Sunday October 16, 2016

Donald Trump is giving capitalists a bad name

A person wearing a Donald Trump mask,  fresh off the factory floor, in China.

A person wearing a Donald Trump mask, fresh off the factory floor, in China. (Aly Song/Reuter)

Listen 10:48

American presidential candidate Donald Trump is, apparently, a very wealthy man. His name is emblazoned on skyscrapers, golf courses, bottles of cologne, ties, and cufflinks.

But, you'd be mistaken to think of Donald Trump as the quintessential capitalist, according to Jeffrey Tucker, author and Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education, an American free-market think tank.

To Tucker, Trump is a "cartoon capitalist", and is giving real capitalists a bad name. 

It's right out of Central Casting. As if the Marxists made him up and said 'Look, here's your capitalist, do you like what you see?' - Jeffrey Tucker, Foundation for Economic Education

"I'm an advocate of capitalism. I appreciate entrepreneurship. I think capitalists need to be freer, not more regulated. But I tell you, this Donald Trump is not helping things. You'd think that I would have always longed for a great businessman to ascend, to get the nomination and be president. Well, now that it's happened, it's just the worst possible situation. First of all, his policies are not really about free enterprise and commerce, they're about nativism, building walls, big infrastructure plans, belligerent attacks on free trade - I mean how is this even possible?"

Tucker says Trump creates a public relations problem for the genuine free marketers out there, by pretending to be a entrepreneurial success story, while he's actually more of a skilled entertainer.

"It adds to this caricature of the capitalist rich making billions at the expense of everybody else. To me, it's right out of Central Casting. As if the Marxists made him up and said 'Look, here's your capitalist, do you like what you see!?' and the answer is 'No! We don't like what we see!'" 

Jeffrey Tucker Liberty

Jeffrey Tucker expresses the joy he receives from free-market capitalism. (Jeffrey Tucker, Liberty.me)

Tucker says "classical liberals" like him can take some of the blame for the rise of Trump, and says there's reason for introspection among the free-marketers out there.

"Why have we been so unsuccessful in explaining to people the actual beauties of the capitalist marketplace? This isn't about private enclaves, exclusion, racial homogeneity, and misogyny for goodness sake...  it's about opportunities for people to find value in themselves, for us to find value in them, and for us to co-operate for our mutual betterment. Do you see what I mean? That's a very different message from the one Donald Trump has been promoting."