Lets get a discussion going if there is interest in these subjects.

Dylan left me a comment the other day.    I enjoyed reading it.   I have been doing some research on the books he suggested.    As finance is not an area I am well versed in and the culture of finance is also not a subject I am up on I thought I would post Dylan’s comment here and let the scholars and avid readers of the group answer some of the questions.      I looked up the two books he mentions and added small blurbs on them.     Thanks hugs.  

DYLAN SHETLER January 6, 2021 / 16:35

I want to apologize before-hand, that this reply is only partially relevant to the things you mentioned in your last comment. I intend to read the links you listed, as I am very interested in devouring what knowledge they may contain. The Hollidays were exceedingly frantic and thus I had very little time to attend to such tasks as replying to comments (again, I apologize). Also, Happy New Year.
I am currently reading F.A Hayek’s “The Road to Surfdom” and recently completed Hernando De Soto’s “The Mystery of Capital”, two excellent works that I would highly recommend reading. The former is a sound criticism of the idea of democratic socialism and the latter is an inquiry regarding the causes behind the failure of capitalism in may third-world and ex-communist nations (already 20 years old but still rich in facts). Anyway, here is my response for now. It strictly addresses what might be regarded as the fundamental issue with the USSR’s economy :

In analyzing the history of central planning in the USSR, I am reminded of a most important fact : economics is the study concerning the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses. The primary aim of central planning was to generate more “fair” economic outcomes. “Fair”, in this sense, refers to that which central planners decided the masses “needed.”
However, in determining what the masses “needed”, central planners effectively robbed individuals of the economic freedoms they would otherwise have had. In essence the question is : are scarce resources better allocated by a few commissions of central planners, or through the innumerable activities of individuals within a competitive market? Although capitalism is most certainly far from perfect, it still is, as economic reformist Hernando De Soto wrote “the only game in town.”
Even though it’s tempting to believe that the problems of inequality and poverty could readily be solved by a perfectly managed state-run economy, we must not forget that only capitalist societies have been successful in achieving the highest levels of freedom and equal opportunity that we treasure.

I will attempt to get back to your other points on property at a later time.

Warmest regards,

-Dylan


The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek

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Finally, here is an edition of Road to Serfdom that does justice to its monumental status in the history of liberty. It contains a foreword by the editor of the Hayek Collected Works, Bruce Caldwell. Caldwell has added helpful explanatory notes and citation corrections, among other improvements. For this reason, the publisher decided to call this “the definitive edition.” It truly is.

This spell-binding book is a classic in the history of liberal ideas. It was singularly responsible for launching an important debate on the relationship between political and economic freedom. It made the author a world-famous intellectual. It set a new standard for what it means to be a dissident intellectual. It warned of a new form of despotism enacted in the name of liberation. And though it appeared in 1944, it continues to have a remarkable impact. No one can consider himself well-schooled in modern political ideas without having absorbed its lessons.

What F.A. Hayek saw, and what most all his contemporaries missed, was that every step away from the free market and toward government planning represented a compromise of human freedom generally and a step toward a form of dictatorship–and this is true in all times and places. He demonstrated this against every claim that government control was really only a means of increasing social well-being. Hayek said that government planning would make society less liveable, more brutal, more despotic. Socialism in all its forms is contrary to freedom.

Nazism, he wrote, is not different in kind from Communism. Further, he showed that the very forms of government that England and America were supposedly fighting abroad were being enacted at home, if under a different guise. Further steps down this road, he said, can only end in the abolition of effective liberty for everyone.

Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.

The beauty of this book is not only in its analytics but in its style, which is unrelenting and passionate. Even today, the book remains a source of controversy. Socialists who imagine themselves to be against dictatorship cannot abide his argument, and they never stop attempting to refute it.

Misesians might find themselves disappointed that Hayek did not go far enough, and made too many compromises in the course of his argument. Even so, anyone who loves liberty cannot but feel a sense of gratitude that this book exists and remains an important part of the debate today.

The Mises Institute was honored that Hayek served as a founding member of our board of advisers, and is very pleased to offer this book again to a world that desperately needs to hear its message.

Author:

Friedrich A. Hayek

F. A. Hayek (1899–1992) is undoubtedly the most eminent of the modern Austrian economists, and a founding board member of the Mises Institute. Student of Friedrich von Wieser, protégé and colleague of Ludwig von Mises, and foremost representative of an outstanding generation of Austrian School theorists, Hayek was more successful than anyone else in spreading Austrian ideas throughout the English-speaking world. He shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics with ideological rival Gunnar Myrdal “for their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena.”  Among mainstream economists, he is mainly known for his popular The Road to Serfdom  (1944).

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https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/first/d/desoto-capital.html?source=post_page—————————

CHAPTER ONEThe Mystery of Capital
Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
By HERNANDO DE SOTO
Basic Books

 Read the Review


The Five Mysteries
of Capital

The key problem is to find out why that sector of society of the past, which I would not hesitate to call capitalist, should have lived as if in a bell jar, cut off from the rest; why was it not able to expand and conquer the whole of society? … [Why was it that] a significant rate of capital formation was possible only in certain sectors and not in the whole market economy of the time?

—Fernand Braudel, The Wheels of Commerce

The hour of capitalism’s greatest triumph is its hour of crisis. The fall of the Berlin Wall ended more than a century of political competition between capitalism and communism. Capitalism stands alone as the only feasible way to rationally organize a modern economy. At this moment in history, no responsible nation has a choice. As a result, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Third World and former communist nations have balanced their budgets, cut subsidies, welcomed foreign investment, and dropped their tariff barriers.

Their efforts have been repaid with bitter disappointment. From Russia to Venezuela, the past half-decade has been a time of economic suffering, tumbling incomes, anxiety, and resentment; of “starving, rioting, and looting,” in the stinging words of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. In a recent editorial the New York Times said, “For much of the world, the marketplace extolled by the West in the afterglow of victory in the Cold War has been supplanted by the cruelty of markets, wariness toward capitalism, and dangers of instability.” The triumph of capitalism only in the West could be a recipe for economic and political disaster.

For Americans enjoying both peace and prosperity, it has been all too easy to ignore the turmoil elsewhere. How can capitalism be in trouble when the Dow Jones Industrial average is climbing higher than Sir Edmund Hillary? Americans look at other nations and see progress, even if it is slow and uneven. Can’t you eat a Big Mac in Moscow, rent a video from Blockbuster in Shanghai, and reach the Internet in Caracas?

Even in the United States, however, the foreboding cannot be completely stifled. Americans see Colombia poised on the brink of a major civil war between drug-trafficking guerrillas and repressive militias, an intractable insurgency in the south of Mexico, and an important part of Asia’s force-fed economic growth draining away into corruption and chaos. In Latin America, sympathy for free markets is dwindling: Support for privatization has dropped from 46 percent of the population to 36 percent in May 2000. Most ominously of all, in the former communist nations capitalism has been found wanting, and men associated with old regimes stand poised to resume power. Some Americans sense too that one reason for their decade-long boom is that the more precarious the rest of the world looks, the more attractive American stocks and bonds become as a haven for international money.

In the business community of the West, there is a growing concern that the failure of most of the rest of the world to implement capitalism will eventually drive the rich economies into recession. As millions of investors have painfully learned from the evaporation of their emerging market funds, globalization is a two-way street: If the Third World and former communist nations cannot escape the influence of the West, neither can the West disentangle itself from them. Adverse reactions to capitalism have also been growing stronger within rich countries themselves. The rioting in Seattle at the meeting of the World Trade Organization in December 1999 and a few months later at the IMF/World Bank meeting in Washington, D.C., regardless of the diversity of the grievances, highlighted the anger that spreading capitalism inspires. Many have begun recalling the economic historian Karl Polanyi’s warnings that free markets can collide with society and lead to fascism. Japan is struggling through its most prolonged slump since the Great Depression. Western Europeans vote for politicians who promise them a “third way” that rejects what a French best-seller has labeled L’Horreur économique.

These whispers of alarm, disturbing though they are, have thus far only prompted American and European leaders to repeat to the rest of the world the same wearisome lectures: Stabilize your currencies, hang tough, ignore the food riots, and wait patiently for the foreign investors to return.

Foreign investment is, of course, a very good thing. The more of it, the better. Stable currencies are good, too, as are free trade and transparent banking practices and the privatization of state-owned industries and every other remedy in the Western pharmacopoeia. Yet we continually forget that global capitalism has been tried before. In Latin America, for example, reforms directed at creating capitalist systems have been tried at least four times since independence from Spain in the 1820s. Each time, after the initial euphoria, Latin Americans swung back from capitalist and market economy policies. These remedies are clearly not enough. Indeed, they fall so far short as to be almost irrelevant.

When these remedies fail, Westerners all too often respond not by questioning the adequacy of the remedies but by blaming Third World peoples for their lack of entrepreneurial spirit or market orientation. If they have failed to prosper despite all the excellent advice, it is because something is the matter with them: They missed the Protestant Reformation, or they are crippled by the disabling legacy of colonial Europe, or their IQs are too low. But the suggestion that it is culture that explains the success of such diverse places as Japan, Switzerland, and California, and culture again that explains the relative poverty of such equally diverse places as China, Estonia, and Baja California, is worse than inhumane; it is unconvincing. The disparity of wealth between the West and the rest of the world is far too great to be explained by culture alone. Most people want the fruits of capital—so much so that many, from the children of Sanchez to Khrushchev’s son, are flocking to Western nations.

The cities of the Third World and the former communist countries are teeming with entrepreneurs. You cannot walk through a Middle Eastern market, hike up to a Latin American village, or climb into a taxicab in Moscow without someone trying to make a deal with you. The inhabitants of these countries possess talent, enthusiasm, and an astonishing ability to wring a profit out of practically nothing. They can grasp and use modern technology. Otherwise, American businesses would not be struggling to control the unauthorized use of their patents abroad, nor would the U.S. government be striving so desperately to keep modern weapons technology out of the hands of Third World countries. Markets are an ancient and universal tradition: Christ drove the merchants out of the temple two thousand years ago, and Mexicans were taking their products to market long before Columbus reached America.

But if people in countries making the transition to capitalism are not pitiful beggars, are not helplessly trapped in obsolete ways, and are not the uncritical prisoners of dysfunctional cultures, what is it that prevents capitalism from delivering to them the same wealth it has delivered to the West? Why does capitalism thrive only in the West, as if enclosed in a bell jar?

In this book I intend to demonstrate that the major stumbling block that keeps the rest of the world from benefiting from capitalism is its inability to produce capital. Capital is the force that raises the productivity of labor and creates the wealth of nations. It is the lifeblood of the capitalist system, the foundation of progress, and the one thing that the poor countries of the world cannot seem to produce for themselves, no matter how eagerly their people engage in all the other activities that characterize a capitalist economy.

I will also show, with the help of facts and figures that my research team and I have collected, block by block and farm by farm in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, that most of the poor already possess the assets they need to make a success of capitalism. Even in the poorest countries, the poor save. The value of savings among the poor is, in fact, immense—forty times all the foreign aid received throughout the world since 1945. In Egypt, for instance, the wealth that the poor have accumulated is worth fifty-five times as much as the sum of all direct foreign investment ever recorded there, including the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam. In Haiti, the poorest nation in Latin America, the total assets of the poor are more than one hundred fifty times greater than all the foreign investment received since Haiti’s independence from France in 1804. If the United States were to hike its foreign-aid budget to the level recommended by the United Nations—0.7 percent of national income—it would take the richest country on earth more than 150 years to transfer to the world’s poor resources equal to those they already possess.

But they hold these resources in defective forms: houses built on land whose ownership rights are not adequately recorded, unincorporated businesses with undefined liability, industries located where financiers and investors cannot see them. Because the rights to these possessions are not adequately documented, these assets cannot readily be turned into capital, cannot be traded outside of narrow local circles where people know and trust each other, cannot be used as collateral for a loan, and cannot be used as a share against an investment.

In the West, by contrast, every parcel of land, every building, every piece of equipment, or store of inventories is represented in a property document that is the visible sign of a vast hidden process that connects all these assets to the rest of the economy. Thanks to this representational process, assets can lead an invisible, parallel life alongside their material existence. They can be used as collateral for credit. The single most important source of funds for new businesses in the United States is a mortgage on the entrepreneur’s house. These assets can also provide a link to the owner’s credit history, an accountable address for the collection of debts and taxes, the basis for the creation of reliable and universal public utilities, and a foundation for the creation of securities (like mortgage-backed bonds) that can then be rediscounted and sold in secondary markets. By this process the West injects life into assets and makes them generate capital.

Third World and former communist nations do not have this representational process. As a result, most of them are undercapitalized, in the same way that a firm is undercapitalized when it issues fewer securities than its income and assets would justify. The enterprises of the poor are very much like corporations that cannot issue shares or bonds to obtain new investment and finance. Without representations, their assets are dead capital.

The poor inhabitants of these nations—five-sixths of humanity—do have things, but they lack the process to represent their property and create capital. They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation. It is the unavailability of these essential representations that explains why people who have adapted every other Western invention, from the paper clip to the nuclear reactor, have not been able to produce sufficient capital to make their domestic capitalism work.

This is the mystery of capital. Solving it requires an understanding of why Westerners, by representing assets with titles, are able to see and draw out capital from them. One of the greatest challenges to the human mind is to comprehend and to gain access to those things we know exist but cannot see. Not everything that is real and useful is tangible and visible. Time, for example, is real, but it can only be efficiently managed when it is represented by a clock or a calendar. Throughout history, human beings have invented representational systems—writing, musical notation, double-entry bookkeeping—to grasp with the mind what human hands could never touch. In the same way, the great practitioners of capitalism, from the creators of integrated title systems and corporate stock to Michael Milken, were able to reveal and extract capital where others saw only junk by devising new ways to represent the invisible potential that is locked up in the assets we accumulate.

At this very moment you are surrounded by waves of Ukrainian, Chinese, and Brazilian television that you cannot see. So, too, are you surrounded by assets that invisibly harbor capital. Just as the waves of Ukrainian television are far too weak for you to sense them directly but can, with the help of a television set, be decoded to be seen and heard, so can capital be extracted and processed from assets. But only the West has the conversion process required to transform the invisible to the visible. It is this disparity that explains why Western nations can create capital and the Third World and former communist nations cannot.

The absence of this process in the poorer regions of the world—where two-thirds of humanity lives—is not the consequence of some Western monopolistic conspiracy. It is rather that Westerners take this mechanism so completely for granted that they have lost all awareness of its existence. Although it is huge, nobody sees it, including the Americans, Europeans, and Japanese who owe all their wealth to their ability to use it. It is an implicit legal infrastructure hidden deep within their property systems—of which ownership is but the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the iceberg is an intricate man-made process that can transform assets and labor into capital. This process was not created from a blueprint and is not described in a glossy brochure. Its origins are obscure and its significance buried in the economic subconscious of Western capitalist nations.

How could something so important have slipped our minds? It is not uncommon for us to know how to use things without understanding why they work. Sailors used magnetic compasses long before there was a satisfactory theory of magnetism. Animal breeders had a working knowledge of genetics long before Gregor Mendel explained genetic principles. Even as the West prospers from abundant capital, do people really understand the origin of capital? If they don’t, there always remains the possibility that the West might damage the source of its own strength. Being clear about the source of capital will also prepare the West to protect itself and the rest of the world as soon as the prosperity of the moment yields to the crisis that is sure to come. Then the question that always arises in international crises will be heard again: Whose money will be used to solve the problem?

So far, Western countries have been happy to take their system for producing capital entirely for granted and to leave its history undocumented. That history must be recovered. This book is an effort to reopen the exploration of the source of capital and thus explain how to correct the economic failures of poor countries. These failures have nothing to do with deficiencies in cultural or genetic heritage. Would anyone suggest “cultural” commonalities between Latin Americans and Russians? Yet in the last decade, ever since both regions began to build capitalism without capital, they have shared the same political, social, and economic problems: glaring inequality, underground economies, pervasive mafias, political instability, capital flight, flagrant disregard for the law. These troubles did not originate in the monasteries of the Orthodox Church or along the pathways of the Incas.

But it is not only former communist and Third World countries that have suffered all of these problems. The same was true of the United States in 1783, when President George Washington complained about “banditti … skimming and disposing of the cream of the country at the expense of the many.” These “banditti” were squatters and small illegal entrepreneurs occupying lands they did not own. For the next one hundred years, such squatters battled for legal rights to their land and miners warred over their claims because ownership laws differed from town to town and camp to camp. Enforcing property rights created such a quagmire of social unrest and antagonism throughout the young United States that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Joseph Story, wondered in 1820 whether lawyers would ever be able to settle them.

Do squatters, bandits, and flagrant disregard of the law sound familiar? Americans and Europeans have been telling the other countries of the world, “You have to be more like us.” In fact, they are very much like the United States of a century ago when it too was an undeveloped country. Western politicians once faced the same dramatic challenges that leaders of the developing and former communist countries are facing today. But their successors have lost contact with the days when the pioneers who opened the American West were undercapitalized because they seldom possessed title to the lands they settled and the goods they owned, when Adam Smith did his shopping in black markets and English street urchins plucked pennies cast by laughing tourists into the mud banks of the Thames, when Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s technocrats executed 16,000 small entrepreneurs whose only crime was manufacturing and importing cotton cloth in violation of France’s industrial codes.

That past is many nations’ present. The Western nations have so successfully integrated their poor into their economies that they have lost even the memory of how it was done, how the creation of capital began back when, as the American historian Gordon Wood has written, “something momentous was happening in the society and culture that released the aspirations and energies of common people as never before in American history.” The “something momentous” was that Americans and Europeans were on the verge of establishing widespread formal property law and inventing the conversion process in that law that allowed them to create capital. This was the moment when the West crossed the demarcation line that led to successful capitalism—when it ceased being a private club and became a popular culture, when George Washington’s dreaded “banditti” were transformed into the beloved pioneers that American culture now venerates.

* * *

The paradox is as clear as it is unsettling: Capital, the most essential component of Western economic advance, is the one that has received the least attention. Neglect has shrouded it in mystery—in fact, in a series of five mysteries.

The Mystery of the Missing Information

Charitable organizations have so emphasized the miseries and helplessness of the world’s poor that no one has properly documented their capacity for accumulating assets. Over the past five years, I and a hundred colleagues from six different nations have closed our books and opened our eyes—and gone out into the streets and countrysides of four continents to count how much the poorest sectors of society have saved. The quantity is enormous. But most of it is dead capital.

The Mystery of Capital

This is the key mystery and the centerpiece of this book. Capital is a subject that has fascinated thinkers for the past three centuries. Marx said that you needed to go beyond physics to touch “the hen that lays the golden eggs”; Adam Smith felt you had to create “a sort of waggon-way through the air” to reach that same hen. But no one has told us where the hen hides. What is capital, how is it produced, and how is it related to money?

The Mystery of Political Awareness

If there is so much dead capital in the world, and in the hands of so many poor people, why haven’t governments tried to tap into this potential wealth? Simply because the evidence they needed has only become available in the past forty years as billions of people throughout the world have moved from life organized on a small scale to life on a large scale. This migration to the cities has rapidly divided labor and spawned in poorer countries a huge industrial-commercial revolution—one that, incredibly, has been virtually ignored.

The Missing Lessons of U.S. History

What is going on in the Third World and the former communist countries has happened before, in Europe and North America. Unfortunately, we have been so mesmerized by the failure of so many nations to make the transition to capitalism that we have forgotten how the successful capitalist nations actually did it. For years I visited technocrats and politicians in advanced nations, from Alaska to Tokyo, but they had no answers. It was a mystery. I finally found the answer in their history books, the most pertinent example being that of U.S. history.

The Mystery of Legal Failure: Why Property Law Does Not Work Outside the West

Since the nineteenth century, nations have been copying the laws of the West to give their citizens the institutional framework to produce wealth. They continue to copy such laws today, and obviously it doesn’t work. Most citizens still cannot use the law to convert their savings into capital. Why this is so and what is needed to make the law work remains a mystery.

The solution to each of these mysteries is the subject of a chapter in this book.

* * *

The moment is ripe to solve the problem of why capitalism is triumphant in the West and stalling practically everywhere else. As all plausible alternatives to capitalism have now evaporated, we are finally in a position to study capital dispassionately and carefully.

(C) 2000 Hernando de Soto All rights reserved. ISBN: 0-465-01614-6

8 thoughts on “Lets get a discussion going if there is interest in these subjects.

  • Hi Scottie;
    This was a lot to swallow. I’m not a financial expert, as my bank would surely tell you. But, one of the things that needs to be included in this discussion is that economically diverse countries do thrive to a greater degree than any other, provided all other things remain equal. It is no stretch of the imagination to say that much of the wealth is done by the sale of resources. For example, a farmer who raises fine crops and brings them to market is often expected to make a good profit. Failures to do so may come from such issues as: He brings the wrong thing to market (think pork in Islamic regions), he only accepts a recompense that outreaches the perceived value of his crop (think a glutted market), or he brings his needful crop to a market that highly values his crop but the market is indigent. At that, it matters little how prized his crop, no one can pay the price.
    This last example is the cost of allowing a trifling few to monopolize the resources. It is no crime that someone should seek out the most efficient and effective manner to create wealth. But, the horrible thing comes when that power magnet removes the resources from others, shrugs his fair tax burden onto those who have less because he holds powerful influence over decision makers.
    Capitalism is not evil. It does, however, incorporate one true failure and weakness: human beings. If the capitalistic country has allowed the very wealthy to not only take advantage of their better education and opportunity, but allows those same to actively remove resources from the country and the people, it is right into the same fault as any other abusive political model.

    Or, so goes my thoughts.

    Hugs!
    Randy

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Randy. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I am out of my depth on the reading, but I can use reason in analyzing history and current conditions like you did. Every country uses some blend of controlled capitalism. Even the so called socialist or communist countries. North Korea uses controlled capitalism. Cuba used it during the time of Castro. The difference is in the amount and reasons of regulating and restrictions. There is no doubt or argument that the countries in the world today that score the highest on satisfaction, happiness, and quality of life measures all restrain capitalism for the well being of the population. yes that means taxing the wealthiest to pay for government services for the lower incomes. It simply makes a better society for everyone and why people prefer to live in those places. Hugs

      Like

  • You definitely make some interesting points. Unfortunately, I neglected to make a necessary distinction between socialism and democratic socialism, my apologies.

    You wrote :

    Democratic Socialism is simply a country that has but restraints, restrictions, and rules on capitalism to increase the wellbeing of the population.

    This seems to be a description of a regulated economy, rather than a democratic socialist one. Democratic socialism, as I understand it, is the idea that liberal democracy (as in freedom of the individual, majority rule, etc.) can coexist with an absolute socialist government which plans economic activity. Socialism, on the other hand, only concerns the planning of an economy by the government (exemplified in the USSR). Hence, the distinction between the two, at least in theory, is that one is interested in the maintenance of liberal democracy while the other is not. Further you wrote :

    Ask yourself who the country should work for, the people or a system of making money.

    Honestly, I could do without this sophistry. Precisely “who” defines the condition in which the country is “working for” the people.
    Economically speaking, we can recall the words of Friedrich Engels regarding the peculiar nature of capitalist markets : “What each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed.” In other words, economic outcomes in a capitalist society are not determined by the few but by the many.

    My skepticism towards government interventionism (as in welfare programs, price controls, etc.) as well as planned economies is largely built on an underlying syllogism : 1) humans are fallible by nature, 2) governments are operated by humans, 3) thus, governments are fallible too. The market punishes through the profit-loss mechanism those who make fallible decisions. For example, a producer who raises the prices of his goods or services with the aim of generating a higher profit from them is soon likely to have his success undermined by competitors who could sell the same goods or services at a lower price. With governments, however, there is no punishment for the economic havoc they breed.

    After reading a couple economics books, particularly from economists like Adam Smith, Henry Hazlitt, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell, I have gained much insight into the nature of capitalism and overcome many of the economic misconceptions that are so prevalent among the general populace. I do not get my economic statistics and opinions from newspapers or media outlets but rather strictly economic institutions (Cato institute, FEE, etc.). This is mainly because many media outlets have strong connections with political parties (as Fox News does with the republication party and CNN does with the democrat party) and sometimes orient the focus of their publications in the direction of certain ideologies, movements, or policies.

    Always a pleasure and warmest regards,

    -Dylan

    Like

    • Dylan;
      I’ve always been greatly encouraged by your thirst for knowledge. Not for you so much but for myself – and even others. I believe you bring great opportunities for people to better understand our environment.
      What I would caution you is the very same caution I was given in my freshman year of college and I didn’t heed, believing myself able to see through the issue: Be careful that you don’t read a few books and declare your position. There is a great deal more in life, I’ve found, than what I read in college. You would be very surprised to find how my positions have changed in the thirty+ years after I’ve left those classes. Life has an uncomfortable way of changing priorities. What once seemed hugely important fades as our present life intrudes into the black and white of those books. Nothing is black and white.
      I understand you are a christian. May I suggest that if you continue that faith, you recall the lessons Jesus is reported to share. Love your fellow man as the Good Samaritan. I’ve found a great deal of meaning in the parables of Jesus. I know you’ve studied them, as did I when I was younger, but in older years – having aging parents to worry for, having younger cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbors – I find that beating people about the head and shoulders with theories and concepts that rarely exist in reality in the purity the books demand they must is counterproductive at best and typically just wounds others so we can feel correct and right in our own thoughts.
      I send you hugs. I hope only the best for you.
      -Randy.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Great points! Since individuals lack the intellectual capacity to formulate comprehensive interpretations of reality, our reasoning about essentially everything invariably fails to take numerous facts into account. Becoming rigid (or worse, fixed) in our thinking is to stop the necessary process of adaption.

        I pride myself on maintaining an open-minded approach to novel information. I try to abstain from the proclivity to make value judgements (as these tend to retard productive discussion). Few things are more pleasing to the conscience than being able to evaluate people’s views apart from some ideologically satisfying intention.

        Kindly,

        -Dylan

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Dylan. Since you are referencing the reply I made to you on this subject but on a different post I should paste it here so people can better follow along or reply.

      In reply to Dylan Shetler.
      Hello Dylan. Holidays tend to be very chaotic times, especially if you have family and more so if you are trying to spend time with friends and family. I am not a scholar of the subject you wish to talk about, but I am game to read and learn, so I posted your comment and a bit about the two books you mentioned in a post and asked the community to get a discussion going. I think it will be a lot more fruitful for you than me stumbling along. I will try to add my thoughts in here and there where I can.

      Two quick things. As I was looking up the books I noticed a couple of things. On the first book the author seems impressed with Michael Milken. The man is a crook and scam artist I would suggest you look him up. He is not someone I would aspire to admire. The second thought I had was the second book I disagree with the main idea of entirely.

      “Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.” This is an opinion not sustained by the facts around us. Reason says look around the world at the many countries that have far higher standards of living than the US in all respects and ask what the difference between those countries and ours is. In the countries where people are doing the best and happiest the government restrains capitalism. In the US you have unrestrained capitalism killing the very things that make the profits. You do not need to go back far in history to prove this. In the 1950’s the US had restrained capitalism that produced the most robust economy in history that made money for the wealthy and also created the middle class, causing the greatest flow of money in a population ever. This is our history. Then in the 1970’s the idea of taking away the restraints on capitalism, to undo restrictions and regulations letting capitalism run wild started. It led to the situation we have today. An unsustainable system with a huge wealth gap. In history every country that has gotten this kind of division between the wealth equality has failed, become a failed state, which sadly is where the US is now.

      We are not the country of American exceptionalism now with wealth concentrated at the top are we? We are not the same nation that put men on the moon. Even China understands you need social constraints on capitalism to make a successful economy for a country to work properly. I suggest among the reading you are doing you look around the world as it is today and see which countries have the most satisfied and happiest people, and what form of government / economic systems they have. The US is regressing fast to the days of the robber barons that led to the great depression. It seems the greed of our country today has let us forget lessons of history which showed how such greed can wreck a country, destroy a people, and cause misery for all but a very few.

      I think the problem is semantics, a word understanding problem. You have been taught that the word socialism is bad in every usage, and that a socialist government is the same thing as Democratic Socialism. It is not. I think we have been over this. Communism, Socialism, and Democratic Socialism are greatly different things. Democratic Socialism is simply a country that has but restraints, restrictions, and rules on capitalism to increase the wellbeing of the population. Ask yourself who the country should work for, the people or a system of making money. Capitalism unrestrained, unrestricted is destructive by its very nature. A country is formed and is for the well being of the people. Unrestrained capitalism is harmful to those very people. Therefore, it is the job of government to restrain and regulate capitalism. Here are some countries that use a varying degree of Democratic Socialism, Canda, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and so many more. It is not the boogieman right wing media wants to make it out to be.

      Even though it’s tempting to believe that the problems of inequality and poverty could readily be solved by a perfectly managed state-run economy, we must not forget that only capitalist societies have been successful in achieving the highest levels of freedom and equal opportunity that we treasure.

      Every capitalist society has been a state-run economy. Sorry, but even the US is. No country exists without rules, and those rules govern the economy. The difference is in the US right wing media has demonized any restrictions on business. Why religious leaders go along with the mistaken idea that curtailing the worst abuses is harmful and wrong is a mystery to me. Think of capitalism as a child, and government as the adult. Government has to reign in the worst impulses of the child for the good of everyone.

      I Have to run, I just found out I need to make a tomato meat sauce for supper tonight. Hugs


      Now lets see if I can add anything to the conversation here by replying to your comment. I do not want to cover ground others may have address better than I can.

      As I suspected the largest part of the problem we are having in this conversation is semantics, words and what they mean. You are correct in what a Social Democracy is, I got the words backward. Sorry about that. Yes as I wrote it makes no sense, until you change the order of the words to Social Democracy from Democratic Socialism. I get the order confused. Sorry. So that we are on the same page here is what I mean and meant.

      What is social democracy in simple terms?
      Social democracy is a government system that has similar values to socialism, but within a capitalist framework. The ideology, named from democracy where people have a say in government actions, supports a competitive economy with money while also helping people whose jobs don’t pay a lot.

      This explains it really well.

      Social democracy is a left-wing political, social and economic philosophy that supports political and economic democracy.[1] As a policy regime, it is described by academics as advocating economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal-democratic polity and a capitalist mixed economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest, and extensive social-welfare provisions.[2] Due to longstanding governance by social-democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in Northern and Western Europe, social democracy became associated with Keynesianism, the Nordic model, and welfare states within political circles in the late 20th century.[3]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy

      I apologize for the confusion and my mistake.

      Sorry Dylan I do not see the question of who the country works for as a fallacy. Take the US for example, it is “We the people …” not “We the companies …”. It is very easy to see if a country is working for the majority people of the people in a country, and I have previously mentioned the country rankings on many of these metrics. The U.N. keeps updated information on these subjects. They can be googled. But what is a government for you ask.

      Governments, despite ideological differences, tend to have similar purposes. Depending on the type of government, the ways a government meets those purposes can vary. For example, in a democracy, the creation and enforcement of laws is closely tied to the wants and needs of citizens. In a dictatorship, laws may be administered in a method that benefits the leader or the central government more than those being governed.

      In general, there are four main purposes of government: to establish laws, maintain order and provide security, protect citizens from external threats, and promote the general welfare by providing public services. The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution spells out these specific goals clearly:

      We the People of the United States , in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      https://www.coursehero.com/sg/american-government/purposes-of-government/

      I disagree with Friedrich Engels and the idea you expressed his view is. It is clear that in money is power, especially in countries that badly regulate capitalism. There is no way you have as much say and power in the country as a person who has 10 times your level of wealth. A millionaire will always have more power than a person making minimum wage unless the millionaire is restrained by the government. A billionaire has far more power than a millionaire. It destroys the idea of all people are equal, even when it comes to the laws / rules of the country unless the government is very careful to regulate money in government / politics.

      The idea that the government is not held responsible is really not true. In democracies the people have the authority over the government through the elections of officials. it works better in some countries than others. Again in our country money is shown to be a problem in correcting the actions of the government as the wealthy are powerful and get their way over the good of the people. However if people stay motivated and energized they can make the country work for the people in a democracy as we are seeing currently in the US.

      I prefer to get my economic ideas from people like Robert Reich. He has a great YouTube channel if you have the time. Again I apologize for my error in my last reply. Take a look at it again with the idea I meant to convey, with the words in the correct order. Best wishes. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Excellent points! I apologize for any misconceptions my earlier replies may have unnecessarily generated. My complete reply will unfortunately have to be postponed. I prefer being in a clear and reasonable disposition when I construct my replies. However, such a disposition is seldom achievable in the days later hours.

        Looking forward to getting back to you soon.

        Kindly,

        -Dylan

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Dylan. I understand. I also get less on track as I get more tired. I feel foolish I did not catch my reversing the words which changed the entire meaning of my reply to you. I should know to better double check things like that. I am glad you caught it, and you were correct, it did not make much sense as I wrote it and it was representable government I was describing. Be well, take some time to enjoy your week as I imagine you have lots of school work after the holidays. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

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