by Caleb Maupin
ANNOTATED BY PATRICE GREANVILLE
This is a repost. First run Jun 27, 2020.
Few ideologies are more insidious and disastrous to society than libertarianism, but its popularity continues in the US, propelled by fanatics who live in an alternate universe, and the power of a multitude of billionaires, their media and bought politicians, and the fact it remains the core value of capitalism, aka "the American Way of Life". The affluent—especially their children—lap it up, and there are far too many who become intoxicated with the notion of absolute freedom, a social impossibility.
Consider, for example, that in the 1890s the US boasted thousands of car companies. Hard to believe? Says none other than the Wikipedia, hardly a communist venue:
Starting with Duryea in 1895, at least 1900 different companies were formed, producing over 3,000 makes of American automobiles. World War I (1917–1918) and the Great Depression in the United States (1929–1939) combined to drastically reduce the number of both major and minor producers. During World War II, all the auto companies switched to making military equipment and weapons. However, by the end of the next decade the remaining smaller producers disappeared or merged into amalgamated corporations. The industry was dominated by three large companies: General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, all based in Metro Detroit. Those "Big Three" continued to prosper, and the U.S. produced three quarters of all automobiles in the world by 1950 (8.0 million out of 10.6 million). (Automotive industry in the United States, Wikipedia)
By the 1950s the list had been cut to less than 10, with the "Big Three" —Ford, Chrysler and GM—dictating terms to much of the industry. What happened? Competition—along with social, economic, technological and political change no one can fully control or predict— had killed most of the companies alive in 1900 in the normal process of commercial war. Indeed, price wars, bankruptcies, mergers and phaseouts took their toll, not to mention the almost infinite accidents of fate befallng any living entity: proximity to markets, fashion twists, access to corrupt politicians, easier access to financing, access to cheaper and/or superior labor pools, natural advantages (raw materials), and superior designs and/or superior advertising. For any or many of these reasons, the industry had seen a dramatic attrition, from a vigorous, competitve market with numerous firms to a handful. Libertarians simply refuse to look at such facts.
As for the idea that there is such a thing as a superior, benign capitalism where the government plays no role or is actually a friend of the capitalist, that's precisely what the capitalists had from the 1890s on in most parts of the Western world, and that's what they still have, albeit in its most powerful and malignant form. So "that" model has already been tried and found wanting. —P. Greanville
n involved many struggles for social justice. He is an outspoken advocate of international friendship and cooperation, as well 21st Century Socialism.
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ALL CAPTIONS AND PULL QUOTES BY THE EDITORS NOT THE AUTHORS