Thursday, September 9, 2010

Disrespect, Capitalism, and Honey Bees

I just had the pleasure of reading some thoughts from a gentleman my sister recently met. He was very forthcoming with his beliefs and I found it quite interesting. I must thank him for helping me distill a thought I have been working on for a long time.
He was discussing how mutual respect is what is missing from our society and then extrapolated that to condemn our capitalist system as exploitive and disrespectful, and then went on to explain how true disrespect was assuming that one person has power over another person, and that one person knows better what the other person needs.
I wish I could find the right way, the perfect words to explain to him the reality of his thoughts, and I will attempt to do so here.

I fully agree, it is very disrespectful to assume that you or anyone else knows better what someone else’s life might need. That is very very true. But I am eternally confused as to why so many people, typically on the left of the political landscape, then take that truth and apply it to capitalism. If you want an example of pure disrespect of people’s individual rights, if you want to see pure narcissistic contempt for people ‘less than’ the elite, if you want to study how through the ages of man, people have been subjugated by those that feel they ‘know better’, the proper place to look is to the left. This current administration is an excellent example, but Wilson and FDR, are even better examples because they were actually successful in their narcissistic attempts to ‘better peoples lives’ in their own image. Since the times of the Kings and the Kahns till the communists, and in many lands today run by dictatorship, it is precisely the liberal socialist style agenda that claims intellectual superiority over the common man, and subjugates the common man to live under what the elites in power claim to be in the common man’s best interest.

Capitalism has been the only socio-economic system that eliminated the power position of the elites and allowed the common man to take control of his or her own destiny. It is scary though I suppose, and maybe that is why so many people refuse to see this reality. Once you are responsible for yourself… you are responsible for yourself! Fail? That was all you. But fear of the unknown is what allowed so many centuries of centralized leadership. People shouldn’t focus on how scary it is to fail, but how exuberant of a life one lives when they try, fail and eventually succeed.

The real interesting part about the “capitalism is slavery” argument, is that people seem very confused about history when discussing ‘the new way’ or ‘the old way’. Many people on the left ardently argue that we need to move forward, into a future where we are a perfect socialist system, but they completely ignore that the socialist style system they are trumpeting is older than any government. Collectivist feudalism is no goal, it is actually capitalism that set man free from bondage. Capitalism is actually the new and promising way. We can study hundreds, nay, thousands of years of centralized planning. We have little more than two centuries of capitalism as a social construct to analyze.

That being said, I would like to expand on this concept in a more natural way. Capitalism is not only the most respectful, fair and non-enslaving system to ever exist, it is actually the most natural and organic economic structure ever implemented. The cycles of nature themselves are capitalistic. All elements of nature work to support each other without ever sitting down and discussing how it is going to be structured. It is all entirely voluntary trade, just like capitalism. The bees don’t demand the flowers provide pollen, the flowers and bees have a voluntary relationship. Just like capitalism. Now, if you are just going to skim over that concept and complain about it, instead of considering its weight, I would like to add, yes, the bees themselves do act in a socialized manner, but, and this is a big but, the bees can function that way because they have a single goal. The entire population is focused on just one goal. This is never true of humans. Maybe in times of national unity we have similar notions on a certain subject, but at any given time, there are as many goals as there are people. The only way to allow those people to achieve their goals is to allow them to interact with each other voluntarily. Capitalism.

It is so interesting to me to hear people discuss capitalism like it is some evil construct (especially by people very interested in the natural course of the world) when capitalism is actually the only natural state of an economy, and the only respectful way for each person to strive to achieve their goals.

Now, I recognize that many will argue and point out the flaws and catastrophes brought about by capitalism. I will have to agree on certain counts, although I will usually point out the subversive socialist government program that skewed the natural playing field and caused a perverse incentive to alter the otherwise natural course of capitalism. But beyond that, it is important to remember, that nature itself is flawed and allows for catastrophe in many ways. It is even part of the natural cleansing process of the earth’s systems to clear away with catastrophe. My point being, no economic system is perfect and will ever protect every single element of the system. The lion must eat. The river must flood. That is not disrespectful or unfair, it is the natural course. What is disrespectful and ‘unfair’ is someone standing up and declaring that they know best when the lion should eat and how deep the river should rise.

Under any socialist style system, like the one we struggle to succeed under here in the United States, there is little that is voluntary. Socialists and the liberals who pretend not to be socialists, don’t believe in voluntary trade, they believe they know better how the exchanges should occur. That, my friend, is disrespectful.

Krugman, Princeton, and the death of America

In a recent article about the Great Depression, it's parallels to our current situation, and what should be done about it, Mr. Krugman made a few assertions that don’t bode well for the state of independent academics or our country in general. One would think that an institution such as Princeton would want to be represented by forward thinking individuals, not just shills for failed public policy. Does anyone still consider Krugman an economist? Or just a sideshow player for the liberal agenda? Is he really still hawking Keynesian theories as prescriptions for economic success? Seriously, this is what kids are learning at Princeton? If this is the highest education available, no wonder the country is in a death spiral.

The points Krugman attempted to assert, in his typical holier than thou tone, were not just childishly wrong, but completely at odds with each other. And it’s not just Krugman, I have read similar drivel from many liberal pundits. The points are: The stimulus failed because it wasn’t big enough. And Without a great war to force the spending needed, we will wallow in depression without a foreseeable end. OK, lets look at those two statements. Just real quick. They’re so ignorant that they don’t deserve much time.

Stimulus wasn’t big enough? OK, Keynes, haven’t you wreaked enough havoc on the world yet? Still haven’t brought it down completely, eh? The three biggest expenses of the US government (that is, the US taxpayer), in order from largest to smallest (smallest, in a trillion dollar sort of way) are:

1. Health and Human Services

2. Miltary spending

3. Interest on our national debt.

The annual interest on our debt is greater than the annual budgets for the departments of education, veteran affairs, agriculture, and NASA, combined. You could actually throw in a few more government programs if you wanted to get really close.

So, are we to assume that even more interest payments would allow us to fund these other programs in the long run? Or just through the next election cycle?

The whole lie of Keynesian economics is in the “multiplier.” We all know the claim: a dollar actually equals a dollar sixty if the government spends it, whereas it is only a dollar in the private sector. This is the most ridiculous assertion one could make about the realities of economics. How much does it cost for the private entity to calculate how much to give the government? How much does it cost for three dozen bureaucracies to process that dollar? How much is the interest on that dollar if it wasn’t a tax dollar? How much do the politicians that beg for that dollar take for themselves to fly around, wine and dine their favored constituents, and campaign for re-election? (Bush and Obama are responsible for millions of our dollars going to their own political agendas while threatening to lay off fire fighters, teachers and police!)

A dollar doesn’t equal a dollar sixty more, it probably costs a dollar sixty for the government to collect a dollar. Anyone calling themselves an economist that still purports some kind of Keynesian multiplier as a solution must in some way be on the government coat tail.

The only reason true economics, Austrian Economics, is ignored in political circles, is because it is too realistic, and doesn’t allow for bully pulpit promises of how the government can help, if only we give them more of our money.

The second statement Krugman made that caught my attention, and I’ll be even quicker on this one, was regarding the need of a great war to bring us out of the doldrums.

I don’t know if the guy is just truly an idiot, or if he just didn’t read his own argument, or if he thinks his readers are such idiots that they can’t connect two dots.

When faced with accusations of overspending, the current administration and its supporters very quickly, and rightly, point out the un-paid-for spending of the Bush administration as some sort of salve for why it’s OK that Obama has tripled that amount. Health care, for example, they say is a worthy reason for unsustainable debt, but ‘Bush’s Wars’ were not. Obama trumpets as often as he can that the real reason we are in this mess was because of Republican’s relentless spending on War. - Did he say, War? - You mean War like the kind Krugman wants to help us out of Depression 2.0? How can war simultaneously be the reason for our problems and the solution?

Will someone please get this pseudo economist out of the public discourse. Princeton? New York Times? Anyone?

Mr Krugman is one more nail in the coffin of that silly little Nobel thingy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stop the border fence!

Illegal immigration is a major problem. The working citizens of the United States of America can not afford to pay for social services for every person who can make it across a river or a desert or an ocean. I believe legal immigration should be far more accessible; more taxpayers lowering each person’s burden, more consumers stimulating more private economy growth, and more cross cultural education, leading to a more well-rounded society.
The problem with illegal immigration, to me, is not necessarily about who is coming into the country, but more about can we afford them once they are here?
Let them come in legally, and most of our problem goes away. The real problem isn't who is coming across the border,the real issue is the amount of services our government provides in the first place.We don’t need to focus on who is coming here to ‘steal’ our services, we need to focus on why our government provides so many services.
I don’t want to sound paranoid or anything, but people should really check themselves when they start begging for a boarder fence. Really? Is that what you want? An impenetrable fence patrolled by dogs and helicopters running the entire length of our country's southern border? Why not throw in the northern border while you’re at it? There are a few region wide fences in world history both past and present. Many successfully kept out invaders, others very successfully keep in their own citizens. They were built to keep their own people from getting out. Next time you start to talk about fences, think Escape from East Berlin. I believe North Korea successfully maintains a border fence as well. Another excellent role model.
How many of you have envisioned and prepared for the day when Big Brother is actually marching down the street in front of your house, and you turn to your family and say, “get in the jeep, we’re outta here?” Good for you if you have your escape route planned, but how are you going to escape to the beaches of Baja, the mountains of Costa Rica, or maybe even the forests of Alberta, when you can’t get past the militarized zone? You know, the one you recently begged to be built to protect you from some really nice people that were looking for the same opportunity you enjoyed while America was still prosperous.
Don’t be so short sighted. We don’t need a fence, we need to change our government service policies. Eliminate the incentive. The powers that be must be laughing their collective asses off to see people actually asking to be imprisoned in their own country. Solve problems, not symptoms.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why socialism is so popular with governments, and such a failure throughout history.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

The failure is built right into the manifesto.

From each according to his ability, that’s fine, that’s actually natural, capitalistic even. It’s the ‘to each according to his need’ part that seeds the failure in the system. Harmless enough on the surface, it is easy to fall victim to such a utopic ideal, but let’s focus on the word Need.

Need is not a concrete term. You can not build a philosophy on a meaningless word, especially when the philosophy is meant to govern and better the lives of a diverse and dynamic population.

Who’s need?

That's the obvious question, to which of course the creed answers, “each persons need.”


Each person?

That's a very nice idea, but a little childish in it's simplicity. The question it leaves unanswered is “who decides who Needs what?”

This is why socialism and communism, (Marx himself recognized that socialism was only a side track on the road to communism) are so popular with governments. It is the same reason why Keynesian economics, a terribly flawed concept, is so popular with governments. As with socialism, governments love to sell it as the answer for one simple reason. It gives the government a role in society. It gives them the opportunity to be our savior. And hence, get our votes.

It is one thing to be a governor, sitting in a big room, being the governor. But there isn’t much power in sitting. One must engage the citizenry, point out their flaws, and offer ‘solutions’ by their own hand (with our money of course). Otherwise, we the people will just busy our selves with making business and lifestyles out of thin air for ourselves. We would likely only approach the ‘authorities’ when some line of conduct had been breached by one or more of us. We would tell the authorities what displeased us, and they would act to restrain said activity. But that would be far to passive for any practicing political narcissist.

The way it is presently, and ever more persistently, the authorities are in our face daily, telling us what we are doing wrong, and how they are going to fix us, stealing our ability to make lives for ourselves, and claiming they are trying to help. That is a far more powerful position for those we call politicians. It is not suitable to the narcissism of a politician to simply wait for issues to come up.

It was clear in Obama’s Farewell Iraq speech, when he steered way off subject and began campaigning to basically say, “my job is to fix you.” That should make it clear that he and many involved in government today see their role as doctor of all ills. Whatever the issue, they think they have the power to do something about it, and act with impunity to enact such reforms as necessary to further establish their control over the situation, as it slowly falls apart further.

But why? Why does it fall apart further the more they try to control it? Don’t they have the best intentions?

Well, their intentions are debatable, but that is not the point of this article. There is a very specific reason centralized decision making fails in all accounts. One person can not make 300 million decisions, each second, 24 hours a day. 300 million interchanging decisions each with infinite potential. That is why man remained in bondage until capitalism (the natural existence of man and nature) was nurtured into a social frame work.

From feudal England to Castro’s Cuba, whenever one man, woman, or elite group of men and women as we face now, attempts to manage a diverse and dynamic socio-economic body, the machine runs inefficiently, leading to rationing and shortages at first, and then later to despotism and possibly even land clearances at the expense of millions of lives. As in Stalin’s case, when you find you can’t govern such a large body politic, you simply have to massacre many of them, so you have a better shot at managing the remnants.

Each person has a very different idea of what they need. As soon as you decide that you know better what someone else needs, you have introduced despotism into the system. Despotism leads to collapse. Always has.

The only way to distribute the needs of the people is by doing so ‘to each according to their own ability’. Marx should have just combined his maxim and stopped there.

How about a new manifesto: “To each according to their own ability and charity towards your fellow man.”