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Hazlitt on “Capitalism”

Who to side with on this issue: left-libertarians, who advance the confused hypothesis that “left” is better than “right”; or the great Henry Hazlitt? Here is what he wrote in the preface to his wonderful novel, Time Will Run Back: “as ‘capitalism’ is merely a name for freedom in the economic sphere, the theme of my novel might be stated more broadly: the will to freedom can never be permanently stamped out.”

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  • Jock March 28, 2010, 7:29 pm

    I’m going to blog about this debate myself. I tend toward the Richman camp – that the word itself is too “far gone” to rehabilitate easily.

    However, it seems to me that Block has some good points – that there are many phrases or words we use that are so confused, including anarchy, free-market, left, right, libertarianism and so on. But also, and mostly, I think it is probably worth fighting for because each word we have that is in use to mean something subtly different by our statist antagonists that we explain differently gives us an opportunity to persuade different constituencies…

    Thus – “Oh, you believe in capitalism, do you? Well, so do I but let me explain to you how what you believe in is a gross corruption of capitalism and you would be better off looking at it my way.”

    Or – “Oh, you believe in socialism, do you? Well, so do I but let me explain to you how what you believe in is a gross corruption of socialism and you would be better off looking at it my way.”

    They all get us “in” with people who think they know what they mean and want from those terms…

  • Michael C March 28, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Capitalism versus Statism – MNR (http://mises.org/daily/3735)

    If we are to keep the term “capitalism” at all, then, we must distinguish between “free-market capitalism” on the one hand, and “state capitalism” on the other. The two are as different as day and night in their nature and consequences. Free-market capitalism is a network of free and voluntary exchanges in which producers work, produce, and exchange their products for the products of others through prices voluntarily arrived at. State capitalism consists of one or more groups making use of the coercive apparatus of the government — the State — to accumulate capital for themselves by expropriating the production of others by force and violence.

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