Sunday, November 13, 2011

What is capitalism?

These Occupy fools need to go home.

There are so many people who are so mad about some really goofy crap. Somehow, Obama convinced everyone that during previous administrations, corporate greed was directly the fault of the Whitehouse, but during his, corporate greed is some outside thing he is fighting personally.

AIG got a massive bailout a few years ago, and then when they gave various executives contractually agreed-upon bonuses, people freaked out. There were protests in people's yards. All the bonus recipients had to give the money back, or the out-of-work union people were gonna make 'em. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to suck at all the crap they do. They post losses continually. The government keeps giving them bailouts on the order of billions of dollars, and they keep giving their uppers big, fat bonuses. Where is the anger here? They are supposed to be able to be legitimately profitable, and yet they operate on taxpayer debt money. We don't even have the money to keep them in business.

There is this general pissed-off-ed-ness toward capitalism these days. People have it in their minds that capitalism and capitalists (in the Marxist, spit out of the corner of the mouth, pronunciation) are the source of all their woes. I would love to set America - and the world - straight on this:

Capitalism, in its actual sense, is not to blame here.

Giant conglomerate corporations are not capitalist. Being pro-business is not being pro-capitalist. Just because not every industry is nationalized does not mean we are capitalist. Every good modernization in life (and the bad ones, too) have come about because someone had an idea that would rock the boat, and they got the backing to develop it sufficiently to get it to market and let capitalism do its thing. Competition is capitalism. Mergers are not. Anything that degrades competition is anti-capitalist.

The problem is that SO many people want to blame the wealthy for the fact that the wealthy have seen more success than the masses. Even a lot of wealthy people like to jump on that bandwagon (*cough cough* Michael Moore). Look, wealthy people employ less-wealthy people. And when there is good competition, wages and work environment need to be just as competitive as the goods or services sold. And then everyone goes up together.

Any time you stifle that competition, you allow stagnation or backsliding. You want the economy to grow - allow competition to flourish. Where does the government fit in all this? Well, mostly in not tampering! Stop enabling companies that are not competing well enough to stand on their own. You want to bail out companies that are in dire straits because they couldn't hack it on their own merits? How does that improve anything? GM needs a dramatic redirection to ever be truly solvent again. Companies have to answer to their employees and shareholders. They need profits to stick around. Politicians only need to look like they are helping enough constituents to get re-elected. Their goals are to provide a positive perception, whereas companies need a black bottom line.

There is a big difference there. The government is trying to tell the auto industry and the energy industry where to direct their science in the future. Elected politicians listening to lobbyists with deep pockets are trying to pretend they are arbitrary in their decrees about scientific and technological issues. Even in the defense industry, this doesn't work. We let our defense companies (at least partially) develop new technology and try to sell it to the government. The DOD never told Lockheed to make them a stealth plane. Lockheed built it, and then said, "Does this interest you to the tune of our prospective budget?" And so forth.

If the government wants to play, they need to break up giant conglomerates like Ma Bell to provide competition again. Mergers always head to monopolies either through joining with or squashing the competition. Even having a few choices where there were once many is not good enough. We need legitimate competition in every sector. That is what made America great. That is fosters a strong, powerful, successful, stable middle class - instability.

Just watch what happens to the stock market when Obama talks about the economy.

No comments: