Thursday, May 08, 2014


A friend of mine posted the pic below on facebook.  Another friend called me in to explain how anybody could ever think of Nazi Germany as being capitalist.

Here's the comment I left:
It really depends on how you're defining capitalism and fascism. Fascism, at it's power structure nucleus, and before you throw in nationalistic trappings and militaristic fetishism, is about a very cozy arrangement between big business and the government. You had exactly that in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, not to mention various other Central and South American dictatorships throughout the twentieth century.

So if you're defining "unfettered capitalism" as being about mega-corporations and big business, then yeah, definitely, Nazi Germany was a nightmare combination of oppressive government and capitalism. On the other hand, if you define capitalism as also including medium and small business, then no, Nazi Germany was not about that. It left smaller business out of the loop. Especially Jewish business.

What's frustrating is how people take an all-or-nothing approach to understanding capitalism as a concept. A lemonade stand run by kids can be loosely defined as capitalism, but so can Exxon. Clearly, the two are NOT the same, but whenever I criticize capitalism in terms of big business running roughshod over everyone, including smaller business, everybody thinks I'm trying to collectivize the population and take away their televisions and ice cream.

There's got to be a better way.