Southern Man

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Defence Of Capitalism

So after a long day at work and two, count 'em, two doctor visits (now waiting for insurance to approve the MRI) Southern Man drags his tired and very much aching carcass home and plops down in front of the PC and right at the top of his Facebook feed is (copied entirely without permission, and edited as well):
Southern Sister: In about an hour I will attend the Occupy Southern Man's Capital City kick off rally in downtown Capital City. I’ve spent much of the last week reading about the Occupy Wall Street movement trying to determine if I want to be involved and, if so, what results do I want to see. I want to be involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement because I want the United States of America to realize its potential as nation of tolerance and opportunity and I think the current culture of unrestrained capitalism has created a class disparity that weakens our society...
Sigh. Once again the fuzzy-headed liberals think that "capitalism" is the bad guy while living in the land of plenty built from... capitalism. Not to mention some notion that the USA isn't already the greatest example of tolerance and opportunity in the history of civilization. So let the lesson begin:

Capitalism is the greatest engine of progress and development in the history of humanity. Because we live in a Western country we are surrounded by the products of capitalism. Casa Southern Man and the wardrobe and the pantry and the medicine cabinet are filled with products produced by free enterprise in a capitalistic society. How does Southern Man know this? Because when he goes out to buy any of these things (and thousands more) he is showered with an abundance of choices, all of high quality, all competitively priced, from companies eager to exchange these goods for my money. Because he lives in a Western country he lives in a land of unequaled prosperity and opportunity. If he wants a pair of shoes there are hundreds of choices in his size within two miles of my house. If Ihe wants groceries there are a dozen stores competing for my business. The only reason Southern Man still has a four-year old cell phone is that there is such an abundance of choices to replace it, all vastly superior to what he has, that he's unable to make a decision. What a nice problem to have. The list goes on and on and on and on and on. And because Southern Man lives in the USA he's surrounded by such wealth that our "poor" would be considered middle-class in Europe and downright wealthy in much of the rest of the world. Indeed, Southern Sister's home is filled with the products of the genius of the late Steve Jobs, the ultimate free-market capitalist, who time and time and time again figured out what you wanted before you did and designed it and financed the factories to build it and sold it to you. And he earned billions and billions of dollars and you loved him for it. Southern Man was actually hoping that her Facebook update quoted above would end with "posted from my iPhone." But that would have been too good to be true.

Yet all is not well in our land of plenty. What has gone wrong? Can it be that capitalism is actually bad after all? Should Southern Man join the Occupy The Capital City movement?

What's gone wrong is that a large part of the economy is now controlled by huge corporations with strong ties- OK, very strong ties - to the central government. Let's call it "corporatism." And because government is fundamentally corrupt (the Founding Fathers called this a couple of centuries ago and wrote a Constitution specifically designed to combat it, which we have ignored to our peril), corporatism is fundamentally corrupt.

Capitalism gave us the iPad and smart phones and cars and a huge selection of high-quality clothes and pretty much every good thing in your life. Corporatism gave us the housing crisis and the student loan crisis and the financial crisis. Apple and Rebok and Microsoft and Wal-Mart are splendid examples of free-market capitalism. Goldman-Sachs and Fannie Mae and Fanny Mac are excellent examples of corporatism; there's very little about them that lines up with even the broadest definition of free-market capitalism. Collusion with government to such an extent that profits are privatized while losses are socialized is not free enterprise.

Now what are the Occupiers complaining about, again?

Housing? Federal "guidelines" (translation: you will do things our way) required banks to not only make housing loans easy to get (which drove the price of homes up) but required them to make a lot of loans that could never be repaid (and which were not). So a lot of people rather stupidly thought that their house was an investment (instead of, say, a place to live) and got badly burned, and a lot of banks are holding a lot of bad loans. And many of these banks are so closely tied to the federal government that they might as well be called the "financial" branch. Is that the fault of capitalism?

OK, college is too expensive. Federal regulations on student loans make them easy to get (and again, easy money drove the price of college up, up, and up) to the point that pretty much anyone who could more or less fill out an application could get one. So a lot of kids paid a lot of money for four years of essentially living at a resort, with four years of room and board paid by loans, and a relatively worthless diploma at the end. When it comes to college, Government edict required that we ignore the rules of how free markets work. Is that the fault of capitalism?

Well, we can't get jobs. Federal regulations mandate a minimum wage, and it keeps going up. Well, if a business can't afford the increased wage, they can either raise their prices (which negates the effect of the wage increase) or let people go (which increases unemployment). And the current administration in particular seems hell-bent on passing as many anti-job regulations as it can. Is that the fault of capitalism?

Want to see these problems solved? Eliminate government-sponsored (or entangled, or whatever you want to call it) corporatism and the resulting command economy and let glorious free-enterprise capitalism run wild and free once again.

This quote from Instapundit is too good to not repost:
No doubt, Marx and Lenin would be astounded that, amid the most prosperous and free society in the history of mankind, so many useful idiots could be convinced to protest against the very individual freedom and economic liberty that made it all possible.
[added later] And once again dear Sister has deleted my comments on her FB feed. Gotta love those libs and their tolerance for opposing viewpoints. But Southern Man will continue to respond to her empty-headed political ramblings until she either de-friends him or grows up.


At Tuesday, October 11, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she is middle aged and doing this, she is not gonna change.

Maybe Southern Parents can talk some sense into her.

She needs new friends.

At Wednesday, October 12, 2011, Blogger Southern Man said...

Southern Parents are long retired and focus mainly on one another and their grandchildren / grandnieces and such, as they should. And Southern Man has long experience at talking to people whose opinions have devolved into dogma; there's not much chance of opening their minds at all. But he keeps trying!


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