A few weeks ago, on a boring weekend, I decided to read into a question that has puzzled me for some time: what exactly is the difference between “national socialism”, “fascism”, and “capitalism”? I more or less understand capitalism (free markets, little to no taxation, minimal government regulations beyond contract enforcement, etc.), but I know very little about how the German government operated under Nazi control, or what kind of economic policies were held by Mussolini’s Fascist regime in Italy.
After browsing Amazon, I stumbled upon this little book by Lew Rockwell, a popular proponent in libertarian circles of anarcho-capitalism. I read it in a few days at a slow pace, and it is a cheap buy at $4.58 on the Kindle Store (as of this writing).
The book is not really a cohesive book, and is in truth a bunch of essays and speeches that Lew Rockwell (or the Ludwig von Mises Institute) stitched together and called it a book. I personally am annoyed at this rather common slapdash method of e-book authorship, since the resulting book typically lacks consistency. In fact, the first half of this book is mainly about the title (the differences between fascism and capitalism), while the latter half is some hagiographies penned by Lew Rockwell about Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Ron Paul that have nothing whatsoever to do with the book’s title. The reader interested in the topic can assuredly read only the first half of the book and be content that they have ingested the main material advertised.
The differences are listed in a number format in the book, but I do not want to replicate what Lew has written, and will try to summarize the overall operation of a fascist regime in terms of economic policy.
Fascism and socialism have more in common than the Left would like to think. In fact, as noted in the book, Benito Mussolini was originally a member of the Italian Socialist Party. In fact, most of the major movers-and-shakers in the Fascist movement were originally socialists.
The political organization of a Fascist state impacts it economic policies. The fascist State arrogates unlimited power for itself to violate any number of basic human rights, including property rights.The whole society is extremely regimented and controlled, and political dissidents are jailed, beaten, forced to flee, or executed. Under a Fascist government, the idea of “human rights” does not exist: what is morally right and wrong is a fluid idea, dictated by the Leader. The Leader unites the country through a common struggle (which is usually a war). While religion is typically outlawed under communist regimes (and becomes a business under capitalism), religion is viewed as a useful tool of political manipulation under Fascism. The government pursues imperialist goals through the use of militarism.
The economic policies of a Fascist regime flow from the political stances. Under a fascist regime (as opposed to a communist one), private property and capital superficially remain in private hands, but are subject to powerful government controls. In truth, a fascist economy is cartelized, with favored party members keeping their enterprises (this is not wholly unwelcome by the business class, as it eliminates the possibility of new competitors displacing them). However, the economy is still subject to wide-reaching central planning, and an “immense bureaucracy” runs the capitalist state. This immense bureaucracy (and the resulting economic inefficiency accompanying its existence) leads to massive spending and borrowing by the centralized State. Armaments consume a huge percentage of industrial production and State expenditures, wholly disproportionate to that required for national defense. Under Fascism, military and other State needs can supersede a business’s need to operate profitably, and the owners of production can be forced by the State to take a loss on goods produced. In fact, a factory owner is more or less a slave under Fascism: he cannot even “call it quits” and close down his factory under Fascism, since he requires a government diktat to do it. In addition to military spending, economic planning is based heavily on the principle of “autarky”, that is, making the whole of the country economically self-sufficient, without foreign trade of any kind necessary.
Under laissez-faire capitalism, these controls all vanish, because there is nothing to regulate. There is no “Leader” to dictate what the nation’s Great Struggle will be. Minimal resources are allocated to war spending, since most of the society is focusing production on useful goods instead of armaments. Resources are not distributed in society by central planners or some government agency, but instead are distributed solely by consumers reacting to price information.
Libertarians and the Immigration/IQ Angle
While I did moderately enjoy the book, I cannot help but call out libertarians on their wussiness before the immigration and racial differences issues. Libertarians typically think Approved Thoughts on race, which make them useless to their own cause. The Libertarians want less government, or the elimination of government entirely; and yet each year, we import millions of little black and brown people whose sole purpose in immigrating here is to collect government benefits and vote Democrat. The Democratic Party is the Party of Government – its constituents have learned they can pay their bills by looting the other 49% of their countrymen. It is ridiculous to believe that feral Afghanis or violent Islamic Somalis are going to read “Human Action” and suddenly be converted into free market missionaries.
As I have said before, the importation of low-IQ, non-white, non-Asian blacks and browns are antithetical to limited government: they want huge government that will do everything for them. They think with their stomachs and genitals. The whole purpose of the Deep State managerial class importing these people here is to expand and consolidate their own power and wealth. We are seeing this plan unfold before our very eyes with the recent terror attacks in New York and New Jersey: the State is importing terrorists so it can further clamp down on civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. Not once in the entire book, despite his numerous criticisms of the U.S. government and its ever-more-brazen tyranny, did Lew Rockwell ever criticize the sacred cow of mass Third World immigration and white demographic displacement. He will find out only too late that the government-free society he yearns for is not achievable with a Brazil society, but requires a huge unified white majority to bring about.
Nowadays though, the libertarian platform has degenerated so much it can be summarized as poopdick, Mexicans, and marijuana everywhere.
I give the book a 3 out of 5 stars. It would have gotten more had Lew actually stayed on topic regarding fascism and capitalism. I did however, enjoy much of the other history in the book related to the development of economic thought and the work of the School of Salamanca in Spain. I had never heard of the idea of a “just price” for a commodity until I read this book, and also never knew Mussolini used to be a member of the Socialist Party. I had never heard of the water-diamond paradox either, which is an intriguing problem (even if this Austrians have already solved it).