Thursday, May 17, 2012
We are on the buildup to election time here in the US, and as it happens, I do think the Progressive democrat view on the economy is wrong. I also think the mainstream Republican ideas on economic fixes are wrong.
I feel this comes from some basic misunderstandings in words, history, and goals.
First- jobs. Jobs has come, in national political terms, to mean *almost exclusively* employment by a large entity capable of (and often required to) provide a secure wage, health care, retirement, vacation, and pay schedule following some metric of "fairness."
I prefer to use other terms. Work, or wealth creation. You have to go back in history for a bit to figure out what we started with, what we ended up with, and what's potentially wrong with it.
Originally, job in the sense we are looking for meant a temporary or set piece of work, or to let out for hire for a specific task.
Our earlier American economic model was based around some central points- the yeoman (independent) farmer- the journeyman jobber, the master craftsman. While many people worked for another for their whole lives, the idea was that one had the ability to build skills, move employment, create wealth, and have an adequate opportunity to go independent.
We have, yes, always had "cradle to grave" employment with a given family or individual in some instances. But the Industrial Age idea of career employment and retirement as a... right, guarantee, ideal- this has changed some views.
A couple years ago I asked a friend who was having a hard time finding a "job" if she wanted a job or wanted to make money. It really was a definite reframing for her, and she's now a rapidly developing sheath artist. At this point, it's more or less up to her to make an adequate amount of money through effort, advertising, and service- the market is out there.
This points out a key shift- from "initiative" to "dependence" - and I use the terms very loosely. These two words have meanings that are incorrect, but are useful for the moment.
I see the progressive side of the democratic party as attempting to ensure fair *results*- and dependency.
I see the mainstream republican party as trying to fix the economy by increasing the power and profit potential of large corporations- again, dependency.
I have, in the past, gone into the history of corporations in the US and how and why the idea of a corporation now is so different from the idea of a corporation in the late 18th century. They are very different.
Second - goals.
The goal, as I see it, is to increase the ability of the *citizens* to *generate* prosperity. That requires an environment allowing, protecting, and encouraging independent action, work (which doesn't necessarily mean corporate employment), to innovate and generate wealth.
The presented goals by both parties are - essentially- involved in dependency and security. The Progressives have a century-plus old platform that includes the idea of a set of professional classes to take care of people, operate politically, and "manage" economics and society.
While it's never stated, and often resisted- the result of this is dependency. And it goes strongly against the ... call it the Puritan Work Ethic that has been essential to our historical development.
The republican "business" side of the aisle - also including the confused capitalists (more on that later)- insist that the goal is to create an ever improving environment for unregulated business. The result, proven historically, of this is "robber baron" capitalism, which again creates a dependency in the general public while creating a weird sort of aristocratic dependency among the corporate and political upper echelons on governmentally generated advantages- such as corporate personhood and special access rights to natural resources, and "tax haven" bidding wars among local governments.
In neither case does the goal of *opportunity* for "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" shine.
Oh, hades. The complications surrounding this word are insane. It's worthy of a separate post. Briefly- capitalism isn't a single thing, it's a set of definitions, types, scales, and implementations which vary all along among things such as individual opportunity, economic efficiency, corporate and aristocratic protection, denial of public access to resources.....Capitalism itself is often confused with our social work ethic, esprit, initiative. (tell that to a deep rock miner!)I'll get into that later.
But there are many people who think that my ability to have an independent business is somehow tied to protecting the "rights" of corporations- confused capitalists.
For now, there's more than enough post here to put anyone to sleep, so I will delve into capitalism again later.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The assorted definitions of assorted political terms are amusing at times. The word for today is.... timocracy.
The primary definitions of timocracy are :
1. A state described by Plato as being governed by persons whose political power accrues through (primmarily military) honor and glory.
2. An Aristotelian system in which civic or political power increases with wealth.
Wellllllll, okay. sorta. Not that these definitions have conflict and that there are several modern alternative usages.
Let's break it down to "governance by worth"
Disregarding, for the moment, the national party system we inherited from the post-Nixon reforms- and looking solely at grass roots political activism, consider this question:
Is traditional american party politics- republican and democrat- in local organisations, with local effort *required* to acheive position, power, influence- is this not, in a very essential way, timocracy in the sense that those attaining power have the worthiness of stepping forward and *trying*?