April 19, 2015

Another Critique of Capitalism Misses the Mark

The Imaginative Conservative has recently posted an excerpt from Russell Kirk's Prospects for Conservatives (read it here).  In it, he offers the following thoughts on capitalism:
The “capitalist” ideologues who proclaim that the Holy Market is the be-all and end-all are working their own destruction. As truly private property gives way to colossal mergers and combinations, the prediction of Marx is increasingly fulfilled: monopolies and oligopolies find few defenders in rough times, and are converted readily into agencies of the state.
Kirk is clearly confused. Once "private property gives way to colossal mergers and combinations" resulting in "monopolies and oligopolies" which are mere "agencies of the state" one is no longer talking about free market capitalism. At this point, the system would more accurately be called interventionism or economic fascism (though now commonly referred to as "crony capitalism").

Kirk then says, "The market does have its virtues—in moderation." Moderation, eh? How exactly will the markets will be moderated? Regulation would be more accurate because it is the state, of course, who will be doing the moderating. This results in the very sort of interventionist system (under the misnomer of "capitalism") that Kirk is critiquing.

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