If, by "unfettered", you mean absent of checks and balances (susceptible to uncontrolled corruption), then yes it probably is typically a criminal enterprise. Because it's the love of money that's the root of all evil.
But as far as capitalism that's legally monitored, etc., then capitalism is the best and freest way to live.
In my humble opinion...
Capitalism is the closest political form to the rules of mother nature. The laws of nature are that the strong survive and prosper, preying on the weaker. This includes the vegatarian animals as well, because they prey on the weaker and almost defenseless life forms called plants. The checks and balances of this system are that when a predator is extremely good at what it does and thereby creates an imbalance, one of the following things happen...
1 They exterminate their prey and subsequently die out do to lack of a food source(overpopulation)
2 They devolve to a lazier, less efficient version and become less good at what they do. Soon to find a new predator has taken their place in the circle of life (food chain). Sometimes this new predator is another of their own species.
3 They resort to cannibalism in order to survive.
The checks and balances in Capitalism are the laws that governments put in place to keep any 1 'predator' from becoming an imbalance to the system (monopolies). Once the upper slots are filled and these are a finite number of slots, in order for a new 'predator' to rise to the level of these slots that new predator must either find new previously undiscovered prey(or resources) or they must take the slot of an older predator, replacing that older predator.
Problems arrise when Governments attempt to intervene on behalf of these older dying predators (obsolete companies) and do things such as 'Bailouts'.
Nature says for every begining there is an ending, obsolete predators should be allowed to die and be replaced by newer and better predators. Governments should not create new laws to protect old and obsolete predators, nor should they 'bailout' these entities. If their time has come, then their time has come.
When Governments start attempting to protect obsolete predators the new predators must then attack that Government, hence the current state of affairs in the United States. It has become apparent that in order to become one of the 'Protected Obsolete' one must break the law and become a criminal, or remain less than what they were created by nature.
I think unbridled capitalism can become a criminal enterprise. If allowed to operate without any restrictions the greed and bottom line can rule the methods.
Funny accounting and criminal or enethical activities can come into play when money is the only object and rules are thrown out the door.
If there is not competition then it is not capitalism.
I would agree because the only place unfettered capitalism exists is in the black market or in private transactions between people though those may still be legal. The government gets involved in everything and skews markets usually to serve some lobby that happens to contribute to their campaigns!
Before commenting I'd like to know what "unfettered" means. Unfettered anything is usually a bad idea -- all human activities require some kind of rules or regulations .. capitalism is no different.
Even very, very good people need to behave badly to succeed in laissez faire capitalism. Which is why it is a mercy for the decent when governments intervene and level the playing field for the wicked and the not so wicked.
Its never good when government gets involved in anything. If the playing field needs leveling it should occur with the people who are incapable of surviving without the government.
In the Uk when the factory system was first established, abuse of every kind was the norm. eg in large scale bread manufacture iron filings were often added to the dough. Iron filings were cheap and added a lot of weight. People died of course but if you wanted to succeed in bread manufacture what choice was there?
The same thing is happening in China now. How does a factory owner involved in the chemical industry justify removing heavy metals from factory effluent? He might notice the dead river, the fisherman who no longer have a livelihood and large numbers of deformed children in towns down stream but how can he do anything about it if the costs make it impossible to compete?
This is one of the responsibilities of government. It compels people to bear the the true costs of their endeavors, rather than shifting the cost to others. This also makes it possible for intelligent and morally inclined people to be involved in business without vomiting.
There are people who believe in doing the right thing without having the government all over them. They're called adults
How long do you think the companies who put iron filings in their dough stayed in business? Especially when people found out what they did? If you behave in a criminal manner, your customers will abandon you. Without customers, you go bankrupt. It's called a self-correcting system.
Let's look at government regulated businesses. Look at the housing crisis. It was perpetuated by legislation that forced banks to make loans to people who could not pay them back, all in the name of no being considered a racist. The banks were given an out, they were "allowed" to "donate" money to "community organizing groups" instead of committing financial suicide.
In addition the government turned on the cash flow taps which caused a housing bubble whose implosion has not only lost people their homes, but also has destroyed countless jobs and livelihoods.
By it's very nature, the amount of damage people can do in a laissez-faire system is very limited compared to the damage they can do in charge of a government program or agency. After all capitalists have to be concerned with the needs of their customers. They need customers to stay in business. All politicians need to do is bribe the right number of voters to get reelected.
PS How badly do you think this cadmium in jewelery hurt China's prestige? When Wal-mart refuses to carry some of your merchandise, well that sends a pretty strong signal. A few more incidents like this and it won't matter how cheap Chinese goods are, people will refuse to buy them. It's that self-correcting thing again.
As with any business that goes for short term large gains when found doing something unethical, they discontinue under the tainted name and start up again under a new corporation the next. File a loss against the old business and essentially make it a wash.
I am sorry but the marketplace is full of scam artists that loan you money then take your house with impossible interest, sell you a piece of crap product and never give your money back against the guarantee, sell you a extended warranty only to find out it doesn't cover what you thought it would.
There are of course many and mostly very reputable companies that stand by their word or product and have nothing to fear for regulations or monitoring. But waiting for the marketplace to correct the ones that are not is too costly and foolhardy to ignore.
That's because our courts have been adulterated. Courts no longer protect the liberty and property of the citizenry. With properly functioning courts the simple act of changing the name of a company and continuing operations would not fly. That's a court problem, not a problem with the market.
You're argument are against companies that "sell a piece of crap product" and "don't give refunds". Are you ever going to buy from them again? How long do you think they'll be in business if they drive away all of their custom? Self-correcting.
Look at how the banking industry screwed the taxpayer over. Sure politicians are acting big and bad and trying to get "our" money back, but they won't succeed. This is what happens when you elect people who thing you can get something for nothing by soaking the rich and who never let a good crisis go to waste.
Pure political rhetoric if you think capitalism can cure that issue. The politicians are not the answer only the enabler. Good oversight can be accorded when the emphasis is towards cooperation and not covering for one another.
Give me one example of good government oversight.
Your country was stopped, with taxpayer money, from going the way of the Soviet Union. It was the lack of government oversight that allowed the Wall Street playboys to put the economy on the cliffedge in the first place.
Oh yeah, the Fed and Community Reinvestment Act had nothing to do with the housing bubble. No matter what we did the Soviet Union was going to crumble. We wasted all that money during the Cold War to guard against a phantom menace.
The fact remains that without government intervention the US economy was done.
Without government intervention it wouldn't be this bad.
Exactly how did government intervention bankrupt AIG, for instance?
How did putting the US citizen in debt for the continuation of a private business benefit us exactly?
I am in total agreement that the banks should have been left to deal with their own mess. My point in this thread today has been that capitalist or free market preachers are first in line when there's a government handout to be had. So which is it: free markets or government oversight? They can't have it both ways.
If the government is willing to give you money to save your business what would you do? The sad part is this happened with government oversight and government complicity!
I AM a capitalist and free market advocate. Kudos on using the terms correctly, by the way. I was adamantly opposed to any sort of handout. So it's not really accurate to say that those who accepted handouts are believers in the free market. Their words and actions don't match up.
Tex, my argument against accepting aid would be that you should have seen the underlying economics of the bubble were rotten. Everyone wanted the party to keep going and forgot about the fundamentals. One of the first rules of business is to keep the fundamentals in mind. If you forget them, well you get what we had a couple of years ago.
It's not over yet, so it's too early to say that it was stopped. I tend to think those interventions did not stop the collapse, but postponed and amplified it. We'll talk in a couple of years, if you are still around. I might as well change my opinion by that time, if it gets proven that collapse was stopped. But I don't hold my breath.
I did not say we had any I am only theorizing as you are. The problem is not with the government but with the corrupt government we currently have. Merely taking them out of the loop would only encourage the capitalist to take advantage of the system as they have shown they are already willing to do. Give more freedoms to the liars who toppled Wall Street and the business' that employ the lobbyists to gain special favor is ludicrous.
Hi LDT, missed you here.
You know, I think you just hit on the point that these people don't understand. They don't believe anything can be self-correcting, despite of all the natural evidence to the contrary. Or rather they are scared that it might be not self-correcting. And act out of that fear.
Look, even those who defend the free market, immediately correct themselves saying that it has to be regulated LOL. You can't get through this fear, they don't hear you....
Capitalism is certainly not a self-correcting system. Without government intervention all corporations would prey on the helpless in society until there is nothing left to cultivate. We have not developed far past fuedalism.
You don't hear my fear because it doesn't exist. What you might be hearing is the empty clang of a morally bankrupt economic system that would have collapsed had it not been for a rescue funded by the "socialists" who are now running your government.
Empty rhetoric. Watch it collapsing, the major collapse phase just started two days ago. So much for socialist rescue LOL. And wider, so much for futile attempts to alter the natural equilibrium of economic forces. Just for the record, it is not free market collapsing, it is morally and financially bankrupt regulatory system and its products that is collapsing.
Misha, I don't want to get into a heated argument with you, but you know that what you are saying is completely false. I am astonished at the number of people who gobble up the drivel fed to them by the very people who are destroying their lives. If your personal life is satisfactory then I'm happy for you. But that mindless chatter you are trying to foist on me today is of little solace to the people in your country who are about to lose their homes while the investment bankers are helping themselves to billions. Or the families who will lose a loved one today because they don't have the money to get the help they need from your draconian health care system.
There is more to life than financial profit, brother. The value of community is obviously not a subject that folks who talk your talk have learned a lot about.
I'm sorry to be rude, but I do not like to see educated people like you spreading a mindset that has long ago been proven to be false.
I agree, and I think we will see 'we the people' doing much more 'bartering system' type things to cut out the governments control and the inability to pay for goods and services (because of the low wage practices) those same low wage practices will fuel this trend... This trend in turn will cause Wal-Mart and other similar companies to change or go out of business.
That sounds suspiciously like something I said to you last nite...lol
Just ask yourself who has profited from Walmart and there in is the fear of what is. What you have to ask yourself is unfettered capitalism the answer to unfettered government. Neither is the answer and some attention has to be paid to the loss of jobs Walmart has caused and will not stop with what they already have. To become the biggest and thereby eliminating all competition is their only goal at this point. Using their present gameplan where does that leave the American worker? If allowed to continue Walmart will become the company store for America and be able to charge whatever it wants as the result.
How's it going Misha? Yeah I needed to take some time off, read a few really good history books and get my head on straight. I find it's much better to take a break from time to time from the great fight of our time.
What we have is a massive ignorance of history. I'm continually surprised at what I find with each new book I read. I've just finished a history of the decline of the Roman empire which was very interesting and a history of the Old West of the United States. It's chiche now, but things really do repeat themselves. And it's very interesting when you read about the beginnings of what became known as the Progressive movement. Very interesting stuff indeed.
I believe your right to a point, once a company is so large and sooo good at it's job that it can stomp out any and all competition before it becomes a threat (by buying all new competitors patents or using the vast stores of money to bribe politicians etc) then they circumvent the self-correcting nature and become a monopoly that is outside the checks and balances (above the law) so to speak...
Once you start talking about bribing politicians, you are no longer talking about a free market, but the beginnings of a controlled market. Look at Microsoft as an example. Some people complain that they are a monopoly. That is incorrect. A monopoly is a government granted license for a favored group to engage in an activity. Cable companies are monopolies, cell phone companies are monopolies. Microsoft is not. What they do is make it easy for just about everyone to use a computer. Unix, Linux, BSD, none of these systems do that, so that's why people don't use them. If someone came along tomorrow and made it easy to use Linux and priced it less than Windows, you'd see people adopt Linux in droves.
Not to mention that MS does have competitors like Google. They're trying to play catch up now, but at one time there was a resistance in their corporate culture against search engines. Oops. In the end MS can't force you to use their products and that is what keeps them from becoming evil. A government has the power to incarcerate or kill you. No company has that kind of power.
They do it all the time...they simply use the Government to get it done... No politician in Office got into office without the money of Big Companies, do you really think those corporations give that money away without 'Owning' the Candidate...
So when government begins interfering in the market for the benefit of their supporters, how does that in any way fulfill the mandate of the government to provide for the defense of the nation and protection against fraud? Don't they then become perpetrators of fraud?
One other thing I don't think you consider is that the government can incarcerate, steal or kill from business owners as well as the general public. What do you think is behind the bank tax? What we have in this country is one great giant mafia. People with means are force to spend money on politics so they can try to keep what little they're allowed to keep, while politicians dole out stolen money in order to keep getting reelected. How does this in any way serve the people of the country?
If we forced the government out of the economy, there would be no big business. There would no longer be an incestuous relationship between those who govern and those who produce. That is the only way to keep corruption out of government. Keep the government out of the economy.
and keep the economy(business) out of the Government.
If big business really owned government, why is there any talk about "healthcare reform", "cap and trade" and other things that would totally destroy the economy of this country? If big business really did control things, don't you think they would have the power to keep these things out of the media and out of the public consciousness?
There are many trusts and foundations set up by wealthy people before their deaths.
These trusts also have a lot of money in the game.
Smoke and Mirrors...
You can't let the peasants KNOW they are peasants, or they will revolt and start a new government. They (Big Business)keep the people ignorant and confused BY having 'Talk' about "..."healthcare reform", "cap and trade" and other things..."
And economy of this country hasn't been destroyed???
Oh please. You're not ascribing these guys more power than the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Not letting the peasants know they are peasants. The only way you can do that is in a police state. And even then you can't do it for long.
No the economy hasn't been destroyed. People still buy and sell, goods still move across the nation and over oceans. The economy will collapse when people start spending money on anything to divest themselves of increasingly worthless dollars. Do yourself a favor and read up on Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. That's about as bad as it gets.
I think your a very smart person, but in some things a bit nieve. People will always buy and sell to get what they have to have, until they can't, do to lack of funds, then they will steal because they are forced to.
The economy will collapse when people can no longer buy what they need and are forced to steal it. When a tree dies it sometimes takes up to a year before you see the first sign that it is a dead tree, because of the vast stores in the tree. The giantic economies are much like that phenomenon, when the signs are obvious it is already too late.
I'm not sure it is too late for the U.S. economy, but drastic changes have to be made to save it. The first step is to stop trying to fix and financially aid pathetic forms of Government the world over. The second is to make them fight their own wars, or pay us for fighting them. If not...
...Welcome to the United Corporations of America...
Thanks for the compliment, but I don't think you know of many examples of collapsed economies. One thing you are correct about is an increase in crime. That's one of the first things to spike during an economic crisis. That's one of the things we should have taken away from the 1970's in this country.
Germany in the 20's and Zimbabwe today are good examples of what I'm talking about. What we're really talking about are two things. Control of money and the use of tax money to buy votes. Eliminate those two things and you won't see the amount of corruption surrounding businesses and government. All we need to do is end the Fed and repeal the 16th Amendment. That would end the most flagrant abuses of power and bring sanity and rationalism back into politics.
If you don't consider the health care insurance companies big business then I would say your argument holds water. But with the likes of Lieberman and other bought politicians doing their bidding you have no case to offer.
Not exactly what I think. I would speculate that if not for government intervention, any enterprise of that size would collapse under its own weight, thus freeing the playing field for others. Anyone working in any big organization knows how wasteful and inefficient they are. They stay afloat only because of artificial environment created by governments IMO.
When the profit potential of a product is no longer there due to an expired patent, think pharmaceuticals, the companies bottom line is more of a factor in that drugs continued availability than it's use. The real problem here is there are more and more older drugs turning out to be good for far more than their original creation. But we won't see them again because they are no longer profitable.
This is certainly a case where government could do a lot more good than ANY free market enterprise.
You're crazy. Any pharmaceutical company would give their left arm to find that a now generic drug could be used for some other condition. That means more customers, which means more money, which means more profit. Given a choice between spending billions to develop an iffy new drug or repackaging an old drug to market to new customers, the repackaging wins every time. Seriously, do you even thing about this sort of thing at all or do you just make this up as you go along? Show me one instance of a drug company refusing to market an "old" drug in "new" packaging.
I can do the opposite. Bristol-Meyers markets Abilify in the US. The FDA approved it for use in the treatment of schizophrenia in 2002. It has since been approved to treat bipolar disorder, clinical depression and recently was approved to be used as an adjunct medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder. That doesn't quite fit your vision of drug companies make one shot medicines. Indeed because the very cost of making new drugs is so high, there is an intense push to find drugs that treat multiple disorders. Like I said, do you even thing about this stuff, or do you just make it up as you go along?
I only scanned this "back-and-forth" regarding pharmaceuticals, so maybe I didn't catch it all, but I will say this: I imagine that competition for the market as well as profit motive have been responsible for the development of many useful, even breakthrough, drugs.
No argument from me there (though I haven't thought about it too deeply, I must admit).
However, some illnesses are simply unprofitable.
A cure for malaria has not been found in part because most people with malaria live on the local equivalent of ten dollars a day or less, and live in places where the distribution chain is weak or non-existent.
The only way then to cure malaria is to fund university research, and this money is not going to come from profit-driven sources... because it is not going to give you much or any return on your money.
So, as I have written already several times today, there are certain times when the market does the best job, and certain times when it needs to be replaced (or maybe supplemented) by something else.
What makes me nuts is, as I have said, the extreme positions... everything run by the state, or everything run by the market... again, it should be a case-by-case matter.
We have a cure for malaria. It's called DDT. That's what eradicated malaria in places like Florida at the turn of the last century. But because some environmentalists care more about "the planet" than people, they've consigned millions to die in Africa by banning DDT. Interestingly enough the ban on DDT came out about the same time the "Zero Population Growth" nutbags started getting press. They knew that advanced nations were declining in population, but the parts of the world which were increasing in population were those areas still using subsistence farming methods. Rather than uplift these people, they have been consigned to a slow death by disease and starvation.
Case by case always leads down a slippery slope. Medicaid and Medicare are a perfect example. Back in the 1960's politicians knew they couldn't get everything they wanted passed, so they settled for Medicare/Medicaid. Ever since they've been pushing for an expansion of that system. So you really can't have a case by case basis, sooner or later it all becomes government run.
Patents expire. And once that happens the drug is a ripe candidate for a generic replacement. Generic replacements, especially if the drug is hard to manufacture or requires special steps in its manufacture simply disappear.
One drug I researched recently is over 100 years old having been developed by Paul Erlich. Recently this compound was discovered to be effective against cancer. Bet we never see it though; no profit potential.
Drug creation and distribution should NEVER rest solely in the hands of free enterprise.
Or are you crazy enough to believe that "benevolent" business will risk stock-holder ire in order to do something beneficial without the pesky bottom line being a consideration?
I agree with you. I recently patented something and found that the true power to deal with these large corporations is that piece of paper and how it stands in their way of making the profits they want. The funny thing is that the exclusivity they so much desire is to eliminate the competition and if that is not there they really lose interest. As one executive explained it, no one in business wants to be an also run provider of products.
You really think that regulatory agencies protect you. That's insane. Much like Treasury and the SEC being filled with ex-bankers, the FDA is filled with...wait for it...ex-drug company employees. Who do you think has their loyalty. The faceless mass of Americans, or the people they used to work for?
Do you know why Amantadine isn't used as a psychotropic medicine? Because the FDA hasn't done any trials on it. Why not? Because then it would erase billions of dollars from the bottom line of drug companies. Remember all those ex-drug company people that now work for the FDA? This is about the protection of drug companies bottom lines, not the safety and effectiveness of drugs.
So yeah, I'd much rather have the free market determine things. After all, you can't force people to choose from a limited number of treatments if there is nothing like the FDA.
Very true. Another drug that you never hear about any more because the patent ran out is Proscar which has been prescribed safely for years for enlarged prostate (BPH-benign prostate hypertrophy). It can now be replaced by the generic finasteride. Now there are no more TV ads or any ads for Proscar. Other drugs that are under patent are advertised. The problem is that a huge study was conducted by the National Cancer Institute which was published a year or two in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that Proscar/Finasteride taken by men over 55 produced a 25 percent reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer. This is one of the best kept medical secrets. Why? because there is little or no profit for Merck left in Proscar. Instead there are TV ads promoting other BPH prescription drugs which are not prostate cancer preventives. Somehow it seems to me that there is something wrong with a system that produces this result.
Now go look up Amantadine. It can cure the underlying cause of schizophrenia and biopolar disorder, but you won't see a single thing mentioned about this in US drug facts.
Amantadine is thirty years old. No patent. Germany has had a 60% success rate of CURING (not simply treating) schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in humans infected with Borna Disease Virus, but not one word about a cure for either is mentioned in this country.
Why? Is it because a cure would cut off the funds generated by the virtual rainbow of symptomatic drugs that do little more than provide temporary relief?
I once heard an old Chinese Daoist proverb that goes something like this: 'everything is a vice if taken to the extreme, even virtue'. I think that applies to capitalism
A criminal can be described as "criminal" only when he has some kind of legal restrictions, which he never respects. But in some countries like USA, it seems that there are no restrictions for industrial or financial companies. Without any legal restrictions, no one is a criminal. It only applies to those who have some sincerity and conscience. One becomes a criminal only when his heart says that he has done something illegal.
Believers in capitalism are quick to betray their principles when there's a government handout on the horizon.
They aren`t supposed to! They are supposed to serve their customers, their employees, and their shareholders and if they do that, the "common good" is served. Of course it all depends on who is in charge of defining what the "common good" is!
Sorry, Poppa, I thought my response would have appeared directly underneath your comment. Very quickly, I think the common good is succinctly defined when your neighbour is out of work through no fault of his own.
And that,s Walmart`s fault? Walmart employees more Americans than anyone and contributes greatly to the tax base . I could also argue that if my neighbor is out of work it might be no fault of his own but it might be because he voted for a democrat! Also his lack of employment hardly constitutes a common good.
I made no connection between your unemployed neighbour and WalMart. They were two different thought lines. However, your reference to political views seems to be somewhat irrational given the conversation we'd been having. I've no wish to get into that.
Good reference to the statistics about the numbers Walmart employs. You are correct in that they are very large and employ many people but are people able to make a living wage from their practices?
In the United States Wal-Mart is more than just a participant in the low-wage economy: it is the most important single beneficiary of that economy. It uses its economic and political power to extend the scope of the low- wage economy and threatens to extend its business model into other sectors of the economy, undermining the wages of still more workers.
The argument that Wal-Mart inflicts significant
harm on the small ‘‘mom and pop’’ business
sector of the U.S. economy is so widely
accepted that one of the paper’s opening quotes
is actually from a pro–Wal-Mart article, which
goes on to discuss the merits and efficiency
enhancements that result, claiming that ‘‘[i]n
a free market, large suppliers of nearly everything
will drive most small suppliers out of business.’’
Even President Clinton’s former
Secretary of Labor, Robert B. Reich, writes
in the New York Times that Wal-Mart will turn
‘‘main streets into ghost towns by sucking business
away from small retailers.
Article: http://www.be.wvu.edu/divecon/econ/sobe … almart.pdf
The big corporations use their influence to drive the competition out and eventually control what they pay their employees without a care for their welfare.
Unless you consider the common good to be making money that goes into employees paychecks...
Unregulated corporations will never serve the common good. They often don't even serve the interests of their own stockholders. Instead they serve the narrow interest of the top management by over-paying themselves, concocting heads we win, tails you lose compensation plans which are supposed to align their interest with that of the stockholders, and then they cook the books or back-date their options to maximize their pay. If the house of cards collapses they leave with huge golden parachutes.
Just about anything bad sounds like unions to you, Tex. Are you familiar with the big AIG bailout and the bonuses the American taxpayers paid to their executives and the money that was passed through AIG to Goldmine Sachs?
The bonuses that the Obama administration approved then acted as if they didn't know what was going on until they were outed for approving them, those bonuses? Business can enter into any contract agreement they want, if the Government gives them our money who is at fault? I am more concerned with the rampant corruption in the labor unions than I am a CEO getting the money owed him!
Unions aren't always on the side of the angels, but compared to the current crop of greedy, lying CEOs they're pikers.
How many think WalMart makes a positive contribution to the system of free enterprise?
This is the quintensential example of capitalism gone amuck. The desire to drive prices to their lowest has resulted in so many jobs lost to China and other third world countries in a drive to gain profits and not care in the least about a livable wage for the workers.
Lousy benefits and limited wages is what is championed by the management for ever increasing profits.
The funny part is that by driving many Americans out of their jobs they expect us to have any money to buy their wares.
WalMart squeezes the life out of everything it touches, even its Chinese suppliers. Given enough time, it will squeeze the life out of the communities in which it operates and thereby cause its own demise from a lack of customers. MalMart is a blight on the economic system of whatever country it enters.
Right now the lack of concern for the common good is represented by the Wall Street execs filling their bellies full of government money while the average citizens are suffering a demoralizing stream of bankruptcies and job losses.
Irrational? I don`t know about that! The point is it was and always is government involvement into markets that creates imbalances that lead to failures like the recent economic collapse and who is for more regulationa d bigger government? The democrats! That is not to say the republicans haven`t contribute at all to the current dilema, but I believe the dems should be assigned the lions share of our current crisis and they are planting the seeds of further destruction with their current policies!
Irrational may have been the wrong word; I meant disconnected. No offence intended.
I'm afraid we disagree on the government involvement issue. Investment bankers created the current financial crisis; government bailed them out. Unfortunately, no one is bailing out the citizens who got caught in the wake of it all.
In the meantime, the same investment bankers are now helping themselves to incomes that are more than a little outrageous in consideration of the destruction they have strewn about the economic system. In my view, those people need a lot more government involvement because they've sure show us, in no uncertain terms, that they are not going to supervise themselves.
You made so many assumptions about me I won't even bother debunking them. BTW, Canada will likely collapse harder, since it is more socialist than USA, and therefore more bankrupt. European socialist flagship Iceland showed the way already.
This thread was going along pleasantly until you jumped in and made it confrontational. I just wanted you to know that you weren't impressing anyone.
As far as debunking my supposed assumptions goes, I know you won't bother with that because there is nothing to debunk. You trotted out an idea that has long been proven false and I called you out on it: end of story.
Canada's economy is strong (which I know you know), European economies are much more developed than that of the US (which I know you know), and the problems experienced by Iceland have nothing to do with the nonsense idealism that you interjected into this thread (which I know you know).
My point is this: you are an intelligent and a respected guy; it doesn't look good on you to say things that are false and silly. Unless, of course, you are joking... in which case the joke is on me.
Do you actually have to say anything on the topic of the thread? Aside from empty rhetoric and attempts to push my buttons? I don't really see you contributing.
There you go again, Misha, getting personal. Don't you think we've been through that one already today?
It is my opinion, Misha, based on our exchange today, that you are more than a little immature. That's as personal as I will get. I wish you a good day.
sadly, it doesn't matter what type of government you live in, there's always going to be corruption and faults within each form of government. however, my thoughts are if you don't like capitalism then move. that's right, i said it. move. nobody holds a gun to your head telling you to stay, so just move. it's plain and simple.
Niteriter, thank you for your well-considered answers to the original proposition. I agree with practically everything you posted, particularly your comments on Walmart....and a living wage. I believe in well-regulated capitalism. Regulations such as child labor laws, minimum wage(should be much higher), health and safety laws, overtime regulations, environmental pollution laws, transparency laws. If the glass-stegal(sp?) act hadn't been gutted my "free-marketeers" we might well not have had the banking collapse. Markets need oversight.....consumers need protections against fraud etc. We should consider taking away the status of "person" before law from corporations. But above all we need to take their money out of government so that our representatives can truly represent the people rather than corporate interests. IMO the corporate world is virtually at war with the American public, but the American public is too stupid to realize what is going on.
You obviously have no experience running a business.
Actually I was the sole proprietor of a business with 10 employees that was a viable business until I sold it and went back to school.
Really? I find that a bit hard to believe given your deep seated hatred for "free marketeers".
Well it is a fact. I was a furniture/cabinetmaker for 10 years...earning a living by the sweat of my brow and my hands and my brains....making quality products at a fair price and paying my employees a living wage.
If you were doing so well, why get out of the business?
I sold it because I felt like I had been there and done that. I wanted to pursue other interests....my wife wanted a change in her career opportunities. It was a mutual family decision. I was making a decent living....I wasn't getting rich quickly but nor was I going under.
You said you payed your employees a "living wage", whatever that means, but I'd argue that they were skilled workers. The problem with Wal-Mart is that they employ unskilled workers. But then again, that's how they keep prices so low.
In addition, you payed your employees well, or at least what you considered a good wage. If they agreed with you, they would continue to work for you and do a good job. If people are working at Wal-Mart it must be because they agree to the wage structure.
Increasing the minimum wage destroys jobs. Do you know who the biggest losers were in Missouri when the minimum wage was hiked? College kids and high school teens. State universities had to cut back on the number of students they employed because they, unlike most businesses these days, only paid minimum wage. Likewise teens suffer because those minimum wage unskilled jobs that they qualify for are no longer around.
When I was a teen I, at one point held down two jobs. I bagged groceries for tips at the base I lived on and put together bundles of the Sunday edition Boston Globe for delivery on Saturday mornings. At least until some idiot cried "child labor" and not only did I lose my job, so did the kids who still had paper routes at the time. Remember those. That was my first job at 10. Kids today are reduced to panhandling because they can't find jobs or aren't allowed to work. It's no wonder kids are so messed up these days.
http://www.google.com/search?source=ig& … =&aqi=
All in search of your elusive "living wage".
I've worked for 45 years at everything from mopping floors, pumping gas, assembling cars in Detroit, making furniture, to teaching. It is harder now to make a decent living than it ever has been for the average guy. If a corporation like walmart can't pay a decent wage then to hell with it.
That's called inflation barranca, not a failure to pay a "living wage". You might want to do some research on inflation and how it destroys not only wealth but the ability of people to live. I'll give you a couple of places to start. The Continental, French Assignats, German Reichsmark and last but not least the Zimbabwe dollar.
That is why it's so much harder today to make a living. So what's responsible for creating inflation?
In part, but not in the way that you think. You are aware that the dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power over the last century, right. Were you also aware that the dollar's value had remained stable for the previous century and change?
What is the mechanism that drives inflation?
Uh- OK Increases in the money supply would be another reason?
I think your conclusion that inflation is the cause of the lack of jobs with a living wage is not at all on target. The oil industry is a prime example of corporate greed running the pricing and to only collect money. The inflation they cause is not due to the wages and COGS but to merely collect more money. They don't care one iota about a living wage as they have taken to getting as much as they can and be damned the rest.
It's obvious you have a hate on for any sort of capitalistic enterprise and are in no way interested in understanding what is going on and why. Inflation is the increase in monetary supply. Last time I checked oil companies were not in the business of printing money. Do you even know anything at all or is all you do spout stuff you've heard that you think sounds good?
Once again I am greatful that you grace us with your far superior intellect and knowledge. Insulting my intelligence is the tool you wish to counter the argument? You really do not get the gist of much and cannot seem to connect the dots of an argument without a road map. The Oil industries DO NOT PRINT MONEY is pretty lame when you think of the real argument that the inflating of their products' price has a direct cause and effect on the rest of the economy. Energy is at the front of the issue and charging false inflated numbers to line your own pockets prove that unchecked industry can and does have a snowball affect on the economy.
And your assumption that I hate capitaism is way off course. I own two companies and enjoy income from both through my capitalistic endeavors. Why would I like to disolve my own livelihood? What I am opposed to is unfair practices in segments of the industries that reach only to dominate and wipe out the competition through favor and criminal acts.
You happen to think that the country and the capitalistic entities are not related and that capitalism should go unchecked even to the failure of the countries economy as sort of a correction. How is that fair to the citizenry when their economy collapses due to the correction the capitaists failures?
A fat lot of good the cheap goods available will have when no none has an income to buy the cheap products the capitalists offer. Your theories all result in a race to the bottom where the rich live off of their winnings and the poor wallow in the gutter.
And you think if you were forced to pay a higher than living wage that your prices would still be fair? Keep in mind I have run a successful construction business and retired in my early 40's, I have forgotten more about "earning a living by the sweat of my brow and my hands and my brains" than most people will ever know!
What kind of business was it and how successful were you. I am keeping in mind the old dictum: Those that can do, those that cannot teach.
Those who sneer at anyone making an honest living doesn't deserve any better.
Did you try to turn a profit for yourself after you made payroll?
Did you operate a criminal enterprise?
Teaching is an honest living? I went to school with kids who graduated without the ability to read or write, how honest were those teachers?
You must be an academic or otherwise not work a real job. Try running a business sometime, it's an eye opening experience.
Well stated and I agree with almost everything, the only point I differ in is that the American People are not too stupid, they have just been rendered powerless to do anything about it and so try to ignore and deal with what they have NO power to change.
Must agree with Texan here, when I am not on Hub pages or my Blog I am a business consultant....here in Ireland there is so much red Tape you could tie a ribbon around the world....
I do agree that the country is run by a big and powerful MAFIA; it is called big business and the lobbyst control the government through donations for electoral campaignes
It is Money, Gredd and Arrogance agains Commonsense and Decency
Good luck to the rest of us!
The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. Our de facto central bank. If you want to know why it's harder and harder for "working" families to earn a living, look no farther than the Fed.
Ending Income Tax (though I'd like to see that) and the 'Fed' as you term it fixes everything in your opinion...how so?
Well first, you'd take away the tax money Congress currently uses to buy votes. What else do you think the Great Society was all about. Once they have you in the system, they try like hell to keep you in. Because the politicians know once they have you hooked, you'll vote for them like clockwork. Welfare was a very early item on the Progressive agenda. Doesn't work. Look at cities that have elected Progressive politicians. Detroit is an excellent example of how destructive Progressive policies can be.
Destroying the Fed would end inflation. That would immediately benefit everyone because your purchasing power would stop decreasing. Banks, too, would be forced to become more circumspect in how they do business. Banks like inflation because there is a delay in feeling the effects of an increase in the money supply. So not only do they get a better deal on interest rates, they also get to spend the "new" money at the old value. By the time it gets to you and me in wages, the value of the currency has fallen. Banks would no longer have the Fed to go to for free money, they'd actually have to pay attention to their depositors. Again another win for the common man.
hey ledefl how are you? your paper was certainly in the right direction but a lot of stuff misrepresented. first of all if you can't eat,welfare steps only where there is no money. if a person has children medical will step in also. those are temporary fixes for temporary problems that prevent catastrophe. we just gave welfare to big business to bail them out and prevent a catastrophe. detroit fell the way it did because once, in this country detroit made all of the cars,trucks,jeeps,tanks and anything that rolled. during the cold war the military said if russia bombed detroit that they could shut the u.s. down. so in the late seventys they started taking plants and putting them everywhere(spreading them out). in canada, germany, ohio and many more states and countries. detroits' entire economy was based on the auto industry and after that, it was devastated. this put the city out of business and its people out of work.detroits' population went from 5th to 6th and after this coming census probably even less.everyone moved away. so not the result of welfare. but you are right about unfettered business. it is or soon will become criminal. and who is it that always wants us to unfetter or deregulate it? we only have two political parties. they agree with you too ha ha ha . good article!!
You really have a unique way of looking at the ills of our politics and the results you draw from it without looking at the larger picture. Detroit died when the car companies died. True, welfare does cause a negative cycle into poverty but many do rise above it and work their way out. Is there a way of culling the bad ones out so that the successful ones can be the only ones we should support. Your throwing these people out to force the survival of the fittest theory is assinine.
I agree the fed should be disbanded. The printing of phony money has got to stop.
"Destroying the Fed would end inflation...I agree the Fed shold be disbanded."
That is a totally ridiculous statement. Take the time to read the following op-ed piece from the NY Times:
The Fed’s Best Man
By ALAN S. BLINDER
Published: January 27, 2010
Times Topics: Ben S. Bernanke
The Quarrel Over Bernanke
Room for DebateIs Ben Bernanke to blame for the weak recovery and high unemployment numbers?
Join the Discussion »
A SENATE vote on President Obama’s nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve is imminent. Rejecting him would be a big mistake, for it would both flog a distinguished public servant who helped avert catastrophe and turn the Fed chairmanship into yet another political football. Washington has plenty of political footballs already.
The case for Ben Bernanke starts with his keen intellect. But perhaps more important in these trying times, he has demonstrated great creativity. He has also displayed the courage to put his head on the chopping block for policies he thinks right. And he is now battle-tested. (Disclosure: I am a long-time friend and former academic colleague of Mr. Bernanke.)
Critics frequently point out that Mr. Bernanke has not always made the right calls. It’s a fair complaint, but who has always been right? Yes, he initially allowed the Fed to continue the regulatory laxity bequeathed him by Alan Greenspan. No, he did not foresee the full depth of the impending financial implosion. But who did? And, in my view, he and Henry Paulson, then the Treasury secretary, made an egregious error by letting Lehman Brothers collapse. (On the other hand, there were no good options.)
But his job performance since, say, October 2008 has been superlative. To cite just a few examples, Mr. Bernanke led the Fed to lower its interest rates to virtually zero in December 2008 and then to hold them there. The central bank also invented approaches to lending and purchasing assets that breathed some life into moribund markets like commercial paper and mortgage-backed securities. It led the highly successful “stress tests” of 19 large financial institutions last spring.
The success of these policies is demonstrable. The simplest and most objective measures of financial distress are the differences, or “spreads,” between various (risky) interest rates and the corresponding (risk-free) Treasury rates. During the worst of the crisis, in September to November 2008 and again in February to March 2009, these spreads skyrocketed to dizzying heights. Since then, they have fallen remarkably, providing direct evidence that the Fed’s cure is working.
Success in righting the “real” economy has naturally been slower; financial markets always move much faster than gross domestic product, incomes and jobs. But it’s palpable nonetheless. The economy was nearly in free fall during the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, dropping by 5.4 percent and 6.4 percent in real terms, respectively.
Then the moves by the Fed and the Obama administration took hold: G.D.P. barely declined in the second quarter of 2009; and by the third quarter it began to rise. As this was happening, the job loss rate, which was staggering last winter, fell by more than three-quarters. On Friday we will get the initial estimate of fourth-quarter G.D.P. growth, which analysts expect to top 5 percent. And there is a good chance that job growth is about to resume.
This rapid improvement came faster than almost anyone expected. The plain truth is that, as bad as the recession was, it turned out to be less horrific than expected, and Ben Bernanke is one of the reasons. Unfortunately, “it could have been much worse” doesn’t buy you much in politics.
Finally, senators should think of the institution instead of the man. The Federal Reserve System is one of the great legacies of the Progressive Era. The Fed is not flawless and has made its share of errors over the years. But since the 1950s, it has developed a well-deserved reputation for competence, integrity and, above all, nonpolitical decision-making in what may be the world’s most political town.
The Fed does not do Congress’s bidding, nor the president’s. When necessary, it can and does take politically unpopular actions. It can move quickly and decisively in emergencies. If the Fed’s political independence is compromised, the nation will lose something valuable.
There are several threats to that independence right now. But perhaps none is as potentially damaging as turning the nomination of the Fed chairman into a political circus. Doing so would be a sharp break with history, for Fed nominations have not been partisan affairs. Jimmy Carter put Paul Volcker in office, and Ronald Reagan re-nominated him. Mr. Reagan’s choice, Alan Greenspan, replaced Mr. Volcker and was retained by the next three administrations. Mr. Obama now proposes to keep in office a Republican chosen by George W. Bush.
None of these nominations were politically contentious — until now. No nominee for Fed chairman has ever been rejected by the Senate. Even no votes are relatively rare. In fact, the nominee who received the most negative votes in history was Paul Volcker, who won re-confirmation in 1983 by an 84-16 margin. Yet, in the eyes of many, Mr. Volcker was the greatest Fed chairman ever. Those 16 senators look pretty foolish in the eyes of history. There may be a lesson there.
Alan S. Blinder, a professor of economics at Princeton, was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1994 to 1996.
Hey Joe, I'm good thanks and yourself?
My argument is that we don't need welfare. Charity does most of the heavy lifting anyway when it comes to helping people. Look at how quickly the American people jumped up to help out. Do you really think they'd be less willing to help out at home?
Welfare has been and is being used to enslave people. My fiance knows a lady who went for assistance and they told her if she was to get it, she needed to sell her car. Why? Because if you have a car, you can look for a job, if you can look for a job you can make more money, if you can make more money, you don't need welfare. By keeping people dependent on the government, politicians can count of people to vote a certain way. Don't believe me? Look up and read some of the writings of Progressives in the 1920's. Some of it will shock you, believe me.
If you haven't noticed, I've railed against the welfare to big business too. It's not good for individuals and it's especially not good for businesses. We just rewarded all of the idiots who trashed our economy. And we set a very bad precedent.
Detroit wound up the way it is because the local leader began raising taxes and unions were allowed to take over. Unions drove up the cost of employing people and when the car manufacturers couldn't bear the cost anymore, they started leaving for overseas markets. Taxes impoverished people and drove businesses out of Detroit, further exacerbating things. Our manufacturing centers are scattered all over the nation, or at least they were once upon a time. The Russians could never have destroyed our industrial base by taking out any one city.
I've also never said that unfettered business would become criminal. In fact, the opposite is true. When business allies with government, both business and government become criminal.
And, then where is the protection for the citizenry?
Just a thought.
Citizens protect themselves. Always have, always will. A burglar or mugger takes seconds to hit someone. Cops take minutes to respond. Kinda makes it rough on the citizen doesn't it? The best cops can do is patrol and keep casual crime from occurring, but they're not going to stop anyone who is committed to a crime spree. It's up to the individual to protect themselves until cops can arrive.
You're laughing Mikel, so I would assume that you think welfare is doing a good job at getting rid of the poverty problem?
Hey ldt, I wasn't insinuating that citizens' weren't to protect themselves. I was talking about how does society protect itself as a whole if business and government are in bed together? How does it? Individual protection isn't enough, and like you said at best cops are a toss up? That is all.
Sorry I misunderstood. Well there's always the gun option. That's a final option though and I'd only advocate that in the presence of a police state. We're not quite there yet. It seems like what I term the "silent majority", the people who usually don't vote or take part in politics are starting to do so. Unless the two parties take heed, the political landscape in the next decade will resemble nothing like what we've seen since the dawn of the 20th century.
Drug companies do everything they can to frustrate the sale of generic drugs--they make minor changes and fight to extend the patents of their "miracle" drugs. A good example of a generic drug that nobody is promoting is finasteride. The best kept secret in the drug world is the huge National Cancer Institute study indicating that finasteride reduces the incidence of prostate cancer in men over 55 by 25 or 30 percent. Once the generic became available Merck lost all interest in promoting Proscar which it had been selling for years for benign prostate hypertrophy (enlargement). Now nobody is telling the public about the cancer prevention benefits of Proscar/finasteride. Why, because there is no money in it. Other non-generic drugs for BPH which don't offer a cancer preventive benefit are being pushed in TV ads.
We've had this discussion before, I think, Ralph. All we need to do is get rid of the monopoly period drug companies get for their formulation. Funny how that never seemed to make it into any of the debates surrounding prescription drug coverage. Why was that, I wonder?
I don't know, talk to Bill Frist and find out why those topics did not come up when the republican led congress shoved the whole thing down our throats through their eleventh hour strongarm tactics. Lots of money flowed through the democrats as well as the republicans coffers then.
"Or are you crazy enough to believe that "benevolent" business will risk stock-holder ire in order to do something beneficial without the pesky bottom line being a consideration?"
Why shouldn't the bottom line be considered? We as citizens do not give any money to the Pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs, they fund these creations and subsequent trials with their money! They do not owe us anything.
However, Wal-Mart would be a company showing their benevolent side by offering many prescriptions for four dollars, they certainly don't have to.
I have no problem with the bottom line being a consideration as long as it's not the ONLY consideration.
Ever hear of a loss leader?
Yes, I have heard of a loss leader, does that change the benevolence aspect? They could have sold shoes for four dollars just as easy!
communist leadership is no different than capitalist leadership. They both take unfair advantage of most of the people.The one difference I see is the people living under capitaism are more free to show their disappointment with their government.Other than that,there is little difference.
When you have a few minutes take the time to listen to what Joe Stiglitz has to say about the sources of our current economic problems and some possible solutions.
Clearly government is at fault for all the countries ills.
Imagine the freedom we'd have without a commerce department, customs enforcement, the coast guard, the military, the department of transportation, or the food and drug administration.
Get rid of the I.C.E. would make any illegal immigration a state problem. That way each state would have it's own database for tracking illegals. Naturally, since each state has to create it's own data sources, at great expense, no other state should have access to it.
Get rid of the coast guard. That way drugs can pour into the country unfettered and illegal immigrants can pass freely into the country-side from any coast or waterway.
Get rid of the military. That way the next time a terrorist asshole decides to take out a skyscraper we have to send in a state militia.
Get rid of the department of transportation. Make all road-ways private property. Want to cross state lines? Fine, pay a private party to use his/her road, with any luck they'll own the same stretch of road for many miles and actually take care of it too.
Get rid of the FDA. I've got a strong stomach and a healthy immune system. I'm sure I can eat any pesticide and chemical compound and keep going. And should I be wrong and suffer the consequences of overused chemicals my (dead) body will stay fresh and rot free since no bacteria in it's right mind would dare try to eat my pesticide and antibiotic laced body.
Get rid of all regulation of any type. The free market has never actually been given total freedom and any American with half a brain knows that the customer's repeat business will insure fairness, honesty, and even-handed profits.
I wish to clarify what I think I understand you to be saying. You're suggesting I believe that we should eliminate the federal government's ability to levy income taxes. They would therefore not be burdened with the blessing of having to decide how to spend money. For that blessing is used to buy the votes of the people who benefit from the programs they decide to fund.
States could still levy taxes, which they would have to do at rates high enough to completely fund their various public programs on their own, such as education, state employees, foster care programs, roads, parks, etc.
Payroll taxes would remain to fund social security, medicare, medicaid, and unemployment? So I wonder then, if I understand you correctly, if the federal income tax is eliminated, is there enough money left to fund the military, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, FEMA (I guess you'd let FEMA go), NASA, national parks, federally funded research grants, all remaining federal employees and any other relevant federal programs I may be missing?
Thanks for your input.
And actually a big chunk of those that you named if not all of them - if you ask me.
What you suggest is like cutting off the arm you don't write with because it is uncoordinated and thus be eliminated because of it's short comings.
The more realistic solution is making government more accountable for its' actions. If a program is funded such as the TARP there should be an accounting for every penny that is spent. If they cannot show where the money went and the authority who released it, then they should be criminally prosecuted.
There were pallets of money that went to Iraq just after Saddam was toppled. Less than half of it can be accounted for and no one knows were it went.
The gun laws in some states used to require a mandatory five year sentence if used in commiting a felony. What happened to that? The first thing the states attorney did was bargain for a deal by removing it from the charges.
America is asleep at the wheel when dealing with their government and it has ballooned into a obese, lazy giant that keeps sucking at the taxpayers teat.
Instead of eliminating it hold it accountable and trim out the fat where excesses and waste has occured.
If you exercise the arm and hand it can become quite useful when you try.
Actually I meant get rid of all of it and that's what I meant. Including Social Security and Medicare. It amuses me how someone like Ralph can spend so much time railing against Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, yet totally ignore the Ponzi-like nature of Social Security and Medicare.
Just so we're on the same page, a Ponzi scheme is a scam in which current investor money is used to pay people who invested in the past. The money we pay into Social Security and Medicare is not being saved for our use, but is being used to pay for people who contributed in the past. The problem is that, sooner or later, all Ponzi schemes fail because you run out of other people's money to spend. Very soon we're going to have to make a decision. We're either going to have to pay more in payroll taxes or we're going to have to end the programs. If we prepare today we can end those programs in a humane manner rather than just letting them fail.
You're right I don't agree with states being able to levy taxes, but even if we still allow the states to levy taxes, there is a built in consequences to a state putting too much of a tax burden on its citizens. In short, you can vote with your feet. In fact, you see this in places like California today. Those with the means have fled, lowing tax revenue, because after all CA uses a "progressive" tax rate; while the number of people moving into the state to get the benefits of their re-distributive system has increased. That is why California is bankrupt today. Unlike the federal government, they can't inflate the money supply.
By decentralizing political power, we give that power back to the people. People then decide how do live and what their priorities are, they aren't handed priorities from on high like today.
Finally, you make the point that states have to fund all the things states have to fund. I don't agree that the state can run much of anything efficiently and well. I've worked for the state of Missouri and have seen this first hand. Speaking from experience, I'd like to see their Mental Health department privatized. If you're mentally ill in Missouri, the last thing you'd want to do is fall into the clutches of the mental health system, especially if you're a kid or a teen.
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