J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 03-20-2018

The Case For Compassionate Capitalism

To save capitalism from itself, FDR introduced what turned out to be the crucial missing ingredient: compassion. The damage done to the country during the Depression convinced him that unregulated capitalism always favors the rich at the expense of everyone else. So to save capitalism from itself, FDR introduced what turned out to be the crucial missing ingredient: compassion. Compassionate capitalism worked for everyone without busting the federal budget. Under Roosevelt’s compassionate capitalism – even with a Great Depression and a Second World War – the federal budget quickly came right back into balance. By the time Eisenhower was elected, compassionate capitalism was tightly woven into the fabric of American democracy. America’s social safety net was never viewed as the cause of eye-popping deficits until a radical group of political nihilists decided that the best way to kill the compassion in capitalism was to stubbornly refuse to pay for it. The reason compassionate capitalism is still hugely popular – Tea Party extremists notwithstanding – is because it works. America’s social safety net was never viewed as the cause of eye-popping deficits until a radical group of political nihilists, led by people like Grover Norquist, decided that the best way to kill the compassion in capitalism was to stubbornly refuse to pay for it – and then blame the resulting deficits on the lie that compassion itself is just too damn expensive. History has repeatedly demonstrated that compassionate capitalism leads to balanced budgets, a robust economy, and a piece of the opportunity pie for every citizen seated at America’s table.

Keywords: [“capitalism”,”deficit”,”America”]
Source: http://cognoscenti.legacy.wbur.org/2013/03/21/nick-paleologos

Libertarian Propaganda With Your Organic Arugula? – Mother Jones

If you shop at Whole Foods, you’ve probably seen the ads at the cash register for Conscious Capitalism. To give Mackey his due, he proved that many shoppers are willing to pay a premium for foods that are healthy, sustainably produced, and sold by workers who earn decent wages and health benefits. Reading between the lines you gradually get the sense that Mackey not only fears bad government, but also the one we have right now. If CEOs just did a little bit better job of looking out for the interests of their workers, their suppliers, and the environment, then government regulators and tax collectors could basically pack up and go home. We’d be left with a sort of enlightened corporatocracy in which people like Mackey would lead the way. At times, Mackey reveals a pathetic lack of consciousness for someone writing a book about it. If the dream world that Mackey paints in Conscious Capitalism inspires a few more CEOs to allow bathroom breaks in their sweatshops or spare some old-growth hardwoods in Borneo, then he has accomplished something. Conscious Capitalism could have been an interesting read if Mackey had chosen to pull back the curtain. He could speak frankly about some of the trade-offs that he made in order to popularize organic foods. For better or worse, Mackey has been thrust into a position of leadership that transcends the particulars of selling sustainably caught cod and organic kombucha: Whole Foods beat out other natural foods chains to dominate the market, and with that dominance comes an increasing duty to represent his politically minded customers in causes that they care about.

Keywords: [“Mackey”,”Capitalism”,”write”]
Source: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2013/01/whole-foods-john-mackey…

Natural Capitalism – Mother Jones

Today, more people are chasing fewer natural resources. Industry still operates by the same rules, using more resources to make fewer people more productive. As businesses successfully created more goods and jobs, consumer demand soared, compounding the destruction of natural capital. If the competitive advantage goes to the low-cost provider, and resources are cheap, then business will naturally use more and more resources in order to maximize worker productivity. Our thinking is backward: We shouldn’t use more of what we have less of to use less of what we have more of. In the United States, those who are employed, and presumably becoming more productive, find they are working 100 to 200 hours more per year than 20 years ago. In some cases – wind power, for example – the technologies not only operate more efficiently and pollute less, they also are more labor-intensive. This is what it promises: an economy that uses progressively less material and energy each year and where the quality of consumer services continues to improve; an economy where environmental deterioration stops and gets reversed as we invest in increasing our natural capital; and, finally, a society where we have more useful and worthy work available than people to do it. Natural capitalism may not guarantee particular outcomes, but it will ensure that economic systems more closely mimic biological systems, which have successfully adapted to dynamic changes over millennia. Almost perfectly with what American voters say they want: better schools,a better environment, safer communities, more economic security, stronger.

Keywords: [“more”,”resource”,”system”]
Source: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/1997/03/natural-capitalism

Capitalism, Compassion, and The Prisoner’s Dilemma

From a strictly rational, individualistic perspective, the choice is clear. This choice results in a 50/50 chance between a 5 year sentence and complete freedom, depending on the choice of the other prisoner, while cooperation would result in, at best, a six month sentence, and a 10 year sentence at worst. No matter what the other player does, one player will always gain by defecting. All things being equal, all rational players should choose defect. Now, I’m no expert on game theory, but what struck me in class when we were going over this was the fact that, although the clear rational choice for each individual player is to defect, a situation in which both players make this choice is clearly not the optimal outcome if we look at the game as a whole. Being a non-zero-sum game, the sum of both players’ gains, less their losses, need not return to zero, nor be equal in every possible outcome. Any instance in which one player chooses defect will result in a total of ten years of prison time, split either five-five or ten-zero. If both players cooperate a total of only one year, six months for each player, must be served. According to traditional game theory, cooperation is only a viable choice if the game is repeated an infinite or random number of times, as only then will the possible threat of punishment outweigh the potential for success with defection. If rather than considering only one’s own well-being, we look at that of both prisoners, taking into account the total effect of one’s choice, cooperation would be the only acceptable option for the compassionate player.

Keywords: [“plays”,”choice”,”game”]
Source: https://rossheutmaker.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/capitalism…

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