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This categorization doesn't make any sense. Either AnarchoCapitalism and CapitalisM belong together or BolshevisM? and TraditionalAnarchism belong apart. A good sign that something is wrong is that so many traditional things, like RepublicanisM?, are left homeless. Any ideas for fixes?

Here's an idea, which might not be the most useful one. We could arrange the ideologies alphabetically, under the assumption that attempting to group or relate them on a global page raises more questions than it answers. --JimboWales

First of all, to spare our nerves, please refrain from exaggeration: yes, the categorization does make some sense, but maybe not perfect sense. And maybe there are better categorizations. Can you do better?

The only serious problem that I saw when I put the categorization up is that capitalism is espoused both by libertarian ideologies and by right-wing ideologies; in fact, that's what they have in common. One might make a supercategory CapitalistIdeologies?, but the problem then is that fascism is left out (fascism never was capitalistic by any reasonable definition of capitalism). I guess the solution is simply to put "capitalism" under both headings (which I will do right now!).

By the way, Jimbo's suggestion is very tempting, except that this is, after all, the only serious problem that I could see with the categorization scheme. I think it's nice to put order on the world when possible and when helpful to a degree.

Actually, Fascism is capitalistic. This is evidenced by the defection of Capitalists to Fascism whenever a socialist revolution threatens. This even happened in the UnitedStates at the time of the NewDeal? when a group of prominent capitalists took steps to overthrow President Roosevelt and replace Congress with a Fascist regime. To quote one of the conspirators "I would spend half of my fortune to save the other half."

In one system there is complete government control of the economy. In the other, a complete absence of government control in the economy. So clearly, they must be the same thing.

Our government interferes with the economy, but it's still capitalist. The term doesn't refer to an absence of government intervention - that would exclude most of the economies of today and include pastoralism - but rather to the economy being based on private enterprise. If memory serves, fascisms are in favor of that, they just want to regulate it very closely.

What is the difference between "the absence of government intervention" and "private enterprise"? If an enterprise is private, then the government is not intervening in it. That's what private (as opposed to public) means.

Also, if I wish to talk about a system based on the absence of government intervention, what word should I use?

Anarchism or Libertarianism. It isn't possible to have a capitalist system without massive intervention on the part of government. Property, contracts and "free markets" are all extremely artificial inventions created out of thin air by the agency of government. "a complete absence of government control in a capitalist economy" is a theoretical impossibility, a logical contradiction.

What characterizes capitalism isn't that the capitalists have no oversight from a head Fascist but that the capitalists get to dictate terms to the workers and other non-capitalists. Whether you have 2 or 3 levels in your hierarchy doesn't matter as much as whether you have a hierarchy based on capital in the first place.

I agree, but there are problems with this categorization. As far as schemes in terms of spectra go, the problem with this one is it throws the whole economic left in together and splits up the economic right:
             Socialist   Capitalist
 High gov |   Left        Right
 Low gov  |   Left      Libertarian

One or the other should be changed. Either libertarianism should go back in with the economic right, which makes it easy to handle the position of capitalism; or all four corners of the square (~LP diamond) should be separated, i.e. anarchism or stalinism should be removed therefrom. I'm not sure what the corners get named, though; left and right seem to me to cover sides rather than corners (see elsewhere) and I don't know the name for right-high-government.

This probably seems like I'm being ridiculously difficult to work with, but I really do want wikipedia to be fair. Awarding special status to groups just because they claim it is silly, and not very objective.

The second problem is that there are a lot of homeless ideologies: Feudalism, Republicanism, Democracy - I know that's listed as a concept but it's an ideology too. These things are really difficult to place on the above because they span categories (same as capitalism), and I think that's a sign that simultaneous spectra are not the right way to approach things. But, of course, I don't have any other ideas yet. :( -- JoshuaGrosse

I don't think you are being difficult, JoshuaGrosse. I think that this is a difficult problem, and that it is worth chewing on it for awhile.

I'm a little unclear on who wrote which, above, although I could figure it out from the 'other revisions'. But, no time right now. All I wanted to say is that it strikes me as very odd to list both CapitalisM and LibertarianisM as ideologies. Someone talked about CapitalisT?s who became FascisT?s in the face of some SocialisT? upheaval. This surely doesn't refer to people who held CapitalisM as an ideology, but rather to people who were owners of capital. That's not the same thing at all.

And yet elsewhere in these political pages people complain that FascisM? and StalinisM? are on opposite sides of the spectrum despite the fact that in practice they are almost identical. If CapitalisM devolves into FascisM? in practice then this amply demonstrates an eery similarity between the two systems and associated ideologies.

It isn't a few capitalists that become fascists when a socialist revolution threatens. It happens on a massive scale in every country of the world. FascisM? is exactly like CapitalisM except for being more brutal and totalitarian. In both systems private property owners rule like kings while the government supports and defends them using police power. And this does refer to CapitalisM as an ideology though it's hard to see if you don't distinguish between FreeMarketDoctrine? and CapitalisM (which are very different things).

Enough, already! If you people would have been writing useful content instead of engaging in less-than-helpful political bickering, we'd have, oh, another 200 useful articles by now. Yes, yes, I know political bashing seems more fun--but is it really? I submit to you that it is not. It's like cheap, tawdry sex--kind of fun while you're doing it, but it makes you feel kind of nasty afterwards. (I wouldn't know about that, though, really.) I know I've been engaging in this, although not as much as some of you...I hereby swear it off. This isn't the place for it! Go to Usenet, ferchrissakes! Use your wiki time to do something useful, please!

But how do we solve political disputes? We make decisions. If you see a page about which you have some political bone to pick, you must decide, on the spot, whether you can live with it or whether you simply must change it. If you must change it, then go ahead and change it. Probably, someone will attempt a compromise solution (such as the one Jimbo proposed).

At any rate, I confidently predict that if we stopped talking about making changes and started actually making them, this wiki would be...why, even better than it already is!


Making changes doesn't always work. If you will recall, back on AnarchY RK had replaced some material he disagreed with and then TS promptly changed it back. This sort of thing could have just gone back and forth, but instead discussion moved off onto another page, which gave JW something to start from when he went to straighten the page out.

I wouldn't consider arguing a distraction from writing, therefore, but rather a prerequisite thereto. At best it can lead to a consensus on how to organize things, and at worst it still provides an indication of what can't happen. That said, I'm still going to go write a penance page on another topic. :) -- JoshuaGrosse

Trouble is, it's not linear - it's not even planar. It's more like a color chart. You have seen these three-dimensional color solids which interrelate colors on the basis of what relative proportions of the primary colors each has, and then adds the how much white or black is included (or how dark or light) and how much saturation. The resulting values can only be represented on a solid, because there are too many axes in play to use a planar coordinates.

Here are factors which are present or absent in greater or lesser degrees in different socio/political/economic systems: Private ownership of property; heritability of status/authority/property rights; private economic decision-making; level of governmental authority to dictate to citizenry; free elections; direct vs indirect representation; freedom of conscience; permeability of borders; formal recognition of investment and security vehicles; formal recognition of collective bargaining; synchronicity of government with otherwise unrelated ideology (race, religion, caste, etc.). Good luck making an x,y chart which will plot each government on the globe without errors. Alphabetical organization looks better and better...

Already changed--no help from you, whoever you are. ;-) --LarrySanger

I believe the two most important axes are Authoritarianism versus Libertarianism and Egalitarianism versus Hierarchy. And the reason people talk about making changes instead of simply doing them is because an entry should be convincing to most people and not merely reflect a minority opinion. If it doesn't, it will get changed and not necessarily towards the better.

I like

    Com     Fas
   Soc  Cen  Cap
    Ana     Lib

I'd define the horizontal axis as Egalitarianism and the vertical axis as Authoritarianism. Then I'd put Feudalism somewhere close to Capitalism. Democracy isn't a system, it's a concept. Democracy everywhere is only in Anarchism. No serious political scientists consider the Anglo-American countries democratic so the only instances of somewhat democratic capitalist countries are the social democracies of Western Europe and they're all in the Center. Additionally, it's easy to see that systems "devolve" upwards and not sideways. And if any doubt the difference between AnarchisM and LibertarianisM, it can be pointed out that the great inequality permitted by LibertarianisM makes the system rapidly devolve into totalitarianism. IOW, LibertarianisM cannot exist in practice. Since this does not apply to AnarchisM, there is a world of difference between the two ideologies. Even if the difference between Communism and Fascism is slight, the one between Anarchism and Libertarianism is worth maintaining.

Or maybe another formation?

      Com Fas
    Soc Cen Cap
   Ana       Lib

 -- RichardKulisz

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Last edited February 16, 2001 11:27 am by JoshuaGrosse (diff)