Give all that has been happening the past few weeks I’m motivated to add to my thoughts put forward in Terrible Liars. But instead of looking at the lies being told I’m going to be looking at the actions, and lack of same, of both the Republicans and all of the self avowed Conservatives and Anti-Comunists.
For most of my entire life the GOP (aka Republicans) along with all ‘apolitical’ conservatives have loudly proclaimed their total and complete support of anti-communism and renouncing the ‘pinko’ liberal Democrats who are, at best, weak on Communism if not outright ‘fellow travelers. Don’t believe me, just go back and study the history of the McCarthy era. Too far back, how about the 1980’s? Still too old, how about 2016? Until Donald Trump was elected the GOP was know to tar and feather anyone who would show any kind of cozying up to a Communist/Socialist country. You know, countries like North Korea, or the PRC (aka China). Can anyone give me a link to a single member of the GOP that has denounced Pres. Trump for his cozying up with either of these countries? If you can I’m post it, I promise. An before you say word one about the Tariff War he started with China just show me where it was done because China was Communist and not just better at playing the Oligarchal Capitalism game than we are?
Now lets move on to just what the Trump Administration is showing is true about the GOP. Mainly that the don’t care a rats ass about true freedom and liberty. That they really don’t support Free Market Capitalism but do support Oligarchal Capitalism. That term sound strange to you? Well what it is sure isn’t, you know it as the MOB. Want to see how well it works, just take a look at Russia. All they have done is swap things around. In the USSR the state controlled all businesses now businesses control the state. Now take a look at China, not much difference when you cut out all the useless verbiage used to obfuscate how things are really organized. All we have are Mob bosses seeking to control as much as they can with little concern about side effects.
This is what the GOP is really all about now. The pursuit of power, by the powerful. The use of power for the sake of using power to demonstrate who has the power and how much. The sad thing is that the rank and file members of the GOP are much like the Outer Party in 1984. Better off than the Prols, but still totally oppressed by the Inner Party. Don’t believe me, just look at what the GOP is doing for the Farmers of the Midwest, or the people of coal country. Are they trying to change things for the better? No, they are only taking action that will increase the wealth (power) of those in power. I have yet to hear one new idea from this Administration to help just these two groups out. Send me links if you find them, I will post them.
As strange as it may sound both Socialism and Capitalism suffer from the same problem in America. This is not to say both suffer other problem/issues, just that they both suffer from the same one in America. In America we seem to think that both Socialism and Capitalism are well defined and thought out economic systems. Unfortunately they are not. They aren’t even well formulated economic theories. What they are are two, in practice, economic systems with many many different systems in practice.
People also think that Capitalism is a 18th century development an Socialism is a 19th century one. What is true is that those were when economic systems that had been going one for many centuries started to be both studied and, sometimes, formalized. When Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” he was describing the economic system system he found around him in 18th Scotland. He both gave it a name and did try to formalize it into a theory. An for an 18th century philosopher he did quite well. But he wasn’t the last word, not by a long shot.
The same can be shown for Socialism. The economic philosophers of the early/middle 19th century were describing an economic system that they could observe practiced by natives in the soon to be colonized Africa and Americas.
So just what is the problem these two Izums share? When discussed they are in an idealized form. This is something done quite often in science. We will create an ‘idealized’ model to simplify the tremendously complex system we are studying. The thing to remember that it is an idealized sample we are looking at and therefore subject to errors. What will work in the idealized system doesn’t work, or works in strange ways, in the real world.
A great example of this is something I learned in a Macro Economics class, the concept of elasticity. All too often people think that you can buy, or refrain from buying something depending on how much it costs. An for a lot of things this is true. But somethings you must have to live, like food an water. If either or both of these become scares people will do what ever is needed to get them. These are what are called inelastic commodities. In an idealized economic model commodities will either be all elastic or all inelastic, not a mix. Nor will you have a commonality that is usually elastic that can become inelastic do to non economic forces.
Another thing that is often done in idealized economic systems is to limit the number of reasons a person will do something to strictly economic reasons, excluding religious , moral, and/or philosophical reasons. We even do a lot just for emotional reasons, because it will make us feel good, or to get back at someone/something that hurt us? These reasons for making economic decisions are difficult or impossible to quantitize much less predict.
So the next time someone brings up Socialism or Capitalism take a moment and ask them just what they mean by that word. You just might be surprised.
Today I’m going back to logic or the lack of it in our political discussions. For over a hundred years the ‘Right’ of American body politic has lambasted the Socialist ‘Left’ for being anti-capitalism and pro Wealth Redistribution. For anyone who is pro Capitalism, in all it’s myriad forms, to be against the redistribution of wealth is flatly illogical. Capitalism is the foremost wealth redistribution economic system. It is all about moving in wealth around from one place or person to another.
“WHAT????? That’s not possible. It’s Socialists and Socialism that wants to take wealth from the rich and give it to the undeserving poor.
An your right, Socialism is interested in moving wealth from the wealthy to the poor. But that does not mean that Capitalism doesn’t move wealth around. In fact classical ‘Adam Smith’ Capitalism was/is all about moving wealth from the landed nobility to the much poorer tradesmen and craftsmen. Capitalism is a system of moving wealth from one person to another in such a way as to reward the hardworking and innovative person and to punish the lazy and stick in the mud person. Unfortunately the society that enables Smithian Capitalism hasn’t existed for over a hundred years.
The kind of Capitalism that exists now, what I call Mega-Corps Capitalism is not anything like Smithian Capitalism. The Capitalism we live with now is still interested in the moving of wealth, but unfortunately it is moving the wealth from people in the middle class to the top 1%. This is still wealth redistribution, it’s just not trying to spread it around, it is trying to concentrate it more and more.
So next time someone says you’re supporting Wealth Redistribution, smile and say yes, I’m a Capitalist.
Lets be clear from the start, Meritocracy is a political philosophy and Capitalism is an economic philosophy and that means they are not the same thing. That being said it does not hold that they do not come into conflict. The point I’m going to make here is that they do, sometime do come into conflict and this conflict happens just because they don’t care about the same thing. They have different goals.
The conflict I want to point out is that Meritocracy holds power should be vested in individuals according to merit and in the economic sphere wealth can be used to represent power. Unfortunately Capitalism isn’t the lest bit interested in where or how wealth is vested, only how it is increased, i.e. the rate of return. See the conflict? Meritocracy wants to use merit as the measure of where power is vested and Capitalism wants the only measure of merit to be the rate of return on investment. See the trap?
If you don’t, here is a little thought experiment for you.
You have $1,000,000 to invest and two people have approached you with an investment opportunity for you. The first person’s opportunity is to start manufacturing ZPM (a source of clean enegry) but the rate of return will take time, 5 to 10 years, to show up and will only be relatively modest 5% per anum. The second persons opportunity is in Organlegging out of the country of ‘PeopleIDontKnowistan’ where the organs of convicted criminals are sold for transplants (currently the 3rd speeding ticket is a capital office in PeopleIDontKnowistan) but the rate of return will start next quarter and run at 25% per anum.
See the problem?
According to Capitalism the more meritorious investment is the 2nd even though it’s business model is something many people find fundamentally abhorrent. Therefor you should invest in the 2nd opportunity even thought the first is more meritorious in more areas of human endeavor.
Now the point I’m trying to make is this, Capitalism want us to only use a one dimensional measure of merit where Meritocracy works best with a multidimensional measure or merit. So if we want to have a meritocratic society then we can not use just Capitalism’s measure of merit when judging the merits of business decisions.