The Capitalist Society and a Political Program for Achieving it

unwillingness to acquire a sufficient combination of knowledge of political philosophy and economic theory, above all, of economic theory. Remnants of the mind-body dichotomy in their thinking prevent them from fully grasping the intellectual–indeed, the profoundly philosophical–value of a subject as “materialistic” as economics. To be successful, the advocates of capitalism must immerse themselves in the study of economic theory.

The Capitalist Society and a Political Program for Achieving It

The capitalist society we want to achieve is a society in which individual rights are consistently and scrupulously respected–in which, as Ayn Rand put it, the initiation of physical force is barred from human relationships. We want a society in which the role of government is limited to the protection of individual rights, and in which, therefore, the government uses force only in defense and retaliation against the initiation of force. We want a society in which property rights are recognized as among the foremost human rights–a society in which no one is made to suffer for his success by being sacrificed to the envy of others, a society in which all land, natural resources, and other means of production are privately owned. In such a society, the size of government would be less than a tenth of what it now is in terms of government spending. Most of the government as it now exists would be swept away: virtually all of the alphabet agencies and all of the cabinet departments with the exceptions of defense, state, justice, and treasury. All that would remain is a radically reduced executive branch, and legislative and judicial branches with radically reduced powers. To the law-abiding citizen of such a society, the government would appear essentially as a “night watchman,” dutifully and quietly going about its appointed rounds so that the citizenry could rest secure in the knowledge that their persons and property were free from aggression. Only in the lives of common criminals and foreign aggressor states would the presence of the government bulk large.

If these brief remarks can serve as a description of the capitalist society we want to achieve, let us now turn to a series of political proposals for its actual achievement. I group the proposals under seven headings: Privatization of Property, Freedom of Production and Trade, Abolition of the Welfare State, Abolition of the Income and Inheritance Taxes, Establishment of Gold as Money, Procapitalist Foreign Policy, and Separation of State from Education, Science, and Religion. Under each of these heads, I develop specific issues and programs each of which deserves to be fought for and which, in being fought for, would serve to promote the spread of our entire political-economic philosophy.

Copyright 1996 George Reisman. All rights reserved. The encyclopedic Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics is a required reference for every Capitalist’s library. Reisman’s treatise is now available in two volumes: Volume I (focuses on microeconomic issues) and Volume II (focuses on macroeconomic issues).

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