Capitalism vs. the Free Market – Sheldon Richman’s Full Lecture

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Lecture by Sheldon Richman given as part of The Future of Freedom Foundation’s “Economic Liberty Lecture Series” on March 1, 2010. http://www.fff.org

Sheldon Richman is editor of The Freeman, published by The Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York, and serves as senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation. He is the author of FFF’s award-winning book Separating School & State: How to Liberate America’s Families; Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax; and Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State.

Here’s a great short piece on the differences between capitalism and free enterprise from Rick Martin:

“When I tell people that capitalism and free enterprise are not the same thing, I typically get a deer-in-the-headlights look, followed by a clearly articulated “Huh?”  But they are not the same thing, and that is the subject of this piece.

Capitalism requires growth.  Free enterprise does not.  Capitalism can only be satisfied by “more.”  Free enterprise can be satisfied by “enough.”  Free enterprise can go on forever.  Capitalism cannot.

Free enterprise means that I am free to set up my own enterprise, say a general store, and the Federal Agents will not come knocking at midnight. As long as my expenses do not exceed my revenues, my enterprise can continue indefinitely without the need to increase my net worth.

Free enterprise requires freedom, but it does not require accumulation, or growth.

Capitalism, on the other hand, requires a return on investment (ROI).  It requires me to accumulate ever more capital. If I invest $100, by the end of the year, I had better realize a minimum of $106.  If I don’t, then my investment became negative, as the very roots of capitalism are planted in inflation.


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Black Money (Full Version)

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In Black Money, Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman investigates this shadowy side of international business, shedding light on multinational companies that have routinely made secret payments — often referred to as “black money” — to win billions in business. “The thing about black money is you can claim it’s being used for all kinds of things,” the British reporter David Leigh tells Bergman. “You get pots of black money that nobody sees, nobody has to account for, … you can do anything you like with. Mostly what happens with black money is people steal it because they can.”

Leigh knows. In his groundbreaking reporting for The Guardian newspaper, he helped uncover one of the biggest and most complicated cases currently under investigation — a story involving a British aerospace giant, the Saudi royal family, and an $80 billion international arms deal known as Al Yamamah, or “The Dove” in Arabic. “If there was one person who was the main man behind this arms deal, it turned out it was the U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan,” says Leigh.

It all started back in 1985, when the charismatic Prince Bandar was put in charge of acquiring new fighter jets for the Saudi Arabian air force. The Israeli lobby in Congress reportedly stood in the way of the United States making a deal with the Saudis, so President Ronald Reagan sent Bandar to the British. The prince approached a willing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and they sealed the massive deal between the United Kingdom, BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace) and the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Rumors swirled that billions in bribes had changed hands to secure the deal, but British officials denied wrongdoing. “Of course there is suspicion, and of course people are entitled to be suspicious,” says Lord Timothy Bell, who was involved in the deal from the beginning on behalf of the Thatcher government. “But as far as I’m concerned, if the British government … and the Saudi government reached a sovereign agreement over an arms contract that resulted in a tremendous number of jobs in Britain, a great deal of wealth creation in Britain, … and enabled Saudi Arabians to defend themselves, … I think that’s a jolly good contract.”

 

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