Hello Kind Readers
I thought my response warranted its own Post.
Here are Bedazzled Crones comments
Rwanda would have happened anyway. The Hutu just would have slaughtered Tutsi with guns rather than machetes. It was a deliberate attempt at ethnic cleansing by the Hutu. Soldiers, government officials and business leaders organised the killings and were joined by a Hutu militia, the Interahamwe.
Progress has brought about the end of hunger? Where? There are plenty of people in western countries – particularly in the U.S. – who go to sleep hungry.
I have a few questions about this corporatism versus capitalism debate. Didn’t the corporations evolve (adapt) out of capitalism? Has there ever been “pure capitalism”? Just what is “pure capitalism”? How will pure capitalism end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons? Adam Smith believed that there was a role for government, for example, he believed that tariffs were necessary, at times, although he was against monopolies and mercantilism. His influence has lasted; you can see it in both John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman – two very different economists.
Actually these are questions that I should put on Ray’s blog about capitalism.
AND HERE IS MY REPLY
Hello Bedazzled Crone, thanks for commenting.
But I don’t think you are reading closely enough.
If every Tutsi village had had an armed and trained local militia, they would have been able to stand up for themselves, instead of being led like lambs to the slaughter, hiding in churches, praying to god it wouldn’t be them who was next to fall under the blade.
In fact the Tutsi didn’t even have machetes to defend themselves with.
On a separate and ominous note, certain groups in the UK are currently attempting to ban kitchen knives.
Governments have been the largest killers of their own citizens in the 20th century. We in Canada are very lucky to have such a benevolent one. The monopoly (as with any monopoly) on the use of force is a very dangerous thing, and can quickly be used against the citizens it is meant to protect.
“Progress” has brought the end of hunger all over the world. You have read “the skeptical environmentalist” maybe you should get your own copy for reference.
From page 61 of the 2005 edition:
According to the UN’s definition, a person is starving if he or she does not get sufficient food to perform light physical activity… Globally the proportion of starving has fallen from 35 percent to 18 percent… This should be compared to an estimated 45 percent of developing country people starving in 1949.
Lomborg is not saying that hunger has ended, or that inequality has ended. He is merely stating that we have made “progress” – ooooh that word again, so loaded – The thing that Marxism has done to poison economic debate has been to inject the fantastical notion that equality of outcomes is a thing to strive for, and would ever be possible. Look at the total failure of every Marxist based economy to provide the for the basic needs of it’s citizens. In the long run almost all of them revert to becoming subsistence economies. All in the name of “equality”. In the case of North Korea, it seems like the country is committing a form of national suicide.
So many people, especially in the social welfare states of the west feel they are “owed” something. At whose expense?
Point by point responses on the rest of your comments
I have a few questions about this corporatism versus capitalism debate. Didn’t the corporations evolve (adapt) out of capitalism?
No – corporations – that is, large economic entities made up of groups of individuals whose energies are harnessed for a common goal – in various forms have always existed – in fact Adam Smith argued against monopolistic mercantilist entities such as the British East India company. Capitalism – a term coined by Marx – was a way of describing the functioning of the economic system as he saw it. You need to read this article on “What is Corporatist America”. Then we can discuss some more.
It is worthy to note, that without corporations, almost all of our modern world would disappear in an instant. Our art, our culture, our cars etc. etc. Please see chapter 9 of Ray Harvey’s book “Leave Us Alone; A Capitalist Credo”
I will also be posting next, the literary piece “I, pencil” that gets to heart of this matter.
Has there ever been “pure capitalism”? Just what is “pure capitalism”? How will pure capitalism end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons?
Capitalism offers people opportunity to improve their lives through freedom
To turn your question around, has there ever been “pure socialism”? Just what is “pure socialism”? How will pure “socialism” end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons?
Socialism offers people forced redistribution to attempt to equalize perceived inequalities.
If anyone was paying attention, that is exactly what the UN was trying to achieve with the Copenhagen Climate Accord in the name of global equality of outcomes – forced redistribution of 45 trillion dollars. In the interest of promoting the “green” economy.
You can read about it here in their own document.
It is interesting to note that for every “green” job in created in Spain – 2.2 other jobs were lost through forced redistribution of wealth into “green” boondoggles such as windmill manufacturing.
You can read about that here.
For more on why windpower is an expensive plaything for the rich nations of the west who wish to appear “green”, please go to this website – MasterResource.org
Here is an excerpt
Windpower is another case of bad economics and bad quality. Wind is actually worse than solar because micro wind for off the grid is not a niche market. Ever seen a wind turbine in the middle of nowhere powering something? I haven’t. But I have seen solar panels in the middle of nowhere doing the work of electricity.
Capitalism, and the freedom it entails, does the most to improve peoples lives through giving them opportunity, and creating the greatest amount of economic growth. Which is in fact what most people want – a chance to better their lives, improve their lot.
Some people will never “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, no matter how much government intervention occurs in the name of “equality of outcomes”. The way that the social welfare state has chosen to deal with such people is permanent welfare and subsidized housing, with the implicit agreement that they won’t rob the upper classes.
When I was a bike courier, I had an Inuit friend who, due to his ethnic heritage had the opourtunity for a completely free education. He stated that he would rather go back up north to live because you didn’t need much of an education. Of course it may be that his own goals in life did not include higher education. And that is fine. How to you measure the equality of outcomes between him and myself?
I desired a “higher” standard of living for myself and my at the time theoretical offspring, therefore I was willing to go into debt to the tune of almost $18 000 dollars. I now use the education and skills I recieved in my daily life, and have a decent job in part because if it.
I have a friend who is now a banker in NYC. He went into $250 000 of debt in order to have the opportunity to compete in the world of high finance. Of course he also works 12-14 hour days, so how do you measure that equality of outcomes? As well let’s just say he was very lucky to keep his job in the last year, even though he is very intelligent and talented, and it hasn’t done wonders for his pay, as most of his base salary is taken up by the basic living costs of residing in Manhattan, and being the sole breadwinner because his wife doesn’t have a green card. The rest of his pay is made up in bonuses of which there weren’t many to go around due to the global economic crisis
There is a person at my work, who when I was talking about capitalism, said that’s all fine and good, but is it fair that someone makes 12 million dollars at a corporation. Of course there are issues with perverse incentives for non performance in the corporate world(and in government) but at the same time he is perfectly free and able in our country to get a student loan, go back to school for economics, or business admin, and get a job in the world of banking, and have the same opportunity. He is a smart guy.
My wife’s uncle started out with nothing more than a basic degree from Carleton university and ended up the number 2 at Royal Bank. How is that for equality of outcomes?
And who decides what is equal? How do we measure? Better to give everyone the maximum amount if freedom to pursue their own goals.
Adam Smith believed that there was a role for government
Agreed. I also feel there is a need for a limited role for government in our societies.
for example, he believed that tariffs were necessary, at times,
Agreed. I never said they weren’t.
although he was against monopolies and mercantilism.
Agreed and stated above.
His influence has lasted; you can see it in both John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman – two very different economists.
Your point? Good ideas stand the test of time. The marketplace of ideas if you will.
May I also point out that Keynsianism, coupled with our global fiat currency system is now crushing many of the western socialized welfare states(I am including the USA in that description) under mountains of debt that they will never pay off, without hyperinflation of their currencies. I can see the EU-SDR – “European Union of Social Democratic Republics” beginning to burst at the seams. And even some US states are considering greater autonomy from their corrupt and bloated federal government.
The problem is that you continue to view “capitalism” and “competition” through your lens of Marxist critique, I am guessing it was ingrained in you in the 60′s by some professors who were apologists for Stalinism and you haven’t been able to shake it since.
The socialist superstate that was the USSR collapsed under it’s own weight. It was predestined to fail. But the bankrupt ideas that it spawned continue to hold credibility in the west, probably because we didn’t have to suffer under it’s horrible yoke. Ask anyone who grew up behind the iron curtain if they are better off now that they aren’t forced to be “equal”.
Competition is good. I won’t go so far as to pull a “Gordon Gecko”, but he is a caricature in any case.
Monopolistic Corporations don’t like it because it means they may lose their market share. Socialists of all creeds and colours – Red, Green, don’t like it because it means their elite technocrats don’t get to run the world, as the common man or woman knows best how to fulfill their own desires, and make themselves happy. Large bureaucracies(public or private) of any kind full of self-interested and entitled people don’t like it.
I like it.
“Communist” China likes it so much that they have harnessed elements of it to raise millions upon millions of people out of abject poverty.
Maybe you should try it – you might like it too.