AMERICA - CAPITALIST OR COMMUNIST?
By "capitalism" I mean an economic system characterized by private property and voluntary exchange. By "communism" I mean an economic system characterized by public property and compulsory exchange. The myth that the America is a "capitalist country" is widespread. According to the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels (first published in 1848), the following ten steps are necessary for a communist takeover:
- "Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all right of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the populace over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form."
For each of these ten planks I now give the measures that could be interpreted as implementing the plank, as well as my "communist percentage," determined by the extent to which I think the plank has been implemented:
1. Abolition of Property Rights.
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises. (Taxes on things, including property.)
- Zoning laws and regulations - the Supreme Court ruled zoning constitutional in 1921.
- Federal ownership of land; Bureau of Land Management - in Nevada 87% of land is federally owned.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - broad powers to seize any private property during "emergency."
Communist percentage: 25%.
2. Heavy Progressive Income Tax
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises. (Taxes on things, including income.) The Sixteenth Amendment classifies income tax as an indirect tax, or tax on a thing, as opposed to tax on a person.
- Corporate Tax Act of 1909.
- Revenue Act of 1913.
- Social Security Act of 1936.
Communist percentage: 85%. (Maybe 15% of the population don't pay the taxes.)
3. Abolition of Rights of Inheritance
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises. (Taxes on things, including inheritances.)
- Estate Tax Act of 1916.
- Social Security Act of 1936.
Communist percentage: 30%.
4. Confiscation of Property of Emigrants and Rebels
- Confiscation of property of American Indians.
- IRS confiscation of property without due process.
- Internment of Japanese-Americans during WW II; confiscation of their property.
- Confiscation of drug-merchant property.
- RICO Act of 1970 (Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations) - used as a basis to confiscate property.
Communist percentage: 20%.
5. Monopoly National Bank
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to coin money, regulate the power thereof.
- National Bank Act of 1863 - established federal monopoly.
- Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 1933.
Communist percentage: 90%. (Maybe 10% of transactions are done by barter or private currency.)
6. Centralization by the State of Communication and Transportation
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to establish post offices and post roads.
- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States.
- Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 - placed railways under federal regulation; created Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
- Federal Highway Act of 1916.
- Air Commerce Act of 1926.
- Federal Radio Commission, 1927.
- Federal Communications Commission, 1934.
- Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938.
- Interstate Highway System, 1944.
- Federal Aviation Agency, 1958.
- Department of Transportation, 1966.
Communist percentage: 80%.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the the soil generally
- Department of the Interior, 1849 - now includes: Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Department of Agriculture, 1862.
- Anti-trust Acts, 1902.
- Department of Commerce and Labor, 1903.
- Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 - Hoover Dam, Muscle Shoals Project.
Communist percentage: 40%.
8. Equal liability of all to labor; Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture
- First labor unions, then called federations, 1820.
- National Labor Union, 1866.
- American Federation of Labor, 1886.
- International Workers of the World, 1905.
- Department of Labor, 1913.
- Railway Labor Act of 1926.
- Civil Works Administration, 1933.
- Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1933 - farmers receive government aid only if they relinquish control of farming activities.
- National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
- Works Progress Administration, 1935.
- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 - set minimum wages.
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 - effectively the equal liability of all to labor.
- Davis-Bacon and Walsh-Healy Acts - require government contractors to pay "prevailing wages."
- U.S. Unemployment Service.
Communist percentage: 60%.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the populace over the country
- Farmers Home Administration (FHA).
- Government subsidies favor large agribusinesses.
Communist percentage: 10%.
10. Free education for all children in public schools; Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form
- Gradual shift from private education to state funded education began in the New England States in the early 1800s.
- Smith-Lever Act of 1914.
- Smith-Hughes Act of 1917.
- Federal school lunch program, 1935.
- Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 - children work only with government approval.
- National School Lunch Act of 1946.
- National Defense Education Act of 1958.
- Federal School Aid Act of 1965.
Communist percentage: 95%.
The average for my "communist percentages" is 53.5%, that is, according to these criteria America is halfway between capitalism and communism. Note that for four of the most important criteria - education, communication, banking/currency, and taxation - my "communist percentages" are very high.
Note that the U.S. Constitution specifically empowers Congress to implement five of the communist planks. In practice, Congress has demonstrated its power to implement, at least to some extent, all the communist planks.
Also note that the two essential distinguishing characteristics of capitalism are private property and voluntary exchange. The U.S. Constitution gave Congress wide powers to violate private property and voluntary exchange. In practice, this is exactly what Congress has been doing. The Bill of Rights has slowed down Congress's march towards communism. But gradually the Supreme Court has been effectively dismantling the Bill of Rights. Today many courts rule defense based on the Bill of Rights inadmissible, particularly regarding tax matters.
Capitalism is individual power. Communism (including socialism and much of modern "liberalism") is coercive state power. Private property and voluntary exchange constitute individual power. Government ownership and regulation attempt to eliminate individual power.
The solution is for individuals to seize back the power they have relinquished. The next three chapters will tell us how.
Copyright © 1992 Free America Institute ALL RIGHTS RESERVED