Unpacking my economic beliefs

18 thoughts
last posted March 8, 2015, 1:12 p.m.

A recent discussion on Twitter cemented the fact that I need to stop using the word "capitalism" to describe my economic beliefs. The problem with it is that the ideal of capitalism that I actually believe in (the "voluntary exchange of goods and services for mutual benefit") doesn't exist in the real world.

Capitalism as it exists today sees money as an end rather than a means, and deliberately ignores the structural power disparities that hinder the existence of true "voluntary exchange". In particular, a lot of powerful capitalists try to paint the "voluntary" part as meaning that there shouldn't be any regulation of markets (whether in labour or in anything else), thus leaving the field open for predatory capitalism where the rich get richer and existing power structures are further entrenched rather than challenged.

17 later thoughts