Ayn Rand wrote that “Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme – collectivism.” However, I think this should be changed to reflect all the forms that collectivism, the enemy of liberty, can take. This new maxim would be “Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Statist Socialism, and Capitalism are superficial variations of the same monstrous theme – collectivism. ” For my libertarian readers (and conservative readers if I have any), the idea that capitalism is a form of collectivism sounds ludicrous and many capitalists (such as Ayn Rand) think collectivism is an enemy of capitalism. But they are one and the same.
The epitome of capitalism is greed. The hoarding of property and wealth into the hands of a collective, the richest 1%, is this greed manifested. Capital for establishing businesses is hoarded (as is property) and, thus, the people are deprived of universal access to wealth. Capitalism is, in this way, no different from its sisters, communism and statist socialism, who seek to hoard property and wealth into the hands of the State and party leaders. In fact, capitalism, like its sisters, is a creature of the State and would be incapable of existing in a free society. Even so-called “anarcho”-capitalism would lead to a corporate authoritarian State.
Compare communism, statist socialism, fascism, and Nazism to capitalism. You will find the Five Forms of Collectivism have a lot in common. Chief among these similarities is that each requires the hoarding of capital and property into the hands of a few and each requires a government to be on the side of said few. Whether it is through regulations that protect corporations and punish small businesses (as in capitalism), by taxes that punish people and prevent the accumulation of Wealth (as in statist socialism), by preventing any and all private enterprise from existing (as in communism), or by banning free trade and instituting economic planning (as in fascism/Nazism), the State will intervene to protect the collective. This collective may be party leaders, corporate executives, or both.
The enemy of the free market is the capitalist, who expects the government to cater to his needs, and the statist socialist, who expects the government to cater to his needs. The capitalist expects regulations to help prevent smaller businesses from competing with big businesses and the statist socialist expects regulations to help prevent big businesses from competing with small businesses. Many thought it was weird to see Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez collaborate on a bill, but they believe the same thing. One wants the government to intervene to protect the elites and the other thinks government intervention will help the poor. However, government intervention will always help the elites. Look at Venezuela. Policies to protect the poor merely insulated the elites. It is absurd, then, that some anarchists come to Maduro’s defense because he calls himself a socialist. It is a pathetic and vain attempt by anarchists to get the broader Left to recognize them — like some poor guy trying to get a Twitch girl to notice him by any means necessary.
The best economic system is that which empowers and enriches the individual and that is laissez-faire socialism which is a key component of individualist anarchism, the only political ideology in which an individual is truly free. Collectivism in any of its Five Forms is the enemy of the individual.