Crash Course review published
A review of the Crash Course by Jim Davies has been published by Strike The Root under the title "Crash Course Caveats." Please see http://tinyurl.com/6b5do2 .
Jim says the Crash Course is "a delight" and strongly recommends the reader to watch it and make up his/her own mind; but he probably lies toward the "not too big a deal" end of the spectrum of opinion that Chris presents in Chapter 20. Jim concurs that the three major problem areas covered by the Crash Course — Energy, Economy, and Environment — are indeed serious, but he believes that they are probably overstated.
Jim also says that there is a fourth and much larger problem — Government — which either created the other three, or made them much worse than they otherwise might have been. And the continued existence of Government will make the solutions of the other three problems much more difficult than they need to be. As noted in my post in this forum — The Fundamental Problem — this fourth problem should have been addressed explicitly in the Crash Course, but unfortunately it was not.
All in all: A thought-provoking review.
Opinions and analyses are obviously relative, so I’m not going to bother arguing to what degree of seriousness different problems have reached or to what degree problems that are agreed upon as being serious have been overstated.
However, I will address the "fourth and much larger problem" of government.
I believe this line of argument to be a contrarian’s charade. It’s just not that serious of an analysis.
The first thing that should be pointed out is that energy, the economy, and the environment aren’t serious problems. Serious problems are an imminent energy supply crisis, an economy in freefall, and a raped and pillaged ecosystem at the breaking point. Likewise, government isn’t a problem theoretically (I know fundamentalist anarchists will argue this point), but a corrupt and inept government that specializes in the bungling of things and its own aggrandizement is the problem. I don’t see this distinction really being made and wanted to do so for starters.
Second, in practice there is really not much difference between government and big business and to make a distinction between how government handles things compared to "the free market" is really to delude oneself. In the United States at least there’s always been a revolving door between the two. Just think Robert McNamara, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, James Baker, etc.
I could list more, but I’d literally be posting a list of thousands of the most prominent politicians of the last century. The real problem here is this connection, this symbiosis of federal government and American capitalism. It’s the same people from the same backgrounds, same schools, and same ideologies who run both. The government molds capitalism to its liking and vice versa. Sure they might squabble over abortion and the nuances of the tax code for public consumption but not much else.
As for the government exacerbating problems, that’s obvious. But so has "the free market." Are people arguing that the government forced Big Oil to not reinvest in their own infrastructure?
As for the government creating the problems in the first place, that’s laughable. I don’t think the governemnt created Earth and filled it with fossil fuels or designed a world in which the burning of fossil fuels exacerbated climate change. In fact most of the things that the government does do to makes things worse is in response to pressure from Big Business violating theoretical "free markets." So for example, the government has done essentially nothing regarding fuel efficiency standards, but that’s at the behest of Big Business who don’t support or want anything remotely resembling the much vaunted "free market."
From the railroad industry of the 19th century to the auto industry of the 20th century to the airline and oil industries of today, government and big business have always been intimately and inextricably linked. And why shouldn’t they be. They are run by the same people to enrich and empower each another.
The idea that "the free market" would have prevented these problems that have developed over the last two centuries or that it’s the only thing that will solve them today is simply false.
Very well said,
mainecooncat & reubenmp3 —
Sorry, Gentlemen: Wrong on just about every count. You too have been ‘conditioned’ by the Government miseducations that all of us received.
There is a very broad and deep intellectual history here which ‘you can look forward to the pleasure of discovering.’
As for the revolving doors between Government and Big Business: Of course! Big Business seizes and exploits the machinery of Government to gain unearned advantages for itself in the Marketplace; e.g., the current banking bailouts.
This is not the fault of the Marketplace. The totally free Marketplace–without Government–would permit none of this, because there would be no ‘legitimate’ legal mechanism to be seized and exploited by those clever enough–and crooked enough–to do so.
But this IS the fault of endless generations of so-called political philosophers–from Plato to Machiavelli to Hobbes to Marx to the present–who have been busy creating bogus rationales for Government Power and Control; bogus rationales for Government Coercion and Violence; bogus rationales for Tyranny at the expense of Liberty; bogus rationales for Government Chaos, Destruction, and Death. 200 million killed by their own Governments in the 20th century alone, in addition to all the wars. Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Belsen. Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. And now the idiocy in Iraq. How much more evidence do you require–that something very fundamental is very, very wrong?
Again, please see my post in this forum: The Fundamental Problem.
There are no rational alternatives to the totally free Marketplace.
Do yourselves a favor and visit http://www.tolfa.us
Prepare for a paradigm shift in your conventional world view.
Please do me a favor too: Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Thanks for your reply. I expected a counter-argument as rebuttal but instead apparently got a rant in the truest sense of the word.
Where or what is your arguement? What are you even talking about in this post?
You open by telling me and reubenmp3 that we’re wrong, "conditioned," and were subject to miseducations. That’s fine. That’s all well and good but an argument or productive discussion it is not.
The first paragraph containing any substance takes the form of you agreeing with me regarding Big Business’ interference and manipulation of government.
You falter in your first step hereafter though. You say, "This is not the fault of the Marketplace." First off, there’s no such thing as the "marketplace." It’s strictly a concept. It’s not even an inanimate object. There’s not a benevolent force separate from and independent of human thought and action known as the "marketplace" that is being taken advantage of by people. You speak of the marketplace as if it’s a sentient being. The real, physical beings who represent the marketplace are the marketplace. If they are corrupt then the marketplace is corrupt. If those individuals who function as the marketplace breed a culture and tradition of corruption then that’s what the marketplace is: a tool of the corrupt and exploitive.
You then speak of the "totally free marketplace." Well, if the "marketplace" is theoretical, then the "totally free marketplace" is hyper-theoretical. To me, the idea of "free markets" is the equivalent of wishing for a world without crime. It’s just not possible. It’s impractical in many ways, hopelessly idealistic, and, ultimately, self-deluding. Self-deluding because those who constantly jaw about its supposed holiness are ignoring the reality laying at their feet.
You can’t wish into being or lay-over reality a theoretical, idealized version of the most perfect market. No market has ever functioned like the idealized version. Stop clinging to ghosts, Majormoney.
You say: "The totally free Marketplace–without Government–would permit none of this, because there would be no ‘legitimate’ legal mechanism to be seized and exploited by those clever enough–and crooked enough–to do so."
Here you are essentially saying the following: Within a free market, no corruption, exploitation, or wrongdoing could exist because a world (or at least a marketplace) without government would not offer the mechanisms by which crooked individuals or groups could carry out their misdeeds.
I find this hard to swallow. Clearly any marketplace would be unable to function without some kind of agreed upon framework for operation. This framework and any kind of debate during its creation and leading up to its implementation would be subject to the self-interested bias of a power/influence hierarchy. This alone will plant the seed of corruption and anti-free market forces. The problem seems to lie in human nature and not what we somewhat arbitrarily label a certain group and/or activity as — government, marketplace, educational system, etc.
It seems that the marketplace is more likely to experience cultural and systemic corruption and dysfunction than is government because there’s more moeny to be made, one is not theoretically accountable to a constituency, and one has the "power" of the government more or less at one’s behest anyway.
If the government were somehow not to exist, it would only be in name that it would not, as then many of the functions the government carries out would now be carried out by the so-called private sector. This would eliminate even the thin veil that now hangs between the two institutions. In that case, there wouldn’t even be the need for the revolving door phenom anymore. It would be total, shameless assimilation. It seems like dictatorship, fascism, corporatocracy. Certainly the opposite of any form of freedom I’ve ever encountered or aspired to.
Curiously, you then blame political-philosphers. Though I thought the problem was government? But didn’t you also say that without government period that none of these apparently fake problems that many at Chris Marteneson’s website are all excited about would even exist?
So are you saying that if the human race didn’t have Plato and Karl Marx justifying the existence of government we’d have used less fossil fuels over the last century or that we’d have driven vehicles fueled by sea water?
I appreciate your distaste for government (I really do), but think you’re losing yourself in generalities. There’s no reason to compartmentalize the marketplace as you have and foresee it operating somehow differently than other spheres of human activity. There’s nothing holy about it. It is equally subject to the inherent irrationality of the emotional, human animal and its tendency towards self-destructive behavior.
Personally, I believe that governments (because they are collections of wealthy/powerful individuals coalesced in a hierarchy) are inherently corrupt and because of this should always be as small as possible. But I don’t make the fundamentalist’s mistake of believing that there can be a world without government. There can’t. Governments always exist in some form on some level even if we do not name them as such.
In conclusion, then, we face three very real and imminet threats in the form of a peaking oil supply, a broken economic system on the verge of collapse or serious long-term impairment, and a devastated ecological system. Government clearly is and has been part of the problem. But so has the marektplace and its machinations, so has the specific form of capitalism we’ve engendered all these years. The individual is also to blame for how many of us have chosen to live our lives.
The fundamental problem and cause of our woes, Majormoney, is not government but ourselves.
in practice there is really not much difference between government and big business [snip] …
That’s a very strange statement. Granted, not just big businesses but small ones too are disgustingly ready to jump in to bed with legislators in order to gain advantage over rivals or at least to obtain concessions and exemptions. Granted too that there is a repulsive "revolving door" that takes "business leaders" to government, and back. Granted, certainly, that what is usually called "capitalism" in America is in truth a symbiotic and sinister combination of enforcers and producers that works (or has worked, until very recently) to the advantage of both at the expense of everyone else, and which is best desribed as "Fascism" or, at least, "State Capitalism" even though the latter is an oxymoron.
But granted all that, surely there is on the contrary almost no similarity or common ground between government and business? Government governs (rules, dictates, commands) while business offers. Government always uses force, business always uses persuasion. There is nothing ominous about business, until and unless if gets the force of government behind it; for anyone can say "Thanks, but no thanks." Nobody is forced to work for it – there is never a Draft – and nobody is forced to pay it any money – there is no tax. If offer A is unsatisfactory, almost always offer B, C or D can be chosen instead, from business; from government, there is no choice at all. Try saying "no thanks" to the IRS.
This is only an anecdote, an example, but it may serve to illustrate. I’m acquainted with the owner of a new café nearby; he opened this summer for business, offering breakfast and lunch. Invested plenty, serves good food, gained a clientèle. Now he wants to expand to serve dinner too, with wine & beer. In order to do that, he has to jump through a whole series of government hoops – local (is there enough car park space, is it well lit, is the dumpster positioned just so?) and State (are there other nearby places where one can buy alcohol…?) And he has to pay fees for this totally unwanted permission!
A free market would be so simple: if his combination of facilities, food and drink did not please his customers, the ones who actually pay the bill and furnish his revenue, he would not survive and the premises would be sold to someone able to put them to profitable use. Government has absolutely no useful function to perform; it merely imposes a cost upon him (and therefore on his patrons) while furnishing employment to a set of political parasites who could not operate a business if their lives depended upon it.
Thanks for your reply. I expected a counter-argument as rebuttal but instead apparently got a rant in the truest sense of the word. [snip]
"Rant". Really? Dictionary.com defines that as "to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave" and that doesn’t seem to me to be what Majormoney was doing at all. There has been so far a very civil tone in the exchanges of view in this forum, and I hope that precedent is not breaking down.
It’s true that what he said will be unfamiliar to many. Such words as his will not be spoken on government-licensed TV, or read in major newspapers, so heavily dependent on access to government officials. They have never been taught in schools, whose syllabus is controlled by government, nor in colleges financed so generously with taxpayer funding of a scholarly élite, nor heard on government-subsidized NPR. In fact I doubt even if any big businessman, himself well-hooked on government handouts, is likely to bite the hand that feeds him by endorsing them – or not until well-oiled by a Martini or three.
Quickly check the alpha and omega of the institution of government. At the very get-go, it exists to govern, ie to write laws, to compel otherwise free people to do what they may not wish to do with their own lives. So it is a rights-violating outfit in its essential nature.
Then after it has done all its work on that basis, consider the omega: at Century’s end, say, what have governments actually achieved? The Twentieth is a good but not atypical example. According to Prof R J Rummel (Google him) the world’s governments killed 174 million people supposedly under their "protection", in addition to tens of millions of battle deaths as they wrestled with each other for control of resources allegedly belonging to some other government.
Garbage in, garbage out. This isn’t rocket science; it’s just simple observation of the big picture. And it is certainly no rant.