Richard Salsman "As Me Anything About Capitalism"

June 17, 2022 01:00:10
Richard Salsman "As Me Anything About Capitalism"
The Atlas Society on Clubhouse - The Podcast
Richard Salsman "As Me Anything About Capitalism"
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Join Senior Scholar and Professor of Political Economy at Duke, Dr. Richard Salsman for a special “Ask Me Anything” where he takes questions about capitalism and free markets from the audience and our 64K Instagram audience.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 So, um, today we are joined by Richard Salzman. He's a professor of political economy at duke university. He's also a senior scholar at the Atlas society. He's the host of our monthly morals and markets seminars for, uh, students and recent graduates. Um, so Richard, great to see you. Speaker 1 00:00:31 Great to be here again. Thanks. Thanks Jack. Speaker 0 00:00:34 So, uh, we're doing an ask me anything on capitalism, so to make this fun folks, uh, we need your engagement, raise your hand, ask a question and, uh, and Richard will answer it. Um, but, uh, fortunately we also to fill in the lulls in the conversation. Uh, we have a lot of questions from our Instagram, uh, audience that, uh, that are up your alley, Richard. And, uh, one of them is, uh, Mac asking. Is there anything salvageable of the entirety of Marx's work? Speaker 1 00:01:21 Well, that's a good question. Um, salvageable, one of the, uh, things that might be considered salvageable is, um, the broader notion that, uh, you cannot understand social systems without, uh, knowledge of philosophy, politics and economics. So Marx was definitely in that camp. So it was Kanes by the way. So it isn't necessary to be pro capitalist to at least have a perspective that says, listen, you have to have a certain view of human nature, human motivations, uh, how people produce or don't produce in the Marxist, uh, terminology, how, how exploitation or alienation occurs, even things like stages of development from feudalism to capitalism to socialism. So I say that because that has largely been lost except in certain pockets of intellectual activity today. Uh, I'm in a program at duke called PP and E which stands for philosophy, politics and economics. So there are, uh, approaches that try to be more integrated, but that is a part of Marxism that I've actually all long admired. Speaker 1 00:02:35 And so the, the idea of siloing, our knowledge in, in very narrow territories where people cannot really talk to each other is a, has been a bad trend. I think another way of looking at Marxism is, um, the recent and by that, I mean last 50 years or so preoccupation with the environmentalist approach, um, what, what Iran called the new left. It was a CRI it's a critique of capitalism, but so, so different from the old left and the old left being Marxism that the gen, at least the Marxist cared about us of labor. They thought only manual labor created value, but at least they were focused on creating, uh, material wealth. They had wrong theories about this, but, um, the preoccupation of the greens of course, is to not have growth at all or to have anti-growth. Um, so, um, the, the preoccupation in Marxism with the industrial industrialization, things like that, all good things, uh, which, uh, in more recent times have been denigrated. So those are the kind of things that I think make debates with Marxist today, or discussions or engagement a lot more interesting than the, than with, uh, non Marxist. That's just a couple of things. Speaker 0 00:03:50 And, you know, he did have a critique on religion, so I think that's, Speaker 1 00:03:57 Uh, yes. And, uh, yeah, good point. Speaker 0 00:04:02 All right. Well, um, thanks for the raised we're questions. I also would love to invite you all to share this room. Um, I always get a great deal out of our conversations with professor Salman and I would love for others to be introduced to him. So please share the room with your network. Clark, did you have a question for professor? We can't hear you Clark, you may need to, uh, kind of get out of the app and then come back in as sometimes happens. Um, I also wanna recognize my frequent cohost and, uh, partner in crime. Scott Schiff is in the room and the founder of our organization, David Kelly. Uh, Lawrence, did you have a question? Speaker 3 00:05:07 I did. Thank you. Hi Richard. Um, my question is, I guess I was a bit too young when, you know, the 2008 market crashed and the whole housing bubble that occurred. So I never really understood that as much, but I've been hearing a lot of people talk about as of late that we might have another big drop in, in the housing market. And I was curious if, uh, you thought so, or what are sort of the things that the government might try to do in a response? Speaker 1 00:05:39 Well, the first thing I think is worth noting is that, um, the, uh, false interpretation of what happened in oh eight, it's a very common oh 8 0 9. Really. It's a very interpretation to speak of that as a market failure, uh, sometimes, uh, greed from wall, uh, irrationality of homeowners and things like that. The, um, the speculation on wall street, stuff like that, it was actually caused by government intervention. It was a, a explicit policy starting with Clinton, but then accelerated by George W. Bush to promote home ownership. They, they reversed cause and effect. They looked at people who owned homes and they saw that they had good jobs and stable marriages and things like that. Didn't use drugs and had graduate degrees and stuff and, and said, well, when we need to put more people in homes, uh, instead of homes as the effect, uh, they saw homes as the cause. Speaker 1 00:06:35 And then they artificially promoted through government agencies, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA elsewhere, home ownership of those who couldn't afford homes. And so this went on for about, about a decade or so, and until the whole thing collapsed. And of course you can't, um, fudge reality, you can't make people, uh, afford homes that they can't afford. So that's the first thing that should be recognized that, uh, and unfortunately it hasn't been that those, those agencies still exist. Fannie Mae Freddie Mac, the government policy of promoting home ownership still exist by the way, home ownership rates fell by the time the whole thing was over, they were lower than when they began. So the whole central planning kind of project was a disaster, by the way, very common today, you'll hear things like, uh, shouldn't we have an energy policy, you know, what is our housing policy? Speaker 1 00:07:26 What is our fill in the blank policy? Well, you know, the, the very concept of a national policy of anything should, uh, raise suspicions in, in people's minds, whether they, by the way, the phraseology of bubble itself, I I'm Al always leery to endorse that view because it's the idea that, um, it's a fake increase. Well, all changes in prices. Uh, even if they're out, out outsized, which is really what people mean by bubbles have some cause. And the question is whether the cause is taken away or not. So the, but it is very common to see any kind of price rise in anything seen in the free market as a fake and unsustainable. And that can be, um, that can be a problem as well because it, it, it makes people invite intervention. They'll say to the policy makers, Hey, there's a bubble over here. Speaker 1 00:08:16 You need to pop that bubble or that, uh, and that's a, that's something that also elicits a very dangerous deleterious policy. So, uh, and I wouldn't say today that housing prices are, are so outsized that they're anything akin to what, what was true in 2007, 2008. So if you're asking about that particular sector, no, I don't think so. Any mortgage rates are going up, they, they bought 'em to three they're back up to five and a half or so. So that is gonna put a curb on people, uh, borrowing, uh, to buy homes. Um, so I, I wouldn't about that too much. The, the overall policy coming from Biden is very anti-capitalist, but largely in the sector of energy of anti fossil fuels. And I've talked about that before. That's a very dangerous policy, and of course the federal reserve is on a policy that's ultimately gonna cause a recession because they already caused an inflation. And they know of no other way of fighting inflation, except by fighting the economy by fighting prosperity and, and, and, and throwing it into recession. We, we could talk about that separately, but those are the two main problems today are anti fossil fuel policy and the federal reserves anti prosperity policy. Speaker 0 00:09:36 All right. Clark, you wanna give that a try again? Speaker 4 00:09:41 Yes. Sorry about that earlier. Some problem, but thanks so much for, for having this Richard and, and Ja uh, actually my question Richard, to you would be, you know, I guess to piggyback on Lawrence's question, I'm assuming that this recession, um, you know, I'm assuming you're, you believe there'll be a recession at some point? Well, my question is, is how bad will it be? And it just seems like this time, if it is a worse recession than the, you know, the big one back in oh 8 0 7 0 8 0 9, uh, I mean, are we, is the country strong enough to deal with, with this? And there's just so much, there's so much anger now between our, our different political tribes, uh, and, and, you know, and things at least up to now, haven't been all that bad. I mean, we kind of have been living beyond our means and trying to spend our way to, to prosperity, but, you know, when the thing, when things go down, uh, I mean, will things politically get worse, or, I mean, is there any chance that the country will, will finally look to towards freedom? Speaker 4 00:10:59 You know, uh, I mean, you've got a great book, of course, you know, where have all the capitalists gone. I mean, that has the, both the answers to what what's probably gonna happen. And of course, you know, the, the answers to, you know, what, why we shouldn't have been doing what we've been doing for the last, what generation or so. So I guess I'm just curious to, to hear what, what you think about, you know, how things bad, how bad things will get, and, and when they do get bad, you know, is America strong enough to, to get through? Speaker 1 00:11:32 Uh, thank you, Clark. I, I, I think that the, uh, regardless of whether the next recession, uh, which is around the corner, by the way I, in the next two years, there'll definitely be one, maybe even in the next year, um, the, the depth and duration of it, uh, may not match what was seen in oh 8 0 9, but you're right to suspect that even so, uh, it will just further weaken the United States. That's true. I, I, I think it's akin to, uh, someone going through a series of heart attacks. There's there's, uh, and recessions and crashes are, are like that. And they weaken the underlying organ that's, uh, giving life to the body politics, so to speak. Now, why are these happening? It's um, as in a patient who's, uh, gut, not chronic or, or genetic problems, but lifestyle problems, it's a lifestyle problem in the United States. Speaker 1 00:12:26 The welfare state is unsustainable. The, the mass re redistribution of wealth and power that the welfare state represents is not only unjust and unfair, uh, to those who produce values and have them taken, but it's not sustainable in a practical sense. It, it erodes the vitality and sustainability of the economy. The much more dangerous thing. Uh, Clark is the reaction to these problems. I, if, if after say 2001, the recession and nine 11 attacks, or, or the reaction to 2008, nine, the financial crisis, or the reaction to 2020, the three huge heart attacks, if you will, were that, um, we need more capitalism, not more stateism, I would be more, um, uh, optimistic, but in each of those cases, we've largely seen either no rational response on the part of the government or a, a doubling down of its irrationality, either on foreign policy or financial policy, or in the case of COVID epidemiology, public health policy. Speaker 1 00:13:33 So if when the next recession comes and you see the same old, same old, namely greed, did it, capitalism did it. You see it now, even in the analysis of inflation that it's being blamed on greed, it's being blamed on, you know, big meat and big pharma and big tampon and big whatever. I mean, this kind of Marx, this crap about inflation being caused either by greed, which is not a cyclical factor. Greed is always there. It doesn't come and go with price increases and price decreases that that is the real troubling thing that the diagnostics, so to speak are wrong. Therefore, there's not gonna be a remedy. Um, and the last thing I think I would add to this is if you look at, um, barometers three, I would name the value, the value of the dollar. I mean, that is a kind of summary measure of how the United States is doing. It's like the us stock price. Speaker 1 00:14:30 And, uh, and then things like, uh, the debt, the national debt would be another one, and they're all sky and the money supply. They're all skyrocketing. This is not increases in production. This is increase in financial stuff that the government Dickers with because it's trying to finance the welfare state. It knows it cannot finance the welfare state by taxation fully because there'd be tax revolts. So there's this kind of schizophrenia going on. The American people simultaneously want big, huge government that they don't want to pay for it, or they want the, the, the, the fat cats, so to speak, to pay for it. Well, there aren't enough fat cats anymore. There's not there just aren't any so short of taxing, the only thing left for the government is to borrow the money and print the money. And that's what they've been doing in a massive way. Speaker 1 00:15:18 In the last 20 years, they've been massively printing money and borrowing money, and the chickens are coming home to roost, which you do that the value of money must fall. The value of the bonds must fall. That means interest rates go up. That means the purchasing power of money goes down. That means inflation and prices go up. So these are the kind of things that ultimately ruin advanced economies. So that is happening and you can see it. And, uh, it's not a good trend, but it's, it's fundamentally though an anti-capitalist trend that's what's causing causing this. I think the, the, the danger on the horizon would be something like world war three wars are well known to enormously increase money, supply and debt. So on top of the, what has already occurred, even in quote unquote peace time in the last 20 years were there to be a, anything equivalent to a world war II. The us would probably, uh, go bankrupt. Speaker 0 00:16:17 All right. On that optimistic note, JP Speaker 5 00:16:23 Lauren was here first. I'm not sure. Speaker 0 00:16:26 Uh, Lawrence asked this question. Speaker 5 00:16:31 I, I question today, um, I've always, I've always, uh, not liked, uh, capitalism a system because, um, I, in, in, in, in getting, uh, to the source and the history of the world, um, it, it was originally coined, I think by ado, um, and, and, and of the phenomena of the, uh, revolution and, and, and then it was picked up in that capital by Marx, and then it, we all started, uh, it's one of those words that, um, uh, that are, uh, taken over, uh, by the mainstream. And, but there were no theorists of, uh, capitalists there, there were no thinkers that, okay, there wasn't a, a, a capitalist or a Fremont that ever said capitalism, and this is our system. So it's of, to me, capitalism is more of a phenomena. It's, it's something that happens when free people are, are free to, to trade, to build and to transact without coercion. So it's a phenomenon, it's a natural phenomenon because it happens when society is free. And, and so, um, to call it a system is something that always bugs me. And I wanted to get your impression on that. Speaker 1 00:18:11 Uh, thank you, JP. I, I think, uh, uh, it's very important to conceive of it as a system. Uh, I think one of the, uh, now you, you call it a phenomenon phenomenon, I suppose just means a more narrower thing. Um, but, um, it's a broader system now. I think it's actually broader than the typical definition we get, which is that it's a political system, uh, excuse me, that it's an economic system. So, so standardly, if you ask people about capitalism, they'll start talking about free markets. Some of them will say, don't use the word, use the word, uh, free enterprise. Of course, the word capital itself is a, is an economic concept. So I, I I'll speak about that in a moment, cuz I've written on this, the etymology of capitalism of the phrase, the word itself. But, um, I think it's very important the way ran, put it, she called it a social system. Speaker 1 00:19:04 Now that's a broader concept. A social system would include, um, politics, culture, economics. I would, I would include even psychology. There's a certain, um, psychology, there's a certain type of person, a, a person of self-esteem and confidence that that feels more natural under capitalism than elsewhere. And so, um, it's, it's more than I, the way I put it in my book, it's more than, and better than just, just an economic system. And um, even the critics of capitalism will recognize this by saying, well, it's got this ethos, it's got this money making materialistic individualistic, secular approach. Even the conservatives will oppos it for that reason. It's a concept. Definitely we're defending, uh, I have pinned up on the, um, or I passed on to Jennifer, a link to an essay I wrote on theological basis of capitalism. Now capital capitalism is a word wasn't coined until 1850. Speaker 1 00:20:06 And by Louis Blan, who's a French socialist and it was not coined by marks and Marx. Didn't actually use the phrase much, uh, at all. And, uh, I, I, in that essay actually defend the idea of using capitalism, being unapologetic about it. It's true that it's critics were the ones who first started using it, but in the same way that iron Rand, um, took back or tried to take back the word self-interest or selfishness and defend it. I think similarly, we should do this with, uh, capitalism, but E logically it might interest people to know that capital. And if you think of all the derivations of anything with cap in a C P means the head captain, the capital of a country. Um, and I think the way that Iran conveyed capitalism as the system that protects, promotes and encourages that ES the, the men of the mind, the creators, the, the inventors, the scientists, the, and the industrialists. Speaker 1 00:21:04 It's a wonderful word in a way, if you understand the roots of capital itself and, and capital of course, is something that makes our lives more productive, but the word capital itself can be broadly construed as economists have it things like human capital. What is human capital, your skills, abilities, and experience? What, what is intellectual capital, um, things like patents and copyrights, what what's tangible capital. Those are like planting equipment, uh, financial capital, the stock market, the bond market. So capital itself a, a very life sustaining phenomenon because it comes from the head, it comes from the cap. So, um, I do know that there is resistance in the call, it the proli movement, uh, especially among certain libertarians to jettison the world word entirely. And I think the main reason is they think of it as well. It's a system, uh, of just that favors capitalists. Speaker 1 00:22:02 And so get rid of the word for that reason, but the words they substitute like free enterprise, you could say, well, that's just a system of enterprises. So, so either way, if you, if you get to the origins of why capitalism is hated, I don't believe it's because of the words I, if you called it, you know, schmaltz, and then then said, you know, it's really based on egoism individualism, the profit motive, they would hate that word. You know, so it's not, it's not the semantics of it that are making people oppose the system. It's the underlying, uh, philosophy and the distrust of, uh, rational egoism, I believe. Speaker 0 00:22:37 Thanks. I would add, you know, I, um, am a part of this abundance 360 community, which, uh, Peter D invited me to, and it's really a bunch of entrepreneurs, uh, people who have startups and I was pretty sure to find so many of them. So, um, kind of bought into all of these woke concepts and, um, diversity equity inclusion, blah, blah, blah. And, uh, I think it's important, especially when talking to people who are looking to, to start businesses, entrepreneurs to use the word capitalism, cuz they at least understand capital. They understand investment capital venture capital. And uh, just trying to make the case that there is no capitalism, no companies, uh, without capital to invest, um, and to build them. So, yeah, Speaker 1 00:23:39 I, I just wanna add another example of this, which is very, um, humorous to me, a, a very, uh, popular speaker on the circuit these days is dere McCloskey. Who's a, a, a very productive academic and she, she does the same and she's proli, and, and she, uh, says, we shouldn't call it capitalism. We should call it Inno. And in comes from innovation. Now, now she's right that a free society and a free economy will reward and protect. Um, those who are innovative, but see, you would get the same objections. Someone would say, well, that's the system just for innovators. That's unfair. What about the non innovators? You know, what about the people who can't innovate, they're gonna be left behind either. You're gonna get this objection and you're not gonna escape this by coming up with cute alternative words. I don't believe it's a kind of anti anti-intellectual approach to the whole, to the whole thing. Speaker 1 00:24:35 Another way of thinking of this would be, if someone said to you, I'm a socialist, you know, that they're an advocate of the system of socialism. You, you would not say, wow, they must be sociable or they go to social clubs or they believe in social networks. And interestingly until recently, actually I think until Rand, if you said I'm a capitalist, it meant you're a, financeer that you're a, like a venture capitalist or you worked on wall street. So notice the bias that, that on the one hand you had socialists advocating socialism, but what about a capitalist who advocates capitalism a as an idea? So in other words, an ideological capitalist, um, the fact that those two terms are, are, are not interchangeable is very interesting. We, we, we should get to a point where the minute someone hears I'm a capitalist, the broader public thinks of it as wow. They're advocating the system of capitalism. Um, but as understood by, uh, iron ran, not by the crony capitalist type. Speaker 0 00:25:39 All right, Hansen. Speaker 7 00:25:45 Uh, yeah. Thank you very much. Um, I actually agree with you on every point. Uh, I just wonder if, um, the seems that, uh, if we want to reach the state of, um, free market capitalism, uh, we, we have to convince, uh, a majority, the majority of, um, uh, majority of the population to, to, uh, basically abandon the, uh, status status and then, uh, the, uh, relying reliance on the, uh, on the government. I mean, how, how do we do that? I mean, it seems that, uh, we do have, I mean, we just have to convince them, I guess, and vote, vote out the, uh, uh, policies that, uh, that interfere with the economy. Uh, it seems to be a long route to that, especially considering the present state of, uh, resurgent, uh, socialism and the vocalism and liberalism, and I mean, the, or the progressive, uh, the, uh, progressive, uh, uh, social warrior and all that, uh, all that not idiocies. Speaker 7 00:27:07 So, uh, sees seems, um, quite, um, I don't know if I should characterize my view as pessimism. Uh, it seems that we are walking backwards from even from the, uh, let's say eighties, uh, when, uh, Milton Friedman, uh, advocated seemed to advocated, uh, uh, the, uh, free market capitalism and, uh, seemed to have, um, progressed, uh, pretty, pretty far let's say, uh, or measurable steps forward, um, in that direction, let's say, uh, now we are, uh, regressing and, uh, and how, what, what do you think of what what's your take on the current situation and what the future holds for the us? Speaker 1 00:28:01 Well, thank you, Hansen. My, they, they come, my current assessment is it's very grim, looks very dark, but I, I believe, uh, the future. Now, if the future means, uh, the next 25 years, I think we're going to see a revival of pro capitalist thought. And action. Now, you mentioned the, uh, and I stress this in my book too, where have all the capitalists gone. There's an implication there that they used to be here. Where'd they go? It is true that in the last two or three decades of the last century, the move was toward capitalism globally. That's why the cold war ended. So Reagan Thatcher in that whole, what, what the critics today called neoliberalism, the new case for Liberty, from Rand to Hayak to MES, to Haslet, to Friedman, to Buchanan, it was a great, great run, and it shows, and that's fairly recent. Speaker 1 00:28:53 This isn't centuries ago, it shows that, uh, there can be a revival of better ideas and better practice. Now, the last 20 years have gone the other way. There's no doubt about that. And it shows that the case for capitalism made at the last, uh, part of the last century wasn't fully made. Um, the collapse of the socialism was, was recognized as well. There's a problem with socialism, but that doesn't mean people embraced the full case for capitalism back to this issue of whether it's a system or not yet, they, they might have said it produces the goods, but whether they say, well, it also produces inequality and it's unjust. And, uh, and the rich and the fat cats and cronies of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, um, that, that is the problem there's, and, and objectiveism is uniquely positioned to solve the problem, because it has a moral case for capitalism. Speaker 1 00:29:50 So that the first thing is capitalism needs a moral case, but it all, but it needs a secular moral case. So, so some conservatives will say this, some conservatives will conclude that the last 50 years taught us that making the economic case for capitalism isn't enough. And they'll say it needs a moral defense, but their moral defense is religious and altruistic. That's not gonna save capitalism. That's what's eroding capitalism. So the two great enemies are those secret or Marxist, and the religionists who believe capitalism can be defended on, uh, Juda Christian grounds. And it can't be now, I, I think the last thing I would add to this and to make it more, um, because I think it is more of a positive outlook is the way you put it is we have to convince the majority of the population. I don't think that's true. Speaker 1 00:30:41 I think if you look at the history of intellectual movements, uh, for, for good and bad sets of ideas, it's been a really small minority of intellectuals that have done it. Uh, even the founders, uh, you know, were not the, the idea of the founding fathers, um, and the revolution in America. I mean, that was not majority supported, but if you have more powerful ideas and you're in the elite to see that people hate elites these days, there's an anti-elitist, uh, trend going on. My, my colleague, Jason Hill is, has talked about this, you know, that we shouldn't be against elites. The idea of credentialed, knowledgeable, experienced people. We just need better elites. We don't need elites who are buffoons, like the kinds we have, um, in power these days. So, um, in that regard, it's a less, uh, it's a, it's a less insurmountable task to say, we need new intellectuals. Speaker 1 00:31:39 That's what the name of Iran's book for 1961 was than for the new intellectual who, that's, what we need. We need many more new intellectuals, but that doesn't mean, you know, a majority of the country, which is 150 million people. If we had 150 solid objectives in universities, think tanks and intellectual fields, uh, the, the, the world would be one. It doesn't take that many. And from an economic analogy standpoint, it's the equivalent of producing capital goods versus consumer goods that teachers, professors, and intellectuals are basically the capital goods. If, if they're good, they will produce a, a hoards of good people. Um, you can try to go retail, so to speak. You can try to do podcasts and you can try to do things through journalism and elsewhere. But, um, the problem we have today, if you think about it, it's, it's the elites that people say, what the heck has happened with the elites. Speaker 1 00:32:37 They've all gone woke. It's not the American people who've gone woke, and everybody knows this stuff came from the universities to begin with and has spread out into the major institution since then. So I know that sounds like a lot, but it, it, it does mean that as long as we can penetrate and influence the intellectuals, which are small fraction of the total population, we have a better chance of winning. And I think it's very doable. We have reason and reality on our signs and they don't, and, and notice the more they push their view, the more ridiculous they look, but there's still, that's not enough. It's not enough just as it wasn't enough for the Soviet union to fail. And then everybody embraced capitalism. That's not what happened. It's not enough for these woke people to make themselves ridiculous, and then assume everyone will run the reason. That's not true. The, one of the reasons we have this today, this post modernist culture that my colleague Steven Hicks has written about. I mean, he's the one who wrote the book on postmodernism in 2004. He totally foresaw this. It isn't just a anti capitalism. It's anti reason down the line. It's anti modernity down the line. It's anti enlightenment down the line. And that's what we, we have to be advocating reason, uh, self interest and individualism loudly, proudly, and, and logically consistently. And there's just not enough of us doing that. Uh, well enough, I think Speaker 0 00:34:01 We need a capitalist pride month. Hmm. Um, I just first wanna thank see that we have 12 shares of this room, which is fantastic. Um, if you haven't shared it yet, I would be very grateful if you would share button at the bottom on clubhouse, Twitter, Facebook, more capitalists, Patrick, Patrick, you wanna unmute? Speaker 8 00:34:33 Sorry. Uh, Hey Richard. Um, yeah, I kind of wanted to follow up on JPS question. Cause I had an idea was developing, uh, like a scripted, uh, narrative about these two aliens that come to earth and visited over different periods. And my presumption was going to be sort of the capitalism, you know, describing it as a system in some ways is like, well, okay, well, the Earth's water cycle is a system, but then also like whether I use DSL fiber optic or some other thing as a system, but they seem to be like two different kinds of systems. You know, one is like designed and I pick it. Uh, and the other one seems to be context dependent. So my notion was well in the same way that on an alien world, there must be a Newton who discovers how gravity works, right. Or else they would in advance and, you know, be able to go to space. Speaker 8 00:35:33 Then similarly, we would see the various other things. Uh, if they're, you know, uh, similar to our nature, let's say on this planet, like it's a, you know, their BIPA the gravity, et cetera. So they wouldn't, they sort of discover things like money. I mean, there's not really an alternative to money. There's just money. And then wouldn't, they sort of discover contracts, insurance like markets. It would, it's sort of like, it's not that they just designed the system and you kind of can pick amongst the systems. There's sort of a system that contextually given our nature, uh, just is the natural order of, uh, human beings. Now, I suppose we could change up the goal and say, well, our goal is to kill all the humans and have earth flourish, or our goal is totally equality, but that's sort of an artificial imposition, like in some ways, I mean, would you say that capitalism is, uh, is an artificial system or is, is something that we impose or, or is it kind of like a discovery process of something natural that is, uh, is just part of who we are if we want to be, have have more humans, uh, who are having more wealth and capability? Speaker 1 00:36:56 Well, there's two, that's a great question, Patrick. Um, there's two strands of what you're saying that I've heard, uh, over and over again, which could be very helpful to disentangle because I think it actually is setting back the Liberty movement and the first distinction I'm hearing. I hope I get close to what you're saying here, but I I've seen it in other dimensions. One is system it's a system designed deliberately or is a spontaneous manifestation. And the second thing I'm hearing from you is, is it natural or artificial? Now, sometimes those overlap people will say, Hey, if it's designed, then it's artificial. If it just like, let it run and it's spontaneous, then it's natural. Now. Here's how I conceive of capitalism. It's natural in the sense that it is the system that is consonant with human nature. So the phrase I used to, the phrase I use when I talk to environmentalists is, uh, it's the optimal habitat for humanity. Speaker 1 00:38:05 <laugh> just, as we think of a, you know, fish out of water, why, why is that concept in our mind? Because, uh, fish needs water. Well, like similarly humans need capitalism and, and it's, it's really true. Historically they suffocate and starve and die in anti-capitalist settings. It's just a fact right now. Why isn't that a fact why they recognized by humans to the point where they're all pro capitalists, because they have free will because they don't always go by reason. I would say, however, if you look at the American experiment, it was designed, it was deliberately designed in Philadelphia. It was debated, it was instituted. And so I don't, I think as pro Liber people, we should not be. And I think many of them are, we should not be suspicious. I of the idea of designing something, structuring something I, I think of constitutional and all the theories about divided powers and checks and balances, the kind of things that Montesquieu Locke and the founders taught us is kind of like political engineering. Speaker 1 00:39:11 And we need political engineering else. The building will collapse, or the bridge will collapse, you know, or a country can collapse if it's constitutional, um, flatter, so to speak isn't created properly so that that's all designed. But the key is to make sure it's designed rationally. It doesn't mean it's imposed. If it's a design that fits the human nature, um, then it's great. Now, now it isn't to say that certain things don't occur spontaneously within us, a system within a structure. That's the wonderful thing about capitalism. If you don't have anarchy, if you have a system of limited government that protects rights and, and otherwise lately people free to do their things, so to speak as long as they go by reason, you're gonna get great results. So, uh, I think I know where you're going. And, um, I, I would just endorse both sides. Speaker 1 00:40:02 Namely, we do have to put some thought into this. We do have to create institutions knowingly, consciously, deliberately create institutions that, uh, promote human survival and flourishing. It, it ain't just gonna happen for no reason. Now, one of the reasons, by the way, I say this says, held back the Liberty movement. I, I have debated with libertarian sometimes about reform, the idea of reform, changing things, you know, and, and reformers are typically on the left. I mean, they are typically the ones trying to, you know, uh, reform capitalism and change it and this and that. And when you get a mixed economy and you make any attempt to intervene and have government policy go the other way and become more capitalists, there are many libertarians who will just say, hands off, don't do anything. And, and so the bias goes toward those who would intervene to promote stateism and you can't get any, you can't get any background or, or support for reforms that bring it the other way. And so that's a, that's a problem. Those who say, just hands off, don't do anything and everything will turn out for the best is something that holding back pro capitalist reforms. I think, I hope that helps. Speaker 9 00:41:16 Great. Thank you. Speaker 1 00:41:17 You're welcome. Speaker 9 00:41:19 Patrick. Coming strips coming, working on this is David. Can I just jump in for a second, uh, with Richard, um, I, I, I wanna raise a question for you about the, the whole, the drift of, of a lot of discussion here has been, um, what's the future and what we can do to, you know, shift in a good direction. Um, I absolutely agree with your point that, um, the moral basis of capitalism has to be promoted and established. That's the biggest problem? Uh, I think all tourism is, is number one cause of socialist, uh, ideas. But, um, I'm, I'm also, I've been thinking for years about whether there's a psychological problem here too. And I I'd love to hear your comment. The psychological issue is that people accommodate to whatever their circumstances are. And one of the circumstances is the welfare state. So people, um, Americans still have a strong individual streak that don't tread on me attitude. Speaker 9 00:42:29 Um, and yet they're used to social security. They're used to public education. They're used to any number of all the socialist things that have been part of, of their lives for generations now. And they take them for granted. Um, and there's, uh, this underlying psychological thing is you, you offer someone as sick from responsibility for his own life. And that, that is attractive to a lot of people who don't get the entrepreneurial, uh, approach to life, which sees responsibility as a positive thing. Um, and don't want someone taking care of them, but a lot of people, you know, just fault for that. So, and can, is there, have you thought about in ways of addressing that issue, the psychological issue of, uh, uh, taking back responsibility, Speaker 1 00:43:25 Uh, great point, David, thank you so much for participating. I teach a freshman seminar at duke called capitalism foreign against, and one whole section is devoted to the psychology of it. And, um, I do think this is really important by the way, this is another reason to think of it more as a system. So even if you get the politics, economics, and culture, right. Uh, if the psychology isn't there, it's not gonna work either. So I think the what, what is the key objective is contribution here, Brandon Rand and others on the psychology of self-esteem. So, uh, self-esteem of course, uh, I implies something about self-interest selfishness, the self, the self as an independent, uh, being, uh, you know, with independence and all the great virtues. And you're absolutely right. If you have a culture which we have today, which is predominantly dependency, or some of us have seen it or classified as paternalism, uh, paternalism in politics is the analogy that the state is the father and mother, the citizens are children. Speaker 1 00:44:31 They're gonna be told what to do. They're gonna be taken care of. However, when you get that in politics, you're not gonna have a free society. And, and you're certainly not gonna get leaders who care about you as much as mommy and daddy did. I mean, mommy and daddy created you. They care about you more than Chuck Schumer does. Uh, people don't seem to realize that, but I think you're absolutely right. David, the welfare state itself, you think about it, what do they call it? The social safety net, the nanny state. I mean, the fact that it's even called the nanny state, the citizens, uh, need a nanny. Um, if you don't produce people with reason, self-esteem, self-efficacy, they're gonna be fearful. They're gonna be phobic they're they're gonna be, they're gonna be please, please, Anthony Fauci, tell me what to do with my mask. Speaker 1 00:45:20 Now people do push back, but the fact that these policies have become so ingrained in our culture. Yes, you're right. Is a psychology issue. So, um, literature on of the, of the type that Brandon produced psychology of, self-esteem very important. I think that's kind of been lost within objectiveism. There isn't as much stuff on psychology being, um, explicate these days and the problem associated with this dependency, welfare state, another great essay out there, by the way, uh, the psych, the psychological requirements of a free society, uh, by Edith packer, I think from the early, from the mid eighties or so, uh, not an easy essay to find, but if you can get your hands on it, that, that that's a, that's a, but you have like five major principles that a person would have to have in their psychology to want to live in a free society. And, and to lack these, she says, you're gonna feel uncomfortable in a free society. You are literally gonna feel anxious and worried, uh, because you don't have these, you don't have this intellectual and psychological emotional equipment. Um, so it's a really good point, David. Uh, I'm not a psychologist, but I do notice that, um, unless you have a citizenry and not just a citizenry, the elites themselves are not always psychologically sound. Um, you're not gonna, you're not gonna get a, you're not gonna get a free society. Speaker 9 00:46:49 I Richard, thank you. And, uh, Jack, just a, a note here, uh, maybe we can find that essay. I invite you to the packer. I think I read it back in the day, but it is, uh, if we could, uh, recover it or maybe get permission from George, uh, Speaker 1 00:47:05 Yeah, George, Speaker 9 00:47:07 Um, we could, uh, promote it a bit. Speaker 1 00:47:11 I have my, I have my students read that essay and as an eye opener to them, because it it's, it's S it's simultaneous say a kind of self-help essay too. Uh, if you have these certain psychological traits, you're gonna do better in life, but the point, the broader point she makes is, and you'll, that wants, wants to live in a pre society. You, you won't be risk averse. You won't be phobic. You won't be living in your mother's basement, literally. Um, so it's a big, it's a big issue, big deal. Speaker 0 00:47:42 All right. Uh, we are on it. David, we'll get that, Jason, thanks for your patience. Speaker 10 00:47:50 Uh, I just wanna first start off and say, thank you, Richard, for, for doing this with the room. Um, I've heard you speak a couple times and I've loved every time that I've gotta hear you speak. I've learned a lot and I've appreciated your insight and your perspectives. Um, Speaker 1 00:48:03 Thank you, Jason. Thank you. Speaker 10 00:48:05 Absolutely. Thank you. And, um, so I've, I've got a question today because I've been grappling with this for a while. I've been a part of the Liberty movement for, uh, a little over 10 years now, and this is the, one of the questions that, you know, I, I struggle with because I can see both sides. And, and so I I'd be interested in your input. And so understanding from Thomas O who said, you know, there are no solutions only trade offs when it comes to innovation. Um, there is the aspect of intellectual property and patents and everything else. And so with, within your perspective and, and moving forward and trying to have a capitalist, not system per se, but a, a capitalist ideology, being able to help prevail and bring through innovations to the markets, whether that's in healthcare, um, in just general engineering or whatev, what have you, um, how does intellectual property play into this? Is it is it, of course, when we look into the current standing, right? Many argue that intellectual property has too much protections over time. Um, people have argued that there needs to be more in some markets. Um, where is that line for, for the capitalist perspective, um, pertaining to some of the bigger markets Speaker 1 00:49:24 Now, thank you, Jason. Good question. I think the case for private property rights includes the case for IP, uh, patents and copyrights, but it is true if you're alluding to this, it is true that in the Liberty movement, there's a debate over this. And some argue, even Hayek argued this, uh, that there, there should not be strong patent and copyright protections. I think, I think he said in one essay, there shouldn't even be a copyright, uh, copy trademark for Coca-Cola and other things like that. I think this is a crucial part of property rights, but, um, they can't be, uh, you know, indefinite and in terminable that's for sure. So the, the idea of limiting, uh, the, the, the timeframe, uh, which is long in the literature is not new to me, uh, is an issue as well. But I think without that, um, you can't have full innovation if innovation is kind of your, uh, practical hope. Speaker 1 00:50:18 Uh, there, there isn't gonna be as much innovation if you don't protect, um, property rights generally, but that in including intellectual properties. So, but, uh, apart from the practical consequences, it's just the right thing to do. It's just the moral thing to do. I, I would, uh, since our time is limited, I think it's best for me to just recommend to people probably the best, uh, IP intellectual, uh, and historian in the country is Adam Mosoff M O S S O F F. Adam is an objectiveist a law professor at, uh, George Mason university at the Scalia school. I believe if you just look up Mosoff and patents and intellectual properties, he's got a bunch of amazing essays and Bo and he debates other libertarians about this and about the importance of it. But I, I do think the case for capitalism is weakened by libertarians who say to hell with, uh, intellectual property rights. You're welcome. Thank you. Speaker 0 00:51:16 All right. Well, this, uh, the timing of this room is working out really well. We've got, uh, eight more minutes and Thomas, thanks for your patience. Speaker 11 00:51:26 Hello. Hello. Thanks Richard. It's a very interesting topic for me because I am a kind of Guinea pig. I, I lived under the communism in Poland, and now I am living under capitalism. And so I have maybe a slightly different perspective because maybe it's oversimplified view my view, but I think that trouble with capitalism is that products are divided unjustly and there is equality, but the trouble with socialism and communism is that there is a lack of product. So we don't have a trouble in with an unjust because there is nothing to be, uh, to be divided. So, uh, uh, if I, I think that, uh, if, uh, speaking clinically, uh, the communist countries are, which are nowadays as Venezuela or Cuba are very needed because as a beggar on the street, the view of the beggar is evidence. What could happen to you when you are behaving? Speaker 11 00:52:47 Uh, not very wisely. Maybe the question for you, uh, Richard is, is it, is it morally properly to, uh, to, to think like that, that Venezuela or Cuba UN to re, to, to make, uh, evidence, to, to, to tell people that they shouldn't take welfare state for granted as David pointed out previously, and they should remember that products must be invented by someone that risk might be taken, but someone and the economy is kind of a role when people are forgetting about that truth economy is going down. And when they are recalled that somebody should say for risk, things are going better. So that's the question. Should we, should we, uh, have, um, such a situation that we should be remembered, maybe organizing trips, uh, to those countries to show people how the economy is going under socialism. Thanks. Speaker 1 00:54:09 Thanks, Thomas. I think the, uh, the essay that comes to mind most that I've written recently on this is something called we should celebrate diversity and wealth too. So if you look that up, you'll find it on the internet. We should celebrate diversity and wealth too. And I mentioned that because you mentioned, uh, that something like capitalism seems okay, but the products are divided unjustly and there's inequality. I think to be pro capitalist, you have to be pro inequality. You have to be unapologetically a fan of and extol the unequal results that occur. And as long as we have, and this is part of capitalism equality before the law equal treatment before the law. But if you treat people equally before the law, if you apply the laws equally to all regardless of their skin, color, gender, ethnicity, and all that, uh, people are different. Speaker 1 00:55:05 They're diverse. They choose different paths, choose different jobs, different occupations. There will be differential results that we should be celebrating in this particular essay. I note how we tend to celebrate this when it occurs in the arts, we see academy awards. Uh, we celebrate it. When we see it in sports, we see champions, we have fanatics who love champions, uh, but for some reason, in the commercial realm, when there's unequal results, people don't extol the great producers. Now, if they're personalized in the form of say, people like Donald Trump who built buildings or Elon Musk who built car companies, that, that notice that the more tangibly you see what their production is, they are, uh, admired. Um, some of them are hated, but it it's the CEO who people have no idea what they're doing. That is the real trouble, because they think the CEOs are just sitting around shuffling paper, not producing anything. Speaker 1 00:55:58 So that, that was, that would be the first thing I would say. And in a world where people are treated equally before the law, you should expect to see differential performance, and we should be applauding diversity in commercial realm, not just in arts and, and in sports. Now I disagree with you when you say, well, in socialism, at least, uh, there isn't a problem of justice. There's just a lack of product. Well, that's a total, uh, result of injustice. I mean, those things there there's massive injustice cuz they won't leave people free to produce. So I disagree with you that just because you find equal misery and equal poverty in socialist regimes, that therefore they're just, I mean, you're defining justice, I think in an egalitarian manner and therefore classifying capitalism as unjust because it has unequal wealth and socialist regimes as just, or at least not unjust because they don't have unequal wealth. So I re I reject that, uh, entirely. Speaker 11 00:56:58 Yeah, you are right. You, you get that point because even in oral it was saying we all are equals, but some are more equal. Right, right. It like that. As I said, I oversimplified the things because that's okay. Yeah. Thanks. Speaker 1 00:57:19 Thanks Thomas. Speaker 7 00:57:20 Yeah. Uh, I, can I, can I add something, uh, when, uh, Richard, um, Scott, um, go ahead. The, uh, when Thomas was saying, Thomas was saying that, um, it's all equal because, uh, the socialism isn't and nobody has anything, uh, that's actually not true. Um, the, just as her Thomas, uh, eventually said, uh, uh, in animal farm, the, uh, uh, the pigs, uh, supposedly, uh, divide the, the, uh, yeah, and then they stole the, uh, the Bali and, um, uh, and made the, the, uh, the alcohol out of, uh, the Bali. And then they secretly, uh, the, uh, in, in secretly, uh, uh, enjoyed the, the Bali that, uh, prohibited that, uh, forbidden, uh, to the, to the, uh, uh, to the general population, uh, the animals. And you can see this, uh, uh, exactly reflected the situation state and state in the, uh, socialism in the Soviet union. And in communist China, the higher up the higher officials had the, their, uh, special provisions that is not, uh, that is, um, uh, uh, prohibited from the, uh, enjoyment of the general populace. And it is, uh, uh, divided, uh, in the, the loot or divided according to the ranks and, uh, the, they have special treatment, special, uh, the, uh, uh, food Speaker 0 00:58:59 Special. Speaker 0 00:59:05 We actually just at time. So, uh, it's very, uh, sorry, Hansen to, um, to interrupt you, but we can continue this conversation on a future clubhouse. Uh, if you go to the ATLA society website, sign up, you'll get, uh, updates on our, uh, events. We have several a week next week. Um, I am going to be having a conversation with Ian Miller. He is author of unasked, and, uh, he's been a long time critic of mask mandates and lockdowns. Um, so that quote by Thomas, so was deeply resonant there. And, uh, and then of course on the 23rd, the link is up there is, uh, professor, uh, Salman's morals and markets. I believe that is true Lawrence, correct me if I'm wrong. Um, and then on Friday, we'll have a clubhouse with Jason Hill, so thanks everyone. Thank you all. Thank you so much.

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