Capitalism from the Brilliant Mind of a Brit…
The link below was sent to me by a friend of many years. Of all his great accomplishments throughout the years, the least is his inability to see the Liberal/Socialist/Progressives for what they are - a group dedicated to changing our system of government, disregarding our Constitution, and substituting an anarchist/Marxist regime. Said regime would right the entire world’s unbalances by “sharing the wealth”, or more interestingly by doing away with wealth, and destroying the engine that allows one to become wealthy. That engine is Capitalism.
I seldom, if ever, include video or links in my pieces. There are so many available on the Internet that it is hard to decide what one would best fit the theme of an article. In this case, however, the idea for the article came because the friend mentioned above sent the link below to me along with a brief message that read: “As the subject [line] states…this is brilliant…enjoy and share…”
The Subject line read: FW: Interesting (iconoclastic, irreverent, creative, entertaining, heuristic, provocative, challenging) take on capitalism and the world economic crisis... (from the U.K.)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&feature=channel
I suppose I should have been wary of the way Capitalism would be treated given that the UK is basically a Socialist County, rapidly becoming a Theocracy. However, I watched the video, and was amazed at how such a “cute” cartoon presentation could be so lean in the careful analysis and conclusion area. I started to respond to the email with a few lines of analysis, and soon I had a page of analysis [I publish it here for your perusal, and comment.]
Thank you for sending the video.
One can never read too much Hayek or Adam Smith for that matter.
The problem with all of these presentations is that they are simplistic, not necessarily unbiased, and never suggest a system that works better, or for that matter a solution. His talking points are old, and never seem to get past the nagging phase, and do not introduce any new arguments. The real talent here was that of the cartoonist.
You and I should know better than most that a failure of a system node does not mean that the system is necessarily faulty. To be incredibly simplistic, one could say that flight itself is a failure because in the last month two major crashes have taken many hundreds of lives. Engine failures that were caught "just in time" saved hundreds more. In these cases something went wrong, and most likely someone did not do his or her job. Alternatively, inherent in any human endeavor is fault. All systems will eventually fail. This computer that I am using will one day betray me and fail - causing me to lose a great deal of data and a fair amount of time. Does that mean that the entire computerized gestalt we live in is a poorly designed and overly utilized system? Not necessarily.
In a nutshell, Capitalism is a system of earning and distributing wealth through the creation of goods and services. In doing that, some become quite wealthy, others never do. I believe that those that don't are not victims of anything but their own personalities and actions. I believe by a simple code in that regard: "There are no victims."
I lost a great deal of money due to the machinations of Greenspan, and what those machinations did to markets - all markets. That's not Capitalism's fault, that is my fault for not acting with alacrity and doing more personal research. When Carter started the "everyone should own a home" thing, millions of smart investors should have said, that's not possible. Instead millions bought and sold homes to great advantage. Unfortunately they sold them to many who could not afford them, so banks failed, developers failed, homeowners failed, and systems failed. Each system failure has its starting point not with a Machiavellian plot, but with an error of judgment, or an error due not to human evil, but to simply being human and prone to error. Each failure must be accompanied by a self examination that amounts to taking responsibility for what one does or does not do in response to a system failure. If the current head of the Federal Reserve is a financial idiot - which I believe - then I need to acknowledge that, and take steps to protect myself and my family. To do otherwise is simply to lay the framework for laying blame on "The System" - whatever that system is.
I suggest a very nice little book that takes a different tact on money and budgets - after all, Capitalism is about money and budgets, and greed and stupidity, and humans ignoring the fact that the latter two are far more important than anything. The book is: "Economics in One Lesson", Henry Hazlitt, Three rivers Press NY, 1979. Additionally, if you are so inclined to understand more than the cartoon approach to Capitalism, try "Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to Understanding the Economy." by Thomas Sowell, Basic Books; Rev Exp edition (December 23, 2003).
Alternatively to understand why it is not possible to pit one system against the other in any meaningful way most of the time is to be found in "The Logic of Modern Physics", by P. W. Bridgman, Macmillan Paperbacks, 1960, wherein Dr. Bridgman suggests that many questions are meaningless questions, and to pursue them is a waste of time. Since one can never look at a phenomenon like Capitalism and compare it to other systems in real time, i.e. at the same moment, in the same place to pursue this type of question is to pursue a philosophical matter, not something that has any basis in fact. That defines most academics.
Mr. Harvey is an academic. Remember the old adage "Those who can do, those that can't teach." To wit: Mr. Harvey stated that wages have not increased for quite some time, and that is the fault of greedy Capitalists. Wrong. Let me tell you about reality. Our company (HCDS) hired and paid 150 employees each month. Each year the personnel budget increased substantially. Were we increasing wages? Not very much. So what were we spending the money on? Government mandates that's what. Increased Social Security, increased Medicare, Increased California taxes, increased unemployment insurance, increased government demanded audits of personnel records, etc.
Mr. Harvey mentions "Greedy Capitalists" as one causes of economic failure. Yes, there certainly are greedy Capitalists, but there are also Greedy Russian Communists (Lukoil's billionaire owner & Putin to name two.), Greedy Chinese Communists (Try the one who gambles and loses $25,000,000 each year at the MGM Grand - personal communication), and Greedy Socialists - i.e. George Soros.)
While Mr. Harvey seems to want to promote Marxism, he fails to mention that it was tried, and it has failed miserably. You are old enough to remember the Russian food lines, the search for toilet paper, the need for heating fuel that only the rich Russians got, etc. Perhaps Mr. Harvey has never read Einstein's definition of insanity!
So yes David the presentation is iconoclastic, irreverent, creative, entertaining, heuristic, provocative, & challenging, but it is also Communist, & Socialist, Academic pap. This man has never had to meet a payroll, develop a budget, been made to stick to that budget, and survive in the face of the economic down turns that all systems of finance undergo.
Nice try - Entertaining but not terribly effective. I think that this lecture could just as well have been entitled "Class Warfare - Cartoon Version".
Thus far I have not received a response from my friend. I have a vague feeling that I shall not.
November 23, 2010