Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The things now

The things that are going on now in the world seem truly horrific.

Social reform has been successfully stymied. Capitalism has not come under a general system of regulation -- or of modification, control, adjustment, or governance. (I don't mean governance by the central banks or the WTO, b.t.w.)

Protecting the capitalist system from destruction is in the interest of everyone. There is no group (say, 1,000 or more persons anywhere, like the lawyers, or the Jamaicans, or the English working stiffs) of any size that would really benefit from continued lack of general economic interventions. Maybe the two more extreme of the three Koch bros.--Um, that is two persons!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Economics, with and without politics

                                                Theoretical Statement



Businessmen do things out of necessity. We may distinguish such practicality from the act of doing things out of inquiry, scientific curiosity, or altruism. If a farmer or distributor wants to get a price for a product that he has in bulk, he would probably set up an exchange. According to my recent reading, this is how the stock exchange or commodity exchanges are created, in a city like Chicago, for example. Shipments of grain are coming in. Remember, it is for the purpose of feeding the population. So, that is number one. But eventually everyone needs to know something: what is the best price, what should I be paying? A very practical concern. They are not asking out of scientific curiosity! You can probably do this in a slap-dash way, but it seems quite reasonable someone would set up the first grain exchanges this way. So,  they want to set a price. This so would help the buyers and sellers come together. It beats standing in front of a warehouse or loading dock and guessing, and, similarly, it probably also beats having to wondering whether that person you are dealing with is on the up and up. All this seems reasonable, then. It applies to the setting of prices on the wholesale level, of course, not on the retail level since all the little stores can (in older days) probably work out prices for themselves as word of mouth will serve to travel around town easily. But big importers might hide things, right? I think so. So, an exchange is needed, for whatever reason. Not having one is not desirable. Not having one does not improve the life of a big city. So, the Chicago Board of Trade was created. It proves that in real life trade is regulated. 
     There is no “free market” in the sense of some kind of nativism, or in the sense of a naturalistic human activity in which regulations are never imposed. That is a lie. It is a false tale. It doesn't exist. We always “regulate” economics; so, commodity or other exchanges can serve as an example. And there are other kinds of regulation or rule-setting, too, like government in general!

     It is simultaneously true that the imposition of this kind of regulation can be done by business itself. If instead regulation is by outsiders, they could be motivated by something else: like politics. I also mentioned the topics of inquisitiveness or inquiry, scientific curiosity, and altruism, above. The upshot is that, while there are plenty of ways to regulate, or "intervene," there is an argument there about having that done by the businessmen themselves. Yes, this could be preferable. But what orthodox propaganda economists and other big talkers ("rhetoric") will not tell you, for example, is that the businessmen are the same persons as the persons that work in government. Therefore, we are all human beings in the same society. The established economists just happen not to have thought of that (it would take actually thinking, of course, so that's really difficult for them; and, yes Virginia, that does include university professors----who, I may add, are a dime a dozen).
     So, I got distracted. We were specifying an area of argument. Government does regulate the exchanges to some extent. They do not always do a good job, so perhaps this should be kept to a minimum—but not in the case where regulation by businessmen fails, where there is a big scandal, etc. And those kind of things can happen. The idea that there is a clear demarcation between some kind of natural unregulated human trading activity on the one hand and “government regulation” on the other (and this is the second time I am making the point) is wrong.
     This common idea of regulation and free market as being two different, opposed things, seems to exist as regulation. The idea itself is a kind of regulation, since it exists for the same motive: it is a desire to get into policy and tell persons what to do in their lives. They are regulators, you see. It is an interesting point. They are economists, not businessmen, right? It is thus the worst kind of ideological interest, a fraud, not part of the day-to-day workings of business. So, we must eventually come to the conclusion that these theories of “unregulated” markets or naturalism in the market is fraud pure and simple—nothing more to say. Talking about this garbage (sorry, Mom--I'll wash my mouth out) and subscribing to it are the exact same thing.

Thus we have established that societies do, in fact, regulate the activities they engage in, including, naturally, their market activities. Perverts who talk about "the free market" things are irrelevant, then, and markets are (doh) by nature regulated--so are other things; this is the way life is, including political life under government. Regulation exists within the practice of doing business and our example was (that of) the establishment of the exchanges, which, remember, are regulation. It is done either by business, or government, or others. Some agency (big word, for me). There is an argument for the businessmen themselves to do it (and economists are not businessmen), and also an argument that there will certainly be government involvement. Under some circumstances, the two are separate but the latter factor is inevitable. This is so, if only because the government and the businesses are in a democracy often staffed by the same persons.

Out of necessity, business is always going to be regulating itself. This is true in America, a capitalist society. It regulates, and it is a society. It is also not a utopian paradise or an land of individualism, or free enterprise or something like that. It's a society, that's all. We do not see the idea that it is a specifically or radically individualist society gaining traction. The idea is not having any success at all. It is what some persons want for America but it isn't happening. Maybe that just doesn't work. The economy is successful. Why? Because, I would argue, in America businessmen do a good job of regulating themselves—then let us go further. Now we ask—how? As to this matter (of the how of it, or, sometimes, I say the "why" of it too), it traces back to politics. It traces back to the very founding of the country or nation and the political developments. These developments led to the U. S. Constitution, all of it being an organic process of self-regulation (but political this time you see). Societies regulate and economies regulate. Societies have political institutions. Economics is also impacted by these institutions. Go far enough back, and see: the economic success traces back to the founding political events of the country. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Capitalism's Changes

Persons are telling us about how great “capitalism” is. We hear that a lot, but let us also ask what it is they mean by “capitalism.” Capitalism changes, and the present form of capitalism is not the form of capitalism at, for example, some particular time, such as the middle of the 19th century. At that time, the system was still developing. It certainly had not reached the level that it has now. (Capitalism won't reach any higher level. It will not "grow" anymore, if by that we mean reach a higher level, in the real sense. That is why we need reform, to continue with any real sense of progress.) Comparing the old and the new, or for that matter any two stretches from within our subjective impression of "capitalist time," capitalism's status is probably going to have some significant differences. When we think that it is all the same, that is a big a mistake we are making. It is better to understand capitalism as changing over time, we cannot think that every period is the same. Now, in any of the old time slices, the system, and also the social structure (that's relevant in my view), was growing--and changing--and in a specific sense.
     This in the sense of space: the sense that it had much virgin space, there was a large area yet to be converted. These were spaces in which to attempt new growth and this relates to society and to the way in which one makes one’s way through life, since one does so in some particular fashion. Therefore,  there is no one "capitalist way." For example, earlier one may find success by having any one of a variety of skills; but more recently something has changed: more recently, one makes one's way simply playing money games. (Obviously I myself do not think that that is very healthy.) Also, these kinds of games have previously always been a topic of derision, which tells you something. Nowadays, nobody says anything. They act like that is just the way the world works.

     On this subject, millionaires used to be mildly amusing. The board game “Monopoly” was invented in their honor, as a commentary on the existence of the millionaires, and the world they helped to create—the reality is that there was wealth to be accumulated. And wealth was accumulated, through capitalistic development, production. Today these persons may well be seen as figures of grave concern and possibly (they are) speeding us to world destruction.
     At fault? I would bring your attention back to the single-minded emphasis on unilateral capitalism as if there is one single thing. This might be described as an emphasis on "capitalism" as something that worked before, and “ought to” work now, just as well as before!—all one need do is lower taxes. Now, that is not necessarily true. So, I would concede that while capitalism does continue to make profits, "old" and "the new" are different. The "modern" is usually a kind of summation or abstraction, whereas the older regime has many specific details, even ornamentation. Of course, what is going on is extremely complicated and the truth is that everyone just claims to know. We never admit to not-knowing. 

     If you say “capitalism,” I need to ask you to tell me which one. Is it the quaint, old version stolidly opposed by the Left? Could you call that the good old days, I wonder? Not really, but that one was full of space to grow—and to struggle, strangely enough. And that one had opposition! In fact, at the time of that particular version, which we might call in a very special way the "old" version of capitalism, opportunities existed to fill in all those spaces. This was space that had been heretofore untouched. To touch such a space for the first time could be astonishingly inhuman, which we see in the literary work of Upton Sinclair. He illustrated the astonishing inhumanity men are capable of: “The Jungle.” Sinclair was very dedicated to exposing this side of capitalism.
     The process is that after the creation of the first new businesses, these businesses often opened up further spaces, and this process has continued (but only up until very recently). At some point that will stop working. And maybe it already has stopped working. The “old” capitalism was still recognizable in the 1950s, although it had at that time an appearance (appearances and rhetoric again) of being a monolith, a gray, hulking sort of thing. Or you may mean the capitalism of today, a system that has already grown very much indeed-—and now expresses and manifests a world-owning “globalization” phase. We are told this is just another form of capitalism.
     It has accomplished so much success: so much growth that it is “creatively destroying” itself. There is no territory left that has not been visited by those seeking to make money off of that space or that territory's "resources." There is scarcely any ground left to be trod in this world, nowhere that has not felt the impress of the system of capitalismcapitalist shoe print and footfall. Note that there's a big difference between footprint and shoe print.
     And yet, for those who tout the system, like Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, the old shoeprint is always the same. This is ideology.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lemme see... 10/21/13 is when I started this, and I lost interest immediately. So, only today did I accidentally encounter a blog called "Jack" with one post. So I clicked. It is mine. 
I recall that I was disappointed. when I created JackSilverman "Pontificates" but left the consonant out, between the two "i"s. I committed a misspelling. I was crushed. Not only crushed, I was also crunched. It was bad, lemme tell you:  'Pontiicates' looked like a disaster, I didn't like the "word." I did NOT think that it WAS a word.

But now I have returned, like a humbled dog. I am too lazy to do it all over, so I am going to keep it. This address seems to be something like: jacksilvermanpontiicates.blogspot.com   ...  Ugh!! So terrible/bad!  Hey!!! Where is that "spellcheck" thing when you really need it? Nobody told me it would not be there! It is never as it seems, to me, to be.

Now I pause to thank Bill Gates. Give us the "spellcheck" service in the foist place and THEN they YANK it out from under us. I tell you, Bill, you act just like a banker, who tells a client the client is really being served. The banker is helping you, buddy. Oh hell, I am thoroughly disgusted. Why didn't "spellcheck" work for the blog name? THere are other blogs I made that show up on blogspot as well, but don't look at the anti-Bush things because it seemed wrong. I wanted to get rid of it, but I could not get into that blog (which I now do not want to even name but that means you will never see it and I just AKS'D Ya to see it. Grrrrrrrrr......... Cannot get in anymore to unnamed blog anymore. Due to more software problems.

I AM a problem. And my girlfriend wouldn't have it any other way. Well, good luck, America, why don't you start a bank!???