Just getting around to this...I enjoyed reading it and ultimately I agree with your basic premise that people are selfish...after all, we are animals...all animals need a degree of selfishness simply to survive in nature. As you might guess though I don't agree with either a.) the mechanism that you think can best limit the negative influence of the human race's selfishness b.) the folks you think have the biggest negative impact on society.
dude I hate to say this, but just like a lot of the other "guv'ment needs to get aht the way!" guys, I don't think you have the slightest idea about the complexity of the problems society faces
I expect better than this from you....this is a stupid way to start a conversation.
beardmcdoug wrote:, and what a positive role the federal government, or any government actually plays. All you hear about is "waste this" and "corrupt that",
I'm one of the biggest anti-"guv'ment" people on the board and I would never make a claim that the federal government plays no positive role in society. My entire philosophical system is that we need the government to help ensure individual liberty...that's the most important role in the world...and I think the government can do that very well...whether it be ensuring our liberty against foreign or domestic enemies...the government is the one who has the best ability to do this.
beardmcdoug wrote: which is absolutely true, but guess what - those are human problems, not inherently governmental problems. You say there's a propensity for inefficiency with government? that is a manifestation of human failures. Humans run governments. And if they are corrupt actors within a framework system, you cannot absolve some individual's actions just because he's acting within that framework. You anti-"guv'ment" guys are so supportive of self-determination and want people to be held accountable for their actions when it comes to "taking hand outs", but you seem to have no problem with giving people free passes just because "they're politicians". That's a cop out to me. That's defeatist. People deserve blame. Because when you begin absolving people of their sins, just because the system they're in, you stop being critical about what actually works. You then give the system a free pass
I'm not entirely sure what point you are trying to make...I want to hold everyone (business people and governmental folks alike) accountable for their actions. I give no pass to anyone. I don't think every single politician is a crook no more than I think every business person is a thief. As I noted above, I think government plays a VITAL role in our society. I want the governmental influence over my life to be LIMITED just as I want Apple, Exxon, Etc to have LIMITED influence over my life.
beardmcdoug wrote:You want the government to get out of the way? Guess what. They did. For the past 40 years, we've had unabated capitalism in this country, while the world has reached its fully-discovered, zero-sum form, and what did we get from this wild west attitude towards the economy? We got 2 bail outs. THAT YOU PAID FOR. We got the most obscene levels of wealth concentration ever seen in human history. And thanks to the fact that the world is now a zero-sum game, that wealth is essentially taken from you; its why jobs are ****, its why they pay ****, its why this generation will be the first generation to EVER make less money by the time they're 30 than the previous generation did. It's why nobody can ****ing buy a house, its why mothers have to go back to work 2 weeks after giving birth, and cut 75% of their check just to pay for the child care that's going to watch their child. The unabated capitalism, the worshiping of absolute greed in this country has fucked the rest of this country over.
1.) We are nothing close to unabated capitalism, nor will we ever be. We have more regulations than ever before. In many instances we have less competition then we have ever had before.
2.) We are no where close to a zero sum game. Our GDP per person is growing nearly as fast as it ever has in the past. We don't live in a world where one thing must always be traded off with another. We are as innovative as ever. And we all benefit from it.
beardmcdoug wrote:You say "government needs to get out of the way", but do you really know what that means? That means no regulations. That means no tariffs. That means no protection for the American people.
That's a ridiculous statement. If you say that all limited government people MUST inherently want no government, than I could just as easily say that all proponents of government intervention want total government intervention.
beardmcdoug wrote: You. Have. To. Realize. This. We are ALL tethered to eachother, and no amount of absolution of government (which, sorry, anarchy is not a ****ing way of living, and if you thought about it seriously, you'd know that too), will ever bring us back to that untethered existence. You cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube at this point. Everything you rely on every single moment of your life is too complex. And if you want to say "well not me" - fine, then every moment of every other one of the 7 billion people on this planet. And some ****er in Japan or some guy in France likes his life way too much to just hit "stop" on the game. It's not stopping. It's only getting more complex. We are only getting more connected.
Of course many things that I do will impact others...just as what they do impact me. This has always been the case. It will always be the case. I don't think this is support either way for more/less government intervention.
beardmcdoug wrote:I get your idea of "letting the market figure it out". I love success. I'm not interested in limiting success. But we have to recognize that we already play in a game that founded on a framework of rules. All I'm suggesting is that EVERYBODY be held to those rules, so that the spoils of winning this game do not allow these individual actors to grow beyond the game and allow them to exist, and even more, tilt the field like some giants looking down on a tabletop game. I do have faith in the overall amoeba of human existence, of figuring out what works. But I just have a huge issue with the reality of what you "screw the guv'ment" people are proposing. As much faith as I have in the collective, I have zero faith in the individual. And we have seen over the past 50 years or so, the co-opting of the american dream by probably a total of 5,000 people, who have essentially stolen the futures of millions of americans because of their unabated greed and their garnered support of the masses that hold, quite frankly, very simple views of systems, economies, and governments
I agree wholeheartedly with a level playing field. We are far from it. I would unequivocally say that nearly every successful business has tried to tilt the game in their favor through influencing politics. Those people inherently do NOT believe in the free market...they want to corrupt it. Shame on them.
But you know who ultimately is to blame? Politicians. They are the ones who ultimately sell their votes for campaign contributions. Businessmen and women CANNOT pass laws. Only congress can.
In the end business people have a responsibility to their shareholders. Them trying to tilt the court in their favor is actually something good for their shareholders....so one can argue they are acting in the best interest of their direct shareholders.
Politicians on the other hand are supposed to have OUR best interest in mind. They are the ones who are failing us! They are ultimately the sell-outs.
What I find most fascinating about this discussion in general is how little people truly understand the tenets of capitalism (I'm not refering you to specifically here Bear, I think you are one of the most thoughtful, cogent posters on the board). Everyone loves to talk about the free market and cite Adam Smith. But I'm guessing less than 1% of the population (businessmen and politicians included) have actually read the entirety of Wealth of Nations.
Smith doesn't believe in an anything goes Capitalist society. He believes in a society that is founded on true competition. Our current society is a far cry from that, as you even alluded to yourself. Smith absolutely saw a need for government intervention in order to keep markets free. In his book he talks about 5 problems with the system that he is proposing...and the one he spends the most time on is how businesses will inevitably strive to reduce competition. Admittedly he thought they would do this the most through price fixing but we see examples of this everyday in our society -- when businesses lobby for monopolies like in utilities..or when they influence policy making. Smith (and me) thought the "Fix" to this problem was what he called "wise laws". I think our politicians have completely let us down in this regard. They have continually introduced regulations and laws that benefit a few players in the market at the expense of others. They have failed us miserably in this area.
Two other problems he foresaw (and this is incredible seeing as he wrote this 250 years ago) is
1.) Division of labor leading to dehumanized worker morale and wages (I'm sure if he would have written 50 years later he would have included automation too)
2.) A huge wealth gap between the classes as wealth through ownership begets more wealth
So in the end....I believe that we do need a LIMITED but very strong government to protect our liberty and to ensure fair competition...competition being the driver of the economy. We absolutely need "wise" laws and regulations both within the business sphere as well as the social sphere to help bring this about.