Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A common misconception

Larger text provided via recommendation of Shawn. :^)

One of the most infuriating things for an aspiring capitalist pig like myself is the fact that far too many people confuse capitalism--and free markets--with mercantalism and other variants of fascism, the "bundling" of the state and private enterprise.

One of the chief ways that the debate is misrepresented is when the managerial class presents itself as entrepreneurs or "bourgeois pigs." Let's compare the historical "bourgeoisie" with the modern manager and see if this holds.

The historic root of the word "bourgeois" is the French word for "castle," "bourg." The Bourgeoisie were those who conducted their business nearly in the shadow of the prince's castle, and their needs from the prince were few; protection from those who would steal their livelihood being chief. In putting their own resources (capital) at risk, they transformed medieval Europe.

In contrast, corporate managers are "hirelings", using the company's resources to reduce risk, preserve market share and too often to extract favors from government. This should not surprise us; the very core of socialism and fascism is, of course, the idea that someone else ought to manage our lives for us.

8 comments:

Shawn said...

USE BIGGER TEXT, DAMMIT!!!

Shawn said...

...as I said on my blog; yes, managers MAY be different than the true financial backers of a particular business, the risk takers, the "aspiring capitalist pigs", but they may be the same thing.

That doesn't mean that there still couldn't be a confusion of mercantilism with free market economies, but simply equating a manager with a 'capitalist pig' doesn't necessarily have to confuse the issue.

Not all managers are capitalists, and not all capitalists are managers.

Bike Bubba said...

What I'm objecting to, Shawn, is not your post as much as I object to hirelings making the claim that giving their companies a public subsidy amounts to capitalism.

Shawn said...

huh...okay; show me how that's happening, somewhere, so I can better understand.

I really am thinking about getting a grad degree in economics. This stuff is fascinating.

Bike Bubba said...

Look at any government funded ballpark, or...the Mall of America, which is built on the site where the Twinkies used to play before the Homer-Dome was built.

http://moacmap.atomicplaypen.net/DAM_public/5715.pdf

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/03/21/mall/

http://www.startribune.com/562/v-print/story/1124681.html

http://www.scsuscholars.com/labels/Mall%20of%20America.html

See also www.johntaylorgatto.com

Shawn said...

wtf is up with that johntaylorgatto dude?

I spent 25 seconds there, and smelled conspiracy theory EVERYWHERE.

Bike Bubba said...

More or less, he's chosen an ugly web format. I encourage you to read some of his work. Failing that, you can take a look at other peoples' histories of government education, and you'll find more or less the same thing; that the creation of factory workers requires something quite different than what home education or the one room schoolhouse provides.

Specifically, it requires Prussian-style indoctrination. Try to get past the format & check his sources. Sometimes people really do "breathe together" for a purpose.

Marklark said...

I agree with the first comment! (though not it's particular phraseology :^)