Government and Capitalism

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joe2baba
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Government and Capitalism

when i first became a real estate broker i was given a book to read called" winning through intimidation" i believe the author was robert rimmer.

it is a brilliant treatise on business. he posits that in business you will run into three professors in the business world.

the business world functions with its own set of rules and it is nothing more than the law of the jungle. he learned this through the school of hard knocks.

professor number one-------you have a hand full of marbles and professor number one wants them. he tells you he wants them and tells you he will get them whatever it takes, even if it means cutting your hand off at the wrist.

professor number two........same scenario. professor number two covets your marbles but will use a more nuanced approach. 

he will become your friend. he will get you to trust him. all the while he will have one objective in mind ........he wants your marbles.

professor number three.........professor number number three would like to have your marbles but has no plan to get them. it just turns out that somehow he ends up with them.

my question dear readers is which one you would prefer to do business with?

see correct answer below.

i have been on this site a long time and read it just about everyday(one day i hope to have a life) i have learned a great deal and it has occurred to me that the matrix we are functioning in is a business/government partnership. an llc if you will. there is a senior partner and a junior partner. business being the senior partner and gevernment the junior partner. i dont see it as fasism as i understand that system as being the control of business by government. i actually see the matrix as the exact opposite.

government is now under the complete control of business. i consider the halls of congress the greatest free marketplace in the world. there is not one thing that cannot be bought and sold there. ( even wooden toy arrows) i consider this the logical outcome of capitalism.. i view it that way because of the golden rule " he who has the gold makes the rules" our government is awash in money provided by lobbyists. legislation is written by lobbyists and passed on to the members of congress specifically senior members who sit on important committees.  as one example of how our government has been hijacked by business one need look no further than the war in iraq. there was a time when there was a thing called kp (kitchen police). this function was performed by military personnel. it is now performed by private contractors who "cater" food services to our military. virtually every function in our military now has a private enterprise component.even the basic task of fighting a war is being outsourced to private contractors ie. blackwater. this trend has been accelerating at a breathtaking pace in the last 8 years. our national security apparatus has experienced the very same process. as a result it has become necessary to have a war on terror and actual land wars. our economy simply demands it. companies from pharmaceutical and farm commodity corporations to boeing, lockheed and raytheon etal  are increasingly dependent on a more than close relationship with government. effectively private enterprise has hijacked our government not  the other way around.

there is much debate here on different economic systems such as austrian school economics. there is much complaining about our government from two opposing sides .............too much regulation and not enough regulation. there is lots of talk about conspiracies and there are those who decry conspiracies.  in a recent podcast and post on this site it was stated that more or less regulation is not the answer. that compliance is the issue and that our problem is systemic. my own position is that yes the government is rapidly failing to serve the people of this country, but we have no control over private enterprise. our only option is to attempt to get our government back. there are many functions of government which it is in the best interest of the citizens to remain public rather than privatizing the. privatization has been wreaking havoc around the world under the auspices of the world bank/ im. recently the people of bolivia rose up against there government to keep bechtel from supplying there water. prices had skyrocketed 300% when the system was privatize.

if our system is the problem then what do we do?  chris himself points this out in the crash course. if we change the system then how do we do that? what is the purpose of getting everyone to watch the crash course? what action is it chris or anyone else is proposing? we will soon see tens of thousands visiting this site daily, will there be an articulate dialog that is solution based or will we be mired in endless petty arguments and going off on tangents which will keep us in the disempowered state which allows those in power to continue to game the "system"

 

the correct answer is there is no correct answer.

my answer (preference) is  i would choose prof number one. ...........he is the only one you know whose agenda is absolutely clear .

 

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Re: Government and Capitalism

Hi Joe - I "decapitalized" your headline.

I hope you don't mind.  

One more agreement I'd like to put in place for the site is that we refrain from using deliberate attention grabbing devices (as that can quickly escalate on a board) and I consider ALLCAPS to be one such device.

Best,
Chris Martenson

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Re: Government and Capitalism

no problemo

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Re: Government and Capitalism

I think at this juncture we are way past the tipping point, peak oil and high world population likely mean a sustainable system wont be found or introduced until after a significant period of readjustment has taken place. 

 

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Re: Government and Capitalism

I'm glad you brought this up-- the question of privatization for I have been seriously questioning its usefulness.  Mish recently called for more privatization for California as a way to fix the mess we're in out here.  This makes me shudder to think. As for example look at the prison system complex-- I know the guards aren't any happier; the books are no better balanced; and actual rehabilitation is and remains a joke.  All privatizing has done is taken some of the financial obligation off the state allowing for that pot of money to be poorly mismanaged somewhere else and leaving the consumer/user disabled to advocate for reform or ask questions. 

I cannot think of one instance where privatization is the better choice.   I think the point is not replacing one large, heartless corporate structure (govt or otherwise) for another.  But rather break them down into smaller, more accountable and manageable entities.  I think Jim Kunstler is right on when he says smaller, local-driven economies and interests should be where we are headed. I believe this is a good place to start.  This is why the Crash Course works well right now on the planet.

I am feeling forgotten.  My family feels forgotten.  My neighbors feel forgotten.  For as far as that sentiment reaches consistently, we are beginning to embrace our neighborhood/community and work for our collective good. If I hear one more time how a bank exec. received another bonus from TARP funds while WAMU jacks my credit card interest rate up for no reason other than I MIGHT become a problem--- it makes my blood boil.

NOTE to Damnthematrix:  I know, I know...  Just stop paying all debt and bring them all to their knees.  I keep hearing you say that and the more I hear it the more attractive it becomes.

 

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Re: Government and Capitalism

Hi Joe,

Good question. What should we do? What should we promote? I think this is the question you are asking? Are we at a point were we can figure this out?

As I recall from my time at university there were 4 major forms of social organization: Markets, Community, Associations, and Government. It seems, after an overdependence on Markets, we are switching to an over reliance on Government. It seems there is a place for Community and Associations, and some kind of balance between these 4 different forms where we take the best of each, or find the appropriate place for each. But really, one of the questions we have to face is what kind of society we want to have given the facts of the crash course provides? We have to have a vision of where we want to go in order to figure out how to get there. Is there a consensus on that yet?

It seems that a society that is more local, less energy intensive is something we have to face. But even more important, the values we have as a society need to change to make this transition be less destructive. In the USA we seem to be out of practice asking ourselves what is important, and instead are taught to accept the values of consumerism without consideration of its implications or whether it is really satisfying.

I for one believe that the changes that have begun can be positive for individuals and society and the world at large. But the changes need to be embraced and our values need to be challanged for the changes to be experienced as positive. I'm not sure what a national agenda might entail, but I know that for me, developing my local community is a place I can put my energy right away.

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of world I want to work toward. It is easier for me to see the potential on the local level of how this new world can function in a constructive way where the best of what has been learned in the age of oil and credit can be put to use in a sustainable world. What is your vision of where we need to go and how to get there?

Thanks for bringing this up Joe.

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Re: Government and Capitalism
WhoKnew wrote:

I think at this juncture we are way past the tipping point, peak oil and high world population likely mean a sustainable system wont be found or introduced until after a significant period of readjustment has taken place. 

 

I agree WhoKnew. The only sustaiable system is going to be what can be worked out on a relatively local level.

 I had an interesting conversation with my mother who just finished the crash course. She was raised in the Rocky Mountains and is the only person I have known who grew up in a truly sustainable lifestyle.

She learned to grow and can food from her mother, raise and manage livestock from her father, and be frugal with her lifestyle. She recalled helping her brother, father and neighbors harvest ice from the river in the winter and store it in sawdust so they would have a cold storage for the summer. And she helped raise, cut and stack hay for the animals in winter. She rode her horse to school as a student and later did the same when she returned to teach in the same one room school house as a young adult. 

Then the war came and she was the first woman in her state to join the Navy in a group that would become known as the Waves. She opted for the new "modern lifestyle" and after the war, stayed in California albeit in a rural part of the state, and raised a family into a bright and shining new future.

She finished the Crash Course shaking her head and said to me "we know not what we have done to the future generations" and recalled one of the great benefits of her younger years was that of working together with all of the neighboring farms and ranches to help each other out.That was not a part of the "bright new future"

That is what we all must get to work on in a big way. We need local control and initiative and working together to get through the forest just down the road. That will be the greatest value in spreading the Crash Course message. Local leaders, businessmen, and residents all need to have a major awareness change if we are to act in time.

Coop

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Re: Government and Capitalism

The ideal “government”, and an economic system to match, was created - once.

 

In a quest for “where now?”, this ideal should be front and center –

 

Follow the United States Constitution.   

 This unique philosophical and political prescription, and the earlier documents recorded in it's intention, conception and execution, including the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, were the perigee of The Enlightment - intended to create a  system of societal governance heretofore unknown in human history.   

These documents, and the philosophy they inferred, intended, as far as humanly possible, to act as a deductive foundation, for a context under which more detailed issues of conflict could be resolved. 

 

Some historical perspective (and a soapbox moment, if you will) -

 

In 1770’s America, for the first time in human history, instead of the subjugation of "the individual",  to “a king”, “a ruler”, “a tribe”, “a mob”, “a collective”, “a state”, “the earth”, etc., each individual was considered instead, a self-ruling and free sovereign in and of him/herself.

 

A person's actions (i.e., freedom or liberty), and the fruit of those actions (i.e., property), were to be his/her own jurisdiction, insofar as it didn't interfere with the rights of others to the same (i.e., no individual has more “rights” than any other).   

 

As such, this philosophical recipe was an official blending of the golden rule, with the philosophical given, that individuals deserve a life of freedom, and to pursue that which makes them happy.

 

It was made clear, in the Declaration of Independence, that these individual rights were NOT given by a king, a ruler, a tribe, a collective or a state - i.e., "a government".    Instead, they originate from as high a source as possible, i.e., they are ordained "by the Creator". 

 

THIS premise for governance was unique in human history.

 

I submit that any other system away from this ideal, would be a step backward, and a step toward a new Dark Ages. 

 Further, I submit that we have already taken many steps backwards, by straying further and further, over the last 200+ years, away from this ideal. Indeed,  to preclude the possibility that a government (again - a tribe, mob, king or ruler) might once again grow to become the final “provider” in society (whether a collective or singular dictator), it is interesting to note the exact wording of what “rights” consist of in the Declaration of Independence -  “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  In other words, individuals did not have a “right of happiness” per se, for that might be misinterpreted, but rather, the pursuit of that happiness.    For what if my happiness requires a lavish apartment?  Or a large SUV?   or  a big retirement fund?, etc., etc.    Do I have a “right” to it?  If so, who is to provide it?   Who’s actions and property should it be taken from?    Further, can I have a special “right” which others do not have?   The Founding Fathers recognized that to include a “right” to happiness (explicitly) would be an open invitation to return to earlier systems, when a subjegated individual was parochially dependent upon “a government” for granting his life and rights.   Note also, that the DOI also goes on to circumscribe the strict limit on the one moral function of “a government”: “…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”  

This was UNIQUE.  The Bill of Rights, is a listing of 10 such explicit rights reserved to individual sovereigns, and they are also the first Amendments to the Constitution.    In this regard,, noting their own intellectual limitations, where the Founders felt they might leave open room for future (unforseen) conflict, they constructed the subsequent limitation to fall squarely on the power of government, and NOT the rights (and freedom) of individuals.  They were explicit in stating, both in the Bill of Rights, and in the Constitution, (as the 9th Amendment) that “…the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people….”.      

 

Simply put, in gray areas related to individual rights, those (unidentified) rights do NOT belong to “the Government”.   So from a practical perspective how does “Government” secure those rights?  A government has a monopoly on the use of justifiable force.    Securing those rights against internal encroachments (criminals), external encroachments (military) and government encroachments (tyranny) was considered the highest and only moral use of political force (i.e., guns). So what of Capitalism? “Capitalism” as defined at the same time as the DOI, Bill of Rights and US Constitution, was intended to reflect adherence to the governing principles above  i.e., free individuals, - i.e., necessitating individuals free to their action and the fruits of that action – i.e., necessitating free individuals with their (private) property.     Free to trade, with each individual bartering according to his own sense of value and valuation, in interaction with others, each to pursue his own happiness.   I submit that is NOT what exists or is practiced in America today. Through government force, privileged groups (not individuals) are now consistently provided with more “rights” than other “groups”, and many (most?)  in “government” now consider the Constitution as an archaic relic.    The concept of “group” rights were never a Constitutional construct (albeit the horror and total injustice of slavery and suffrage – i.e, the individual rights of women and African Americans notwithstanding. ) On economics and economic “systems” specifically, I submit that it is not “Capitalism” in the historic construct, that has created our current malady. Rather,  the current economic state, reflects a monetary system protected by government monopoly, for a privileged Banking minority, with more “rights” than exist for others (try running a fractional-reserve, i.e., check-kiting scheme yourself - would you escape a charge of criminal theft of property?  Would it not be fraud? )    As Mussolini literally defined it, the current American system is more akin to corporate fascism. It is bad enough that “the government” would institute such “Ponzi-style” schemes as a “group-privelige” (like Social Security), but for the government to secure “special rights”, via force of monopoly, to a private group of super-wealthy internationalists – i.e., Banking – is that “Capitalism”?    Further, they are financed and  provided with a government-imposed monopoly on issuance of the only “legal tender” in America, in conflict with the wording and intention of the US Constitution.    No - This is NOT “Capitalism” as the Founders envisioned it. Instead, discarding individual rights for group rights, the system has become akin to one dog pack against another (right vs left, Republican vs Democrat, blah blah blah), each scrambling for their share of property “meat” confiscated at the expense of free individuals.   Depending on which of the formalized 2 “political groups” now institutionalized, whether for foreign wars, or for “entitlements”, a privately-run monetary system, in conflict with the US Constitution, has fostered a mountain of growing exponential debt and usury interest. Financed and secured through confiscation from individuals, applied with government force on the average American, it is now insured as a working system.   This “capitalist” system (not) now consists of self-serving government officials, acting in concert with a monopolistic banking system, who benefit each other with either official office, or the interest riches to be paid on this “borrowing”.   This is a fraudulent dupe of the many, by the (government-protected) and beneficiating few – pure and simple. Mussolini must be laughing in his grave. Whether by design, mathematical limitation, or ineptitude, this monetary system is about to bring a desperate condition upon the United States.  The future will be even more challenging for everyone.    The current debt, to be paid as real and legitimate debt, by the toil of average Americans, will soon enough be be a mandate, to benefit for a set of private financiers and foreign lenders.  With the potential for an increase in societal chaos, the US Constitution will be a target for tattering. As for “Governments and Capitalism”, now, more than ever, the US Constitution, which can only be served by free individuals in unfettered markets,  points the way. Be careful then, what you wish for, whether the perceived “need” be some vision of “sustainability”, or because we “prefer” that others not “use so much energy”, or some other mandate, lest it be used by the current power-structure, at the expense of history’s greatest experiment in individual freedom. The French wanted freedom from the economic burden imposed by “a King” in 1789.   Rather than realizing what the Founding Fathers of America created, they got Napoleon, war, further debt, and famine.  The Dark Ages are not as far distant as we might imagine. 

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Re: Government and Capitalism

GDon,

Well said.

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Re: Government and Capitalism
GDon wrote:

Follow the United States Constitution.   

 This unique philosophical and political
prescription, and the earlier documents recorded in it's intention,
conception and execution, including the Declaration of Independence,
and the Bill of Rights, were the perigee of The Enlightment - intended to create a  system of societal governance heretofore unknown in human history.  

Well said! We have the solutions and we have the model to make this country free and prosperous. Unfortunately, not enough of our citizens understand yet alone prescribe to the tenets of the precious documents you mentioned - a national handbook if you will. In a free society it is vitally important that the citizenry remain informed, vigilant and vocal. Due diligence is our patriotic duty and fiduciary responsibility.

The greatest failure of our nation doesn't rest with the government and it doesn't rest with capitalism; it rests with the people who have become complacent and uninformed. In absence of a fundamental understanding they become reactionary and are easily mislead. Many are distracted chasing spurious bogeymen like business, lobbyists, conspiracy theorists and political parties instead of employing the lost art of critical thinking and insisting on the fidelity to our rule of law (constitution).

joe2baba wrote:
it has occurred to me that the matrix we are functioning in is a business/government partnership. an llc if you will. there is a senior partner and a junior partner. business being the senior partner and gevernment the junior partner. i dont see it as fasism as i understand that system as being the control of business by government. i actually see the matrix as the exact opposite.

"that this nation, under God, shall
have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth" Abraham Lincoln

joe2baba wrote:
what action is it chris or anyone else is proposing? we will soon see tens of thousands visiting this site daily, will there be an articulate dialog that is solution based or will we be mired in endless petty arguments and going off on tangents

Chris, GDon, me and many others have offered many salient solutions...

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Re: Government and Capitalism

i am ignorant of constitiutional law so forgive me if my questions seem elementary.

when the constitution was written the fathers were not dealing with over 40k lobbyists.

there were very few corporations to deal with and the ones that were around were set up primarily for public works projects like canals and roads. corporations were not given the same rights as individuals. this is a key point which is a prime reason why we are where we are (imho) and the constitution is silent on this simply because it was not an issue.

there were no computers and money was money ie specie not dots on a computer screen. a very small percentage of our currency is actually physical and we can do away with the fed but that will not change that fact. 

so again when i ask for ideas i would hope to hear specific solutions to those problems. again i am sure i am missing something as i am no scholar. but i would like to hear some dialog about how we extricate ourselves from the grip of corporations. corporations are acting inside the framework of our constitution and laws.

as for returning to the principles in the constitution this is the question i am asking. i still have not received an answer. i have heard the constitution praised and admired and capitalism defended., but a vocal informed citizenry did not stop the bailout of wall street, it did not stop the bailout of detroit/mexicocanada and brazil. our constitutionally elected reps ignore us

my point again is we have been hijacked just how do we get it back?

btw i have heard that jefferson felt the constitution should be rewritten every generation like every 18 years.  he did not seem to think that the original could foresee all the changes that would occur across generations

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Re: Government and Capitalism
Quote:

btw i have heard that jefferson felt the constitution should be rewritten every generation like every 18 years. he did not seem to think that the original could foresee all the changes that would occur across generations

Kinda goes against the concept of "inaliable" rights. The Constitution was constructed to allow ratification, but I don't buy Jefferson wanting it 'rewritten'. That sounds like post modern liberalist interpretation.

Quote:

i have heard the constitution praised and admired and capitalism defended., but a vocal informed citizenry did not stop the bailout of wall street, it did not stop the bailout of detroit/mexicocanada and brazil. our constitutionally elected reps ignore us

Why would you try and tie ignorant politicians to the constitution and capitalism? Those issues are entirely seperate and have nothing to do with one another. On the issue of being hijacked, we have two options - evict the corrupt elements with one of three boxes: 1. Jury box 2. Soap box 3. Cartridge box That is how our republic was intended to work. Society today lacks the motivation and interest to do anything for itself. I imagine we'll see the old adage from Communist Russia come into play, the fish rots from the head down.

The second is to simply allow it to collapse or morph into something more oppressive and less desirable.

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Re: Government and Capitalism

Npeykani,

Several concepts you're presenting here are personal issues that are specific to you.
For example, feeling forgotten - what exactly do you mean? Since when is it the Governments job to remember you?

To the government, you're a number. Nothing else. You never will be anything more. So comparing "heartless corperate structures" as a "bad" alternative doesn't make much sense.

This mentality is indicitive of a "entitlement" society.
There is absolutely no consideration given to the ideal that "heartless corperate structures" MUST compete - they are granted contracts based on affordability and service. Governments are NOT. They are created by bureaucrats who have an inflationary effect on the size of the government. This creates MORE dilution of social services and precludes any sort of establishment that will feel the need to "remember you".

Bigger government - or government in general is NOT the answer. A socialist government will no more remember you than the present one. More regulations can't make people care about you, and more "officials" will only serve to further confuse the convoluted state that government has found itself in.

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Re: Government and Capitalism

Aaron,

It is interesting to personify government.  It is done often.  I hear it every day in my work life as citizens rant about issues wanting someone or something to fix their problems--- pointing to government as if there is a thing there to hold accountable when what they are really asking for is an actual HUMAN BEING in a representational position of the government to do something to address issues.

In this, it is all personal Aaron.  On a brotherhood sisterhood level--- it is all personal.  You call this entitlement.  I call it true representational government. 

I do not hold a private corporation to the same measure.  In this light I understand Joe's first professor--- the one I know will cut my hand off to get my marbles is EXACTLY the kind I transact business with every day.  But my government?  I want it "staffed" by fellow citizens who CARE, THINK, and ASSIST me in keeping my marbles if that is my goal.

The whole point is where has this representation gone?  Joe asserts corporations now staff the government.  Rather than representing the public interest, government is representing private interest. The question posed is, as citizens what if anything are we going to do about it? 

You conclude our choices are to take action at the jury box, soap box, or cartridge box. I guess the ballot box-- the one which remains our most important choice is a non-option for you. I believe it remains our most effect tool. 

As I indicated, if I am feeling forgotten, and my neighbors feel forgotten, the next "staffer" I elect will be the one who remembers me. Doing this in my local election will be my most immediate course of action.

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Re: Government and Capitalism

Npeykani,

You said,

Quote:

But my government? I want it "staffed" by fellow citizens who CARE, THINK, and ASSIST me in keeping my marbles if that is my goal.

I totally agree with you. We're on the "exact" same page here. I believe government locally should be liberal and preoccupied with matters of community, and government federally should be extremely conservative.

Our local issues are, beyond a doubt, our most important, and this will continue to become more clear as things get worse federally.

At any rate, I don't believe we'll see government staffed by the true "representitive" until we have a collapse.

If I were to magically assume executive powers, my first move would be to abolish the "professional Politician", and return it to a compensatory position.

When a representitive was finished with their political business, they go back to their normal job in their community. Hopefully, this would return politics to a sense of duty and commitment to community than to a gravy train job.

Cheers!

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Re: Government and Capitalism

"There is absolutely no consideration given to the ideal that "heartless
corperate structures" MUST compete - they are granted contracts based
on affordability and service."

aaron please explain this in terms of bechtel and halliburton and a whole host of corporations owned by our government officials. ah perhaps it lies in the ideal that heartless corporate structures must compete. just as an ideal government should protect the citizens of the country within the framework of the constitution

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Re: Government and Capitalism

     I do not know about representative working for free because here in Miami they do not think they make enough and they get too many “favors from friends” besides the money that the actually steal.  I do not know which is better but they should be in power for not more than 8 years and not get anything else after that.  If they what to serve their country after that they can do some charity work or if they belief in something they can do it for free because they believe is in their community best interest and their best interest too.

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Re: Government and Capitalism

"There have been many proposals for substantial change to the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson himself was wary of the power of the dead over the living in
the form of an unchanging Constitution. To ensure that each generation have a
say in the framework of the government, he proposed that the Constitution, and
each one following it, expire after 19 or 20 years"

the above aaron is from usconstitution.net i will go to the library and get jeffersons writings if you need further evidence against

  "That sounds like post modern liberalist interpretation"

and as for going against inalienable rights you will have to explain that one to me as life liberty and the pursuit of happiness can certainly allow for people to rewrite the terms of their agreements. if you are accusing me of post modern liberal interpretation PLEASE do your homework i dont have the time or the inclination to do it for you.

it is a shame you are missing the point of my post you are an intelligent person but it would seem dogma triumphs again.

but at least you are proposing some solutions

1. Jury box 2. Soap box 3. Cartridge box 

my question then becomes which are YOU  choosing?

i am very careful to take the advice of swami beyondananda " be very careful grasshopper or your dogma will get run over by your karma"

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Re: Government and Capitalism

As for solutions and the tools and frameworks they are composed of: Can anyone name a country that seems to be functioning as we would have ours function post reform?

What are the aspects of that system that stand out in your mind?

I am really asking these questions; they are not rhetorical.

NZO

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
Re: Government and Capitalism

Emdiaz,

I'm not proposing that they work for free - merely that they are not paid or employed as full time public servants.
Terms of office should, and did in the past, include pay for time away, expenses while away and other monetary compensations. There should be a reward for service. But not to the tune of a $200,000 per annum retirement.

Joe2baba,

To your first comment, Haliburton and Bechtel being owned by the government is exactly the kind of corruption I'm talking about. Corperatism isn't the solution, but it isn't the problem either. The individuals running these organizations are corrupt, oligarichal types who have no respect for any system of government. The same type of corruption was evident in Russia, before the collapse of the USSR. Switching our system of bureaucracy is tantamount to "switching horses mid stream". We're not THAT far into this experiment in free society.

To the Jefferson quote;

Jefferson Also said "The tree of liberty must be refreshed, from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

So shall we grab the cartridge box?
His concepts are a useful guide, but certainly not absolute, and I believe this may be "out of context". Further examination is in order.

Either way, he has a very solid reputation of consistancy with regards to the inaliable freedoms of the first five amendments of the constitution, and such is well documented. Beyond this, The rest HAS been rewritten (and in some cases addendums added), so I'm not entirely sure how we're not doing this.
If you consider an obscure quote that you found using google "doing my homework for me", cut the condescention. I'll not get into cutting personal remarks. I don't know every quote ever spoken, and neither do you, so lets share information instead of throw it at one another.

Anyway, Cheers! I appreciate you sharing that information.

Aaron

PS - my preferred method of change is using information and due legal process. I'm, nor will I ever advocate a violent revoltuon. We have criminals serving in our government, but they are the culprits, not our system as a whole.

GDon's picture
GDon
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Joined: Apr 2 2008
Posts: 86
Re: Government and Capitalism

joe2baba -

You are correct, that Jefferson himself, saw that there may exist cause and reason for changes to the Constitution, for the creation of America was decades in the making, within which he participated.

The considerations and debate on how the original separate Colonies, might assemble for their own prosperity, required well over 30 years (1770 - 1800).

This quest for a "more perfect governance" occured in the context of "refinement", of the philosophical tenets first penned in the Declaration of Independence.

However, the DOI principles were foundational - i.e., the "changes" were not considered as being (nor allowed to be) contrary to them, but instead, a refinement for better operation and self-governance.   He stated as much - that future generations should likely only improve the level of individual freedom.   It was considered frightening to him that they might actually revert and "go backwards", to despotism and less freedom.  To wit -

  • "The generation which is going off the stage has deserved well of mankind for the struggles it has made and for having arrested that course of despotism which had overwhelmed the world for thousands and thousands of years. If there seems to be danger that the ground they have gained will be lost again, that danger comes from the [upcoming] generation. But that the enthusiasm which characterizes youth should lift its parricide hands against freedom and science would be such a monstrous phenomenon as I cannot place among possible things in this age and this country." --Thomas Jefferon to William Green Munford, 1799.
  • 'All human constitutions are subject to corruption and must perish unless they are timely renewed and reduced to their first principles.'" --Thomas Jefferson: copied into his Commonplace Book.
  • "It will be said it is easier to find faults than to amend them. I do not think their amendment so difficult as is pretended. Only lay down true principles and adhere to them inflexibly." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

Instead, the fear was that corruption might eventually "set in" with instead, no method of changing the encroachment on freedom, and so, a method for peaceful and thoughtful change would be required (i.e.,  "amendment").

This requirement for "human constitutions" to be "timely renewed and reduced to their first principles" is precisely my earlier point, regarding our need today, to "dust-off" and not only apply the Constitution, but as importantly, to return to those "first principles", "yet adhere to them inflexibly".

For what change could be considered an "improvement" to the "philosophical ideal", of complete individual freedom, limited only by that which prevents others from the same?  Less individual freedom?  More dictatorial power within "government"?   This "first principle" was that which Jefferson considered we must "adhere to inflexibly".

On the process of "amendment" itself, Jefferson and the Founders took great pride in establishing an eventual "peaceful and thoughtful" system of change which all prior-known governmental forms did not have.    At the time, because of their revolution against England,  the Founders had an "aligning" relationship with France.   Many of Jefferson's letters were exchanged with the French, who were inspired by "young America".  

In the contemporary French Revolution of 1789, the french also attempted to break with the political philosophy embodied by "a King".   However, lacking the philosophical concept of "individual rights" - i.e., "each individual a sovereign - i.e., "his own king", the french missed the point.   Instead of individual freedom, they quickly got a military dictator in Napoleon, along with conscription, hunger and war, succumbing instead, to a system whereby the rights of the individual were again, to be subjegated to "a Ruler" and "a Mob".

In any case, many of Jefferson's letters attempt to describe the American experience to French revolutionaries:

  • "Happy for us that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions." --Thomas Jefferson to C. W. F. Dumas, 1787
  • "I have found here [in America] a philosophic revolution, philosophically effected." --Thomas Jefferson to Comtesse d'Houdetot, 1790
  • "Happy for us that abuses have not yet become patrimonies, and that every description of interest is in favor of rational and moderate government. That we are yet able to send our wise and good men together to talk over our form of government, discuss its weaknesses and establish its remedies with the same sang-froid as they would a subject of agriculture." --Thomas Jefferson to Ralph Izard, 1788
  • "[The European] monarchs instead of wisely yielding to the gradual change of circumstances, of favoring progressive accommodation to progressive improvement, have clung to old abuses, entrenched themselves behind steady habits and obliged their subjects to seek through blood and violence rash and ruinous innovations which, had they been referred to the peaceful deliberations and collected wisdom of the nation, would have been put into acceptable and salutary forms. Let us follow no such examples nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself and of ordering its own affairs. Let us... avail ourselves of our reason and experience to correct the crude essays of our first and unexperienced although wise, virtuous, and well-meaning councils." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

Today - I believe we have, for so long, and at such a distance, left many of these "first principles" in the dust-bin of time.

Is "change" possible?   YES, but ONLY if we utilize the power behind the US Constitution, and apply it.

Ultimately America's form of government is one of "self-governance".  

Has the Constitution been largely ignored?  Yes, but it doesn't mean that that must continue. 

It may indeed be a desperate state we have reached, and the time may come when there is little or nothing we can do to correct the course.   However, I trust we have not yet reached that point.

While the natural effect of dwindling resources and energy may indeed create some difficulties for our condition, there is nonetheless, NO MORE PERFECT PHILOSOPHICAL PRESCRIPTION  for the way forward, than that embodied by the philosophical ideal inherent in the "individual rights" and freedom penned in the Founders documents.

Can we imagine a more dictatorial government under the same reduction of our natural resources and energy?  How much darker a picture might that be?    Would the "strong arm" of government force be any more bearable, were it even mightier against individual freedom, given a greater lack of oil and resources???

I'll mention 2 direct prescriptions for change, which can be found in articles by Dr. Edwin Vieira, PhD, JD, a preeminent constitutional lawyer, and one an expert in constitutional law and monetary issues:

A) Monetary Change

B) Return to Active Self-governance

In the case of A) Monetary Change, I believe that we have suffered under 3 dangerous monetary mechanisms - the first for almost 200 years, the 2nd for over 85 (since 1913), and the 3rd for about 30 (since 1971):

1) Fractional-reserve Banking

2) Allowing Private Banks to issue the currency of the Nation (unconstitutional)

3) Irredeemable Fiat-currency (Debt-money) enforced as the only "legal-tender" of the Nation (unconstitutional)

A return to digital gold, or perhaps an indexing of US Notes, against whatever silver and gold remains in the custody of the US Treasury would be a start.    As per Dr Vieira's comments, a second idea would be to convince a State (or perhaps even a local municipality), to begin to allow a precious-metals based "script" (money).   Perhaps this is what California and Michigan should do!!!

In the case of B) Return to Self-governance, again, I am only relaying the comments of Edwin Vieira.    In any case, the US Consitution has always provided for America to be self-governed, even under the most desperate of condition.   The Founding Fathers, having won their freedom through the use of force and war, were ever- vigilant and against "Standing" Armies, not only in times of war, but worse, in times of peace. ("standing armies", as the term was applied then, were analogous to today's professional & national Army, Navy, etc). 

Instead, they felt it every American's duty, as the ultimate part of "self-governance", to be a part of an "organized militia", as distinct from a "standing Army". 

One idea, proposed by Dr Edwin Vieira, http://www.edwinvieira.com/  is to allow for American citizens (as opposed to professional soldiers), to participate and form the core of what is today known as "Homeland Security".   In fact, the concept of "Homeland Security" was precisely what the Founders envisioned as an "organized militia" within the 2nd Amendment.   

Indeed, the Founders felt that the ultimate in self-governance was so important, that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is the only Amendment which provides a reason for it's inclusion...

He has written a book on the subject, and proposes that State Governors might participate as leaders of their own "militias", but the requisite that it need be a Governor is not the point.   Rather, American citizens, as was per the US Constitution, can establish their own governance, as was originally intended per the Constitution - whether the need for "Homeland Security" be for defense against foreign invaders, terrorists, or perhaps only for maintenance of law and order during times of social upheaval - e.g., should America suffer an economic collapse or hardship. 

This would also take the financial burden off of Taxpayers, by allowing them to instead participate directly.

I won't go into his proposal more here, but if people are interested, suggest that they can find more in his book.

Surely only foreign criminals and unconstitutional desposts would need worry about a self-governing free America. 

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
Re: Government and Capitalism

GDon,

...wow. I bow to your intellect, sir.

That was the context I eluded to, but lacked the knowledge and intelligence to express.
I've seen and heard a lot of people on this subject, but you sir have a transcendent grasp of these concepts.

Do us all a favor and run for office.
Cheers!

Aaron

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penski
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Posts: 12
Re: Government and Capitalism

I agree with the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, however I don't understand how capitalism is the best economic system to uphold those ideals.  Capitalism is at its core an exploitative system.  In a world that is infinite, exploitation is not a problem because there is always another forest to cut down, another stream to pollute, another freshwater aquifer to suck dry and air that my factory pollutes would have little effect on someone else's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Perhaps the greatest strength of Chris Martenson's Crash Course is that it so clearly shows that the world we live in is, without a doubt, finite.

At the core of capitalism is the accumulation of capital by virtue of profit.  Profit is what is gained when something is exchanged for more than it is worth, or, as is more often the case in our current dominant society, when something is produced for less than it's real cost (usually at the expense of the people producing it through unfair compensation or at the expense of everyone due to environmental destruction).

What we are witnessing today may not look like Milton Friedman's free market ideal, but it is the real world application of that ideal.  Groups of people have been allowed to exploit others to attain a profit.  Profits have been accumulated and used to increase power.  Power has been used to alter the game so that those in power can continue to accumulate profits and more power.  What we are seeing today is the limit of that system.

The "few bad apples" argument, an excess of regulation, a lack of regulation - these arguments simply do not hold water.  A capitalist society rewards accumulation, greed, exploitation, competition and power.  This is the nature of the beast.  Capitalism is, pure and simple, an unsustainable economic system in a finite world.

By necessity of being developped in a finite, interconnected world, our new society must be based on balance, not accumulation; cooperation, not competition; fairness and equality, not exploitation, greed and power.

If you can show me where my logic breaks down or where there is a real-world example of a capitalist society that does not have massive inequalities and/or serious environmental/resource depletion problems, please do.  Otherwise, I believe our decreasing amount of time is best spent envisioning what our new world will look like and what steps we can take to get there.

- Chris

joe2baba's picture
joe2baba
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Posts: 807
Re: Government and Capitalism

THANK YOU CHRIS

 you actually read my post. and thank you for bringing up uncle miltie. 

joe

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
Re: Government and Capitalism

Penski,

What's your preference in that case?
Is socialism better?
Communism?

Lets take a quick stroll through history...
Pol Pot in Cambodia. Communism.
Ho Chi Min in Vietnam. Communism.
Mousilini in Italy. Socialism.
Stalin in Russia. Communism.
Hitler in Germany. National Socialism.
Franco in Spain. Socialism.
Huessein in Iraq. Socialism.
Castro in Cuba. Communism.
Chavez in Venuzuela. Socialism.

These are all examples of a system that treated people equally and didn't exploit workers... right? These are all utopian workers ideologies... right?

The most murderous and tyrannical regimes in history have been created under socialist rule. With all the retrograding our society has done in the last 16 years - do you REALLY want to hand the reigns over to a system that rules from the top down?
In addition to that, some of the WORST pollution and industrialization of rural and valuable ecology has come from Socialist expansion.

Those problems are NOT unique to capitalism! It's mismanagement and poor leadership that causes this! Please don't presume that the root cause is a system of government. The de facto problem lies with humans - not with a "ideology". Some ideologies simply allow more power to concentrate in smaller areas. Capitalism contains this problem by offering equal opportunities to all workers, rather than just those promoted by "the party".

Capitalism has allowed great achievers and thinkers unlimited possibilities. These opportunities allow achievement through endevour in a free society with free markets and trade. In an over-regulated quasi-socialistic republic like what we've inherited thanks to the miscreants of the 1960's, we have a delapidated system of feel good politics and failing ideologies that put the collective ahead of the individual. I'm not impressed or compelled by the "capitalism sucks" arguement that some are putting up around here.

Perhaps you should read Orwells anthropomorphic metaphor for socialsim in "Animal Farm", or his take on the oppressive nature of socialist societies in "1984".

Not all people are equal. If they were, there'd be no doctors , because when a doctor makes as much as someone who sweeps floors, what the hell is the incentive to become a doctor? And if you are, what's your incentive for being a GOOD doctor?

I live under a system of socialist medicine, and it's lousy.

Capitalism creates healthy competition when it is allowed to work without interference from swollen government programs which demand redistribution of wealth and occupations.

The mentality that merit should be spread by birth instead of by accomplishment is absolutely ridiculous and unless you've got a BETTER solution, lets stick to what brought us the most prosperous and technologically productive period in human history. Maybe working the kinks out of that would be smarter than taking a step back in time to the failed utopias of the 1900's.

Sorry if I've missed something.

Aaron

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Malachi
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Joined: Dec 24 2008
Posts: 6
Re: Government and Capitalism

"Profit is what is gained when something is exchanged for more than it
is worth"

When two people engage in a transaction, BOTH sides profit.  If they didn't, they wouldn't engage in the transaction.

Think about what that means.  A good does not have some set worth.  What something is worth is different to different people.  Not only that, what something is worth is different to the same person at different times.

Consider a hamburger.  You're hungry.  You buy a hamburger for $3 and gladly thank the cook who in turn thanks you (only in free-market transactions do both sides thank one another).  You eat the hamburger.  Now you're not hungry.  Will you buy another one?  Probably not.  Why not?  Is the hamburger not worth your $3?  Not to you now.  You're not hungry.  A hamburger might only be worth, say, a dollar to you now (this is called marginal utility).

Same good.  Different worths.

 

"as is more often the case in our current dominant
society, when something is produced for less than it's real cost"

No.  When you can produce something someone values more than you value the opportunity costs you incur producing it.

Capitalism is all about mutual benefit and cooperation.

penski's picture
penski
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Posts: 12
Re: Government and Capitalism

Malachi -

What you are describing is an idealized textbook version of an exchange of goods.  If you and I are in a closed system where you have something of value to me, say a hamburger, and I have something of value to you, say three dollars, and we agree to exchange those goods, we're both happy and the "market" has determined the "worth" of our goods.

In the real world, somebody probably got the shaft - and it's probably not you or me in a direct and immediate way.  Where did the meat come from for that burger?  What forest got cleared to make room for the grazing land?  Who was deprived of his liberty when he was forced to raise cattle for export in order to pay back the unrepayable loans that were imposed upon his country by capitalist organizations in the name of "progress"?  How much petroleum was used to feed the cow, to grow the wheat for the bun, to transport it all to us?  And who did I exploit to get my three dollars?

My point is not that people should not be allowed to exchange goods freely, but that the real costs of goods need to be accounted for.  The downfall of capitalism is the idea that you can somehow "externalize" costs in a finite, interconnected world.  Free market economics is not going to replenish the oceans with fish, nor slow the destruction of forests, nor refill aquifers with fresh water, nor create more oil, nor remove toxic chemicals from our topsoil, et cetera, ad nauseum.  Free market economics is going to use up and destroy every last resource and then ask "What's next?"

My hope is that we put our collective heads and hearts together and come up with something else - and soon.  The Market will not save us.

Chris

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penski
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Posts: 12
Re: Government and Capitalism

Aaron -

I agree with 95% of your response to my "capitalism sucks" argument (I thought my argument had a bit more logic to it than what you call it, but no matter).  Where you lost me was when you said that capitalism has brought us "the most prosperous and technologically productive period in human history."  Two hundred years ago, there were about one billion people on the planet.  Today there are nearly one billion STARVING people on the planet.  If this is what you consider prosperous, then you and I have a very different value system.

You have created a false dichotomy between capitalism/free market economics and socialism/communism/government controlling the means of production (particularly since one side of the dichotomy is an economic system and the other is a political system).  Nowhere in my post did I say that we should be more like Hitler or Pol Pot.  Yes, Soviet-style communism sucks.  Yes, dictatorships suck.  Yes, fascism sucks.  And capitalism sucks.

My point is that we are doomed to failure if we try to "work the kinks out" of an inherently destructive system.  What we need to do is go beyond what we have done in the past and create something new and better.   Obviously I don't have the solution or I wouldn't be engaging in this conversation in this way.  And just as obvious to me is that you wouldn't be active on this website if you didn't understand that we, as humans, are doing something terribly wrong.  I apologize for not having more constructive ideas.  What I do know is that we can't solve a problem without being able to identify it, which is why I have spent so much time trying to show you the logical failings of capitalism.

What will our new society look like?  I don't know.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't include gas-powered leaf-blowers.  And it will include much of what is in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution that recognizes one's inalienable rights.  I imagine that production of goods will be more localized than what we have now.  I also know that the production of goods will have to take into account their true costs in terms of resource depletion and toxicity.  I would also assume that we will have to value material objects in terms of the energy required to make them.  What do you think will be important in our new society?

Chris

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2368
Re: Government and Capitalism

Chris,

I think that the things that will be important in our "new" society will be intrensic ones, and I also believe we'll see a return to socialism of sorts by default.

To be brief, I have no faith in our system right now. I think we will undergo a Argentina/USSR style collapse, and revert back to farmers markets and local commerce out of necessty. I also imagine we'll see a renewed interest in spirituality, and mutual defense. So, the "social" dynamics will probably change drastically, and that is good.

On a small scale, I believe things SHOULD be "socialised". Communities should pool resources for mutual betterment. However, this concept has NO place as a "federal" ideology. Again, to be brief, I believe we HAD the perfect system of government, and if you really think about it, the last 80 years is the first time in human history that we had a "free" society. It's no wonder it rapidly reverted into the situation we're in now, which is an oligarichal heirarchy based on wealth.

We must continue to push forward with the government that our founders envisioned. Eventually, it will take root.

To digress a bit and talk some about why I compared Socialisms in general to dictators - Socialism is a power consolidation method that channels the matters of the individuals into the hands of the state. This ideology is contrary to, and precludes individual liberty. In addition to that, it creates an environment of "ad hoc" or subjective laws, which are generally used by a "ruling" class to determine the fitness of a "civilian" class's ability to conduct themselves.

Whatever our future looks like, we cannot discount the importance of human liberty.
Most people are like calculators - you put garbage in, you get garbage out. They work, reproduce and die. What we must strive for is allowing each person an opportunity, and educating them to the civic rights and responsibilites of being a Free American.

Finally, the fact we have a billion starving on the planet is certainly concerning. I've thought at length about this, and my dad used to tell me "Aaron, any problem you can think of can be traced back to overpopulation."

If people cannot manage their breeding and balance their ecosystem with their growth, they will go extinct. It's unfortunate, but it's a evolutionary impartive that is absolutely necessary. It is not our job to manage their lives, and as a serviceman, I do not feel compelled to risk MY life to straighten out the messes in some of those areas. It's terrible I know, and compassion may be mankinds greatest strength, but it also has a nasty tendancy to cloud our good judgement.

We have to be careful about what we commit ourselves to - there is always someone else who must 'lead the charge' when we as a population decide we want action.

penski's picture
penski
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 12
Re: Government and Capitalism

Hey, we're on the same page after all, Aaron!

There is always a balance between what we do as individuals and what we do collectively (government).  The trick, of course, is finding the best balancing point - and being fluid enough to move that point when things get out of whack.

DavidLachman's picture
DavidLachman
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 4 2008
Posts: 153
Re: liberty, the economy, government and the environment

I've been reading this exchange and I think one thing to be added to the discussion is to mention that one major things wrong with our current system of capitalism (in the US at least) was accepting the idea tha corporations would be treated like people and that problem was further compounded by a supreme court ruling that basically said that states couldn't revoke corporate charters--giving corporations immortality and few tools for society to control them if they were acting antisocially.  Eliminating special benifits for corporations and holding corporate officiers criminally responsible for the actions they take for the corporations would do a lot to mitigate some of the negatives of capitalism as it is practiced currently in the US. 

There is something to be said for liberty applying to economics if it is going to be realized in the political sphere.  However, all economies require rules and the power of enforcement of those rules.  Markets use courts to enforce contracts. On the other hand, guilds were very successful in regulating professions for hundreds of years in the period before capitalism.  Associations, like guilds, that are not government but do have power have been useful in organizing societies interests, but in the case of professional guilds they haven't typically promoted liberty of profession at large. 

The more I think about these topics I can see why Jefferson thought small farmers were the key to democracy.  They were self sufficient in necessities, but had a surplus to trade with the world off their farms so were interested in free markets.  Being beholdent to no one is a great step to keeping people free.  Markets are best when all parties are free, equal, and have a high degree of relevent information.  To the degree that is not true, markets are not helpful and other forms of social organization might be useful--especially when organized along democratic principles.

What happens when there are fundemental differences of opinion in a free society, say about what to do with the surplus--growth or prosperity?  Who owns the economic surplus of a society?  Is it privately or publicly decided what to do with it?  How is individual liberty balanced with the liberty of the whole society?  Is the political system there to support the economic system or vis-a-versa?  Is it okay for individual actions to destroy the environment for everyone?  What roles do incentives and coersion play in individual choice and group choices?

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