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December 14, 2009

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zero

unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a matter of not learning from history but being "willfully ignorant" of it. it's not just republicans but also some democrats who choose not to understand because their position among power and privilege would be in jeopardy were they to act in the best interest of the nation. when that bunch in washington are wholly owned by corporate interests that makes them corporate whores. if only the populace would NOT continue to reelect the same individuals over and over and over again.

yes, mr chuch, the cowboys should lose every game. them and the hated dodgers.

Roger D. McKinney

It is morally perverse to want Dallas to lose! They're God's team! :)

The problem with trying to use history to prove theory is that the field is so vast and contains so much information that any crackpot theory can find support somewhere in history. Krugman is not a crackpot, but keep in mind that economists know very little economic history. It's not taught in school and few economists after they leave school read anything more than Friedman's book on the Great Depression. That's why Krugman doesn't tell you about a whole lot of events that would put a different spin on his theories. His erros are too numerous to cover in a short blog, but let me take just one: deregulation led to the financial crisis.

Those who have spent more time on the subject than Krugman show that the deregulation of banking he mentions was not related at all to the crisis in mortgage related derivatives. The deregulation applied to commercial banking; the crisis took place in investment banking, to which those regulations never applied. In addition, what happened wasn't so much deregulation as an effor to reconcile US bank regulation with EU regulation by adopting the Basel banking accords, which everyone involved thought were tougher regulations than the US ones.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that Krugman is right and that deregulation allowed bankers to run crazy. It still doesn't follow that the bankers acted like riverboat gamblers. The derivatives they bought were AAA and AA rated. Those are the least risky assets possible. All bankers followed the Basel accords on risk and reserves; not one has been charged with any kind of misconduct because they didn't engage in any.

So why did everyone think the AAA and AA rated securities that turned out to be junk were such safe investments? Because economists like Krugman told them they were safe.

Philip Koplin

Roger
It would be easier for me to take your lectures seriously if you would address the issues I asked you about. I realize that it's easy to lose track of discussions that have sprawled over several topics, so I'll repost the questions here:

"Your argument rests on distinguishing between selfish actions and self-interested actions, but you continue to avoid offering criteria for how we're supposed to do this, which leaves your argument hollow and meaningless.

You also avoid the question of how a selfish company, simply by attracting competitors, will driven out of business by a non-selfish company, or why a selfish company should be considered a failure even if it's stayed in business long enough to satisfy the selfish interests of its owners.

You also avoid the question I raised about why it's reasonable to assume that any rational person would include under self-interest the things that you list.

No, I'm not offended by your bizarre claim that merely asking you to address the above issues is Marxist."

Roger D. McKinney

Philip: "Your argument rests on distinguishing between selfish actions and self-interested actions..."

I can't draw a definitive line between the two. The English language just isn't capable of doing that. For example, take the case of covetousness, greed and selfishness. The Bible uses different words for these and clearly intends different meanings, but there is a good deal of overlap.

Self-interest, based on Adam Smith's usage, is what God expects all of us to do in terms of working to provide food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and families. Paul had this in mind when he instructed Christians to work so as to not be a burden to the church and to have an excess to give to the poor. If that self-interest becomes exaggerated it will blend into selfishness, but only God has the ability to draw that line. Humanity totally and utterly lacks the wisdom to decide individual cases except in the extreme. That's why we should never criminalize selfishness.

Philip: "You also avoid the question of how a selfish company, simply by attracting competitors, will driven out of business by a non-selfish company, or why a selfish company should be considered a failure even if it's stayed in business long enough to satisfy the selfish interests of its owners."

Selfish companies may never be driven out of business. That's not the role of markets. Free markets limit the damage that selfish businessmen can cause, as Smith wrote. Getting rid of all selfish people is not humanly possible. Only God can do that. Neither can changing to a socialist economy get rid of selfishness in people. As Smith wrote, the best we can hope to accomplish is to limit the damage selfish people can do. History has proven that free markets do a much better job of that than does legislation.

Philip: "You also avoid the question I raised about why it's reasonable to assume that any rational person would include under self-interest the things that you list."

It's kind of obvious, isn't it? Does a rational person want to earn money for food, clothing and shelter? Isn't it in the rational interest of anyone to remain alive? As for having the respect of the community and a good reputation, extremely selfish people don't care, but the average selfish person (most of us) does.

Doug

Hey guys, I've got lots of church-related projects due to a new capital campaign (we're bursting at the seams and the modular buildings are rotting!), and I'm in charge of communications... so I'll be lite on here for a few weeks... and it's the holiday season, and I work in retail, and I've got two kids, and I'm really interested in reading fiction for a while...

Happy holidays to you all... I'm sure we'll banter next year! thanks for your blog, and for permission to comment and discuss, Chuck!

Philip Koplin

Roger

One of the pillars of your argument is that the rule of law is essential. Although this would seem to mean that we need laws that penalize “selfish” actions but leave “self-interested” actions unimpeded, not only do you say that you have no definitive way of distinguishing between them, you also go on to say that “we should never criminalize selfishness.” Just what rules of law are you talking about, and how are we to decide which are legitimate and which are not?

Your current comment: “Selfish companies may never be driven out of business. That's not the role of markets.” Your previous comments: “capitalism ensures that everyone is a winner” and “the competitors of a selfish businessman will drive him out of business.” Which is it? The free market may not or will ensure that everyone is a winner and drive selfish companies out of business?

Your self-confident assertion that “History has proven that free markets do a much better job of [limiting selfishness] than does legislation” is open to too much haggling over the historical record than is worth going into here, as your discussions with Chuck have shown.

Saying that your list of what a supposedly rational person would do or want is “kind of obvious” is not a reasoned argument. In addition, your original list said nothing about earning money or doing things necessary to remain alive: it said that a rational person would want “to have a good reputation in the community, to obey the law, to care for … family and friends… to submit to God, repent and obey, which means helping the poor.” To be logically coherent, you would have to show that each of these items is absolutely and objectively essential to remaining alive. I doubt that you can do so, but I’m open to correction.

Roger D. McKinney

In order to understand the positions of Chuck and other people who post on this site, I have started reading “Faith and Finance: Christians and the Economic Crisis.” I don’t want to write a paper in one setting, so I’ll just post interesting points as I encounter them.

Walter Brueggemann writes: “As a result, the autonomous person, championed
in current economic theory, is caught in an endless rat race of achievement that
produces bottomless anxiety—about the market, about performance, about selfworth.”

About the “autonomous person” he wrote “ Autonomy. Asense of the isolated, self-sufficient economic individual is deeply rooted in modern rationality and comes to full expression in U.S. “individualism” that resists communitarian connectedness and imagines the individual person to be the primary unit of social reality. Such an individual is completely autonomous, owes no one anything, is accountable to no one, and can rely on no one except himself or herself.

“Such a self (perceived almost exclusively as an economic self) is without restraint
and is self-authorized to enact Promethean energy to organize life around one’s own
needs, issues, and purposes. The autonomous, self-sufficient self takes as the proper
venue for life “the market” and understands the market as a place of self-advancement
at the expense of all others who are perceived either as rivals and competitors or as
usable commodities.” (p. 5)

I have just two points to make: 1) Selfish, autonomous behavior has been a part of human nature since the fall in the garden. In fact, the verses that Brueggemann quotes from Proverbs shows that the attitude he notices in people goes back at least to the time of Solomon, long before the enlightenment or the advent of capitalism.

2) The “autonomous” individual he describes doesn’t exist anywhere, not in capitalism nor any school of economics. And neither capitalism nor economics promote such a person as ideal in any way. These claims just demonstrate the authors utterly sad ignorance of a very important field of science.

Brueggemann: “My estimate is that this triad of autonomy/anxiety/greedy acquisitiveness is the story of our recent economic collapse.”

This is hopelessly sad. The guy knows nothing about economics and doesn’t want to know anything about it, yet he is arrogant enough to assume he knows the causes of the recent crisis. I have just once response: greed is a constant in human nature. There never has been a time when people weren’t greedy by nature. Blaming recurring economic crises on greed is like blaming airplane crashes on gravity.

Brueggemann: “For our topic, perhaps the most compelling text is Deuteronomy 15:1-18, the provision of Moses for the regular cancellation of debts on poor people.”

We have a similar provision in bankruptcy laws.

Brueggemann: “Whereas autonomous economics begins with a premise of scarcity, biblical faith is grounded in the generosity of God who wills and provides abundance.”

So why has the history of mankind been one of regular intervals of mass starvation from famine? It wasn’t greed that caused drought and crop failures throughout history that killed millions at one time. Brueggemann seems to forget that God changed the rules with Adam and Eve’s sin. Famine became man’s constant companion after the fall.

Brueggemann: “The Bible does not linger over such labels, but insists that every available instrument of well-being—government, charity, private sector—must be mobilized in order to mediate the resources of the community for the sake of the common good.”

That’s a logical leap the size of the Grand Canyon. Clearly, God wants us to take care of the poor, but it is not the sole occupation of the believer. It is part of our Godly duty, not the only duty.

Brueggemann: “Second, those who would be effectively generous must utilize many strategic possibilities for sharing that run all the way from face-to-face neighborly acts to a tax structure that serves the common good.”

This conclusion follows only if you accept his previously erroneous assertion. Of course, he just brushes aside the fact that few people can agree on what the “common good” is or how to go about achieving it.

Brueggemann: “Biblical faith requires that we look our greedy system of economics in the face, and that we linger before God’s offer of “a more excellent way.”

Our “system of economics” is not greedy nor does it promote greed. It is based on the Biblical commands to the state to protect property from theft by individuals and by the state.

Dr. Brueggemann should have studied a tiny bit more before advertising his ignorance so blatantly. Good places to start would be Kindleberger’s book “Manias, Panics and Crashes” and Rogoff’s “This Time is Different.” Had he read these, he would know that financial crises like the recent one go back to at least the middle ages, and they happen regularly every 5 to ten years. They are not merely a feature of modern civilization and greed has little to do with them.

Sojourner advertises its disdain for the science of economics very well. That’s very sad because there are a lot of very good, godly people working in the field and producing great information.

Roger D. McKinney

Philip: “Your previous omments: “capitalism ensures that everyone is a winner” and “the competitors of a selfish businessman will drive him out of business.” Which is it?”

Oh my gosh! You caught me in a horrible contradiction! I think I’ll go stick my head in the oven and gas myself!

When I wrote that “the competitors of a selfish businessman will drive him out of business”, I should have included the caveat “if he doesn’t change his way.” Forgive me for thinking that anyone was intelligent enough to pick up on that assumption. I can see that I will have to keep concepts very simple and spell out all conditions and caveats or readers will leap on every appearance of a contradiction.

Philip: “Your self-confident assertion that “History has proven that free markets do a much better job of [limiting selfishness] than does legislation” is open to too much haggling…”

Fools will haggle about anything. That doesn’t prove anything. Proof is found in historical evidence and reason. Adam Smith was one of the first people to notice that politicians are usually in the pay of some greedy businessman. I see nothing different today. If you could show me a politician that hasn’t been bought, I would appreciate it.

Philip: “To be logically coherent, you would have to show that each of these items is absolutely and objectively essential to remaining alive.”

You’re being ridiculous. I know, and so do you, that rational people want “to have a good reputation in the community, to obey the law, to care for … family and friends…” by observation, not by logic. There are exceptions, but they are rare. No one needs those things to keep his body alive, but human beings desire those things because we are social beings. They make life better than mere isolated existence. I did not write that all rational people will “to submit to God, repent and obey, which means helping the poor.” I wrote that those are part of self-interest. I meant for a Christian.

Roger D. McKinney

Faith and Finance: Christians and the Economic Crisis

Adam Hamilton: “The underlying causes of the current economic crisis are not financial, but spiritual. At least five of the seven deadly sins came into play: gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and ultimately pride all came before the fall. These led to absurd economic practices that bordered on the criminal. It was not simply the CEOs and Wall Street types who danced to this tune. It was every one of us whose 401(k)s prospered by their efforts. And ultimately none of this would be possible without all who abandoned wisdom
and prudence and borrowed beyond their capacity to buy houses, cars, and whatever
their hearts desired without the ability to repay.”

Pastor Hamilton condemns everyone as greedy. In one sense he is right; we all struggle with greed. But condemning all of us as acting greedy before the current crises makes him guilty of bearing false witness, not to mention blasphemy for claiming to have knowledge that only God has. Very few people acted on greed in their investment decisions.

To keep the context in mind, the depression followed the collapse in value of mortgage derivatives that investment banks owned. The derivatives collapsed in value because housing prices fell dramatically. Yes, a small minority of people bought houses they couldn’t afford, but that is neither greedy nor irrational. Housing prices had climbed dramatically for a decade. People had every reason to believe they would continue to rise. Borrowing money for a rapidly appreciating asset is just good stewardship. It’s much better than spending the money on clothes and booz. The derivatives that banks bought were rated AAA and AA. Those are the least risky assets banks can buy. Where is the “gluttony, greed, sloth, envy” in that?

Pastor Hamilton does nothing but advertise his ignorance in this article.

Philip Koplin

You still ignore the problem of how we're supposed to establish a legitimate rule of law based on the distinction you can't make between selfishness and self-interest; you explain away problematic aspects of your thinking and expression by abusing others for not being able to read your mind and figure out ways to resolve your intellectual confusion; you make broad historical assertions and demand counterevidence that your ideology will never allow you to accept, even if someone bothered to try to reason with you; you claim that your assertions about what constitutes rational behavior are so obvious that you have no need to defend them with reasoned argument, even though you acknowledge that there are "exceptions," which would seem to disprove your claim; you try to argue your way out of another contradiction by claiming that I should have known that by "stay alive" you really meant "make life better"; and you also claim that I should have been able to read your mind to know that another set of criteria defining rationality was only supposed to refer to Christians, and not to all people as your comment implied. You can try to cover your inability to think or express yourself clearly with as much verbal abuse as you like, but it doesn't improve the quality or clarity of your rambling screeds.

Roger D. McKinney

Ron Sider: “And money, especially in a market economy, is power. Therefore, great extremes of poverty and wealth threaten justice and democracy.”

Whoa! That’s a logical leap of enormous proportions! Money in a market economy is not the same thing as political power. It cannot coerce anyone into any action while political power is nothing but coercion. If the state enforces the laws protecting life, liberty and property, a rich man has no power over a poor man. The rich man can offer the poor man a job, but he can’t force the poor man to work for him. Nor can he force a poor man to buy his products. What really threatens justice and democracy is the fact that many rich people and corporations bribe politicians to do favors for them through legislation.

Sider: “Because great imbalances of power almost inevitably lead to injustice, Christians must oppose great extremes of wealth and poverty.”

The Dutch Republic created the economic system we call capitalism for this very reason. The nobility had abused, defrauded, and murdered the common people for centuries. The Dutch implemented the rule of law which made everyone equal before the law and protected the property of common people. If the state does its job of protecting property and showing no partiality, then no matter how great the inequality the rich cannot oppress the poor.

Sider: “Old Testament texts often speak of the “rights” or “cause” of the poor. Since
these terms have clear legal significance, they support the view that the provisions for
assisting the poor would have been legally enforceable. Mason concludes, “The clear
fact is that the provisions for the impoverished were part of the Mosaic legislation, as
much as other laws such as those dealing with murder and theft. Since nothing in the
text allows us to consider them as different, they must be presumed to have been
legally enforceable.”

The rights of the poor were rights to their property, not the right to someone else’s property. The nobility of Israel engaged in regular theft of the poor’s property. By all means, because the terms “cause” and “rights” sound like legal terms, let’s make the logical leap that greed is a criminal activity! Biblical authors never took poetic license to make a point! (would it have been legal for an Israeli to steal from a rich man and give the money to the poor?) Besides, Mason is simply wrong. Something in the text does encourage us to consider the poor laws different from the laws on theft and murder: that is the lack of specific penalties and due process for enforcing the poor laws. They are different from the laws on theft and murder in that important respect. It’s clear that God did not want humans trying to discern who is greedy and who isn’t. Only he can know that. And don’t get me started on the Talmud. It was written in the Christian era and has no benefit for interpreting the OT.

Sider: “And these two key words—justice and righteousness—refer not only to fair legal systems but also to just economic structures… Sin makes government intervention in the economy necessary.”

I agree completely! And a just economic structure takes the Bible seriously when it commands “Thou shalt not steal.” Capitalism is the only just and righteous economic system in that it obeys God’s commands regarding property. And true capitalism shows no favoritism to the wealthy or the poor; they are equal before the law. If the state intervenes on behalf of the poor, other than to enforce property laws, then the state steals from the wealthy and gives to the poor. It is just as much theft as if an individual stole it. And it destroys the principle of equal treatment under the law.

Sider: “This teaching on the role of government applies not just to Israel but to government everywhere.”

Wow. Another logical leap worthy of the Grand Canyon! I might could make myself swallow the idea that the Mosaic Law criminalizes greed, but to insist that every other government is required to do the same is ridiculous!

Sider: “Governmental action to empower the poor is one way we promote the common good and implement the truth that economic justice is a family affair.”

Exactly! But stealing from the rich to give to the poor is not economic justice. Charity is not economic justice. To claim they are the same concepts is to destroy the meaning of words and the possibility of communications. Justice means giving people what they deserve. Justice requires that a thief be punished and pay restitution. Helping the poor has nothing to do with justice whatsoever; it is love and charity in action; the poor should never get what they deserve, but mercy and charity from us.

Sider: “Those three norms are modest in comparison with some ideals presented in the
name of equality. At the same time they demand fundamental change in our nation. If God’s Word is true, then the United States today stands in blatant defiance of
God’s norms for society. Anyone who seeks to be biblical must demand an end to the
scandal of poverty in the richest nation on earth.”

The three norms that Sider mentions are provided abundantly in a free market economy. State intervention in the economy destroys the nation’s ability to provide those things for poor people. Yes, the US does blatantly defy God’s norms for society through its intervention in the economy and destruction of property rights.

I had high hopes for Dr. Sider when reading his last version of Rich Christians in a Hungry World because he at least made a nod toward the science of economics. He sees to have regressed considerably. The last sentence is typical of socialists. Does Sider really believe that poverty can be eliminated? If so, he is blissfully ignorant of the many causes of poverty.

But in one sense, the US has eradicated poverty. The UN standard for world poverty is an income of $2/day/person. By that definition, there are no poor in the US at all. We still see poverty in the US because our standard definition of poverty is those in the bottom quintile of income. Now the reasonable person can see that with that definition, the percentage of people in poverty will never fall below 20% and poverty reduction, let alone elimination, is impossible.

Roger D. McKinney


Now you’re just being dishonest. I never did any of the things you claimed. I don’t make a clear distinction between selfishness and self-interest because I can’t, and that’s because I’m not God. Those are motives, not actions. Only God can judge motives. Men can only judge actions. Besides, the difference is not important; what concerns the state and the market is what harm did the action (not the motive) cause? That is the basis of the rule of law and of Western civilization. The law seeks to restore the damaged done by another. If a selfish act causes no harm or insignificant harm, then the law and the market don’t care.

Honest discussion requires that both parties attempt to understand the comments of the other and not merely attack every perceived inconsistency. You are clearly unable to do that. And if you think my posts are rambling screeds, then ignore them. You clearly are unable to understand them.

Roger D. McKinney

Ps, the Bible says that the one who argues with a fool is the bigger fool. I confess to being the bigger fool. If I ignore your posts, it's because I have repented.

Roger D. McKinney

I finished Faith and Finance: Christians and the Economic Crisis” discussion guide over break and must confess that sections 2 on are quite good. Had you left out Section One you would have had a pretty good discussion guide.

Some of the remaining sections are just silly, and some smack of Phariseeism in that it doesn’t allow Christians to determine for themselves how to obey the Bible, but tries to nail down exactly how Christians should obey them. But those are minor quibbles.

I do have a few bones to pick with “Searching for Alternatives” by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson. He simply doesn’t understand history well enough, especially the godly origins of capitalism in the Dutch Republic. And he simply parrots Marxists who claim Adam Smith promoted selfishness. Any casual reader of Smith knows he did the opposite. Wealth of Nation is Smith’s proposal for how to limit the damage that selfishness causes. Wesley thinks that he has discovered a “third way” between capitalism and socialism, but he hasn’t. All he is calling for in a return to medieval economics in which the state controlled markets extensively. And the result was mass poverty. Adam Smith warned that state control of markets results in greedy, selfish businessmen bribing politicians to obtain favors and monopolies from the state. Smith wasn’t just speculating; he had seen that process in action. He also knew from his extensive reading of history that corrupt politicians in the pockets of greedy businessmen were the norm throughout history.

I sympathize with shareholder activists, but they should be warned. Shareholders have immunity from liability for any actions by the corporations they invest in. The legal tradition that goes back to the Dutch Republic says they enjoy that immunity because they have given up control of day-to-day operations to management of their choosing. If shareholders demand to much say in operations, it will be only right that they surrender their immunity from liability, too.

The examples of helping the poor given in the study guide are good, but they have serious limitations. For those truly interested in helping the poor, I highly recommend Henry Hazlitt’s book “The Conquest of Poverty” available in pdf form for free at http://mises.org/literature.aspx?action=author&Id=170.

Also, for the best discussion of the causes of poverty, particularly African poverty, get the book “Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress” edited by Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington.

Philip Koplin

It's not surprising that your response to my criticism is not to address its substance but to claim that you never said what a look at your comments under the topics of the last week shows that you did, and that I’m just too ignorant to appreciate your brilliance.

I don't feel I've been arguing with a fool, just an arrogant, closed-minded ideologue whose response to being called out for his confusion is to reach for his thesaurus of invective and try to bludgeon his respondents beneath the weight of his contempt.

You've never shown the intellectual acuity or honesty to engage my posts, so the world will suffer no loss by your ignoring them.

evagrius

I would not call the early Dutch practioners of capitalism "godly".

From Wikipedia under Dutch East India Company;
To establish a monopoly for the clove trade, in the 1620s almost the entire native population of the Banda Islands, the source of nutmeg was deported, driven away, starved to death, or killed in an attempt to replace them with Dutch plantations, operated with slave labour. He ( Coen- the first director of the company-my note), hoped to settle large numbers of Dutch colonists in the East Indies, but this part of his policies never materialized, because the Heren XVII were wary at the time of large, open-ended financial commitments.[13]

This is only one episode in the very long and rather brutal history of the "expansion of trade" that occured between Europe and other countries.

I only bring this up in order to clarify some points. Capitalism did not occur in a pure fashion. It was not just an activity of people with "self-interest" trading with other people of similar views.
In many cases, it was brutal exploitation of rather defenseless populations for the benefit of a few.
This, in my view, strikes me as actions stemming from greed and selfishness rather than just mere self-interest.

Defenders of capitalism rarely examine the actual history of how the wealth of Western Europe and the U.S. and the Americas was obtained.

Interestingly, the Dutch East India Company had qusi-governmental powers enabling it to have armies and make treaties.

An excellent example of corporate power.

This is another aspect of capitalism that its defenders do not examine closely.

Roger McKinney

evagrius, I did not say every single person in the Dutch Republic was a saint. I said the founders of the Dutch Republic were. And they were. William of Orange was a devout Protestant Christian who sacrificed enormous wealth. Hugo Grotius, the father of Dutch and international law was a great theologian. You need to read Jonathan Israel's "The Dutch Republic" for a better view of them. Besides, the importance of the Dutch East India Company is highly exaggerated in most history books. Yes, it violated the principles of capitalism, but it contributed very little to the Dutch economy and was relatively unimportant.

"In many cases, it was brutal exploitation of rather defenseless populations for the benefit of a few."

I can't disagree there. I can't defend imperialism at all. At the same time, I think it's unfair to judge a society from 400 years ago by the standards of today on imperialism. It's only fair to judge the Dutch by the standards of the day and they made enormous improvements over the conduct of other countries.

"Defenders of capitalism rarely examine the actual history of how the wealth of Western Europe and the U.S. and the Americas was obtained."

I don't think that's true. I'm aware of the warts and there are many, but they result from people not following the principles of capitalism. Have Christians acted immorally in the past? What about the treatment of Jews in Europe, or the mass murder of Protestants? Of course, there is always the Crusades. Do those actions of a few make all of Christianity a lie? I don't think you would argue that. Besides, businessmen are the least capitalist of all people. Capitalism isn't pro-business; it's pro-consumer. Businessmen have always been among the greatest enemies of capitalism. That is one of Adam Smith's main points.

As for how Western Europe and the US obtained its wealth, I suppose you mean through colonialism. However, that's an old canard of Marxism without any basis in reality. The Spanish stole enormous amounts of gold from American natives, but most colonial ventures were severe money losers. They were a drain on finances, not a benefit.

The wealth of the West comes from productivity increases via the use of machinery to produce goods in place of labor. It's econ 101.

Interesting sidetrack--Economic thinking was spurred by the fact that while Spain had so much gold stolen from the Americas, and was rich in natural resources, it grew poorer over the 17th century while the tiny Dutch Republic, with no resources or gold from natives, grew richer and more powerful.

d beasley

Thnking about the economy and government is like thinking about the Mississippi River and the Corps of Engineers.

evagrius

Economic thinking was spurred by the fact that while Spain had so much gold stolen from the Americas, and was rich in natural resources, it grew poorer over the 17th century while the tiny Dutch Republic, with no resources or gold from natives, grew richer and more powerful.

Huh.... spices weren't as valuable as gold?

I've obviously hit a sore point with you.

Sorry...but I think you need to really think things through.

Capitalism is "pro-consumer" and anti-businessman?

Please.

Instead, why not acknowledge that it is just as "tainted" as every other attempt at obtaining wealth.

Wealth, in itself, is not an ultimate goal of life as demonstrated by the parable of the man storing his goods. Luke 13-21.

Besides this, please explain how stealing from natives their own goods and resources benefited them.

( Sorry, but I don't really think that you can).


zero

"I don't feel I've been arguing with a fool, just an arrogant, closed-minded ideologue whose response to being called out for his confusion is to reach for his thesaurus of invective and try to bludgeon his respondents beneath the weight of his contempt."

philip, it doesn't seem that either doug or roger are arrogant, closed-minded ideologues but zealots who found "religion" in the form of economics. like most zealots, their beliefs can't be rocked because the entire faith thing would come crashing down. at least that's how i hope it is. because there's hope for people in that case; unlike arrogant, closed-minded ideologues who never buckle.

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