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December 26, 2009

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zero

those are excellent questions, david. i can only wonder why someone could be so dazzled by business/commerce/businessmen/economy that they don't see the forest for the trees.

Roger McKinney

david: "Should you enter"ideal" before your capitalism commentary?"

I don't know what you mean by ideal capitalism. Capitalism is a system developed especially for fallen mankind. It assumes goodness on the part of no one, but instead assumes the Biblical and traditional Christian doctrine of original sin. The family and church are the first line of defense against people who let their sinful nature control them. If those fail and the offense rises to the level of fraud, theft, murder, etc., then the state steps in. In between the state and the family/church, the market takes care of non-criminal behavior. I don't see what is ideal about that. It seems eminently practical to me.

Atheist socialists were the first to deny original sin. Saint-Simon and later Marx proposed that people are born with a tendency toward good and only oppression makes them bad. They believed that organizing society along socialist lines would remove the oppression because private property is the only cause of evil. Education would remove residual evil. I'm really surprised that so many Christians have fallen for this anti-Christian view of humanity.

david: "Oil barons' families? Turn of the 19th century."

Individuals acting badly is no more an indictment of capitalism than it is of Christians who act badly. But there is also no reason to think the "oil barons" were actly badly. Petroleum was an infant industry in the late 19th century, so it was easy to have monopolies. All infant industries are monopolies when they're first started and small. The anti-trust laws were totally redundant because as the oil industry grew, competition would have, and did, make harmful monopolies impossible.

However, you have to distinguish between harmful and benign monopolies. Alcoa Aluminum had a monopoly in mid-20th century, but only because they kept prices very low and quality very high. The anti-trust judge in the Alcoa case called low prices and high quality "anti-competitive." That is a case of a benign monopoly. You'll notice that the only monopolies that exist today, utilities, have been created by the state.

david: "What allowed for George W. Bush to happen in the commerce of oil and the politcs of oil?"

I'm sorry but I don't know what you're talking about.

david beasley

Roger,
I am not a transparent writer I know. Sorry.
Consider my opaqueiscity:
In the story of Abraham and Sarah and their 2 well known male descendents God tried to make things work through them on earth for humans, his beloved ones. Historically, time between Jesus and Abe and them is a story of humans under the burden of the ideal which begot laws and confusion and obvious betrayal to the ideal. The economic ideal seemed to be Patriarchialism with Judges and then of course the ill fated Monarchis in most often conflict with modified less powerful Judges then come to be called The Prophets except they took orders from Him who reminded the people and the Monarchs about The Law. Economics still suffered. An ideal was set forth but it was not Capitalism. God seems to be ok with change like he ok'd the Kings but with a "I told you so" attitude. So I believe God will go along with capitalism rtying for an ideal of love and compassion and non-violence which is obviously the perfect ideal way... but not achievable until Jesus reigns as God's full rule on earth. Not to fundamentalist but there is that wait. I do not see any perfect way other than whatever is to be revealed by Him someday soon I hope and pray and keep sort of alertly vigilant... not John Smith.

Geroge W. Bush is the "ideal" end game commentary about the ills and pitfalls of capitalism and American democracy and American Christianity.

Roger, others and I have agreed not to try to continue communicattion on some subjects because they have no clue as to waht I am saying... sometimes my wife and son are there with you... even Chuck... as broad minded and open as he is.

Roger McKinney

david: "Consider my opaqueiscity"

It's the medium more than you. It's very difficult to get subtleties across in short posts.

I agree completely that nothing perfect will occur until Christ returns. But the original capitalists, such as the Dutch Republic and Adam Smith, never tried for perfection. They merely tried for the best arrangement possible using Biblical principles and considering the fallen nature of man.

david beasley

Roger,
I thought you were saying there is a perfect way in Adam Smith. You guys are just arguing degrees of imperfection within the systems!?!
I guess I am a bit sensitive. On another blog I just received my first ever real "Yo Mama..." retort, a succinct colorful, more than salty toast of street wise eloquence after only 5 exchanged posts between me and this other fella, concerning a deep south football game and a newsman's satire about a certain player who posts scripture on his face. Such is life.

david beasley

The stuff politicians are made of is not about Three Cups of Tea.-- DB

"It's the birthday of mountain climber turned philanthropist Greg Mortenson,

Three Cups of Tea is about Mortenson's ongoing quest and success in building schools for villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A sequel, Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009), came out just this month. Greg Mortenson was nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to Barack Obama." --Taken from today's The Writer's Almanac

Roger McKinney

david, yes, it's just a matter of degrees, but the separation is quite large. Socialism created the USSR, Communist China, N. Korea and Cuba. Capitalism created the Dutch Republic, the UK and the US, although each is more socialist today than capitalist. I would say that there is quite a difference between them. And China has lifted hundreds of millions out of starvation with just a small dose of free markets. It's not perfection, but it's a whole lot better than it was before.

zero

roger, you continue to sing the same song. too many in too many places over too long a period of time have been completely harmed by capitalism. i don't want to hear that some have been helped and that's better than none. no. the point is that if anyone is harmed by a system the system isn't good. if that's a system you don't approve of then that's the difference between your view and mine. you call countries like the u.s.s.r. and china and such communist or other socialists but these countries never were built on these systems. these were internal ruses to fool the populations into agreement/submission. it's the usual, "do as i say, not as i do." you can call our system whatever you want but within the label too many are drowning while the few remain safe, secure and even richer. the system(s) are not ok.

Roger McKinney

zero, who, when and where has been harmed by capitalism? How can free markets and the rule of law harm anyone but criminals?

zero: "you call countries like the u.s.s.r. and china and such communist or other socialists but these countries never were built on these systems."

I hear that from socialists all the time. The founders of those nations thought they were being faithful to socialism and they implemented socialism as best they could. If they didn't do it, then it can't be done.

What country do you consider a good example of socialism?

What "system" is OK with you?

zero

i really don't know what a good example of socialism is. i don't think any system is ever implemented the way it's supposed to be. the united states certainly wasn't. for all the pretty words and lofty notions, this was a bunch of white, rich guys who established a system that was good for them and not so good for everyone else.

i've asked you more than once, where is capitalism? where? the capitalism you keep saying is so great.

i'm not a socialist and i prefer not to be labeled by you (or doug) when responding to what i say. you have no clue what i am and just because i'm not what you think you are, doesn't make me something you think i might be.

the system i want is one in which it's not about who can get as much as they can at the expense of others. what we have, even in these discussions, is predicated on gaining wealth, money. why not consider a system that doesn't begin with that concept.

Doug

Zero, that you don't want to be "labeled" is fine; but some of what you are saying echoes that of socialists and fascists, whether you desire that or not. That doesn't make you one of them, but that is indeed their rhetoric.

As for a "perfect system," there isn't one, but you seem to be against a system where people are free. Why is that so difficult to support? What is it about the freedoms of your fellow human beings that you are so unwilling to allow?

I don't really care what you call it. Capitalism, free markets, libertarianism. Call it what you want. It's an issue of justice in my mind. It has to do with the hands of power: is it in the hands of a few people over the many, or in the hands of individuals to steward their own lives? Freedom doesn't oppress, by definition. If it does, then it is not freedom, and we need to keep working at it.

As for "where is capitalism," if you're wanting an example, you cannot look for "pure freedom," because in this life that is only something to pursue, just like any other sort of ideal life we aim for eventually in human progress. But you can look where markets are free, such as the Internet, or where freedom has been permitted, such as China and India, and in industries where there is less regulation than in others (such as technology). Those examples are imperfect, but are very poignant reminders that when humans are free, they must cooperate, and they are better off with voluntary trade. Socialism is not cooperative, but coercive, and diminishes the human dignity granted to every human being.

If the outcome and aims of socialism is what you want, I don't begrudge that—indeed, I value what you value. But the justice and peace and utopia you keep asking for can only exist where all men are free, not just the rich, not just the privileged, but everyone. No exceptions. That's the society I want to live in.

zero

oy!

fundamentalist

Ditto to what Doug wrote.

zero: "the system i want is one in which it's not about who can get as much as they can at the expense of others."

Socialism is about nothing but taking from one group and giving to another. It is totally zero sum. That's why the political battles in Congress are so intense. Dozens of groups are fighting to take money from others using the power of the government. You ought to look up articles by the 19th century writer Frederic Bastiat. His definition of government was everyone trying to live off other people's money.

The original capitalism created by the Dutch had little to do with making money. They never intended to create a new economic system. They merely wanted to protect the common man's property from theft by the nobility and implement Biblical principles of justice. However, what they discovered, and Adam Smith wrote about, was that when people's property is safe, they invest savings in new businesses instead of hiding it from the nobility. That investment raises wages and lowers the prices of goods so that poor people can buy more of what they need.

zero: "what we have, even in these discussions, is predicated on gaining wealth, money."

It's hard to improve the lives of the poor without them getting more money somehow. We can take from the rich and give to the poor and make the poor temporarily better off for a short time. Or we can create more jobs, raise wages and lower the cost of living for the poor.

Doug

"It's hard to improve the lives of the poor without them getting more money somehow."

Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.

zero

it's really hard to talk about any thing else when money is all that ever gets discussed as the means to improve anything and everything. so far it hasn't worked out so well for so many for so long. so what did margaret thatcher do to help the poor get more money? improved the lives of the wealthy is what she did.

david beasley

I believe the populist definition of socialism as a "welfare state" is the error used above by Margeret Thatcher to persuade for her own platform, a politician who certainly lifted up prejudices as well as any other politician.

Doug

Money is an indirect form of barter, which is trade. Trade creates wealth. You must create wealth (i.e. "build capital") and produce usable goods for "things to get better." When wealth is created, some people fare pretty well, but that doesn't mean others automatically don't. It's not a pie with a fixed amount of "money" that some people have and other people don't. Wealth must be created for anybody at all to be better off.

How else do you expect conditions to improve apart from building wealth and mutually beneficial trade?

zero

if money is indirect barter than the "trade" is extremely unbalanced.

Doug

zero: "if money is indirect barter than the "trade" is extremely unbalanced."

What does that mean?

zero

that some pay way too much for some goods and services for what is received in return for the money paid. unbalanced.

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