October 30, 2011
After initially disagreeing with me (by defending the idea that capitalism is fundamentally about “private ownership of the means of production” or POOTMOP), Stephan Kinsella conceded that for a system with “private ownership of the means of production” to count as capitalism, it must have certain features (emphasis mine):
If society adopted some kind of bizarre model with no firms, no division and specialization of labor, no significant accumulation of capital, I guess I would not call it capitalist.
Kinsella has now elaborated on that idea, fully embracing (along with Marx) the notion of “capitalistic patterns of ownership and control” as distinct from “a free market in land and the means of production,” including “employers and employees and employment.” He sees the link as inevitable (as may, arguably, Marx and unlike me*) but at least we seem to agree that POOTMOP, by itself, is too vague to distinguish what capitalists mean by “capitalism” from what they don’t.
Glad that’s cleared up.
* I not only see it as not inevitable but unlibertarian and thus precluded conceptually by the term “free market.”
January 16, 2009
When you ask most capitalists what a capitalist system is, they will usually say a system of free markets and private property.
I confess to being perplexed by this. I’m certainly no expert in philology but it seems a very strange choice of root word for such a definition. It is important, I think, to remind ourselves of the real economic meaning of capital. Read the rest of this entry »