Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> Then are we kidding ourselves that capitalism is our best shot at a social system?

Here is a story about government granted monopolies using their influence to manipulate government entities to impede the activities of other government entities.

What "capitalism" are you asking about?

"Capitalism" isn't a generic umbrella word for all the things in the world you don't like.

It's a little cyclical of a thing though, right? Almost paradoxical? You need capital to achieve regulatory capture; regulatory capture guarantees capital. I've always found that term "government granted monopoly" a little dishonest and overused. The institution had enough capital to buy its protection; if the institution lost its power (capital), it would lose footing on its monopoly as well.

As far as using Capitalism as a generic umbrella term, I don't think that is necessarily the case here. A government in a capitalistic country is expected to operate this way; lobbying and campaign finance being the only true democratic levers in the society.

You can't eliminate disparities in influence, or competitive self-serving behaviour by attacking people's ability to accumulate private capital. The Soviet Union had very little private capital, yet was extremely corrupt for that reason.

That's true, but it's also important to remember that there is no such thing as free market, or a market disconnected from government. Trying to make regulations work in your favour is just another thing market players do, not different in principle from opening new shops or spending money on advertising.

Cultural attitudes toward the free market can make a big difference. At the turn of the 20th century, during the Lochner Era, the Supreme Court upheld contract liberty and prevented numerous attempts by governments to undermine it. That never could have happened without the political attitudes that existed at that time.

Widespread belief in principles like private property rights and contract liberty can act as a moat to prevent things like regulatory capture.

> It's a little cyclical of a thing though, right?

I think most of the cycles we see here are due to the mental gymnastics performed to indict capitalism for the fall of every sparrow.

There is no indignation towards capitalism in my comment. I am claiming that regulatory capture, lobbying, and campaign finance are the means of democracy in a capitalist Mecca like the US. Disagreeing with that and writing it off as mental gymnastics isn’t much of a rebuttal or conversation.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact