When the question arises about the free market system that we supposedly enjoy here in the USA there are two opposing characterizations. Yes, there is a bit of satirical humor in this for the more sensitive readers. Which of the examples below represents the similarities to our capitalist-based system?
There will be a trading fair next Thursday. I plan on attending early so I can trade my products and goods for other high-quality goods in exchange. I firmly believe that by subscribing to honesty, quality, and excellence others will find value in dealing with me now and in the future.
I will take 3 pigs, 3 chickens, about 4 pounds of beef jerky that I processed, and 8 bushels of fresh corn. I plan on trading these items for some eggs, dried beans, wheat flour, young seeds to save for planting my spring crops, salt, pepper, and fresh honey. I hope to have enough bargaining and exchange power to get some good bourbon or rye whiskey.
There will be willing buyers and willing sellers with no coercion, or government-imposed limitations about trading with others for a mutually beneficial outcome. I look forward to the interaction and the fact that each trading partner will benefit in kind by receiving 100% value and in exchange will maximize their purchasing power and enhance each of our lifestyles. It will truly be great fun.
But, wait a minute! You forgot about the government’s bureaucratic regulations and intrusions:
Knock, Knock! “We are here from the government and we are here to help. We have developed a standardized set of regulations that govern almost every action that occurs in your life. We understand your needs and will tell you what we think is in your best interest. You have submitted a written request for approval to trade 3 pigs, 3 chickens, 4 pounds of beef jerky, and 8 bushels of corn. I think we can deliver your approval certificate in about 14 days. In the meantime, you will be required to deposit your products and goods into a government services center for quality control inspection, to be held for the 14-day waiting period during the approval process. You will receive a stamped certificate showing that you are approved by a government authority to convey and/or exchange ownership of your goods in exchange with other parties for their products and goods. There are multiple departmental inspections and approval processes that must occur for each of the products or goods that you desire to sell.
The parties that want to sell you their goods are required to deposit those goods into a government holding facility for the waiting period. Of course, you can expect that we from the government will charge a fee to feed and clean up after your pigs and chickens for the 14-day period. Also, you can expect a reasonable charge for holding your beef jerky and 8 bushels of corn. All administrative fees will not exceed 10% of the fair value of your product. Additionally, there will be a transfer or use tax of 8%, an excise tax of 5%, and a conveyance fee of 5%. This does not include the value-added tax of 18%.
A portion of the taxes that we collect from you will be redistributed to compensate folks who are too lazy and refuse to work in any productive capacity. We from the government are public servants.
The good news for you though, is that you will receive back at least 50% of the value for the goods you hope to exchange. A government official will notify you that you can expect slight delays because of government holidays, time off, sick leave, labor union marches for more pay and of course political demonstrations. Not to worry though, they always have your best interest in mind, even though your cost may increase because of the delay.
All in, you can expect to retain at least 50% of the value of your goods to transfer to someone else who will receive 50% of the value of their goods in return.
Now, have you first filed your application, taken your training classes, and paid your fees to obtain your commercial traders’ license? Of course, you will be expected to join a collectivist labor union and pay dues for the privilege of being allowed to trade with others. Your employees will also be required to join the union and pay dues monthly. You also need to hire at least one employee whose responsibility is to spend his/her daily activities on representing union interest. Not to worry though, you can just increase the cost on all your goods to make up for this. As long as someone else pays why should you care.”
Yes, this is simply an exaggerated dramatization that depicts the difference between free-market capitalism and controlled socialism. A reasonable expectation would be for a society to develop a system somewhere in the middle. The USA has a system somewhere in the middle. But the scale is rapidly changing, resulting in more government regulations, onerous intrusions and of course higher taxes. Correspondingly the movement will result in less personal freedom, more oversight, and a byproduct of coerced dependency on government. Is this what we really want?
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