Re: [OPE] free competition

Date: Sat Apr 16 2011 - 15:52:36 EDT

> "The expression 'free competition' ... embodies with it the conception that
> no government regulation/interference equates to freedom".>
> Only if you think that freedom and regulation are mutually exclusive.
You are looking at the question very abstractly and ahistorically in the sense that you are
not recognizing the specific historical origin of this expression and who was advancing
it and why. For the classical political economists and bourgeois representatives
of the 18th and 19th Century it had a very specific meaning and was tied to
the policy doctrine of laissez-faire. Free competition meant (basically) no regulation to
them. And that is what it means today. It was NEVER a reality - it was,
however, an *ideal* and goal that one segment of the bourgeoisie aspired
> I believe this is a far more useful, materialist, and realistic way to
> understand contemporary capitalism than to reduce economic life to mere
> "ideological myths", or "discourse" as the postmodernists would say.
Al well and good as a general idea but it is not valid in this instance
since free competition was always an ideological concept and never a reality.
Are you inferring that there are no ideological conceptions and myths about
capitalism? If it was true that all ideology has a grain of wisdom in it, then
I guess we should all turn to religion as well.
Oh, and for the record, I was NOT 'reducing economic life to...": free competition
was never a statement about economic life under capitalism. Is the next thing that
you're going to tell us that capitalism is or was the "free market system"? The ideas of
free competition, free markets, and laissez-faire are all inseparable from each
other, after all.

> > Remember, it was you who asked what the 'masters' said in the first place.
Yes, that was my mistake. I shouldn't have mentioned Marx and Lenin
because it allowed the discussion to be side-tracked. Although the meaning
of free competition dates back to classical political economy, there are
certainly advocates of it today especially right-wing libertarians but
it is also held up as a goal by many other conservatives, economists
included. So, in that very real sense it has contemporary significance.
I think it is, frankly, shameful that there are Marxists who have perpetuated
this myth about capitalism. And if the reason that they feel they have license
to refer to it because Marx and Lenin did, then it still more shameful. It is
characteristic of much Marxist discourse that when trying to understand a
trend in contemporary capitalism, they focus in on what Marx et al wrote
rather than the real subject matter.
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sat Apr 16 15:53:41 2011

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