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Economics, Public Policy, and My Life

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We do dictate our own decisions, but the options we choose between are limited by what is presented to us and our ability to “buy” any given option.  If I have $1 in my pocket, I can choose a bottle of Coke or Pepsi or RC.  I can’t choose whether or not the manufacturers of these products use harmful ingredients.  If they do, I may choose to boycott and protest.

In educating my children, I may choose private education if I have the means, privately profitable “charter” education if I believe a school is actually offering benefit over public school, or enroll my children in public school either because I have no other options, or because I believe public schools are the best in overall utility.  What I can’t do is individually dictate the curriculum, objectives, or policies in any of these educational options.  Nor can I decide who splits the profits earned by private and privately-owned “charter” schools.  However, I may choose to seek influence by being involved with my child’s school, the local school board, or by educating the public on what a “charter” school actually is.

Everyday people do NOT dictate the economy.  An economy is an extremely powerful yet invisible entity.  There are aspects of an economy which move on their own; Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that prevails over a competitive “free market”.  There are other aspects of an economy which are influenced by executive decisions in various government institutions.  The Fed manages interest rates to regulate a balance between the availability of capital for economic projects and consumer usage, and the rate of inflation.  Legislators pass/veto laws that affect taxation, intellectual property privileges, environmental responsibility, public safety-net programs, and economic development within various sectors, including projects for the poor.

Although an individual does not control the economy, the decisions and actions of influential entities have the ability to steer a general course, like turning a rudder on a ship.  The whole idea of having a government run by policy-makers who have no understanding of economics is terrifying.  Something as small as deciding whether the local dog-catcher should be a government employee or a private contractor will depend on ones economic philosophy, and will have ramifications that affect the general public.  

What most of us don’t realize is that our “freedoms” and “choices” are increasingly more limited.  As commodity production and distribution matures in the monopolistic environment, choices are eliminated from the market.  As our 2-party political system matures into greater levels of decay and corruption, our options for influencing the system to our own benefit decrease.  And as the wealth of the working-class is eaten away by wage-suppression, pre-rigged “free trade” agreements, and the 5-year recession cycle, we have less mobility and less time to engage the most important aspects of our existence.

The greatest American struggles over the last 150 years have been over differences of economic philosophy.  The American Civil War was fought over what Southern producers claimed as their “right” to free labor in the form of slavery.  An amoral person could have a really sweet life if they had a few dozen laborers to exploit absolutely.  Yet this exploitation of labor is an ever-extant feature of capitalism.  The letters that Karl Marx wrote to Abraham Lincoln encouraged not only the end of slavery, but his support for the entire labor revolution, which did not happen.

In American society, the name Karl Marx is treated with nearly the same disdain as that of Howard Stern or Satan himself.  It isn’t hard to understand why.  Marx’s greatest achievement, arguably, is his expose’ of the necessarily exploitative nature of capitalism, inherent in labor, natural resource acquisition, and “market-choice”, but also visible in the recession cycle, consumerism, the dumbing-down of the general population, and political corruption.  These are all inferred through Marx’s 150-year-old Das Kapital.  And just as the South was willing to fight to the death to preserve their means of wealth, would not the capitalist be willing to do the same ?  Would not the capitalist also seek to defame those who expose his dark side, or to wage information wars to bury the truth about the nature of his chosen methods ?  The worldview we’ve been force-fed is that Marx’s teachings were represented by dictators like Stalin and Mao, while in reality, most Marxists despised Stalin and Mao.  The entire field of sociology owes most of its existence to Marx, but they don’t tell you this in American “schools”.

Our nation has endured decades of various types of warfare over the issue of “economic rights”.  In most cases, the real motivations and facts behind these wars have been hidden from the public, and cloaked in fabricated  justifications.  After decades of informational conditioning, we have become a nation of people who have no understanding of why our system fails to provide for the common good, why we are constantly at war, why we, the “most advanced” nation on earth have a crime rate that’s situated comfortably between the deeply impoverished nations of Vietnam and Botswana.  Why our “civilized society” ranks near the bottom of the list in terms of social justice.  Our people do not understand what’s done to them every day, because they do not understand economics and the real reasons behind most of our society’s policies.  The truth of the system they participate in every day has been hidden, and replaced by mirage-like notions of goodness, righteousness, and imagined “rights”.

Many Americans see the divide between “Left” and “Right”, or “Democrat” and “Republican” as a difference of values, or a difference of opinions over relatively minor issues.  This is because the entire system and all the common rhetoric have been increasingly occupied by radically libertarian capitalists, especially since the early 1970’s.  Whether or not capitalism is right or good is no longer discussed, as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, even as late as the 1960’s.  The typical discourse from the capitalist right is “we have to stop the commie queers from aborting their babies and shutting-down industry by hugging trees too much.”  No use of logic, nor fact, nor respect is necessary in today’s political mud-fights.  And whereas the Democrats had been largely socialistic, pro-working-class, inclusive of the Populist farmers, they have been mostly subjugated by the influence of money, maintaining nothing but a nod to the anti-capitalists of 100 years ago.

A capitalist:

  1. has accumulated wealth, either through inheritance, collected investment funds, or loans
  2. purchases a “means of production” for exclusive ownership
  3. and believes that whatever excess wealth can be scraped off the top also belongs to them exclusively.

The problem with the first characteristic is that inherited wealth typically means inherited corruption.  Additionally, the poor and working-class do not have the same access to venture capital.  Is this a moral problem ?

The second characteristic is definitely a challenging moral/philosophical dilemma.  While a Believer holds that Earth came from God and will return to Him, therefore it belongs to Him, and the atheist can easily admit that we should leave this planet in no worse condition than when we evolved onto it, the capitalist claims any size portion of earth should have his/her name on it, with armed guards to keep-out the unprivileged who may want to “borrow” some piece of it, and that whatever destruction is necessary to extract surplus wealth from it is fair-game.  

The problem with the third characteristic of the capitalist is that, according to Marx, surplus material value can only occur as the result of labor exploitation.  The food-producers of Old Dixie had no advantage over European farmers in a fair fight.  So, they institutionalized slavery to extract wealth from the earth, offering only a daily bowl of beans and rice as payment.  Marx clarifies this reality in the industrial/factory environment of today’s capitalist political economy:

In the Marxist view, “normal” exploitation is based in three structural characteristics of capitalist society:

  1. the ownership of the means of production by a small minority in society, the capitalists;
  2. the inability of non-property-owners (the workers, proletarians) to survive without selling their labor-power to the capitalists (in other words, without being employed as wage laborers);
  3. the state, which uses its strength to protect the unequal distribution of power and property in society.

Take special notes on this:  working-class people typically can’t survive in capitalist society without selling themselves to those who have accumulated wealth.  That’s not a very good description of the “freedom” we’ve always been told we enjoy here.  And, it’s the laws of the state and their enforcement police that ensure that the PRIVILEGE of the capitalist is enforced as a RIGHT !  When a capitalist purchases a Deed for a productive piece of land, or a patent for an invention, or a permit to pollute the air, this is actually a negotiable contract.  Any government that represents these as “rights” is a government already sold to the capitalist class.  Even if someone agrees with these ideas in principle, to staunchly defend them as “rights”, apply them in all extremes, and act upon them to the obvious detriment of greater society is like aiming a ship toward the end of the world and breaking off the steering wheel;  self-destruction while taking-down everyone else on board. 

The assault on working-class Americans over the last half-century has the popularity of two idiotic individuals, both of whom happen to be Jewish, to thank:  Milton Friedman and Leo Strauss, both from the University of Chicago, between the years of 1946 and 1977.  The neoconservatism that has lined-up perpetual war with the world largely owes itself to the proponents of Strauss, while the tireless economic assault that weakens the workers and enriches the already-rich owes itself to Friedman and his economic-fascism students like Alan Greenspan.  The University of Chicago is what links Strauss, Friedman, FRB policy-makers, neoconservatism, the Reagan and Bush administrations(particularly Bush Jr.), and Barack Obama. – (a recently published article from Prof Francis Boyle)

The fallacy of neoliberal economics can be easily typified in the matters of ecology and environment.  If any company in the market decides to cut its costs by discarding or refusing any methods to reduce pollution, the laws of market economics state that all competing companies or dependent entities will be forced to follow suit.  It’s only through the institution and enforcement of legal regulation that the real cost of production can be made to include environmental protection.  

 It may be useful to note that Marx, who had Jewish ancestry himself, once wrote:

The contradiction that exists between the practical political power of the Jew and his political rights is the contradiction between politics and the power of money in general. Although theoretically the former is superior to the latter, in actual fact politics has become the serf of financial power.

His arguments with fellow commentator and philosopher Bruno Bauer on The Jewish Question give strong indication of several matters:

  1. The Jews were suffering considerable inability to enjoy being commonly recognized as normal citizens in Europe (sound familiar)
  2. Their preservation there was due to their considerable influence in trade and finance
  3. This discussion is the early seed of Zionist thought, that they need to use their financial and political power to secure an exclusive nation-state for themselves
  4. They had already so thoroughly indoctrinated and subjected European Christians to trade involvement that Marx and Bauer both equate practical Judaism as “huckstering” the general public, turning everything into a business opportunity.

Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade, and the bankrupt trader deals in the Gospel just as the Gospel preacher who has become rich goes in for business deals.

Taking a moral stand against an entire system of life, the system we depend upon everyday for our own living, is difficult to achieve.  It requires a solid understanding of the facts and truths of the system, the ability to think critically and independently, the intelligence to detach oneself from most of what we’ve been indoctrinated with and the rhetoric we hear from everyone around us, and the determination to continue working within a corrupt system until it either collapses or is replaced.  I certainly can’t demand everyone to agree with my own convictions, but what I ask is that we take as part of our education, the study of Marx’ critiques.  It’s only through this that we can understand the Labor Movements in the US, the socialization of Europe, and this perpetual war with humanity that our country has been plunged into.

Understanding the economic war makes our relentless propaganda systems self-explanatory.  It explains The CATO Institute, American Enterprise Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and their war on public education, the American Legislative Exchange Council and their widespread legislative meddling, the Heritage Foundation, and this year’s $300Million investment in politicians by the Koch brothers.  It explains why Hispanics have been kept as illegal aliens.  It explains the 50+ covert wars and coups d’etat that the CIA has instigated over the last half-century.  It explains the School of the Americas.  It explains the dangers of the Green Revolution and subsidized farming exports.  It may even offer the real reasons behind the massive influx of women to the workforce over the last 50 years.  

Without understanding economics, Americans can’t make sense of themselves.  The “conservative” revolution that’s happened since the 80’s is pure idiocy.  It isn’t a matter of opinions or “values”.  It’s a lack of education in the working-class.  A vote to support a “conservative” is not a vote against abortion; rather a vote for self-destruction at the hands of a fascist plutarchy.  The people here can’t detect the crap without knowing the ugly rules and realities of their own economic system.  By controlling education, the media, and the “debates”, they effectively limit the access Americans have to intelligent thought.  And the corrupted elite will NOT voluntarily correct their conduct.  The effort must be made to educate and enlist the everyday people to bring the critical changes.

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