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Would you agree that the primary benefit of Capitalism is variety, and the primary benefit of government-regulated systems is standardization?

Asked by Hobbes (7311 points ) October 12th, 2010

It seems to me that the main benefit of a capitalist system is that it provides a great deal of choice. Because it is decentralized it can meet the varying demands of consumers for a variety of specialized products.

Government regulation, however, allows everyone to receive the same or similar access to a given service. It also allows for a single system to be coordinated on a national scale.

Take water, for example. People use different amounts of water, but everyone needs at least some, and everyone wants it to have a standardized quality. Similarly, road networks benefit from being built by a centralized government because it means a single network can connect the entire country. If you had multiple companies competing with each other to build roads, it would result in chaos.

Special-purpose or luxury items, on the other hand, seem to benefit from a capitalist structure, since not everyone wants the latest computer or a cosmetics kit or a particular sort of lamp, but some people do. A larger-scale example might be Housing. Not everyone wants to live in the same kind of house, or in the same place, and it would be nearly impossible for a centralized government to give everybody the sort of house they wanted in the location they desired. You need a decentralized network, which is what Capitalism provides.

As some of you may know from my previous questions, I have a tendency to think about political issues in terms of broad generalizations, but I think this is a valid one. Thoughts?

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