Comments on: Wanted: Equitable capitalism, profitable socialism Wed, 13 Apr 2016 01:13:45 +0000 hourly 1 By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:54:11 +0000 You once again bring to the front the two sides of the social coin.

At all of the various possibilities of “purity”, Capitalism harnesses individual self-interest to pull the economic cart. Let’s think of economic activity as a pizza. If you keep the number “at the table” the same, more ingredients make a bigger pizza and everyone at the table gets a bigger piece when it is cut. If you can convince everyone it is in their best interest to contribute to that pizza in good faith, everyone WILL benefit. Some “closer” to the hand that slices get bigger pieces leaving less for others at the table, but it has forever been so.

At all of the various possibilities of “purity”, Socialism and all other alternatives merely change the hand on the knife that slices a pie substantially fixed in size. Once again, those closer to that particular hand are the ones that get bigger pieces leaving less and less for those not so favored. No one getting a smaller piece is motivated to make a bigger pizza, but all squabble without end to secure a bigger and bigger piece for “them and theirs”.

Anyone can see that the “bigger pie” is the best choice, but in any economic system reality and equity are fundamentally and forever “at odds”. All men are NOT created equal.

In general it can be said that the overall life of the “average person” even in America up to WW II was, compared to today, relatively nasty, brutal and short. Half of everyone’s life was spent in substantial pain since their teeth were literally rotting in their mouths from age 25 or 30. Few places in business or at home were very comfortable in the cold of winter or the heat of summer. Summer was a time of sickness when there was no “running water” and life was largely lived outside when the sun was up. Cooking and preserving food, cleaning, washing, ironing and mending clothes and keeping the “fire in the hearth” consumed every waking monent of even the few women that did not have children.

Entertainment and socializing was occasional, such as going to Church on Sunday, periodic shopping (for those with the money to do so) and celebrating holidays. Since then, America has led the way to a longer and more comfortable “way of life” by substituting energy from mostly oil and coal for human sweat.

Today a majority of America’s “poor” drive and are somewhat literate. They have (with their remote controlled widescreen TVs) more and better entertainment than royal courts did before “public” radio. Unfortunately, developed nations have consumed more and more of the world’s finite natural resources. If humans are not to turn our big blue marble into a big brown marble devoid of all “higher” lifein their quest of a sustainable “better life” we are going to have to reexamine much of what we do today.

We must ask “should we do this” and 
what is the most efficient way of doing this, in the short term and in the long term. We must ask the question honestly whether it is humanity’s destiny to cover every unoccupied space on Earth with humanity, or to spreat into our solar system and beyond into the universe.

Capitalism has clearly proven best in raising the “best and brightest” to leadership. It offers those who work harder, or longer, or smarter than others the opportunity to keep some of the “extra” thus produced for themselves and those around them. The uncommon ability of some to mix together some workable combination of “available” citizens into an orchestra that can play “economic music” is of undeniably great economic value.

Socialism, on the other hand, gives disproportionate and controlling “voice” to those whose whose very presence is poison to the common good, the forever dissatisfied, the forever envious, and those best described as just plain malicious. It achieves it’s strength in numbers from the lazy, who offer nothing (or only that which they must) whose “economic worth” is always less than it should be (as should be their “just rewards”). These are most visible today in the form of government employees and other union dominated economic monopolies. These make not “economic music” but “economic noise…activity without meaningful purpose or merit.

Undeer any “system”, those “in charge” have to categorize accurately within their “economic resources” the productive, the economically useless, and all in between. Some produce things “hands on”, some by the application of their intelligence and/or their experience and others quit learning or refuse to improve themselves at some invisible point. Within each tier there are the clever, the devious, the simple, the not so simple.
But, in the end, should we judge Capitalism a failure because it is not perfect? By that same measure, every other economic system thus far tried by man is also; and without a “system” there is no society and economic chaos must ultimately prevail.

If we are to “do what we can, where we are, with what we have” and thus live as well as possible while continuing to improve the “average quality of life” of our society, some form of Capitalism is the only possible economic path forward. There are many, many possible paths backward. Why is the obvious choice so constantly questioned? Because “We, the people” allow the envious on the “outside” to make us feel guilt in our success.

If they can somehow bring America down to their level, they think their own continuing failure will be somehow more acceptable. They are wrong. But they won’t know it until they need America to once more “pull their fat out of the fire” and America isn’t there.

By: mlrrogers Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:20:07 +0000 Whatever happened to the idea of universal or democratic capitalism, as espoused by Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer Adler? This was the founding idea behind ESOPs, which appear to have been largely corrupted to merely a means for businesses to just get rid of pensions. But Adler and Kelso themselves were quite sincere in believing that the productivity of capital was ultimately going to prove much more economically valuable, in market terms, than low-to-medium skilled labor could ever be. So in their view the only way to allow long-term universal participation in the economy was to “encapitalize” everyone to a useful degree, using tax-advantaged, self-financing loans that paid off in few years (i.e., before retirement). Kelso’s preferred term was “Binary Econcomics”, because he thought most people should have combined income streamd from their own, privately-owned capital (tax-free), plus their labor. The idea was just to provide enough of a “sufficiency” to ordinary people give them a real means of full economic participation, without having to resort to artificial transfers through taxes, welfare and externally-imposed wage constraints.

This probably sounded unrealistic at the time, but honestly considering what globalization will do to American workers – sans price deflation – and considering where technology is heading – honestly facing up to what it will soon be capable of – it seems that universal capitalism may be inevitable, if we want to keep the aspirational and productivity benefits of capitalism alive while maintaining a just and healthy society for everyone.

By: BidnisMan Wed, 24 Oct 2012 07:58:41 +0000 Any system where the force of the individual is removed gravitates towards failure. This is as true in small businesses as it is in great nations. To put it in American terms, Steve Jobs is assigned a job in the shoe factory glueing on soles while Bill Gates must work on the farm. As a white South African, I can tell you we have one of the highest Gini Coefficients in the world and it causes social friction, but I can also tell you that Black South Africans excluding the new elite class are far better off than those of neighbouring countries in absolute terms. I think a lot the hatte towards inequality is misguided. I agree that the system should not seek to gerrymander the rich’s interests and these things should be fixed but inequality itself is a both here to stay and a neccessary evil.

By: u_no_who Wed, 24 Oct 2012 01:02:40 +0000 There is an idea called ‘hard headed socialism’ where it is understood that we have an obligation to share but it is done in the context of social programs that are actually costed out and paid for on an ongoing basis.
The real question posed by the inequality movement is did the rich really earn their wealth or did they just game the system via congress or some other BS line of justification.

By: Stiefelknabe Tue, 23 Oct 2012 23:59:50 +0000 Although Germany’s society has developed more inequality in recent years, the fundamental concept for their society, anchored in the Basic Law, is that capitalism is successful at producing material prosperity, but must be balanced by the awareness of all citizens that they have a mutual responsibility for the benefit of all other members of the society. After WWII they were entirely equal and when the currency system was established in 1948, each received the same amount of “starter money”. That equality informed the development of the country in the’50’s and is still remembered today.

By: Gordon2352 Tue, 23 Oct 2012 18:52:37 +0000 The “how” to fix inequality is not difficult at all.

Simply “follow the money” and begin fixing the rules that have been “broken” by the wealthy class, particularly in the last 30 years.

Where to begin is with the changes in trade, banking and tax legislation that has been slowly, but with increasing speed, trending towards the benefit of only the wealthy class.

The problem is getting the vast majority of people to even understand there is a problem, and that something must be done about it before we ALL go “down the tubes”.

As the US economy continues to decline, I have a feeling that particular task may become much easier quite soon.