Blog Archive

Friday, November 13, 2009

Capitalism, Pros and Cons:

IQ and the Wealth of Nations is a very good book. It basically looks at the per capita GDP of every country on Earth, and finds two defining factors that each account for about 1/2 of GDP. The level of freedom in the economy, and the IQ of the people. As economic freedom grows, so too does per capita GDP.

Singapore is one of the freest, smartest countries on Earth. Go figure, it's also one of the richest. The USA is dumber than Europe and Japan, but because we have lower taxes and fewer regulations, we earn tens of thousands of dollars per person more than them. It sounds like a slam dunk. How can anyone be against economic freedom when the results are so clear? When the data is in and capitalism has won?

Not so fast. There are more ways to look at an economy than per capita GDP. One is the GINI index. Basically, it doesn't really matter if the country is enormously wealthy, if only 1% of the country has any money, and everyone else is dirt poor. America has a higher level of poverty than countries that only have, in gross, 2/3 our GDP. America has something like 40 million uninsured people, whereas every other country offers public health care to all their citizens. America has higher unemployment and less job security once you are hired than the rest of the developed world.

EU: unemployment: 7.2% (2008 est.)
Japan: unemployment: 4% (2008 est.)

Gini Index: From least equal to most, USA comes in 44th, Japan comes in 74th, and the EU comes in 106th. (South Korea was just under it at 105th.) So basically, the rest of the developed world has a far better life for their poor than we do. We can blame this on our minorities, but that's not really the problem. There were practically no Hispanics in this country in the 1970's, and the poor were being shafted then too. In fact, even though worker productivity has risen 45% since the 1970's, worker's wages have not risen at all. Every single extra dime has simply gone into the deep pockets of the super rich. Vanished without a trace. The importation of hispanics is just one aspect of America's favoring of the rich over the poor -- by creating a massive supply of labor, they keep the price down and the poor screwed. Obviously this favoring of the rich over the poor had to exist ahead of time, for such a policy to be enacted in the first place.

Much of America's wealth is illusory, since we have yet to face the music of our outstanding obligations. Simply paying interest on this debt will eventually require our entire GDP. How are we richer than the EU or Japan then?

Just watching this clock tick is dizzying: The national debt per citizen is $39,000. This hasn't stopped Americans from recklessly spending on themselves either. Even more enormous is America's private debt:

$54,348 per citizen.

Contrast this to 'savings per adult' : $2,755. That's right, we are 20 times further in debt than we have savings. How is this sustainable? How can this possibly be considered part of GDP? Debt money is not real money, it is slavery. It is simply human bondage without the needless overhead that is foremen or whips.

But this one really takes the cake. Add up the projected costs of our social programs when the baby boomers retire: Social Security, Medicare, Bush's wonderful prescription drug plan, and now each citizen apparently will have to fork over $344,585 to pay our bills.

Add it all up and our country is now 135 trillion dollars in debt. Each individual's share is 437,887. This isn't the wealthiest country in the world. It's a debt wracked insane asylum.

So now we have three objections to capitalism: Poverty, Unemployment, and Debt are higher in countries with lower taxes and less regulation. The only thing that seems to be higher is raw GDP.

Paradoxically, we are told that in order to be the richest country in the world, we cannot afford health care, housing, college educations, or anything else to be funded by the government. Basically, to be rich, everyone is on their own -- and yet the net effect of this, is that instead everyone but a lucky few are poor. An incredible new study has come out, showing that 1/2 of all American children are on food stamps at some point in their life. If 1/2 of families cannot even feed their children, we are not the richest country on Earth, regardless of what the GDP numbers say.

It actually reminds me of the Soviet Union. Every year, they would post 7% growth, talk about the economic boom, and about how the 5 year plan was working and everyone was bursting at the seams with exuberance. And yet, all we had to do was look at the endless Russian bread lines, waiting days in freezing temperatures for their meager ration, to see it was all a lie. Russia could no longer feed its own people -- it was bankrupt, whatever the numbers wizards at the top were saying. Today in America we are doing it all over again. "The richest country in the world," 1/2 of which have to stand in bread lines to gain their next meal. Give me a break.

If this is wealth, Singapore can keep it. I don't want to be wealthy anymore. I want the normal things in life: Health, jobs, food, shelter, education. The things we apparently cannot afford, if we are to be 'wealthy.' According to capitalists, the way to be wealthy is to never purchase anything with our wealth. As though we were in some sort of buddhist ascetic cult, our wealth corresponds directly to how much we 'save' by not 'wasting' it on 'luxuries' like health, food, or housing. As a nation, we are offering people voodoo numbers on paper, "look, America is wealthy! Look at our giant GDP! Boy the stock market sure is high today!" Instead of any actual goods or services -- health care, college education, affordable housing, jobs, anything.

This does not mean we have to raise taxes or pass more regulations. Actually, we could slash taxes and slash regulations. What it does mean is we need to be smarter about how America distributes its wealth. There is no reason to give so much money to so few people as the top 1%, anyone who earns over a million dollars in some bonus or other is just morally repulsive. I don't care how they earned it. All production stems from the natural resources of the earth and the collective human capital of the people, and no one can have a just monopoly of these fruits. Furthermore, money has a marginal utility. The first thousand dollars can keep you fed and save your life from a torturous death of wracking hunger or pitiful disease. The next can give you light, heat, and water. The next thousand can pay for transportation, entertainment, and a roof over your head. Once you get to a million dollars, what are you going to buy? A cool car? A yacht? Some shoes? No one on earth should have to go hungry for the sake of some rich person buying their 100th pair of shoes. It is a moral outrage. Human life is not worthless, but the enjoyments of the rich are. Any system that comes to the opposite conclusion in how it distributes its money, in what money is being used to buy, is evil and should be destroyed.

Likewise, there is no reason to fund so many failed social programs that don't deliver any real product to the recipients, and exist solely to employ the bureaucracy that oversees them. All of the socialist attempts to remove disparities in wealth are full of corruption, fraud, and waste. They are full of moral hazard. For instance, you can't receive welfare until you are a single mom. A married mom receives nothing. This is obscene. This is evil. For instance, name some program where money is given to the needy -- you will find more goes to paying the salaries of the government, than is ever actually given to those in need. Whereas charities manage to spend 90 cents on the poor and 10 cents on themselves, the government spends 90 cents on themselves and 10 cents on the poor. Most people agree, most people have agreed ever since the heart wrenching stories of Charles Dickens, that we should relieve the suffering of our poor as best we can. Unfortunately, this noble purpose has been hijacked by greedy parasites who divert the money to themselves. We all agree it is moral to help the poor, we already pay the taxes so that we can help the poor -- but the poor are never helped. They rot away in slums, in prisons, in homeless shelters and tent cities all across America all the same. Ever since LBJ declared a War on Poverty in America, we have spent trillions to try and help the poor. But somehow, the poverty rate has only increased. If we had simply HANDED EACH AND EVERY POOR PERSON A MILLION DOLLARS IN AMERICA, we could have solved poverty for all time, and saved money besides. But we didn't. Instead of the citizen's dividend, we have endless bureaucratic social programs -- H.U.D, social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, blah blah blah.

Likewise, there is no reason to fund a military as large as the rest of the world combined, have army bases in 140 different countries, and wage a war on terror with a non-existent enemy that poses zero threat to our country. Assume 9/11 was caused by Islamic terror. Assume if we do nothing, they will cause a new 9/11 every 10 years (about the same gap between the first WTC bombing, and the plane attacks, where we were in fact doing nothing.) That's 3,000 dead every ten years, or 300 dead a year. We lose 40,000 people every year to car accidents, but no one has declared war on cars or invaded Japan to stop their rolling out of death-factory toyotas and hondas. "Any nation that harbors cars, supports cars, or builds cars, is also a car-killer. You're either with us, or you're against us." Why has sanity completely left us when it comes to terrorism? What are we so afraid of? Suppose they get a nuke and drop it on one of our cities -- the nukes they make are weak, weaker even than the ones we used on Hiroshima. Nevertheless, let's assume they kill 100,000 people! That's 2.5 years of car accidents. We have done nothing to prevent car accidents, and yet, they are 4 times as deadly as being nuked every 10 years. SO MUCH FOR THE WAR ON TERROR. God I hate the lies our media has fed our people. The insane, ridiculous spending on this war, while our people waste away at home, is the epitome of misplaced spending priorities.

Likewise, in a country bursting at the seams with oil, coal, uranium, wind, solar, and tidal energy supplies, it is outrageous that we spend hundreds of billions every year to buy power from abroad. Americans are spending enormous amounts on energy, money that is lost to our economy every year as it floats away to distant lands, not because we lack the energy and have no choice, but because environmentalists have denied us the fruits of our own soil. Offshore, enormous patches of oil belong to American coastal waters, that we cannot touch. Alaska cannot be developed because some caribou or another might be disturbed. Wind Turbines can't be built because it 'hurts the view.' Nuclear power plants can't be made because 'they might blow up.' Mind you, more people have died from mining coal in the last 50 years than all the nuclear power plant explosions in history, but let's ignore that and focus on sensationalism instead of cold facts. We can't extract natural gas or shale oil or do anything else, because Obama wants to get rid of all fossil fuels and impose a draconian cap and trade system that will send us into the new dark age. Obama insists we can not have food or heating for our houses, that this just 'isn't going to happen.':

AND I QUOTE: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said.

“That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he added.

America has vast natural resources. We probably have more than Russia, whose entire economy is based on natural resources. Instead of creating jobs and selling our incredible bounty to the rest of the earth for profit, all the while keeping energy costs low at home, we have Obama's plan to 'not eat all we want' and 'keep our houses unheated.' This is not wealth. Wealth is building a new nuclear power plant every year. Wealth is setting up a wind farm from north dakota all the way down to Texas. Wealth is paving the mojave desert in solar panels. Wealth is giving every citizen a free utility bill due to our ridiculous amounts of energy lying all around us that we could develop for nearly nothing. Cap and Trade is not wealth. The dark ages are not wealth. Famine is not wealth.

Likewise, a consumer economy is in and of itself, a misplaced priority. If spending were used to improve people's quality of life, instead of social status or hedonism, just think of the savings we could accrue! If there were such a thing as a 'dignified poor,' if people didn't have to be rich to afford a wife and family, or have their voices heard, or be admired for their abilities in other fields -- like say their virtue, their honesty, their intelligence, their wisdom, their kindness to others, their skill at sports or games, their devotion to Good, or their respect for these same traits in others -- all the money currently spent on fancy furniture, fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy houses, fancy restaurants, fancy phones, fancy college degrees, and fancy God Knows What, could be distributed to the people for necessities instead. They say 70% of America's economy is 'consumer driven.' In other words, is based on nothing. No manufacturing, no farming, nothing of any use is going on. When 70% of your economy is based on absolutely nothing, you have a problem, but you also have an opportunity -- it means there is a vast surplus of wealth out there, which could go to a vast number of good causes. It could get us into space. . .or it could give us hair spray and lipstick. It could give us artificial intelligence. . .or it could give us moving talking toys that break after two weeks. It could give us bioengineering. . . or it could give us fast food. The fact that we have been wasting such incredible sums of wealth on utter crap, while giving our scientists and artists shoe string budgets that can't achieve anything, is simply a crime. And we wonder why there isn't any great science or art being done anymore!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The easiest way to improve our lives would be to simply separate from the people who hurt us. The bankers at the top, the criminals at the bottom, and all the feminist voters inbetween. What vast sums of money could we save if we weren't paying for every single mother who couldn't bother to marry anyone and requires our support instead? For every druggee who can't get his act together? For every Bernie Madoff who hasn't been caught yet?

My point is this. Capitalism is just a tool. It's a way to make money. It makes more money than any other system. The more capitalist your society is, the more money you make. But money is worthless, wealth is worthless, if it isn't spent in a life-affirming, moral, and virtuous way. We as a community have a right to prioritize where we want our money to go. We as a community have a right to create moral standards about how money is invested, who it is given to, and what kind of products we should sell or buy. We as a community have a right to value things of no economic worth, and devalue things of high economic worth, based on a higher order of being than the soulless machinery of materialism. We as a community have a right to throw off the chains of debt, which is simply a modern form of slavery, that trap every single child born in our country with a crushing burden of 440 thousand dollars owed before they take their first step. We as a community have a right to FORM a community, a community consisting of, for the sake of, and run by ourselves. Capitalism is in the way of these rights. Instead of these rights, capitalism banishes them all and gives only one right to mankind -- property rights. This is a very poor bargain if you ask me. Between the two sets of rights, I prefer the first. Property is theft, it's just an arbitrary license given to some people to control the lives and land of others, backed by government guns. 'Property Rights', are just the new Orwellian terms for endless debt slavery, monopolies, parasitism, fraud, gross disparities in wealth, millions of people in jail, tens of millions out of work, and hundreds of millions facing the genocide of their entire race by their cheap labor mechano-ant hive people replacements. Enough is enough. I see what capitalism has in store for us. It is awful. It is horrifying. It is enough. Capitalism had its chance, and look what it has done. A crime that can never be forgiven or forgotten -- it has declared war on its own people.

It's time we started fighting back.

No comments: