' 'No You're a usurer!'
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  7. atinyhedgehog reblogged this from thepeoplesrecord and added:
    This is the sort of stuff I should probably be saying to Libertarians instead of just calling them idiots
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  11. sexselector reblogged this from thepeoplesrecord and added:
    There’s no way to have a “libertarian debate”. Debates aren’t named for characteristics of the debaters. They are named...
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