W. Kandinsky: "There are no 'musts' in art." T.S. Eliot: "There is no freedom in art." Dostoievski character, after the ancient Middle East epigram: "Everything is permitted." (R-rated weblog. Since one has been advised there is no Literature anymore, or even literature, only writing, one proceeds on the premise that this weblog qualifies as not-meaningless, since it is, or appears to be, a form of "writing." Image: Banksy.)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The Trouble With Artificial Economic Scarcity
Some of the hyper-rich, i.e. the upper 1 percent of the U.$. population that possesses 40 percent of the nation's wealth, as reported by Howard Zinn, are undoubtedly intelligent, hard-working, and, with the exception of their congenital blindness to the suffering artificial scarcity imposes on the working class, decent people, but as a whole the country club class can be classified as an enemy of rationality. It is not rational that the assets of this society are distributed in such a way that 47 million people have zero health insurance, resulting in an estimated 18,000 unnecessary deaths a year, according to press reports, and pushing the federal government toward bankruptcy. Wealth in this country needs to be redistributed via the tax code -- but that would require elected officials who are not funded by the hyper-rich, which is never going to happen without campaign finance reform that would enact public funding of all federal elections. Artificial scarcity exists to a large degree because of the enormous concentration of assets in that narrow, uppermost 1 percent, causing the rest of the members of society to fight among themselves in fierce competition for the remaining assets, this competition leading them to overlook the fact that the working class as a whole is being ripped off to an almost unbelievable extent.
Posted by Richard McNally at 5:30 PM
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Excellent. Thank you for pulling this together.
Pat, you're welcome. Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States emphasizes that what individuals do, as opposed to institutions and government officials, can undertake actions that change things. That means you and me. You already know this--you created the Unforgettable Fund. I'm just learning it. Zinn gave me the courage to open my mouth about economics, a subject on which I am not formally educated. But I don't want to be scared away from speaking out by the esoteric mathematical computations and theories economists use to intimidate the average individual into thinking s/he has no right or meaningful capacity to speak on the subject. Zinn encouraged me on this.
Have you read the book Freakonomics? It's a really fun and enlightening way to look at economics.
A good friend of mine once said, Numbers don't lie, but people lie with numbers.
I've been popping an eyebrow every time I hear an "expert" talk about anything. Lots of experts took us right over the cliff. I first realized this phenomenon with taking care of Dad. Run, don't walk, away from Alzheimer's experts. They're ridiculous, even more so than our financial experts.
I'm glad you're using your own brain. It's the most powerful little gizmo. Especially yours, smarty pants. You're smart. Really smart. Probably brilliant. And anything you have to say about any subject causes me to pause and consider.
Love you, brother.
Patty, you're much too kind, much too kind, don't stop now.
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