Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Belly Up

In some long-forgotten post, I linked to a video showing some sort of banal or mindless behavior, and remarked that it was a symbol of a larger breakdown. An astute commenter noted that society's underbelly never changes -- we just have a lot more cameras now.

With the commentariat, the more the merrier. But there sure are a lot of keyboards these days, aren't there?


Blogger Chris F. said...

OH, thank god for my $6.00 an hour. Thank Jesus that I can't afford my rent. Praise the lord that I have to choose between buying groceries or paying for the electric that cooks those groceries. Halleluia, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Coke-a-Cola and British Petroleum exist. Because without the hope of a great nation, without the hope of making billions of dollars annually, I might never strive to be better.

Come the f00k on. People strive to succeed in SPITE of the money, not BECAUSE of it.

For those of you not keen to sarcasm, note the hyperbole. Though keep in mind, the hyperbole is not very far off. Truthfully, it's pretty damned close to reality.

1/16/2008 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

Yes, the cult of capitalism marches on. Somewhere Ayn Rand is smiling from a gilded tower with a clean conscience. Oh, virtuous industrialist! Is there no end to your beneficence?

1/16/2008 12:20 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Try not to confuse USA style neo-mercantilism (USA style doesn’t care about exports our government subsidizes our financial and military empire) with capitalism or a free market economy. The US has not had a free market economy since the creation of the Federal Reserve banking system nearly one hundred years ago. There is nothing wrong with Capitalism. Take a long hard look at the history of Hong Kong (A heavily populated Island with virtually no resources) and you will see what true capitalism can do. In fairness to Karl Marx...his view of communism was very close to the socialism of Sweden...not the Soviet Union. To be fair of Adam Smith...his view on how capitalism should work is closest to Hong Kong’s economy. The biggest thing people leave out when discussing the economy is politics. Politics often plays more of a roll in the economy than the supposed economic theory in practice. The late Jude Wanniski made these points often. His book The way the world works is arrogantly titled but he backs it up. I learned much from that man. Hong Kong was many of the Caribbean Islands.... Britain gave them true freedom for loyalty. If you think societies can't prosper without large tax revenues or if you think Freedom and liberty do not work take a close look at Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands, Belize, etc. When you don't have a large military or government bureaucracy (Or in the US several large bureaucracies...Federal, State, Local, Military, etc.) to support life all of a sudden becomes much easier for people. And I’m not talking about just rich people...I’m talking about all people.

1/16/2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

I can dig what you are saying Goldhorder. And thanks for replying; I often find your viewpoint intriguing.

I do not have a problem with capitalism in general. It works great for cars and toasters and restaurants. The thing that gets me is that there is a fierce resistance in this country to any system other than American capitalism. There are some things that I think are important that a free market system is not as good a model for. I am thinking of health care or a social safety net. Reasonable people can disagree about the best way to go about addressing these issues. But to question the universal efficacy of American capitalism is forbidden. That's why I call it a cult.

As I said, capitalism is a great system for lots of stuff. But we can't have a discussion about its shortcomings. We can't point out that many peoples' needs are not being met under our current system. That is what is lacking in the discourse in the media and society in general.

1/17/2008 12:26 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

American Capitalism and America's "free market economy" is nothing but a propaganda slogan. It is not true. We don't have a free market economy. We have a corporate/government controlled economy. Why would you need a "World Bank", an IMF, and a federal reserve bank if you had a free market economy? Free trade means people are free to trade whatever goods and services they wanted to across borders. Instead of that we have NAFTA. This is where big wigs and politicians sit around a table and start slicing up who is going to control which markets in what places. It is different clans of the mafia dividing up the town by peaceful means instead of war. Read these so called "free trade" agreements and see if I'm not correct.

I am going to give you a bit more food for thought think about our "free market" economy. Walmart has been trying to open up health clinics in all its stores. They would be staffed by experienced RNs and PAs only. No doctors. They would take care of everything they could and send more complicated cases to the local hospital. The AMA went apeshit...congress began organizing to block any attempt by Walmart to open its medical clinics so Walmart backed down. Since Walmart was nice enough to back down the AMA is allowing them to try opening a few clinics to give physicals and referals. I don't know how far the AMA will let them go...but you can bet your butt they are not going to let Walmart do anything to take more than a crumb or two from their pie! You might not believe in the Market but the doctors who control the AMA sure do! They have been limiting supply for years in any manner they can think of. For instance...Lobbying to keep the number of medical schools down, preventing PAs and RNs from doing the simplest of procedures, keeping Urgent care facilities to a minimum to force as many people into hospitals as possible, etc. Then you have the HMOs, Insurance companies, drug companies, AARP, congress, etc. into the mix...I mean come on!!! This is the "failure" of a free market? Do you really believe that?

I have to make one point...There are so many hands in the pot...and so many different interests fighting for control over who gets the bigger piece of the pie...Hard core socialism would almost certainly be an improvement. Look at what Mitt Romney's and Hillary's (she copied Romney's) plan actually do...All they do is force more money into the pot. They keep the exact same system intact but just put more money in the pot for these varying interest groups to fight over.

Don't say free market solutions couldn't help here. They most certainly would...and there are some blatantly obvious ones. Streamline the process for accrediting medical colleges...give tax breaks for opening more medical colleges. Allow Experienced RNs and PAs to do more simple procedures that doctors are only allowed to do. Give tax breaks to urgent care clinics...give them tax free status if they operate in poor neighborhoods. Has congress done any of this? Has this been tried and failed? Would the AMA allow our congressman to do it? ummmm...I think we know the answer to that. Things aren't always what they appear. Sometimes your enemies are really your friends. Sometimes your friends are really your enemies. It can be a tricky world.

1/17/2008 3:40 PM  
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