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A Second Look At Capitalism

A big second look at capitalism. How it’s worked over time.  How it hasn’t. And whether it’s run its course.

"Capitalism Works for Me!" by Steve Lambert (Flickr, SPACES Cleveland)

“Capitalism Works for Me!” by Steve Lambert (SPACES Cleveland/Flickr)

For decades in the Cold War and before, the American conversation on capitalism was pretty well frozen.  What do you want?  Capitalism or Joseph Stalin?  Capitalism or Cuba?  Then the Cold War ended and capitalism got the field pretty much to itself.

Off came the regulations and on came some high times, then, eventually, the crash, the Great Recession.  And all kinds of questions.

A new generation of thinkers is looking hard at capitalism again.  Where it’s been.  What it’s become.  How it’s working – or not.

This hour, On Point:  a big second look at almighty capitalism.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Julia Ott, assistant professor of history at The New School, co-editor of the Columbia University Press series “Studies In The History Of U.S. Capitalism” and author of “When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest For An Investor’s Democracy

Louis Hyman, assistant professor in the Labor Relations, Law, and History department at Cornell, founding editor of the Columbia University Press series “Studies In The History Of U.S. Capitalism” and author of “Borrow: The American Way Of Debt” (@louishyman)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “A specter is haunting university history departments: the specter of capitalism. After decades of ‘history from below,’ focusing on women, minorities and other marginalized people seizing their destiny, a new generation of scholars is increasingly turning to what, strangely, risked becoming the most marginalized group of all: the bosses, bankers and brokers who run the economy.”

Excerpts

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=865105011 Caitlin Nagle

    So glad you doing this show!

    Capitalism is ready to evolve. In a time when the lines between the corporate world and government are blurred, the dollar has become an extremely powerful voting tool for citizens. Want to live in a world where corn syrup is king and money lines the pockets of a select few in far off places? Buy Coke. Want to live in a world where local community is valued and money stays in the pockets of local people? Buy at the farmer’s market.

    Clearly this is very simplistic interpretation since things like government subsidies, corporate lobbying, etc. continue to keep Coke inexpensive and organic food expensive (and often unaffordable) for average Americans, but companies like GoodGuide.com are giving the power back to people in a capitalist society that’s run amok.

    The age of the Internet created a world where more transparency is possible and citizens can be well informed by connecting and sharing information. If enough people start to demand transparency and change by using their wallets consciously, capitalism can survive while serving the greater good. 

    With transparency and educated purchasing decisions that are supported by community organizations like time banks, sharing networks, etc., capitalism might have a chance at truly serving the people in its system rather than the people serving it.

    • jefe68

      Are you kidding? See the above article on our plutocratic system. 

      The internet is transparent?
      I doubt that’s how the execs at FB look at it.

      I do agree, more of us need to demand change, but we are to busy fighting ourselves over the scraps of crony capitalism leaves us to do anything.

      • brettearle

         jefe68–

        Thinkers like Ms. Nagle mean well.

        But they suffer from a inordinate lack of cynicism.

        Beware: 

        These Optimists lurk in many places.  They are subversive.  They must be rubbed out by creative propaganda.

        Otherwise, our country will remain on a Fool’s Errand!

        Help!

        • jefe68

          Your sarcasm is noted. 
          As I’ve stated before, and if you took the time to read the article I posted, you would have seen that there is a way out of this mess. However as you can see by the comments this thread by those on the left and right we are all just to busy staking our claims. 

          The right will skewer mayor Bloomburg over his soda size nonsense but ignore that the man is a billionaire with very strong ties to Wall Street. Ignore that he has set up a police unit to deal with the purpose of protecting Wall Street. 

          You can post sarcastic responses all day, it plays right into the hands of the princes of capitalism. 

          • brettearle

            I’ll read the article.

            But we certainly hope that you do not take the necessary steps to outlaw sarcasm.

          • jefe68

            Why would I do that?

            Now you’re treading from sarcasm to idiocy.

          • brettearle

            You missed the funny part.

            Looks like you take yourself more seriously than I thought.

      • sickofthechit

         Or just fighting to survive, with no time to protest, or take action.

    • Acnestes

      In another era the blurring of lines between the corporate world and government was called Fascism.

    • Don_B1

      @jefe68:disqus @brettearle:disqus @sickofthechit:disqus @Acnestes:disqus @facebook-865105011:disqus 

      I greatly appreciate the ways that things like the Internet are changing Capitalism. But the ways that you point out are incremental and may not be enough to prevent the coming tide of raw capitalism that sweeps up all the new profits generated by the growing financialization of this country and the world. That is substantially what Louis Hyman describes in his book, “The American Way of Debt,” where, in the segment excerpted, untethered [raw, "free market"] Capitalism brought the whole world to its knees in the Great Depression of 1930-1941 [U.S. dates; different intervals obtain for other countries]. This Great Depression, and the “austerity” that governments applied in its wake (because the capitalists in charge wanted austerity but it had the effect of prolonging the Great Depression). This had the following as some, just some, of its affects:

      1) The growth in world trade that had been building was set back from a level not achieved again until after the 1960s. Along with austerity, many governments raised tariffs on imports, a big factor in reducing international trade.

      2) Because the Recession of 1929 was due to balance sheet debts in the PRIVATE SECTOR, the world economies entered a liquidity trap, where there are not enough workers to buy the goods and services that people with cash could invest to produce, resulting in a “sea of cash” [liquidity] with no place to go.

      3) Because of the widespread austerity approaches, worker unemployment led to fascism in Germany and Italy and the outbreak of WWII.

      4) The investigation of the causes of the Great Depression led initially by a Republican Senate, until Ferdinand Pecora, an assistant district attorney for New York County, was hired (third chief counsel) and performed so well in delineating the failures (abusive practices including conflicts of interest, promotion of unsound securities, etc.) of the banking system, that his name became associated with the commission rather than the committee’s chairman. The results were captured in the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933, splitting commercial and investment banking, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to regulate stock exchanges.

      All those items have basically been repeated at least somewhat with these modifications:

      1) International trade did drop but was not driven down with tariffs so that parts of the world, notably the developing nations, could continue to lead a revival in trade.

      2) Nearly identical austerity practices that make the middle class pay for the errors of the elites who used financial excess to create the private debt growth that crashed the economy.

      3) While not yet at the threat of the 1930s, fascist movements in Greece and Hungary have picked up strength; hopefully other factors will prevent their rising to prominence.

      4) Dodd-Frank is much less than the laws of 1933 and 1934, and the financial interests (banks) are fighting every law-implementing rule proposed by officials of the Treasury Department and regulating agencies with lawsuits, etc.

      The big problems that Capitalism must show it can be a solution for are income inequality which has grown substantially over the last 30 years. Remember the PM Margaret Thatcher’s claim that the worker must have the right to own a share of economy, and participate in the economic growth was confounded by her actual policies which transferred income from the lower-income workers to the higher income workers, thus putting the price of ownership beyond the reach of lower-income people. A right without capability is meaningless.

      The growth of inequality and its relationship with falling top marginal tax rates was documented in a report by Thomas L. Hungerford of the Congressional Research Service:

      http://www.nytimes.com/news/business/0915taxesandeconomy.pdf

      The results are captured in the graph here:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/taxes-and-the-wealthy/

      This graph shows JUST the growth in inequality due to low top marginal tax rates and none of the growth due to other factors such as technical innovations.

      Note that all that growth in income at the top has done little to generate jobs, at least within the U.S. The very wealthiest tend to invest their money in rent-seeking activities as documented by Joseph Stiglitz here:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/05/joseph-stiglitz-the-price-on-inequality

      here:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

      and here:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/06/joseph-stiglitz-innovation-fallacy-reagan

      Professor Stiglitz makes good points that if the middle class cannot afford to buy the goods and services of the economy, then the economy will not grow. He gives a good explanation of rent-seeking as defined by economists.

      The reason that corporate profits have grown recently is that the sales have been as exports, and the profits from the sales are not returned to this country to avoid paying taxes. Much of those profits were generated from patents, etc. created in the U.S. but assigned to corporate entities abroad (e.g., Ireland for pharmaceuticals, Caymans for financial institutions, etc.) with low taxes.

      I appreciate the link to Good Guide for finding research on the appropriateness of which things to purchase. It seems to offer analysis in areas not covered by Consumer Reports and harder-to-find analysis by Public Interest Research Groups. With more sources of good information, maybe some of the necessary little decisions that add up to big effects will be made more effectively.

      But on the big issues, such as reducing the use of fossil fuels for energy and making decisions to elect members of government that understand when Keynesian economics is appropriate and the necessary solution to economic problems like the high unemployment that is occurring here in the U.S. and in Europe. If you want to see how the Libertarian idea of returning to the Gold Standard would work out, note that the countries that first began to recover from the Great Depression were also the first to go OFF the Gold Standard, and also watch the current debacle of the Bitcoin bubble, where a short tutorial is available here:

      http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/04/logic-problems-bitcoin-bubble

      In any time of turbulence, a whole sea of false solutions will be proposed and the general voter needs to have the education to avoid following them. Remember how Winston Churchill once said that the American people will finally settle on the correct solution after trying all the wrong ones. But in today’s rapid movement, there may not be time to try all the wrong solutions as, particularly in the case of climate change, there is NO REVERSE if events (CO2 emissions) have been allowed to proceed too far.

      A common argument for “austerity” now by the deficit hawks is that the government should be run like a household. See:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1998/08/babysitting_the_economy.html

      for the reasons that government must be run economically to counter the ups and downs of an economy to keep it running smoothly. Letting “exuberance” run rampant benefits some, but then everyone, and particularly those that did NOT benefit from the exuberance, get to pay the piper when things go wrong.

      But getting to a solution of how to “evolve” Capitalism, which I did not get a strong idea of what direction you mean, will require at least two things:

      A) The voters need to better understand the economic issues in order to not be deflected into voting for representatives who will not try to sell reduced taxes for the wealthy as a means of generating job growth, when there is NO, repeat NO, empirical evidence that tax rates and job growth are even correlated, not to mention causative. [Note Julia Ott's comment to that effect.]

      B) Campaign finance will have to change so that elected representatives will be full-time representatives instead of spending as much as 40% (some more, some less) of their time raising campaign funds. And cuts in money for Congressional staff has only meant that more of the legislation passed by Congress is actually written by lobbyists, which is also true for state legislatures. The really underhanded effects of organizations like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) which has prepared “model legislation” for giving extractive industries (e.g., ore and coal mining, oil and gas drilling, etc.) and social legislation (abortion, opposition to equal pay for equal work, ineffective education “reform,” etc.) that will not help improve the workplace environment for workers, but will keep the employer’s ability to dictate working conditions, such as those in Texas construction industry, as reported on NPR’s Morning Show this week.

      Without strong reform of the financial industry so that they cannot stifle regulation such as Dodd-Frank, there will be no way that any number of Good Guides will be enough to prevent the American economy from continued decline for the middle class and eventual total collapse. And that will take more independent legislators, which will require campaign finance reform beyond what has so far been attempted in Congress. See Lawrence Lessig (Harvard University) and his attempts to use a Constitutional Convention (or the threat) to force public funding of campaigns. See:

      http://boingboing.net/2013/04/07/lessigs-ted-talk-on-fighting.html

      and:

      http://fixcongressfirst.org/

      I have obviously provided a daunting reading assignment, which may not be easy to assimilate, but I do think it will be found worthwhile.

      I am always glad to see new contributors to this forum and hope you stay on.

  • jefe68

    We live in a plutocracy and what we have is not capitalism but crony capitalism. To describe what has happened too the vast majority of working people in this nation over the last 30 years as capitalism is insulting to all hard working Americans.
    Wages have been flat while the top 5 to 1% are making out like bandits while they get to control the outcomes of legislation. Witness the ACA and the sweetheart deal that was made with the pharmaceutical corporations. If this is not the result of a plutocratic system I don’t know what is.

    Plutocracy literally means rule by the rich. “Rule” can have various shades of meaning: those who exercise the authority of public office are wealthy; their wealth explains why they hold that office; they exercise that authority in the interests of the rich; they have the primary influence over who holds those offices and the actions they take.
     
    http://www.alternet.org/america-ruled-billionaires-and-they-are-coming-after-last-shreds-our-democracy?page=0%2C

    By 
    Michael Brenner
    Senior Fellow, the Center for Transatlantic Relations; Professor of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

    • brettearle

      The unspoken denial is the following:

      There’s not a goddamned thing that we can do about it

      [And a Revolution could make things worse]

      • jefe68

        Well there use to be a thing called the Glass–Steagall act. There was a time when a Democratic president would never think of touching SS. But Obama just made a very right wing proposal and of course the GOP said yes.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Sorry to hear you feel that way.  Change is coming like it or not.

        • brettearle

          What sort of changes do you foresee?

          Those inspired by Engels or by Norse Mythology?

          Take your pick.

      • bobbyriled

        The squeaky wheel gets the grease. So squeak.

        Squeak not only to your elected representative, but also to the pundits who find truth for us in the center of a madhouse discussion. 

        I don’t squeak. I’m too lazy. Too many of us are lazy. 

    • sickofthechit

       Don’t forget “productivity” has gone up over the same period!  A double insult!

  • Fredlinskip

    Great topic, great guests.
    Thanks, O.P.

  • BOBinRSI

    Let me preface this by saying that, on a relative scale, I have benefitted enormously from capitalism.

    My work takes me to the most destitute places on earth and I can say that most people have not been nearly as fortunate as lucky (and unremarkable) me.

    Look at, for example, the grim so-called democracies/capitalist societies of Central America. Compare them to Cuba. I am sure the average guy in Honduras would rather have been born on that “commie” island.

    The whole world simply cannot have what I do and I really doubt that I am willing to share my spoils.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    In one sense I think it is safe to say that Capitalism will never be replaced, that is, if you are defining Capitalism in some general way such as, “ a system that seeks to produce a return on Capital invested”, however, when we start to personalize a definition that only acts to protect or enrich a limited few, it becomes less certain that any particular form of Capitalism could survive. If I may illustrate with a somewhat wildly speculative scenario.

    Imagine a future world where humans have managed to tap into the mineral resources of space, via the asteroids or even the planets. Further, imagine extraordinarily fast computing devices that are able to exceed the computational abilities of any and all humans on Earth. Continuing this day dream, imagine that these machines are capable of self reproduction and modification ( through various methods). Would it be reasonable to assume that any group of humans that (initially) controlled, via private ownership, such technological wonders, would dominate economic forces throughout the world ? Further, is it reasonable to assume that those of us that are not in this elite group would find it difficult or impossible to compete in the market place in terms of price and performance of the goods and services that any of us would be offering ? Now knowing what we know about human nature and the history of mankind, is it also reasonable to assume that this original group of elites would, through, infighting, eventually “prune” their own numbers. ( The “greed is good” concept is the force that rules this type of individual.) My simpleton vision leads me to conclude that unlimited private ownership or a non democratically endorsed, any thing goes approach, can only lead to the destruction of the very system, that we now sanction !

    If you would like to join my daydream, consider:

    S.O.A.R

    Blue Brain Project

    ACT-R

    Read the web, Carnegie Mellon University

    HTM by Numenta

    A solution to P versus NP in the affirmative

    Technological singularity

    D Wave

    ASIMO

    Actroid-F android

    http://singularityhub.com/2012/12/14/japanese-researchers-continue-their-quest-to-build-life-like-humanoid-robots/

    Feel free to seek your own links, there are hundreds, if not, thousands more.

  • pete18

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Capitalism is the worst possible system, except for all the others.”

    • Ray in VT

      Agreed, just so long as the proper steps are taken in order to correct the worst abuses and negative effects that a purer form of capitalism has been historically shown to have.

  • Markus6

    Topic may be too broad and too loaded with emotional baggage to be handled in the show. 

    Many in this forum will jump to the conclusion that Capitalism is the evil corporations taking advantage of the little guy because they’re … well, evil. Others will have an idealized Ayn Rand view. 

    And unfortunately, I don’t know if there are any examples now that are not so influenced by corporations on the one hand and governments on the other, that we can point to and say “this is what capitalism looks like”. 

    Finally, I don’t know the panelists, but academics that are unbiased on this subject are like hens teeth. I’m willing to bet that the professors will spend much of their time dissing capitalism with the occasional perfunctory mention of how it’s done some good. Apologies if I’m wrong, but most professors would use this as an opportunity, not to objectively explain the pros and cons, but to take shots at it. Sadly, professors have thrown away objectivity a long time ago and have become advocates. 

    So, great topic, but don’t see how we’ll learn much. 

  • Shag_Wevera

    I used to believe that the best economic system was capitalism with strong socialist restraints/controls.  The ability of business to be global and stateless has changed this.   

    • brettearle

      Changed `this’ to what, though?

      It does not seem as if Government and Big Business can be transformed, successfully, by any populist movement.

      Normally, such movements eventually turn into totalitarian regimes. 

      As Vonnegut once said (in a different context),

      “It’s the best that Humanity can do.”

       

      • Shag_Wevera

        I could never shake the feeling that we could and should do better.

        • brettearle

          Of course, we `should’.

          But how?

          Ultimately, Pericles and Adalai Stevenson failed.

          Shall we go back a few shows and suggest to the guests that we exhume both dignitaries and clone their brains?

  • Shag_Wevera

    Great topic today.  Important.

  • Ed75

    Unrestrained capitalism is being practiced in China. But the best system is capitalism with regulations – not the socialism we are moving toward. See Pope Benedict’s encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’ 2009 for a full discussion.

    • adks12020

      Unrestrained capitalism? In China? Capitalism yes, unrestrained, absolutely not. The state owns and controls the companies that make up nearly half of the Chinese economy.

      As for regulations, we’ve all seen how little those regulations do here. There’s almost always a way around them.

    • Shag_Wevera

      You are SO wrong.  Stick to reproductive rights.

      • Ed75

        One central point in the encyclical is that the purpose of the economy is not a system or structure, but man, the welfare of man himself.

    • J__o__h__n

      I agree with capitalism with regulations but your socialism claim is false. 

  • jimino

    Whatever you call it, any economic system that distributes all of the gain created thereby to a tiny portion of those living and working within its control is a failed model.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Unless you are one of the rich dudes.

    • Coastghost

      Or, to quote the Roman satirist Juvenal (partly quoted by Machiavelli): “We suffer the evils of a long peace. Luxury, deadlier than any foe, has laid hands on us, avenging a conquered world. No criminality or lust has been wanting to us, since the day Roman poverty perished.”

  • albert Sordi

    The self destruction of capitalism is certain but still unclear for those still living the white-picket Americans dream.  How many people know that Cipotle is a McDonalds company? When Walmarts, Walgreens, and other large companies and their subsidiaries have become true monopolies, they will then become the official state providers and dictate policy.  A fascist state.

    Online retail is doing a great job killing capitalism as well. There are hundreds of thousands of people employed in creating retail software that is quickly advancing the death of capitalism.  They create the apps that guarantee shoppers the cheapest price.  And who has the cheapest price???  Read my previous paragraph.   These software hotshots will eventually be out of work, as will most of the competition in the USA.

    Leaving the choice between corporate fascism or a socialist revolution.

    • Coastghost

      While Hayek’s account in ROAD TO SERFDOM is routinely disbelieved on this page, I’ve never seen his historical reportage seriously imperiled: fascism IS socialism. So yet again do I point out for the benefit of this Forum that Mussolini began his career as a socialist (Hayek draws on the 1925 work SOZIALISMUS UND FASZISMUS by Robert Michaels), while Hayek devotes ch. XII of his own work to “The Socialist Roots of Naziism”, tracing the intellectual lineage of Naziism through Fichte, Lassalle, Rodbertus, Sombart, Plenge, and Lensch.
      The conceit apparently still thriving in the US that authoritarian fascism is wholly unlike totalitarian socialism in their common deformations of classical liberal political economy was a tale spun by Soviet ideologists and propagandists in the post-WWII era and swallowed intact by sympathisers in the US. It seems to linger in our universities with quite a dread persistence.

      • albert Sordi

        Road to Serfdom is clear.   Qualified potential home-buyers cannot get loans, but the Fed and its investment “banker” buddies are lending to developers of huge apartment complexes.  And now to investment houses like Blackstone are buying up thousands of empty single family homes.
        The trend is clear.

        Apparently renters are more controllable than homeowners, but the question is: will they allow renters to grow vegetables on lawns and yards of corporate owned rental homes.  Probably not.

      • nj_v2

        Zzzzzzzzzz…

        I guess Scandinavia hasn’t read Hayek yet.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that it is justifiably routinely disbelieved, given some of his statements, such as saying that the British allowed the fascists to rise because they were all basically the same, or something to that effect.  That statement alone was enough for me to pretty much toss it out as a serious interpretation of history.

        If one wants to call anything that is not laissez-faire socialism, then fine, but such a definition is certainly not accepted by the historical or political science community.  Let us also be clear.  Hayek differentiated between Marxism and what he called conservative socialism, which is where he lumped Nazism, essentially labeling all forms of totalitarianism as socialism.  That seems to be a minority view peculiar to the libertarians.

        I also don’t think much of the fact the Mussolini started out as a socialist in terms of relevance to the political orientation of fascism.  The religious scholar Bert Ehrman used to be an evangelical Christian, but now he is an atheist.  Should we then conclude that the two are then the same?

    • Shag_Wevera

      One vote for socialist revolution.

      • GuestAug27

        It depends what you mean by socialism.  I hope it’s something better than a centrally-planned economy.

        • Ray in VT

          Indeed.  Some will seemingly call anything but laissez-faire capitalism socialist, while much 20th century historical literature tends to more or less equate it to Marxism and require some sort of government ownership of the means of production in order to qualify.

      • harverdphd

         …’long as you don’t have to fight it.

  • Gregg Smith

    “The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” -Milton Friedman

    • jefe68

      I guess he never heard of Rome.

    • Ray in VT

      It is funny that you are communicating that quote via a world changing invention pioneered with government funding.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         You didn’t build that.

        • Ray in VT

          No, I didn’t and neither did you or any other one person, but the DOD started it.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The rapid evolution of the internet is an interesting case study.  Despite its roots at DARPA I still don’t consider it a government creation.  Most people think Tang was created by the government.  It wasn’t but its sales took off after John Glenn used it.

            We benefit from far more innovations that came out of Bell Labs.  Of course, that was the result of a beneficent monopoly.  Bell Labs was a national treasure.  I don’t mourn the breakup of ATT but mourn the loss of Bell Labs.

          • Ray in VT

            The modern Internet is certainly a far cry from what was pioneered by the DOD starting in the late 1960s, but I certainly think that it is an outgrowth of that much earlier creation, much as the the 747 is an outgrowth of the work of the Wrights, and therefore its roots are certainly as a government creation, although there has been much private sector innovation that has taken place since is was commercialized.  Of course in the old days access was mostly to educational institutions, and now its main function seems to be nudie pics and cat videos.  Oh well.

    • brettearle

      Does that include the Renaissance and the Golden Age of Islamic Rule and the Age of Enlightenment?

      Has Mr. Friedman spent any time studying the accomplishments of these eras and weighing them against the political systems of those times?

      Sounds like a narrowed, sweeping statement to me…..

      • Ray in VT

        All generalizations are wrong, including this one.

        • Gregg Smith

          Good one!

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks.  I’ve seen this attributed to Twain, but I can’t find a definitive source for that.  It may be a variant of a quote from Alexandre Dumas, but, again, nothing definitive.

          • brettearle

            All generalizations are wrong but it could be a gross overgeneralization that this one is not an exception.

          • brettearle

            Thanks.

            I’ve seen this attributed to “brettearle”–but it may be a variant applied to an inmate from the Asylum of Charenton.

      • nj_v2

        Don’t confuse Greggg with stuff that doesn’t conform to his delusions.

    • Shag_Wevera

      The Apollo program, the Manhattan project, the Hoover Dam…

    • responseTwo

      The internet and semiconductors. Without semiconductors there would be no internet.

    • Gregg Smith

      You guys have a funny definition of “centralized government”.

  • LeonardNicodemo

    Really, really looking forward to this show. 

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The term capitalism often has negative connotations.  Not surprising since it was coined by Karl Marx no less.

    Free enterprise is what we should be striving for.

    Here is an interesting take on the differences between capitalism and free enterprise.

    http://codynewtonleadership.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/free-enterprise-vs-capitalism-which-one-is-better/

    “If this seems abstract, try starting a business in your local area.”

    • Shag_Wevera

      Do you consider Karl Marx and Max Engels to be some sort of historical villains?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        No.

        I assume you mean Friedrich Engels.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Yes absolutely! 

    • Ray in VT

      Your first statement is incorrect according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  The term capitalist first appeared in 1816, although, rather interesting enough, the term capitalism appeared back in 1774.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I stand corrected.

        The article I posted refers to George Wythe’s writing on the differences between capitalism and free enterprise in the late 18th century.  Ole George was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and a mentor to Thomas Jefferson.

        • Ray in VT

          I’m not familiar with Wythe.  I looked him up to see if he was the man who presented Jefferson’s early anti-slavery legislation to the House of Burgesses c.1770, but he was not.

    • nj_v2

      “Free enterprise” is still just regulated capitalism.

      Over and over (and over), it’s been seen that regulations are either ignored, manipulated, or subverted by the rich—and, thus—powerful.

      Time to change the system more fundamentally.

  • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

    Capitalism is broken and needs fixing or must be further regulated to protect the consumer and worker from oligopolies. This is directly related to the inequality of income in this country.  If we desire to fix inequality, we must fix capitalism.

    The United States was founded on the principle that everyone is born with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Early on our forefathers decided the best economic model to reach these pursuits was capitalism. Free markets was chosen to  best attain the nations  economic objectives. Capitalism is here to serve society. Society is not here to serve capitalism….http://bit.ly/FF1201cuol

    • GuestAug27

      Excuse me, but who was this “nation” who “decided” that Capitalism is best in attaining its economic objectives? What are those economic objectives? Could we have a list of them and take a vote whether we still agree with them?  Could we have a vote in the United Nations on these objectives to see if the whole world still agrees with them?

      “Nations” decide nothing, people do.  Who were the people who made those decisions?  A few big land- and slave-owners?

      • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

        This “nation” is the U.S.A. True, people select leaders. Our founding leaders selected a free market system by default by not imposing a system. 

        You won’t get me to allow the United Nations deciding our economic system. 

        • GuestAug27

          What if “we” in the United States came up with an economic system that worked great for “us”, but was bad for most people outside of the U.S.? What if our great system depended on billions of people outside the U.S. living in poverty? What if some of these poor people decided to put on vests stuffed with explosives and started swimming to our shores? Oh, I forgot. We would just take them out with our drones. No problem!

          • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

            Let’s have a discussion about what is real.

    • jefe68

      Except that women were not allowed to partake in the rights. Then there was the slavery.

  • Michiganjf

    Get money out of politics, and we may actually be able to see some day if Capitalism works or not.

    Enact campaign finance reform!

    Personally, though, I’m skeptical that capitalism is a viable long term model on a planet of limited resources… with such a burdensome, huge population, everyone simply can’t have everything they want, or even everything they can afford.
    At least, not if we want to survive as a species much longer.

    • http://freeourfreemarkets.org/ Steve Banicki

      Electing the rich is not the way to run a country of the people, by the people and for the people. In politics money corrupts and significant money corrupts significantly. We know what to do; we don’t know how to do it. Here are some ideas.1. Reverse Citizens United with an amendment to the constitution.

      2. Allow a President to only be in office for one six year term.

      3. Prohibit a department head in the federal government from working for anyone in the industry which he/she is regulating for seven years after leaving government.
      Create a tax payer based method to finance election campaigns.

      4. Prohibit politicians from spending any tax-payer funded campaign dollars prior to six moths before the upcoming election. This is like giving them a paid leave of absence to find another job.  (We are not only spending too much money on campaigns, we are granting too much time to our elected officials on their re-election efforts.)Our democracy is in the balance.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    For me, personally, having enough to meet needs and some savings for unexpected emergencies is the proper perspective for the reasons so eloquently expressed in Proverbs 30:8-9. We need enough to meet our needs.  Going greatly beyond that to accumulate as much as possible is deceptive as it doesn’t bring true happiness. Our society has countless examples of people with lots of money who are not happy, whose marraiges have failed, whose children couldn’t care less about them or have gone off of the rails, and who are spending time chasing something that is of no consequence at the end of the day.
     l Give me neither poverty nor riches;Feed me with the food that is my portion,9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”Or that I not be in want and steal,And profane the name of my God.

    • GuestAug27

      I “liked” this even though I am an atheist.

      • Michiganjf

        I’m an atheist too, but there’s plenty of useful old fashioned folk wisdom in that there “good” book.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          To bad most can’t see the forest for the trees.

      • adks12020

        I’m an atheist as well and am also in full agreement with the comment. While lack of money can bring sadness and hardship that is not always the case; in addition an abundance of money does not necessarily bring happiness and can also result in unexpected challenges.

  • brettearle

    Not to change the subject (no, actually to change the subject–at least momentarily):

    Why aren’t Karen Shiffman and Sam Fleming preempting this program so that we can bring you this special announcement:

    No one, at the Pacific rim, is recommending a preemptive strike against No. Korea–who are, apparently gearing up, LITERALLY– for a non-bluff series of missile strikes??

    “How I learned to START worrying and Hate the Bomb”.

    Sorry to be an alarmist….

    But this time it really DOES look as if a Rogue State Leader is in need of Anti-Psychotic medication.

    As in PRONTO.

    • GuestAug27

      “No. Korea–who are, apparently gearing up”
      Apparently according to whom?

      • brettearle

        I didn’t read this stuff on alternative web sites.

        It is in some major news service feeds.

        I’m surprised you wouldn’t have checked–before asking such a question….

        • brettearle

          It is possible, of course, that NK is simply pushing things to the edge–for attention and for negotiation.

          But many analysts, this time around, claim that the Bluster is somewhat different.

          For one thing the Young Brash One is trying to establish himself with the populous and with the military.

          It could be regarded as a major Humiliation if the Schmuck didn’t follow through…..

          I would still say it’s less than 50%.

          But you are forgetting that NK has struck twice before, in recent years.

          This time, it comes across as more of an encompassing threat.

          If you want to blame somebody, for this so-called sensationalism, blame the major news services.

          • Gregg Smith

            The fact is N. Korea is a threat. There seems to be a prevailing notion preemptive strategies are never acceptable. That assumes doing nothing is always better in terms of blood and treasure. The same reasoning is used in hindsight when we do act. Iraq, warts and all, is no longer part of an axis of evil but Iran and N. Korea still are. The situation should be looked at soberly, doing so is not crazy or alarmist. I’m with you on this.

          • brettearle

            Gregg–

            To me, it doesn’t matter, who our heroes or villains are.

            What matters is whether there’s a `launch on warning’ scenario, here.

            If it were Switzerland, I’d STILL be vigilant if the RHETORIC became this bellicose and if CNN were reporting Intel, from US and European diplomats, to suggest a possible imminent threat, from Zurich.

            CNN is ON this story.

            I am not a McCarthy-ite or an Islamophobe.

            I deplore McCarthy and his ilk.

            BUT there is something fundamentally DIFFERENT about this rhetoric and these actions–that make it somewhat different.

            The best that we actually might hope for–if the new leader is about to go by his “Fail-Safe” point–is that China reads Kim Jung Un the riot act.

            I still think it’s less than 50-50.

            But it IS worth much MORE than a simple look-see.
             

        • GuestAug27

          Ten years ago, major news service feeds reported that Saddam Hussein was about to nuke us with his WMDs. We know how that turned out. Why do you think they are right this time?

          • brettearle

            Please bring me back to those thrilling days of yesteryear…..

            MSM reported wrong Intel.

            I do not believe there was an actual report of a potentially imminent  launch.

            Show it to me.

            This one, here, is a potentially imminent launch.

    • 65noname

      huh?

      • brettearle

        Huh, what? 

         

        • 65noname

          which word didn’t you understand?

          • brettearle

             ALL…..OF…….THEM…..

  • GuestAug27

    Capitalism is greed and greed is evil. I hope we find an alternative to capitalism before it’s too late.

    • brettearle

      Doesn’t matter what system you’re working in, or under.

      Greed is EVERYWHERE.

      It’s endemic in Human Nature.

      • GuestAug27

        I disagree. Greed and hoarding are a result of scarcity. If there is no scarcity, there is no need to be greedy. Imagine for a moment we found a way of meeting basic needs (food, shelter, etc.) of every human being at very little cost and effort.

        Do you think people would be as eager to exploit their weaker fellow-human as they are now? I don’t think so. If we then accept that scarcity is the true cause of greed (and of all the evil greed breeds), could we say that a system that allows hoarding of vast amounts of wealth (resources) by very few individuals (capitalism) leads to scarcity for everybody else and is therefore undesirable?

        • brettearle

          You make some strong points.

          But I would argue that Human Nature is Human Nature–apart from any sort of political system.

          Therefore in my world view (be it distorted or plausible), people are always defying acceptable limits.

          Many men and women would insist on 20 beach houses near the Riviera–regardless of what the acceptable limit might be to satisfy the set point of others.

          Some, would accept a tiny outhouse, on the way to the Riviera.

          In my view,

          Human Vice and Human Wrongdoing are not totally based on scarcity, hoarding, basic needs, nor comfort.

          But, yes, they can play a role.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      No, greed isn’t evil. It just exists, and must be regulated as such.

      Tangentially, I submit that widespread notion of pretending that corporations can have their behavior modified as if they were individuals, like you and I can have our better nature appealed to, is not the answer.

      • GuestAug27

        Greed is evil! The Bible said so.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Let me clarify: If you’re talking the Bible, I interpret that to mean that greed is evil in people.

          Corporations are not people. They’re no more capable of “greed” than “lust” or “envy”, to me.

          • GuestAug27

            Corporations have owners, and the owners are people perfectly capable of greed.

  • d clark

    Capitalism works perfectly and completely and without fault-for the wealthy. Everybody else, welcome to serfdom.

  • creaker

    I think capitalism went through this small golden period after WWII where it embraced sizable groups of people and created a relatively large middle class. Prior to that capitalism through the ages largely provided great benefits to a few through the exploitation of the rest. We’re returning to that norm.

  • nj_v2

    I’m not sure why Richard Wolff, one of the most thoughtful and articulate economists critiquing capitalism today, isn’t a part of the panel. Hopefully, y’all with ring him up on the phone and give him a couple of minutes.

    http://rdwolff.com/

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Jones/100001340260805 Mike Jones

    you have to show the difference between capitalism
    and corporatism

    • http://www.facebook.com/bengregg Ben Gregg

       I agree!  We’ve had separation of church and state, now it’s time to add a further separation of state from corporations!

  • ThirdWayForward

    Capitalism. I fervently hope that the speakers do not confuse and conflate capitalism with either free enterprise or free markets. Capitalism is a mode of production in which the owner of an enterprise raises capital, pays workers to produce something using that capital, and then sells it for a profit, which accrues entirely to the owner of the enterprise who then pays the owners of the capital used (if not him/herself).

    Worker-owned, cooperative enterprises in which profits are distributed amongst workers are not, strictly speaking, “capitalist” entities.

    The free market is a system of distribution in which owners and buyers of goods and services are free to negotiate terms of exchange (prices).

    A non-free market system (such as exists in authoritarian and totalitarian states) dictates terms of distribution and exchange from above.

    There can be non-capitalist free market systems, such as market socialisms, in which cooperative enterprises compete within free markets. An example is the Mondragon industrial cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain which produce everything from banking services to refrigerators.

    There can be capitalism without free markets. Apologists of capitalism and absentee ownership tend to conflate private ownership and control of enterprises with free markets, but the two are not inherently linked. Enterprises in which all profit goes to owners of the enterprises and capital exist in authoritarian and totalitarian states (such as China, which could be called a “state capitalist” system). The point is that the free market has nothing to do with whether those who labor to produce goods and services get (all or a portion of) the profits.

    Free markets are GOOD THINGS. They reward innovation and expended effort (hard work). They keep wages between different kinds of workers in some rough balance. They have some equilibrium and adaptive properties, although the stability of markets is often overstated.

    Private, absentee ownership of profits is not necessarily a good thing, particularly when the owners of enterprises have little to do with the creation or running of those entities. Currently we have an extremely wealthy, entrenched, politically-powerful investor class that contributes very little, if anything, to the actual production of goods and services. They simply extract profits from the real economy.

    In a better world our government would give large tax breaks for worker-owned enterprises. This is the only way we are going to keep jobs here in America.

  • JGC

    Uwe Reinhardt, a panelist on yesterday’s program about some employers now monetarily penalizing workers with unhealthy lifestyles, said that “markets are not designed to be fair; they are designed to be efficient” (or words to that effect). 

    • nj_v2

      “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”
      —Friedman

      • jefe68

        In that quote lies the rub.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    As Spike Milligan once said, “money can’t buy happiness, but it will buy a more pleasant form of misery.”  He also said, “All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t buy happiness.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    For decades in the Cold War and before, the American conversation on
    capitalism was pretty well frozen.  What do you want?  Capitalism or
    Joseph Stalin?

    Is that accurate? I thought that the people got a bit of socialism in the 1930s from the superwealthy and powerful to keep the not-rich from rioting in the streets in the USA.

    I hope one of the “new generation of thinkers” addresses the idea that capitalism works better for workers when there’s an outside threat to it.

  • Kathy

    Capitalism needs to be heavily regulated by government. We did this between 1930 and 1980 and it worked rather well. Also in that period, we used the government for things that capitalism and free markets don’t do well.

  • http://twitter.com/the_nickens Zachary Nickens

    It will be interesting to hear the take from these two historians. I’m hoping that the listeners get at least a touch of how interconnected government and business have been for so long. Hopefully someone brings up Dr. Leuchtenburg’s “Peril’s of Prosperity”. Alan Brinkley’s “The End of Reform” on the New Dealers, I think is valid here also. And possibly even Charles Beard, and his stance that the Constitution itself is a reactionary document, aimed at protecting the financial interest of the elite from the tumult of democracy. TOM, this could be a great show. Just as with the Lincoln show, more attention needs to be paid to the already fantastic scholarship on the topic, while embracing the newest scholarship in the historical field.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    “It takes 1000 poor men to make 1 rich man.” Teddy Roosevelt

    • DrewInGeorgia

      It takes one thousand poor men to make one man rich.

      • Gregg Smith

        I’m just happy 1000 men have a job, maybe they are too.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          A thousand people used to have a job.

          Big difference.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          …and cue the “You’re lucky to have a job!” brigade.

          TR’s quote didn’t say “job”. It can be many things else: 1000 people applying for 1 job reduces the asking price of labor. 1000 indentured servants.

          • Gregg Smith

            The rich guy is just evil and that’s all there is too it. No rich person ever creates a job and no rich person ever does anything for charity or community, certainly not as much as the poor do. Right?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Hey, millions of Americans got told, no matter their productivity and skillset, “You’re lucky to have a job”. During good times and not so good.

            Nice to see you’re not rich, but being the fool of them.

            No wonder you love Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

          • jefe68

            Man you are really very obtuse.

        • jefe68

          Really? This is how you look at the world?

          Right now the construction industry in Texas is being undermined by contractors, some of whom are very large indeed, that use undocumented workers as cheap labor.
          With no benefits  workers comp and in some cases no pay. The legit contrators are being put out of business by the very kind of complacency that you embrace.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    The inherent problem seems to be in valuing what is produced more than the people and resources that produced it. The global financial ‘industry’ is the prime example. We, the people of the world, are the starving masses standing outside the bakery that we’ve helped to build. Hungrily we eye the abundant bounty behind the display window before us, only imagining the sustenance we are unable to afford.
    Humanity is starving itself to death.

  • Coastghost

    In the second or third segments, presumably, we’ll reach the role and influence of lightly-regulated radio and television broadcasting in the fomentation of American consumerism.

  • jefe68

    We live in a plutocracy spurred on by crony capitalism.  
    Am I missing something here? because I don’t hear the two guests talking about this at all. 
    What we have now is more akin to the late 19th century and the Robber barons. 

    • nj_v2

      Like, yeah!

      Do we really need to be asking the question, “Is capitalism working?” 

      Geez, if that’s the starting point…

      • jefe68

        It was after WW2 up to a point.
        It did not work very well if you were an African American in the South or parts of the North or a woman.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          It’s stupid to just say “capitalism”. Every developed nation has a different flavor of capitalism now, and has had different flavors in the past. All gvts participate in their economies and regulate the private sector, and the question is, how and how much.

          We once had a high tax, high regulation, broad prosperity version of capitalism that worked great. Then around 1980 the plutocrats got sick and tired of not living like medieval Lords and organized the class warfare that has raged ever since, taking us to a low tax, low regulation, high inequality version resembling the late 19′th-early 20′th century version.

          Nothing is wrong with capitalism, but our current version is a disaster.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “Wrong just to say ‘capitalism’ to cover every country’s implementation of it”, is a perfect corollary to how the media of the 1% lapses into “entrepreneurial” or “free market” when what they mean is “things we like at the WSJ or IDB”.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Right. If you don’t like the romney version of capitalism, you must be a socialist who hates markets. Thank you, corporate media.

          • jefe68

            As I said, crony capitalism.

            I don’t think it’s stupid to use definitions to define ideas.

            It’s not stupid to use the word capitalism to define our system of commerce in a historical context.
            Which is what the show was about.

            The question is how does our plutocratic crony based system compair to other market based economies. Such as Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden to name a few.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      But now we have a significant media meme about being “overregulated”. It’s the best of both worlds for them.

  • Dan Fontaine

    You need to have on the economist Richard Wolff!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

    Just started listening. I wonder if the program is attacking actual capitalism—that is, the free market, which pretty much exists nowhere for any industry of any real importance—or the straw man of crony capitalism, in which government and big politically-connected corporations collude to screw the rest of us.

    • ThirdWayForward

      Don’t conflate capitalism with markets. This is in part a Cold War construction. Capitalism is a mode of production involving a set of social relations about the disposal of profits (who gets rewarded for producing what). Markets are systems of distribution of goods and services (who sells what to who). The two things are different categories, and there is no inherent connection between them.

  • Aaron Miller

    The main problem capitalism will eventually (probably sooner than most think) bump up against are the limitations of the planet to provide the resources necessary to sustain it in its current form. The world goes on under the delusion that oil, water, minerals, and so forth derive from a limitless bounty. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We see with growing crisis like Climate Change and water shortages that capitalism MUST contract, must adapt, must change to mirror the physical realities which will ultimately determine its (and our) survival.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    That Congressional quote about the Big Three executives flying in private jets to DC for the restructuring money meeting is a great sound clip, but not in the way intended:

    When’s the last time a Congresscritter spoke poorly of a corporate
    executive who flew like executives of multibillion dollar corporations
    fly?

    This is the way executives travel. Among the rich, nothing screams “loser” like flying coach.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Unless there’s a PR statement they’d like to make…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Yep. But I’m retropredicting (if that’s a word) the media blowback if GM’s CEO flew Ryan Air* to DC c. 2008-9.

        It’d take ten minutes to determine that the CEO of GM hasn’t been on a coach airplane in, say, thirty years, and it’s all a PR stunt.

        (*By many accounts the worst-service airline I’ve heard of in the Western world.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.hasbrouck.92 Cathy Hasbrouck

    I think there are areas where producing goods and services for profit does not serve people well.  Healthcare is a good example of this.  Researchers are not free to investigate the best treatment for a disease if that treatment will not produce profits. An effective, inexpensive treatment for a disease would benenfit society in general, but researchers are forced to spend time raising money to fund their efforts.  Why wouldn’t  society want them focusing their talents where they would be most effective: in clinical settings and the laboratory.  I am glad to hear people are rethinking capitalism and profit as guiding priciples in our economy and society.

  • Dan Fontaine

    Many people are concerned that we are starting to hit ecological limits to growth. How long can Capitalism survive in a very low growth or no growth environment?

  • sickofthechit

    We live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere.  Until “Economists” begin to utilize that fact in their theories and speeches they have nothing new to say, nor can they offer any real “solutions”.  The reason this fact is important to recognize is that we will run out of our most life essential resources (clean air, clean water) long before we should, and long before we develop means to vacate our poisoned planet. Charles A. Bowsher

  • rberryj3

    Finally, someone has remembered that FREE MARKETS do not HAVE to involve Capitalism. That is especially true with over-leveraged oligarchies.

    ThirdWayForward  has it close to right. Look, I’m a busines person. I run 3 firms, but I cannot complete with China or Amazon. BUT, imagine if the production were the actual customers of the Capital. Imagine 1000s of production guilds, shops, firms, limited in size by law so as to prevent monopolies and keep markets open. NOw do the same thing with the Capital side. Many Capital providers, limited in size by law so as to prevent monopolies and keep markets open.
    Now you have the end of “To Big To Fail,” many more avenues of inovation and experimentation,and many, MANY more job opportunities. It does not mean that firms won’t fail. Many will. But since size, of both capital and production, will be regulated, barriers to entry on BOTH SIDES will be lowered. The result is that both sides will see more energy, more membership, and more growth.We have done very well with our Capital markets. We just have too few players with too large amounts of holdings for the safety of the capital markets. On the production side we have tended to rely on a similar situation. Wallmart exists because we allowed it to exist. The result is far fewer players and limited competition. If size of production is also regulated, there would be more choice, inovation, more jobs.In the end, many smaller producers would bargain with many smaller avenues of capital. There would be more of all the parts of what makes Capital-driven Free Markets successful:1) Better Products
    2) More Inovations
    3) More Opportunities

  • Coastghost

    How is the debt of taxpayers vis-a-vis a Federal system that often enough amounts to a state patronage system, turning “citizens” into “clients”, superior or inferior to the levels of debt accrued through misguided and overeager consumption in the secular economy?

  • http://twitter.com/Astraspider Ms. Spider

    Tom, I’d like to hear your guests respond to the Margaret Thatcher clip that has been used extensively since her passing, in which she excused wide gaps in income by arguing that a smaller gap would mean *everyone* would be poorer. Is that the best argument capitalism now has for itself?

  • nj_v2

    Mr. Hyman makes it sound like the occasional regulations that historically constrained the worst abuses of capitalism have just sort of fall away by some natural process, like morning dew evaporating from the rising sun.

    Those who would benefit from unregulated capitalism—or, worse, from structural rules that benefit them—continually and relentlessly game the system to revere, ignore, or subvert any regulations that constrain them.

  • ottjohn

    In my opinion, there are two major components working against capitalism: globalization and runaway technology: during the last recession, we saw a contraction of our workforce, and some of it was certainly due to these two things.

    We are in the middle of a leveling of salaries from globalization, and we are at the beginning of a phase of massive displacement due to technology. Tech is making people more efficient at their jobs, and this is lowering the demand for highly skilled workers in some fields.

    Where tech is headed, though, terrifies me: as computers become smarter, they won’t just help workers do their jobs more efficiently, they will replace workers altogether. And this is not so far down the road.

    With that in mind, capitalism and its attendant social philosophies are not compatible with the huge displacements that are coming. We don’t even have the social responsibility to take care of the million or so workers who simply cannot find work because their jobs have been highly automated or globalized. What happens when that number increases twenty or thirty fold?

  • Jim

    Warning: what you will read is going to come true within 10 years in every industrial cities of the United States.

    if anyone wants to see what your country will become, then you should go to HongKong and witness what is going on there. the city of glamour and high rises includes plenty of urban poverty. 95% of jobs are minimum wage jobs. the costs of living is higher than Boston and matches only the city of New York and San Francisco. Yet, people have to struggle with the rising cost everyday… oh, HKG embraces capitalism to the fullest with absolutely low income taxes. the so-called trickle-down economy did not spread through the population. witness the cage rooms that are gaining numbers throughout the city due to many things including taking unnecessary risks in business venture. there is no mercy for financial mistakes and no margin for error in this cosmopolitan city.

    I have no doubt the US and most US cities will reach there within ten (10) years. we have done nothing to rectify the ills of capitalism after 2008. greed will prevail. 

  • adks12020

    As others have already stated the biggest problem of capitalism is that it requires constant growth. Growth cannot continue unabated forever.  We need to figure out a way to live with limited or no growth or we will use up all of our resources and eventually destroy ourselves.

  • ThirdWayForward

    It’s appalling that a historian would say that we don’t need to be clear about definitions. oh yes, let’s just look at the history without any clear, organizing concepts.

    Capitalism is not about ownership of capital — it is about a mode of organizing a productive enterprise. 

    In a free market economy with cooperative enterprises, where profits are shared amongst employees, owners of capital would still be paid interest on their capital, but they would no longer control the production process and the disposition of profits.

    Capitalism is NOT working to benefit most people in America. Since the 1970′s real, inflation-adjusted median incomes have been falling. Since Reagan and Thatcher, capitalists have been exporting, as fast as they can, whatever production they can overseas to countries where workers are paid pittances. What survives here in America are those enterprises that cannot be moved.

    Industrialism and mechanization are responsible for the explosion of productive power and efficiency, not capitalism per se. 

    • sickofthechit

       Maybe you need to remember that they are Asst. Profs.

    • donniethebrasco

       This is because income redistribution schemes have enabled businesses to continue to lower wages.

      A living wage is lower than it needs to be because the government supports milk prices, oil prices, housing prices, etc.

      It is cheaper to hire a government supported person, so wages go down.

  • Coastghost

    Ooooh, Professor Ott: has capitalism really fostered more human misery, more exploitation, and more death and suffering than the combined socialisms of Bolshevism, fascism, Maoism, et cetera? Really and truly?? Really? You have all the metrics to support that assertion? Truly?

    • jefe68

      Well there was slavery which was the engine of capitalism for hundreds of years.
      Then we have the countless deaths in unregulated factories and the health conditions of slums.

      One can play the numbers game, but that’s not the point.
      What Stalin did to Russia and the former USSR as well as all of Eastern Europe is astonishing in terms of numbers.

      One persons suffering does not neuter the suffering of others and to use it in that context is missing the point in my view.   

  • skeptic150

    Something needs to change with respect to “capitalism” in America. Look at all of the food wasted, all the unnecessary things built and sold just for the sake of growth and profit, and all the garbage generated. It is simply not sustainable.

  • donniethebrasco

    Government radio that benefits from the excess created by capitalism talking about how more money should be spent by government.

    Capitalism has made America the most powerful economy in the world where we can afford trifles like Government sponsored radio.

    This discussion is scheming to kill the golden goose of Capitalism, as was done in Russian, 1930′s Germany.

    Government’s role should be in helping companies to cooperate to behave like Henry Ford in paying their workers more.  However, advocating redistributed taxation policy is wrong-headed and counterproductive.

    • nj_v2

      This post packs a lot of steaming bogusness in a short space.

      Hardly worth bothering with, but just to refute the rightwingding “government radio” meme, note that the total public funding portion of NPR’s budget is, get ready … 4.5%.

      • jefe68

        Amazing is it not.

      • Gregg Smith

        What difference does the amount make? Give Rush 1/4 that much if it doesn’t matter. 

        A man approaches a beautiful woman and offers her $1 million to sleep with him. She is at first shocked but after realizing he was quite serious and handsome to boot she said, “I suppose I would”. He then asks her if she would do it for $5 and she angrily replied, “What kind of girl do you think I am?” He answered, “We’ve already established that madam, now we’re just haggling over price”.

      • donniethebrasco

         Then stop the funding.

    • jefe68

      What an inane comment.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Even the history presented is mediocre. The US in the post-WW II era benefitted mightily from the utter devastation of almost all other major industrialised economies. Europe and Japan were shattered and had to rebuild from scratch.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      No need to parrot talking points we’ve heard thousands of times.

  • sickofthechit

    Dear Julia and Louis,
    For a true picture of “We all own a piece of the pie” please see Robert A. Heinlein’s “For Us the Living” where he proposed an economic system that really did give us each “a piece of the pie”.  I challenge these authors/professors/instructors to examine it and present its philosophy to their students for debate. It’s radical, but imminently fair and I believe workable.
    Charles A. Bowsher

  • Coastghost

    Present disappointments with the performance of American capitalism stem from perceived impediments and obstacles to further and greater consumerism. Period.

  • Human898

    “Capitalism” in an overall sense seems to run the gamut from human trafficking to very socially responsible business that take into account their impact on society, the environment, and an overall economy.   It’s not so much that people make money, but how they make it.   A business plan based solely on bottom line profit, without any sort of social impact “cost” of doing business is contradictory to society as it makes profit the priority, even over human life itself.

  • Mirza Borogovac

    Economics is all about distribution and allocation of resources. With growing population and more people in third world countries there is no guarantee that even the best system will feed everyone.

  • RolloMartins

    How can anyone state we are living in a capitalist economy? This is not capitalist, but corporatist: the corporations lobby against competition (capitalism) and build an economy that is anticapitalistic. It’s like saying we are a democracy while ignoring the lack of a voice by the voters (unless you’re a billionaire). 

  • http://www.facebook.com/arttoegemann Art Toegemann

    Capitalism is dead.
    It died when the banks went begging for Government bailout and got it to the tune of $Trillions.
    It died when “cash flow” became “trickle down”.
    It’s “demand and supply”, not “supply and demand”.

  • abaumhoff

    Corporations are the most powerful organizations that have been created. And they’re the main users of capital. If we’re going to survive as a species we’ll need to use that power to develop a more sustainable economy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.douglas.9693 Andy Douglas

    One interesting alternative to capitalism might be something along the lines of the Progressive Utilization Theory, which strives to enhance the beneficial qualities of capitalism and restrict the negative ones, in part by focusing on local, small-scale entrepreneuralism, encouraging the growth of cooperatives, and creating public utilities for large-scale undertakings as with the energy sector. It’s all about Balance, emphasizing both ecological integrity and human social equality.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andy.douglas.9693 Andy Douglas

      More information on this fascinating alternative, Progressive Utilization Theory (Prout), at priven.org… It’s a growing movement.

  • Human898

    Yes, crooks want less regulation on their “craft”.

  • loadofcobblers

    Yes, the two weaknesses of capitalism are:
    1 its inevitable boom-bust cycle
    2 its need for growth
    There is no such thing as ‘good’ capitalism, or ‘bad’ capitalism. As Marx pointed out, the capitalist is as trapped in the system as the worker.

    • nj_v2

      From what i can tell, almost no one talking about capitalism addresses this issue of growth. Growth is always assumed not only as desirable goal, but as being  indefinitely sustainable.

      Growth depends on continual inputs of finite resources, the supplies of which are becoming very small. Western capitalism has built a societal infrastructure that was only possible, and can only be maintained, by cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. We are beginning to run up to these limits.I asked about this on a show when Simon Johnson was on, and Tom actually put the question to him, but despite him noting, “That’s a good question” he never really did answer it. Today’s guests didn’t address it either.

      I’ll make yet another plug for On Point to do at least one entire program on alternatives to the “growth” model.

      http://steadystate.org/

      http://richardheinberg.com/bookshelf/the-end-of-growth-book

      http://www.upne.com/1584654953.html

    • Isaep Stasko

      Can restate your correct observations concerning problems;

      1. Over production leads to boom and bust.
      2.  Need for investors to have Rate of return and high Interest (I%) and 0% indicates need for investment and growth.
      3. Capitalism is bad in the aggregate of deciding future vision.  Adam Smith’s magic hand actually has a very short (sighted) reach into the future.  Investments like long term frame work for which to make Return projections and cost benefit analysis

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=649530963 Honore Johnson

    Capitalism?! It’s consumerism that is ruining the system! The accumulation of wealth and cycle of buying and spending can be healthy, but becomes unstable when it is unneeded and swept under the rug. The trash waste of our capitalism is funneled out of the country into EZPs!! If the cycle includes foreign workers to make our goods, they need to be included in the wealth that is generated. We have to stop skimming the surplus off the top and value all parts of the cycle.

  • Human898

    Slavery is an ideal component to bottom line capitalism.

  • andreawilder

    how come i always feel i am behind the barricades with the environment?  Because “developers” want to overfish, cut down trees, etc?  I hate this.  This feels like corporate capitalism to me.  and as an ecologist:  just like all other species we will increase until we have reached the carrying capacity of our environment.

  • GJMF45

    Have you talked about the influence of the Glass-Stegall Act and now the removal of the Glass-Stegall Act? “Glass-Steagall is the indispensible first step to global economic recovery.” Regulations on Capitalism are very necessary.

    • brettearle

      Yet another example, in hindsight, of a fractured Clinton Legacy.

  • Bruce94

    Capitalism is not going away anytime soon, but what evolved in the 20th century is our “mixed” economy combining elements of both “free market” and “planned” economies–something we see fiercely resisted even today by the laissez-faire libertarian Far Right.  Maybe the panelists could comment on that.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Exactly. Capitalism works fine in partnership with gvt and with plenty of gvt regulation. Low regulation capitalism just lets the romney types take everything.

      • Bruce94

         The problem is that the conservative movement in general and the GOP in particular have been infected by the laissez-faire libertarian Far Right that endorses an unregulated, rapacious form of capitalism–a form of capitalism that thrives when we see a diminution of the state’s capacity for intervening or making public investments that can prevent capitalism’s “creative destruction” or at least mitigate its most harmful effects. 

    • Isaep Stasko

      Crowding out effect is what scares the lazzie faire people.  The TVA project great concrete example of Gov’t improving electricity at the expense of established monopoly producers.  And I agree that Gov’t should not be in the Production business.  BUT “we the people” can set the foundations for the private market to turn its create interest.  Vision and consensus futures….frontier. But question remains, what does that look like?

  • Slava Mockova

    I grew up in communism/socialism. Now I live US in capitalism. And I have to say that the end result of both systems is pretty much the same. In communism they told you to your face that you couldn’t go places or couldn’t get things. In capitalism they tell you “you can do anything you want” when in reality you can’t thanks to the people who run it. The powerful always get their way anyway in any “social arrangement”. Socialism had one advantage though, which was that no matter what happened to you (getting sick so that you can’t work etc…) you always knew that you will have roof over your head, food on your table and will be able to send your kids to college. Capitalism does not guarantee any of this. No matter how hard you work, one day you might just end up on the street. And that is very stressful.
    People have no integrity these days and you can never rely on anyone to do the right thing.

    • brettearle

      I think you make some important sense.

      Especially the last 5 or 6 lines.  But the other lines of your comment, too.

      Ultimately, Power surfaces, everywhere. 

      And those who are subservient to it–meaning most of us–have no choice but to figure out how to deal with it….in one way or the other.

    • skeptic150

      “Socialism had one advantage though, which was that no matter what happened to you (getting sick so that you can’t work etc…) you always knew that you will have roof over your head, food on your table and will be able to send your kids to college. Capitalism does not guarantee any of this. No matter how hard you work, one day you might just end up on the street. And that is very stressful.”

      Very important points, as people have correlated “happiness” with such security issues. It seems to me most Americans don’t truly appreciate the real cost of a high standard of living.  Personally, I think we need to increase tax revenues to pay for our debt as well as pay for social programs related to security (perhaps a flat tax of 17-25% or higher if people are guaranteed health care, shelter, and a secure retirement?).

      Ultimately, I think too many people fail to consider the welfare of all citizens (either US or global) or choose to ignore their welfare since this may impact income, etc.  But, if all citizens were secure with respect to health care, shelter, retirement, etc., shouldn’t we all be willing to contribute to such security?

      • skeptic150

        And, perhaps things might improve if we tried harder to relate to each other as fellow human beings rather than conservatives v liberals, dems v repubs, rich v poor, etc.

      • Slava Mockova

        Yes, the ultimate “it could never happen to me” theory. We live in a society and therefore we should behave like that too. You can have 50 jets but what are you going to do on this planet alone? Global welfare should be our goal. Agreed.

    • GuestAug27

      Slava, I also grew up in one of those countries.  Yes, they were ruled by people who called themselves communists, but even those in charge never said the actual system was communism.  It was socialism, which was supposed to be a transitional period between capitalism and communism. There never was communism on a large scale in modern history.  Not in the USSR or in Cuba or in North Korea. Yes, they all are/were centrally-planned economies run by parties that called themselves communist, but the system is not communism.

      • Slava Mockova

        That’s why I refer to it as both since it is commonly associated and I find that it is really difficult to explain the nature of the system to most of people in this country. I agree with you though.

    • Coastghost

      Slava: you had stern assurances, reliable and ever trustworthy, that you would not wind up in the gulag in some inhospitable climate? Were you a loyal party member? (and not only a loyal party member, but one cunning enough to know each and every time where to place your loyalty?) How reliable were the “guarantees” provided by the communist/socialist regime you lived under? Were extra-judicial trials and political murders THAT uncommon? THAT system wasn’t stressful?

      • Slava Mockova

        In all honesty, I have never known anyone going to jail for any opinions or actions nor I have never heard of a friend of a friend of a friend going to jail for something. I grew up in Czechoslovakia in a very happy and safe environment. I don’t know about other countries. Our biggest problem was that we could get oranges or peanuts only few times a year since they typically came from other socialist country. We could not travel everywhere but I don’t ever remember desiring it so bad.
        Things turned completely different when the borders opened and I can’t say for sure that for the better.
        You can do all of that these days, yet you don’t since you don’t have the money anyway.
        I think the problem is in the people themselves not in the system. It is the selfishness that has spread so badly. The competition and jealousy that you see everywhere. “If I have something I don’t want you to have it.” “If you have something I want to have it bigger and better.” And that is the fundamental flaw of human nature undermining both socialism and capitalism.
        And just because there were gulags in Russia, let’s not pretend that it is not happening in capitalism. Just look at the sex trade slaves or kids working in factories. No, it is not happening in USA and the people entered it more or less you could say voluntarily. But what choice did they have anyway?

        • Coastghost

          I’ve not visited the Czech Republic or Slovakia: all I can say is, Milan Kundera did not go out of his way to make 1968 and its aftermath look a very appealing prospect, nor did Josef Koudelka in his photograph “The Urge to See”.
          I would not characterize market economics necessarily in the zero-sum terms you describe it with, either. NO system of economics (even a system that reasonably works for the benefit of all participants) is designed to constitutionally reconfigure each human being on the planet: certainly no more so than any philosophy, any religion, any political system. (We are only human beings, as you seem to concede.) I see your point about structural weaknesses within Western democracies with market economies: on the other hand it looks to someone who’s lived his life within such a system as a difference between tolerating criminalities that can never be utterly eradicated versus a state that practices criminality itself and subverts the rule of law to the interests of the political ideology sponsoring the state. (You may care to characterize Western democracies in the same terms, but I don’t think history would be on your side of the argument at the end of the day, just as you won’t find many disaffected Westerners eager to abandon their economic dislocation for the institutional poverty foisted by strict marxist systems.)
           

    • JustEdith

       What an interesting comment.  I have begun to feel that capitalism as it’s practiced today has a totalitarian feel to it.  As the state becomes weaker and weaker, inequality grows and many have almost no choice but to be on wheel of debt, as another commentator pointed out, I don’t see there is much freedom in this.  Having money and the bottom line drive EVERYTHING is dehumanizing, and as the biosphere is destroyed to maintain the cycle of consumption necessary to the requirement of constant growth, built into the current capitalist model, it is ultimately a system of death.   Yet they always talk about freedom and democracy in the same breath as with capitalism.  Another parallel between  Soviet totalitarianism and the current regime could be perhaps the propaganda. 

    • OnPointComments

      It’s the ultimate question:  would you trade freedom for security?

  • Coastghost

    Professor Hyman: television broadcasting and the consumer culture it sponsored are at least as responsible for promoting our currect debtor society as any bank or financial institution. Who’s pushed for strict regulation of broadcast schedules, who’s argued to limit TV transmission to no more than 12 hours out of every 24?

    • brettearle

      In a Perfect World, restricting TV transmission to less than 24 hours, per day, would be a fabulous idea–unless of course Programming, for the better, were to change radically.

      But even then…..

      Life without the tube would be a luxury–for a few hours per day, if not longer.

      But, this, of course, is an Imperfect World.

      • Coastghost

        Notably, Tom and his guests walked right by this topic, the role of TV broadcasting in fostering American consumerism in the second half of the 20th century. An odd omission given today’s putative subject, since the Corp. for Public Broadcasting (a Congressionally-authorized and Federally subsidized public-private partnership) is a beneficiary of the VERY state subsidization of corporatism that at least Professor Ott was eager to decry. “Corporate capitalism” is the very weapon Obama wielded to “save” General Motors and Chrysler, at the behest of the UAW: Ford Motor Company apparently thrives even though it received no bailout itself. (Why is state patronage of labor unions magically exempt from the kind of criticism leveled at state sponsorship of corporations? Why for that matter are “public-private partnerships” like CPB and Fannie Mae exempt from such criticism? I do wonder.)

        • nj_v2

          Ha ha! Still got that public broadcasting bug flying up your butt? Perhaps consider surgery.

          CPB gets about 15% of their budget from federal funding. This is about .00014% of the federal budget.

          This is a Big Deal to wingers like Coastghost.

          • Coastghost

            I plan to sleep well tonight with my obsessions, nj, gratified that I managed to elicit any analysis and response from you exceeding the competency of your wellworn “z” key. (I mean: where else would you have me complain about the CPB and NPR? If not HERE, where?)

    • AC

      television is a dying medium

      • Coastghost

        I don’t know, AC: a screen is a screen is a screen. Granted, the transition from broadcasting to cable and satellite feeds has been well underway since the dawn of CNN, the transition now to internet programming feeds is ongoing. But is the concept of the programming so different? Tell a story, then embed the story with advertising (id est, sell the story with the advertising). If anything, it’s becoming more pernicious, since our friendly web producers and content providers can customize our consumption by tracking our every “change of channel”. (Id est: the internet is television that watches US.)

        • AC

          i cannot comment on today’s show. a good portion of my husband’s income is advertising – one of the few buyers left that still want exceptional photography….sigh….

  • nj_v2

    Tom, your effort to include more listener feedback in the discussion is noted and appreciated.

    People still need to hear voices like Richard Wolff, though. Please consider him as a guest soon.

  • http://twitter.com/the_nickens Zachary Nickens

    Let’s talk about the history of capitalism. There is a vast, important history of how capitalism and the government and the public have been intertwined since the emergence of American corporations. The Guilded Age, the Industrial Revolution, the Prosperous 20s, the crashes of ’29 and ’37, the New Deal technocrats; where are they TOM? Why not have two historians explain the course of the growth and expansion of capitalism? 

  • John_in_Amherst

    Capitalism – the ownership of the means of production and resources by individuals or corporations is what we’ve got.  I would argue what most Americans really believe in is FREE MARKET capitalism, and the free market part is increasingly lacking in our economy.  There is an inevitable drive in capitalism for resources to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and as this happens, the powerful few begin exerting political influence that erodes free markets and democracy.  Without meaningful regulation to restore and preserve free markets, capitalism devolves away from free markets and democracy into monopolistic plutocracy, which is increasingly obvious to any honest observer of the US today.  We need rules of the road for capitalism and democracy to coexist, and the rules are either lacking or too weak.

  • Southern_Harebell

    We don’t have capitalism, we have fascism.

    “The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    GE pays no income tax, Wall Street thieves don’t go to jail, and the NRA is more powerful than 90% of the American people.

    Richard 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rmsteinborn Ross Steinborn

    Love Bethany Morton, took a class with her when she visited at Harvard Divinity School. We read a book that linked the European Witch-hunts with the enclosure of the commons, which is often linked to the beginning of capitalism

  • Scott B

    “Willingly into consumer debt”? Hardly! If you have a low wage job and something goes wrong with the car, the washing machine, your health, and you HAVE to whip out the plastic. Worse, we’re forced to have plastic and debt to be in the system, from credit rating to get a loan for a car or a house, background checks for renting anything from a renting a car to an apartment, and just providing ID. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Among us lefties it’s so well known that it’s a cliche: The leading cause of individual bankruptcies is a medical crisis.

      This is background information. Shockingly missing in the on-air conversation.

      • Scott B

         Choruses of ‘I owe my soul to the company store” are echoing through my head, and neon marquis blinking “Catch 22: starring Joe & Jane Average as the underpaid, overworked couple.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/bengregg Ben Gregg

    I’m surprised that no one has really picked up on Rudolf Steiner’s ideas of the “threefold” nature of society as a reflection of the “threefold” beings who live in it.

    We are “threefold” insofar as we Think, Feel, and Act, and those three spheres are reflected in a outer society by the Cultural/Spiritual/Church Sphere (thinking), the Political/Rights/State Sphere (feeling) and the Economic/Industrial/Capital Sphere (acting/working).

    In the US, we got it right when we separated Church and State, but we still need to take the final step of separating the State from the Economic sphere. 

    Steiner also pointed out that the 3 ideals of the French revolution were originally intended to apply to each of those 3 separate spheres.  In our thinking life (as reflected in the church and institutions of higher learning) we require “FREEDOM” (need to be free to think our own thoughts!); in our feeling life (reflected by laws and political institutions that make up the State) we need “EQUALITY”; and in working together with others (reflected in the economic/industrial sphere), we actually fulfill one other’s needs best when we work together out of a spirit of “FRATERNITY” i.e. “Brotherhood” “Sisterhood”–or basically, caring for our neighbors)

    Until we realize how those 3 spheres need to be separate and independent of one another, and that those 3 ideals work best when they remain within the spheres where they are most appropriate, we’ll continue to suffer and run into the problems we’ve seen in the past century. 

    E.g. Capitalism is great so long as it remains in the Economic sphere and operates in a spirit of Brotherhood.

    E.g. Democracy is great, so long as it remains in the Political sphere and operates in a spirit of Equality.

    E.g. Religion is fine too, so long as it remains in the Cultural sphere and operates in a spirit of Freedom.

    • nj_v2

      How in the world does one “separate the State from the Economic sphere”?

      No banks, currency, monetary policy? Do we all just barter?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Why can’t we create a probably, but not necessarily, finite resource that more accurately reflects the combined worth of all peoples and resources? Think virtual gold. Everyone that wants to participate in the global economy has shares equal to their current monetary values. Don’t even need to change current currency systems.

    What’s the difference you ask?
    The difference is that now you have a global consortium comprised of participatory nations’ leaders as opposed to a closed door meeting of a few ‘elite’ bankers. We could vote democratically to increase shares to adequately support only endeavors demonstrated to be environmentally beneficial and humanitarian in nature. To the detriment of no-one. Well no one except the current elite that is.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    The Money Changing has to stop.

  • Isaep Stasko

    Problem with capitalism is simply the ease of over production, unemployment due to efficiency and finally lack of an investment frontier that ends old form of production that hang on with economies of scale and commanding market share.

  • http://twitter.com/the_nickens Zachary Nickens

    What a disappointing hour. What a waste to have two historians of capitalism on, and not a bit of history gets discussed. 

  • sickofthechit

    Louis loses all credibility when he seems to blame the consumers for borrowing to much.  It was 30 to 1 margins, and impatience that caused the CDO and CDS markets to come crashing down.  Instead of waiting to see if the loans underlying them actually went bad, they did statistical analysis and declared the sky was falling.

     I worked on the Liquidation Staff of a small Reinsurance Company that was placed in Liquidation in 1985 ($500,000,000 in liabilities, not quite $100,000,000 in assets).  At the time of the liquidation it looked like we would pay 25 to 30 cents on the dollar.  After 20 years of running the business off (it was mostly long term liability covers) the Liquidation through various recoveries, negotiations and lawsuits was able to pay a little better than 100 cents on the dollar.

    The difference between “Reserves” and actual losses realized, is akin to the fear of a collapse which prompted the bailout instead of forcing the banks to see their loans through to the end and make an accurate account.  If they couldn’t find their paperwork, then tough luck.  Instead we let them foreclose  on far to many of our fellow Americans.

    Yes it took 20 years, but the mortgage mess could have been straightened out much more fairly and quickly if the dust had been allowed to settle and the Banks had been forced to unwind their messes.  When one loan is traded and bundled and traded and re-bundled etc. that one loan is still only one loan, yet the chickens on Wall Street counted it 4, 5 , 6 or more times.  It’s like the coward running from battle counts the enemy at many times it actual number.
    Charles A. Bowsher

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I am having trouble reconciling the guests’ ideas about remaking capitalism, and how that necessarily involves government action, in an environment where one party calls 47% of the country “moochers”.

    • donniethebrasco

       47% of the country are “moochers” and they supported opening the taps of income redistribution.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Submitted without comment.

      • jimino

        Since ALL of the gain created by our economy since the end of the recession has gone to the top 1%, your view of who the “moochers” are is profoundly ignorant.

        Unless one is a clueless nitwit, the fact that the distribution has been entirely upward should give you a clue.

      • jefe68

        Oh the inanity of your comments, all of them.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Firmly established as a passover handle.

        See the screen name and pass over it.

  • Isaep Stasko

    What about over production?  Sure regulation to avoid barriers to entry.  But why enter a market that is saturated with production.

    • StilllHere

      Government subsidy.

      • Isaep Stasko

        Give examples please…because we all agree pork is bad, but stabilizing risk to some degree was important in value areas.  Typically subsidies bring producers into market under supplied

  • nj_v2

    Well, that was a disappointing hour. We’ve got serious, crisis-level problems, and the guests presented a very detached, un-energetic analysis.

  • ThirdWayForward

    Millenarianism. What a red herring.
    We don’t want capitalism to crash or crumble — we want to see it superseded by more cooperative productive enterprises where those who work in those enterprises own them and share the profits. There are better ways we can do things that treat regular people with more dignity.We need to give credit to the engineers who create new technologies. Raises in our standards of living for most of us are mainly products of technological innovation and vastly increased efficiencies of production. Capitalism is the process of siphoning off profits from production.

    Even after the last crash, wealth is continuing to be concentrated at the top. The dynamic of the concentration of wealth is what causes economic bubbles and crashes (not enough demand from below to sustain production), and we think we are in for another big one. The Dow above 14,000 again, having doubled in 4 years, tells us that there is a great deal of loose, speculative money out there that is flowing into our casino. The Republicans have blocked any real financial reforms, and the Dems are on the whole not willing to make the kinds of regulatory changes that are needed to stabilise the system. We’ll see what happens in the next 4-5 years.

    • donniethebrasco

       The last crash was the result of government interfering in the free movement of capital.   It succeeded in increasing home ownership from 62% to 67%, but it was too expensive and caused the crash.

      The greedy banks and asset price boom came from the policy of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac handing out mortgages like they were potato chips.

      • jimino

        Which tiny number of people made huge sums of money from what was a disaster to the vast majority?  When you identify that cohort, you will find the driving force behind the last crash.

        And it is MOST DEFINITELY NOT poor people buying homes they could not afford. 

      • jefe68

        Your information is wrong, period.

        Why is that you leave out the derivatives market?
        Is this because you don’t want to believe that the real reason or reasons were rooted in Wall Street?

        What I find amazing is how you keep posting information based on bits and pieces of facts.

        The Fannie and Freddy comment is off the wall.
        They made a lot of mistakes and that was due to wanting to get into the derivative game, it was not the other way around. They came to the tabel rather late. 

      • OnPointComments

        The instigator of the housing crash was government mandates that required lenders to increase the number of mortgages made to people who were poor credit risks.  “Affordable housing” and other housing policies changed the housing market from one where in 1989 only 1 in 230 homebuyers made a down payment of 3 percent or less to one where it was 1 in 3 by 2007; home equity changed from 45 percent in 1989 to 7 percent in 2007.  The government inflated the housing bubble by artificially increasing demand through risky loans.
         
        Perhaps the government could be forgiven if it learned from its mistakes, but it appears poised to make the same mistakes again.
         
        “Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit”
        http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-02/business/38220144_1_housing-recovery-housing-market-housing-officials 
         
        “Risky Loans Could Create Second Bubble”
        http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=23037

        • Isaep Stasko

          Do you really thing the “government” wrote those risky loans?  The banker and mortgage brokers met with buyers and lent the money.   Later they sold to Fannie and Freddie in package bundles hiding their risky practices.  It was lack of policing of these lenders that create problem.  Lazzie faire gov’t regulation under Greenspan and Bush, letting lenders do what they wanted without consequence.  Adam Smith free market hand with self corrections built in due to “competition”  (bow please.) 

          • OnPointComments

            Would you make a loan to someone who is a poor credit risk?  Suppose in evaluating the person’s credit you are prohibited from verifying information that bears on their ability to repay the loan?  Would it change your decision to lend the money if you knew you could sell the loan Freddie, Fannie, or the FHA and rid yourself of the risk, and pocket a loan fee for every risky loan you made?  There are plenty of guilty parties in the crash of the housing market, but the government enabled the system that started it all.

          • Isaep Stasko

            But which government?  We have a different government in 2007 than we do now.

          • OnPointComments

            See the links to the two articles in my comment above.  The actors may have changed, but the script is the same.

          • OnPointComments

            The Affordable Housing Act and Title XIII of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 set quotas for Fannie and Freddie to acquire subprime mortgages and to play a significant role in the subprime market.  By 2008, before the financial crisis, the government held or insured 74% of nonprime mortgages.  HUD instituted “Fair Lending Best Practices” to increase the number of loans that had lower underwriting standards, and regulators used new Community Reinvestment Act regulations to require banks to make more loans that did not meet normal lending standards.  Subprime mortgages were the primary cause of the housing collapse, and the government was the primary cause of the massive increase in subprime mortgages.

        • jefe68

          Again, with the right wing meme about government causing the collapse of the derivatives market. What the Federal government did was aid and abet the banksters and the Wall street plutocrats.

          The SEC was out gunned on all levels by the sharks on Wall street. 

          The Federal government did not help by doing away with the Glass–Steagal act that’s for sure. But you’re claim that the affordable housing policies were the cause of the huge financial crisis is unfounded.

          • OnPointComments

            The Affordable Housing Act and Title XIII of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 set quotas for Fannie and Freddie to acquire subprime mortgages and to play a significant role in the subprime market. By 2008, before the financial crisis, the government held or insured 74% of nonprime mortgages. HUD instituted “Fair Lending Best Practices” to increase the number of loans that had lower underwriting standards, and regulators used new Community Reinvestment Act regulations to require banks to make more loans that did not meet normal lending standards. Subprime mortgages were the primary cause of the housing collapse, and the government was the primary cause of the massive increase in subprime mortgages

      • ThirdWayForward

        That’s a favorite right-wing meme — they do need and love their scapegoats.

        It was the dark and unregulated derivatives market that caused systemic risk to the entire world financial system. We have done nothing to get that market under control — it’s still the Wild West and financial wise guys are still playing with huge amounts of other people’s money and the stability of the whole world system. 

        No one person or private entity should control more than $1 billion in assets. Economic control needs to be decentralized. Insurance on assets that one does not own should be banned.

        In our opinion, the biggest villains of the crisis were Alan Greenspan and Clinton’s gang of economic advisers who gutted regulation of derivatives back in the late 1990′s.Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were just aping the risky practices of private mortgage speculators.If it were just the real estate bubble, the Feds could have simply bought up all of the questionable properties for a few hundred billion, and that would have stopped the crisis dead in its tracks. If that had been the case, there would have been no need to bail out AIG.

        • Bruce94

          Correct up to the point you id “Clinton’s advisers” as the biggest villains.  True, Clinton to his & his advisers’ everlasting discredit signed the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.  However, the Act’s major sponsors were three  Republicans including the now infamous Phil (Enron Loophole) Gramm (R-TX).  Of the 12 co-sponsors, 11 were (you guessed it) Republicans. 

          • ThirdWayForward

            Yes, I agree entirely. The Clintonians were aided, abetted, and pressured mostly by Republicans. Phil Gramm is a major villain.

            If only Brooksley Born (see Frontline documentary) had prevailed, this enduring economic fiasco might never have happened. She is the only real hero in this shameful history.

  • sickofthechit

    Robert A. Heinlein’s “For Us the Living” has what looks to be a very workable economic system for living on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere as we do. charles A. bowsher

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1628361887 Brian McCue

    I don’t know how to sum up what I think into a short phone call, but I feel like what we have now is not “capitalism”.  I don’t want to sound like an Ayn Randite to much.  I certainly don’t think she had everything right by any stretch, however… There was a saying I read once that “capitalism without failure is like christianity without hell” (paraphrased).  I feel like the bailouts (and all sorts of failure packages for various folks at the top of companies) are opposite what capitalism would have in place.  I am aware that the failure would have been unbelievably painful for the population, however, it’s not capitalism’s fault.  It’s “our” fault for letting companies have our money without knowing what they are doing.  

    The argument that something is “to big to fail” is a moot point in capitalism.  Regardless of the pain it would cause.  The other part of this is that we have a certain “safety net” which makes it so that folks are also to small to fail.  This too is not capitalism.  It’s not pleasant, but it’s not my problem to take care of your problems.  However, this doesn’t mean that people have to stop being kind.  It’s not that you can’t help a friend in need or something like that, but rather that you can’t be forced (taxed) in order to take care of those who are not capable of taking care of themselves.

    Another thing that comes to mind is that we have a system that requires continuous growth.  I posit that there is no system which is capable of growing forever.  It’s simply not possible.  This was held in check by the gold standard (literally, by a finite amount of gold), but then when the gold standard was dropped, we got ourselves into a situation where “money” was more abstract.  The problem with this is that you are creating more money, but not creating value, which ultimately (inevitably) will lead to the devaluing of everything.  

    Recently the Fed has been doing quantitative easing.  What they are doing is creating money out of thin air.  The idea is that by putting money into the system they will create a situation where money is easier to come by which will allow people and businesses to spend it easier.   The problem with this is that they are not really pumping money into an economy because of the way that they have to do it.  They put “money” up for bid, and that money ultimately ends up on the books of some company.  The problem is that those companies are not “capitalist” companies.  They are not interested in making things of value, they are, the same as the Fed, interested in making “money”.  This is why so many people can suffer while the DOW reaches record highs. 

    I know this is long, but it’s also very summed up and my opinion only…  I’ve not been to college or anything for this stuff, but I heard (sorry, this took a while to type and the shows moved on) your guests talking about 19th century capitalists being for the benefit of a few while the rest of the folks settled for scraps, and all I could think is that a system based on money is not capitalist in and of itself.  But yeah… anyways…  this is way to long…  

    take care everybody… and great show… :)

    • Isaep Stasko

      Careful with your claims on “printing money.”  Our treasury is not stupid and lesson pretty clear with the South printing money which ended as tiolet paper.  Need the right amount of $$$ in balance with population.  WE don’t print money, we barrow in form of US Bonds.  Very different .  

      • twenty_niner

        Wrong.

        When the Fed takes assets on its balance sheet such as MBS and Treasuries, it pays in printed money. The chart shows long-term Treasury purchases and MBS surging in recent years, which constitutes QE. Most realists believe the Fed will never unwind these positions because it would be too disruptive to the market and cause rates to seriously spike, so essentially what you have is monetization.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1628361887 Brian McCue

          it’s not really a reply persay…  but this is what was rolling through my mind for part of what i was writing… it’s from fresh air the previous day…

          http://www.wbur.org/npr/175950416/the-alchemists-who-control-the-purse-strings-of-the-economy

        • Isaep Stasko

          QE is different from “printing money”  Important distinction which allows banks in the private sector to disturbute v. gov’t spending it.  Huge difference.

          • twenty_niner

            1) The government has a big Treasury auction.

            2) The primary dealers buy the Treasuries.

            3) The PDs walk down to the Fed, which prints a bunch of money in exchange for the newly issued bonds.

            4) The PDs (Goldman Sachs, JPM, etc.) walk away with a nice profit.

            5) The government has a successful auction, and can now pay the bills for another week.

            6) The money supply just expanded.

            7) Everyone is happy, except Grandma who was hoping to live off her savings.

            8) The Fed would really prefer that Grandma buy SPX futures and stop being such a stodgy old saver.

            9) This is QE.

          • Isaep Stasko

            But inflation is not a problem and the Feds doing QE are buying more than just treausary bonds

  • http://www.facebook.com/liam.mcdonnell.5 Liam McDonnell

    Any discussion regarding the manmade concept called capitalism with our mentioning Marx and Unions was a hollow discussion. Marx originally referred to capitalism as “hucksterism”. The problem with capitalism/hucksterism is it is a manmade system whose sole purpose is to convince the working class that it will make them rich as they turn their hard earned money over to the 1%.

    • Isaep Stasko

      Marx also correctly wrote about the evils of the manufacturing production line and how it would reduce craftsman to insignificant child labors.  We have regulated safety and children, but our machines saturate the market with products that few workers have $$$ to purchase. So unless there is change that dumps the old products and means of production, eventually even the manufacturing machines are slowed down.  Marx wrote that captialism is always in need of new markets and new consumers.  Immigration and 3rd world markets with workers and consumer earning fair wages is today’s promise

  • skeptic150

    corrected post

  • Radical___Moderate

    All human systems and “-isms”, be they socialism, capitalism, humanism, secularism, fascism, etc., are bound to fail eventually due to one fatal flaw… they do not recognize the sinful, self-centered nature of man. They ignore God and deify man.
    oneprayerfulpilgrim.com
    WWJD????

    • Isaep Stasko

      Thank God religion is separate from Gov’t so we can have intelligent conversation on Economics.

      • Radical___Moderate

        With all do respect as someone who truly once was an athesist/agnostic, and even a Marxist, Marxist secularism has far far more of a failed and intellectually bankrupt legacy and tradition than the great fruits civilization has enjoyed from theist roots, regardless of inevitable negatives which I alluded to in my original comment.
        I grant you that FAITH, is a gift and not all have it. I once did not until something undeniably providential made me BELIEVE.
        But in fairness and respect, I truly do understand your frustration with “religious” people because many of them are HYPOCRITES and it can be quite hard to believe in God in our world for many reasons.
        What you and I do have in common is our shared caring for the working classes and the poor and how our current system is “gaming them” and using them!
        Peace and Blessings.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

          With all due respect, it’s “due” respect, not “do” respect. Though I do respect your choice to spell “due” incorrectly.

          Forgive me for not considering faith to be a gift. I have never understood why faith is a requirement for God’s rewards. Why would a loving god need our unquestioning devotion, or need to test us? Either all are saved or none are–and that’s only if you buy into the notion that men and women need saving, which is not theologically necessary. Heaven is a negation of humanity, and hell is a concept we’d be well rid of.

          Happily, despite our differences, we do at least share a concern for economic injustice. May I suggest that our belief in money as substantial–our “faith” in economics of any stripe–is at least partially to blame for our troubles?

          • Radical___Moderate

            My apologies for never taking the time to proofread my contributions to these blogs. Like yourself, I have many other things to do during the day.
            I do very much appreciate your clear thinking and open mindedness. As for those “big” theological questions you brought up, I could not offer anything but opinions.
            I don’t no why God makes Himself seem so inaccessible to most. That does frustrate me at times. I was not always a real believer, but as crazy as it will sound, I had events occur in my life surrounding Near Death Experiences involving, in different ways, both my mother and my father. Also my uncle for that matter.
            Thus, I live in a world and amongst people whom do not believe in a spirit world of God. I  know that such exists but cannot proove it nor do I need to. That is why I do believe that faith can be a gift. If you’d had happened to you what I or others had, you truly would have no choice but to believe.
            Nonetheless, I fully agree with you that Christians and Marxists really need to put differences aside and focus on what should be our shared desire to help all in society. Whether that desire comes from a thorough reading of the Gospeld or of Marx, or Emma Goldman, what does that matter for the men and women in the soup line?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

          Also, Marxist secularism ought not to be too closely identified with Stalinism or Maoism. Marx himself thought that Russia would be a terrible place for a communist revolution, and all China has managed to prove in the last decade is that capitalism can coexist quite nicely with an undemocratic totalitarian government. European socialism, despite the present right-wing love for “austerity solutions” still seems to be the most humane and civilized approach to the organization of society that has yet been tried.

          • Radical___Moderate

            Some fair and accurate historical observations Joshua. However, I believe it is worth noting again, that though I agree with you here, the Catholic Church brought us the strongest institutional resistence to capitalism in the Middle Ages and continues to do so under Francis. I am certainly not ignoring the church’s flawed human experiences, however, it still was the church that inculcated the basis of economic and civilized morality for the poor. Being that said, I am probably even more frustrated than most with what I would call the Christian Right in our own country. I would call myself an advocate of the often and unfortunately unheard of “Christian Left.” I can assure you that there are more like me than most realize.

    • skeptic150

      Is the question “WWJD?” relevant (for anything, really)? If he even existed (which I have some doubts), he did not give us any useful information related to the problems facing the planet today.

      • Radical___Moderate

        He actually gave a lot if you TRULY understood the Gospels. Both Marx and Smith and the core of western economic philosopher, both RIGHT and LEFT have found examples and guidance in His teachings. You might be interesting in reading historian Christophers Dawson’s writings on Medieval Europe. He argues, quite effectively, that 3 things built and manitained the foundations of western civilization that have become the bedrocks of our modern worlds growth whether we admit it or not. Those 3 things were 1) Roman Law, 2) The Classical Tradition, and 3) the Catholic Church.
        It will shatter any sophmoric overly simple ideas that are all too common today. I was once and atheist/agnostic and a professional acadmic.

    • brettearle

      When Humans fail, they turn to God, eh?

      I would argue that when Humans fail, they turn to who they THINK is God.

      Your study of God, and my study of God, in scripture or anywhere else, could be a drastic deviation from who God really is.

      Don’t give me the business, about God’s business; we’ve been deceiving ourselves for thousands of years about this.

      Where is God’s autograph?

  • donniethebrasco

    Simply put:

    A hammer in capitalism costs $10.

    A hammer procured through government is $500.

    We can’t afford to procure everything through the government.

    A $1,000/mo. apartment costs $1,500/mo. through section 8, which affects the market for $1,000/mo. apartments.

    • Isaep Stasko

      Little more complicated …why would any one buy a hammer for $500??????

      • donniethebrasco

        No one would.

        But when put through the oversight necessary for a government procurement program to make sure that the process of buying a hammer abides by:

        1. Fairness, not showing favoritism to any one company.
        2. It is exactly the correct hammer required for the job.
        3. That there is no conflict of interest.
        4. That the hammer is not somewhere else and needs to be purchased.
        5. That the hammer is purchased from a minority or female owned company, if available.
        6. That the hammer was put on the shelves by someone who earns the prevailing wage.

        etc.

        • Isaep Stasko

          Thus for oversight and efficient to be worth while Gov’t only gets involved in things that have huge benefit.  These horror stories of $500 toilet seat are wildly entertaining.  We have a huge Economy, the biggest in the world and it take good government to keep it working. Right now the biggest benefit to be realized is health care for the coming baby boomers, which is right now a lazzie faire, out of control, competetive mess with no economies of scale.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1628361887 Brian McCue

            hmmmmmm…  

      • Ray in VT

        For the same reason perhaps that the government isn’t negotiating prescription drug prices, namely that individual and corporate interests can work to affect policy in such a way so as to benefit themselves or their business or industry.  It doesn’t seem like there is any reason why the government can’t procure it’s hammers or whatever via the existing market, and it should be able to get a good price if they need a lot of them.  If I can get a hammer at the hardware store for $10, then why can’t the DOD buy 10,000 of them wholesale for less per unit.  The problem would seem to be that such large organizations need constant oversight and reporting in order to keep such abuses in line, but I don’t think that people are very good about that sort of diligence generally.

    • jimino

      Who gets the extra $490 in your theoretical scenario? 

  • Penny Powell

    I wish we’d heard the voice of Professor Richard Wolff in the first half hour. I had to tune out after that. He is a much clearer and more articulate expert on this subject. His lecture linked here is phenomenally intelligent and interesting: http://rdwolff.com/content/capitalism-american

  • MK111

    On air I proposed that raw capitalism is the idea that people have a right to use and acquire capital as they see fit, while enlightened capitalism adds the idea that people have a right to capital.These are not definitions as prescriptions- what capitalism ought to be- but definitions proposed as descriptions. They are an attempt to understand the common thread that makes so many diverse economies, over time and across the world, all capitalist. How do we know that over the course of capitalism’s evolution, it remained one species, rather than becoming something different? Is capitalism just a word, or an idea? What do today’s Korean, French, Japanese, and American economies really have in common with the 19th century English one, or the earlier Dutch one? In other words, what fundamental characteristics do they have that make them so interesting, so useful, so productive, or so evil?The right to freely use and acquire capital leads to the evil side of capitalism: the right to exploit the most productive capital of all, namely people. The right to accumulate capital leads to inequality. But they likewise lead to the good side of capitalism, because the right to acquire capital means the right to save, and thus perhaps the right to wages more than needed for mere sustenance; and the right to receive financing for productive endeavours. On the other hand the right to use capital is essentially the right to produce with more than one’s own two hands, amplified to whatever degree mankind as whole might allow.Enlightened capitalism is the democratization and taming of raw capitalism: having a right to capital is nothing less than having the right to opportunity. On the small scale, this is the micro-capitalism of Mohammed Yunis; on a larger scale it is nobodies like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak having the “right”- in some way- to the resources necessary to found Apple Computer. People must have a right to more than wages, if they want to be more than mere consumers, to improve their lot, or accomplish great things. The rights to acquire capital, through savings and financing, or to use it as one saw fit, without regard for tradition, cultural obligation, or fealty, were the victory and the trauma of capitalism’s birth.We have to understand what we are talking about if we want to identify it, let alone explain it, let alone improve it. 

  • Russell Ludwick

    Capitalism is a great concept, but lets face it.  It’s getting to the point where entire industries are being consolidated into bigger and bigger companies until they are monopolies or oligopolies.  Just look at the banking, electronics, meat, airlines, department stores etc. These companies are so big that the barriers to entry are so large nobody else can compete. Next thing you know, taco bell is the only restaurant, just like the movie Judge Dredd. All the wealth is being concentrated in a few companies and a few very rich people.

    • Isaep Stasko

      Exactly.  Now what is the solution?

      • Russell Ludwick

        No Clue! I don’t have any good suggestions.  According to Norm Chomsky and Star Trek, the  ideal would be no money at all where people do things for the advancement of humankind.  This isn’t even phathomable until we are visited by aliens and people can come together as humans beings.   

        • Isaep Stasko

          Your answer is about as realistic as any other.  But from what I understand the solution is similair to WWII but without the death.  Somehow “we the people” are motivated to pursue a long term investment that will altern our current market basket of goods and thus create demand for new products, producres, and new types of jobs.  Basically out with the old in with the new.  Concrete example would be if “we the people” bought out all the railroad track and then create a system to allow intermodal buses to enter like highway.  This would create a whole new consumption pattern centered in the inner cities free of cars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001048219334 Vic Volpe

    Private enterprise is a great concept for developing the economy a society needs for technical advancement.  The Chicago School of Economics has separated the values of a corporate culture from the more general public interest.  http://vicpsu.blogspot.com/2013/01/public-interest-and-corporate.html.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    Economic theory is just that; a theory. The reality is that in every society that has ever existed, there has always been a small group who controls most of the wealth, and then there is everyone else, whose prospects tend to vary from well-off on down to abject poverty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Hendrickson/1652586055 Joshua Hendrickson

      Not every society–just every post-agricultural society.

      There may be a way around it. I don’t have the answers, but when considering this problem of economics and the creation and control of wealth, I like to pose this question:

      How beholden to our imaginations are we human beings?

      We imagine gods, imagine money, imagine romantic notions of our sacred selves.

      If we can imagine a differently ordered world/society, it can be. Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to be imaginative enough to conceive of a different order. Our best answers to our large scale problems are always the equivalent of band-aids and aspirin, never cures or preventative measures.

      When John Lennon sang “imagine no possessions–I wonder if you can” he had it dead to rights. We all need things–certain minimums of certain things, at least. What we don’t need is an arbitrary measurement of worth that goes beyond those minimal requirements. I say, “imagine no such thing as money,” and then realize that, in truth, there is no such thing as money–it’s entirely a creation of our mass imagination. Economists may think of it as the necessary grease that enables the gears of society to mesh together, but it’s not the only such lubricant possible.

      Eventually, the world will be incapable of supporting any economic system that demands inequality. The only choice at that point will be a fresh reimagining of how society works, or no society at all.

  • Kevin Taylor

    Capitalism provides certain incentives and constraints on action, but the problems we’re talking about – i.e. environmental destruction, economic inequality – come down to morality and personal decision.

    There are businesses that choose inequality limits on wages and that pursue sustainable and environmental safe practices and there are businesses that clearly do not.

    I think blaming “capitalism” rather than the people making decisions points us in the wrong direction.

    • brettearle

      You’re right.

      But since it’s the only `game in town’ in America, it’s easy to point fingers at the System–rather than those who `Game the System.’

      We don’t wish to look at ourselves and see what we are doing wrong, No?

  • jefe68

    The Wall Street Ticking Time Bomb That Could Blow Up Your Bank Account

    Derivatives turn the financial system into a casino. And the House always wins.

    Putting the Brakes on the Wall Street End GameBesides eliminating the super-priority of derivatives, here are some other ways to block the Wall Street asset grab:

    (1) Restore the Glass-Steagall Act separating depository bankingfrom investment banking. Support Marcy Kaptur’s H.R. 129.

    (2) Break up the giant derivatives banks.  Support Bernie Sanders’ “too big to jail” legislation.

    (3) Alternatively, nationalize the TBTFs, as advised in the New York Times by Gar Alperovitz.  If taxpayer bailouts to save the TBTFs are unacceptable, depositor bailouts are even more unacceptable.

    (4) Make derivatives illegal, as they were between 1936 and 1982 under the Commodities Exchange Act. They can be unwound by simply netting them out, declaring them null and void.  As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, “the only major effect of closing out or netting all the swaps (mostly over-the-counter contracts between counter-parties) would be to take $230 trillion of leveraged risk out of the financial system.”

    (5) Support the Harkin-Whitehouse bill to impose a financial transactions tax on Wall Street trading.  Among other uses, a tax on all trades might supplement the FDIC insurance fund to cover another derivatives disaster.

    (6) Establish postal savings banks as government-guaranteed depositories for individual savings. Many countries have public savings banks, which became particularly popular after savings in private banks were wiped out in the banking crisis of the late 1990s.

    (7) Establish publicly-owned banks to be depositories of public monies, following the lead of North Dakota, the only state to completely escape the 2008 banking crisis. North Dakota does not keep its revenues in Wall Street banks but deposits them in the state-owned Bank of North Dakota by law.  The bank has a mandate to serve the public, and it does not gamble in derivatives.A motivated state legislature could set up a publicly-owned bank very quickly. Having its own bank would allow the state to protect both its own revenues and those of its citizens while generating the credit needed to support local business and restore prosperity to Main Street.

    From the article linked below:
    http://www.alternet.org/economy/wall-street-ticking-time-bomb-could-blow-your-bank-account?paging=off

    • Ray in VT

      One thing that concerned me with the interview with David Stockman last week was did he not say get rid of deposit insurance?  That shocked me. 

      • jefe68

        Well in a way Congress has. At least that’s my take on how Dodd/Frank will work if we have another huge derivative crisis.  According the Ellen Brown who wrote the article I linked above, and I quote: “Rather than banks being put into bankruptcy to salvage the deposits of their customers, the customers will be put into bankruptcy to save the banks.”

        That does not sound like a good plan to me.

        Bernie Sanders has a bill that would stop all of this and the 7 points posted above would bring some sense of stability and regulation back to what is clearly a system out of control.

        With all do respect to Mr. Stockman, I think his market based ideology is still in evidence.
        The US is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and by his analysis we are broke. I don’t buy it at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peterboyle.4848 Peter Boyle

    Do not confuse Capitalism and Markets.  When we had tight controls on Capitalism, a steeply graduated income tax, strong unions, and control of our trade (1935 – 1981) all boats were lifted and everyone prospered (well, most everyone).  The controls kept the money flowing to the workers, who bought things, thus stimulating more production (more jobs).  That paid off the bills from the Depression and WWII and made ever increasing home owners of the American worker.  Of course, we were the only intact world economy at that time, but much the same can be achieved now.  Basically Keynesian systems took from the top to build more infrastructure that all people enjoyed, and  which made production, transportation and security better for everyone.  Social safety nets took up the slack by helping the poor with subsistence, education, health care and shelter.  These social programs trained people for work, and educated people to be better citizens and workers.

    Long story made short, Uncle Milty Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics took an Austrian idea and created ‘Supply Side’ economics that proposed the concept that allowing the top people to get richer would stimulate them to create more jobs and the ‘Trickle Down Effect” would make workers prosperous too.  They sold a Hollywood actor, who could deliver his lines and hit the ‘mark’ on that concept and got him elected president of the US.  He sold ‘Supply Side’ to the public, and Maggie Thatcher, and it became “the new way to do things.” in a world still recovering from war.  All critics silenced, all doubters  banished and all politicians paid off, we deregulated everything, sold off all public assets, and declared that from now on Government would be run like a business.

    The sharks were now in the swimming pool.

    Once the Unions were castrated, trade barriers taken down, and most regulations removed, Capitalism transformed into Vampire Capitalism.  Workers were no longer paid what they were worth, they were paid as little as possible in order to increase profits.  When it was discovered that workers in foreign countries would work for far less than American workers, the American Capitalists moved their factories out of the US with the blessing of our government.  Not only were they allowed to take jobs from this country, they were allowed to keep the profits (for tax purposes) out of this country also, yet still claimed all the benefits of and American Corporation.  The workers were losing limbs in the pool and the government did nothing. 

    The US was no longer s place that made things, we were now a country that ‘serviced’ things…at lower wages.  by 2006 70% of GDP was the Financial Sector, which made nothing.  Our trade was severely in deficit because we made nothing anyone wanted.  The average American was in debt because they were lured into it by ‘the system’;  mortgages, revolving credit, new cars and boats, vacations, all sold us by clever advertising and easy credit.

    Sure we recovered from the inflationary period of the late 70′s, but that recovery gave us a far worse disease.   Rising personal debt caused by clever advertising.

    The crash came and the Capitalists dared ask the government for a bailout.  This was made easier to get since many government people in charge were straight from Wall Street.  The virulently anti Socialist politicians were now advocating socializing the losses of the gamblers on Wall Street, making the People pay, but they were still adamant that all profits be kept private.  The Too Big To Fail banks took our money and bought up other banks, thereby insuring the remained too big to fail.  Meanwhile organizations like ALEC keep writing laws that favor Capitalists, and getting their members in congress to pass them.

    Continuous growth is unsustainable, so are continuous profits.  Too Big To Fail means that they can do anything and depend on the public to bail them out.  We are being sold “austerity” because it is cheap for the top 1%, tho costly for the rest.  We are being told that the DEBT is the terrible threat, when it is less (as part of GDP) than any time in our history since 1933.  These 1% solutions are being sold by our Congress Critters, who are owned by the Capitalists. 

    The solution now, just as it was in 1930, is clear, but the 1% do not want it because it means substantial denigration of both their profits and their power.  First we have to place sever restrictions on Capitalism.  Next massive public spending on infrastructure, insuring that good wages are paid to American labor.  We have to allow workers to once again organize for both workers rights and safety, but also for fair wages.  We have to switch to a single payer Health Care – Medicare for all but with collective bargaining on drugs and services.  We have to educate our children to fill the jobs of the future, not the past.  We have to cut both the time and the ease of patents, and not allow patents on biological creations (such as plant or animal genetics).  Patents should be for 5 years only, and never extendable for any reason.  

    But we will do nothing because the People will not stand up and demand it.  Vampire Capitalism will continue to rule through the force of money.  The People will continue to pay for the losses of the Capitalists, we will still fight wars and interfere in other countries because the Capitalists want us to.  We will continue to let the top 1% blame it all on the lazy 99% who continually seek handouts and want a free ride.  We have learned nothing about government or capitalism except that we can do nothing about either.  Imagine our forefathers saying the same things in 1776 when they rebelled against the government (King George) and the Capitalists (The East India Tea Company). 

     

    • jimino

      Actually, Milton Friedman understood the reality of how the gains created by a capitalist system were distributed in the real world, and advocated for a “negative income tax”, described thus in an article written at the time of his death in 2006:

      “His proposal, which he called the negative income tax, was to replace
      the multiplicity of existing welfare programs with a single cash
      transfer — say, $6,000 — to every citizen. A family of four with no
      market income would thus receive an annual payment from the I.R.S. of
      $24,000. For each dollar the family then earned, this payment would be
      reduced by some fraction — perhaps 50 percent. A family of four earning
      $12,000 a year, for example, would receive a net supplement of $18,000
      (the initial $24,000 less the $6,000 tax on its earnings).”

      THAT is what conservative thought once was.  Now, associating the words “thought” and “Conservative” is an oxymoron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dhrosier Dreighton Rosier

    ESOP owned companies are a different form of capitalism.  It is a major omission that neither of the guests discussed them, and that the host did not raise the practice as a discussion topic.

    It will be helpful to consider the metaphysical existence of corporations separately by the nature of with whom the ownership lies:

    1. Individuals not active in the corporation (absentee landlords?).

    2. Relatively small fraction of active employees (executives, other high level).

    3. All employees, active with some minimum service, perhaps retirees too.

    4. Hybrid approaches, combinations of these 3, are very common.

    ESOPs, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, are a special case of 3.  Favorable statutory rights and requirements enhance their value to participants and employers, and indirectly the public.  Many books have been written about ESOPs, and enough books to fill libraries about the universe of these 4 categories.  Time for one war story.

    The most important existential mission of an ESOP is to provide each employee a sense of property in their job.  Most ESOP companies find their employee-owners taking an active role in building the company participating as their own ingenuity, interests and perspectives guide them.

    30 years ago a client hired me to design a very special ESOP to meet specific needs.  For the moment the important details are that the client was a retailer with $5 to $10 billion in annual sales.  Many of their employees were low income and seasonal.  This was the first of this special design ESOP to ever be installed (January 1983).  Employees would have to contribute to the program in order to participate, thus participation was voluntary.  We were concerned that there would be sufficient participation to have full access to all of the plan’s value.

    Suffice to say that acceptance was astounding among the great majority of the lowest income employees.

    Epilog

    8 years ago (plan in effect 22 years) I had occasion to shop at one of their retail stores.   I asked the clerk about the plan.  His reports were glowing and, when I briefly described my role, he was forthcoming expressing his gratitude for my contribution.

    I love it when my plans come together.

    • hennorama

      Dreighton Rosier – congratulations on a job well done.  It is often surprising when one’s offered advice is so well-taken.

      While ESOPs can and oftern do have considerable merit, they really are just another form of ownership and not really another form of capitalism.  Nearly all ESOPs are in privately held companies, and most are a means to provide owners with a way to cash out when they retire or otherwise leave the company.  A much smaller portion are designed primarily as employee benefits.

      There is some evidence that companies with ESOPs perform better that they might otherwise be expected to, and that ESOPs provide other benefits to both management and employees.  They also enjoy considerable tax advantages.

      But another form of capitalism?  No.

      Again, congrats on a job well done.

  • Bruce94

    In reply to Peter Boyle’s comment below (thanks Disqus!!??). For the most part, your narrative is certainly one I would agree with…a history lesson that many have forgotten or in denial of.  Funny how this supply-side, right-wing version of the “free lunch” (i.e. a tax cuts for the rich magically providing a cost-free, painless path to prosperity) got sold to the public as you correctly observe:

    By the machinations of one Hollywood ad man and B-movie actor who occupied the White House and, I would add, the narcissism and delusions of grandeur of one Hollywood B-screenplay writer known to most of us as Ayn Rand.

  • Bruce94

    Disqus error!!!

  • harverdphd

    Well, one thing for sure…none of the pudgie Keyboard Kommandos that inhabit this place on a regular basis will be nowhere near “the revolution” if it ever should come to that….which it won’t.

    • JGC

      You know so little about us.  Even as you type your pathetic comments with your weakling index fingers, we are resolutely stockpiling bulk arugula seed and sharpening our Rösle Extra Fine Straight Peelers and Philips TT2040/32 Bodygroom Pro w/ 3D Pivoting Head shavers.  We are ready. 

      • Steve__T

         ROTFLMAO You tell em JGC!

      • Gregg Smith

        I planted a bed of Arugala yesterday.

      • hennorama

        JGC – stockpiling bulk arugula seeds?  Please.

        Everyone knows we keep a rotating supply of arugula seedlings and plants in easy-to-transport carriers.  One simply cannot risk being without and instead having to wait to plant, water, grow, and harvest.

        Plus, we get the advantage of reducing our carbon footprint at all times.  I mean come ON, didn’t you get the email?

    • hennorama

      harverdphd – your hilarious double negative aside, one suspects that more than “[one] of the pudgie Keyboard Kommandos that inhabit this place on a regular basis” have been preparing for revolution for years, and are indeed well-equipped with various weapons, food, water, medicine, generators, hand-cranked and solar charging units, compasses, sleeping bags, backpacks and tents, duct tape and plastic sheeting, waterproof matches and firemaking implements, communication equipment, etc. etc. etc.

      Or at least they have more than a handful of the items on that list.  Of course, they might simply be preparing for a natural disaster or extended power outage.  Or maybe they just like camping.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Look. The 50s and 60s were the height of the cold war between the communists and the capitalists. AFAIK, we were the capitalists. We had top income tax rates of 80 and 90%, and corporations paid plenty, a telephone monopoly, the FAA told airlines where to fly, the FCC imposed “equal time” for opposing views and told media moguls how many outlets they could own, banks were not allowed to play the wall st casino, the gvt set the interest rates they could offer, CEOs made 50x a worker’s wages…. I could go on, but do you get the picture? There is no single “capitalism”. The capitalism of the 50s and 60s has very little resemblance to our current capitalism. Most of today’s pols and corporate media insiders would call the 50s-60s version socialism. Sorry, it was not. It was capitalism. We were not socialists while we were fightin’ the commies.

    ps with the “old” version, the middle class was sending kids to college on one parent’s income and buying vacation homes. But we can’t try that again, right? Ohhh no, that would be socialism. The economy would crash…even tho it did not the first time we tried high tax and high regulation capitalism. Aaargh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emma.mckennirey Emma McKennirey

    It seems to me that nowadays the people who benefit most from the most unbridled form of capitalism have appropriated the word democracy such that we can’t suggest or realize regulations that we saw in the post-war era that reined in and made capitalism work to generate that growth because that kind of thinking (the idea of a regulated form of capitalism) is now repeatedly portrayed as “anti-freedom” or “socialist” and as a result we are very unlikely to see another era of overall prosperity that we saw in the post-war era but instead we’ll continue toward and more and more unfettered capitalism.  Capitalism without a guiding hand, or conscience, will simply do what it does best ultimately leading us toward a small number of extremely rich and large numbers of exploited.  

    • LogicalChemist

       Both ends of the spectrum are responsible for the degradation of the regulatory environment.  It took a bi-partisan cabaal to repeal the Glass-Stegl act which kep the banks and reined in.  It took a lot of bipartisan support to give us some of the onerous regulations now coming out of Washington.  The Clean Air Act, actually a very good pieces of legislation, has been turned completely on its head through regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1582005107 Mike Gordon

    For people immigrating to the United States, the idea that anyone could be successful in America became one of the underpinnings of capitalism.  While that idea still holds some truth, it is certainly much more difficult because of the wealth inequity between economic groups.  The middle class – however one defines it – has always been the goal and driving force for achievement in the US. 

    The frustration we see today comes from the inability for many Americans to rise above poverty and lower middle class because of the lack of a job, wealth or another path to claim the original American dream.  Our definitions of capitalism are different and varied – depending on where you are economically.  I doubt that Wall Street billionaires define capitalism in the same way that a blue collar worker does.

    Finally, the jobs that drive our economy have changed.  Factory workers in an industrial environment are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  Service workers and skilled workers are in demand.  Surprisingly, skilled semi-professional and professional jobs go unfilled because those looking for work lack the skills’ training.

    • donniethebrasco

       The government has pushed down wages by creating a support system.  Lower wage workers have no choice but to sign up for government programs instead of demanding higher wages, because the labor market has been skewed to take into account government programs for the poor.

      Walmart, McDonalds, etc. love this.

      • jefe68

        What? 

      • jimino

        A more perfect illustration of “back-ass-ward” could not be devised.

  • Harry Valencia

    Capitalism as a n economic system parallels human behavior and is the main reason why it is so appealing and easy to follow but also just like human behavior capitalism is self-destructive if left unchecked. During the boom years of the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s capitalism in the United States had a healthy infussion of democracy and social justice for white males. Following the civil rights movememt and the browning of America during the 70′s, 80′s and so on the US has implemented a form of capitalism that benefits a small minority of mostly white males, backed by an electorate composed of those white males from the 40′s and 50′s who are now retired and enjoy the benefits of retirement accounts provided by employers and by legislation which gives them the time to go rally against those who seek the same benefits for the working americans of today.

  • LogicalChemist

    A couple of points-  The post world war II era is a very unique period that does not provide any real insight into how capitalism and markets operate.  The US came out of the war as virtually the only intact industrail economy with huge natural resources and huge international markets that no other country could even begin to fill.  Fortunately we took the high road and tried to rebuild the countries devastated by the war and as a result had really boom years from 1948-1972.  Other than the international rebuilding plans there really were no planned policies that had any real positive or negative effect.  Just about anything could and did work just because of the big market imbalances.

    As far as free markets and capialiism goes, the ideas behind them are good ones for the most part.  Relstively free markets are very good at setting prices.  Ideas such as specialization introduces more efficiency into the economic process.  However, like any human endeavor the results are not pre-ordained.  Good, honest, charitable, people can do very well building good, honest, companies that provide many good jobs and are great places to work.  Venal, dishonest, selfish, egomaniiacs can also build successfull companies, but they can exploit workers, ignore safety, and take the wealth for themselves instead of spreading it around.

    I worked for the Hershey Company for quite a few yars.  It is a good example for the period 1900-1972 of a good company founded by a good man which benefitted many people besides himself.  One quote, when asked why hid didn’t replace the ditch diggers with machines and save money his reputed to have said “well, then they wouldn’t have any money to buy chocolate or feed their families.”

    On the other side some bad examples were the atrocious conditions in some of the New England textile mills where the workers were virtual slaves.

  • LogicalChemist

     to a point down below,  the only way to really shake up the current system is to simply destroy it and start over.  10 yrs or so ago I saw some economic research that essentially used a game to simulate an economy(Monopoly on steroids).  They found that if all the players started on with the same capital very quickly simple luck would start to cause unequal outcomes and after a period of time the “economy” stabilised with most of the wealth in the hand of the few.  They tried different rules, etc., with no effect.  The only way to get equallty was to overturn the board and start over.

    So I think it highly unlikely that any legislation or regulation is going to have much effect.  Possibly simply liquidating any company or investment that captures more than say  20% of it’s market is automatically closed down and the business assets sold off.

    • pete18

      First of all, Monopoly is not a model for free market capitalism. It’s a board game. Secondly, the goal of a free market is not equality of income it’s equality of access and
      opportunity. Since the world is made up of human beings, who by nature are different, with varying interests, desires, backgrounds and abilities, there is no way to create a system that results in “equality” of outcome nor it is desirable. Thank god there are some people who want to teach, others that want to become surgeons, carpenters, mathematicians and poets. What is desirable is having a system that allows everyone to have the freedom to choose what they will do, buy and spend money on, and earn as much as they desire according to their abilities, experience and choices. What happens in reality, which is different than on a Monopoly board, is that people move up and down through the various income brackets over time. This continues to be the case, even as the upper brackets grow, and has been demonstrated by numerous long term studies.

      Equality of results can only be achieved through a dictatorial government system that suppresses choice and freedom and will make everyone equally miserable. But I doubt that anyone, even you, really wants that.

      • Doubting_Thomas12

        Actually, the game Monopoly IS a good example of what happens in a truly free market. People are people, they’re not machines. They won’t let other players have a fair chance if they can help it, and certainly won’t let their empire fall apart even if it would be the right thing to do.

  • JoshuaShannon

    What a fantastic show!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Such a refreshing change from the media’s obsessive interest in the minor issue of the moment.  Actually to hear historians of capitalism putting our current problems in context–who would have thought?  Thanks again!

  • Fredlinskip

    The answers are abundantly clear:
     1) Slash regulation tying the hands of business- Capitalism operates to the most benefit of Americans without crippling regulatory practice. 
    2) Cut taxes to grow economy- Business need certainty to operate effectively; excessive taxes simply stifle productivity forcing layoffs. Cut corporate tax to 25% and there will be more growth, more hiring, and more “revenue” with which to use to pay down nation’s crippling debt.
    3) Continue to promote idea of “service economy”- globalization has deemed this to be such. “World is Flat” manufacturing jobs will continue to pay less and less. Might as well let China, India, 3rd world have those jobs. 
    4) Hire the best and brightest from all over the world.
    5) Allow America’s health care system, the best in the world , to continue to operate within private sector as much as possible. Health Care System is currently America’s most profitable service industry- with best capability of good paying jobs.
    6) Let unfettered “market forces” rule to the benefit of all

    • Doubting_Thomas12

      How would you then propose to stop monopolies from forming? I’m all for letting the banks go bust next time, I have no need to support gamblers and bucket houses. But how do you propose to ensure deposits, without FDIC insurance? Glass-steagall was great, but the banks got rid of it and here we are today.

      And how would you propose to make healthcare a true free market? Right now it is far from it, and that’s without Obamacare. (hint- saying “get rid of obamacare!” will simply put us back to where we were before, with even worse a problem)

      • Andrew_MN

        In a truly capitalistic society monopolies can’t last. They either face competition from an alternative product/service or they eventually ruin themselves financially buying up their competitors. The only way they could really survive is with some sort of government backing. 

        Why should we be insuring deposits at all? I admit that we probably have to in our current system, but even with it the FDIC doesn’t have nearly enough funds to cover everyone’s deposits. People will eventually have to be more cognizant of where they put their money.

        Healthcare could easily (although painfully at first) be returned to a free market ideal. The first step would be a return to using insurance only for emergencies or major medical expenses. A lack of transparency and having third parties cover most of the bills hides much of the cost of healthcare and getting this out in the open would go a long way to helping us fix the problems in the system. 

        • Doubting_Thomas12

          Right, but that is assuming that we live in a vacuum. We don’t. Things affect us that we don’t always have control over; monopolies come to be and then lobby to pass laws to protect themselves, often at our own expense. They keep working for decades, sometimes centuries. China for example has lots of these, and they are propped up by the government. Want to bet they may not be such a great thing later on down the road, when they drive other companies out of business?

          We insulate those lower down on the ladder from the devastating consequences of financial engineering and gambling with other people’s money, because it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise this free market you’re such a fan of would cease to exist, because our current economic system would completely break down. We’d be left bartering, because why the hell would I trust my money in a bank if I know it might burn down or the owner might walk away with my money?

          Anarchy isn’t a great system. Libertarian principles are great on paper, not so great when applied to the real world. Nobody wants to fail, and they’re often willing to go outside the system to make sure they don’t.

          • Andrew_MN

            Libertarian ideals are not really anarchy. Libertarianism is grounded in the rule of law and involves individuals living their lives freely as long as they respect the rights of others. 

            You are correct in thinking that I am fan of free markets, however, I would argue that we don’t actually have free markets. Our current situation is leaning toward mercantilism or is essentially ‘crony capitalism.’ 

            I would also add that while the government pays lip service to helping out the poor almost every policy in place does more to harm than good. 

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            Of course we don’t have free markets- we have straight up corporate socialism, as you correctly call crony capitalism. Who said I’m not a fan of them? I have seen far too many people argue for “free markets” who said that they supported the bailouts and we should just move on like nothing happened.

            Libertarian ideals are grounded in rule of law, but someone always comes to fill the vacuum and it ends up being anarchy, or eventually something resembling feudalism. If everyone just minded themselves it would not, but not everyone does.

            The government certainly pays lots of lip service, but always ends up helping the big banks or other large donors to politician’s bank accounts instead. I’ve seen some policies help the poor firsthand, so I must disagree with you. Others, while generally good intentioned, don’t end up translating well at the “boots on the ground” level. And a lot of them simply are worded to sound like they help the poor, again while helping the banks and most corrupt financial institutions.

          • Andrew_MN

            I did not intend to imply that you were necessarily a fan of our current economic situation, rather, I sought only to clarify my own position. I also find the pro-bailout-yet-somehow-supporting-free-markets people to be part of the problem.

            I don’t think I would describe a society grounded in the rule of law a vacuum. Problems arise when our politicians expand government beyond its constitutional bounds all the while promising everyone a free lunch. There is no such thing as a free lunch and the ones serve by the government end up being some of the most expensive.

            It is entirely possible to have a free economy without it devolving into anarchy. We just need to elect better politicians.

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            Interesting- hopefully I haven’t come off as too aggressive, since it seems that we aren’t really arguing with each other. You seem to be a “real” Libertarian, not one of the phonies that use Libertarian ideals to argue for cronyism in disguise.

            Now that’s something we can all agree on. I just see far too many wealthy individuals claiming that they’re taking care of the moocher class, when they’re the ones that got a massive interest free bailout (ironically far larger than the entitlement cost for more than a decade and a half). Ironically, the wealthiest man I know started his own business from scratch, and  told me once in private that provided he gets to keep his yacht and cliffside beach house, he doesn’t mind helping to chip in extra during a downturn to pay for schooling and basic services for his town. If people do their part, he’s more than willing to do his.

            You’re right, it IS possible to do, and it’s the idea we should strive for. The only point of contention we might have is when people honestly do need help, and when they had the misfortune to be born into poverty. A good example would be “special needs” children, some of which are geniuses in disguise. The benefits they can potentially bring the the table that we all harvest from far outweigh the cost of services they need. Trouble is when this is expanded far beyond the original batch. But that’s a much longer conversation for a different day.

            Anyways, good talk, more to think about on my end. I feel I understand you better; Hopefully I clarified my own position better for you.

    • thinkster

      #2 is insanely wrong. Businesses don’t hire because they have more profits. They hire to meet consumer demand. Bad neocon… no donut.

      • Gregg Smith

        Supply comes first.

        • hennorama

          Nonsense, as usual.

          • Gregg Smith

            You can’t create demand by passing around other peoples money. Thinkster claims businesses don’t hire because they have more profits, that’s backwards. Businesses expand (hire) to make more profit. 

            How much demand for iPhones was there 10 years ago? When the last iPhone came out it was said by some economist that sales were so high it affected GDP. 

            It’s not a chicken or egg thing, it’s a horse and cart thing but thanks for your thoughtful response.

          • thinkster

            If lower taxes and record profits meant more hiring, WHERE are the jobs now? For the past decade, the US has had the lowest top tax rates in its history (and even in comparison with its global competitors) with RECORD profits, yet where are the jobs? That’s right, the rich are pocketing their increased profits. Reaganomics is pure fantasy and every economist knows it.

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s just not true, the top rate was lower under Reagan. After 4 years of raging wars and tax cuts revenue grew by over a half trillion and the unemployment rate fell.

          • thinkster

             Um, wars are run by “passing around other people’s money” and is the #1 industry. Your logic fails, especially when you ignore the fact that Reagan raised taxes FOUR times AND left massive deficits from his budgets. You CAN live well on the credit card, but neocons never like it when the bill is due and has to be paid… then they blame the Democrats. On the other hand, Clinton cut military spending, raised tax rate higher and the economy boomed. Look for facts, not ideology to form your opinions…

          • Gregg Smith

            Alrighty then.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roscoe.taylor.52 Roscoe Taylor

            But mainly due to relaxing interest rates due to the waning influence of the oil shock on inflation. 

          • http://twitter.com/bbelgard Brian Belgard

            I think you mean, lowest tax rates since WWII. Seeing as the income tax is less than 100 years old, I find this statement pretty unbelievable. 

          • thinkster

            “lowest top tax rate in its history” that implies in the history of there being top tax rates.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roscoe.taylor.52 Roscoe Taylor

            Not even close to being true as taxes are not just on personal income.  US has the highest corporate tax rate in the OECD.  There was no income tax prior to the civil war.  Agree that Reaganomics is awful, but please state the facts as they are, not as you may want them to be.

          • thinkster

            RE: “higest corporate tax racte” i suggest you read “As Foreign Profits Rise, Corporate Tax Rates Fall” By Peter Orszag on Bloomberg, for the facts as they are. 

          • Isaep Stasko

            No but the increased money supply is necessary for building a new competing economy using consumers having no purchasing power who are hunger to work.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “April Fool” Smith – You’re even more foolish than usual if you think Apple would build products without already knowing there was demand for them. Your use of the iPhone as an example is truly silly, as there clearly was demand for this product as evidenced by the long lines of people who waited for stores to open when it was first released. And your timeline of ten years ago is equally foolish. At that time there was enormous demand for cell phones and PDAs. Building a device that was essentially a combination of the two was a no-brainer, but the software and components were either unavailable or too large or expensive to make such a combined product feasible.

            Thinkster is absolute correct – Businesses don’t hire because they have more profits. They hire because they see a clear reason for doing so – increased demand for products/services, they need admin. help, they have to train new employees in anticipation of losing experienced ones,, etc. Employers are not in business for altruistic reasons – they are in it for profits as you said. Given the massive costs of human resources – wages, benefits, administration, taxes, insurance, etc., no employer takes on new people without a high expectation of resultant profits from the new worker’s efforts.

            Only foolish people or speculators hire or build supply without anticipated or demonstrable demand.

            You yourself prove this with your own business. Why aren’t you expanding by building more stalls and adding to supply for your horse boarding services? If you build supply first, then demand will come, right? You previously said the reason was “If we don’t have a stall building one is not an option when there are many other farms supplying them.” This proves that supply does not create demand, as there is significant additional supply available, but not enough additional demand to fill it and allow you to expand. Again, isn’t supply supposed to create demand?

            The “trickle-down” or “supply side” economic theory is truly nonsense. (And the term “trickle-down” brings to mind the apt old joke “Don’t pee on my leg and then tell me it’s raining!”)

            Here’s how it’s supposed to work: cut taxes and regulations which will make it easier for businesses to produce (“supply”) services and goods. The resulting economic growth and increased profits will increase overall tax revenue at lower rates. The “job creators” will rise up en masse and hire people left and right.

            This is pretty widely discounted as silliness and bunk. Anyone who has owned a business knows this stuff is nonsense. The “job creator” is supposed to think “Wow! My taxes are lower now, so I’m going to hire someone today, someone who I didn’t need and couldn’t profit from by hiring them yesterday! Jeeves, get human resources on the phone right away!”

            What would really happen? The employer would simply pocket the savings from the lowered taxes and/or lower regulatory costs.

            Large corporations are holding TRILLIONS of dollars in cash. Does anyone think that they are not putting this money to profitable use because they think their taxes are too high? Or that they aren’t hiring people for the same reason?

            Why are they sitting on this cash? This is a pretty big supply, so where’s the resulting demand for this cash? Why aren’t they already producing more and increasing the supply of goods and services, and the resultant jobs, if this would work so well? There’s also a massive supply of available labor. If supply creates demand, why are so many people still out of work?

            Could it be that business people are instead not seeing any demand for their products and services, so they are not investing in more equipment and jobs? Do they see unmet demand, and therefore unrealized profits? Are they just sitting on their hands, foregoing those profits, until they can get lower tax rates? Of course not.

            If that was true, then this would be the logic (obviously simplified for the sake of brevity): Let’s say a corporate employer can make $10,000 of profit from hiring 1 new employee. Let’s assume the corp.’s Federal tax rate is 35% currently. So the after-tax profit is $6500. Now let’s assume the tax rate is lowered to 25%. Now they have $7500 after-tax.

            This is great, right? But do you really believe that a corporation would sit on its cash, giving up $6500 of after-tax profit year after year, waiting for a tax cut? Hard to make a case for that, right? If they did, management would soon be out of work.

            Business would love lower taxes, of course. But that’s not the reason they aren’t hiring. Lack of strong demand is what’s holding them back. The private economy – individuals and businesses – continue paying down debt and adding to savings, rather than borrowing and spending. Witness again the trillions corporations are holding, for example.

            This is unlikely to change quickly, which is why I believe the recovery will continue to be “The BBQ Recovery” – low and slow.

          • Bruce94

            Excellent rejoinder…I happened to know a horse whisperer who also boarders, and I don’t think Gregg has a response to the cogent point you made about his own business.  Indeed, I think I can hear him crying uncle right about now. 

            Like so many low-information voters, he’s still under the spell of the stardust of Hollywood hucksters like Reagan as well as the pixie dust of Austrian Economists who developed “Say’s Law” named after Jean Baptiste Say, an economist who lived in the 19th century–an era that Gregg and his ilk would evidently want to restore :-)

          • hennorama

            Bruce94 – TY for your kind words.

            As to Smith – I would not classify him as a “low-information voter”. Rather, he is a passionate true believer. He is not without information; on the contrary, he has significant information available to him, and to which he sometimes refers.

            Neither is Smith stupid. Rather, he is stubborn and oftentimes ignorant.

            Two of his quotes that I find most telling are “I don’t care what the dictionary says” and his more recent “I just now got around to reading all that” written AFTER replying to a post.

            TY again for your kind words, and for bringing up Monsieur Say. Perhaps it is Mr. Say being referred to by Francis Scott Key, when he wrote, Oh Say, can you see?” in the Star Spangled Banner.

          • Bruce94

            You’re right. My characterization of Gregg was off the mark & bordered on snarky. I do believe that many of the Reagan faithful esp. Reagan Democrats, who would find Gregg’s arguments plausible, were/are in fact ill-informed, and supported/voted for “the Gipper” against their own economic interests because they were duped by Reagan’s glad handing style over substance.

          • hennorama

            Bruce94 – TY for your reply. I appreciate and respect your views. No worries – when Smith is involved, snark is seldom far removed.

            Indeed there are legions of ill-informed and easily manipulated voters. Twas ever thus, and twill ever be.

            We also have the more recent issue of significantly lower attention spans, which may help explain how Mssrs. Romney and Ryan paid very little political price for repeated changes of positions during the Presidential campaign.

            The average adult attention span has declined 33% in just the last 12 years, from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2012. As a comparison, the average goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. This may mean some will tend to believe the last thing they hear that “Sounds good” since their brains are so much more short-term oriented. They may fail to recall the prior statements and positions that are the exact opposite of the latest messages.

            TY again for your response.

          • Gregg Smith

            It went right over your head. Read my replies to Thinkster and Isaep, maybe that’ll help. 

          • hennorama

            Gregg “April Fool” Smith – Nothing went over my head, and you ignoring the fact that your own business disproves your nonsense does nothing to help your cause.  Nor does ignoring my refutation of your nonsensical “demand comes first” using YOUR example of Apple’s iPhone.

            As stated, your words are nonsense, as usual.

          • Gregg Smith

            Nor does ignoring my refutation of your nonsensical “demand comes first” using YOUR example of Apple’s iPhone.

            I said “supply” comes first. I told you it went over your head.  BTW, I didn’t invent supply-side economics theory.

          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – TY for pointing out my error. I made a mistake. What I find encouraging is that even when misquoting your words, I still wrote the truth.

            BTW, admitting an obvious and proven error is not a sign of weakness. NOT admitting an obvious and proven error is a sign of inflexibility and a closed mind.

            Just FYI.

            No one said you “invent[ed] supply-side economics theory.” I personally said ” ‘trickle-down’ or ‘supply side’ economic theory is truly nonsense” and that has been shown time and again.

            TY again for pointing out my error.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “April Fool” Smith – no one said ANYTHING about your absolutely unsupported claim that “You can’t create demand by passing around other peoples money.”

            Taht aside, Fredlinskip was talking about regulation of business, business taxes (corporate tax rates, specifically), a “service economy”, hiring the best and brightest worldwide, health care, and “market forces”.

            To which you replied “Supply comes first.” This is nonsense. Your own responses, whci you so helpfully point to, indicate that “There is always demand for something even if it doesn’t exist …”.

            In the real world, if “There is ALWAYS demand for something even if it doesn’t exist” then DEMAND comes BEFORE supply. Unless a thing can be in supply without also being in existence, that is.

            Thank you for once again proving yourself wrong, with your very own words. Well done, sir.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re just in the clouds. We’re not talking about the existential universe.I’m not assuming a world where no one wants or needs anything but you are stuck assuming that’s what I mean.

            I’m talking about the economy, specifically Keynesian vs. supply-side. 

            The notion of government spending money on jobs to put money in people’s pockets so they will spend it creating demand and thereby spurring growth is whacked in my view.

          • Gregg Smith

            I just now got around to reading all that. Just so you know (because you obviously think you do) we had no boarders until we built stalls. We built the indoor arena before we found the colleges to compete in it. I was telling Brett about a music project I’m working on. I wrote the songs before I got the job as the film’s composer. It’s all about supply and the ability of entrepreneurs to identify it and put their money at risk to supply it. 

          • Bruce94

            Actually, Gregg’s regurgitation of “Say’s Law” that “supply creates demand” brings to mind another aspect of capitalism that others have already commented on: growth mania.  Those who promote expansion of production and consumption without limits (and without taking into account the actual direct and indirect costs of such expansion) usually point to two imperatives:  globalization and technical innovation to achieve  growth ad infinitum.  Implied in Gregg’s comment/Say’s Law is another way to pursue growth thru the creation of artificial demand or needs (a discussion we had back in the 80′s) by means of manipulating consumers with mass media advertising and other strategies some of which border on fraud.

            Maybe the efficacy or sustainability (or lack of efficacy, etc.) of this  approach to growth could be grist for another show/conversation.

            Thanks for taking the time to reply and I obviously appreciate your views.

        • thinkster

          Ever heard “necessity is the mother of invention”? The first premise of capitalism that you see a need and you fill it. Sure there are also instances when some new gadget is put out on the market and people love it and want it… but that can still be described as seeing a need and filling it. Every first year Economics student knows that demand  comes first… in other words, first there must be a need for that product whether obvious or latent… and when that product is put out the demand goes to it. Generally speaking, creating products without demand is not a good move if you want to make money.

          • Gregg Smith

            I actually agree. There is always demand for something even if it doesn’t exist but Government is ill-equipped to do identify demand. When someone in the private sector identifies a demand, puts their own money at risk in hopes of a profit and manufactures a product to meet the demand they are much more likely to succeed than when government tries to create demand by passing around other people’s money. There is no down side to losing other people’s money. No one seems to care about trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Look at the Chevy Volt.

            If Government would just get out of the way of businesses and let them gamble in the marketplace of ideas with their own capital, innovation happens and products are manufactured and sold. The supply creates the demand.

          • Isaep Stasko

            Problem:  Although your model of private sector responding to demand is correct, it does not solve the problem in aggregate or macro.  Here is why.  Profits get spread across too many producers as every consumer with purchasing power has everything they want in the market.  We over produce and    there is therefore no “need’ to invest in new form of production.  The economy stagnant   Solution is to create new foundation based on new technology which then private builds a new and economy on that competes with the existing saturated one.

          • Gregg Smith

            You are of course correct but that’s where innovation comes in. The technology is in constant flux, the universe of ways to untilize it increases exponentially on a regular basis.

            I think we agree.

          • hennorama

            Gregg “I never lie” Smith – How many times can you prove yourself wrong, WITH YOUR VERY OWN WORDS, and then continue to believe that you are right?

            Allow me to quote you , Mr. “April Fool” Smith:

            You wrote this to [thinkster]: When someone in the private sector identifies a demand, puts their own money at risk in hopes of a profit and manufactures a product to meet the demand they are much more likely to succeed than when government tries to create demand by passing around other people’s money.” AND further –

            “The supply creates the demand.” Those words are of course at odds with illogical compared to your prior words “When someone in the private sector identifies a demand … and manufactures a product to meet the demand …”

            Then you wrote this to [hennorama]: “It’s all about supply and the ability of entrepreneurs to identify it and put their money at risk to supply it.”

            So which is? Does “the private sector identif[y] a demand, [put] their own money at risk in hopes of a profit and manufactures a product to meet the demand”

            - OR -

            is it “all about supply and the ability of entrepreneurs to identify it and put their money at risk to supply it.”

            Which does business “identify” first, sir? Demand or supply?

            All of the above are your words. All are nonsense.

            You cannot have it both ways.

            Go back to the horses. You clearly are an expert in horse manure, as demonstrated above.

    • pete18

       Hey, what have you done with Fredlinskip? Who is this guy?

    • Isaep Stasko

      Hey Fred…your policy lead to both the great depression and the great recession…how does that Peter Phramton song go….”lets do it again”

    • http://www.facebook.com/roscoe.taylor.52 Roscoe Taylor

      Too many problems with the above prescription.
      1) Much regulation should be slashed, but much is also necessary. I like safe food for example.
      2) Cutting taxes rarely reduces deficits in the short or long term.  Cutting taxes that cost a lot to collect can improve things, but income tax and in particular corporate taxes based on independent audits, are not that inefficient. Cutting deficits should always rely on a balance of spending cuts and tax increases.
      3) Manufacturing in America covers millions of good jobs.  We should strive to make it a good deal to employ an American in any industry (education, rule of law, infrastructure).
      4) The one good point.  Restricting H1-B visas and forcing students with PhDs to leave when they complete their study is very stupid. 
      5) the health care in the US is the most expensive despite leaving many uninsured (excluding Norway).  It also comes almost last in terms of health outcomes for its population. The best 1% or so is the best in the world with ground breaking treatments.  The majority of the rest is a very poor deal that is bankrupting government (medicare is projected to consume the entire budget by 2030).
      6) Let competition benefit all.  Less regulated monopolies, misleading pricing (such as fees added on after agreeing on a price), opaque markets.  Health care is the best case in point.  If I need a procedure, how can I compare what the total cost will be from different providers? 

    • Fredlinskip

      I think if people would stop long enough to allow common sense to prevail, that it would be obvious that every one of the above positions are fundamentally flawed; and taken together represent a school of thought very detrimental to our nation (POSSIBLE exception #4).
          I submitted them in the hopes of provoking thought and perhaps debate.
      Thanks

      • Bruce94

         Good to see the Fredlinskip I’ve gotten to know and respect on this forum is back and that there was indeed a method in your madness!  For a minute there I thought you had gone over to the Dark Side :-)

        • pete18

          I thought he finally wised up.

          • Bruce94

            I respect your views, but I thought he had undergone a frontal lobotomy :-)

  • thinkster

     And if lower taxes and record profits equated to more jobs, with the lowest tax rates in US history AND the modern western world, and record profits, WHERE IS THE HIRING?! Reaganomics is roundly recognised by economists as pure fantasy, cooked up by the rich.

    • http://www.facebook.com/roscoe.taylor.52 Roscoe Taylor

      Not quite that simple.  Business are not investing in large part due to Washington constantly engaging in brinkmanship. Firs the debt ceiling, then tax cuts expiring, sequester and debt ceiling coming up again soon.  All of these crisis in what is a weak economy will overwhelm investment decisions

      • Gregg Smith

        There is no confidence and it’s so important. 

    • hennorama

       thinkster – not to mention the enormous supply of corporate cash (Trillions of USD $) that is not being used, combined with the enormous supply of available labor.
      Such a combination can mean multiple things:

      1. Corporations have no need for capital, and no need for labor. They see little in the way of sustained demand from the private and government sectors, and are therefore “keeping their powder dry” and are waiting for demand to increase.

      2. Corporations see many opportunities, and need capital and labor, but are instead forgoing profits from putting capital and labor to productive and profitable use only because they feel they are overburdened by regulations and taxes.

      Did I miss anything?

      • thinkster

         The fact that in a globalised economy, transnational corporations are no longer focused as much on the US economy, and instead are offshoring their taxable profits, their production AND their marketing efforts on the emerging economies. Good points though.

        • hennorama

          thinkster – TY for your response, and your kind words. I respect and appreciate your views.

          Indeed, corporations, especially multinationals, are doing just fine. They pay less than 8% of total Federal revenues, even as they’ve had record profits.

          As you say, these super-large businesses can shift their operations fairly easily and quickly. This allows them to play various tax authorities against each other, holding jobs and operations and tax revenues hostage in order to get the best tax deal.

          As it stands now, they don’t even have to pay US taxes on non-repatriated foreign profits. So now, during this economic recovery, they are trying to get an even BETTER deal, pushing for a one-time tax holiday for repatriated foreign profits. One big problem – it doesn’t result in much in the way of new jobs or investment, as a study of the well-documented failure of the 2004 holiday shows:

          “Higher levels of repatriations . . . were not associated with increased domestic capital expenditures, domestic employment, or research and development expenditures. . . . Even firms that increased contributions to Congressmen responsible for drafting the [repatriation provisions of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004] and that belonged to a lobbying coalition that asserted that the tax holiday would allow them to increase domestic investment did not significantly increase their domestic expenditures. [Dhammika Dharmapala, C. Fritz Foley, and Kristin Forbes, "Watch What I Do, Not What I Say: The Unintended Consequences of the Homeland Investment Act," Journal of Finance, June 2011.]”

          Source:http://www.taxanalysts.com/www/features.nsf/Articles/5FA661506CD7982F85257A320069A85F?OpenDocument

          Thank you again for your thoughtful response.

  • http://twitter.com/bbelgard Brian Belgard

    So why did Reagan begin planning tax increases months after his cuts went into place? Answer, the deficit these cuts caused scared the bejesus out of his few traditional conservative advisors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1257904250 Jeff Weinberger

    This show should have been called “How we can save Capitalism,” rather than ‘A Second Look.’ Next time, how about having some guests who might actually represent a fundamental questioning of Capitalism based on its inherent contradictions, like exploitation, rather than a bias that Capitalism can and/or should be saved.

    • Isaep Stasko

      Keynes answered question and saved capitalism when world was wrestling with stock market crash and spreading communism.  Read John Galbraith, “Affluent Society”  Today one could coin the answer as “Economic Social Investment Theory” 

  • Gordon Green

    This was a great show.  The guests were extremely insightful, with ideas and perspectives I hadn’t heard before.  Thank you.

  • TJPhoto40

    The topic is a good one, but this show didn’t really inform or illuminate as it should have.  The guests may be knowledgeable and even have insights, but they seemed pretty weak at presenting their knowledge here, especially Ms Ott.  Disappointing, because this could have been lively and provoked much more thought and debate. 

  • Radical___Moderate

    We’ve been ignoring the normative economic policies of the church (and the church has at times)  for a centuries. Studt Catholic Social Teaching as seen in “Economic Justice for All”(1986) I cannot help you in your faith, but as I scientist, I know that science cannot explain everything. We know very little about anything in our universe truly.
    We are, in the words of Anita Moorjani, “more than our biology.”
    The ultimate binary equation remains: If the there is no God, there is no us. We would be but Cartesian automotons and all of our thoughts and emotions are irrelevant subjective and groundless illusions. And therefore, all of our economic ideas will remain bogus and self-serving “isms” that we will continue to dupe ourselves with.
    Whether you like it or not, we area Judeo-Christian oriented culture. And thank God we are for you can easily see how other cultures treat women and science! Example; Egypt!

    • Doubting_Thomas12

      Tell me about it man… it’s scary to think of sometimes. Hell even atheism in China or Cambodia didn’t work out so well for science, at least for thirty years as “stinking intellectuals” were systematically rooted out and murdered.

      I’m both (Christian and a scientist), and very happy to be living here with folks like you. God bless America.

      • Radical___Moderate

        Thanks much. I am a Christian and an advocate and practitioner of science. I believe mankind, i his arrogance and hubris believes he knows far more than he does. The universe, microcosmically and macrocosmically, remains 99.9% mystery and it would be unwise for anyone to profess anything too certainly. Thus, I have more respect for the intellectual honesty of agnostics more than I do atheists. Anyway, I too believe in the liberty to believe in our country. “Evangelical atheists and their very scary secular inquistion” I find far more threatening to society than  anything coming out of churches these days.
        God Bless

  • Radical___Moderate

    Look at us all prattling on, rattling on, battling on in our “opinions” and “theories.” We are, myself included, laughable little proles. In the end, the plutocratic, plutonomic, kelptocratic, and oligarchic ones will rule and determine who gets what and how. “They” own and control the political system and we were all sold out in Sept. 2008.
    No matter what system you put it place, economic history will show that the “1%” if you will, will rule the day! For more on this for all of you “scholars” who are interested read, in its entirety, Robert Michels “Political Parties.”

    • Fredlinskip

      Income gap has not “always” been as extreme as it currently is. Social mobility has been greater in past. Middle class stronger.
      It has not “always” been this way.

      But perhaps you’re right- open discussion of these issues should be ridiculed. Public opinion should be molded by monied interests- not by democratic process of sharing ideas.

      • Radical___Moderate

        No my friend. You’ve got me wrong. Discuss all you want, as we are here. Just know that in our broken two party political gerrymandered duopoly, with Citizens United, the rejection by both parties of publicly funded campaigns, and a corporate and slanted media (FOX, MSNBC, etc. even NPR quite often and sadly) you and I cannot truly expected a dazed, confused, overly gadgeted, essentially clueless and aloof and detached American public to be able to do much more than they always do — which is: WORK, PAY, AND OBEY! Did you expect Obama to the populist messiah???
        At least he is better than Mitt Romulus and Paul Rand…I mean Ryan.

        • Fredlinskip

          Fair points.
          I think NPR, especially this show and Diane Rhem, do the best in depth analysis of issues and would be sorely missed if taken off air.
          News programs all over spectrum attempt to pander to both sides (Progressives, Conservatives), which is a tough walk.
          In a more perfect world they would ‘pander’ to the truth and let “chips fall where they may”. 
             Had they had integrity to do so after 9/11, for example, perhaps there would have been no Iraq War.

          • Radical___Moderate

            I do agree with you. NPR does remain the most informative and therefore best popular media source, in my opinion. I am just a bit jaded with media and politics and frustrated with the willful ignorance of the vast majority of my countrymen and women whom continue to believe the lies they are sold. As an eductaor as well, it never ceases to amaze me how apathetic  my high school and college students choose to be.
            Oh well, there is always hope and change. Right??
            I have always voted third party come to think of it.

    • ExcellentNews

      We were sold out in November 1999, and then again on November 2003. September 2008 was a failed attempt of the 99% to regain some of what was lost in the Great American Republic.

      • Radical___Moderate

        I agree. The day G.W. Bush won (I mean was given) the White House I rember feeling in my heart for the first time convinced that it was actually money and those whom have it who run everything in our govt. from behind the scenes using their puppets. How else could a man that is so non-intellectual and unintelligent have made it that far, regardless of his blue blood pedigree (which certainly helped I know.)
        Nonetheless, God Bless America…..”we the people” need it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Samantha-Appleseed/100003671294406 Samantha Appleseed

    An economy based on self-interest is unsustainable and is currently destroying the entire planet. The human race is on a path to extinction and we are taking down all other species with us. So it’s cute that we are taking an hour out of our busy schedules to think about if our system can be tweaked. Ironic that we can ponder the end of the world but not capitalism.

    • thequietkid10

      LOL, there are studies out that suggest we have reached peak farmland and will need less of it moving forward.  There is also evidence from across the planet that birth rates are declining, and population is starting to fall in a couple of places.

  • andic_epipedon

    Just found and listened to this.  Excellent discussion.  The most thought provoking discussion I have found on this show.  Good job Tom and company.

  • http://www.pflagatl.org/ PFLAG Atlanta

    All the Soundcloud links appear to be broken.

  • Pingback: Capitalism In Question | Cognoscenti

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