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I think Wiki has it about right:

In common usage it refers to an economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated (commonly for profit), and where investments, production, distribution, income, and prices are determined largely through the operation of a "free market" rather than by centralized state control (as in a command economy).


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is, of course, why I found the term "state capitalism" to be so absurd, as it implies state ownership of the (largely) privately-owned means of production.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what would you call the situation in the US, where privately-owned means of production own the state?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 08:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
plutocracy


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: how does one avoid market capitalism evolving into plutocracy?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:32:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are at least two issues here. One is how to gather enough political power to force reforms. The other is what direction the reforms should take.

Regarding direction of reform:

Reducing the discretionary power of the state would help, because the state would then be less able to discriminate and hence there would be less reward for power-seekers.

I suspect that strong federalism would help, by reducing the rewards for grabbing centralised power, and enabling instructive (and harder to control) diversity among more-local governments.

Forcibly de-merging (that is, splitting) large corporations would help, and wouldn't significantly impair market mechanisms (indeed, it would likely improve their operation).

A voting system that put the vote in the hands of people who had a more substantial incentive to pay attention would help. Today, an individual's vote has little chance of making a difference. There are systems that could correct this, while anchoring electoral power in the informed preferences of the general public.

Regarding the political power necessary to force reforms:

I have no idea, unless it is to make the internet a far more effective mechanism for truth-finding and deliberation. But that would require enlightened software development, perhaps as a result of one wealthy person with vision backing the effort. And this, in turn, would require enlightenment, which seems more difficult.


Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 02:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy and the power to raise taxes.

Anything else?

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 02:54:58 PM EST
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Let me rephrase, how do you prevent market capitalism from turning a democracy into a plutocracy?

Otherwise, I have to ask you to explain how our political systems fall short of democracy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 03:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Voters must understand their interest to vote for those who propose to tax the plutocrats wannabees and redistribute. They must be warry of proposed political systems with no democratic accountability (eg: current EU and proposed TCE).

If they don't I see no way to avoid the transformation to  a plutocracy.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 03:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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