Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Econ for the Human

If you like Ronald Reagan chances are you won't like this entry, possibly this whole blogsite. Sorry. And don't worry, I don't like Jimmy Carter...well no one seems to, so I guess that's not quite fair. In my last post I made an allusion or two to Reagan or "Reaganomics," and I realize my terse tone. Intentional, yes. Anything personal towards the guy? No. His, Thatcher's, Bushs', even Clinton's (thanks for NAFTA) economic policies, we have problems.

Firstly, I am not a communist. But George Lakoff, a linguistic at UC Berkley, says I should state what I am or what my cause is, not what it's not. Because, like Nixon's "I am not a crook," nearly everyone thinks he is or was and that I'm communist. I'm not. I'm a humanist, if anything. In economic terms, this would mean I leave more Left because, as history has shown, the rise to the the economic top is and must be at the expense of another; another group of human beings, another country, another culture that has never seen industrialization, etc. And the fist-pumping capitalist says "too bad so sad" and cite lack of moral character if someone looses their home, or can not save enough from the 10cents a day they make in a poultry plant. Just, "sorry, that's the way the game goes" type deal. It's easy to live by this until you or one of your friends or loved ones ends up on the street.

We should try to imagine, not just friends in close proximity, but other humans around the world. In short, for some, this makes me "not a crook" if you know what I mean.

There is no consequence in our consumer culture. If we had to read an account of the person's life that made that shirt we bought at Wal-Mart, we may never shop there again. But we do know it, and we shop there. Why? not because we are inconsiderate human beings but because we are so immensly saturated with Wal-Marts and tons of other brightly lit places to blow our money.

So what do we do as respectable human beings? Now that we know our ability to buy the newest iphone is directly related to someone else not being able to put food on the table. I realize I'm talking about "free" trade here, and I do know that protectionism does not work and it didn't work 50 years ago. I'm talking about communism. Historically proven to be a failure.

But we shouldn't think in quickly fashioned dichotomies. That is, if not capitalism then it must be communism and vice versa. The whole us vs. them, good (U.S.) vs. evil (Russia/Everyone else), capitalist vs. communist doctrine and the frame of mind it's created should be stated for what it is: dangerous anti-intellectualism. Sure, maybe, at one time, the world and all of its issues could be viewed this way. Well, as they say, welcome to the 21st Century.

In the wake of the whole economic_______(you fill in the blank), some things have become exceptionally clear. As Dr. Frank Luntz, a well known author and right-winger, stated in a forum held at the Commonwealth Club of California, "Capitalism almost destroyed this country. And I'm a capitalist." What he is reffering to is the "higher-ups" on Wall Street and the CEOs becoming rich at the expense of their fellow countrymen, that's aside from the rest of world. But that should say something--their own. And they filled their pockets at yours and mine expense. Why? Because free-market, "nail the door shut on regulation," Reaganomic economic policies said that's ok.

So call me a communist. You can even call me what seems to be even worse at the current historical moment, a socialist. If you think you and others deserve something better than the boom and bust, fill the pockets of the rich while you go into bankruptcy paying for health care bills, and rampant "free" trade a.k.a the new economic imperialism that ships your job somewhere else in the world, then you might just be a socialist too. Maybe even a humanist.

No comments:

Post a Comment