Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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One World Ready or Not
by Richard E. Noble
I read a book by a Mr. William Greider, “One World Ready or Not.” On the back cover of his book it states that he is the National Editor of the Rolling Stone. I thought that was a magazine about Mick Jagger and other horribly disfigured people who have made a success of promoting the concept of noise around the world.
I consider this book an economics book - but it is not a compilation of difficult theories. It is a vivid and insightful description of what is going on around the world, with chapter after chapter of everyday life descriptions. It is about the New Global Capitalism - the privatization of the world.
Mr. Greider’s book is a primer on getting up to speed on what is presently happening in the world economy. I consider it to be very intelligent and well thought; especially for a man who I presume spent the early part of his life following the Grateful Dead - the Rolling Stone Magazine, you will remember.
When I reflect on Mr. Greider’s book one of the many things that comes to my mind is a problem that he pointed out in the conclusion.
In a world of, more or less, dedicated Capitalism where supply and demand and profit-making are the sole motivation for investment and action, how does necessary but non-profitable “good” happen?
For example, you are a Capitalist Doctor in a Capitalist world. You are riding along the highway and you stumble upon an accident. Many people are sprawled along side the road bleeding and injured. You quickly discover that these people have no insurance and no money to pay for the necessary supplies, never mind your expertise, training and college loan. With Capitalism and supply and demand as your guide, how do you devise a profitable system or a method for their care?
Charity is not a system or method of Capitalism, it is a band aid. Charity is a notion that drains off the goodwill of Capitalism. It stands out as a flaw in the Capitalistic dogma, not as a positive attribute. Charity only becomes necessary because Capitalism has failed. Charity doesn’t make a profit. It is not a business. We can’t depend on Charity as a Capitalist economic tool.
The notion that people should all be pursuing their own personal good does not help our good Samaritan dogmatic Capitalistic Doctor.
As a Capitalist he must devise some sort of rationale whereby he can gain a profit from the suffering and tragedy he has encountered.
How does Capitalism feed the hungry who have no money to buy food, even if the Capitalist can produce sufficient quantities; how does Capitalism provide Aids medication to those with no money to pay even for its manufacture? How does Capitalism provide a profitable avenue for environmental safety when clearly polluting pays? How can profit-making provide living wages to workers when providing living wages means less profit and higher prices? The list where Capitalism has traditionally provided no answers goes on and on.
In the past, governmental socialism has been the safety valve of the Capitalist World. When the going gets tough the taxpayer takes over - that’s socialism, not Capitalism.
In the United States, back in the Wilson days, when the banks kept collapsing, the government and the taxpayer stepped in with the Federal Reserve System (Banker Socialism). When the Depression struck, it was Government Socialist spending that stepped in to save the day. Even if you say it was World War II that saved the economy, it was not the killing and the destruction that saved the world from the Depression; it was the government spending on the war effort that produced the jobs, that supplied the wages, that turned around the spending, that stimulated the investment, that paid the soldiers, that built the middle class, that saved the house that George (Washington - not Bush) built.
We didn’t need a World War II to save us from the Depression; we needed unlimited Government spending on a project that satisfied the moral work ethos of the people of the world. Any project would have done the trick, a pyramid or two, an aqueduct, an interstate highway system, a man on the moon.
Why can’t the project to save the world, and stimulate Capitalistic spending be something morally sound; as opposed to something architectural, or industrial or totally destructive, - as War?
When Europe had no money to buy products from the Capitalist world, we gave them the money.
We said that the Marshall Plan was a loan but most of the Marshall Plan money was never paid back. So, in effect, we made TVs and refrigerators - financed Europe’s reconstruction - for people and governments who could not afford to buy these products or materials.
We gave them the money to buy them; we gave them the money to manufacture their own TVs and refrigerators; pretty soon their economies were flourishing and they were selling us TVs and refrigerators. We had to start producing other things here at home to employ our own people to fill new markets from a more demanding world. I even hear Republicans today bragging on this world wide socialistic welfare project called - the Marshall Plan.
Why could this same technique not be used in curing the world of hunger or disease?
If people in Slumbovia need food, we loan (lend/lease) them the money, then sell them the food (deferred loan payback option - lOUs). Once they start eating more regularly, we loan (lend/lease) them some more money and start selling them some tractors. Pretty soon they are growing their own food and manufacturing their own tractors and we are selling them fertilizers, tractor parts and engineering expertise, and they are standing in line to buy tickets to Disney World. And all the while we are paying Henry Ford the II, 3rd. or 4th to manufacture this stuff.
Henry then gives everybody a raise at the factory and takes on more employees - just like we did in World War II. The only difference is we don’t have all the dead bodies and all the bombed out building to rebuild. Instead we start housing developments in Slumbovia. Pretty soon everybody is doing so well, we simply cancel all their debt obligations (call it a tax rebate to stimulate the trade balance, encourage consumption and new investment). The Donald moves to Slumbovia to find a new apprentice and he takes Martha Stewart with him. How can we lose?
There is a lot of world out there to be made prosperous and a lot of money to be made supplying the initial investments, the knowledge and the know how. If it works for war, and the Military Industrial Complex, why can’t it work for peace and refrigerators?
If this concept can work for refrigerators, TVs and even hula-hoops and Pacman, then why can’t it work for healthcare, the environment, science and the betterment of mankind in general?