Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Robert Wenzel Show: What 'Occupy Wall Street' Protesters Don't Understand about Freedom

Welcome to The Robert Wenzel Show. In this second week of the broadcast, I discuss freedom and capitalism and contrast it with socialism, and discuss where 'Occupy Wall Street' protesters go wrong.

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  1. Excellent show. It can't be stressed enough that free markets, open to competition, tend to be price-deflationary. As productivity increases, scarce resources are used more efficiently and in different ways and as a result prices tend to come down, which in effect gives a raise to everyone because their money can buy more. But the free market is constantly under attack by central banks coordinating inflation and by businessmen who don't want to compete and leave their fortunes and legacies dependent upon the unpredictable free market, unpredictable because who knows what genious out there will out-do them in whatever business they are in. Those protestors, if they are really concerned about their standard of living (and if they are not then they are fools), should do their homework and understand the mechanations by which government wields its guns against the free market and how that leads to disastrous results. All in the name of fairness. But what is the most fair? The free market (which is all of us), because we don't differentiate based on color or religion or anything other than what benefits our lives. That is the only criteria. And isn't that what life is all about? To live to our potential, to have a good standard of living for us and our families? How can any beaurocrat understand the immediacy of our needs the way we can? How fair is it to remove decisions from we that are affected by those decisions the most? In transportation engineering, I heard about "fairness" and "equality of access" a lot - this is the favorite go-to reason for government regulation because if the government doesn't provide than no one will. This is sad to me - this mindset implicitly tells me that there is no faith in the free association of people. I think that this is more and more what all of this discontent boils down to - a lack of trust in each other. Not the stupid hippie trust that everyone does good by each other all the time, but trust in people to solve their own problems and the trust that says that it is ultimately in everyone's best interest to work together to solve them, it is not in their best interests to constantly lie and steal from each other because this behavior gets routed out quickly, were it not for the government that facilitates it (see all of the big insolvent banks in existence today).

  2. Interesting. I have never before heard socialism discussed that way relative to freedom.

    When you think about it the RW way, I think that it becomes much easier to see that socialism is purely oppression.

  3. Robert WenZEL! The BHAUS!

  4. I do have one critique of your argument. Too many of those billionaires- Soros, the Kochs, Bloomberg, etc.- have deep ties to gov't and create barriers that restrict the free flow of goods, or inflate the currency (an even more insidious crime) or create exemptions for politically correct boondoggles.

    An honest billionaire- Steve Jobs is exemplary- is a beautiful thing. A corrupt one is dangerous.

    Great show- it made it hard to even comprehend how someone can believe in socialism.

  5. I guess it's difficult to tax only crony capitalists like Soros and company, while letting the honest billionaires enjoy the fruit of their hard work.


    Hi Bob, can you address the above defense of a financial transactions tax, by Dean Baker?
    I don't see why, if you're going to tax transactions, bond traders, futures and options traders and others escape...and it all falls only on stock traders. Seems like the more sophisticated traders go free this way.
    Also, how would it NOT affect investors, as he argues?