Thursday, 19 September 2013
Understanding the Politics of Economics:
Just so we know where we are on the political spectrum. An anarchist community avoids all central planning and effectively has no state. This does not mean that anarchist communities don't have laws or values! Statists (those who believe that some people should be controlling others' behaviour and lives) often dismiss anarchists as violent thugs (ignoring the history of state to state wars, violence, ideological crusades, etc). As we move away from the 0% system, we move to libertarianism which generally avoids state intervention except (and this is controversial amongst libertarians) in cases of law and order - i.e., they tend to support some government institutions such as the police, courts, army; sometimes libertarians don't mind governments building roads but usually they prefer market led solutions.
As we increase the percentage of the state's control over economic resources, we meet the conservatives who generally favour some form of welfare state to avoid poor people from revolting; further up we find those who argue for social engineering - using the state's resources (taken from the market place) to direct and control society - this may involve taking over professions and industries such as health care and electricity production. Moving along, we meet the socialists who prefer that that the country's economic resources be directed through political channels - they tend to favour mass nationalisation and intervention to alleviate poor people from poverty, equalise incomes or wealth, and/or direct the economy along certain lines (technological growth, cultural leaps forward, war against capitalism...).
Finally we meet the totalitarians who reject any form of freedom (as being dangerous, subversive) - they come in various disguises and are quite sensitive to what they are called: fascists and communists tend to hate each other - they are both totalitarian in their aims though and that's what counts. (Their mutual distrust is often explained by historians and political thinkers as being one of similarity - they both want control but only one team can gain control, hence they tend to rid politics of people of the opposing stripe when in office).
See my Introduction to Political Philosophy book to help: