The Coming Economic Revolution in the United States
While we watch revolutions for political democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, we are distracted from thinking about the revolution aimed at economic democracy growing in the United States. This revolution, symbolized by the Tea Party, is leading a growing demand for restructuring the taxation and spending habits of the United States and the individual states within it. This movement is pushing for reform in the United States, but it is more likely to be an economic revolution than a political one.
The Collapse in Russia in 1991
Having visited Russia over a dozen times before, during, and after the changes for 1989-1992, I witnessed the growing unrest in young people who graduated from college and could not get work. When the Russian revolution came, it was a political revolution aimed at ending the state control of the economy by an elite ruling class known as the nomenklatura that was disenfranchising youth as those with positions selfishly hung onto them with tenacity. The elite had special shops, fashion shows, and hotels while state-run stores that served the common citizen had empty shelves and long lines. It was a society with a visibly growing double standard in which the elite were self-absorbed and inattentive to the needs of their children’s generation.
No new jobs were being created within the official economy and those who could not find work within the system created an alternative economy, a black market. In the outlying areas, I saw people living on farms with pigs, chickens, and outhouses in their back yards, living a nineteenth-century subsistence lifestyle almost as if communism had never happened. The 1991 economic collapse finally came when social security payments, military payments, and other entitlements led to bankruptcy. In less than a year the Ruble went from being worth over $4.00 to less than a quarter of a cent.
After the collapse, the black market essentially became a legal market. Pensioners were suddenly bankrupt as the rubles under their mattresses were essentially useless. I saw 80 year old retirees out on the streets selling their furniture, their war medals, and anything of value they had accumulated over their life. Military men, not receiving paychecks for months or years, sat across from the parliament in silent protest.
This was a new Russia and youth were in control. But it was also a time of anarchy. I had advocated converting the soldiers to policing the economy to avoid the rise of gangs and the mafia that predictably arose in conditions of lawlessness. The son of one of my professor-friends became a protection-racket enforcer in the absence of genuine police. Much like Italy after World War II, if Russians did not pay a protection fee, their cows were shot or their businesses looted or burned to the ground. Many of the nomenklatura managed to deed state industries and resources over to themselves.
The study of history and the knowledge of human motivation and incentive could both predict and prevent this outcome. However, Americans threw their hands in the air, rejoicing, saying “freedom and capitalism won.” We failed to help the Russians, because for the most part, Americans did not understand how many of the very same forces were at work at home.
This Situation in the United States
If you study the conditions in the United States today, you will find many of the same problems related to our out-of-control budget existed in Russia as they faced their crisis prior to the 1991 collapse. We have a different kind of elite ruling class, not a nomenklatura that developed from among Stalin’s trusted men and their descendants, but an elite that has achieved position and wealth through consolidation of political and economic power in other ways.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents managed a complete end run around the Constitution by the following:
- enabling combined legislation in both houses, eliminating the checks and balances established by the Founders against special interest legislation.
- usurpation of federal power over the states through the Civil War, the civil war amendments, and the prevention of Texas’ secession in 1865.
- The creation of corporatocracy through late nineteenth-century Supreme Court rulings.
- Gaining federal control over individuals through income taxes and the 16th Amendment ,
- The elimination of State representation in Washington with the 17th amendment, bringing to a final end “a union of states.”
- The creation of state dependency on the federal government through aid beginning in the 1920s.
- The creation of individual dependency on the federal government though aid beginning with the New Deal.
Today the United States is a modern bureaucratic state that in many ways suffers from the same bloated government as Russia. We have created what Max Weber called the “iron cage of bureaucracy,” trapped by bureaucratic agencies of our own making. Our bureaucracies grew from different ideological starting points, but ended up with people with the same human nature ogling them for job security at the expense of productive taxpayers. They sit aloof from the electoral process, largely isolated from citizen control, often with independent businesses or dedicated taxes to fund them. Who regulates these regulators? Mainly the people they are supposed to regulate.
Today we have an elite class, an American nomenklatura, in which the largest corporations, financial institutions, and government have become inextricably intertwined. Tax breaks are provided for mergers and acquisitions that kill small companies and competition, and regulations are enacted that prevent competitive start-up industries from having a chance. Taxpayers bailout failed financial institutions and car manufacturers.
The Federal Budget just proposed by President Obama contains a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit. This deficit, which shows complete lack of self-control by the federal government, contains a gap of $12,000 for each taxpayer in America. In addition, in my state of Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton’s budget contains as $1,500 deficit for each Minnesotan. Such budget proposals are irresponsible and unconscionable, causing citizens to become overwhelmingly oppressed by their own government. I certainly feel trapped in an iron cage of bureaucracy.
The Rise of the Tea Party
As in Egypt, Russia, and elsewhere those Americans that have little opportunity, or those oppressed from taxes and moving from middle-classes to lower-classes, those losing jobs and or houses, are saying they have had enough. The real estate bubble that was clearly a result of bad government collusion with bad bank lending practices spawned the rise of the Tea Party from among Americans previous not interested in politics, but now interested because their future clearly depends on change, and not the type of change the elites of either political party have been promoting.
Are today’s opportunities for American college graduates really that much different from a Russian college in 1985? Listen to what Walter Hudson, a security guard in his 30s and chair of the Tea Party Patriots in Minnesota has to say:
This is the plight of my generation, the new thirty-something, today’s young parent. Among my circle of friends, there isn’t a single person who could come here before you and express something resembling peace of mind. None of us expect the pay-as-you-go entitlements of today to be there for us tomorrow. Slowly but surely, we’ve begun to wake to the ponzi scheme that we’re on the bottom of. We work, not for ourselves, not for our children, but to pay off the debts of our elders. We do so wondering how it is that any parent could look into the eyes of their child and see a piggy bank. What kind of person would take from their own children?–Walter Hudson
Walter went on to outline the goals of his Tea Party chapter:
- Judicial Reform
- Voter ID
- Reduce Government
- Educational Reform
- Right to Work
- Teaching the Constitution
Having four children of my own, two of whom are in college and two that graduated (one is living back at home), I am quite aware that like for Walter Hudson, their opportunities are less than for my generation. They live in a more crowded and more indebted society with higher unemployment rates and fewer high-paying jobs for college graduates. These conditions have been created by increasingly irresponsible use of power and money.
These conditions escalated under the Bush administration and have accelerated even faster under the Obama administration. Under Bush, 4 private-sector workers had to pay for one public sector worker. Under Obama that number is approaching 3 private sector workers to support one public sector worker. Using the flawed philosophy that creating government jobs can help the overall economy, and that we need to protect our national interests with a huge military empire, the current government policies are creating conditions very similar to those that brought down the Soviet Union.
I remember having lunch in Moscow in 1989 with the general who was in charge of Russia’s occupation of Afghanistan, and listening to professors at the University of Kalinin (now Tver) complaining about why they had to support unthankful Muslim states in the southern portion of the Soviet Union. These discussions were not unlike those you hear from Ron Paul or Jason Lewis in the United States today, and a large segment of the Tea Party is in agreement.
The Tea Party is not a cohesive political party, and Tea Party Partriots are not the only group that claim the Tea Party name. You have political isolationists, political adventurists, crackpots fixated on various minutiae, and people from all different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. You have neo-cons and big oil pushing Sarah Palin to take it over. Ron Paul would like to take it over and reestablish a gold monetary standard. Michelle Bachman would like to take it over so that her lobbyists could influence its direction. All these leaders and groups recognize one thing–the middle class has been hurt and pushed around by either big government, big business, or both. Thus, the Tea Party is a messenger, it is a bearer of the message of the need of economic and political reform, and lots of established people living off the corrupted system want to “kill the messenger.” It is the same reason some people want to kill Wikileaks or the internet.
Will the U.S. Revolution be Political or Economic?
The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt or the former Soviet Union, or even Iran were fueled by popular movements for more freedom and for less oppression by elites or neo-colonial masters that were ripping off large amounts of wealth. These reforms were largely to throw out leaders with dictatorial powers and establish democratic reforms, often inspired by the original Constitution of the United States.
The United States already threw off its English masters in the Revolutionary War, and its problems have been largely caused by gradually moving away from founding principles and failing to properly regulate financial institutions and the government relationship to money. In this sense U.S. reforms will need to largely be a restoration of the democratic principles and checks and balances that have been lost or fallen in disarray, combined with economic and political reforms that end corporate/government relationships much the way church and state have been seperated.
These reforms will primarily call into question the 16th and 17th amendments, the prohibition on the right of states to secede, the secrecy of the Federal Reserve system, the concept of government borrowing, the concept of federal government sponsored education or research, the need for the CIA and many other agencies that seem to spend a lot of money in order to only have negative results, the idea of taxing labor rather than consumption that send jobs overseas and subsidizes foreign-made goods, and the list goes on.
I have talked about these reforms in my book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0 and elsewhere on this blog. And, I will be continuing to do so in future articles. In the meantime, we ought to be thinking about a peaceful revolution in the U.S. that is less dramatic than foreign campaigns for democracy and enacted through legislation in Washington.
The American revolution will largely be related to economic policy. Two of the key reforms would be making combined legislation illegal, and creating an amendment as follows: “Congress shall make no laws regarding the establishment of business, nor prevent the free exercise thereof.” A third area will be moving beyond both classical and Keynesian economic theories to add viable theories of land, labor, and money to the principle of supply and demand.
 Michael Voslensky, Nomenklatura: The Soviet Ruling Class an Insider’s Report (NY: Doubleday, 1984).
 Gordon L. Anderson, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0 (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2009).
” … problems have been largely caused by gradually moving away from founding principles ( 16th and 17th amendments ) and failing to properly regulate financial institutions and the government relationship to money… ”
As it seems, the central theme of all economic and political reform – taxation and representation – must return to the ethical discussion of original founding principles. It is through a super majority consensus and consent of constituents, stakeholders and elected representatives that the problems, that have largely caused unrest, dissatisfaction and varying degrees of revolt, can be keenly addressed and remedied. The private economic interest of capitalists will come face to face with the people whose primary focus is the well being and concerns of the Republic as a whole body. As you have pointed out in other writings, the principle of subsidiary at the lowest and effective unit of society – the family unit – must come into focus. The survival and proper functioning of the family unit is essential to the successful implementation of founding-subsidiary principles. The Republic depends upon a super majority of constituents, stakeholders and elected representatives , adopting this original founding principle.
It is the indispensable ingredient to lasting economic and political reforms.
Good article Gordon. Unfortunately I can’t see the revolution coming to the US any time soon. It takes something cataclysmic as happened in Russia and now North Africa for that many people to take to the streets. Before that happens a lot of education is needed so people know where the problems really lie. Otherwise these things are easily subverted as happened in Russia
Wm. It is hard to predict when or exactly how but certainly you will see changes in the next few years. Have you been watching the showdown in Wisconsin.? This is not an isolated incident. Pension funds are broke in several states. http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/18/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T2
I can’t see America exploding into an outright civil war as in the 1860s, though an economically based political uprising as now happening in a few states, most clearly demonstrated in the statehouse in Wisconsin and perhaps coming soon in Ohio looks to be more and more likely. I see local and state governments making a desperation move to save themselves from bankruptcy and pushing back federal power by simply ignoring the federal rules. Lets see what Texas does.
At the end of the nineteenth century Henry George opposed the relationships between government and big business, explaining the issues clearly in his book Social Problems. He also wrote of the necessity for preventing speculation, particularly dealing with land speculation, as being a way to tie up natural resources and land, thereby driving up the percentage of wages that has to go to rent as opposed to being available to the individual. He warned of exactly what has come to pass over the last century.
Instead of simply reducing taxes, he proposed taxing land use, thereby ensuring that land speculation would be much less profitable, and the people would be at least compensated if the rich decided to hoard land. Likewise, the use of natural resources would be taxable, with corporations rewarded financially for extracting and making available such resources, but with some expression of the fact that resources belong to everyone. Labor, which should be encouraged, should not be taxed.
I see many of the problems we’re facing now as having derived from America’s major sins of the past, slavery and the eradication of the values of the indigenous people, who saw themselves as part of the land and of nature, not there to use and abuse nature. Now we see minirities and women moving to start communities and to start dealing with the deep problems that have developed for our chidren over the last few decades, while the government is thinking progress can come through cutting money available to finance such efforts.
Without deep restructuring, this country is due for a time of crisis and pain. I do believe the insights of Henry George and several of the utopian writers of his time could help us avoid some of the pain if we find the will to implement some real structural changes before the chaos hits.
At this time of year, tax time, we are reminded once again of the insanity of a life which centers on bureaucratic obsessive receipt-chasing instead of creative self-expression and personal initiative. The IRS could just go tomorrow if we decided to tax land, not labor, land being easily identified and hard to hide.
Yes, properly taxing land is one of the big issues. I’m not sure I agree 100% with George, but he was on to the points you mention. In my book I explain why we need to tax land at a higher rate, but not tax the improvements on it. If you tax improvements, you get less of it. If you tax land you get more improvement. Neither classical nor Keynesian economics properly consider land in their theories, it is treated more as a product of supply and demand more than a natural resource.
Even though I’m only half way through the book Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Version 4.0, I can already see this should be taught in all of our schools and colleges. And now, not years later, because it’s clearly addressing the issues as they stand today. Are there plans for introducing the book into schools’ curricula? Can I at least use it to teach to my homeschool/tutoring students?
Alison, as of yet I have not been able to develop too much. There are a couple of book clubs discussing it, and I plan to use it as a text in the course I am planning to teach this summer. I will need help from people motivated to promote the book. You will find that it may be difficult to get into any public schools because in the second half it suggests policies, and today’s public schools see value relativism as something to be taught. My first book is more historical and has gotten a couple of course adoptions in colleges. I wouldn’t mind doing speaking events to help sell it, but I don’t personally have money for travel.
It would be great to have people use it for home schooling. In the nineteenth century, a seventh grader could probably read it, today most 12th graders will have difficulty. I do have questions at the end of each chapter to help you.
The tea party is an ignorant undercurrent in american politics. While it embraces reubican views and less economic spending, it supports the eradication of social programs and the elevation of the rich and powerful that conflicts with their stated goals. Dumb!!!
What we have here is a CLASS WAR. And yes the way to fix it is to eliminate the income tax and replace it not with a national land tax but instead with a national ASSET tax (which includes real estate and land holdings both foreign and domestic) on all people considered are residents in the USA (regardless of their citizenship or immigration status).
Simply taxing land won’t work, because then it would either drive up the cost of food astronomically or open up loopholes for the rich to simply own ranches and farms as tax shelters. However, by taxing a fixed % say 1 or 2% max of all ASSETS and not taking sales or labor or investments AT ALL… it would utimately be the fairest system possible. Everyone would pay the same rate, zero loopholes. People on welfare with zero assets would pay zero tax. People earning $100,000 and spending it all would pay zero tax.
But those accumulating assets… real estate, stocks, bonds, jewelry, boats, etc… they would pay the 1% to 2%. The economy would explode. Ordinary people could save and then accumulate assets and then would be happy to pay their 1%… This goofy system we have today that exempts those with the assets from taxes, then punishes people for working is about as stupid as it gets. For the government to function it’s forced to borrow creating inflation which doesn’t affect those with the ASSETS… it affects those who don’t. So the system is set up to impoverish anyone that is not super rich.
After that problem is solved – and it’s a simple one (not easy to implement since the Super Rich control most everything) The next biggest problem is there the Government spends or invests those tax dollars. Right now the Federal Government spends (not invests) 98% of the federal budget. and of that 66% of all income tax dollars goes to WAR. And those WAR dollars miraculously wind up in the hands of the Super Rich.
So what is going on here is a CLASS WAR where the Super Rich are feeding on everyone else. Both from a Tax perspective and from a Government spending perspective.
TAX everyone’s assets at the same % and then change the allocation Government Spending to be less WAR and more INFRASTRUCTURE, and EDUCATION based. Instead of becoming the evil empire we would once again be the envy of the world.
Veryveritas, Are you suggesting that everyone pay on all of their assets every year? For example, if a retired person had $300,000 in assets, would they pay $6,000 every year, even if they have no income to pay it with? Or would they pay it once, like a sales tax, when they buy it?
Many of you are so way off base in your suggestions of where the money should come from. If you tax land or assets then you are actually saying that no one can “own” anything. You are renting it from the government and extensibly from the people. That is technically unconstitutional.
The constitution doesn’t need to be changed unless you consider rolling it back to a previous point in time where it was unfettered by 100+ years of doing what’s popular instead of what’s right. By 100+ years of our beloved countries constitution being trodden upon by the Executive branch, the Courts and foreign interests taking precident over national interests.
Someone above mentioned: “I can’t see America exploding into an outright civil war as in the 1860s”. Not true. I don’t see a Revolution anytime soon. It will take a Civil War and the comments on this forum are just more evidence to that fact. It will be fought by the 2-3% that give a damn and still know how to read. I would suggest to all of you to read the preable to that great document the Declaration of Independence and read the Constitution and remember it was initially ratified without amendments. There is power there in those words, the power of God himself, which is where the power will come from in the coming conflict.
As to all of your concerns about where the money should come from: the only “fair” method of taxation is to tax consumption at the point of sale. After I own it it’s mine and my heirs and assignees forever and ever and ever. And I say death and Hell to any who disagrees.
Otis, You are right about tax policies at the Federal Level. A consumption tax or apportioned contributions from the states are the only taxes allowed by the original founders. However, the founders said nothing about how towns, counties or states should tax as this is constitutionally within the realm of their own sovereignty. Land taxes have been used to fund schools, sewers and other infrastructure.
Sales taxes will not work well for these lower level governments, and I think this is where Henry George was focused. If you don’t have land taxes, will will need assessments, fees, or some other method of paying for democratically agreed upon community infrastructure.
“A consumption tax or apportioned contributions from the states are the only taxes allowed by the original founders” Yes and rightly so, if this would have been followed in the beginning we wouldn’t have an out of control government. It’s size, power and scope would have been limited to those original mandates declared. Instead of the Great Society that has been created. The Great est threat to personal liberty EVER in human history. Anyone who thinks that we are going to legislate this MONSTER back into it’s rightful place is very deluded indeed. The only way for it to be adjusted is by itself on the basis of budget or by force, economic or otherwise. To recap I am not a proponent of a National Sales Tax. So, therefore States should collect taxes as each has authority to do so from the business’ located and operating within it’s boundaries. an “apportioned” amount would be forwarded to the Federal Gov. The Counties and Cities already have an implemented fee and licensing structure. Property Taxes at any level have to go. It undermines basic freedoms at every level and is unconstitutional. People who are always trying to get there hooks into the “landowners” obviously don’t own anything nor do they seem very aware of the responsiblities of ownership. Looking at the way that money is wasted by Government at every level I don’t like having to give up my basic constitional rights in order to pay for it.
“So, therefore States should collect taxes as each has authority to do so from the business’ located and operating within it’s boundaries.” Not meaning a Business Tax but Sales Tax revenue collected through the business. To refine my point the Government has deeded the land and sold it at a then fair market price and then after the sale has gained the ability or “right” to use it as collateral for debt along with my time and energy, my childrens time and energy, and possibly my grandchildrens time and energy. We should all be pissed off. It’s time to repatriate our own country back from the thieves and usurpers. If you look at how fragmented the interests in our country have become there will be no revolution for that would imply some kind of unity or at least a general consensus that doesn’t exist.
Interests are fragmented because the Federal Income Tax created a way to create a huge pool of taxpayer money controlled by Washington. This means lobbyists of every ilk go there to conspire how to pass bills to get that money for their clients. The government is a big shell game.
Think of all the bills the human fly Nancy Pelosi has landed on to grant gangsterment contracts to her family members the latest being 3/4 of a billion dollars to her husbands brother. Our citizens live in a coma.
I believe that the United States is on the edge of a stong backlash by the people regarding a failed political, economic, and social system that has brought the people to a sense of helplessness.
The heart and soul of the country is based in the middle class concept of the viability of the economy, and the honesty of the leadership.
Given the failed political system, the dying economy, and the literal abandonment of the people, who at one time had jobs/houses/standards of living and hope, I see events unfolding not unlike what has been happening in the third world, where the people are taking direct action in attempts to gain a survivable existence.
I read were the Consitution provides for the use of force by the people to throw out the tyrants, and people who are not interested in the health of the overall country and constitutional rights.
When people have no job, no home, no food, and no hope, it could get really ugly.
I believe this will happen, and when it does, other global players will take full advantage of the demise of the American Society.
The sad part is that most of this mess has been perpetrated by a relatively small group of polititians, and greedy avaricious mercenaries who hold the majority power in the society.
This country has passed the point of no return, and is probably doomed to be a “also ran” in the world leadership race.
I hope the people that have caused this are made accountable.
Kevin, It looks like you are in Canada. Your country is in much better shape, simply because you have not had such foolish and selfish leadership. A government of the people comes with its risks, and US citizens looked the other way when times were good, while politicians and special interests were setting up to drain them dry and destroy the middle class. There are three groups that have fed off the people: Democrats, Republicans, and Bureaucrats.
On the right, you have the Tea Party representing the middle class and on the left you have a movement akin to the Green Party in the writings of Thom Hartmann that also represents the middle class. The one emphasizes a fight against centralized government, the other about centralized financial power (corporations more than banks). Both of these groups appear to be reacting, but neither are promoting a coherent systemic approach. They probably see one another as enemies but they have one thing in common–they are trying to represent the middle class.
The Democrats cater to lawyers, government employees and the welfare class. The Republicans cater to business. Neither represent the interests of free, self-reliant, middle-class citizens. Neither are concerned to adhere to constitutional principles.
It is not the Constitution that says we have the right to throw out tyrants, but a statement used in the Declaration of Independence that justifies it.
Do all you can to talk to military recruiters and active military people. We have to educate them so they don’t one day fire on middle class tax paying citizens like our communist representatives want them to do. Our gangsterment is run by extortionist thieving parasites. I would like to see Pelosi, Reid, Boxer, and many more, heads on a stake lined up and down K Street in DC for high treason
Same goes for the RINO REPUBS. There is no shortage of those checked panted sell outs. Remember when Orin Hatch (Rino Repub of Utah) let Clinton come into his state and shut down coal mining and the same day the Clintong regime made a deal with Riady to have coal shipped from Indonesia?? I think amerikah is a complete sold out gonner.
From top military leaders in all branches, politicians, police, FBI, it seems there is no one with guts enough to go against the tyrant pigs at the trough, theft by earmarking criminal politicians who have stolen and ruined America. The Federal Reserve vampires print money for these thieves off of the backs of hard working people who don’t have one vote in the earmarking bills that our pig leaders write.
You briefly mentioned the private and super secret Federal Reserve. Has anyone noticed when Ron Paul mentions the fed reserve he never-never says, by the way, did you know that Federal Laws were passed decades ago for the owners of the Federal Reserve so that we are not allowed to know who owns us through debt from cradle to grave??? The average moron thinks the Federal Reserve is the government bank. It’s privately owned. The Federal Reserve rules the United States. These vampires started greasing politicians right after it started to get them to put every soul into debt to them for thousands of years. Do the math. You couldn’t possibly think that the Fed wants that debt to go down no do you? The same hacks especially demokrats magically get elected decade after decade. Have you ever wondered what the Federal Reserve owners will attain when amerikah finally goes bankrupt???
DON’T VOTE for anyone for president! If you want a revolution, start by refusing to vote. We do not need to continue this farce. We need to shut down the government until both, political and economic issues have been dealt with. Then we can have a true democratic election. Shutting down the next election will send a powerful message that we, as a people, will no longer participate in this downward spiral. Why stop at only making economic reforms. We need to take back our democracy and stop taking our freedom for granted. We need to fight for our freedom every day. If you want change, start with the next election. Don’t vote! And don’t recognize the next president as a real president.
Join the revolution!
It’s all very well pining for how things ought to be, but there are reasons for why the corporatocracy is in place and it isn’t just because some lax-minded people in the past had the temerity to pass laws giving them a free ride. There is a complete unwillingness among people in the US to admit that capitalism produces corporate power. Instead the myth is put forward that a simple regulation keeps it simmering effectively rather than bubbling out of control. But the desire to let people freely succeed in whatever they do makes everyone reluctant to cap economic concentrations of power: the result is a corporatocracy.
And when the most powerful entity is corporate you can say goodbye government independence and ‘checks and balances’. Government ends up as impotent small fry or it is bought. The U.S. government has been giving bigger business a free ride for centuries.
Roger, do you have any idea who the individuals are that finance this out of control NWO?? I don’t think we have an amerikah anymore. It’s in debt beyond any known math to people who we are not allowed by federal law to know. In other words we can’t get past old Greenspan and now Bernake and Geitner. If only people knew.
Corporate power is a problem, but is a problem created by government laws giving corporations “personhood” and excessive rights without defining proper checks and balances on corporate power–particularly lobbying. This is what creates “corporatocracy.” “Capitalism” is just a political slogan without real content. Most people that use the term think it means something specific, but they are usually referring to some behavior or ideology in their own mind’s eye and not a definition of how capital is used. Capital is simply the resources to produce something. Communism, corporate capitalism, and private entrepreneurship are all forms of capitalism because they are different methods of using capital to produce goods.
Capitalism gets used as a political slogan, but it’s not just a buzzword it describes a specific system of economic organisation, namely one where capital – in all its forms – is privately owned and controlled and employment is a bought and sold commodity. And where the aim is to create surplus profit for reinvestment.
Communism is absolutely not a ‘form of capitalism’. Capital is one thing, but how it is utilised and what forms it takes is another matter entirely.
Roger, you are right that common usage, even dictionary definition, refer to capitalism as privately owned industry where the aim is profit. This definition evolved as a result of actual historical practices. Communism uses “capital,” as any economic system must, which is why it is sometimes also equated with state capitalism.
If we want to develop an economic system that both conforms to laws of human incentive and seeks to distribute wealth as widely as possible, neither traditional capitalism nor communism can succeed. Rather, one needs a system that is based on economic competition for the sake of getting production, but then referee the system against concentrations of wealth. Capitalism is focused on production and communism was focused on justice and neither system was able to deliver both.
I believe you need to use government, not to guide production (which governments by nature are incapable of doing), but to prevent concentrations of wealth and redistribution through economic control of the market. This can be compared to the desire of the US founders to design a constitution that prevented the concentration of political power. Of course, the intent of their constitution was circumvented and today we see excessive concentrations of political power. It seems that an economic system that is both productive and just might be called refereed capitalism.
Roger, did you watch the 2011 academy award wining documentary called Inside Job?? We watched it 3 times as it was done so well. I have read a few books over the years regarding the criminal investment bank gangsters. I believe you would love this documentary. Let me know.
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One of many tests of leadership will be the capability to recognize an issue before it is deemed an emergency.
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