Sunday, February 17, 2008
To understand the recession we should remember that there are three essential components to capitalism: the central position of private investment (i.e. capital), a primarily two-tiered class system of Laborers and Capitalists, and a totalitarian dictatorship by the markets. This market dictatorship, which is detached from society and is propped up by the State, is the means by which wealth is redistributed from the laborers to the capitalists.
The recent problems of the bursting housing bubble and rising gas prices helped caused the current recession because they drained money from the market, which therefore meant that there was less redistribution of wealth from the workers to the capitalists. Less redistribution meant less accumulation of wealth and therefore the less likely that the capitalists were going to reinvest. This lack of investment results in a vicious cycle of more layoffs, which in turn results in reduced consumer spending and a further reduction in the redistribution of wealth.
In an attempt to kick start this redistribution of wealth the politicians have decided upon a “stimulus package” that will consist largely of rebates. Critics on both the Left and Right have pointed out the numerous problems with this solution. Many of the recipients won’t use the rebates to make new purchases but to pay off their debts from their previous. Those that do spend it will buy many products that are foreign made so that much of this money will just leave the country rather than result in new domestic jobs. Even if the rebate helps it doesn’t go to the root of the problem, which is an economy based on consumption rather than production.
Contrast this with an economic democracy. In an economic democracy the goal would not be the redistribution of wealth from one class to another but instead would be the constant creation and maintenance of high quality jobs for everyone. Therefore, if signs of a recession began to appear then action would be taken to head it off by the social investment system so as to create new cooperative enterprises and to boost entrepreneurial activity.
This difference shows the superiority of economic democracy over capitalism. In capitalism a recession isn’t a problem until it begins to hurt the capitalists. In an economic democracy the welfare of everyone is a concern so a recession is never allowed to happen. Recovery in capitalism is based on a hope and a prayer that token efforts like tax rebates will spur consumers to spend the economy into recovery. While recovery in an economic democracy goes to the source of the problem and insures that everyone has high-paying employment opportunities.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The day was January 11th, 1944. The Battle of Monte Cassino was waging on the Italian front in Europe while the 1st Marine Division had successfully taken Aogiri Ridge on a small island in New Guinea. Across the world President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave what was to be his last State of the Union address. As he neared the end of the speech, he presented a vision for America. “It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known.” FDR pointed out that while the original Bill of Rights served us well it was insufficient for the reality of our industrial economy. He then stated that it was time for a “second Bill of Rights.”
This Economic Bill of Rights, as it would become known, included:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education
The time has now come when, through the establishment of an Economic Democracy, we can finally create the America that President Roosevelt dreamt of.