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Ron Paul Responds to Michael Moore’s Contention that Capitalism has Failed America on Larry King Live

By J. Edward Nelson


ron-paulIn a ten minute segment on CNN’s Larry King Live, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) was given the program’s nationally televised audience as a platform in order to respond to the allegation that capitalism has failed in America, made by renowned documentary film maker Michael Moore through his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story.

Congressman Paul, well known as a staunch advocate of free market principles, states rather simply in the interview that capitalism has not failed the American people, as Moore’s movie contends.  Naming instead ”corporatism” as the source of our current economic turmoil, which has resulted in record levels of unemployment since the fall of 2008.


Capitalism vs. Corporatism

What is the difference between capitalism and corporatism? Is it merely a matter of semantics as Larry King suggests in the segment, or is it far more demonstrative as Paul postulates?

Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership in which “capital” (wealth and the means of producing wealth) is mostly owned by individuals and corporations. Within this system, ordinary people can maximize profits produced within the marketplace because of easy access to the means of production.

Corporatism is an economic, political and social system where large corporate interests (businesses, trade unions, the military-industrial complex, etc.) work in concert with each other in order to achieve a “harmonious society,” under the direction of government. Within this system, the means of production are mostly owned by large corporations which retain a lion-share of the profits produced within the marketplace.

As Congressman Paul states in the interview, “Corporations are given special consideration,” within a corporatist system.

These large corporations, along with government at the helm (local, state and federal), largely determine the direction of the U.S. economy.  This as opposed to allowing the people that actually comprise the market, ie, the American people, make this determination through their collective choices in the marketplace.

With a firm understanding of the differences between capitalism and corporatism, popular terms utilized within the American lexicon by political pundits, economists and business analysts such as “too big to fail,” a reference to companies which the government deems too large and integral to the economy to be allowed to fail, and “jobless recovery,” a reference to the economy (ie, Wallstreet) recovering from a recession but the continuation of high levels of unemployment, are grasped in a new light.

Although there are capitalist elements to our economy, as there are kernels of truth within most lies, corporatism more accurately describes the relationship between our government and the private sector, as illustrated by the recent bailout of Wallstreet to the tune of nearly $1 trillion.  While at the same time, millions of ordinary Americans lost their homes, with many relocating to “tent cities.” 

Apparently, they were “too small to help.”

The failure of the American economic system to provide financial stability is not the fault of capitalism, as Michael Moore’s movie contends.  But a system that has predominately become corporatist in nature, as explained by Congressman Ron Paul on Larry King Live, which is more accurately to blame.

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