Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Private Charity Myth

It is often argued by Libertarians and other free market advocates that private charities provide far better services then public charities do. When funded by the government, they argue, programs such as welfare and the likes result in a fair amount of the money being lost in the form of payments to members of government bureaucracies. Compared to government programs, private charities do the job so much better they claim. Without bureaucracies the costs of providing effective aid to the poor are diminished and the poor flourish from these charities. Meanwhile, government programs keep people on welfare while pocketing the taxpayer's dollar for government employees.

This is classic free market dogma and ignores information asymmetry and the role of regulation in business performance. In the case of a government bureaucracy, information is symmetrical since the data is made available to the public in yearly releases and these bureaucracies are required to adhere to certain rules and regulations. Private charities are not subject to the same regulations but also do not have the same degree of information symmetry that government programs do. Due to this lack of information symmetry private charities largely end up with far more corruption and accounts of charity theft.

Charity theft is actually one of the most common forms of theft and it is under-reported. Typically, charity owners and volunteers are assumed to be benevolent folk who just want to help out but in today's competitive society a lot of volunteers wind up in it for the resume... and could give less of a damn about those they are caring for. Although corruption exists in all areas, corruption is far more rampant in the private domain. Information asymmetry, a lack of regulations and a belief in the market to price goods at their actual worth is a pipe-dream at best and a debt-fueled bubble destroying more of the middle class at worse.

Leave the welfare programs alone... we wouldn't need them if we had actual worker unions, worker rights and a stronger work force as a whole. People need to wake up to the fact that private companies do not give a damn about worker's rights and that we need to fight for them as we did in the past. We need to get unemployment down to like 2 or 3%... and then we will barely need welfare!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Free Market Dogma

Free Markets are unicorns. They, like the invisible hand, can't be seen because they never have and never will exist. Adam Smith himself did not even believe in the invisible hand (It's only mentioned once in his seminal book The Wealth of Nations and not in the fashion that Randites and other Conservatives believe it is). Since there is no invisible hand and people are not rational beings seeking to maximize their own profit the entire notion that a free market is capable of curing all of societies ailments is pure fantasy.

Worshipping a fantasy is like praying to a god to solve all of your current problems. Sure, maybe it will work sometimes... but in the end taking some charge yourself and recognizing that free markets do indeed fail and that this deems that regulation is necessary. Of course, this does not mean corporate welfare should continue to exist. Since regulations exist and will always be necessary to prevent market failure we must make these regulations such that they benefit the many, not just the few.

This means doing away with corporate welfare, doing away with conservative deregulation dogma and restoring power to the worker's unions which once formed the backbone of a health society. This means letting banks fail when banks take on risks too big, this means socializing the losses and the profits and largely taking a stand against the free market dogma of the 1970s. This also means taking a stand against the notion of private versus public and embracing that, in the end, these two entities are largely one and the same.

Monday, 18 June 2012

This isn't Capitalism and it never will be

Capitalism is a buzz word... used to portray notions of freedom, liberty and competition. It is a convenient sound bite used by politicians world wide to promote the idea that we live in a capitalist society... which we largely do not. Capitalist elements exist in our society, as do socialist, as do democratic and as do republic. However, our society as a whole is largely not capitalistic but an economic system that is controlled in a bipartisanship between corporation and government.

Although tripartisanship was popular until the 1970s (Until new conservative policies took place and eradicated the worker's union) most of the economy that exists today is the result of interactions between corporations and governments to meet both entities needs. We, the people, are agents in this system that exist to serve the needs of both these entities. We are fed the line that we live in a capitalist society and that the american dream is still alive and well. It's not. As George Carlin said... it's called the American Dream because you need to be asleep to believe it.

In fact, I feel calling it a bipartisanship unfair. It's never even been bipartisan. It's simply the financial sector robbing the world of all it's money, We've legalized bank-robbers but now we call them bankers. Except in this case bank-robbers actually could perform noble tasks such as robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Bankers can do no such thing. Bankers rob from the poor, give to themselves and then blame the poor for being so damn poor. They marginalize all of humanity as incompetent fucks while creating massive unsustainable debt structures that will inevitably crash (And that will largely have their damage socialized).

When the banks fail they insist the problem wasn't the banks but the people. They made the loans but claim that we are the ones who shouldn't have taken them. They claim this while receiving cuts from income taxes, destroying social safety nets and turning basic commodities into assets. They claim that while they rob the 99%'s money such that the 99% turns to them for credit to maintain their standard of living that the 99% are the ones being irresponsible, not the banks themselves.

As Keynes said (And as late 19th Century economists realized) it is the rent seekers that are the most harmful to the economy in the long run. In today's society it is the rent seekers that rule and it is the rent seekers that will continue to loot the failing system and wait fervently for the coming collapse... so the next wave of looting can begin. This isn't capitalism... this is a modernized form of feudalism. We just have the notion of democracy and capitalism to help us ignore the harsh reality the 99% must face.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Shell Games

There isn't a single description of the current political landscape that describes the landscape as well as the notion of a shell game.Although portrayed as a game of chance, the shell game is actually a confidence trick used to perpetuate fraud. Bipartisanship, as a whole, is a classic example of a shell game. Supporters of either side watch as their respective party plays a shell game with social problems while, under the table, they create more and more economic and political issues. They distract the trusting majority with sound bite promises of  liberty, freedom, equality, justice, safety, protection, and hope. Of course they never tell the trusting majority how they'll achieve such goals... but none the less it will be through government intervention, of course.

The conservative shell game really isn't a shell game anymore. Conservatives have made it clear over the last few years that they only give a shit about the very wealthy and that they will do anything to serve their corporate masters. They extract the wealth of the vast majority, grant tax breaks to the richest minority and then use these taxes to fund the entrepreneurship of the rich. The average person takes a risk when they start a business... the wealthiest 0.1% take the collective risk of the 99.9% and then reap all the reward. Inventions driven by government funding such as computers, the internet and space exploration are funded by the 99.9% and in the end the greatest spoils of their profit goes to the wealthiest. We pay for their failures and their innovations on our own dime.

On the other hand, the liberal shell game is much more discrete. Liberals, as a whole, often live by a do as I say and not as I do ideology. They embrace conservation in public, why living vapid wasteful lifestyles in private. They talk about saving the environment while supporting programs that would generate massive amounts of waste. They argue for health care reforms while making sure the health care reforms largely benefit insurance companies and not the common person (At least in the United States). They talk about gay rights, multiculturalism and other buzz words while supporting legislation that, in the long run, hurts minorities... while putting more money into the pockets of courts. They talk about inconvenient truths... but never acknowledge one of the greatest inconvenient truths. They too are just as much of a problem as conservatives.

It's at this point in history that more are learning of the shell games we are all part of. The 99% is becoming aware of the cruel reality that the 1% has created and that their entire financial institution they've created is crumbling. When the truth behind the shell game is revealed... it is the 99% who must stop the 1% from letting this game continue. It is time for a return to partisanship, not bi-partisanship... at least in my opinion.