What Socialists Want -- and How the Free Market Might Provide It!

Different people have different preferences. Some value personal freedom. Some value safety. Everything in life has a price. To obtain maximal safety, you have to accept minimal freedom. To obtain maximal freedom, you have to accept a high degree of risk. Some people are risk takers. Others always try to play it safe. Because we don't all want the same things, many people believe that a middle-of-the-road approach is better (See Paraglider's hub on the moderate approach to politics). They think we all have to live by the same rules, and so the rules that please the majority should be imposed by force on everyone.

But isn't there some other way? This hub proposes to look into the conflicting priorities of socialists and free marketers and to find a solution that would not require either party to impose its values on the other.

What do I want? I want the freedom to say no to any offer. I want to have control over my own life. I want to be able to keep my own property, make my own budget and decide on my own priorities. I want to choose for myself what risks I will or will not take with my life, my dependents and my property.

Other people have other priorities. They want to make sure that if they are not able to provide for themselves, then someone else will do it for them, even if that person doesn't know them or like them. They want to make sure that if they get sick, then someone will heal them -- or at least treat their illness with the latest medicine, free of charge, if necessary. They want to make sure that if they are old or disabled for some other reason, that someone will take care of them for as long as is necessary until they die. In order to have these desires fulfilled, such people are willing to give up quite a bit of freedom right from the outset. They are willing to have their income taxed to pay for these services. They are willing for safety laws to be enforced so as to minimize risk from dangerous activities. They are willing to work the majority of their lives for other people at jobs they don't necessarily like, and all for the guarantee that if something goes wrong they will be cared for. They want to feel safe.

Balancing Rights and Priorities

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Couldn't all the people who prefer safety over freedom just get together and form cooperative organizations where they all pay dues? Couldn't these organizations provide health insurance, disability insurance and retirement benefits to the members of the cooperative group? Couldn't laws requiring people to wear seat belts be dispensed with, and instead members of these voluntary cooperatives would agree to abide by safety rules imposed by the group? Couldn't the cooperative pool the resources of the members and provide retirement for all?

Some might object that by allowing people to opt out of this social arrangement, the socially "responsible" might be losing valuable resources. But if the majority really prefers safety over freedom, then wouldn't the majority of citizens end up voluntarily in these cooperative ventures?

Sometimes I suspect that socialists have an agenda that involves taking property away from some people and giving it to others. However, if I am mistaken, and this is an unfair characterization of the true motives of socialists, then the above proposal ought to please all.

I understand that not everyone prefers personal freedom over safety. For those who want to be provided for by a large group or community, this seems like a workable solution that should please everyone, without imposing one group's values on others.




(c) 2009 Aya Katz

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Comments 158 comments

TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 7 years ago from Pyote, TX

Aya,

Interesting thought process, but I am not sure you grasp the current agenda; I think the shifting semantics have left you wondering what is going on in the world.

I have read both types of economic and government theories. I find in my readings here and with my personnel discussions in life that most people do not know how to separate the differences in their minds.

Socialism and Capitalism are economic structures of government and the underlying society. They really don't define the type of governance of the society despite much disinformation leading one to believe such.

Now Monarchy, Republic, Democratic, and these are forms of governance.

Lastly you have Fascism and Communism where the government and economy are merged into perfect form where the Fascist uses the Corporation and the Communist uses the State, but the result and effect are always the same; Slavery.

What the issue is here we find ourselves splitting hairs over economic theories of right and left when in reality our beef is with governance.

The issue is that what our government is doing is not left wing communism but rightly Capitalist Fascism.

I think where we get caught up and tripped up in our ideology is that we have been indoctrinated to think that Capitalism is the same as the free market, when that is not true.

When you separate what is really the free market and what is really Capitalism, you find that there is nothing free about a capitalist society.

The next trap is in believing that socialism or communism is the cure to Capitalist Fascism, but it is merely the same thing, as both systems lend themselves perfectly to Fascism, making slaves of the masses in either system.

The Communist Ideology fails in that in does not recognize this reality of human nature. Destroying property to remove this motive simply does not work, as the motive and drive to conquer still exists.

You are right the Free Market is the ideal solution, the problem is people are genetically hardwired to tilt the balance to themselves and thus the free market always gets held captive by Capitalist, or by Communist elitist despite the name throwing they the same class of people, those who would make their living by the theft of the labor of the masses.

The only cure to either system is the constant armed revolt that is the history of mankind. It is as much the circle of life as birth and death.

Aya, if I had to define you in Marxist terms, I would label you as the Petty Bourgeois. That class at the top of the proletariat that through ups and downs sometimes finds yourself the proletariat and sometimes so close to the owning class you can taste it.

I know from your writing you realize that what is happening in our country is tantamount to theft, but I find that you exist in a state of denial, by that I mean you cling to an ideal of the free market, without realizing it is only a theory that cannot exist for any length of time.

In the history of the US alone, no sooner than we created a free market system did the old powers of European finance start their in roads into the system, though we held them at bay for sometime by our original republic system, as these forces made the US more democratic (Both Communist and Capitalist love Democracy as it is the inroad to their power) it was able to exploit human weakness and it purchased a government that would do its bidding.

Now, the only solution will be revolution, the problem is there are many forces vying for those revolutionary souls.

Those that want to maintain the current power structure those that would replace one tyrant for another and those who seek a purist ideal. The problem is, usually the tyrant uses a purist as their front until they feel enough in control to get rid of the Idealist, and once again the yokes of slavery begin.

This happens on both sides, think Trotsky, Guevara, and Thomas Jefferson. These people were purists whose Ideals were corrupted by those who seek power and control. All good Tyrants know that peace and compromise are WMD's to purists as most purist seek an ideal, they are extremely susceptible to the idea of compromise not realizing it is just the first lost battle in a long war against their Ideals and their liberty.

You seek to solve a problem with logic and peace when there is no historical evidence that these tools have ever prevailed against human emotion particularly those emotions of greed and envy.

Though your efforts are commendable, I am afraid they are futile.

TMG


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA

in a nutshell, those who need the safety net would not sign up for it voluntarily in great enough numbers to achieve economy of scale. TMG is right, your solutions to world problems are predicated on people being intelligent problem solvers when in fact they are impulse driven and easily emotionally manipulated.


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

I think the problem is in fact the opposite of what hotdorkage says. It is that the people who don't need the safety net won't sign up for it in great enough numbers.

Sometimes the looters are quite explicit about this. They want an individual mandate for health insurance because they worry that otherwise the people who don't need it will get away.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Why the fixation on socialism? Socialists are an endangered species. There are few or none in the U.S., and former socialist countries are moving toward market economies. There are a few diehards like Cuba and a few newly socialist countries in South America--Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador--which will probably last only until the next military coup.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

TheMoneyGuy, thanks for your long and involved comment. Let's not get too hung up on labels. I used the word socialism to refer to the economic system where resources are pooled and people are taken care of by the government in the areas of health care, retirement, and disability. As one of our famous hubbers noted in a hub on socialism a few months ago, the U.S. is already socialist and has been since FDR.

I speak of the free market as an ideal that I would like to see realized and not as the system currently in effect.

If you go back to my hub on the corporate entity, you will see that I am not a big fan of corporations.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hot Dorkage, if those who need the safety net would not sign up for it of their own free will, would they vote for it? And if so, why? Is it because they might think someone else would pay for it? Would they in fact be right?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, what does "individual mandate" mean in this context?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, what's your definition of socialism?


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

"Individual Mandate" means they want to force people to buy health insurance at the point of a gun.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

My definition is the one found in any standard economics text book which would not include the United States, UK, Germany or any western industrialized countries. I suppose Sweden would be the closest fit, but I think it is considered a mixed economy. And my understanding is that it has moved in recent years toward a market economy as has the UK and many of the former USSR satellite countries in East Europe. I recognize that socialism in common parlance does not have a precise definition. Some people call Social Security and Medicare socialist programs, but most economists call them social insurance or social welfare programs which are designed to knock some of the rough edges off a pure market system, so that we don't have to trip over beggars on our urban sidewalks.


loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

I have to address this debate because it is a pet peeve of mine.

I have to concur with two notions that TheMoneyGuy presented:

• The notion that people perceive government structure as meaningful without comprehending that governance is the actual mechanism of management within the system of government.

• His inference, humans are emotional animals driven by greed and envy.

The public thinks a particular politician is going to benefit them by being in some office of government. Not the case; someone has to tell government what needs to occur, that someone is the public if you had a democracy, which we do not. Like TheMoneyGuy says, it is Capitalist Fascism where the elite rule.

Government is a board-room where governance takes place. The only ones that benefit here are the ones pulling the strings of the puppets they put in board-room; that is if they can apply the need coercion to accomplish that end.

To rant and rave about the disparity in social benefits is to acknowledge the futility of government’s ability to resolve any issue.

Look government has been trying to moderate the market place since time in memorial. Distribution of worth, wealth and value is a governance issue that is a problem for the masses to resolve as a democracy or be content with the scraps the elitist leave in their wake.

The elite aristocratic class has inherited their pseudo-authority as heirs to the throne of wealth, they feel they have this right as the slave in us believe we do not deserve the right; but the science of economics does not care who is at the helm.

Economics is about the distribution of wealth; distribution of wealth is the means for providing the equity of the freedom that democracy provides; but democracy requires self-rule, a self-rule that has never found its way to the people. The self-rule promised in the Constitution designed by our Forefaters.

The piecemeal economic scenarios that gain support are all schemes for a few to benefit at the expense of the many.

Until the masses lose their slave mentality that Friedrich Nietzsche identified; the world will be ruled by the aristocratic class that inherit their authority by the same mechanism of genetics that the slavery gene propagates.

The freedom and liberty of Democracy are available only in self-rule that provides equality and equity in like proportion.

A full distribution of wealth would balance worth and value and in so doing balance greed and envy in an inclusive, civil and selfless fashion by pitting individual greed against itself equally and equitably.

Worker owned and operated commerce where a partnership with government agencies forms the economic governance body of the service based capitalism system of society. Here in lies the solution to the distribution of wealth by applying Nash equilibrium theory to human desire for wealth found in will of self-rule and the emotion of ownership.


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 7 years ago from Pyote, TX

Aya,

I enjoyed making the long comment, Your hub made me stop and think a little today, and that is always a good thing.

I was referring to that specific hub when I made my comment that I know you understand the current situation.

I put in the definitions of the labels so we could speak to a same vocabulary, because all to often I think that gets in the way of meaningful dialogue.

Lastly, I know you feel the free market is an Ideal, I was just expressing that I feel it is an unattainable Ideal.

Thank for the hub and the oppurtunity to think.

TMG


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Aya - thanks for the link and reference to my Passionately Moderate hub. Largely I agree with TMG's crit here. And I said as much on my Bloodless Revolution hub - the old left/right battles are mere distractions from what is really happening globally. The affiliation of corporation & military has never been as efficient as it has become recently. It is sucking all the wealth from societies home and abroad, irrespective of whether those societies are leftish or rightish in their politics.

There isn't much difference between a cooperative society providing health and retirement benefits from the private health insurance and pension funds we already have. The problem is that the redeemable value of any such fund can be halved overnight by the 'free' marketeers playing irresponsible games.

Also, some safety rules should not be personal choice. Since you mention seat belts, in a collision I don't want my head broken by some 'free spirit' flying through my windscreen, still less do I want his 'free' child airborne through his choice not to install child safety equipment. This happens all the time in the Gulf States where the locals consider themselves above the law.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

I read this hub last night but got sidetracked by reading the comments and then following them. What a fascinating hub and what fascinating comments it has provoked lots of interesting reading to do still


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for explaining this usage of "individual mandate". I would not have guessed that it means "people forced to buy insurance at gunpoint" from the meaning of the words "individual" and "mandate".


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph Deeds, I think lumping the concepts of "social insurance" and "social welfare" together is very revealing. Normally, insurance is something cautious people buy for themselves, while welfare (referring to the dole) is something responsible people provide for other people who are not able to provide for themselves, through voluntary charitable gifts. To conflate the two, and to take the money for both by force, is to confuse two legitimate concepts and to turn both into theft.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

loua, thanks for your comment.

You write: "Worker owned and operated commerce where a partnership with government agencies forms the economic governance body of the service based capitalism system of society. Here in lies the solution to the distribution of wealth by applying Nash equilibrium theory to human desire for wealth found in will of self-rule and the emotion of ownership."

I think for people to own the business where they work is a very good thing, but when they do so, they also accept the risks involved if the business fails. Responsibility and control should go hand in hand.

The government, on the other hand, had best stay out of the business world altogether.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

TheMoneyGuy, whether a free market is completely attainable depends in large measure on people. Is it unattainable because people vote against it? Or is it unattainable because people try to cheat once they have it? Either way, it is not some nameless elite that makes the ideal of a free market difficult to attain. It's ordinary people like you and me who have to work toward attaining it.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Paraglider, thanks for your comment.

You write: "There isn't much difference between a cooperative society providing health and retirement benefits from the private health insurance and pension funds we already have. The problem is that the redeemable value of any such fund can be halved overnight by the 'free' marketeers playing irresponsible games."

Well, that's the whole point, isn't it? When we invest in a cooperative venture, we also take the risk that things will go terribly wrong, and all our investment will be for nought. When we buy insurance, we take the risk that the insurance company will go bankrupt before we can collect. Collectivization doesn't remove these risks. It just creates the situation that when disaster strikes, it will be universal! Instead of some people suffering, all will suffer.

Insurance, after all, is a gamble. People can gamble with their own money. They shouldn't be allowed to gamble with money taken from others by force.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Maggs, thanks for your warm and supportive comment!


loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

Aya, in response to your comment that I might clarify my notion of ownership; I did not intend to imply it was a give away program like government is doing with commerce currently, i.e., bailout program;

I'm talking investment sharing where government is the broker using the tax dollars it collects from sales. Here is the general theory for an equitable wealth distribution service-based mechanism:

The strategy model is a wealth sharing mechanism that applies an economic-wealth distribution methodology of thirds. This-partnership-consist of: worker-owner, developer-investor, and government-broker. No more will the marketplace be a den of thieves.

A strategy model for a wealth sharing mechanism –

Title: Economic-Wealth-Distribution-Methodology of Thirds (1/3)

Note: Partnership of Thirds (1/3s) consisting of: worker-owners, developer-investor, and government-broker relationship.

General Model for Self-Rule Worker-Owner-Operated-Enterprises:

*** General Economic Distribution Formulae –

Where- Partnership-Equity-Investment-Proceeds Share=Partnership-Shares

OperationCost $ = ProductionCost +PartnershipShareCost + Employee

BenefitsCost

Sales Price $ = Operation Cost $ = 3x Production-Cost

Operation Cost $:

• Production-Cost = (1/3) Sales Price $

• Partnership-Share-Funding -Cost = (1/3) Sales Price $

• Employee-Benefits-Cost= (1/3) Sales Price $

There is more to it but this is just of it, there is equality and equity available if humanity loses its greedy temperament.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

loua, thanks for your comment. Your proposed "equitable wealth distribution service-based mechanism" sounds really complicated. Why does the government need to be involved at all?

I favor simpler rules. Every person is free to offer any goods (belonging to that person) to any other person for any price. The other person is always free to accept, reject or counter-offer. Any person is free to offer any services (performed by that person) to any other person for any fee, and the other person is free to accept, decline or counter-offer. People can make such offers individually or in groups, but no group of people is entitled collectively to more rights than all of them together can claim title to individually.

Simple, fair, and easy to execute. (It's called the common law.)


loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

Aya, you say - “Simple, fair, and easy to execute. (It’s called the common law.)” I say Common law is a tedious government-instituted intervention of special interest to serve their-own ends as opposed to public need...

Common Law is a legislative tool manipulated by wealth, the game goes back to the Roman Empire and it is no more reliable now than it was then; Common law is based on a merchant mentality ethic that had the consumer as the mark, i.e, let the buyer beware...

What I suggest is a simple parity of worth, to allow the institution of the spirit of natural law as written by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu in 1748.

The spirit of the Law was legislated away by interest groups using the letter of the law before the Constitution had a chance to be used as an economic model to do the same as I mention.

I say, “Provide equity and equality in the economic mechanism so humanity might evolve in an equitable and free manner with out the encumbrance brought about by intervening with the letter of the law.

Natural law of innate-equality is by far a more equitable and has the integrity that the letter of the law on equity lacks.

Legislated laws are concocted by special interest, to serve the selfish greedy ends of their proponents – the letter of the law from which common law is derived is a sacred cow that lacks the integrity of morals and ethics which makes it is exclusive, evil and selfish.

Management, stewardship and responsibility is the role that needs to be developed and Natural Law found in singularity balance and unity of inclusive, civil selflessness is the vehicle to accomplish that plan, goal and objective of a Democratic governance.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

loua, the common law is not legislative. It developed on a case by case basis and is as close to natural law as any law is. It is younger than Roman statutory law and older than American statutory law. It was developed over time in England and adopted in America as the basis of the law in most states (except Louisiana.)


loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

Aya, I said,"Common Law is a legislative tool manipulated by wealth, the game goes back to the Roman Empire". I did not say they were the same.

Common Law is the law of the land, the law of the Constitution. Law of the land - a phrase used in the Magna Carta to refer to the then established law of the kingdom (as distinct from Roman or civil law); today it refers to fundamental principles of justice commensurate with due process; "the United States Constitution declares itself to be `the supreme law of the land'"

I concur with you common laws and statutory laws are different but the utility of both is founded in group constituency for their interpretation, formation and application. Law of the land was applicable when land was the equitable standard; but to day commerce is the equitable standard.

The law works better for the wealthy and the influential of commerce. Why is this?

I am in favor of having all people share in the fruits of their labor and that no one should be allowed to hoard the resources of the earth through commerce; but the law as is does not equitably address this issue.

The way to see that it is addressed is to develop the parity founded in self-rule and worker owned and operated businesses and industry with government oversight of the equity to maintain parity. It is quit simple when you look at the human resource that is being wasted by the current parochial nature of ownership.

The Indians knew way back when that ownership was a sharing of resource responsibility. The trick is to learn how to share responsibility better so equity of benefit is received by all.

In reference Common law is defined by judges, statutory law is passed by legislatures; and yes, common law is the tool for formulating statutory law.

In fact Roman law influences English common law -

The term "common law" is often used as a contrast to Roman-derived "civil law", the fundamental processes and forms of reasoning in the two are quite different. Nonetheless, there has been considerable cross-fertilization of ideas, while the two traditions and sets of foundational principles remain distinct.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

loua, I'm glad that you understand that the common law is case law. The principle of stare decisis, whereby judges are bound to apply precedent set in one case to another helps to ensure that there is not one law for the rich and another for the poor.

I believe that that law is best that ignores wealth as factor in decision making.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

Interesting hub with great discussion.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Smireles, thanks for your comment!


pgrundy 7 years ago

I'm on the same page as TMG and Ralph, and I really liked Paraglider's hub on moderation. I find the ongoing political bickering between the right, the left, and the Libertarians to be very much in the interest of corporate fascism, which is what we currently have. IMO as long as corporations are legally treated like persons there will be no 'free' market. I also think that the way the current political discussion is framed leaves no room for a moderate or pragmatic position, which IMO badly distorts the discussion.


Tom Whitworth 7 years ago

I found the original hub quite fascinating and informative. I also found the same to be true for many of the comments on the hub. I have only one comment to add at this moment which is we should alway strive for an ideal solution. But we must never let the good solution be the enemy of the ideal solution or we will never make any progress toward the ideal.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Pgrundy, thanks for your coment. I agree that corporations should not have special rights, nor are they persons under common law. They are an example of how legislation grants people rights collectively that they might not have had individually.

As far as pragmatism is concerned, I'm not sure what that is. If it means compromise for the sake of compromise, then it doesn't seem like a good idea. I'd just like to see us all agree not to force anything on each other. People can each individually, and in groups of like minded persons, make whatever living arrangement suits them. As long as they don't impose this arrangement on someone who is unwilling, there should be no problem.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Tom Whitworth, thanks! "Never let the good solution be the enemy of the ideal solution." That sounds good, and I will support it, as long as the "good" solution doesn't turn out to be a bad solution!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Pragmatism to me means considering the results of a particular policy or action rather than rejecting it on principle. Not allowing the perfect to prevent with the good as the saying goes. Obama appears to be a pragmatist. (read Whitworth's comment after writing this one. We're apparently on a similar wavelength.

One really should read the previous comments before wasting everybody's time.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, thanks for taking the time to explain. Still, I think we come at the issue of pragmatism from completely different starting points. You seem to equate "principle" with something unsound. But to me, it is only when you act on the same principle toward all that you can avoid prejudice and inequality before the law. I think it's important to consider whether you would want the same principle to apply under different circumstances. If the answer is "no" then the principle is a bad one. If the answer is yes, then the principle is sound.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Not at all. Principles have their place. But they must be applied carefully with judgment. We shouldn't drive the world or American economy off a cliff on the principle of balancing the budget, for example.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I'm afraid that the principle of balancing a budget is not a man-made, arbitrary rule, but a law of nature. The consequences of not balancing it will come, like it or not.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Sooner or later, that's true. However, there is no necessity to balance it every year. The critical factor is how big the national debt is growing in relation to the GDP. The basic problem is that it's much easier to cut taxes than it is to eliminate or reduce government programs. And for individuals managing debt is even more important.


Perplexed Reader 7 years ago

Your perspective seems very odd to me. You talk about socialists wanting to be taken care off. I doubt if many people to the left of centre have ever thought this. The principles at work are entirely different.

One thing that you find in social democratically orientated countries is a strong sense of social responsibilty. There is a profound identification with fellow citizens which makes it difficult to ignore any troubles that befall them.

If the sick are going untreated in almost any European country there is a public outcry. Right and Left of the political spectrum want Governments to act and fix the problem. The same applies if people are losing their homes, or incomes through no fault of their own.

I often wonder whether in a country like the US which is so huge and has such a diverse population, people are able to identify with their fellow citizens in the way most other peoples do.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, it needs to be balanced all the time. The consequences of not balancing are immediate and they affect everybody. When bailouts print dollars to cover bad debts, the value of the dollar goes down. That's each dollar in each person's pocket. It doesn't just affect rich people. If there is a homeless person sleeping under a bridge with a dollar in his pocket, and you print enough money to reduce the value of the dollar by one half, the next morning he will only be able to buy half as much with that dollar.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Perplexed Reader, I am trying to understand your perspective. You say socialists are trying to help other people and not themselves. What, in your opinion, is the difference between other people and yourself?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

AYA "It needs to be balanced all the time." No, it doesn't. Virtually all economists believe that balancing the budget in a recession is the absolute WRONG thing to do. The depression in the thirties was worsened and prolonged by this kind of thinking. In the long run the country's budget should be balanced but in the short run under the current conditions deficit spending is critical to avoid a deep and prolonged recession or depression which would result in a tremendous loss in production, jobs, tax revenues which could never be recovered.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, production, jobs and tax revenues are not the most important thing in the world. Nobody is guaranteed a production quota, a job or an income, because those things are in the hands of other people. We can't and should not try to force others to produce things just to please us. We can't and shouldn't ask people to buy things, just to please us. They should do it only if it pleases them.

What seems unpardonable is that for the sake of production, tax revenues and jobs, anyone would want to steal a dollar off a bum!


Perplexed Reader 7 years ago

There is a big difference between oneself and other people. I am even more perplexed.

Are you trying to say something about the differences between altruism, self interest and the idea of enlightened self interest?

Or perhaps you reject the idea of societies?

I remember Margret once saying that there is no such thing as society there are only individuals.

Perhaps you feel no one ever thinks of 'the greater good' or wants more efficient social institutions simply because they hate waste and inefficiency.

Perhaps you feel each individual only calculates their own material interest and never has a motivation beyond that?

I'm curious.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Perplexed Reader, I am suggesting that those who believe in equality do not propose laws that they hope will affect other people differently from the way they affect themselves.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Great food for thought between the hub and the comments. Life is changing so dramatically lately for all of us that I'm no longer sure what I want for myself, my family, or this country.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, your attitude toward the importance of jobs, full employment might be different if you were a 55-year-old laid off auto worker facing foreclosure in Michigan or a single unemployed mother who lives where there is no public transportation and can't afford a car to get to a job even if she could find one. You are sounding more and more like Ayn Rand every day. You appear to lack even vestigial communal spirit or consciousness.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, thanks for your comment. It's sometimes hard to know what to want or even what to hope for.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, many people are without jobs, including me. It isn't as if I have never been someone looking for a job and not able to find one. In fact, during one of those periods when I desperately needed a job, I had to leave the United States and accept work as an alien resident in Taiwan.

I did not think then, and I still do not think now, that anyone owes me a job.

Many employers have left the country, because the laws did not favor employers in the U.S. Many Americans have sought employment abroad, because that's where the jobs are.

I am not sure that I've heard back from you about why you think it is okay to steal a dollar from a homeless man living under a bridge.

My point about balancing the budget is that the budget balances itself. It is a natural, not a man-made law.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Who is stealing a dollar from a homeless man under a bridge? I don't recall saying that's okay. I don't get your point or analogy or logic. Of course I don't think it's okay to steal especially from homeless men under bridges.

Nobody "owes you a job," however, the government's job is to keep the economy growing and producing jobs for everyone, to the extent possible, avoiding deep, prolonged recessions. This has nothing to do with socialism. Balancing budgets a natural law? Please explain that one. I thought that was done by our representatives in Washington or at least that's what they are supposed to do, once in a while anyway.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

"What have Extremists ever done for you? "

The Declaration of Independence?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, every time the government prints money to pay for bad debts, it devalues the dollar. Every person who has a dollar loses the value of that dollar, when this happens. This is how reality balances the budget. It happens whether you plan it that way or not, because certain natural laws cannot be subverted.

You make it sound as if only rich people are affected by this kind of value theft, but in fact every person who has a dollar is affected. It works the same for our first dollar as our last. It robs the piggy banks of little children, the small amounts of cash even the homeless have, and destroys the life savings of the aged. All are affected equally except one group: those who owe more than they have. They alone rejoice. So the man who owes a million dollars rejoices at the bailout, but not the homeless man under the bridge.

Do you assume that every fifty-five year old laid off auto worker has no savings? Why? A bailout could be the thing that destroys the auto worker's dreams of a future life!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nicomp, very true!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

You didn't explain your comment/question about stealing a $ from a homeless man. (I would be happy to recommend several good elementary economics text books.)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I'm trying my best to explain. Let me know which part is problematic.

If you print more money than there is cover for, in order to stimulate the economy, produce jobs, and keep businesses from going under, a natural by-product of this action is the reduction of the value of the dollar in the hands of people who have a dollar.

This may or may not be the intention of those who promulgate these economic policies, but it is their unavoidable consequence.

This consequence affects all equally, rich and poor, young and old, employed and unemployed. Little children are robbed of the value of the coins in their piggy banks. Fifty-five year old laid off auto workers lose their life savings. People sleeping under a bridge with only one dollar in their pocket lose the ability to buy a dollar's worth of goods.

What part of this is so hard to understand? Everybody loses.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

@ nicomp, who said {{"What have Extremists ever done for you? "

The Declaration of Independence?}}

You think the Founding Fathers were extremists? A body of highly intelligent men, products of the Enlightenment, looking critically at an unsustainable situation, analysing it, and formulating a rational way forward to a better situation. That is not extremism. It is pragmatic rationalism at its finest.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, the alternative is much worse, as in the Great Depression--ten years of extremely high unemployment, lost production, poverty, bread lines, and gains for communist ideology. In 1934 or thereabouts one of the top candidates for mayor of Detroit ran on a communist ticket. You need to read up on Keynes or any contemporary economist.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Paraglider, I'm glad you approve of the Founding Fathers. Just remember, the taxation they rebelled against was minimal by today's standards.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, the great depression was bad, but I don't think what we lost then was production. You're making it sound as if the productivity that was delayed during the depression is still being felt today in terms of not enough items produced. That just isn't so. We have more than enough items... The environment is suffering from our over-active economic endeavors. We often produce things we don't need or want when the government artificially stimulates the economy.

A natural economy would be not be overactive, but it would be much more stable.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

The incomes, production, taxes lost in depressions are lost forever, gone, never recoverable.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, the value of dollars that have already been earned and then devalued is also lost forever. It does not help the retired, the unemployed and the young that their money was used to create jobs artificially. They will never see that money again.

I'm perplexed as to why you think the production that did not occur in the 1930s is something to be mourned. What wasn't produced then that we could use now? Automobiles? They would have been junked by now! Tables and chairs? Do we have a shortage of those? Houses? Hasn't there been a glut of housing despoiling the landscape, and all due to artificially easy credit? We have too much stuff, because we have produced more than we need or want. Why? Because of artificial stimulus.

What production do you feel we lost? What products from the era of the great depression are we still missing today?


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Hi Aya,

Your argument against mourning 1930's production, which I

find a little shaky logically, reminds me of your hub about Yaddo.

The writer's retreat was founded by the wife of a famous investor. His investments included: the telegraph, now

obsolete, the lightbulb, which has been banned by an act

of Congress, and the New York Times, which is teetering

on bankruptcy. Do you think that the fact that all of his

investments have been consigned to the dustbin of history

really takes much away from their significance?

Nets


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for the extra information on the Trask investments. No, I don't think the fact they are history makes them insignificant.

Ralph Deeds was talking about production that didn't take place. Not historical inventions or companies that no longer exist, but products that were never produced.

I don't believe our current problem is that we don't have enough products. We have too many products and nobody wants to buy them. Mr. Deeds wants to print more money so that people will buy more products and employers will give jobs to workers. He thinks the purpose of products is to provide people with jobs, and that demand should be artificially stimulated so that more products can be produced so that more people can be employed. Never mind how many products anybody would normally want, if he were using his own money to buy them!

The invention of the light bulb was a very big thing! Being able to buy a light bulb, when you want one is great. Being forced to give your savings away so that everybody buys more light bulbs than they want or need is not so good.


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

To be a naive ingenue about it, maybe if all those model T's that Deeds wanted built had been built, people would have driven them to the places where they could have invented light emitting devices. I am not even arguing this seriously, just saying that it does not follow logically that if the model T's were all now gone, there is nothing lost in the present from their not having been produced.

What I assume that Deeds means is that the capacity for production in one decade has an impact on the capacity for production in the next. What he perceives as a loss in the thirties still affects us today.

But you're also against production. How do you know there wouldn't be more of it if not for the stimulus?

If you want to control the number of houses shouldn't you

support Turkish Sultan style regulations. (No house

could be built without destroying an old one. It was a sort

of mandatory Cash for Clunkers.)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, I am not for or against production. I am for laissez faire.

I do not know for sure how much deforestation would result naturally from the free market's operation. I don't believe it's up to me to decide how many new houses are going to be built -- and how many old houses will be refurbished. I'm just guessing that it might be a little more balanced without artificial stimulus.

In your hub on supply and demand, you used the example of the Onceler who kept selling thneeds at an unusually low price until he ran out of trufula trees. For some reason, it never occurred to him to raise the price of the thneeds as the trees became more scarce. Maybe the reason the Onceler did this was that the government was subsidizing his production in order to make sure that he kept providing his cousins and aunts with jobs. If the price of thneeds went up with the decline of the trees, then people would buy fewer of them, and there would not be as many jobs.


Supply and Demand 7 years ago

The last tree will fetch a fortune in auction. Some guy from Rhode Island will buy it to make a bonfire for his kids birthday and we will be able enjoy uninterrupted views of the deserts washing into our backyards.

Supply and demand will mean that last tree is always worth finding and cutting down and hauling to market.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Supply and Demand, thanks for your comment. I'm not sure it works that way. Wouldn't it be better to keep the last tree and turn it into a forest for your children to be able to use in the future?


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 7 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Let us assume for the sake of argument that the Onceler's policy was indeed motivated by government stimulus.

It is clear that in the long run, this policy did not maximize production of thneeds.

Therefore opposition to it on the grounds that "Isn't it a problem that we already have too many thneeds lying around?"

would be somewhat intellectually dishonest.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, okay, I'll admit that I am not as attracted to thneeds as some people are. But I'm not trying to take anyone's thneed away from them. I'm not trying to artificially curtail the supply of thneeds, either.

I'm just saying this: production of thneeds should be determined by the demand for thneeds, not by the concern that the government might have for the Onceler's cousins' and aunts' job security. That's not intellectually dishonest, is it?


calfcreek 7 years ago

Sometimes we get lost in the weeds and take our eye off the ball. The thing that most people never understand about our founding fathers and all of their writings is the extent to which they had studied all forms of government both in practice and philosophy. I am as guilty as any. We tend to give the old boys a cursory read then try to provide our own context to modern times and thereby ignore much of what they said. After I have learned to go back and reread them over and over, I have found them to be extraordinarily brilliant in their analysis of government and the nature of Man.

I will try to be brief here. First, they came to the inarguable conclusion that All government is tyrannical. It is the very nature of government to use force to achieve it's goals however well intentioned they may be.

Second, they realized that governments are made up of people and that people by their very nature will abuse power when given it. The more they are given, the more quickly they tend to abuse it.

Third, they realized human beings are incapable of total self governance. When left to their own accord evil will permeate through society leading to eventual chaos. The weak will be the prey for strong.

Fourth, they determined that the solution was to create a form of government which would be inherently weak centrally, but strong locally. The implied intent was to keep the federal government from becoming so big that it could become a 'soft tyranny' which would use it's ability to provide for the needs of the people as leverage to maintain power over them. Soft tyranny is still tyranny. Slavery is slavery. This is also why they set up the individual state governments, and they argued quite a bit about how much power they should have. Most agreed eventually that strong state governments were preferred over strong federal government. Hence the fourteenth amendment.

Finally, they knew that for a republican form of government with a weak central framework and an emphasis on liberty to survive, the people would have to remain well educated and virtuous. This is much the reason we have state colleges today, though I doubt that they foresaw how idealogues in government could eventually turn these institutions into propaganda driven indoctrination clinics. They tended toward religion as the means to maintain virtue among the masses, though they were not theologues (is that a word?) who pushed one religious sect over another.

Now, to the point of the article: The way to give socialists what they want within the framework of the Constitution and the founding fathers desires is simple.

You just have states that enact socialist agendas, and those that agree with it can move there and those that don't can move out. The federal government does not get involved on any level or provide any funding. All taxes for the programs must be raised within the state on the populations who wished for it. And I think we all know what would eventually happen. These states would be a miserable failure economically while their neighboring 'free market' conservative states would flourish. Eventually, the socialists states would slowly revert back to the original intent of the forefathers because...well...they were right!

Whew! Not as short as I wanted.

Keit


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Dang. All that and then misspelled me own name.

Keith


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Keith, thanks for your comment. I agree that the founding fathers are both misunderstood and underestimated by today's electorate and their representatives. I also agree with most of what you said about the abuse of government, the tendency toward tyranny and the abuses of representatives who enslave by "taking care of the needs" of their constituents.

I'd rather not have any government -- even a local one -- that is allowed to forcibly redistribute the property of citizens. However, I do see the inherent merit and logic of your proposal.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Our founding fathers did not and could not have contemplated the profound economic and social changes that have been brought about by science, industry, medicine, communications, transportation and weaponry that have transformed our country and the world which as Friedman (Thomas, not Milton!) observed is becoming "flat" in many significant ways.

Changes in our government and laws were inevitible and for the most part positive. Contemporary wisdom has been added to the wisdom of our founding fathers. The Constitution and the founding documents must be interpreted and amended as necessary so that we may adapt to changed circumstances and morality. Perhaps the most uncontroversial examples of moral changes that come to mind are ending slavery and women's suffrage. And a host of mostly and necessary changes in our institutions have been required by developments in science, technology, industry, weapons, etc.

I find it hard to understand how someone as intelligent as you are, Aya, and some of the other libertarian commenters cling so tenaciously and literally to the words and wisdom of our founding fathers and reject vociferously the subsequent products of the democratic institutions they established.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I appreciate your comments and the fact that you have not given up on finding some common ground between our respective positions. I would like to believe that women's suffrage and the emancipation proclamation are not in any way implicated in the rise of socialism. As far as I can see, there is no connection.

I think that one of the reasons you insist that ailing businesses must be propped up is because you believe that we have a population that would not survive without jobs in industry. I'm not against progress, and I accept that many people whose parents in the 19th century and early twentieth century were farmers decided to make new lives for themselves in the big city as workers on assembly lines. But do you really believe that such a move is irreversible? Don't you think that when there are fewer jobs in the city, these people can go back to the countryside to earn their livelihood in more traditional ways?

Market fluctuations are natural. People are free to gravitate to whatever way of life happens to be most advantageous to them at the time. When there are more jobs in the city, those who want to can move back.

Our lives are our own. There are so many options. Why not let people sort out their own preferences?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

There is nor has been a rise in socialism. The trend all over the world has been away from socialism. Obama is doing no more than applying orthodox anti-recessionary economic policy. People are free to sort out their own preferences so long as they have three meals a day and there are jobs available in line with their preferences. I live in Michigan where there are no longer "jobs in line with their preferences; where there are no jobs NOT in line with their preferences; where their homes are being foreclosed; where their children don't get medical care or decent schools. Most of the above through no fault of their own. Do you think it unreasonable that they think their governments should be doing something about it. They can't eat their old copies of "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged."

Yes, I do think the industrial revolution is irreversible. In case you haven't noticed, most of the farming is now done by corporate commercial farms like Tyson, et al. The future will bring change but not back to the era of the family farm although back yard gardens are coming back and people who want "green food" are advocating buying local produce rather than something that comes from half way around the world after being picked unripened.

.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, read PGrundy's hub about socialism that she published about the time Obama was elected. I respect her analysis of the situation, even though we don't agree in our personal values. She says socialism has been around for a long time. I agree.

When there is no work for people in Michigan, they are free to leave Michigan. That's the whole point of the free market. You are not bound to remain someplace where you are not happy. If instead of propping up diseased businesses we let people redesign their own lives, you would find that the American people are resourceful enough to take care of themselves.


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Nice try Aya. :)

Still it looks like hardcore socialist really want to get hold of other people money, and all "justice" talks are just a camouflage... They just get sick when someone makes more then them...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09ehrenr...

The report lists America’s 10 “meanest” cities — the largest of which are Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco — but new contestants are springing up every day. The City Council in Grand Junction, Colo., has been considering a ban on begging, and at the end of June, Tempe, Ariz., carried out a four-day crackdown on the indigent. How do you know when someone is indigent? As a Las Vegas statute puts it, “An indigent person is a person whom a reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive” public assistance.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

I'm not sure if Ralph was referring to me as a 'libertarian commentator' clinging to the wisdom of the founding fathers. First of all, I'm not a libertarian, and secondly, I do cling to the framers wisdom but do not reject the right results, such as emancipation, which by the way they predicted. However, I do reject soft tyranny and always will. Michigan is in tatters BECAUSE of government and unions not because of a lack of it. Government is inefficient and corrupt by nature. It is not the answer to daily problems it is the cause. We should look to ourselves for solutions first, our church and local groups next, our city government next, our county and state government next and our federal government last. We don't. We go straight to federal government wanting solutions to problems only people can solve. The government only makes it worse. Federal government is for leveling the playing field, as in emancipation and womens sufferage. It is not for fixing economic problems. I also disagree that the free market could not have fixed the current crisis. If left alone, eventually, the larger banks would have become so cheap, that smaller banks would have bought them, written off the toxic assets and arisen a bigger and more stable bank. We could be well on the way to recovery right now on our own without a dime of federal monies. GM will fail again, not because government didn't help, but because it did. It should have gone bankrupt to begin with and done away with unsustainable union contracts. We still build cars in America, they're just Toyotas being built in Tennessee and Texas.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misha, thanks for dropping by. As for hardcore socialists and their motives, maybe there is still hope. If we keep the channels of communication open, maybe they will gradually see the error of their ways. ;->


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I'm sorry to hear about the discrimination against the indigent. Personally, I believe the law should not take into cognizance a person's wealth or lack thereof. However, it's because of the dole that people fear the indigent. Do away with the redistribution of wealth, and nobody will care how much money you have or do not have.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, I agree. Every time the government interferes in the economy, preventing a business from failing, its sets the scene for an even bigger failure down the road.


genergize 7 years ago

This is a very interesting hub and there are some very interesting comments. Thanks for creating all of this. As for me, i would want freedom over safty any day. Our society has become all to safe these days. We need to stop regulating everything and start just living life.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Genergize, thanks for your comment! I prefer freedom, too. However, there's kind of a fallacy in thinking that anyone can actually hope to secure absolute safety at the price of freedom. People think there is safety in numbers, but when disaster strikes, it's just a bigger mess, the more people rely on a particular venture.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

So true Aya. And government intervention can actually have the opposite effect. The sad lesson of Hurricane Katrina was that when disaster strikes, one should not stand around and wait for the government to save you. Save yourselves and your neighbors! That same year (or maybe the yr after) a huge snowstorm hit the midwest. Electricity was out for days. No one called the government to come save them. Neighbor helped neighbor.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, good examples! Self-reliance and neighbor helping neighbor are what built this country. If necessary, they will rebuild it!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, would you agree that here is a case free market capitalism without effective regulation didn't work out so well?

http://www.freep.com/article/20090809/NEWS05/90809...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I think you mistake me for someone else. I distinguish capitalism from free enterprise. I distance myself from agribusiness and all corporations, as none of that is free enterprise. All of these businesses have gotten a free ride from the government, and the argument for continuing to give them a free ride comes from people like you who believe that the process of industrialization is irreversible and that people will starve if not for their big corporate employers.

Have you read the hubs about how government subsidies led to the rise of High Fructose Corn Syrup?

http://hubpages.com/politics/How-HCFS-is-the-fault...

and

http://hubpages.com/politics/Politics-and-High-Fru...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

I am no fan of agriculture subsidies. And I'm aware of what corn fructose has done to the American diet. I saw the documentary "Food, Inc." two weeks ago and I agree with nearly everything it had to say. I guess I don't understand where you would like to take us (the country). I've figured you for a libertarian. If you're not how would you characterize yourself? You are blaming me "as people like you" without knowing very much about my beliefs about public policy.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I am, more or less a libertarian, but I am not necessarily the stereotypical libertarian that you imagine for yourself. I think the government should stay out of everything. I think that most of the things you blame on "capitalism" are problems created by the government. What I know about your beliefs is what you have said: that the government should bail out insolvent businesses because otherwise people won't have jobs and without jobs they cannot live. This puts the government and big business in bed together -- and creates massive suffering for everyone in every field, including nutrition and pharmacology.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

The objective of the government's actions toward the end of the Bush administration and currently in the Obama administration is not to "bail out insolvent businesses" but rather to prevent the U.S. economy and the world economy from descending into a bottomless abyss of a recession which would have created much more "massive suffering" than whatever it is you are referring to in "nutrition and pharmacology." Not sure what you're saying the connection is with the bailout and nuturtion and pharmacology.

I have plenty of reservations about what Big Pharma and Big Agri business (with subsidies from the federal government) are doing to the country. I've done several hubs pointing out that the pharmaceutical industry has been bribing doctors to prescribe their drugs and produce phony research and create new maladies, especially alleged psychiatric in children and adults which require treatment with their drugs. Drug companies, mining companies, timber companies, electric power companies have co-opted the government agencies that are supposed to be regulating them.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph Deeds, government entities should not regulate business. When someone tells you that a specific business or industry needs to be regulated for the "common good", you can be sure that some large business is either behind the regulatory agency or will soon take it over. The government should not license doctors. The government should not determine which drugs we can or cannot use. The government should not tell us what foods are safe for us to eat. Every time the government does this, some business profits while another loses. The government should stay out of it. Completely.

The problem with people who favor government regulations is that they always blame businesses for their ill effects.

It is not possible for an economy -- whether global or local -- to fall into a bottomless abyss, just as it is not possible for an economy to enjoy a perpetual growth spurt. Every abyss has a bottom. Every growth cycle has a ceiling. If the government stays out of the economy, the fluctuations can be minor. If it insists in meddling, then both the spikes and the crashes are bound to be more extreme.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Nearly every economist in the U.S. agrees that the government needed to step in to avert a disastrously deep recession or depression. The don't all agree on the nature or extent of the intervention, but just about all of them believe intervention was necessary. And most agree that the failure of the regulatory regime (the FED, the SEC,to act soon enough contributed, along with the Wall Street Banksters misjudgments and greed, to the current world recession. Greenspan failed to rein in the bubble and the banks were allowed to over-leverage themselves. A few wise people saw it coming and profited from or avoided losing in the situation. E.g, George Soros, who profited and Nouriel Roubini, economist, and Sheila Baird, bank regulator, who anticipated the coming disaster.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, here's what Nobel prize economist, Paul Krugman, had to say in this morning's paper about the abyss

So it seems that we aren’t going to have a second Great Depression after all. What saved us? The answer, basically, is Big Government.

To be clear: the economic situation remains terrible, indeed worse than almost anyone thought possible not long ago. The nation has lost 6.7 million jobs since the recession began. Once you take into account the need to find employment for a growing working-age population, we’re probably around nine million jobs short of where we should be.

And the job market still hasn’t turned around — that slight dip in the measured unemployment rate last month was probably a statistical fluke. We haven’t yet reached the point at which things are actually improving; for now, all we have to celebrate are indications that things are getting worse more slowly.

[Krugman is an economics professor at Princeton. He won the Noble prize for economics last year. Hi specialty is macroeconomics and trade. He's a Democrat op-ed writer, but an orthodox economist who believes in our free enterprise system. He definitely is not a socialist.]

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/opinion/10krugma...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, here's an example of what happens when under your extreme "free market" cconcept, the ecnonomy runs off the track

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/us/10juvenile.ht...

As cash-starved states slash mental health programs in communities and schools, they are increasingly relying on the juvenile corrections system to handle a generation of young offenders with psychiatric disorders. About two-thirds of the nation’s juvenile inmates — who numbered 92,854 in 2006, down from 107,000 in 1999 — have at least one mental illness, according to surveys of youth prisons, and are more in need of therapy than punishment.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I appreciate your coming back and giving more references and trying to find a place where we can have a meeting of the minds. I would very much like to achieve some mutual understanding.

However, I think beyond the economic issues, you still don't know where I'm coming from as a thinker. I place very little faith in certification and authority. I'm really looking for the truth, and I value logic and facts, not credentials. Did you really think I'd be impressed that Krugman is an economics professor at Princeton?

If your point is that the establishment shares your views and that almost all experts agree with you, then I'm willing to concede your point.

My point is that the experts are wrong! When you care to discuss the reasoning that has led me to believe this, then we can have a meaningful discussion.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Please describe your reasoning. I'm familiar with Rand's objectivism if that's where you're coming from. You're way out on the fringe so far as I can tell, without much of a communitarian sensibility. Converting you to Catholicism or Southern Baptist would probably be easier than convincing you about modern economics!

Krugman is not just an economics professor at Princeton. He's an outstanding economist. But I guess you don't buy into the field of economics. I am curious about where you come up with your ideas and what your policy solutions are to the many U.S. and world problems.


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Well, it's not reality Ralph, it's your illusion. And before you start telling that such and such economic professor thinks the same, I say you he or she is wrong, too. :)


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Micha, it's my "illusion" and that of hundreds or thousands of economists in the U.S. and around the world. Laissez faire only gets us so far, and it gets us into big trouble every once in a while as it has recently. And it's useless for getting us out of trouble.


Liberal Proud 7 years ago

Apparently you DO NOT know the difference between Socialism and a free market. Communism and Corporation are ONE in the same. Communism controls all the wealth and dictates distribution and Wealth Oops or am I talking about Capitalism. A Intellectual discussion Does Not include scare tactics and misrepresentations.

Corporations CAN NOT exit without the Government. The road system worked beautiful notice Corporate America can do a better job so they slowly dismantle and under fund it so it goes in to chaos, then they step in and SUB CONTRACT to another COUNTRY put in TOLL roads notice these low life's Never stepped up to the plate when it had TO BE BUILT only AFTER The fact.

School systems the same way notice the allegiance of certain Congressional and Senatorial Ldrs. oops under funding the solution Charter schools that prove NO better NO testing.

Pharmaceuticals the same Government pays most Thur direct intervention grants and R&D yet again over charge for PROFIT.

How about the Internet DEVELOPED by the GOVENMENTZ NOT the Slim called CAPATALIST yet this Vermin is AGAIN trying to CHARGE what the TAX Dollar paid for. SO tell me about how well Free Enterprise works Sir. You do NOT have a clue.


shazz01109 profile image

shazz01109 7 years ago from Western Massachusetts

I also want and enjoy my personal freedoms. Some people however, like that safety net, and have become very accustomed to the State providing social services. I honestly believe, that in many ways, socialism restricts personal freedoms, and shifts power to the State.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misha, thanks for stopping by again! Always good to see you!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Liberal Proud, when it comes to corporations, I don't think we disagree. Read my hub:

http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Corporate-Entity


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Shazz, thanks for your comment. I completely agree!


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Paul Krugman? I thought everyone knew he was an idiot lackey for left wing causes?

I notice there is not much mention of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the liberals in Congress who propped them up even though they were pressuring banks to make loans to people who obviously couldn't afford them. That was the crux of your banking meltdown. Overleveraging didn't help, but the core issue was government intervention into private sector.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, thanks for your comment and the additional input. I'm glad you mentioned the impetus from the government to force lenders to make loans to people who could not afford them and hence were bad risks. I imagine, though, that some of my more liberal commentators would suggest that without such loans to un-creditworthy consumers, the economy would have collapsed years ago, because people would have been unable to buy houses and cars, and so the auto and construction industries would have suffered, in turn leading to a great depression and bread lines.

The pressure to continue an unlimited and greed driven economic growth cycle definitely came from the left.


krisskross 7 years ago

Thank you for that posts, guys. It really helps a lots to me. By the way, anybody knows some tips how to be financial intelligent and free? This is what I m looking forward to learn.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Krisskross, thanks for your comment. I'm afraid this isn't a financial advice column, though. I don't feel qualified to offer that kind of advice. The best I can muster are probably cliches: think for yourself, don't spend more than you have and follow your bliss!


Gerd 7 years ago

I am in Denmark and we are socialist here. No problems we have, all get along and live good lives. Why do people in America hate socialism? Because they do not understand it, maybe? We live good lives. Stop doing bad words to us like we some sort of evil men. We are good and we are happy. I hope you are happy with your lives like we are.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Gerd, welcome to the discussion. If you are happy with your socialism, then good for you. It does have a better chance of working in a smaller country. U.S. has over 300 million people and the odds are it would fail miserably here. Also, you don't know the end result of your socialism yet. Only history will tell that. Generally, when there are incentives for people to be lazy and not produce, then eventually the system will fail. This is usually followed by a dictatorship where the benevolent leader promises the poor to help them live better lives, which of course he does not. He simply oppresses. History has proved this many times over.

In the U.S. we value liberty and freedom over comfort and safety. We do so because we recognize that the best potentials of Man are met when He is free to explore and invent and provide for hisself and his family in the way he sees fit.

With all due respect, Denmark is not leading the world in technological development. Denmark does not have the world's best healthcare, drug manufacturers and hospitals. Denmark does not provide more food and aid than any country in the history of the world to other needy nations. Denmark does not come to the aid of Europe every time they allow themselves to devolve into a world war. These things are done by the United States of America. These things are done because free men unrestrained are able to reach much higher and greater than a pampered population. Again, no disrespect intended. If you all love your socialism, then you may have it. Relax, and coast through life. As for us, we shall lead the way to a more prosperous, free and safe world for all mankind.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Gerd, I agree with Calfcreek. If you are happy with your system, then good for you. Socialism works within a family unit. Socialism works for small communities of very like-minded people, especially if those who are not happy with it are allowed to leave, and those who stay are rewarded for their contributions. But it is hell on earth to be stuck in a socialist system that you never wanted with no way to leave and no real power to change things!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, I agree with most of what you said. The only problem is that we already have socialism in the U.S. We have it, and those of us who don't want it seem to have no choice in the matter. I was hoping with this hub to persuade the majority who voted for socialism not to impose it on those of us who don't want it.


opinion duck 7 years ago

If you were playing baseball on this hub, then you are playing on the wrong field. The real game is in another stadium. That stadium contains the government, Federal, State and Local.

While you argue about socialism, the government is living large on the people. Corporations may be evil and get away with many things, they are mortal as this economy has shown. Corporations have died, while others limp along crippled and many others have been wounded but they don't yet feel the pain.

The government on the other hand is more like a vampire. They cannot be killed by definition. They have in fact increased in size and they only lose workers by attrition. Each government worker, including Congress is a major economic burden to the country.

Early retirement of government workers is not a savings it is the burden. Their retirement is paying for the horse when they leave the barn. A new worker replaces them with a new burden for the people. It is like a pyramid scheme, that will eventually run out of tax payers to support the system. The government today is the largest in the history of the country. Retirement of government workers can be twenty years of service or less. Many government workers can retire at 55 while SS at full benefit is between 65 and 70.

For SS you can contribute your entire life and for some people that would be 50 years or more. But, you only get the same maximum benefits as others that could have put in only 10 years. If the SS worker dies before retirement they get nothing. If the SS worker continues to work after they go on SS, they still have to contribute to SS.

I will not compare SS to Government retirement plans in detail, but they are vastly different than those of SS. The government retirement, has a finite period of contribution and a guaranteed benefit and once retired they don't have to contribute. If they die before retirement, their beneficiary gets the money.

Check it out for yourself.

My point, the country cannot afford the benefits of health, retirement, and others. The people outside the government or unions don't have these benefits anymore. Many don't have jobs or homes.

If the government is going to screw around with healthcare and SS, then it should bring the government workers into the same arena.

The servant of the people are getting the benefits of the master, while the master *the people* are taking the role of the servant.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Social security is a type of insurance. Everybody pays into a fund but not everybody collects. Some die before they become eligible for benefits while others may collect for 30 years. Health care insurance works the same way. Everybody pays and only the people who get sick collect. The same goes for homeowners and automobile insurance. You pay the premiums to avoid a disaster that would bankrupt you. If you're lucky the disaster never comes because the premiums bought you peace of mind.

It's true that if health care costs continue to go up at the current rate the country will be bankrupted. Finding ways to control health care costs is imperative. Social Security requires minor adjustments to put it on a sound financial footing. Paying for Medicare and Medicaid is the big problem. So is paying for two unnecessary wars at once, and keeping U.S. troops stationed in 6o countries around the world and for star wars weapons to enrich military weapons contractors.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Opinion Duck, I agree with all that you have to say about social security, government workers, and the servant/master roles being reversed. The only thing we may disagree on is that you don't label all of these problems socialism, and I do. We have socialism in the US, and all of the examples you cited are part of it!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, social security COULD be a type of insurance, if it were VOLUNTARY. This is the point of my hub. Insurance is a type of gamble, and people are free to gamble -- with their own money. The moment it becomes mandatory, it's not insurance anymore. It's a tax.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

This is the problem. We all discuss this program or that. The real challenge is for the voting public to acquire real knowledge about government and it's inherent corruptness. If you ask me to vote for federal government program A, I will say no; I don't need to know the details. What I know is that government is inefficient and corrupt. Yes, corporations can be too. However, if government would get the hell out of the way, the corporations that are inefficient and corrupt would die. Government never dies except by bloody revolution. Kudos to opinion duck for pointing that out. If the free market had been allowed to work, Goldman Sachs and other corrupt banks would have failed and the people who perpetrated this madness on us would be broke. As it is, they are still in charge, sitting pretty and screwing more customers. Why? Government. Medicare is going broke but it will not be allowed to die. Why? Government. We will not cure health care till we get government out of it. But as opinion duck points out, they will never get out of it. Unless this country has an epiphany and radically realigns Congress with truly principled conservatives and patriots, we are doomed. It is just a matter of timing. How long will it take for government to control the entire economy? When will it all come crashing down? When will a dictator arise to tell us that it is all because capitalism doesn't work and only a benevolent dictator can fix things? History has shown this to happen EVERY time. It will happen again. It's simply a matter of time.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Aya, I don't believe that voluntariness is not an essential characteristic of insurance. Most insurance is voluntary but not Social Security nor automobile liability insurance which is required by most states. These taxes and government required insurance were established democratically by our elected representatives as an alternative to bread lines and beggars on the sidewalks of our cities as in Bangladesh. Social Security was not as necessary when the U.S. was an agrarian and small town society where relatives lived near by and children cared for their parents when they got old, and their parents continued to work as long as they were able. If you don't like these programs, start contributing to Ron Paul's next campaign. But that would be pouring your money down a rat hole.

Social Security is funded by a payroll tax paid half by employers and half by employees on the first $100,000 of income. Someone who makes $100,000 pays, as I recall, 7% or $7,000 FICA tax. Someone like the speculator who was paid $100 million by Goldman Sachs last year also pays $7,000 but his percentage rate is something like .000000007% (not sure how many zeros because my calculator doesn't go up to $100 million). Is this what you and the other anti-socialists are calling unfair,

confiscatory redistribution of income?

As you may know Social Security also pays benefits to widows and orphan children. Does that seem unreasonable to you?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, all the issues we discussed here are government corruption, including the issue of corporations. The government allows those who incorporate to enjoy limited liability, which an individual doing business is not allowed to have. Limited liability means that you can harm someone and not be responsible for paying for all the damage you cause. If you haven't done so yet, you might take a look at this:

http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Corporate-Entity

The complaint against corporations here is not that they are business entities, but rather that they are given special rights at the expense of others.

As for educating the voting public about government corruption, I'm not sure that's the issue. Everyone knows that the government is corrupt. The question most voters ask is: what's in it for me? How do you un-corrupt that?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, social security is a tax -- like all other taxes -- imposed on people against their will at the point of a gun. I don't believe that there is any justification for taking money from people by force from the fact that you got the permission of the majority of their neighbors to do so. One citizen has no right to dispose of another's liberty or property.

The premise of this hub is that maybe socialists are misunderstood and all they really want is a little security. Maybe they just want to know that they will be protected if something bad happens to them. Maybe all they really want is disability insurance, retirement benefits, and health insurance. Some of the hubbers writing in favor of socialism made it seem as if all that they wanted was this. So, I wrote this hub, to show such people that they can have all those things without forcing another person to go in on it with them.

But then you, and a few other commentators, came back and said that, no, that is not what you want. What you want is:

* to help the "less fortunate" by stealing from "the more fortunate"

* to create jobs by stealing from people's savings

* to take care of those who don't want to be secure against their will, for their own good.

When you stepped forward and made these arguments, you reinforced my earlier impression (prior to Hubpages) that socialists want to enslave people.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, about Ron Paul, don't you think you just revealed the bankruptcy of the democratic argument when you wrote this:

"If you don't like these programs, start contributing to Ron Paul's next campaign. But that would be pouring your money down a rat hole."

It's sort of like saying: "if you don't like being a slave, vote for Ron Paul, but your vote will be wasted, cause there's no chance he'll ever win!"

If there's no chance a libertarian could ever be elected, aren't you essentially arguing that a military overthrow of the current government is the only way to gain freedom?

Are you sure there is no peaceful way out of this problem? Couldn't I interest you in paying for your own disability and unemployment insurance instead? Don't you want to avoid a bloodbath?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, in a year when I only earned $400 from my law practice, I had to pay social security taxes. I've been poor, and I know what a high percentage they take. When you are self-employed, there's no employer contributing. It comes from your own pocket.

I'll never see that money again!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Why do you say that? Social Security has considerable support in both parties. Fortunately for everyone, Bush's effort to kill it didn't get very far.

http://hubpages.com/business/Social-Security-Refor...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, which two parties are you talking about? Do you imagine that I support one of the two?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

No. I imagine that you supported Ron Paul. My point was, is, that you shouldn't worry about Social Security not being able to pay benefits. It has sufficient support in the the Democratic and Republican parties to assure that whatever changes are required to keep it solvent and paying benefits will be adopted. The positions of the Libertarians and other splinter parties are irrelevant.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Aya, you seem to want to lump corporations and government together. In a real free market they are very different. If a corporation is truly corrupt and harms people the least that will happen is their shares will drop considerably. The worst is a lawsuit that could bankrupt them. It has happened many times. True their personal wealth is protected but there are many reasons for that as well. Even evil capitalists deserve protection. However, no one holds government accountable. Even if politicians lose their jobs, they become lobbyist and get even richer. Only the most blatant idiots ever get convicted (Jefferson of LA). The way that you 'uncorrupt' is to educate people. Governments are always corrupt therefore #1 keep centralized government small i.e. federal, #2 keep them as close as possible to make it easier to catch them, i.e. local and state. Our founding fathers explicitly stated this over and over. That is why I am so amused at how many people don't get it. It's not about this policy or that or this corporation or that. It's about diminishing the power of distant government. Always has been. Always will be. We forget that at our peril.

Thanks for the spirited discussion.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I get a print-out from the social security people every year, showing me how much I paid in and how many more years I would have to continue to pay in, in order to receive benefits someday. I do not currently have any earned income, and I haven't had in years. I don't expect to have any in the future. I live off an annuity and interest on savings.

According to social security, unless I start earning more money, I will never see the money I paid in. They are not planning to refund it. They gave it to somebody else long ago, and that's the end of the story.

You see, social security doesn't have to collapse for me to lose what I paid in. The system is not set up for people like me.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Well, you are atypical although I'm sure you're not alone in the situation you describe. I assumed from your comment that you were saying as I've heard from many young people that Social Security won't be there or will be broke by the time they reach retirement age.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, the problem is government. Whenever the government issues anyone a special dispensation to do wrong, then that, too, is part of the problem. Nobody should be shielded from the consequences of their wrongful acts. If you or I ran over a pedestrian, then we would be responsible for the consequences, even if it meant losing everything we own and going into debt to pay for it. If you or I hired someone else to drive for us, and that person ran over a pedestrian, we would still be responsible for the whole amount, minus what we could collect from the hireling. (Most hirelings are judgment proof, so that person would likely not contribute much.) If a corporation's hireling runs over a pedestrian, the investors, who own the corporation and make all its decisions collectively, are not personally accountable. This is one of the many examples of the corruption that results from government interference in business affairs.

The rationale for doing this? The public good. We need a strong economy, and people would not invest in a business they don't personally control if not shielded from its losses.

Whenever an injustice is defended by the "common good" rationale, you can be sure that the government is trying to pull a fast one.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, yes, I am atypical. And yes, there are probably others in a similar situation. When the government tries to provide for so-called typical people, then atypicals suffer. They also tend to create the "typical" person by making an environment that promotes "typical behavior."

You say, for instance, that maybe in an agrarian economy big brother wouldn't be required, but you support policies that prevent the economy from being agrarian. Clearly the goal here is to promote a situation that "requires" socialism.

Read the works of Rose Wilder Lane. She talks about how the Federal government worked to destroy the independent farmer.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Well, the McCormick Reaper and John Deere tractor were responsible for the revolution in agriculture, not farm subsidies. Farm subsidies and corporate farming came later and accelerated the demise of the family farm. By the way, I don't support farm subsidies paid mostly to huge corporate farms. I'm a fan of Michael Pollan, and I was appalled by the movie Food, Inc. which I saw two weeks ago.

Sometimes we make unwarranted assumptions about each other. I plead guilty, anyway. But I consider myself more open to constructive debate than some others who post rants on this forum--e.g, Shark and TheGreatAmerican. I try to be civil, but sometimes I lose my temper. I prefer discussions with people who are literate and civil as you are.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I, too, appreciate a civil discussion.

I read Michael Pollan and agree with some, but not all, of his reasoning concerning nutrition. The problem is that, as a Liberal, he supports the very economic policies that led to this situation.

I don't claim for myself the right to decide just how agrarian or industrialized the economy should be. If the government would stay entirely out of it, then I think that we would have whatever kind of economy our own resources and preferences would support.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Aya, while you usually give good arguments, I must say you are reaching on this one. Perhaps a sign this thread is dying from it's own weight. However, I'll give it another shot!

Many reasons may be given for corporate structure, however, the most important is the sheer size. We recognize that if you own a business with 100 people then you should be responsible for their behavior and actions. However, if you are running a corporation with 1,000's of employees worldwide it is ludicrous to think that you should be held liable for the actions of each person personally. That doesn't mean that the corporation is not liable and it is. Again, many corporations have been bankrupted by bad behavior that has been found out and exposed in court. This is a huge economic hit that is not protected by government. However, regulators have decided that the personal fortune of someone involved with a corporation should not be a pool from which to draw damages in the case of lawsuit. Nevertheless the suit can be brought and all of the assets of the corporation are fair game, which is a very substantial amount.

Your premise that corporations pay no penalty for bad behavior is simply unfounded. Now if you want to talk about how it's too easy to incorporate then we can probably agree. I don't defend government, I believe it all to be inefficient and corrupt. But I also don't attack business. We don't live in a perfect world and never will. If I have to choose between trusting my fortune and life to free market business interests and the government; I will pick business every time. At least they are somewhat concerned with me surviving to purchase again. The government could care less. If I die, they are going to tax my estate anyway.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfrcreek, there should be no penalty for being a stockholder of a large business as opposed to a small one, but there should be no special dispensation, either. Corporations aren't people. Only people can take responsibility for running a business. When stockholders vote for executives and neither the executives nor the stockholders suffer personally from the full brunt of bad decisions made by management, then responsibility is divorced from control.

That's when corruption rules.

Look, it may seem to you that this argument is anti-business. It's not! It's pro-business to demand a level playing field for all. When corporate management is shielded from the consequences of their actions, business is destroyed for everyone.


Hxprof 7 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

The issue with corporations is that 'it' is an individual. Now think about that-does this make sense? I don't think so. Now I've taken advantage of it myself to lower the odds of my being sued and losing personal property, but truly the entire set up is bogus-it doesn't make sense.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hxprof, I totally agree. I've got a family corporation, too. However, in the case of liability, I think they would probably end up "piercing the corporate veil" to show that we're not dealing with a collective entity, but rather an individual. So what it boils down to is that incorporation protects only those who are playing with other people's money. It's a way to amass a lot of capital in the hands of a few people -- but those few don't own it, they only manage it on behalf of others. When things go terribly wrong, nobody is responsible.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

I truly don't understand this bull dog mentality to the precept that corporations are protected from their actions. Corporations pay dearly all the time. Your idea that shareholders and officers should pay out of their personal incomes is frankly strange. If I donate to the Catholic church and some priest in Malaysia rapes a boy, should my personal income be used to pay off the victim? It's insane. Common sense gives that huge oranizations cannot defer liability to individual fortunes. The organization itself must be allowed to suffer to the point of extinction but that's it. Going after shareholders and managers fortunes is ill conceived.

Again, if you want to say that 'getting' inc. is too easy then we will be in agreement. Incorporation should be reserved for very large companies spanning several cities, states or countries.

Now, shall we talk about tort reform and how lawyers are parasites that kill the beast they feed on? If it weren't for lawyers we wouldn't need lawyers.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, I'm very glad that you gave the example about the Catholic church and a priest who rapes a boy. This is a good place to start to discuss some of the different concepts that you are conflating.

When someone makes a donation to the Catholic Church (or any other charity) that donation is a gift. You do not get part ownership of the Catholic Church. You do not receive dividends. You do not share in the profits. And most importantly of all, you don't get a vote!

People who give other people gifts are not held responsible for how the recipients use the gifts.

Now, is the Catholic Church responsible if a priest rapes a boy? You bet it is! Why? Because the priest is a servant of the Church, comes under the control of the Church and is subject to disciplinary action by the Church. The Doctrine of Respondeat Superior applies. The priest is treated as an instrumentality of the Church. Of course, the priest is also personally responsible, but what the Church cannot collect from the priest, it must pay itself!

This is true for all of us. We are responsible for our servants, but not for people we gave a gift to.

You seem to think that it's good to have large -- even huge business entities -- and that allowing them to exist is a goal worthy of shielding them from normal responsibility. My point is the opposite. A large organization can exist only so long as its owners take responsibility for it.


calfcreek profile image

calfcreek 7 years ago from Republic of Texas

Hi again Aya,

I'm indifferent about large corporations. I certainly don't believe any are too large to fail. They should be allowed to fail and pay the price for too much greed.

I could argue that one does get something from the Church but I won't go there. The only point was to realize that huge entities require a different structure. That's just common sense not politics or economic theory.

BTW, I notice it says you're from the Ozarks. Where 'bouts?

I was raised in Fort Smith AR and spent alot of time exploring the Ozarks! I love Lee Creek.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Calfcreek, my point about large corporations is that they are composed of owners who are all too human, no matter how numerous. They shouldn't be allowed to collectively pass the buck, just because there are so many of them.

You may get all sorts of spiritual benefits from giving a gift -- to a Church or to an individual -- but what you don't get is ownership or control.

I'm living in Missouri, about two hours' drive from Springfield. I wasn't born or raised here, but this is the place where I've chosen to settle.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Goodness! This took a long time to read with all the comments.

"If the government is going to screw around with healthcare and SS, then it should bring the government workers into the same arena." I totally agree with this statement...nothing to add.

"The servant of the people are getting the benefits of the master, while the master *the people* are taking the role of the servant."

Another good statement regarding the role of government in this hub by one of the comments left. It is true that government workers get many more benefits than those of us not in government. And why is that so? Do they deserve to pay less and get more just because they have gotten into that system? In other words...are they better than the rest of us and so deserve more?

They should have to pay into the same system as the rest of us and draw the same rewards. This applies to social security AND healthcare.

As to social security, if people started their own savings accounts when young and regularly added income they would have far greater amounts ready for their retirement than what they will get from social security. And the money would be theirs to pass on to others if they wished. But will people save if left to their own decision making? Probably not as we have seen. Not only have they not saved...but have purchased so many things on credit that as a whole, they are a small reflection of what our Federal and State governments have been doing to the detriment of everyone. Sooner or later some personal responsibility should be factored in to this. "Big Brother" cannot adequately solve all problems...nor should it have to do that.

Obviously there is a place for government...but it should be small and lean.

I find myself agreeing with much of what you, Calfcreek and opinionduck had to say with regard to the subject of this hub. It meandered a bit with all of the comments.

Suffice it to say that a less powerful Federal government would be far superior to that which is currently occuring.

And businesses should be allowed to fail. We cannot continue to prop up failing businesses. Others WILL take their place and a heathier overall climate will ensue.

Cash for Clunkers is an example of an obscene use of government money. Supposedly it is helping lagging auto sales thereby employing people. Those old cars are destroyed. What about the employment of used car salesmen and auto mechanics? What about the people who (even with the government money as incentive) cannot afford to purchase a new car and need used cars in which to drive? That used car supply is being diminished because of this government "intervention."

Why should the government stop with cars? How about propping up sales of newer refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners, or hula hoop manufacturers? This can get absolutely ridiculous!

Government to a large extent should stay OUT of private business.

You and everyone who commented certainly gave me a lot to think about. Thanks!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Peggy W, thanks for your comment. I agree with all of your points. Thanks for adding the discussion of Cash for Clunkers. Anytime people are encouraged to spend money on new things, rather than refurbishing the old, not only does this affect the economic well-being of those in the used goods sector, it also affects the environment and leads to wasting of valuable non-renewable resources.

I think that the fact people have not been accumulating savings on their own is influenced by government actions. If not for social security deductions from salaries, people would have more money to save. If not for government incentives for spending, people would be more inclined to save. Government intervention helped to create the low savings rate among Americans.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Wrt corporations, economists say that limited liability for corporation stockholders was an important innovation in the law that promoted the accumulaton of capital and investment in big projects and contributed to growth in productivity and incomes in the U.S. and other western countries.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Yes, Ralph, that is what they say. It may even be partially true. Accumulation of capital in big projects is the hallmark of capitalism. It is not, however, a requirement of free enterprise. People who favor socialism also tend to favor the accumulation of large amounts of capital in collective hands. Both capitalism and socialism allow the government to manipulate the economy for purposes of rapid industrialization.

A free market doesn't favor any particular outcome. It just allows things to develop naturally.

Perhaps you are starting to see the difference between capitalism and the free market?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Well, industrialization and capitalism have their pluses and minuses. One of the pluses is that they have produced an unprecedented increase in living standards in some countries. Life expectancy has increased markedly, working hours have been reduced, etc.

Yes, I'm beginning to get your drift about the "free market," and I don't think I like it.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, I'm trying to explain to you that neither you nor I should get to decide how the lives of other people unfold. Every time the government gets involved in the economy, the result is injustice. Industrialization should develop naturally, at a rate that our combined individual choices determine. It should not be revved up at the expense of some for the benefit of others.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Well, I couldn't disagree more, based on my experience working for a major corporation, for the federal government and the state government. I could go on for a long time citing examples of where government intervention resulted in justice, not injustice. I perssonally participated in the process of eliminating racial and sex discrimination in the company for which I worked, a company that in 1960 which had zero black salaried employees and almost no women employees other than secretaries or non-skilled factory workers.

Any student of the industrial revolution will tell you that industrialization did occur naturally. Of course it did benefit some more than others. However, there was considerable benefit overall, to society. One of the principal beneficiaries was well described in this poem by Edin Markham

The Man with the Hoe

Edwin Markham

God made man in His own image

In the image of God He made him.--Genesis

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans

Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,

The emptiness of ages in his face,

And on his back the burden of the world.

Who made him dead to rapture and despair

A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,

Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?

Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?

Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?

Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave

To have dominion over sea and land;

To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;

To feel the passion of Eternity?

Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns

And markt their ways upon the ancient deep?

Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf

There is no shape more terrible than this--

More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed--

More filled with signs and portents for the soul--

More packt with danger to the universe.

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!

Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him

Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?

What the long reaches of the peaks of song,

The rife of dawn, the reddening of the rose?

Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;

Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;

Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,

Plundered, profaned and disinherited,

Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,

A protest that is also prophecy.

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,

Is this the handiwork you give to God,

This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quencht?

How will you ever straighten up this shape;

Touch it again with immortality;

Give back the upward looking and the light;

Rebuild in it the music and the dream;

Make right the immemorial infamies,

Perfidlous wrongs, Immedicable woes?

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,

How will the future reckon with this Man?

How answer his brute question in that hour

When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?

How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--

With those who shaped him to the thing he is--

When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,

After the silence of the centuries?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, only a slave is slave to the wheel of labor. Freemen don't think that way. Freemen enjoy their work, and they use their minds as well as their bodies.

You mentioned that industrialization created a shorter work week. That's a fallacy, too. Who got that shorter work week? Not anyone who is independent. When you work for yourself, you don't look at the clock and say: "Oh, quitting time!" and then blithely go off to participate in some meaningless recreational activity, only to clock in to work the next morning bleary eyed, watching the clock all day until you can clock out again.

People who own their business don't treat it that way. They work long hours, because they care about the outcome of their work. They know that it doesn't matter if they worked hard. It only matters if the job got done! This is true of professionals, and shopkeepers and farmers alike. It has nothing to do with your level of education or your field of endeavor. It has to do with whether you have a stake in the work and can make executive level decisions.

Industrialization took people who had work that required both labor and thought and turned them into automatons. The shorter work week was necessary to preserve their sanity, not their muscles.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Too bad somebody doesn't invent a time machine so you could travel back several hundred years and become a serf in Medieval England.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, why would you wish that on anybody? Haven't I made it clear to you that there is a very big difference between an independent farmer and a serf?

The real point here is that it's not what you do that determines whether you are happy. A serf and a farmer may perform many of the same tasks, but one of them is a slave and the other is free. The difference between a free man and a slave is not the tasks they perform, but whether they have any choice in how and when to perform them!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, you misunderstand my point. The material circumstances of a person are not as important as the choices he has. The difference between a free man and a slave is not the size of his house, the amount of money in his bank account or what sort of work he does. The difference is that a free man gets to choose what he does and when he does it and how he does it.

The difference between an independent farmer and a serf is how they feel -- not what they do!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Well, you seem to me to be yearning for the "good old days" of our former agrarian, small town business society. And I notice that you live in a small town in Mississippi. Have you found it there?

I would be interested in your reaction to Gretchen Morgensen's article which I linked above.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, it's Missouri, not Mississippi. And, yes, we are trying for a measure of self-sufficiency. We are raising laying hens.

I don't have time today to read the article. I just published a hub on my research with Bow that you might find interesting.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

I'll check it out.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ralph, thanks!


Don Quixote 6 years ago

I've got a great idea!

Why don't we all spend endless, pointless hours on the internet quibbling over whether socialism or kapitalism is preferable?

We can do this while hoping to make a few pennies from google adsense with inane little "hubs" about assorted, inconsequential trivia while google makes billions thanks to our addiction. Huzzah for "free" enterprise!

Whilst we're all preoccupied with this profoundly paramount pastime, enthralled with american idol and dancing with the stars and performing our patriotic duty of unrestrained consumerism, a few thousand fanatically committed individuals, unified through their shared, unadulterated psychopathology, will become the undisputed masters of Earth.

In due course, this minute fraction of the human race, utterly dominating the remaining billions, will finally succeed in rendering the planet unfit for human habitation, thereby ensuring the extinction of Homo sapiens. All available data seem to point to this to being their specific, if completely mad, intent.

Such would be most fitting, inasmuch as a parasite is naturally predisposed to destroy its host and consequently itself.

The following is rarely given in its entirety. More's the pity

"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? I suppose this depends somewhat upon the size of the soul. I think there are cases where the trade would do."

Josh Billings


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Josh, how does forcing people to buy health insurance at gun point fit into your plan?

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