Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A rant on capitalism, socialism, and democracy

Western civilization is so dotty. Capitalism or socialism, and democracy are opposing forces. Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally, the term is an antonym to aristocracy "rule of the elite". Capitalism creates elite through the power given those who rack up large amounts of capital by whatever means. Socialism creates elite through the power given those who wield and enforce the rules given to them by whatever means. We are screwed.

Democracy is at best a concept. To empower one person or a group of people means to deprive others. The best we can do with democracy and our two isms is to put them in a bag and make shake 'n bake. Democracy has to be be viewed in terms of trade offs with individual liberty, distributive equality, ecological sustainability, the religious monopoly. It needs a little pampering.

Neo-liberal ideology has it that capitalism and freedom are synonymous. Freedom, according to that ideology, is achieved and secured by the free market, not by democracy. Democracy is irrelevant to that philosophy; if anything it stands in the way of freedom and prosperity. Our dear leaders view it as a scourge.

[ Friedrich von Hayek argues that Western democracies have "progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past". Society has mistakenly tried to ensure continuing prosperity by centralized planning, which inevitably leads to totalitarianism. "We have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced unforeseen results and to replace the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market by collective and ‘conscious’ direction of all social forces to deliberately chosen goals." Socialism, while presented as a means of assuring equality, does so through "restraint and servitude", while "democracy seeks equality in liberty". Planning, because coercive, is an inferior method of regulation, while the competition of a free market is superior "because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority.

Eric Zencey wrote that the free market economy Hayek advocated is designed for an infinite planet, and when it runs into physical limits (as any growing system must), the result is a need for centralized planning to mediate the problematic interface of economy and nature. "Planning is planning, whether it's done to minimize poverty and injustice, as socialists were advocating then, or to preserve the minimum flow of ecosystem services that civilization requires, as we are finding increasingly necessary today." ]   Saward, Michael (1996). Democracy and competing values. Government and Opposition http://oro.open.ac.uk/15781/1/DCV.pdf

[ Neoliberalism is neither “new” or liberal. Neoconservativism is neither new or conservative. They are just new labels for a very old agenda: serving the powers-that-be, consolidating power, controlling resources. Whether the iron fist has a velvet glove on it or not, it is still an iron fist. ] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2008/11/neocons-and-neoliberals-two-masks-one-face.html 
As we watch our politicians drowning in seas of apathy with voter turnout dipping towards 50%, we try to shed a tear for them. They try so so hard to engage us if they think there is any chance it will help their ambitions, whether these are to to make our earth a better place or simply to keep their paycheck coming in. And then there are the cases where our turnout is not really desired if it will hurt their prospects. But it becomes hard to keep going to the polls when every major party is so shaped by populations wanting a good life with exonerated responsibilities, values impinged upon them by the advertising and propaganda of the elite controlled media.

We retain in our mindset this vision from our religious heritage in which a benevolent ruler will come to earth and create peace and harmony among all the differing views. Many realize that this is not going to happen. And really, this religious view would have little to do with democracy as it would be simply the rule of an autocratic dude, however benevolent he turned out to be. Is that why so many seem to be willing to give their soles to the party which emotes itself as most heavenly? Voting for a neocon or neolib or even a neolabour type party which we have in Canada does nothing to stem the destruction humans are inflicting on mother earth. Perhaps the time has come to not consider ourselves democracies anymore because we aren't even if we take away the power of the corporate elite.

In 1855 the British culminated years of developing their common law with the Limited Liability Act. We could rejuvenate our laws to graciously give back liabilities to corporations owners, and make them taxable for their endeavors as individuals in a partnership. This would give more incentive for the chumps sitting on their nest egg to scrutinate the morals of their fortune builders, and would doubtlessly throw a wrench in the stock market zoo too. And hot diggity, if they all had to file tax returns on their partnerships it would open up a fair bit of transparency. We could take a page from the ideals of Jesus and his money lenders or of Islam's interest free rates and prohibit the use of money for making money, limiting it to the cost of the paperwork with a fair minimum wage for the execs. We have been tricked into a mindset where we believe the only way to pursue our human dreams is to have them invested in by huge bloated corporations. This is silly, if it's not worth doing for human interest then what is the point of it? Mother earth can't be bought off. Money, money, billionaires don't even know what they're making it for.

Since a rant is to speak or shout in a loud, uncontrolled, or angry way, often saying confused or silly things we will end with one marxist Paul Sweezy's joke that Friedrich von Hayek would have you believe that if there was an over-production of baby carriages, the central planners would then order the population to have more babies instead of simply warehousing the temporary excess of carriages and decreasing production for next year. North America is close to this ideal however, we are again increasing the production of suv's to use up the glut of oil we're cajoling from mother earth.
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