Is Capitalism Undemocratic?
If we as a society agree that every American has a right to free healthcare, free education, free water, or free things of any kind, that means we are agreeing to a situation in which value is unilaterally shifted from one position within our economy to another without a reciprocal exchange of value in return. Thus, rights cost something; and whenever there is a cost for a thing, there is a negotiation over the allocation of finite resources and who should bear the cost of that thing. His claim implies that the allocation of finite resources within a private company is subject to the rights of the proletariat, but as we’ve discussed already, such a right cannot exist unless it comes from a divine creator or some social contract. Workers cannot depend on an inviolable reservoir of rights. The only logically and philosophically consistent response to Marx’s central claim about the undemocratic nature of Capitalism is to say that nobody deserves anything at any time until and unless they prove that they can deliver enough value to somebody who has some other kind of value they wish to obtain.
Unless somebody else is willing to enter into an exchange of value, the only means of obtaining value from some person or organization is through cooperation or brute force. If we take the path of brute force, the value creation process within society rapidly breaks down and everybody loses. There is only voluntary cooperation or brute force; rights do not exist except in the desires and dreams of the human mind. Crony Capitalism is the Culprit, Not a Deficiency of Rights. This chain of transactions amounts to an integrated value creation and distribution system that is neither democratic nor plutocratic.
It can be depressing to analyze the origins of our personal values, societal norms, and human nature because an honest analysis usually takes us to conclusions that are uncomfortable. Thus, every businessperson, politician, and citizen has rational reasons to develop their ability to empathize and feel compassion for others if they want to contribute meaningful value to society and build successful organizations.
Bleeding Heart Libertarians
Thanks to the folks at Bleeding Heart Libertarians for inviting me to blog here about my new e-book Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter – and More Unequal. With any luck I’ll motivate one or more BHL regulars to weigh in. The richer and more advanced a country’s economy grows, the more complex that economy becomes: more and more knowledge and know-how are distributed throughout the system, and the division of labor grows ever more specialized and intricate. Back in 1900 almost 80 percent of working Americans were farmers, manual laborers, or domestic servants; today, some 60 percent work in white-collar office jobs. When I say we’re getting smarter, what I really mean is we are becoming more fluent in highly abstract ways of thinking.
So good – but alas there’s more to the story. The elite occupations that require analytical sophistication, strong people skills, high motivation, and meticulous planning will generally be filled by the people most flush with those skills, which they will hone even further over the course of their working lives. These elite workers will naturally tend to pass those skills along to their children – through their own parenting in the home, and through the influence of the communities in which they congregate. Once upon a time, when the world was much simpler, there were more people with the requisite skills to handle elite occupations than the number of elite slots. This period -the middle decades of the twentieth century – was one of declining class differences, as the descendants of the Great Migration from the turn of the century now found the paths of upward mobility more open than ever before.
My policy proposals are an eclectic mix, and while I think they all push in the right direction, one stands out in my mind as a potential game changer: structural reform of K-12 education to allow more competition among schools for students. Elite kids start school with big advantages in cognitive skills, and those advantages continue to widen during the primary and secondary school years.
Faux compassion is only worsening homeless crisis – Orange County Register
For years California voters have been nothing but compassionate towards the state’s homeless population, repeatedly voting to tax ourselves to provide more resources for affordable housing, mental health services, public transportation and addiction treatment facilities. In return, we’ve lost control of park space, rivers, public transit systems, downtown commercial hubs, and even residential neighborhoods. Politicians, advocates for the homeless and the courts have to understand that compassion is a two-way street. They want you to shut up, keep paying your rising tax bill and check your privilege. I for one have had it with their faux compassion and moral superiority.
It’s time that they take responsibility for the trainwreck that they and their disastrous policies created. It’s not compassionate to allow addicts and the mentally ill to live life on the streets, and it’s not compassionate to expect the public to deal with the dangerous situations this creates. Over the last six years the number of those living in the streets and shelters of the city of Los Angeles and most of the county surged 75 percent. If you take out Los Angeles, national homelessness would have dropped last year for the first time since the recession, proving that the homeless crisis is either just a California problem – or that we’re attracting them from other parts of the nation. After it was determined that December’s Skirball Fire, which destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen others in the process, was started by a fire at a homeless encampment in nearby brush, the Los Angeles Fire Department conducted a study which found nearly 200 similar encampments pose a high fire risk to their surrounding communities.
In the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, a 41-year-old transient was arrested Tuesday afternoon for sucker punching an 85-year-old grandma for no reason, leaving her with horrific injuries to her head and face. In Van Nuys, a transient was arrested after he was caught breaking into a home, watching pornography and masturbating.