Saturday, August 21, 2004
A new blogger with very old school ideas (communism is good for blacks folks etc. etc.) has started a new blog "Black Thought and Black Introspection". One of its writers commented on my post about Bush 2 inability to sell out to complete opposite sides of the middle east at the same time. Well Faheem thinks it very possible for Bush to do sell us out to both Israel and Saudi Arabia at the same time (something even Al Jazeera doesn't believe). Anyway I took a look at his blog and read a few of his post a decided to comment on their post the "The fallacy of capitalism".
A great fallacy of our time is born from the propaganda of our economic system. Capitalism is an intrinsically expansion seeking system that markets itself based upon the rewards of profit and a win-win resultant for participants. What makes this marketing fallacious is born from the fact that the concept of profit is an anomaly to nature's laws and the fact that all competition based phenomenon always produces win-lose resultant.
Quick note to all pundits, don't use natural law as your argument. Reason number one most people don't understand natural science well enough to make a reasoned argument. Second reason the natural world is much much stranger than most people believe so you can almost always find a counter example. Some conservatives had to fall on that sword with their silly homosexuality doesn't exist in nature to then be disproven by numerous counter examples.
His argument continues with..
"Capitalism is predicated and motivated by the concept of profit. Profit is not a natural phenomenon in nature. In fact, there never can be profit in nature when everything is summed up. In other words, there is
no net gain in nature, because there are no net gains in closed system or virtual closed systems such as the earth, for all intents and purposes. For everything that is gained within a closed system, something else must be lost as the offset. "
This argument like many that people make is true but it is meaningless. First because the only truly closed system is the entire universe. But lets assume a smaller almost closed system like earth. And let us take 2 tons of Iron ore. In the naturalist universe he is using as his model his the 2 tons of iron ore, a two tons of iron tools and two tons of rust are equivalent. That is what is meant by his NO PROFIT i.e. mass is conserved. As you can see it both true and meaningless for a discussion about capitalism, his nature metaphor is wrong.
Now lets use another metaphor for nature but one that actually works for as a metaphor for economic systems, and that is a living eco-system. Living creatures one earth do not live in an "virtually closed system" as he said earth is. In fact earth is an open system thanks to the wonderful energy we receive from the sun. The suns energy is a free ride, something that the earth would receive whether we were here to take it or not. Considering how much of the world wealth is created by the sun the fact that he considers earth a closed system once again shows his misapplication of the laws of thermodynamics to this discussion.
But lets us look at eco-systems. The concept of profit is the key to all living things. When you look at an apple tree, the apples are its expression of profit. A squirrels cache of nuts is an expression of profit. Profit comes from ones labor, the squirrel gets its nuts by working hard to find and collect as many nuts as possible. Apple trees work hard by growing tall to get as much sun as possible and having its roots go as deep as possible to get the water it needs. If you look at the natural world profit is created by hard work. So what does this have to do with capitalism and why it works so well ?
The question comes down to what is the role of profit in the natural world. Why does the tree makes nuts, or apples ? The nuts a tree makes with its profit of energy is of no use to the tree itself. In fact the nut or apple is designed for one purpose only and that is for trade. The apple tree trades its comparative advantage in making tasty food for a mammal's comparative advantage in mobility. Its a win/win situation. I get a tasty apple, the apple tree gets its seeds moved to a new location so its species can go on. The tree makes nuts, so that the squirrel will take the nuts home. Win-Win situation, that in a nut-shell (pun intended) is when an eco-system and when capitalism are working at its best. When there is near infinite variety of niches that are used by different creatures or businesses that all work together though a competitive market for resources.
To conclude his first basic premise that we live in a closed system is wrong, and his second that there are no win-win situations. They are not all win-lose as he has stated. A simple example of win-win is where one woman trades the service of cutting another woman's hair in exchange for baby sitting services on another night.
Are there win-lose situations, of course there are. Two trees next to each other compete for the same sunlight and water. One wins, one loses, but losing is as important to the eco-system as loss is to the capitalist system. Without loss buggy whip makers would still be making buggy whips that no one wanted. Losing makes one adapt and fill a new niche where there is a win-win situations and thus balance. Its has taken nature millions of years to make balanced eco-systems. It will take capitalism many years to make balanced econ-systems.
Friday, August 20, 2004
Pretty soon, the Anyone But Bush crowd is going to have to decide: Is the American president an Israeli shill or is he a Saudi shill? Does he do the bidding of the insidious pro-Israel neocons or of the insidious pro-Arab oil lobby? Is his foreign policy everything his father's was not – and therefore disastrous – or is it an extension of it – and therefore equally disastrous?
Thursday, August 19, 2004
This article from Reason magazine is a must read for anyone who even thinks about the reparation debate. It shows that its an issue that must be considered and practical solution found.
All of those arguments are compelling. But waving aside the reparations idea is not going to work. Nor, really, should it. The wrongs were too grievous, the harms too persistent to be shrugged aside with answers such as, "We've already fixed the problem, so just be happy you're here." Opponents of reparations for slavery need to stop changing the subject and instead shift the debate onto ground that squares with liberal principles.
Can a reparations movement that is currently about collective guilt and racial accountability be refocused on the accountability of real wrongdoers to actual sufferers? The answer is yes. And it has been since at least 1973.
In that year, a Yale University law professor named Boris I. Bittker (now retired) published a lucid and carefully crafted little book called The Case for Black Reparations. He believed that reparations, not only for slavery but also for the century of Jim Crow that followed, were compelled as a matter of justice. But he also considered a variety of broad compensation schemes and conceded that all were "fraught with dangers," including the sorts of problems I mentioned above. The result, Bittker concluded, was an abiding "American dilemma."
On the way to this bleak conclusion, however, he touched upon a much different and narrower concept of reparations: reparations not for slavery but for officially segregated schools. "A program to compensate children who were required to go to segregated schools...would not raise any conceptual difficulties in identifying the beneficiaries," he wrote. "Entitlement would depend exclusively on the fact that the student was assigned to a black school, regardless of his actual racial origin."
Bittker himself expressed ambivalence about this idea. He seemed to think that, for all its administrative elegance, it offered blacks too limited a portion of redress. Officially segregated schools, after all, were just a part of the picture. No doubt partly for that reason, Bittker's suggestion found no constituency.
Well, the time has come to give Bittker's idea the serious consideration it has deserved all along. For, on the merits, the case for these narrower reparations is as strong as the case for broader slavery reparations is weak.
To begin with, the people who would be compensated are the people who suffered the harm. They are easy to identify. Many of them are very much alive. It cannot be seriously disputed that they were wronged, not only educationally but morally, by being forced into separate and hardly equal schools. Moreover, the perpetrator of the injustice is not a race, a "society," or slave owners who are all long dead. The perpetrator, like the victims, is identifiable and very much alive: government.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
I believe in capitalism not socialism or communism.
I believe in government policies for individuals not for unions or corporations or other groups.
I know racism against Black Americans as a group and as individuals is a historical fact and a present day fact. America has made great strides in correcting these injustices but a lot of work needs to be done to eliminate the damaging effects of historical racism.
I know current anti-racism programs have reached the point of diminishing returns and new programs need to be developed.
This is my first draft at coming up with defining principles for black conservative political action. Please give me your feedback.
Farmers, insurance companies, banks, doctors, lawyers, home owners, college students, senior citizens, big business, Jews and Blacks are special interest groups. Blacks need to start acting like a special interest. We need to ask, demand special privileges not equality. You don't see companies asking to be taxed equally they ask for tax breaks, seniors have demanded free medical care even when they have the financial ability to pay for their own care. Its all about special privileges. It time to leave equality behind and to be better and get more.
Fellow conservative brotherhood member is upset about Alan Keyes supporting reparations. I Think he has fallen into the classic falsehood that you can't combine conservative principles with social justice. Of course Alan would be against suing for reparations from corporations because it would be unjust to take their personal property for actions that were legal at the time they were committed. The fact that he believes two wrongs don't make a right doesn't mean he has to ignore the wrong that was done to black Americans by slavery and racism. He has obviously thought about it and came up with what is the most logical and just reparations plan that fits with his beliefs.
Below are the comments I left at Rambling Journal:
I have personally spent a long time thinking about reparations, and I think the plan of allowing blacks to be free from taxation is the best plan. It would also account for current racism where black workers trade at a discount. So if you are making 30k vs. the white guy 40K, your take home pay would be about the same if you didn't have to pay payroll and income taxes. And guess what, it would cost the company 10k less so now there is a direct economic incentive to hire black.