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What Does Steve Bannon Want?

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Tags Free MarketsPolitical Theory


“What Does Steve Bannon Want?” is the title of an article by Christopher Caldwell (senior editor at the “conservative” Weekly Standard), written for the New York Times on February 26, 2017.

Mr. Caldwell gets to the essence of it when he writes: “Steve Bannon … has … the same idea that tea party activists have: a class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an ‘administrative state’ that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies.” He also notes that Bannon thinks that “capitalism ought to rest on a Judeo-Christian foundation.”

Then Caldwell goes off the tracks. “Free-market thinking has swallowed the [Republican] party whole, its onetime preoccupation with Judeo-Christian culture … along with it. A business orientation was what donors wanted. But voters never more than tolerated it. It was Pat Buchanan who in his 1992 run for president first called on Republicans to value jobs and communities over profits.”

Caldwell is a fine writer, but we must once again remind ourselves that, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out, business owners do not usually like free markets, because it subjects them to such intense discipline. In addition, in a free market, profits go to those who serve consumers to the satisfaction of those consumers, and it is those profits that create jobs and raises and sustain communities. To equate business owners with free markets or to think that there is a conflict between profits and jobs and communities or between free markets and Judeo-Christian values fails any logical test. Unfortunately such nonsense is widely held on all sides of the political spectrum.


Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis is author of twelve books, including The Secular Saints: And Why Morals Are Not Just Subjective, Economics in Three Lessons & One Hundred Economic Laws, Where Keynes Went Wrong, and Crony Capitalism in America 2008-2012, and has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times of London, The Atlantic and many other magazines and web sites including Mises.org and LewRockwell.com. Lewis is also co-founder of Against Crony Capitalism, co-founder and CEO of investment firm Hunter Lewis LLC, and co-founder and former CEO of global investment firm  Cambridge Associates LLC. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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