Radically Inept
Thursday, April 29, 2004
  Wow, I've been labeled!!

First of all I'm excited. It turns out that the guys over at Ricky's North Georgia Dogma have finally given me a semi-permanent link at their site. Semi-permanent, because of course, the can delete it at their whim. The interesting thing though is that they slotted me under 'commies and pinkos'. And I'm not complaining. Hear that Ricky, Oberon and Guy? It's a great slot. Right at the top of your blog! So, the following is by no means an argument for you to move what I consider stellar billing.

I first noticed this monumentous event last night, and I've been thinking about it. What does it mean to be in the category? I'm in there with some great company. I mean I'm on the same list as Max Sawicky of MaxSpeak, You Listen! (actually a serious complement in my mind), who I read virtually daily and Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite To Stupid who I often wind up linked to on my daily trek through the blogosphere, and I like his work also. The other blogs on the list, I don't know that I've visited, but if their on the same list as me, how bad can they be?

But it was the category heading that got me thinking (ricky is usually good at instigating a rush to post), and so I gave it some thought. When I take those 'where do you fall on the political spectrum tests' (I'll put a couple of links here later, so you can do them yourselves), I usually fall just off of dead center, by like a point or two, in the libertarian, and yes, I admit it, slightly left of center quadrant. So, the commie part of the tag intrigues me.

Ah, I plan on coming back to this posting and making it a clearer presentation, but for now, it's late, and I'm in the middle of drinking the second to last beer in the house. There's no way I'm not saving the last one for the Wife, so when I'm done, I'll quit posting for the night. The result is this will be a quick initial post, without much attempt at editing for anything.

Communism. Well, the way I figure it, there's never been a nation state that has been communist. Oh, there's been and there are still a couple, that we popularly refer to as communist, but largely these are self proclaimed labels, and have nothing to do with reality. Most of these self proclaimed nation states are totalitarian oligarchies with centrally planned economies. That's not communism. I don't even know if we have a label for these states that reflects any real truth about what they are, except maybe failed or failing states. The only places that I can think of that come close to the ideals that Marx expressed lie in possibly some small tribes and in the Catholic Church. For all the Catholic Church's screaming against communism, monasteries and convents are about the closest systems I know of to meeting the communist ideals.

Now why is that? Well, I've been thinking about the communism v capitalism argument a lot in the past few years. I don't have a lot of answers, certainly I haven't come p with a manifesto or anything, but I do have a few observations. Mostly the observation are on capitalism because as you can gather from the above, I don't have any real experience with communism. On the other hand, I was speaking to Tom Walker, a business writer for the AJC, and we were discussing exactly this topic. He pointed out something that I hadn't considered (probably because to this day I've never actually read Karl Marx - Das Kapital), that the one of the truths that old Karl had hit upon, was that a capitalist system has to constantly grow, that at no time can it reach a point of stability. A light bulb went off in my head, capitalism is inherently non-sustainable over the long run. I'd sort of reached that conclusion, and as usual somebody had gotten their a hundred years before I did, but the point made sense.

But, this left an entirely different problem in my mind, and that was this - capitalism had the distinct advantage of being an inherently incentive based system. You don't produce, you don't survive. But (I know, too many buts. I'll try to clean this up in the morning, or not) this seems to lead to the Easter Island effect: use up all your resources, society perishes and all that's left is a bunch of stone heads looking out over an empty ocean. So, how to reconcile this? Well, I most certainly don't have THE answer. I just have some thoughts. For what they're worth.

The first one is: We most certainly don't want to lose an incentive based system. I think. I know I don't want to work my ass off so someone else can sit around on their dead ass. But, that means I hate the idea of wealthy kids getting a pass and moving ahead of me in the line cause their daddy's did something they could never do.

The second is, I consider the assets of the country to be like the assets of a corporation. and all of the citizens of the country are shareholders. And, just like any good capitalist, I expect my board of directors to uphold their fiduciary responsibilties and work for the greatest return to the shareholders. This means, no giving away assets like the public lands, the public electronic spectrum, or anything else tht we 'shareholders' own, without a good a counting and receiving a fair price. If a company wants to mine public lands, they should pay fair market value, including any environmental damage done during the process. Any private land holder would demand the same. I want to be properly and fairly recompensed for the land. All this crap about 'if that was done, the prices would be higher', is just that - crap. I want the prices, as closely as possible, reflect real costs at current market condition. Screw all forms of welfare. Let's get the accounting down right, so that decisions can be made which account for true cost/value.

A quick third point for now, as it's getting really late, and I'm not going to be able to do it justice right now, so I guess I will have to come back to this post tomorrow, or over the weekend depending on time available (so, please check back), I believe in the social contract. I see no reason as a citizen to support policies that benefit others at my expense. Yeah, that sort of sums it up. But, let me add this, and this is the point I'll most certainly have to come back to and clear up, but I think a system that generates wealth across class lines, is good for everyone in the system. If conumers at the lowest wrung of the economic ladder are earning enough to buy a lot of products, well that is good for the system overal. And it is based on this, that companies fail when their consumer base disappears, that I support Henry ford's old idea of paying employees enough so that they can become consumers of the products they are producing.

Anyway, it is now late. I'll come back to this post. But, I'm going to leave it to you, the reader to decide if I'm communist, or just pinko. Or, maybe I'm an aqua, a mauve, beige or a turquoise. but you know, I like the billing.

Oh, and I'll try to get into states rights, and for that matter, community and neighborhod rights.

Yawn, later...

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