Saturday, February 14, 2009

Economic Fascism?

I'd been thinking about this subject for a while now, and this morning Michael Ledeen had an article on it. Is what's going on in Washington socialistic, fascistic, or just plain bad policy?

It has always been easy to tell the difference between capitalism and communism. They are divided by property rights and the means of production; capitalists have them and individual communists don't. But economically speaking, there are no clear lines of demarcation between capitalism and socialism, or capitalism and fascism. These three "isms" all allow some degree of property rights and some degree of government intervention, but are largely social constructs with no clear economic distinctions.

Hitler's Germany is a good example of the lack of distinctions, as the NAZIs never gave much thought to economics. There was no NAZI economic policy that I've ever found. They tended to do whatever worked best in supporting the military machine and left it at that. Mussolini's Italy is a little better, but even there they were heavily militaristic with no clear economic philosophy. Industry was directed to the betterment of the state, whether nationalized or left in private hands.

Wikipedia may not be the best source, but I did find this:
Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because "the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise... Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social."[26]

Sound familiar? I don't know what we are heading towards, but whatever it is, it makes unbridled capitalism look pretty good by comparison.

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