So there’s no money left, huh?


If anybody still believes Camerons platitude “We’re all in this together”, here’s a piece from Steve Platt’s column, Plattitudes in the Dec/Jan edition of Red Pepper magazine. Seems the bosses aren’t paying that high a price after all. Surprise, surprise!

Advertisements

5 responses to “So there’s no money left, huh?

  1. moelarrythecheese

    The reason Western-style economies (i.e. South Korea, Japan, Germany, the USA, etc.) have outpaced the socialist/communist economies (i.e. North Korea, and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block countries, for example) is because of the system of incentives available in Western-style economies that reward individuals for their toil thus encouraging ever great toil to receive ever greater rewards. In socialist/communist economies extra effort doesn’t translate into extra rewards because the government, not individuals, manages the economy and people are paid according to their job title not according to the sum of their efforts. Ugly as it may sound, it is through the efforts of energetic, ambitious, greedy people striving to amass wealth that capitalist economies prosper with the population as a whole benefiting. Money does not buy happiness but it does pay for the essentials of a comfortable life. The wealthiest among us possess much more wealth than they need to finance a comfortable lifestyle and it is these mega-rich who should be heavily taxed for the benefit of society as a whole. Nevertheless, taxing authorities must be careful not to over-tax the rich to the point of erasing the financial incentives that reward them for their efforts which indirectly bring wealth to our society. The government must strike a balance when it seeks to tax and must be careful not “to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

    • A very nice summation of the Washington consensus position. In an earlier comment you said “Left 0 Normal Everyday 1”. This suggests that you see your views as representing some sort of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ thought process. This latest comment illustrates that you, just like me, are arguing from a particular ideological position. There is nothing ‘natural’ about capitalism, it is a legal creation of the 18th Century. Human beings have existed on earth for 500,000 years capitalism has only existed for 200. For most of the Christian era lending money for interest (the mechanism upon which capitalism rests), was illegal for Christians and regarded as morally repugnant. (the plot of Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice rests on this fact). Capitalism is not the same as trade. Trade is the voluntary exchange of goods/services between parties who each want something from the other. Capitalism is a legal mechanism based on ‘usary’ that separates the ownership of the means of production from the actual producers.

      You say that “Western-style economies… reward individuals for their toil”. But in fact capitalism only directly rewards certain types of toil. i.e. certain types of entrepreneurial, financial and managerial skills. Whole swathes of valuable human toil are not highly rewarded by capitalism. A nurse or teacher for example could work as hard as possible and never get rich.

      You also assume that economic growth will necessarily bring about “the essentials of a comfortable life” for the majority. History shows us that this is simply not true. Western economic dominance ultimately rests on slavery. A labour force that was motivated only by the threat of extreme violence and paid no wages at all was what enabled 17th Century capitalists to amass the unbelievable wealth that still underpins Western economic dominance; and as I have pointed out before, unregulated capitalism led to the horrors of Dickensian London. These horrors were only moderated by the efforts of trade unions and political radicals who fought, often to the death, to improve the pay and living conditions of workers. Capitalists had to be literally forced to pay their workers a living wage for goodness sake! And after WWII mass electronic communication and globalised capital has allowed them to do it all over again in the Third World, where Western multi-national corporations, owned by the super-wealthy, are currently paying starvation wages to the poor of the world who live and work in appalling squalor.

      The US Right Wing assumes that the State is the only oppressive force in human lives. What socialists like me argue is that the economic force of international capital is at least as powerful as government and just as oppressive to living human beings and that any vision of human freedom that fails to address this is not describing ‘freedom ‘ in any meaningful way. A democratic government has a duty to protect citizens from the oppressive power of capital.

      You then go onto say, “The wealthiest among us possess much more wealth than they need to finance a comfortable lifestyle and it is these mega-rich who should be heavily taxed for the benefit of society as a whole.”

      Absolutely. Turns out you are a socialist after all

  2. moelarrythecheese

    Bravo! You have put forth an impressive argument. I must concede that you apparently have a better grasp of the subject of economics than I do. I can’t offer a rebuttal because I go along with just about all of what you said. Good job. It’s kind of scary to think that I might be a socialist. There must be a cure.

    • Well, there you go amazing isn’t it. Which raises the issue of the way the word ‘socialist’ is used in the US media. To call someone a socialist in the US is morally equivalent to calling them a paedophile or a terrorist. Obama is constantly called a ‘socialist’ by the right-wing shock jocks as if it is the worst kind of evil there is – all because he wants to find a way to provide health care to the 40 million US citizens who live below the poverty line. (I hope you read that figure – 40 million!). Socialism is not communism and I would argue is merely a form of democracy that recognises the oppressive power of capital as well as the state and seeks to maximise human well-being – rather than personal wealth for it’s own sake. The notion of equality underpins Socialism; the idea that we all, rich or poor, sick or well, able or disabled, are due an equal respect as human beings, an equal say in how our society is governed and equal opportunity to access to the resources of the earth and our common human endeavour.

  3. moelarrythecheese

    Hear, hear! (Or is it here, here!) Anyway, Jolly Good! We’re on the same wavelength.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s