Myths About Capitalism

Confronting the biggest lies about American business

I won 19 Emmy Awards by reporting a myth: that business constantly rips us off—that capitalism is mostly cruel and unfair.

I know that's a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of The 5 Big Lies About American Business by Michael Medved.

I invite him on tonight's Fox Business Network show to talk about that.

"You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action."

Medved used to write about the movies, so he's familiar with the businessman as villain. I'll play a clip from the movie Syriana, in which an oil tycoon makes this ridiculous speech:

"Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street."

"What's interesting," Medved commented, "is that in the old days, Hollywood would have businesspeople who were very positive: George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character, is a banker in It's a Wonderful Life."

No longer. Today's movie capitalists are criminals or playboys. Apparently, Hollywood writers think it's plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women.

"In school, we all studied a book called The Theory of the Leisure Class, which ... indicted the leisure class and these people who were out there exploiting other people and really had nothing to do except sit on their yachts and go to their swimming pools and their vacations."

In real life, that's nonsense.

"The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard."

Medved's second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain—or they wouldn't have traded. It's what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers believe it: It's true in their world. But it's not true in business.

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you're an idiot," said Medved. "One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene profits.' There are no obscene profits ... . (The current economic downturn shows) "that when the rich get poorer ... everybody gets poorer."

Myth No. 3: Government is more fair and reliable than business.

"Remember the last time you went into Starbucks, and then remember the last time you went into the DMV to get your license," Medved said. "Where did you get better treated? And it's not because the barista is some kind of idealist or humanitarian. She wants a tip. She wants you to come back to the Starbucks ... ."

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  • ||

    "Apparently, Hollywood writers think it's plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women."

    So what's the explanation for golf?

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    Those are business trips! You see with all the hours they put in they deserve to make 1000X what the 80hours a week janitor does.

  • MWG||

    Janitors work 80 hours/week [citation needed].

  • k-y||

    My experience with shitty hourly jobs is that you need signed approval (which you almost never get) for any work over 39.5 hours.

  • π||

    Depends on what skills the hourly worker is supplying and what kind of worker they are. If the skills are difficult to come by, and the worker a real driver, he can practically set his own hourly wage and will be lucky if he can ever get few hours off. At least that has been my experience working for hourly wages in the past.

    If this isn't the case, then yes, 39.5 is often the rule.

    Supply and demand dictates value. I see no reason why someone content to do work anyone could do (huge supply vs. modest demand) should expect to be paid or treated as if they were supplying a valuable service.

    This is why I've been so intensely hated by union workers, most are fairly well paid (vastly over-paid in my opinion) only because of the union strong arming. When I'm called in it's because there is no other choice. And it usually is quickly apparent a better job could easily be accomplished if I was to replace several employees. That can be very threatening to these people, causing them to become very upset and aggressive towards me. In most cases I've been able to smooth things over with assurances that once my contract obligations are fulfilled I have no intention of doing anything other than moving on to the next one elsewhere.

    Sometimes it pays to leave some things unsaid. No doubt the flames would be fanned if they knew I was being paid several times their highest salary. And that I firmly believe a more fair approach would be to prevent them from standing between me and their employers in any way. We both want to do business, and would do much more of it to both of our benefits if not for union possessiveness of that which is not rightfully theirs.

    Of course creating unnecessary difficulty by upsetting the union gold-brickers would only cause their employer problems, thus reducing my value to their employer. It's all very political, sufficient tact is a must.

  • ||

    Thanks for bringing up (apropos of nothing) the mere 14% of the workforce that's unionized, but what does this have to do with GOLF?

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    Well, I wasn't trying to imply that those hours were at one place (your point being entirely correct ) which is why they have multiple jobs. Basically, every Hispanic immigrant I've ever known has worked hours like that (across multiple jobs), really they would be better off if there was no over-time since they wouldn't have to get from job to job.

  • ||

    I'm at the bottom of the income scale, and I've never worked more than two jobs. Of course, I am lazier than most immigrants. There was quite a while when I was earning tips that I actually worked less than 40 hours a week! Being poor isn't that bad. It just means that you have less options, but also less responsibility. I could call in sick anytime that I wanted, and pretty much come and go as I pleased. I party every night and chill every day.

    Sure, a CEO can take the yacht out for a spin and take vacations in Monaco, but he/she also has a lot more of a daily headache than I ever want to put up with.

  • ||

    "and I've never worked more than two jobs."

    Should say that "I've never worked more than one job."

    See, I told you that I'm lazy.

  • ||

    Has anybody else on this blog worked for less than 20 grand a year for the last 5 years, while also living on their own, or with other poor roommates? Or is everybody else here a business owner or something? I'm just curious.

  • Tom||

    TK,

    You're not alone. I'm not quite as lazy as you, but pretty damn close. I just don't care about living an extravagant life. My time is much more important to me than money.

  • ||

    I got my ass kicked in college for 5 years, went to med school, 200K in debt, worked an average of 80 hours per week for 4 years in residency and now practice as an emergency physician. I work about 50 hrs per week, not counting travel time to one of my hospitals. I make 500K per year. That includes night shifts, weekends, holidays, birthdays, etc. The ER is open 24/7. I also don't get vacation. If I don't work. I don't eat.

    My worklife was decidedly front loaded. I could work less now, but that isn't how I roll. I pretty much can't stop myself when given hours; not out of a sense of greed; but more because I actually do like taking care of people. Is my salary justified? And why should I worry about begging for scraps from some douche-bag bureaucrat?

  • Haimerej||

    I supported my wife and child for 2 1/2 years making about 27k. We didn't have much, but we had enough. We built good credit and now that she's working, we've bought 40 acres of land and are in the process of starting a vineyard. My own research (internet, library) has shown that it's a young but growing market in my state (OK). I hope to be able to quit working for anyone else by the time I'm 40. Then I'll join the ranks of the "evil." ;)

  • zoltan||

    Congratulations to you. 40 acres and a vineyard sounds nice.

  • ||

    Ha! I'm one, hovering around 20K right now. I got curious about Reason because of the pot articles. The last 5 years I've had a pretty severe disability & a lot of pain, but I was happy to get working again... like you I'm lazy, but I'm not THAT lazy!

    I definitely get the impression that most of the post-ers here are retired cranks with fantasies of being 'titans of industry' etc. (note the ad for Aricept: anti-Alzheimer's med). An odd thing to fantasize about, but I suppose harmless enough. Interestingly, few of them seem to be veterans (I'm a veteran so I notice); generally they seem oddly untraveled, and uninformed about other countries.

    This seems a strange "political" philosophy, if it is one, because most of these guys are so content to sit around spinning these airy, abstract utopian theories about the perfect libertarian world, with absolutely no concern for how things get done in politics in real life. (Referring again to the post-ers, not so much the authors, who can be thought-provoking.) Yet they fantasize so much about what 'John Galts' they all are - dream on! It's all quite bizarre.

  • ||

    You can tell who's a veteran or who isn't just by what random shit they put in a post?

    OK, then tell me who IS a vet.

  • ||

    Naw, I can't "tell" - I said "few of them seem to be" - but I base this very vague impression on the (apparent) retired cranks' lack of curiosity or knowledge about, well, anyplace in the world, & their apparent lack of traveling experience, even w/in the U.S. Oh, and the tired boilerplate about how bad the VA supposedly is when they obviously know nothing about it, first-, second- or third-hand. (The VA hasn't been bad since the early '90s.) I suppose this just wasn't what I expected from this group, going in. There are some smart and entertaining post-ers here too, and even a few veterans!

  • ||

    "lack of curiosity or knowledge about, well, anyplace in the world"

    I just figured that was because they're Americans ;)

  • Teddy KGB||

    I've interacted with the VA and several VA patients, and I will state for the record that they suck. Impossible to communicate with, and in health care communication is kind of a nice thing to have.

  • ||

    Well, I'm a vet. US Navy Corpsman. And frankly, the VA still sucks.

  • AA||

    I'm a veteran. 1st platoon, C troop 1/1 Cav. Lived in Germany for a year and a half and was in Iraq for a year and a half. And a Libertarian. So are a lot of other soldier I know. Your interpretation of Libertarianism is very strange. I always wonder why people call it "Utopian?" I think people who want to use government to fix every problem are "Utopian." Politics is the opposite of real life for the most part. Being a Veteran I would think you would know that.

  • AA||

    And the VA is not that great. But probably not as bad as normally said. But its worse now with all the new war veterans.

  • ||

    agree

  • Zenmaster||

    I'm active duty.

  • Jen||

    GregC, you seem oddly bigoted yourself. I'm 27, female, middle class with no grandiose fantasies, college educated, and have been all over the United States and 11 other countries. Maybe you should either take the time to actually listen to what people are saying and judge them on the merits of their ideas, or take your prejudices over to the Huffington Post, where they will be welcome and unquestioned.

  • ||

    You are a rara avis indeed, a female post-er on Reason.com (!). I could have made clearer that I was trying to figure out (perhaps inaccurately) the demographics of what seemed to me about, oh, 60% of the regulars here; I'm happy to see the replies of the vets/military & you.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I'm self-employed, mid 20s, traveled to 17 countries and all over the United States. I'm not a veteran and have no desire to be in the military and the main reason libertarianism appealed to me in the first place is because it is the opposite of "utopian".

    Freedom means that everyone gets to choose their own life - not that there is one dominant master plan that is "best" for all. Some people will make mistakes, some people will get lucky, but everyone will have the opportunity to make the most of their own lives and pursue their own goals in their own ways.

  • zoltan||

    There are plenty of female posters. Jennifer, Dagny T., Hazel Meade, me, and who knows how many others. There's also Juanita...

  • ||

    Most libertarians believe that govt does in fact have a role; albeit much smaller than now. They also believe in the power and poetry of the Constitution and are alarmed by the continued assault on it. This country is changing incrementally. At this rate, you won't recognize it in 50 years. Without the framework given to us, we have no guide to lead.

  • Contrarian P||

    Ummm no, I haven't worked for 20 grand a year for the last five years. Sounds like a pretty dead end career track to me. I did work for that much before but I didn't stay there. I studied and worked and got promoted or a better paying position. Might be worth considering.

  • ||

    I did. Actually I did while single and my wife and I did when we were first married. And oddly enough we didn't feel especially poor or put-upon. We entertained friends, ate decently, and were not unhappy. But we did want more. So we worked and got better jobs, and got more. What a pair of evil-doers we are......

  • Chad||

    No, but in 1998, I lived on $450/month for nine months, with no outside help from anyone. Yes, that is $5400/year, or perhaps $7000 in today's money.

    I had no car (didn't need one...I lived close enough to work and downtown to walk) and my rent was $800/month split four ways. Bills were split, $50 each, and we cooked each other dinner once per person per week, keeping my groceries to about $100. The remaining $25/week was enough for everything else I needed.

    I then went to grad school and made $16000-$20000/year for those five years, accumulated no debt, bought and paid for a car, travelled all around the country and overseas several times, and had a blast doing it.

    It isn't hard for a single person to live on that kind of money.

  • AA||

    "I then went to grad school and made $16000-$20000/year for those five years, accumulated no debt, bought and paid for a car, travelled all around the country and overseas several times, and had a blast doing it."

    Thats pretty sweet. Exactly what I want to do when I'm done with the military.

  • Dave Mc||

    38, married, 2 kids, about 40K (with bonuses), wifey makes about 66K. I was dirt poor from ages 20-27. Quit partying and found a job I love. Not the greatest salary, but something I truly love doing.

  • ||

    29 - 70K served 10years in the army -traveled extensively both in and outside the US. Tech school graduate with an additiction to reading - will continue to study to earn more as I spent most of my life broke - it isn't fun as far as any legal issues that arise are more expensive then actual maitanence...come to think of it, I pay more in state fines and local taxes a year then I do on doing anything really would like.

  • Brett Knoss||

    A CEO with a yaucht is one thing, but a unemployed person a former CEO and heir is another. You can blow a llot of money on toys, booze, drugs, and parties. Then your poor.

  • Drunkenatheist||

    "Being poor isn't that bad."

    I'll remember that when I'm upset that I can't take a vacation, run out and join a gym, or drop money on a new wardrobe. I'll also remember it when I'm sobbing and depressed because my poverty is the reason I have to give friends flimsy excuses for not hanging out. (No money, no ability to go to the bar for a couple beers, go to lunch, go out shopping, hell even get out of state to go see them.)

    That might have been the absolute, 100% most retarded thing I've ever read within Reason comments. Congrats!

  • zoltan||

    Then that depends on your definition of poor. Poor to some people is living in a hovel without a steady source of food and water. To others it's living within meager means. To you, it's not having discretionary income. Don't be such a baby.

  • Jorgen||

    Right, so the folks who want to support a family as a janitor get a second job. I know that the folks who clean my office building at night all have second jobs during the day.

  • Wegie||

    Why would anyone with a brain equate a janitor to a CEO? I think the word brain is a clue.

  • ||

    He actually makes pretty good sense to me.

    Lou
    www.r-u-being-logged.es.tc

  • Tony||

    That's because you're a mindless robot.

  • Paul Krugman||

    I have that effect on people, too...

  • ||

    "The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard."

    So Medved advocates Capitalism and yet thinks you make money by working hard?

    Whatever you think of capitalism as a system, the way you make real money is by having other people work for you.

  • DADIODADDY||

    Yo Dan T. How'd that whole central planned communist gig work out for the soviets? How do you think the greeks are feeling about that socialist thing they've got going?

  • ||

    I guess the same way those back in the Great Depression felt about the failure of capitalism.

  • Dan T||

    This is not me.

  • barfman||

    *barf* anyway

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Either way, Dan... you suck.

  • ||

    The Great Depression is about the failure of government. The crash in the early 20's was worse than the crash that started the Great Depression. The difference is that Coolidge was president and the government as a whole was pretty conservative (and actually believed in and followed the Constitutional limitations of a federal government) from 1920 to 1928. Then in 1928 the radical president Hoover came to power and couldn't wait to start tinkering with the levers of power, massively expanding government's role in the economy. Then FDR came along to continue and extend the failed policies of Hoover.

    Government action that was pushed by Hoover and FDR turned a recession into the Great Depression.

  • ||

    Quite a novel theory. So how come the "radical" Hoover kept Coolidge's immensely influential Treasury Sec'y (Andrew Mellon) for over 3 years?

  • ||

    NOt really that novel. There were several government actions at the level of the federal reserve and the legislature that did more to harm the economy than help it. THe federal reserve began to horde gold, which caused the effects of our recession to weaken every other economy. Then, once the swoot hawley tariff was passed, reactionary tariffs from other countries around the world were responsible for half of the contraction in international trade, by some estimates. Government planning didn't pull us out of the recession by any measure. THe evidence is actually pretty strong that doing nothing would have been a superior alternative.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Yes Hoover was the one who signed the Smoot Hawley tarrifs into law - hardly the "hands off" style of government that the liberal keepers of the FDR myth try to attribute to Hoover.

    I believe he also signed a big income tax increase into law as well.

  • ||

    The Great Deperession was a failure of nascent socialism. It wasn't until the government stopped taking so many resources from the economy that there was a recovery.

  • IceTrey||

    The Great Depression was caused by the banksters the same way the housing bubble was caused. In the 20's they invented a little thing called the margin loan (with the housing bubble it was the credit default swap). Unlike today you didn't have to pay off the margin at the end of the trading day so people went years borrowing on margin. Then one day when the all the banksters had pulled out of the market they demanded their margin calls, which no one had, and crashed the market.

  • ||

    But it was the government actions that followed the crisis that made the recovery impossible. We could have pulled out of the depression much faster had the government had done nothing. Plus, if there were no federal reserve, and the bankers were forced (by the gold standard and competition) to practice 100% reserve banking, no depression could have occurred.

  • ||

    Well it was caused by the bankers, bankers who were given government police powers to set price controls on the cost of credit in 1913.

    Buying on margin was just a symptom. Even so had the government left it alone there would have been no great depression. Just like the crash of 1920 was over in about a year. The 1920 crash was caused by the same problem. Fortunately government didn't try to fix it, so it was very brief.

    These problem will continue to occur because the symptom isn't solved. In fact margin buying and CDS's should have ruined the offending banks, and the non offending banks would have survived. The current keynesian policy is saving the bad actors at the cost of jobs. Capitalism is self regulating even in the face of massive distortions. The solution was to let the bad actors fail. The cost of bailouts is jobs. Instead of the people who put their money at risk, and who mostly could survive if they lost that money, we're ruining the economy by punishing the otherwise solvent businesses that employed people.

    As long as we have price controls on the price of credit people will find a way to game the system. Regulating those things, which are only pathological in the face of underpriced money in the first place will simply hamstring the economy more and more.

    Interest rates are supposed to be the market response to (shocker) the amount of risk. Right now there is huge risk but the rates are held low. If you don't smell another disaster you aren't paying attention.

    The bankers are the problem, but only because government does their bidding. Without government power bankers can't transfer their risk. The 'regulation' always ends up helping out the big players at the expense of the competition.

  • π||

    If you believe running a business with employees isn't work you should give it a shot sometime. A little actual insight would help you appear less obviously ignorant.

  • ||

    What kind of a sucker actually runs a business?

    Just buy stock. No work involved, and then your dividends are actually taxed at a lower rate than the people working for you! It's awesome.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Obviously, you've never invested in stocks.

  • The Gobbler||

    QUIT FEEDING THE TROLL.

    thank you

  • π||

    Thanks, sometimes I need the obvious pointed out to me.

    Feeding monkies results in monkies throwing their crap on anyone who wanders into range.

    Likewise trolls are just looking for attention, bad idea to give it to them. Doing so just results in their slinging poo all over the comments section.

    mea culpa

  • Ron||

    however, on the idea of wether or not to feed trolls? I actually learn a lot by reading these post and when a troll post one of their typical arguments in public I'm not always sure of the best answer. But when those with the correct answer respond/feed the trolls here I learn. So go ahead keep feeding the trolls but remember like our diets balance in all things or else your feeding of the troll can make them fat and lazy.

  • ||

    We need a green job initiative to help underprivileged trolls. They need free health care too. Socialism for trolls!

  • zoltan||

    Feeding the trolls here makes them fat and hyper like America's children.

  • skr||

    oh yeah, no risk to be rewarded for there.

  • ||

    "Just buy stock. No work involved"

    Hey genius, where do you think the money to buy the stock comes from?

    "and then your dividends are actually taxed at a lower rate than the people working for you!"

    Only after the corporation has already paid a 35% tax on its income.

    Double taxation sure does suck. In fact, it sucks so bad that equity investors demand higher returns to compensate for the tax drag. As a result, most corporations have had to resort to financing themselves with debt instead of equity capital, leading to a greater number of bankruptcies (and job losses) during downturns.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    Running a business does not a capitalist make. Only if you finance your business with your own cash are you acting as a capitalist. The people who lent the money are the capitalist (you know the people with the capital), you can argue that they should be rewarded for taking the risk, are vital to the economy (our new God),etc. But that they are 'working' in the common sense ... seems a stretch

  • ||

    Your lack of nuance is ... disturbing.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    So? Enlighten me.

  • ||

    I have no position that I wish you to believe.
    However, you are saying that capitalism is all or nothing.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    I was thinking 'capitalist' in the sense the article is using it - that is a financier - not an advocate of capitalism, the economic system ( since for every example of a negative portrayal there are a hundred positive ). I wouldn't think that you have to view investing as 'hard work' or work at all to be pro-capitalism (probably helps), I guess it depends on how you take Dan T's comment (is it directed at capitalist or capitalist?).

    Semantics are always a problem when discussing capitalism (since there is no widely accepted definition - so it has multiple meanings), I've ran into people who consider themselves Libertarians, think our current system (or the one a couple years ago) isn't capitalism, and that real capitalism would look a lot like non-state socialist think socialism would look like.

    So if anything too much nuance ( I kid).

  • ||

    We are all capitalists. And by "we" I mean everybody. Everybody brings something to the table to be parlayed into profit, whether it is a "capitalist" bringing money, or a worker bringing his labor, both groups are trying to take something that they have and turn it into something more.

  • Tom||

    I like this TK guy.

  • Bernie Sanders||

    *AHEM*!!!

  • ||

    "the way you make real money is by having other people work for you."

    And the trick to having other people to work for you is paying them enough to make it worth their while.

  • ||

    Unless you are the Government. We will force you to work for someone else and then set the wages and prices. Resistance is futile.

  • ||

    No, the way you make real money is by seeing an opportunity that no one else is realizing. Very often, that involves having other people work for you. It's so tough to do things as a lone wolf.

  • ||

    Whatever you think of capitalism as a system, the way you make real money is by having other people work for you.

    Dan seems to think having people work for you, or even managing a portfolio, doesn't involve any work.

  • Brett Knoss||

    It isn't through hard work you make money, its by providing something useful. The value of a skill or a product is more important thatn the hours of labour involved. Because of mechanization, IT and other techancle innovations people do more than ever before is spite working less.

  • π||

    It's been awhile since a show has come along I actually look forward to seeing each week.

  • jk||

    I got a dvr just for Stossel. It's on after my bedtime.

  • ||

    I don't think anyone objects to people making money. But the financial crisis has revealed, if not villains, then definitely a lot of stupid and selfish people on Wall Street. When banks like Citi that nearly brought down the global financial system and needed government bailouts to stay alive turn around and make billions in profit and give out billions in bonuses, yes, those profits are obscene.

    I still agree with most of these myths though.

  • π||

    Stick around and you'll come to understand government intervention enables, even promotes, the activities of the "villains" you write of.

  • ||

    If we could only put government in the magic government-shrinking machine everything would be fine.

  • k-y||

    You mean like the magic government medicine making machine we are deploying over the next 4 years?

  • re-defiler||

    Or the magic government enlarging ray, surely once they are as powerful as Voltron, they can stop 'all' suffering... ya know... just like that carpenter guy with the magic powers that was supposed to save all the peasants in Europe during the Middle Ages.

  • ||

    ...and needed government bailouts...

    I'm sorry, but your problem is you completely glossed over this part of your arguement. FAIL

  • Mike M.||

    I don't think anyone objects to people making money.

    This has to be a throwaway line, because you can't possibly seriously believe this.

    Envy and resentment of those who make more money is one of the most powerful and widespread emotions among mankind.

  • Mark||

    It also motivates people to strive and work for success.

    I guess once the government takes away that motivation it will come up with another for us..

  • jk||

    I don't particularly mind it when people make money.
    It means I can make money too!

  • ||

    One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene profits.' There are no obscene profits

    Of course, then when those non-obscene profits are used to influence the government in non-libertarian ways, Medved is probably among the first to whine about it.

  • Dan T||

    This is not me.

  • Dan T||

    Yes it is me.

  • ||

    yeah....so?

  • Dan T||

    Which me are you talking to?

  • ||

    Do you even know what libertarian means?

  • Brian||

    So what? Which is worse? The rich guy that tries to buy influence or the politician that has absolutely no character and integrity that takes the bribe?

    (The answer your looking for is the politician).

  • Brian||

    BTW - it's accepting the bribe that leads to legislation that favors the company or industry the individual buying the vote receives, which creates monopolies, which ultimately leads to taxpayer bail outs.

  • jk||

    Many thing money equals power.
    They do do not understand the distinction between power and influence.
    The guy in government has power. Only government can use force.
    The rich guy can use his money to purchase influence, but only if the person in government chooses to let them.

    But when this happens it is always the rich guy who gets blamed. Never the guy in government who took the bribe.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Or the "people" who allowed the government guy the power to use force in those ways in the first place.

  • π||

    Well, at least you know something about the subject of fine whine. If you haven't won awards for your unbelievable bawling you certainly should.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    Its almost like winning about the content of Hollywood's (one of our only significant exports that's not heavily subsidized by the state) films not being Libertarian enough. How is that not the precious market mechanisms at work? People are still buying (well mostly stealing) it, there most be a market for it, therefor it is good.

    That's dangerous thinking.

  • ||

    Point?

  • Tom||

    How often do you hear libertarians "winning" about the content of Hollywood movies...at least from some sort of social/political perspective?

  • Adonisus||

    Libertarians? Generally none.

    But if they're Objectivists/Randians? Oh you'd better BET they're going to find SOMETHING to bitch about the latest blockbuster (just look at how they reacted to Avatar).

  • ||

    The fact that governments have power to intervene is the problem. Once it has that power you get corruption. With out that power there can be no corruption.

    Giving government power to stop the bailouts it gave or overcome the moral hazard it created with the GSE's or mitigate the bubbles it creates is the very recipe for a vast expansion of corruption.

    Bigger government attracts buyers. You ideological socialist pawns will never be able to outbid the elites no matter what you think.

    The right solution is to make sure government isn't a commodity bid on. Your solution is to make it a more valuable commodity.

  • ||

    +1, Well Said

  • ||

    "Pornographic profits" has that alliterative appeal!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Remember when Chuckie Schumer compared "right-wing" broadcasting to pornography, and how both need to be regulated by government?

    That was a hoot!

  • ||

    No longer. Today's movie capitalists are criminals or playboys. Apparently, Hollywood writers think it's plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women.

    "You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action."

    Heh.

  • Dan T||

    This isn't me too.

  • Dan T||

    All your poops are belong to us.

  • ||

    I am the real Dan T

  • ||

    And yet, no one cares.

  • ||

    "The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have."

    The article makes several good points, and I support its general premise, but this ^ line is tough to defend. I suppose if you define "leisure time" as an unemployed person watching mindless daytime TV, hoping against hope the phone will ring with a job offer, and you define "work time" as an exec sipping a bloody mary and touch-padding through emails in the airport Admiral's Club, frustrated that his business-class flight to a 3-day "corprotate training event" in Scottsdale will depart 30 minutes late, then I guess the latter has less "leisure time"

    While you flame, recall that you're reading Reason while landscapers are outside the building weed-eating the bushes and whatnot

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    Nope. I'm reading Reason to avoid work while the landscapers are outside getting stoned behind the brush pile.

    Lucky bastards.

  • π||

    Every job has it's perks.

  • jk||

    Yup.

    Work in restaurants and you can get away without paying for much of your food.

    Work as a pilot and you can get away without paying for much of your travel.

    Work in government and you can get away with ignoring much of the law.

  • ||

    Work in porno and you get fucked for a living.

  • robc||

    Anytime spent in an airport not only isnt leisure time, it counts as double time working, IMO.

  • ||

    quiet or they'll strip search you again!

  • π||

    What's to "recall" are you a fellow former landscaper reminiscing, or are you on your Weedeater mounted laptop working outside the Reason building?

  • OncomingStorm||

    Leisure time and work time is utterly subjective if one has the ability to choose one's work. Some of my "hardest" work is leisurely because I enjoy it, and some of my "leisure" time kicking back at home (read: power washing the *$&%ing house) is more work than I do at work.

  • ||

    That line and others are hard to defend. He has the right idea but he has an idealized idea that America has a free market, which it patently doesn't have.

    In a free market it's true that you can only make a profit buy making a quality product or service.

    In our socialized economy you can easily make money by investing on government influence.

    CEO's make their 'obscene' incomes by several mechanism, only one of which is legitimate. They ultimately make the money by providing better profits than their competition. However the way they do that is often due to political connections or an adeptness at political machinations. (cough, GE, GS, cough) As well through various mechanisms the Federal Reserves fiat money system creates a permanent advantage of corporations over workers.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    +1

    I would like to only add that there are sectors of the US economy that are more free than others - and anyone should be able to very easily notice that the ones that have heavier government involvement are the ones where lobbying & influence pedaling are most prominent.

    Lately there's been a flood of (very old) news about Goldman Sachs being Obama's 2nd highest campaign contributer at nearly $1 Million... No one has bothered to mention lately that UCLA was the #1 contributer, though.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    "You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action."

    This isn't even remotely true.

  • Joe||

    You can now also make money by lobbying Congress to pass a law requiring everyone to buy your product, even of they don't want it.

  • π||

    Bullseye!

  • ||

    Actually this is old news.

    The power to regulate is the power to offer soft monopolies to your donors. Harsh regulations, while seeming to harm large entrenched firms actually tilt the field in their favor, as they are the ones who are able to shoulder the added costs. The bars become higher for new enterprise to enter the competition. Even the mere volume and complexity of regulations, even if the real effect is relatively minor, are a benefit to major corporations who can afford to have teams of lawyers and accountants at their disposal to interpret them.

    Essentially regulation artificially exaggerates 'efficiencies' of scale and promote what appear to be 'natural' monopolies but what are in fact the ordinary and all too common common government imposed monopoly.

  • Jay||

    I'm always baffled when people say that It's a Wonderful Life is a positive portrayal of capitalism. Potter is the capitalist in the film. George Bailey puts lofty ideals ahead of profits, and is made the hero for it.

  • Jay||

    Hollywood's prejudices are the same as they ever were.

  • Dakotian||

    This is a good point. George Bailey is a man of the people trying to get everyone into a home of their own. Sort of like the actions of some that contributed to the housing bubble.

    Still a good movie though and I am a big fan of Jimmy Stewart.

  • Steff||

    That really depends on how you look at it. While I am a big fan of capitalism, I won't claim for a moment that there aren't good businessmen and bad businessmen. Stewart played an idealist, but his company did, indeed, operate in the black and when things went bad, the community he had invested in came back to invest in him.

    So, he was a capitalist, just an idealistic one. His capital was both in cash, but also in good will.

  • ||

    And that is a quantifiable line item in a financial statement.

  • Steff||

    'Course not. But it does work. Only liberals buy the notion that you can't foster good will and still be a capitalist.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand HATED It's a Wonderful Life. Just sayin'...

  • Juice||

    Ayn Rand hated everything.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    There is a much better example actually - Humphrey Bogart as a businessman in Sabrina (1954). For example, here's what I believe to be the best excerpt of all time in any film (and almost entirely unique) on the subject of business qua business:

    [Humphrey Bogart]:
    If I got married, I'd have to take a Dictaphone, two secretaries and four corporation counsellors along on the honeymoon.

    I'd be unfaithful to my wife every night with vice presidents, boards of directors, slide-rule accountants...

    This [office]... this is my home.

    No wife would ever understand it.

    [William Holden]:
    Nor me. You've got all the money in the world.

    [Bogart]:
    Making money isn't the main point of business. Money is a by-product.

    [Holden]:
    What's the main objective? Power?

    [Bogart]:
    Ah! That's become a dirty word.

    [Holden]:
    What's the urge? You're going into plastics. What will that prove?

    [Bogart]:
    Prove? Nothing much.

    A new product has been found, something of use to the world. A new industry moves into an undeveloped area. Factories go up, machines go in and you're in business.

    It's coincidental that people who've never seen a dime now have a dollar and barefooted kids wear shoes and have their faces washed.

    What's wrong with an urge that gives people libraries, hospitals, baseball diamonds and movies on a Saturday night?

    What's wrong with that urge, indeed?

    George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" is a horrendous example of a movie that portrays businessmen as good. Because the boss isn't. Ultimately, that movie launched the long-standing tradition of movies portraying businessmen as really evil, so I think this article wildly misses the point in this case.

  • ||

    How come when people in Hollywood work hard and produce a product that people want to purchase they are slammed here for being "elitist"?

  • Mark||

    Because the 'people' in Hollywood making the films are actually hypocrites who profit handsomely in a little-regulated industry while preaching big government to the rest of us.

  • π||

    Spot on.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    And also (speaking as an Entertainment Industry pro living in Hollywood), because most people in the upper levels of the Hollywood establishment actually get where they are via nepotism and graft rather than through talent or hard work.

    Worth checking into the story of Jon Peters for a classic example of this, where a hairdresser parlays a relationship with Barbara Streisand into being a major producer and even owning the rights of such movie franchises as Superman.

    Worth remembering that the whole movie industry kind of spawned out of a conglomeration of carnies, vaudevillians and grifters anyway.

  • Rick Libertarianski||

    Only in Amerika do sports figures make 7 figure salaries. The great inventions of the past "X" number of years have been made where the wants and needs of people (through some form of free market), not those countries of the 3rd world where despots, tribalism, and cental planning have set up camp.

  • Mo||

    Only in Amerika do sports figures make 7 figure salaries.

    False.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristiano_Ronaldo

  • ||

    Lionel Messi - Barcelona - 33 million Euros/yr

  • π||

    1 Euro = 1.3382 USDs, iF anyone was wondering.

  • Roger Murdock||

    How come when people in Hollywood work hard and produce a product that people want to purchase they are slammed here for being "elitist"?

    Umm, because other folks from whom I purchase services/products...say my plumber, don't take a gulfstream from one service call to another telling his customers that they're wasteful, decadent pigs that need to be living in a mudhut, with one compact flourescent bulb, eating tofu to save the earth.

  • π||

    Umm, I'd say you are most likely correct.

    It may also be worth mention that both the Nazis and Communists treated celebrity performers as elite members of society with special privileges equal to political office-holders. Those in power well understood the potential they have in selling the lie. So it's really no wonder why nearly all of our celebrity actors hold political views that are strongly left-wing despite making fortunes for doing what my daughter did so well for free playing pretend.

    Hey, Chavez, looking good in all those smiling pictures with our U.S. celebrity performers!

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    So the problem is free-speech! Big improvement!
    Who is forcing you to buy their product?

  • Roger Murdock||

    Nope, I'm all for free speech, for any idiot (I include myself).

    I freely purchase their product understanding that those that produce it, while producing something I want, are complete douchebags.

    "Soupnazi" concept...

  • Tom||

    That's why I don't go see movies that I even suspect might espouse political views with which I would disagree. At the same time, I've sat through some god-awful movies on account of political agreement.

  • ||

    Uh, free-speech implies the right to make stupid statements. And get called on them.
    They're welcome to spout nonsense and I'm more than happy to point it out.

  • ||

    I will force you to buy medicare, social security, and health care insurance. Resistance is futile!

  • ||

    But the left doesn't get it.

    Oh yeah, the left.
    That's it John. Keep towing the lion for FOX.

  • ||

    Would y'all quit "towing" me already?

  • π||

    This must be some kind of reference to Aesop's fable about the Lion and the Fox?

  • π||

    Could he have intended to say toeing the line?

    No one knows...

  • Cliché Bandit||

    this is an old meme...I am too lazy to find the link to the various comment threads...search for "Tow the Lion" in the search bar. It was most clearly meant in this joking fashion by Warren as he was on some of those threads.

    Hey Warren, leave us Stosselites alone

  • Komodo Dragon||

    I'd kick your ass.

  • ||

    Its an H & R joke.

    "Toe the line" is of course the correct term.

    Over time it has become bastardized to "tow the line." Bastards.

    At some point here at H & R it got, err, changed to "tow the lion", for the usual reasons the regulars here do anything.

  • Mo||

    Is a guy who is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute really the sort of person who should be scolding others for lying?

  • A Lawyer||

    Go fuck yourself and your oversimplified values, you pompous conservative cum-dumpster.

  • Rimfax||

    You really shouldn't hold the hand mirror so close to your face. Meanwhile, enjoy some troll chow. It's delicious and nutritious!

  • ||

    "Remember the last time you went into Starbucks, and then remember the last time you went into the DMV to get your license," Medved said. "Where did you get better treated?"

    Two myths right there. Maybe in some states people have horror stories about the DMV, but seriously, the last time I was there (in Massachusetts yet, where it's called the RMV) I was in and out in 30 minutes, WITH a new picture and it was no big deal. I hear it's gone downhill a bit lately (oooh, maybe a whole hour wait, once every five years? - oh the horror), but I think the myth of the dreaded DMV is way, way, overblown, except maybe in a very few states.

    Conversely, at Starbucks when you're charged, say, $6.05, try giving that barista a twenty, a dollar bill and a nickel and watch her head explode figuring out the change.

  • ||

    That's, like, 47 cents change, right?

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The Jersey DMV is nearly effortless. You can renew almost everything on-line. New cars don't go through inspection for another 4 years; old cars only every other year. In my county, inspections are done by appointments, which you can make on-line, so there's never longer than a two-car wait. Because of all that, the DMV building itself is mostly empty, so every 5 years when I actually have to show up to get my license photo, I'm in and out in 10 minutes.

    You know, SLD and all, but the Jersey DMV has improved dramatically in the last 15 years.

  • Tom||

    Try living anywhere else, Greg. The BMV (as I know it) is hell.

  • ||

    I've lived in six states as an adult. As I said, maybe a few of the rest are bad, but "anywhere" else? I seriously doubt it. I suspect the DMV Myth has somehow taken on a life of its own, despite the first-hand experience of the vast majority of Americans that contradicts it.

  • ||

    GregC|4.22.10 @ 5:05PM|#
    "I suspect the DMV Myth has somehow taken on a life of its own, despite the first-hand experience of the vast majority of Americans that contradicts it."

    I've lived in three states, and I'd much rather have, oh, several teeth pulled without drugs than deal with the DMV.

  • ||

    Well as I just said, I've lived in SIX and I think it's a mostly a myth and mostly a bunch of nonsense.

    There are ways to shape up your state's operation (see Jersey above, which I know used to be bad).

  • ||

    Well, as I pointed out, it's not a 'myth' but your hopes of reforming things remain a 'myth'.
    Either you got lucky or didn't have to deal with things that weren't common precedure.
    No one at the DMV has the least interest in anything other than clearing their desks; people respond to incentives.

  • ||

    Any reason you're too embarrassed to say what state you live in?

  • ||

    Are you too embarrassed to tell us how many dogs you screwed last night?

  • ||

    You don't live in a state? But you still have state DMV hassles? I don't get it.

  • ||

    "your hopes of reforming things remain a 'myth'."

    Yes, I realize most libertarians sit around complaining about the government and never doing anything about it. (Except typing on blogs - although in that respect, you're similar to most lefties nowadays.)

    Apparently in New Jersey people were more practical and they actually fixed their DMV. Aren't you even a bit curious?

  • ||

    I suspect the DMV Myth has somehow taken on a life of its own, despite the first-hand experience of the vast majority of Americans that contradicts it. [Citation Needed]

  • ||

    No, it's the myth itself that needs a citation, FOR ONCE, rather than getting parroted endlessly by people like Medved with never any facts to back it up.

    But okay, I tried a few searches just now with no luck yet. How to phrase it? Looking for a state-by-state comparison... not sure how to search for that. (For instance not every state calls it the "DMV".)

  • ||

    No, YOU need to cite that the "first-hand experience of the vast majority of Americans" is just like yours. I made no such claim one way or the other. I know the states I live it, the DMV is a fucking nightmare, but as I haven't been to the majority of states, I make no assertion either way.

    When you make a claim, then you had damn well accept that someone might not want to just accept your word.

  • ||

    Why are you embarrassed to say what state you live in? 'Jersey Patriot' and I were happy to say what states we live in.

    We at least provided some evidence that it's possibly a myth (in two classically 'blue' Northeastern states, yet). I said merely that Mass. was "no big deal," but 'JP' describes the NJ DMV as nearly flawless.

    I said merely that "I suspect" most people are just thoughtlessly going along with the myth, even though they've never personally experienced it. We didn't claim anything about ALL 50 states - only 7 or so, more than you - but sure, I'd love to see solid statistics on the subject.

    How exactly is the DMV a "nightmare" in your mysterious state that you're too embarrassed to name? A wait of a whole hour? (like I said, oh the horror!). At this point I'd be dubious about your personal anecdotal evidence, if you even provide any. You really sound like you're making the whole thing up.

  • ||

    GregC|4.23.10 @ 10:28AM|#
    "Why are you embarrassed to say what state you live in? 'Jersey Patriot' and I were happy to say what states we live in."

    So was it more than 10 dogs? More than 50?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Here, I'll chime in.

    I live in California, and dealing with the DMV or anything related to the state are consistently the worst experiences of my life.

    Example: Last year, I paid my registration renewal (over $300... awesome!) over the phone and also paid a parking ticket at the same time - hoping that this would save me some hassle, having spent the previous year's registration renewal waiting in the DMV office for about 5 hours.

    I was told that everything was all good and I'd just have to stop by the DMV to get the stickers... Perfect.

    Cept then I go to the DMV, wait 2 hours to get the stickers, only to be told that their records won't be updated for 2 weeks and so they can't prove that I've actually paid. I was subsequently told that if I wanted to go to a completely different location in downtown Los Angeles, I might be able to get them to print a copy of my receipt.

    I went... But guess what... The place I was sent to didn't actually exist anymore - and according to the doorman, hadn't for 3-4 years.

    Sweet, huh?

    Then I went to another courthouse that was on a list of alternative places to go for this receipt, waited in line another 2 hours only to be told that they don't do that kind of thing there... Of course, they suggested I go somewhere else to get the receipt... Conveniently, the place they were going to sent me was the one that didn't exist anymore.

    Know what? This story goes on for 2 more weeks... All the while I was driving "illegally" with no proper registration.

    Sweet, huh?

    NOT. A. MYTH.

  • ||

    I said I'm guessing it's a myth nationally. One state (however big & uniquely fucked up) doesn't disprove what I suspect is a national myth, and again, I'd like to find state-by-state stats about this.

    I realize CA always likes to reinvent the wheel, with just about anything, but maybe with DMVs they should look into how MN & NJ do it?

  • ||

    I live in PA, and the DMV is indeed a nightmare. Waited over an hour in line just to be told by a man named Alladin (I only wish that was a joke) who barely spoke a word of english to tell me that I forgot my social security card to prove I am an 'american'. Then when I came back the next day with my ss card had to repeat the process just to have Mr Alladin send me back to the wait line to refill out the form because the date was exactly 1 day old. Not looking forward to going back because I just moved a township over and by PA law have to update my DDL.

  • ||

    No dipshit, try four hours just to get a license renewed because their piece of shit website kept returning an error for no reason. And where did I say I wouldn't name my state? It's Georgia, and I've said it on this site many, many times. Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean I'm embarrassed by shit.

    And frankly, you're the one who made the assertion that the "the first-hand experience of the vast majority of Americans that contradicts it." Now, obviously you haven't talked to the vast majority of Americans, and you can't cite any source backing it up, so obviously you're talking out of your ass.

    Congratulations. You've now shown yourself to be a dipshit. Go you.

  • ||

    ??? - I'm a new reader & didn't know magically where you're from. (I guessed Calif. & am pleasantly surprised!) I never made an "assertion," I merely said I "suspect" it's a canard that "probably" doesn't accord with what "most" people probably experience. Call it a guess. We're both working from anecdotal evidence. You have no statistical facts either, you haven't talked to "most" Americans either and you're referring to only one state. Maybe your Republican politicians are dumber than ours are (my new guess!).

  • ||

    Most DMVs in Minnesota are privatized and do a great job. Going to the courthouse for licenses, etc is a much longer wait. Sorry: calling BS here. Private wins every time.

  • ||

    heh - MN was one of the states I used to live in (some years ago) and was referring to.

    Hardly BS since I agree with you. I'll guess that most states that have non-bad DMVs or ones that "do a great job" have privatized them, to some degree. Various degrees (& definitions) there - obviously if it were *entirely* privatized it would no longer be a state function at all, but I think I know what you mean in this context. MA should look into what your state is doing.

    So have most states done this to some degree by now? That is my GUESS - again it's just a guess & I'd love to see stats on it - and that's why I suspect the Dreaded DMV Myth is outmoded.

  • ||

    Medved creates myths that no one is saying in the real world, perhaps in his world of right wing opinionators. As for stossel, his agreements are made of straw and not to the point. When the rich get richer, they increase their wealth--someone loses some wealth. Stossel relies on economic theory to make his case, but economic theory is only applicable within severely limited constraints. It is mind boggling!!

  • ||

    As far as the "Big Government" vs "Unrestricted Capitalism" thing goes, to me there is really not much difference. Each would end in tyranny if given enough "freedom." And the fact that we hover somewhere in the middle of the interplay between the two is right about where we need to be in my opinion. We need these two to stay in competition on a permanent basis, because if one or the other "wins" in the "market" of ideas, we'll really be screwed. I do not beleive in markets regulating themselves, or government showing restraint. But keep them locked in competition with each other and you might have a chance.

  • ||

    Robert|4.22.10 @ 3:37PM|#
    "As far as the "Big Government" vs "Unrestricted Capitalism" thing goes, to me there is really not much difference...."

    I'll bet you're not too far from public high-school.
    Let's make this clear:
    Government has guns; they don't ask, they tell.
    Businesses don't have guns; they ask.
    Do you see a difference here? Are you capable of seeing a difference here?

  • Juice||

    There are some cases where businesses have guns and they don't ask. Go to Mexico and South America to see this in action.

  • ||

    +10

  • Tom||

    "When the rich get richer, they increase their wealth--someone loses some wealth"

    Do I even have to respond to this? I mean the assumption of zero-sum, the assumption of objective value, the cliche of "the rich get richer". Jesus christ. This guy is inane.

  • ||

    Tom|4.22.10 @ 4:32PM|#
    "When the rich get richer, they increase their wealth--someone loses some wealth"
    This guy is inane."

    Hey, he read all about money and rich people when he was growing up; the issues featuring Scrooge McDuck are all the econ knowledge he needs!

  • ||

    If the pie stays the same argument were true, our world would still be filled with hunters and gatherers. The PIE increases in size. People are better off in this country than they were 30 years ago. What a dumbfuck!

  • barfman||

    Do I even have to respond to this?

    I'll handle it:

    *baaaaaaarrrrrrffffffffffff*

  • ||

    "You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action."

    While I can agree with some of what is said in this piece, Medved is still a whiny prick, and the above statement is just plain retarded.

  • Sara Lee||

    "When the rich get richer, they increase their wealth--someone loses some wealth."

    We are not sharing one fixed pie, we are trying to make many more pies.

  • Tom||

    Mmmmmm.

  • P.J. O'Rourke||

    Wealth is not a pizza where, if I have too many slices, you have to eat the Dominos box.

  • Tony||

    Stossel finding trickle-down religion now is like joining Heaven's Gate after comet Hale-Bopp already passed.

  • Tom||

    Did he mention trickle-down?

  • Tony||

    My boyfriend made me do ass to mouth again last night. No amount of mouthwash gets the taste out. This morning one of my coworkers remarked that I had breath like a skidmark. God I hate my life.

  • ||

    It's OK Tony, I wont make you do it again. Tonight, *I* will do ass to mouth.

    I'm really more of a bottom anyways.

  • ||

    Slut!

  • ||

    Guys, you're doing it wrong.

  • Some Guy||

    The root of many of these myths is the belief that we are living in a truly capitalist system. I am against a system where banks get bailed out and the source of highest profits is in having the government eliminate your competition. The difference is I don't call that system "capitalism."

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Medved is one of those anti-third party pricks who thinks libertarian candidates "steal" votes from Republicans.

    Fuck him AND Chris Matthews, who has the same anti-third party hardon over Ralph Nader's "theft" of the Gore election.

  • ||

    Hey! You missed myth #5: John Stossel is not a cookie-cutter free market ideologue.

  • ||

    "The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard."

    Oh please. It's not true, and if you really believe in capitalism/free markets you shouldn't care that it's not true. The point of working is to create value, not just work hard for no reason.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Good point. Most people make money to stay in business rather than stay in business to make money.

  • Kevin Carson||

    Um, Stossel should make up his mind whether he's defending free markets, as such, or the kind of corporate capitalism we actually live under.

    In a free market, with nothing but unfettered voluntary exchange, of course all transactions are positive-sum.

    But in the corporate economy we actually live in, a hell of a lot of businesses get rich at other people's expense. For a majority of the stuff we buy, the range of competing alternatives is artificially restricted, there are restrictions on the people who are allowed to produce and sell, and the restrictions are generally made with primary input from the people who are making and selling the stuff.

    Stossel might as well take a time machine and tell the folks in France ca. 1400 that they're not getting screwed because, "in a free market...." Or back to the USSR to tell the workers in state factories that they couldn't be getting a raw deal because "in a free market...."

    The point is, this AIN'T a free market, and corporations ARE ripping people off with the help of the interventionist state.

    Stossel's puff piece tells people that, because of what *would* happen in a free market, they should distrust what their own lying eyes are telling them is actually happening to them in this state-cartelized corporate economy.

    No wonder so many liberals think libertarians are just pot-smoking Republicans.

  • ||

    Kevin Carson|4.22.10 @ 10:56PM|#
    "....Stossel's puff piece tells people that, because of what *would* happen in a free market, they should distrust what their own lying eyes are telling them is actually happening to them in this state-cartelized corporate economy."

    True enough, but we don't have a choice between a 'free market' and a 'Marxist state'.
    What is obvious is that tending the gray area toward an idealized free market yields positive value.

  • Drunkenatheist||

    Thank you so much for bringing some much needed sanity to this Stossel circle jerk. The handful of times when he's right, he's okay, but most of the time, he's just horribly wrong.

  • ||

    Chicks love poor guys. I got more women as a lazy drunk punk rocker than I'll ever get being a quality control manager.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    What the FUCK? Gee, Stossel, you gonna teach us about the alphabet next?

  • ||

    The usual Stossel black or white world. Making fun of five fake myths doesn't prove anything.

    Just two example of their strawman rhetoric:
    1/ no-one except the fringe left (resp. right) thinks public (resp. private) entities always do better than private (resp. public) ones.
    2/ No-one is saying the current downturn is the end of capitalism, but many say it may well be the end of "casino-banking" which diverts investments from productive enterprises.

  • ||

    "Read my Lips...no new taxes!" Seems this President is the biggest hypocrit there ever is and here is proof: Pathetic!

    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=25738

  • Peter||

    These "myths" are crap. Who is going around saying capitalism is done? That's typical right-wing black/white thinking. People are going around saying, "dogmatic worship of the free market faith is over". That doesn't mean capitalism is over it means there is an opening for regulation and less privatization, higher, more progressive taxes, etc. That's called a mixed economy by the way.
    And the notion that we all voluntarily enter transactions because we want to? Tell that to a poor resident of an inner city who would like to enter a decent transaction but doesn't own a car and can't make it to the cheap big box grocery stores. And what about asymmetric information? I want to shop around for the best doctor but I would need to be a doctor to make that evaluation. And yes, the rich are getting richer and the poor, while they are better off than before they should be even better off because the monied classes have gamed the system under the cloak of the libertarian claim of free markets. Yep, they use Stossel's crap to set up non-free markets because in reality there is no such thing as a free market. They are human creations set up by the wealthy to their own advantage because they have informational advantages to do so (and the money to lobby congress).
    Stossel is a charlatan. He keeps the drumbeat of nonsense rolling because it suits him well. Reality is not as simple as he makes it out to be.
    P.s. of course most rich people work hard. So do poor people. If you richies ever went down to Walmart you might realize that. Oh yeah, poor people don't keep cheery latte's at Starbucks, they get the indifferent shrug of the tired Walmart cashier. It's not that much different than the DMV actually.

  • ||

    Liberal criticism of the free market, and the prediction of capitalism's death occurs almost as much as end of the world prophesies.

    "What we confront is not the failure of capitalism, but simply the failure of democracy. Capitalism has really been responsible for all the progress of the modern age. Better than any other system ever devised, it provides leisure for large numbers of superior men, and so fosters the arts and sciences. No other system ever heard of is so beneficial to invention. Its fundamental desire for gain may be far from glorious per se, but it at least furthers improvement in all the departments of life. We owe to it every innovation that makes life secure and comfortable." ~Henry Mencken

  • ||

    Well, I see my opinion of stossel and medved supporters was a bit high. I knew most were pretty uneducated in that they buy the crap these two put out, but given the tenor of the replies and the name calling and foul language, I see I will have to lower my opinion. Try to understand economic theory, then come back and argue that we all come out ahead when the rich get richer. We do not. They turn their money into investments--in real estate and in other real property, then turn around and rent it to us, either through home loans or leases or short term use agreements (oil, gas, electricity, food) but they own the source and the product. We do not. Even if you finally get your car or home paid off, you still owe taxes-to those who control the govt. What you think of as your wealth is just your rent to them.

  • ||

    We understand economic theory just fine. Unfortunately, you don't understand this place, or economic theory, so have a nice day.

  • Juice||

    I smell a little Think Progress style groupthink. "We," indeed.

  • ||

    The rich get richer because you progressive rubes gave the government the power to ensure that they do.

    Thanks pal.

    And oh yeah, please stop it.

    But you having done that however, yes, they will use the resources better than the government once we remove the governments ability to abet them, and if they do not someone, maybe you or me, will find a better way to use them. They may buy our stocks or bonds. Or invest with banks who will lend to us. Or buy the yacht we make. Or hire our firm to maintain their grounds, or manage their investments. If they fail to use their resources efficiently, and the government doesn't maintain their status artificially, eventually they will lose their status. And those resources will go to the one of us who has demonstrated most efficient use of them.

    If the evil rich person develops an ability to figure out who best to invest with and maintains his status he has then learned to provide utility.

    Ultimately that utility is making the pile of goods in the world greater so the price is lower for all.

    The government, everywhere and always, has the opposite effect.

    Our mostly socialized health care system is the perfect example. Completely socializing it will only decrease the pile of health care resources and drive up real costs. The inevitable economic reality is that many people will die that would not have otherwise because of this bill.

  • ||

    I own real estate, and I don't pay taxes to myself. I pay it to the government.

    The socialist mysticism is that the workers should control all the means of production, own all the labor and material goods themselves. To the socialist, the problem is that the wealthy few own the majority of people either as workers, tenants, or some other indirect extension.

    The unfortunate side affect of this ideology is that the government will take the role of banker, landlord, etc. ..rather than a collection of private institutions that compete with one another, a system of checks and balances.

    "It is not the benevolence of the butcher, brewer, or baker that we expect our dinner... but from their regard for their own interest". ~Adam Smith

    Customer service and satisfaction in the private industry operates for the same reason-- because the company wants to keep your business. If you don't like it, you can buy it some where else.

    As the echoes of praise are heard at the grave of capitalism, the government poises itself to usurp the throne.

    What happens if the government controls all means of production? How do you react to dissatisfaction as a consumer?

    For instance, The Grapes of Wrath depicts struggling migrant workers being abused by pure capitalism.. and at the end they find sanctuary with the government controlled work camp. Nevertheless, the means of production was controlled by someone other than the individual.

    I think dispelling the illusions of the fat cat, suit-n-tie aristocratic slave driver is imperative.

    There is real opportunity in capitalism. Individuals and groups of individuals who have innovative ideas can make their own lives for themselves.

    Tired of working for rich assholes? Good... be inventive and start getting the ball rolling on investing in your own company.

    Most people that run businesses are not evil predators looking for easy kills, but rather good, down-to-earth people trying to make a living for themselves.

    This is why the hated banks that anti-capitalist punks throw bricks at are actually a GOOD thing. You can borrow money, make wise investments, and within a short period of time be working for yourself, making your own schedules, and putting the profits wherever you want them to go.

    I do business with thousands of vendors in the lawn and garden industry that own companies now who were once dishwashers.. Gonna throw bricks at them too?

  • ||

    The zero-summers see entrepreneurs who employ people as having entered a faustian bargain:

    To hire someone is not ever a free transaction in their minds. The hirer "exploits" need of the hired, and shares less of the profit with the employee than is "fair".

    The zero summer also sees the profit itself as ill-gotten, another exploitive act of a needy buyer. So the zero-summer is repulsed at the thought of dividing the profit like dividing the loot of a robbery.

    The hardcore zero-summer cannot see the act of trade as anything but exploitive. They believe totalitarian "fair allocation" of land/labor/capital/goods/services as the only morally defensible system of governance.

  • ||

    We have one more myth:

    http://www.nagr.org/UN_lp_survey2.aspx?pid=key01

  • ||

    Zero-sum believers usually are zeroes in business. They do better in parasitic organizations like government and "non-profits" which get our tax money.

    Lawyers can go either way - they can offer a valuable trade because they play defense against parasites, but they can also be parasites themselves.

  • ||

    The minister for finance in the French Government was recently interviewed by George Negus a well known political journalist in Australia, George she said, "capitalism by definition is immoral", that pretty well sums it up.

  • ||

    ""The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard."

    Really? Because I'm pretty sure that the wealthiest 1% make most of their money off of capital gains, not salary or hourly wages.

    Hard Work = Success, is one of the saddest myths of America. The only way to achieve real wealth in America is to find a way to profit off the hard work of others. You must have employees or assets that produce more income for you then you spend on them. That might take hard work to set up, but let's be honest about where the big money comes in.

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  • ปลวก||

    I supported my wife and child for 2 1/2 years making about 27k. We didn't have much, but we had enough.

  • RAN||

    They can offer a valuable trade because they play defense against parasites, but they can also be parasites themselves. | ran แรน |

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