Excerpt from Chapter IV
Myth 3: The Market Is Self-Regulating
Proponents of capitalism advance any number of reasons for economic crisis other than intrinsic systemic flaws. Among the most popular is the claim that “everything would be okay if only the government didn’t interfere.” This object of blame has never had less credibility than over the past 25 years.
Since its inception, capitalists have struggled to separate the system from any extrinsic forces – specifically governmental – under the theory that by virtue of its own “laws of the market,” it could operate to the maximum benefit of the society. This is called laissez faire – “let it be” – or “leave it alone.”
There are serious implications in the capitalist demand for separation from government. One is the dual relationship the people have with their political system on the one hand, and their economic system on the other. Since the economic system puts bread on their tables, they are wholly dependent upon it for survival. But if that economic system separates itself entirely from the political system – i.e., the government – the people’s survival is also separated from the government. They are put irretrievably at the mercy of the economic system.
Does that system function sufficiently in the people’s interests to warrant this unilateral power? Proponents answer with a resounding yes, claiming that the profit motive implemented through the unfettered market assures maximum social stability and well-being. I would argue that the profit-driven market must have the exactly opposite effect on society – that it is the root cause of massive instability and human misery which cannot be allayed without profound systemic change.