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Who Exploits You More: Capitalists or Cronies?

 

Many think capitalism exploits the masses for the benefit of a small minority. Professor Matt Zwolinski says that even if this is true we should be asking what the alternative to capitalism might be. The common suggestion is to increase government regulation and control over businesses. But does that alternative really make sense?

The history of government regulation shows that citizens are in an extremely vulnerable position in relation to the state. Lobbyists and government officials are often tempted to exploit that vulnerability, by lobbying for and rewarding bailouts and subsidies. Governments frequently pass laws that benefit the economically powerful and politically well-connected at the expense of citizens.

When the government wants to use your money to bail out GM, you don’t have the right to say no. But in the marketplace, no one can force you to spend your money. Which is more exploitative? Zwolinski wonders: if we really want to reduce the amount of exploitation, is increasing the power of the state really the best way to do it?

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