“…no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines…” http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-judge-bring-back-federal-assault-weapons-ban-18040037#.UNc95onjk1c
1) The “assault weapons” ban basically banned certain cosmetic features on some semi-automatic firearms (guns that fire one bullet for every pull of the trigger), that had nothing to do with the function of the weapon.
2) The only major change in the functionality of semi-automatic weapons that the assault weapons ban affected was the limitation of the magazine to 10 rounds. Does anyone really think that limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds will stop someone from going on a shooting spree?
3) The only way such a magazine capacity limitation might affect a shooting spree is to require the shooter to carry multiple guns or multiple magazines. Is Diane Feinstein seriously saying that her “solution” is for civilians at the scene of a shooting spree to tackle a gunman while he is reloading his 10-round magazine? If civilians are going to be asked by Diane Feinstein to take personal responsibility for their own self-defense (a worthy goal), then why does she want to make it more difficult for civilians to own guns?
4) High capacity magazines do have a civilian use: In the Los Angeles riots in the early 1990’s, civilian business owners used AK-47’s and other semi-automatic firearms to defend themselves and their property from large numbers of rioters who wanted to harm them and destroy their life’s work. These civilian business owners were abandoned by the police and the local authorities, and they took personal responsibility for their own lives and the security of their community.
Imagine a hypothetical scenario: a valuable substance is discovered on the moon. This substance is so valuable that corporations are willing to spend billions of dollars traveling to the moon to extract it and bring it back to Earth. These corporations institute procedures and guidelines for the safe extraction of this substance from the moon, because it will affect their profits if any of it were accidentally spilled on the lunar surface. However, since human beings are neither omniscient, nor infallible, it is possible that accidents will occasionally happen despite everyone’s best effort to avoid them. When this happens, some of this valuable hypothetical substance would be lost. Since we are talking about the moon, and there is nobody living on the moon, there is no property damage, and there is no danger to human life. Would there be reason to complain when such a “lunar spill” occurs? If human life is your standard of what is important, then the answer is no. Human life and human property is not endangered. The only tragedy when such a hypothetical lunar spill occurs is the loss of this valuable hypothetical substance.
Now imagine a second hypothetical scenario, back here on Earth: If your neighbor negligently released a flammable, black viscous substance onto your property, and it substantially interfered with your use or enjoyment of your land, what would you do? Under the property laws of most American states you could likely file suit against your neighbor in court. The specific cause of action might vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but it would typically be called something like “private nuisance” or “trespass”. The right to private property includes the right to the reasonable use and enjoyment of that property, and the law can and should protect it.
Now consider a current, and very real, event: An oil well in the Gulf of Mexico recently suffered a catastrophic explosion, and is releasing oil into the water. The primary tragedy here is the loss of human life from the explosion. This obviously was not an intentional act on the part of the owners or management of the oil company, but it did happen, either because people were negligent, or just because of a bad set of random circumstances beyond anybody’s control. This is not the first time an industrial accident has occurred, and it will not be the last. As long as human beings continue to be human beings, such events will occur –although I contend that such events are rare in a free society, made up of mostly reasonable people. To the extent that there is a causal connection between the negligent acts of any person or persons, and the loss of human life resulting from this industrial accident, and to the extent that that causal connection can be proven in a court of law, then there is, and there should be, legal liability for the person or persons responsible. In other words, to the extent that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is like the second hypothetical scenario that I set forth above, then the law can and should be brought into play.
However, the oil being spilled into the water, as opposed to the preceding explosion that resulted in a direct loss of human life, seems to have a lesser impact on the lives or property of human beings. The only two industries that are obviously affected by the spill are the fishing and recreational tourism industries in the Gulf region. “Recreational tourism” would primarily mean the beaches in the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The legal solution to this problem is easy. Since the beaches are presumably owned by someone, they should have a legal right to go to court, and file suit against any person(s) who were negligent in causing the oil spill. This is exactly like the second hypothetical scenario I outlined above. With regard to the fishing industry, the legal solution seems a little bit more complicated for the simple reason that nobody owns the ocean. While fishermen should have a right to extract whatever aquatic life they want from the ocean, they have no property rights to the ocean itself. Perhaps it is time for property rights in the ocean to be defined and protected by government, but they appear not to be at present. Nobody can currently claim a right to an oil-free ocean, anymore than people could claim a right to the surface of the moon in my first hypothetical example.
Excepting the recreational tourism and the fishing industries, no other persons are damaged by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, because no other person’s property rights have been infringed. The oil spill matters no more than if someone were to spill a hypothetical substance on the surface of the moon.
There is a common sentiment that would take exception with me when I claim that, aside from the recreational tourism and fishing industries, nobody should care about oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. In fact this is more than just a “sentiment”, it is an ideology. That ideology is typically referred to as “environmentalism”. This ideology asserts that the oceans, non-human organisms, rivers, the land, and the air have a value apart from their service to human life and needs: “It is a belief in biocentrism, that life of the Earth comes first…” Earth First!. Web. 6-7-2010. http://www.earthfirst.org/about.htm This ideology asserts that human beings should, at the very least, return to pre-industrial technology levels. The fact that current human population levels could not be sustained by living at this level of technology means that this ideology, put into practice, would cause large numbers of human beings to die of starvation and disease. Indeed, wiping out humanity is the true goal of this ideology. Environmentalists with more of a conscience talk about government-forced birth control: “…cut the birth rate to one child per couple, for a few generations at least. The population would dwindle by about 5 billion people over the next century…” Engber, Daniel. Global Swarming Is it time for Americans to start cutting our baby emissions?. Slate.com. 9-10-2007. Web. 6-7-2010. http://www.slate.com/id/2173458 The more consistent adherents of this ideology talk about human extinction. The goal of human extinction is consistent with environmentalism because it holds that the Earth comes first. This ideology is far more dangerous than any industrial accident because it attacks the very root of human survival –technological progress, and the fact that humans should come first.
It doesn’t matter if most people who call themselves “environmentalists” don’t know that this ideology is opposed to human life. The majority of people who called themselves socialists during the cold war didn’t know that the logic of their ideology led to the gulags of Soviet Russia, and still probably don’t know it today, but that was the logical result of an ideology that holds that individuals must sacrifice their lives to the collective. Legitimate pollution problems can be solved with technological progress and the application of the laws of private property, such as the common law cause of action for private nuisance. Such problems cannot be solved by means of an ideology that opposes human happiness and progress.
In between stories about the latest celebrity sex scandal, the news is occasionally noting that Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court is going to retire, allowing President Obama to make another appointment. I would like to propose that Judge John E. Jones III, of the Middle District of Pennsylvania be considered for the job. Judge Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush for his present position, and is a Republican. But, Judge Jones was the presiding judge in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Judge Jones ruled that the School Board’s policy on “Intelligent Design”, which is another word for creationism, violated the Establishment Clause. In an interview about his decision, Judge Jones responded this way: “A significant number of Americans, if you poll, believe that creationism ought to be taught, either supplanting evolution or alongside of evolution. And, again, you ask how the judiciary works. We protect against the tyranny of the majority.” Amen.
I have recently started attending the meetings of a local, Dallas-area political club affiliated with one of the two major parties in the United States. At the beginning of all meetings, this group starts with a recitation of the “U.S. Pledge of Allegiance”. During this period, I stand in order to be polite to the other people there, but I markedly put my hands behind my back, and I do not state the Pledge. Since this would be seen by many as a “subversive” or “unpatriotic” action on my part, and in order to mentally “crystallize” my own thinking on the subject, I thought I would take a moment to explain why I do this.
The first reason I refuse to recite the pledge is because of the use of religious language (“under god”) in its text. Historically speaking, America is not “one nation under god”, which I take to mean a nation founded on Christianity or religion. America is a product of the Enlightenment. In order to understand this, some historical context is necessary. The Dark Ages represented a period of religious domination, and therefore social, economic, scientific, and political stagnation (and human misery). During that period, religious authorities controlled the moral and intellectual realm. The socio-political ream was controlled by the feudal aristocracy, supposedly ordained to rule by god, but in practice, sanctioned to practice tyranny over the minds and bodies of other men by the Church. The Dark Ages ended with the re-discovery of Classical Greek and Roman thought and philosophies, which had emphasized the value of human life in the here-and-now, reality over the supernatural, and the efficacy of the human mind to know reality.
The Enlightenment period of history, which started some time in the 1600’s, represents a naturalistic explanation for the origins of life, via the works of Charles Darwin, a rational explanation for the physical motions of the universe, via the works of Newton, and the beginnings of a secular basis for the political and social order, via the works of John Locke, and others. The founding Fathers of the United States took the ideas of Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers and used them as the intellectual basis for the 13 Republics formed soon after the American Revolution, and for the Federal Republic which today is known as the United States of America. Of paramount importance to the Founding Fathers was the right of individuals to “the pursuit of happiness”, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence.
In order for individuals to pursue their own happiness in society, some implicit understanding of the concept of individual rights is necessary. Individual rights is based in a morality of rational self-interest (or an implicit understanding of such a morality). Each individual must be free to pursue his own rational self-interest (his own happiness) in a social context. (It must be also be kept in mind that “society” is nothing more than a number of individuals, and that the individual lives in society because it maximizes his own self-interest.) Individual rights should be seen as moral principles defining and sanctioning a person’s freedom to pursue his own rational self-interest in a social context. Historically, America is the nation of the Enlightenment, and the nation founded on individual rights. It is not a society founded in a belief in the supernatural, which was the distinguishing feature of the Dark Ages. I therefore oppose the inclusion of the words “under God” in the Pledge because it is not an accurate description of America.
Even if the “under God” language were removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, I would still not want to recite it. I have several objections to its recitation. First, I question the usefulness of any ritualistic recitals such as the Pledge. If the average person reciting the Pledge of Allegiance were asked what some of the key concepts in the pledge, such as “justice” and “liberty” meant, I doubt that he could give you a coherent explanation. There was an episode of the original TV series “Star Trek”, in which the main characters visited an “alternate Earth”, where stone-age men would recite a string of incoherent sounds that sounded strangely familiar, but you couldn’t quite figure out why. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that it is the US Pledge of Allegiance. Not only have the concepts been forgotten, but even the original words have been lost by the primitives reciting them. Every time I hear people reciting the pledge, I think of this episode of “Star Trek”. A “ritual” to me is nothing more than a formulaic endeavor that has no meaning and is meant to discourage thought and individualism, and to engender a tribalistic mindset. I find this utterly incompatible with the meaning and historical significance of America.
Additionally, an analysis of the words of the pledge reveals that it is a useless exercise. America is supposed to be a Republic (or, if you prefer, a “representative democracy”). The express words of the pledge say that you are pledging allegiance to “the flag”, but a flag is just a piece of cloth, and is merely another ritualistic display, so I don’t see any point in engaging in a ritualistic chant (the pledge), to a ritualistic display (the flag). The pledge goes on to say that the flag stands for the Republic, but the purpose of government is to serve as the agent, or servant, of “the people”, in the protection of their rights to life, liberty, and property. Therefore, I, as a citizen, do not owe the government allegiance, the employees of government –our elected officials- owe allegiance to the people that they represent (which would include me). I suppose you could say that you are pledging allegiance to “the people”, but “the people” are nothing more than a number of individuals, each with a right to pursue his or her own happiness, and all individuals are “equal under the law”, so there is no person or group of persons that one should rightly “pledge allegiance” to.
You could say that one is “pledging allegiance” to the concepts of liberty and justice, which are concepts that I fully support. But, I know that I support those concepts, and I actually take action to support them by thinking and writing about them -and by doing whatever small things I can to support liberty and justice in my professional and personal life. So long as I know that I support these concepts, and I take whatever action I am able to take to advance them, why do I need to engage in a ritualistic chant to convince others that I support them? Stating that you support the concepts of liberty and justice, but taking no action to advance them is to elevate form over substance, which is contrary to the spirit of our Nation, as best exemplified by the American expression: “Talk is cheap”.
I recently watched the movie version of John Grisham’s “The Rainmaker”, and I liked the move so much, that I went to Half Price Books and purchased the novel that day. I thought that it presented the trials and tribulations of being a recent law school graduate, trying to make it as a solo-practicing lawyer quite well. I could relate to the fears that the main character Rudy Baylor must overcome as a newly practicing attorney. Going to court is pretty intimidating at first, especially when you are all by yourself, and don’t have the support of a firm with more experienced attorneys to bail you out if you get in over your head. I could also relate to the financial difficulties of the main character, when you don’t necessarily know when and where your next fee is going to come from, and you’ve got bills to pay. As a result, I read this book in 3 days, and enjoyed it immensely.
Although I generally could relate to Rudy Baylor, a couple of things that he did really bothered me. First of all, at the beginning of the novel, a lot of his behavior seems to be motivated by either greed or envy, especially the later. He seemed to hold a lot of resentment towards a lot of different people, and he acted on this resentment from time to time, such as when he destroyed property at a law office because they wouldn’t hire him.
The other thing that really bothered me were his improper ex parte communications with the trial judge throughout the novel. Before I explain what an ex parte communication is, let me explain the basic outline of the plot. The major conflict in the novel is a lawsuit Rudy Baylor files against a very corrupt insurance company, who has denied the claim of his client, who is dying of leukemia. The insurance company has wrongfully denied his client’s claim, and now they file suit, although it is now too late for the client to get the bone marrow transplant that would have saved his life. An ex parte communication is a generally prohibited communication between a party and/or their attorney or representative and the judge when the opposing party, their attorney and/or their representative is not participating in the communication regarding some substantive issue regarding the case before the judge. I am always careful not to engage in ex parte communications with a trial judge because it would get me in trouble, but I also agree that it is, ethically, totally improper, and I think that it can rightfully be prohibited. Our System is an adversarial system, where both parties argue their sides of the case, and then an impartial third party (the judge and/or jury) decides who is right and who is wrong. This system best ensures that the truth will prevail because each side has an incentive to makes its best argument to the judge or jury. Justice should be “blind” in the sense that the winner of a trial should not be based on personal contacts or friendships between a party’s lawyer and the judge, because we are a “nation of laws, not of men”. Ex parte communication would corrupt this adversarial system by allowing you to argue your side of the case without the judge hearing from the other side on the matter, which would thwart a just outcome.
Despite the fact that ex parte communication with the trial judge is improper, the main character, Rudy Baylor, does it over and over again throughout the novel. For instance, in Chapter 26, Rudy Baylor goes to Judge Tyrone Kipler’s office and explains to him why the case should be “fast tracked”, and the insurance company’s lawyer(s) are not there. In Chapter 34, Rudy Baylor, Judge Kipler and the insurance company’s lawyer are having a phone conference over a discovery dispute during a deposition, and the judge orders the insurance company lawyer off the phone, so that he can talk to Rudy Baylor alone. The judge is also hardly what I’d call impartial, since he clearly wants Rudy Baylor to win, and does everything he can to make this happen in the novel, although I agree that, given the set of facts in the novel, Rudy Baylor probably should win.
I agree that, morally, the executives at the fictional insurance company (“Great Benefit”) did something wrong for the simple fact that they had a policy of denying all insurance claims without regard of their merit under the insurance contract. At some point in the novel, it is revealed that the insurance company instructed its employees in their procedures manual to initially deny all claims. I think that this would be fraud. Generally, if you enter into a contract with someone with the present intention of never performing under the contract, then I believe it is considered fraud. While it is not fraud to default on the contract at some later time, so long as you intended to perform at the time you entered into the contract, if you intend to default on the contract at the time you entered into it, then that is fraud. Regardless of the present state of law, I think that it should be fraud, because you are, in essence, taking values from someone, without ever intending to reciprocate. In essence, you are conning them out of values that they wouldn’t part with, if they knew that you didn’t plan to live up to your end of the agreement. Great Benefit was incurring a debt, or obligation, when it accepted people’s insurance premiums. By deciding it was going to initially deny all claims, its managers had a present intention not to pay out under the insurance contract. I think that any corporate executive who instructed the corporation’s employees to deny all claims, regardless of the fact that some of the claims were legitimately covered under the policy, would be guilty of the criminal act of fraud, and could be jailed and/or fined.
Furthermore, if someone did die in the scenario outlined in Grisham’s book, then I think the insurance company executives responsible for the fraudulent scheme to initially deny all claims, despite some of them being meritorious, might be guilty of manslaughter, because they engaged in a reckless act (denying claims regardless of the fact that they were supposed to be covered under the insurance contract), which resulted in the death of an insured person.
I would also note that I do not consider the scenario outlined in the book to be very likely to happen under pure capitalism. I note this fact because I think that Grisham’s probable agenda in writing “The Rainmaker” is to push for Canadian-style socialized medicine. I had never read a “legal thriller” before I read “The Rainmaker” last week. (I have always preferred science fiction novels.) But, I have seen several of the movie versions of Grisham’s novels, and they always have a socialist political-viewpoint. So, I suspect that the message of “The Rainmaker” was: “Private insurance companies are evil because capitalism is evil, so we need socialized medicine, similar to the Canadian version.” However, Grisham is mistaken if he thinks the current American health care system is a free market.
The American medical system is not a free market for several reasons, some of which I will now note. First, Medicare and Medicade drive up prices by providing free medical care to people, who then have no incentive to economize on their use of health care. Second, there probably is no industry more regulated than the health care industry. Patients aren’t free to choose who will provide them with health care thanks to medical licensure statutes. This means they must go to a government-approved doctor. Licensure statutes artificially limit supply by arbitrarily limiting the number of medical practitioners, thereby driving up prices. Patients aren’t free to choose which drugs they will consume, since they must get permission from a government-approved doctor before they can purchase so-called “prescription drugs” from a government-approved pharmacist. Once again, licensure statutes for pharmacists artificially limit supply and drive up prices. When it comes to drugs and medical devices, the government won’t allow innovators to market new drugs and medical products without government approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which can take years. Furthermore, taxes are structured to favor third-party payment of health care, because the government favors employer-provided health insurance by giving companies a tax break for providing it, but if employees want to get their own health insurance, they don’t get the same tax break. This also tends to make people dependent on their employer for continued health-coverage. Additionally, although I think this is less of a problem now, thanks to tort reform, doctor’s malpractice insurance expenses were outrageously high because of arbitrarily high punitive damages awards.
I tend to think that punitive damages awards should be capped. (In a civil suit, “punitive damages” are not the damages a plaintiff receives to repair the damage done to him by the defendant, they are an extra money award given to the plaintiff, just to punish the defendant’s wrongful conduct.) In the book, the fictional insurance company is hit with a massive punitive damages award, but I’m not sure that this is the best way to deal with the problem. I think that the management responsible for the fraudulent scheme in the novel would need to have been removed. The stockholders are probably not responsible at all, yet, they are the ones being punished with a high civil punitive damages award. I think it would make more sense to allow the criminal justice system to handle punishment, rather than the civil courts. As I said earlier, the corporate executives in the novel would probably be guilty of fraud and manslaughter for instituting a policy of denying all claims, which resulted in death.
I also find it doubtful that someone would actually not be able to receive treatment for leukemia under capitalism, even if they had no health insurance, and the treatment cost $200,000, which is how much the bone marrow transplant that the fictional insurance company refuses to pay for in the novel costs. First, I would note that I am uncertain what the cost of $200,000 reflects. Is the $200,000 cost mostly just to cover the “R&D costs” (“Research and Development”) of the procedure, or the actual costs of labor and materials? If the $200,000 cost is mostly to cover the costs of the R&D that went into developing the intellectual property for the procedure, then it would be possible under capitalism for the owners of the intellectual property to give a massive discount to those who actually couldn’t afford the procedure due to poverty. For instance, if $150,000 of the cost of the procedure is to help cover the per-unit costs of the R&D that went into developing the patents and other intellectual property, while only $50,000 represents the cost of labor and materials, then the manufacturer could give a discount to this particular patient, after doing an audit of his personal finances to confirm that he is in fact poor. Even if they could only charge this particular patient, say, $60,000, they would still be making $10,000 on the sale, which is $10,000 they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. As long as they can perform a financial audit of the patient to determine that he isn’t lying about being poor, then the medical provider can charge rich people more, and poor people less, for the same procedure, and this would likely be the most profitable business plan they could adopt. For instance, with most pharmaceuticals, the manufacturing costs for the drug are extremely low. The reason they cost so much is to cover the expenses of R&D that went into the drug. This means that drug manufacturers could reduce the sales price for those who are genuinely poor, and charge rich people more, without much difficulty, and they would have an incentive to do so, because even if they make a lower profit on the drug for that particular customer, it is still a profit.
Even assuming that the $200,000 cost of a bone marrow transplant is mostly to cover the cost of labor and materials, rather than the cost of research and development, I think that the chances of a poor person getting a loan to cover the costs would be very good under capitalism. According to the novel, the chances of long-term success for the bone marrow transplant were around 90%. The character with leukemia is in his early 20’s, which means that, but for his leukemia, he would probably live to be about 75. So, his chances are 90% that he will live for another 50 years. This is a pretty good bet for an investor. Assume that he works for 50 years and that he can make about $30,000 per year on average, which is about $15 per hour, working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks out of the year. (This is an extremely low-ball figure in my opinion.) This means he would make $1,500,000 over 50 years. Assume he can live off of $15,000 per year ($11,000 is the approximate US poverty line). Then, he can pay $15,000 towards the $200,000 loan every year. Say that $10,000 of the $15,000 he pays every year is interest. This means the loan would be paid off in less than 40 years. The average yearly interest rate the creditor would get would be about 5% under this payment plan. (Actually, it would be a higher interest rate, since he is paying $5,000 towards principle every year, which means principle is being reduced every year, but I can’t remember how to figure the actual average interest rate over 40 years).
Five percent APR is about what you would pay towards a mortgage on a house. Certainly if someone is willing to give you a loan at 5% for a house, they would be willing to give you a loan at 5% for an operation to save your life, especially if the bankruptcy laws said that such a loan is non-dischargeable and they are allowed to garnish your wages and seize all assets if you default on the loan.
This all assumes that there are no private charities that would help a poor person with leukemia (doubtful), and that nobody else, such as his parents, friends, or family members, would be willing to sign a contract making themselves legally responsible for paying part of the loan, which is also a doubtful premise -I would certainly be willing to pay a portion of a friend or immediate family member’s loan for an operation to save their life.
This also assumes that it would, in fact, cost $200,000 under pure capitalism for a bone marrow transplant. I would note that capitalism creates the social conditions of freedom necessary for technological innovation, and reductions in the costs of products. For instance, fetal stem cell research creates the promise that we will soon be able to grow cloned organs and tissues in the lab, which will be a perfect match to your own body’s genetic code, thereby eliminating the risk of tissue rejection. But, every time medical innovators, who are the true “rainmakers”, get hit with massive punitive damages awards in court, or a new regulation by the government, technological innovation tends to dry up.
This article suggests that the substandard Canadian medical system, which is more socialized than the American system, may have contributed to the death of a woman, who is apparently an employee of American movie studios. (I’m not sure why this particular skiing accident made national news, while numerous others don’t -surely these reporters believe that all human lives are equally important.) The evidence is piling up: socialized medicine will kill people.
According to this article, the Senate has added an amendment to a law to give the people of DC representation in Congress. (Whether the main bill is a good idea, or Constitutional, is another issue that I am uncertain on.) This amendment would make Washington DC one of the easiest places in the nation to own a gun. About the only local DC law that would not be repealed by it is the law prohibiting the carrying of arms outside of one’s home.
The reason I mention this article is because the DC gun freedom amendment got a lot of support from Senate Democrats, as well as Republicans. (“It passed 62 to 36, winning one more vote than the D.C. vote bill…”) Some of my “conservative” and Republican friends have expressed concern that with the Democrats in power, there would be a plethora of new restrictions on the right to keep and carry arms. I was concerned about this too, when I voted straight Democratic ticket, but there were other freedoms that I had to think of in this election, such as religious liberty and a woman’s right to an abortion, so I had to take a chance on Obama. So far my gamble is paying off. Ruth Bader Ginsburg managed to hold on until Obama was elected, which means that when she retires, she will be replaced by a like-minded Justice, maintaining the ideological balance on the court. Furthermore, not only have there been no new restrictions on gun freedom, but there is a debate in Congress on whether to give the people of DC more gun freedom.
The notion that the current “housing crises” is in any way a result of laissez-faire capitalism is utterly ridiculous. Laissez-faire capitalism has never existed, and since the late 19th Century, when America came the closest to laissez-faire capitalism, what has existed in America is a growing welfare and regulatory state, similar to the fascist variety of socialism. This article makes it clear that the current economic problems were caused by the Federal Reserve, which is a government institution, and essentially represents a nationalized, socialist monetary system.
Under laissez-faire capitalism, gold or some other real value would serve as the basis of the money supply, and there would be a competition in money. This competition of money supplies would take the following form: banks and other businesses would issue paper money with a distinct look and color, which would probably be trade-marked, so that no other person or business could rightfully issue currency with a similar look. Their private currency would have to be backed by some “real value”, such as gold, silver, an index fund in the stock market, etc, otherwise nobody would be willing to hold it. Then, if any particular business’ money supply were over-inflated by it, people would sell that money in favor of other private money that was a more stable store of value and medium of exchange. This would be true laissez-faire capitalism in banking and money.