One argument raised against a truly free market is to say that before there was fiat money there were monopolies.
Monopolies and near-monopolies come and go but in a truly free market, they cannot last, unless there is no way to under-sell them, in which case one can ask why not? If the reason is business execution, then one can learn from it.
If the smaller players are truly free without government interference, then they cannot keep total control indefinitely, forever, without some government intervention.
And the more government gets involved in “stopping rapacious capitalism”, the more incentives there are to buy off the enforcers and the legislators and to make sure there are loopholes for them, like in Obama’s Buffet Tax proposal: count on it, it will not hurt Buffet.
We know about the Tuckermobile. Without government intervention, we might have had Tucker this, Tucker that today. We may not know all the details of how competition was kept down during the 19th century, aka the time of the barons. What we do know today is, that the biggest corporations roll right over government interventions (regulations, taxes, audits, often even government lawsuits), while the startup and the entrepeneur often get tangled up in it.
But the worst monopoly, the worst power-grabber, is government. That’s the tendency, it’s ancient wisdom.
If you don’t understand the crucial role the Fed plays in keeping the middle class down, if you don’t understand how a true medium of exchange liberates the economy and individuals at all levels from the theft of fiat currency inflation, then you miss the biggest culprit in the modern assault on the body politic economy.
Because inflation by way of fiat currency and a central bank to control it, has been the vehicle for the absolute biggest tax on the poor, a stealth tax. Ron Paul got Bernanke to even admit it in one hearing on the Hill.
They have conditioned us to accept mild inflation as a good thing, when in fact it is a confiscation of purchasing power from the poor and transfer of that power to a select group of the richest players.
In fact, the evil robber baron image of some of those monopolies is beginning to come under question. As in the matter of the Federal Reserve, the truth may be opposite to what we were taught, just like so many other things:
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when market failure can be improved by government intervention. After discussing the evolution of economic thinking about externalities and public goods, the conversation turns to the case for government’s role in promoting competition via antitrust regulation. Boudreaux argues that the origins of antitrust had nothing to do with protecting consumers from greedy monopolists. The source of political demand for antitrust regulation came from competitors looking for relief from more successful rivals.
Take Das Kapital. What teeming mass of proletarians had the time or the wherewithal to even just read such a tome? I didn’t read that one, but I did read the Communist Manifesto and the Little Red Book in my gullible years.
Marx was not “concerned with” anybody’s conditions, any more than the other intellectual authors and drivers of Communism at the top. The smoking gun is the advocacy in the Communist Manifesto of central banks in every nation. That flips the “progressive income tax” on its head.
A central bank is point #5 of Karl Marx’s “10 Conditions for Transition to Communism”.
Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
That, along with the “heavy progressive or graduated income tax”, are the two most effective points in that party platform for transferring economic control from the body politic, and yes, from the masses to the wealthiest and the stealthiest.
By the way, that includes the transfer of wealth and power from the proletariat, by the way, something he left out of all that voluminous intellectual obfuscation.
Karl Marx could not have been clueless about the way all these measures hurt the workers of the world. He could not have been clueless about the way no dictatorship is ever “by the people”, he wasn’t that stupid, and he could not have been clueless about dictators fading away into dissolution.
All of the principles in that platform increase state power. The direct transfer of purchasing power from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy is done by inflation. As we saw recently in the debt ceiling fiasco (fiasco because some new legislators like Allen West betrayed their voters’ trust), politicians generally cannot resist the temptation of free money from debt.
The welfare-warfare state that BOTH halves of the ruling political cartel have promoted, and the gigantic warehouses full of regulatory mandates, give petty desk jockeys free season on Mom-and-Pops and small business and farming families. But this puts pressure on both state-owned central banks (Cuba) and the privately owned central banks to just print more money when it’s not bound in chains to real value like a gold standard.
In other words, a fiat-currency government-mandated monopoly eventually has to print money to catch up to the distortion reaction. It supports transfers of wealth that are not “natural”. By natural meaning it is not the result of individual human actions.
Government control over production, commerce, trade, energy, commodities, manufacture (light bulbs), religion, science, the marriage bed, and everything else they can conceive of, creates pressure for an increase in state control and robs the individual of even the habit of independent thought.
Each of us would do things our own different way if we were in control, meaning in specifics, but 300 million different policies cannot be applied simultaneously, so people give their thoughts up to a centrally mandated so-called “consensus”. But think about that. It’s not a consensus at all, it is a surrender.
On the other hand, if 300 million people respect the sovereign individuality of the other 299,999,999, then there’s no “need” for a consensus.
None of us has no right to tell the other to donate money to oil companies, even by majority vote. Another has no right to confiscate other people’s money to give to wind generators either.