Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Capitalism, Theft, and Sophisticated Lies and Thuggery

(most will prefer post below this for shorter lighter reading. This, however, was an effort to bring a rarely seen view which neither favors past military-industrial fascism lite, nor present day fascism/socialism lunacy. Just hoping to allay the common man's fear of freedom in my small, ahead of my time way. Modestly and with undue humility.)

In conversing with a friend today, he brought up something he'd seen in which the writer dubbed the Somali pirates the last capitalists, or something to that effect, citing their spirit of free enterprise. That topic was short lived in the larger discussion as are most topics which promise to bring on one of my freedom vs the alternative lectures, and rants about propaganda, etc. I try, but I still tend to do that.

The thought stayed with me, though, causing me to think about the topic. I would compare the pirates to the cutting edge of European and American politics and policies, but not to capitalism. Al Sharpton said these guys refer to themselves as "volunteer coast guard". He prefaced that with "more appropriately", meaning instead of pirates they more rightly refer to themselves as coast guard.

Al is either so blinded by race that he absolutely can't see anything else, or he is just insane. Oh, there is a third possibility---he may sniff opportunity to somehow turn it into a venue to ply his trade, peddling influence. It doesn't look like he's missed many meals.

Al is a capitalist, and a crook. Combine the two and that which should not serve as capital---wealth which can be employed to create more wealth---does serve. Things like people who falsely accuse others of rape and such. They become capital in Al's business of making a living by peddling hate based solely on race.

The evil is not using wealth to create wealth, but using lies and hatred, and government interference. That is a very bastardized form of free market at work. It is not free when you have force involved. Government involvement= force. Half truths = fraud. That is what keeps Al afloat; often there is an element of truth somewhere in history that he uses to advantage where it does not apply. It is the art of using partial truth and perverting context. The broad brush of fraud covers it.

Over the years people have been so bombarded by images and stories designed to paint industrialists and businessmen as evil oppressors of little people like me that the term "capitalist" has almost become a dirty word. Tiny Tim and I are so abused by these evil inventors and manufacturers of everything from toilet paper to pots and pans, we can hardly muster the energy to say "God bless us and spread the wealth around".

I hope at least someone will hear me through on this. No civilization or system works without some dependence on the integrity and goodness of the people in control. Capitalism places the control of wealth and resources in the hands of the people. Privately controlled wealth used according to the demands of the market.

They dropped buggy whips because it was not something that people wanted. That industry could not earn income producing an archaic product. If we aren't careful many so-called "green industries" being mandated will be the equivalent of subsidizing the buggy whip industry. Throwing good money after bad, retarding true and lasting innovation and progress.

The deceptive practices and employment of force, bribery of government officials, and the like are often cited as abuses of capitalism. In reality they have nothing to do with that system. They have to do with contracts not being properly honored and enforced, and with dishonest thuggery going unchecked.

More and more, due to being fed the idea that the savior from trickery is to place the control of capital under government control, people have come to believe that socialism is a more peaceful solution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The trouble is, many who claim to be proponents of a free market are actually proponents of a market in which government is used in order to further the aims and success of a few who use part of their capital to buy the power of elected officials. That is why I believe the real culprit is the lack of adherence to the solid limits originally placed on our government.

Those limits did not include preventing the law from being tough against force and fraud, but they did prevent the fighting of wars to serve special interests, unrealistic regulations that targeted competitors and the like.

It was easy to start confusing corruption with righting wrongs because envy is one of those lesser human emotions which blinds reason, and passes for self righteousness once it is legitimized.

By allowing the creation of the irs, the American public actually closed the door on capitalism, or began its swing shut. You'd think providing the best widget for the money and making a profit so you can live well, and improving the widget to stay competitive, would be the normal focus. It takes so much in the way of resources for a firm of any size to court government favor, structure around taxes so you have something left, most people would not believe it.

I found it shocking well over 20 years ago when I first found myself in a situation to see it first hand. The result of all the various means of reward and punishment laid on from government is actually an institutionalized type of dishonesty.

I'll leave the myths around and about unions out of it for now. That is a real hotbed of religious zeal. Reason goes out the window on all sides.

Most people who have experience in large companies, and often the jobs are great, recognize that much of what is said would have been called "double talk" many years ago. I think that term gave way to "double-speak" then to all kinds of "speak". Not sure why. I worked for a company in which people lost their souls it seemed. They loved to use the term "integrity issue". They got fried over some real scam practices which got coined as integrity issues.

But it came to be that the rules written by congressional committee and agency czars, with plenty of company input and lobbying, enabled them to bombard the consumer with such gobbledegook that no one knew what the hell they were reading and hearing, and when these neo fascists at the company wanted to fry some underling for "integrity issue" it was usually because the honest empathetic underling had translated the language so that the consumer went in with his eyes wide open.

Doing a good job was really a bad job, and doing a bad job was really a good job.

That is what I consider a taste of fascism or socialism. Depending on the honesty goodness and wisdom of the few,( who don't even create the product), to control the wealth is a bad idea. They see the realm of money and resources as endless, and available upon command. Like the Sheriff of Nottingham, they live well while squeezing those who produce ever tighter, demanding further sacrifices at every turn.

If you take away the preconceived ideas and emotions, turning the power over to a few seems very risky. The game is complicated and has become further tangled because of unreasonable liability suits and the like. The ones who have bought their share of political clout don't really mind. The roadblocks are something they can afford, but the up and coming competition can't.

That's why I don't take it seriously when I hear the very large corporations who have more government contracts than they can count complaining publicly. They know they are set and competitors are screwed. It is a dog and pony show, an act. It is a taste of socialism. Government controlling the wealth and how it is used.

They do it like pirates, buy or die. It's no different than the old protection racket of the mafia. People in those neighborhoods even remember some of the thugs fondly for their generosity. They often threw crumbs to the local masses. Crumbs extorted from hard working merchants and producers.

Just like what our national and local governments are doing; the premise that put most of them in office---don't worry we'll shake down the other guy and give you a piece of what we steal.

Socialism puts control of capital and resources in the hands of government. The few. Usually they suggest guarantees for everyone. To honor any of that they have to take the fruits of labor, inventiveness and production from those who create and distribute it as they see fit. Of course a bunch of it gets lost in the middle to themselves, favored parties, government employees and no doubt foreign officials.

Abusive people in charge of wealth is not good but I fear it is easier to mitigate that abuse of power if the control is private rather than in the hands of those even further removed from the production of wealth who are fewer in number and remain in control by using the forces of armed government as well as promising the gullible and class envy crazed public with crumbs.

It sucked in the USSR, it sucked in Cuba, Venezuela and China. It sucks here.

That is why socialism is a bad idea and capitalism itself is not the culprit. Supply and demand is nature, creating wealth by using wealth is also nature.

Nothing says a capitalist can't employ some portion of his wealth, voluntarily, for some humane purpose, like say paying my rent or buying me a machine shop. Nothing says a government czar in charge of the wealth of a nation is not going to employ that power unwisely and purposely or through incompetence, cruelly. How can the few possibly be the best judge of what millions of unique individuals need or desire?

If you are an artist, you get paint and canvas and supplies (capital). Then you create a painting (product). If your work strikes the fancy of a patron or buyer, you get paid enough to cover the supplies plus some. You used wealth to create more wealth, you filthy capitalist!!

That is profit. You, my friend are a capitalist. And here you thought you were a socialist because you heard all those in the arts, by definition, must be socialists. It's OK. It is truly the more humane choice. Life and art overlap. Life and freedom should overlap. It is nature, and it is artistic integrity at its finest.

Frugal Envy

Over at CF's I was reading the last installment of her Hoe escapades. For the Jerry Springer generation, a hoe is actually a garden tool, and a ho is actually the word whore uttered by the inarticulate and/or ignorant. Sorry, facts are facts.

Sayings like "A tough row to hoe" came out of agrarian culture not baby daddy woes with the law and relationship issues. Bit of history there. Sad, but I lived long enough to be exposed to both modes of dialog. Otherwise, I'm not that much of a resource on anthropology or history of people. Then again, in today's world my little bit of historical knowledge is probably above average.

Be that as may, and who cares about what I think I know? So, after reading about this insistence that the broken, second hand hoe, bought around the corner from where I used to live in Memphis, just had to be repaired and any thought of shelling out 10 or 20 dollars for a new one was unacceptable, I found myself profoundly and sincerely envious.

I'm the type that if I had $40.00 to my name would have gone and found a cheap new hoe (or ho, possibly) for $20 or less, come home turned some dirt and been done with it. It could be why I am always po. Po is from the same lexicon as ho. To be a po ho must be a sad condition. Actually, in a sense I've felt like a po ho a time or two.

Anyway, I wish I knew when to hold 'em and when to shell 'em out. Usually the first place I don't spend is food. If I think money is tight, I starve. Yet I'd by some extra tool, drive to a pretty spot 40 miles away just to clear my muddled mind, etc. The smart thing is to buy the cheap food you can make yourself and be healthy--rice beans, etc. and change my own oil in the car rather than burn precious petrol. Earth be damned--I have yet to believe I contribute to climate whims or the "earth's fever". I have fairly fuel efficient transport because I hate to buy lots of gas, not out of the slightest sense that I am "doing something for the earth" or that such choices are in any stretch of the imagination, noble.

Back to the envy. I really do admire those who can find bargains, dress like a million bucks with startling finds at thrift shops, and just generally get it right. My luck with bargains is rarely good. I do OK on my car purchases but never on bargain clothes. My impatience often leads me to buy a hoe, (not ho--really!!) when a clever person would figure out it is a Craftsman and maybe Sears will replace it like they do all Craftsman tools when they break. I did that only one time in my life, as a kid, with a socket wrench, the ratchet thing, 3/8".

On a day like today, it tweaks my jealousy nerve when someone has the ability and gumption to keep their money instead of giving up and giving it away. Of course she'd still be trying to fix the thing with band aids and tooth picks if she hadn't married the wiz kid who knows the craftsman tool pledge.

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