Posted By RichC on June 14, 2018
Americans are struggling once again with carrots, sticks and tariffs event though throughout our history we have always been advocates for "free trade" … believing that in the end open trade wins. Unfortunately it isn’t always that simple when it is your job, your house and your life on the line. It is understandable that we want a little more "fair" trade … and seem to be willing to be a little more combative with those who are unfairly taking advantage of us.
At the same time we struggle with our own philosophies, wanted to simplify the position we take. I read and excellent opinion article citing a University of Chicago professor, Eric Posner and think-tank economist Glen Weyl who both see things from the libertarian spectrum, and recognize the shortcomings at a time we are concerned with "inequality" and "monopolies."
Weyl born into a Democratic family, was moved by the writings of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman and co-wrote a book with Mr. Poser, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society … which has some pretty radical ideas (ie. require all property owners to name the price at which they would sell. Their taxes would then be based on that price. If you really value your property more than anyone else, you can keep it out of others’ hands by raising your assessed price and paying more tax).
The comment that stuck with me when thinking about "my" conservative view was … “we were promised…if we cut taxes and allowed more inequality we’d get faster growth. But at the costs of monopolies and at the excessive prices they charge. Those costs to all “have risen more than government taxes have fallen. So we have seen stagnation right along with inequality.”
That conservative failure, following the failure of liberal policies in the 1970s is why “people hate the technocracy.”
Now that hasn’t turn me into a Bernie Sander socialist, but does help when discussing with other libertarian minded friends who look at things far too simplistically. Speaking of socialism and Sanders … here was an excellent piece by the economist Walter E. Williams.
by Walter E. Williams
Free market capitalism in America has been so successful in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—such as disease, pestilence, hunger, and gross poverty—that all other human problems appear both unbearable and inexcusable.
Several recent polls, plus the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., demonstrate that young people prefer socialism to free market capitalism.
That, I believe, is a result of their ignorance and indoctrination during their school years, from kindergarten through college. For the most part, neither they nor many of their teachers and professors know what free market capitalism is.
Free market capitalism, wherein there is peaceful voluntary exchange, is morally superior to any other economic system. Why? Let’s start with my initial premise.
All of us own ourselves. I am my private property, and you are yours. Murder, rape, theft, and the initiation of violence are immoral because they violate self-ownership. Similarly, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another person, for any reason, is immoral because it violates self-ownership.
Tragically, two-thirds to three-quarters of the federal budget can be described as Congress taking the rightful earnings of one American to give to another American—using one American to serve another. Such acts include farm subsidies, business bailouts, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, and many other programs.
Free market capitalism is disfavored by many Americans—and threatened—not because of its failure but, ironically, because of its success. Free market capitalism in America has been so successful in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—such as disease, pestilence, hunger, and gross poverty—that all other human problems appear both unbearable and inexcusable.
The desire by many Americans to eliminate these so-called unbearable and inexcusable problems has led to the call for socialism. That call includes equality of income, sex, and race balance; affordable housing and medical care; orderly markets; and many other socialistic ideas.
Let’s compare capitalism with socialism by answering the following questions: In which areas of our lives do we find the greatest satisfaction, and in which do we find the greatest dissatisfaction?
It turns out that we seldom find people upset with and in conflict with computer and clothing stores, supermarkets, and hardware stores. We do see people highly dissatisfied with and often in conflict with boards of education, motor vehicles departments, police, and city sanitation services.
What are the differences? For one, the motivation for the provision of services of computer and clothing stores, supermarkets, and hardware stores is profit. Also, if you’re dissatisfied with their services, you can instantaneously fire them by taking your business elsewhere.
It’s a different matter with public education, motor vehicles departments, police, and city sanitation services. They are not motivated by profit at all. Plus, if you’re dissatisfied with their service, it is costly and in many cases, even impossible to fire them.
A much larger and totally ignored question has to do with the brutality of socialism. In the 20th century, the one-party socialist states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, and the People’s Republic of China were responsible for the murder of 118 million citizens, mostly their own.
The tallies were: USSR, 62 million; Nazi Germany, 21 million; and People’s Republic of China, 35 million. No such record of brutality can be found in countries that tend toward free market capitalism.
Here’s an experiment for you. List countries according to whether they are closer to the free market capitalist or to the socialist/communist end of the economic spectrum. Then rank the countries according to per capita gross domestic product. Finally, rank the countries according to Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World” report.
You will find that people who live in countries closer to the free market capitalist end of the economic spectrum not only have far greater wealth than people who live in countries toward the socialistic/communist end but also enjoy far greater human rights protections.
As Thomas Sowell says, “Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.”