RE: Property [was Re: The Education Function]

Webb_S (
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:12:34 -0500 wrote:

>Webb_S [] wrote:
>>In Russia and many SE Asian countries, for example, global
>>capitalism looks rather like a dismal failure at the moment.
>Which is really strange, because capitalism has nothing to do with the
>economic failures in those countries. The problems in Asia and Russia are
>largely due to cronyism and to IMF interference. Just as the FDIC caused
>the S&L disaster in the US ('Hey guys, don't worry about bad loans, we'll
>cover anything you lose'), the IMF ('Hey, why don't you make high-risk
>investments in all these unstable countries, we'll pay you back if it all
>goes wrong') caused the Asian and Russian collapse.

There was a good article in Newsweek a while back entitled, "Global Capitalism: R.I.P.?" which points out that capitalism only works if people possess a certain set of values. The tumbling stock markets and financial chaos seen in Russia and Southeast Asia are the results of the fact that

" capitalism is not just an economic system. It is also a set of cultural beliefs that emphasizes the virtue of competition, the legitimacy of profit and the value of freedom. These values are not universally shared. Other countries have organized economic systems around different values and politics.

"As a result, spreading capitalism is not simply an exercise in economic engineering. It is an assault on other nations' culture and politics that almost guarantees a collision. Even when countries adopt some trappings of capitalism, they may not embrace the basic values that make the system work... Led by the US, global agencies [WTO, IMF] have sought to persuade poorer countries to become more open to trade and global capital. These countries tried to maximize the benefits of the process while minimizing changes to their politics and commerce."

The result: a dangerous hybrid capitalism based on mutual deception and bad decisions, where monies went to borrowers not operating by strict rules of efficiency or profit and loss.

>Only a government employee could blame this on capitalism. Government is
>the cause of the problem, not the solution.

I've not attempted to blame anything on capitalism. I'm merely pointing out that it may not be for everyone. My current status as a government employee has nothing to do with this position.

>>A bit of an exaggeration, eh? I live in DC and work for the government.
>>Trust me, most government activities have nothing to do with force.
>*ALL* government activities are funded by taxes taken from individuals at
>gunpoint. Or would you continue to work there if everyone refused to pay
>taxes and you were no longer paid?

Personally, I paid my taxes by telefile last year. No individuals at gunpoint were involved.

>>Now, if you want to talk rampant coercion in modern America, my exhibit A
>>would be the control businesses have over their employees.
>Damn right. Something must be done about all those businesses staging
>armed assaults on churches and then burning them down to "save the
>children". Something must be done about all those corporate executives
>committing perjury in sexual harassment cases and escaping justice with
>the full support of the media.
>And, BTW, if you're talking about drug tests and the like, who forced
>those businesses to impose those tests? Oh, it was the government with
>it's "war on drugs", wasn't it?

These are straw man statements not at all in accord with my position.

>>Personally, I'm much more
>>concerned about what my next (private sector) employer might do to me, or
>>try to make me do, than I am about the guvmint.
>Why? If a business messes you around you can go to one of their competitors
>or start your own business. You have no such choice with the government.
> Mark

It's not that simple. Many people are thoroughly traumatized when they are forced leave a company. I myself hate the process, and I'm in a field reputed to have 600,000 unfilled positions. Also, many wouldn't have the first idea about how to start their own business, or what skills they might have that would lend themselves to self-employment.

To a certain mindset, unemployment is an opportunity. To another it is a death sentence. Even the uncertainty associated with self-employment is more than many people can bear. While many in this forum may be of the former mindset, it seems cruel to so cavalierly dismiss those of the latter.