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Capitalism brings an end to capitalism

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Message Ed Martin
Felix Salmon has an article in the New York Times, "Wall Street's Dead End," where he says that the decline of the stock market marks the end of capitalism.

Looking at some of the statements Salmon makes in the article shows that he completely fails to understand what capitalism is.

"In truth, the stock market is becoming increasingly irrelevant - a trend that threatens the core principles of American capitalism."

In truth,  the core principle of American capitalism is that businesses that can't compete, like the stock market, go out of business.

"These days a healthy stock market doesn't mean a healthy economy,""

These and all other days, a healthy or unhealthy stock market has only to do with the practice of capitalism, which has nothing to do with the state of the economy.

"The Germans aren't buying the New York Stock Exchange for its commoditized, highly competitive and ultra-low-margin stock business, but rather for its lucrative derivatives operation.:

Of course.  That's capitalism at work.

"Put another way, as the number of initial public offerings steadily declines, the stock market is becoming little more than a place for speculators and algorithms to compete over who can trade his way to the most money."

Mr. Salmon doesn't realize that in that last statement, he has given the definitive definition of capitalism, which he blames for the end of capitalism.

A capitalist is one who has capital.  The practice of capitalism is the use of that capital to make more capital.  One of the fundamental principles of capitalism is competition, the attempt to beat the other guy at grabbing more of the market for your products and run him out of business.  The inevitable result of that is monopoly.  And therein lies the fallacy of capitalism.

We've seen the result of that with the crash of the financial system and the Great Recession.  There are probably less than 100 people involved in running the companies that dominate and control our financial system.  That is in effect, a monopoly.   Practicing free market capitalism that allows fraud, lies cheating and obfuscation caused these few controlling companies to crash, along with the economy.  All in the pursuit of making money any old how and any old way you can.

And, those 100 or so capitalists responsible got multimillion dollar bonuses for doing it. 

That's capitalism, Mr. Salmon, in all of its glorious inequity.

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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)
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