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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Self-Correcting Tuna!

More from It's All Tuna! website

Most of all, Milton Friedman was an academic. Professors and students of Economics and many other disciplines sit around and brainstorm on their favorite topics. The sessions bring about new and innovative ideas that can change the complexion of the world. They have the ability to envision practices and policies that will feed the world or starve it depending on the use to which the ideas are put. Dynamite can blast a tunnel through a mountain to bring steel rails and commerce to people on the other side of the mountain. The same dynamite can also be used to kill all the people over there so that the tunnel is not necessary. Similarly, the owner of the tunnel and the rails can enslave the people on the far side of the mountain by pricing their commodities at too high a price for them to prosper.

Another facet to the tunnel commerce that plays to the detriment of the people on the far side of the mountain is that local people can bid up the price of the commodities for their own consumption and thereby starve the people who need some of those supplies too.

Even in the absence of any malice toward the folks on the far side of the mountain the unregulated market driven supply and demand forces can destroy them or make them suffer. After all, the mountain obscures the view of the people who live there. Their suffering goes unnoticed until they come over the mountain or through the tunnel to get what they need. Violence and revolution are market correcting forces too.

The economic theorists who proclaim that laissez-faire markets are the best method and that they are self-correcting when they become out of balance neglect to take into account the motives of businesses that willfully damage people and the environment to obtain a short term gain at the expense of the long term viability of the economy. They also neglect consideration that desperate people will employ desperate measures to get what they need. They don't do just because they want something. Buddhist monks douse themselves with gasoline and immolate themselves to obtain change in the governance of their people. No one ever immolated himself because he couldn't get tickets to his favorite pop singer's concert.

When a man or a woman picks up a rifle and becomes a revolutionary, few people ever ask the "big why" question. They don't bomb railway stations and trains because they want faster service at the lunch counter. They may do that because they are denied service at all at the lunch counter. They may do it because the price of food is far too high compared to the wage earning level of what jobs are available to them. They may do it because they are not allowed to have a job at all. A hungry man with a weapon and a family is a powerful market correcting force.

In America we have not had systemic violent upheavals since the original revolution because we have provided for the minimal nutritional and housing requirements for everyone. This doesn't mean that everyone has had accessed the resources, nor equally. This doesn't mean that there aren't inequities among the various races, religions, and cultural identities that breed a seething hatred that will erupt locally when a spark flies.

Those people and political constituencies that advocate the cutting loose the safety net that poor people need do not see that they are fomenting active revolution. Advocacy of cutting taxes on businesses and wealthy Americans is a short sighted view of the realities that are on the far side of that mountain. It is not Them and Us. It is all We, together that are in this economic pickle. We need to devise a solution that satisfies everyone, even if that is minimally so they can survive.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Corporate Political Money

Corporate money given to politicians is like cocaine. After tasting it for a while they can't say no. The pusher keeps asking for then demanding a higher price for his goods. After a while, the addict will completely abandon his/her principles and mores to keep the junk coming. And it is just soooo easy. All they have to do is cast their vote and turn their face away from the consequences and have another round of golf.