Without a doubt, Roderick Long has blown my mind as many times as any other person by way of explaining answers to questions that I’ve often had been struggling with for a time (and sometimes to questions I didn’t know I had). Expect to see more of his work featured on this blog.
Here, he explains the concept of “anti-concepts”; that is, words that obscure understanding rather than facilitate it. As a freedom advocate, one needs a word to signify the concept of self-ownership and the corollary of one owning the goods she produces and being allowed to voluntarily trade with others. Some would use the term “capitalism” to describe such an economic system. However, as explained in the video, such a term means different things to different people. Such problems render meaningful discussion difficult, to say the least. I remember attending a forum on campus where the advertised topic for discussion was, “Is Capitalism a Good Thing?” After several people had pointed out how some statistics were favorable in the “social democracies” of Western Europe when compared to the United States, I pointed out that according to the Index of Economic Freedoms, some of those social democracies had higher rankings than the capitalistic US, thereby rendering such labels not only meaningless but obfuscating. Another person considered human trafficking a “capitalistic” enterprise. Obviously, no such institution has any place in a free market based on self-ownership. Hence, with such disparate meanings and connotations from the word, “capitalism,” I have for the most part stopped using it in favor of the phrases, “free market”, or “freed market” (left-libertarians such as Long are quite particular about making it clear that the present state of affairs in the US do not even closely resemble a free market and thus use ‘freed market’ to imply that it such an economic system is something to be obtained in the future and does not exist in the present).
Please check out Long’s awesomely named blog, Austro-Athenian Empire.