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Monday, May 26, 2008

Capitalism and Freedom by John Butler of the John Butler Trio Part III

The ShadowLands is delighted to present Part III of Capitalism and Freedom by our reporter on economic theory, John Butler who is one-third of the John Butler Trio...

The two chief enemies of the free society or free enterprise are intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons. Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s opposed to freedom for others.…

He thinks there ought to be a central planning board that will establish social priorities. The businessmen are just the opposite—every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that’s a different question. He’s always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that, and the other thing.

The argument has always been made that the trouble with capitalism is that it’s materialistic, while collectivism can afford to pay attention to the nonmaterial. But the experience has been the opposite. There are no societies that have emphasized the purely material requisites of well-being as much as the collectivist…it is in the free societies that there has been a far greater development of the nonmaterial, spiritual, artistic aspects of well-being.I don’t think that a revolutionary, once-and-for-all approach [to achieving political liberty] will succeed.

to be continued...

8 comments:

stackja1945 said...

I don’t think that a revolutionary, once-and-for-all approach [to achieving political liberty] will succeed.
Most people do not want it. Most are happy with the "messiness" it works most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Weeell...appearances meet deceptive

Always assumed this bloke was a socialist hand wringer....maybe not...let's wait

Anonymous said...

Errr...on second thoughts he's a lefty scumbag.

How many capitalists does he know looking for govt protection from free markets?

The odd one in the footwear business....

Matey Butler has latched onto a non existent stereotype.

Near extinction of Polar Bears next?

Margo's Maid said...

Butler's views can be controversial, but there is no mistaking his passion for the free market.

Francis H said...

I think it's amazing how much Butler sounds like Hayek. I mean really like Hayek.

And anonymous, to be fair to Butler/Hayek, my experience of talking to business groups over a long period is that most of them are fully supportive of free markets except for their industry. And they do support it for their industry in the long term, just not yet.

Margo's Maid said...

Butler has many influences - but more than just a smidge of Milton Friedman, I'd say.

Daddy Dave said...

I think the comments about businesses can be more accurately applied to some sectors than others.
I'm thinking of the agricultural sector in particular. Every farm is a small business. In theory, they should be the biggest free-market capitalists around, but in reality the organisations that represent them, and many farmers themselves (although not all) tend to have all kinds of anti-free-society ideas.
They like protectionism, government handouts, picking of winners, they dont like privatisation or private ownership in general, they're immensely suspicious of market forces and free trade.

daddy dave said...

therefore, I think Mr Butler's claim could more correctly have been worded thus: "there are enemies of freedom in all sectors of society, even, surprisingly in many quarters in the business sector"

There may even be a difference between big-city urban businessmen, who tend to be hard core free marketeers, and rural businessmen, who have been known on occasion to be reactionary big-government xenophobic protectionists. A simplistic division, perhaps but it might be a useful way of thinking about it.