AMERICA - CAPITALIST OR COMMUNIST?
By "capitalism" I mean an economic system characterized by private property and voluntary exchange. By "communism" I mean an economic system characterized by public property and compulsory exchange. The myth that the America is a "capitalist country" is widespread. According to the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels (first published in 1848), the following ten steps are necessary for a communist takeover:
For each of these ten planks I now give the measures that could be interpreted as implementing the plank, as well as my "communist percentage," determined by the extent to which I think the plank has been implemented:
1. Abolition of Property Rights.
Communist percentage: 25%.
2. Heavy Progressive Income Tax
Communist percentage: 85%. (Maybe 15% of the population don't pay the taxes.)
3. Abolition of Rights of Inheritance
Communist percentage: 30%.
4. Confiscation of Property of Emigrants and Rebels
Communist percentage: 20%.
5. Monopoly National Bank
Communist percentage: 90%. (Maybe 10% of transactions are done by barter or private currency.)
6. Centralization by the State of Communication and Transportation
Communist percentage: 80%.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the the soil generally
Communist percentage: 40%.
8. Equal liability of all to labor; Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture
Communist percentage: 60%.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the populace over the country
Communist percentage: 10%.
10. Free education for all children in public schools; Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form
Communist percentage: 95%.
The average for my "communist percentages" is 53.5%, that is, according to these criteria America is halfway between capitalism and communism. Note that for four of the most important criteria - education, communication, banking/currency, and taxation - my "communist percentages" are very high.
Note that the U.S. Constitution specifically empowers Congress to implement five of the communist planks. In practice, Congress has demonstrated its power to implement, at least to some extent, all the communist planks.
Also note that the two essential distinguishing characteristics of capitalism are private property and voluntary exchange. The U.S. Constitution gave Congress wide powers to violate private property and voluntary exchange. In practice, this is exactly what Congress has been doing. The Bill of Rights has slowed down Congress's march towards communism. But gradually the Supreme Court has been effectively dismantling the Bill of Rights. Today many courts rule defense based on the Bill of Rights inadmissible, particularly regarding tax matters.
Capitalism is individual power. Communism (including socialism and much of modern "liberalism") is coercive state power. Private property and voluntary exchange constitute individual power. Government ownership and regulation attempt to eliminate individual power.
The solution is for individuals to seize back the power they have relinquished. The next three chapters will tell us how.