Should we strive towards wild & unrestricted capitalism, or planned economy?
Of course, when you put it like that, it’s obvious the answer is “neither”. Without getting into whether any of the extremes is worse than the other, it’s clear that neither is optimal. Over centuries and decades we’ve arrived at various places on that spectrum, depending on where in the world you are.
Planned economy never worked in practice and doesn’t seem feasible, while being open to abuse. Unrestricted capitalism results in monopolies, eats itself and goes to shit as well.
All that seems very obvious, but why do you never hear people position discussions that way? Here’s our range of choices from one terrible option to another. It’s clear we don’t want any of the absolutes, so let’s try to figure out where we should land. We disagree about specifics? Great, let’s discuss them with the understanding that we both know the extremes are sub-optimal.
Maybe I just didn’t find the right places and discussions, but most arguments I’ve seen are back-and-forth between “communism is bad” and “capitalists are greedy”. Sure, so what? That’s not the interesting question here.
And it would be nice to see public figures acknowledge this too. It’d be nice for AOC or Bernie to say that regulated free markets are wonderfully efficient, maybe we just need to regulate them more (if they did say that, my bad, I don’t follow very closely). And it’d be nice for…
…I was trying to think of stereotypical free-market capitalists, imagining they could say something like “monopolies are not good”. But then I thought of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates and, hey, turns out they both made monopolies. So maybe this whole thing is not as obvious as it seems?
I know that like Peter Thiel’s whole thing is “monopolies are good, because you can make a lot of money and be a philanthropist”, which, yes, I’m sure you can, but please pay taxes and compete in the marketplace instead. And the whole blitzscaling thing is basically “how to become a monopoly”. But surely, anyone, who thinks about the entire economic system for more than 5 minutes must agree that monopolies = bad, competition = good? It’s totally possible to think monopolies are generally bad, while building a monopoly, because money, but we’re talking about principles here.
So, I don’t know where this leaves us. Should we be talking more about how to regulate capitalism and less about how communism is bad?