An End To Corrupt Government?

Is it even possible to create a form of government that can’t be corrupted by those seeking their own gain and profit over everyone else? No doubt a lot of effort has been spent upon such an idea. Various “checks” and “balances” have been suggested. Our own “Founding Fathers” appear to have considered the idea, although their solution like all other so far has failed…

Part of the problem is caused by the idea of elections. If people run for election, they either must have either “support” from an organized group (political party) or be independently wealthy as Ross Perot was. Then there is the problem that we don’t elect just one person at a time, but a large number of people who represent various political viewpoints.  Here in the USA we have Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Natural Law along with others. Our elections decide “who” is to govern (or serve in a legislature) in local, state, and national government. Often one candidate will get more “support” than another, and since a certain percentage of the general public makes their decisions off of mass media ads, the more money you can spend, most likely the better you will do when the ballots are counted. So the political party that is willing to spend the most has a good chance of winning the election and taking office. Here locally one candidate for state representative vastly outspent the other, and it must have been felt worth it, because she won by a small percentage (58 votes among about 25,000 cast). Did the “best person win”? Who knows?

The alternative to elections is to do selection by means of a lottery as the Greeks of Athens did. Then the amount of money that one candidate has or doesn’t have makes very little difference. Of course “the luck of the draw” can get you someone unqualified, but that is also possible in elections looking back at history. Every once in a while the “people” do manage to elect an “idiot” who after winning the election proves that he or she is truly “incompetent” to hold their position. Such, I suppose is “politics”… Such people at times do provide “comic relief”, but they can also do “harm” simply because they are “where” they are and their political party is willing to allow them to take “positions” where they are obviously working well above their level of competence.  This is also likely to be a problem from time with a government where representatives are selected by lottery instead of elections. Then there is the issue of “special interests” who want the government to “do things” their way…  We see a lot of this “behind the scenes” with today’s “politics”. Then of course there is the issue where “special interests” can literally “buy” legislation that they want! The most recent examples of this were the Wall Street banks and subprime loans. We came close to “crashing” our economy thanks to such “underhanded dealings”….

One solution to problems of this nature would be to use a lottery to select people whose own identities would be kept secret. Is it possible to do this? We do have the necessary technology to select citizens by lottery as representatives if only very few know their own identities. Each individual would remain in their own home and be connected to everyone else via high speed broadband. There are existing two way video systems for face to face communications. No doubt everything could be “scrambled” to better conceal things. No doubt there would have to be “records kept” somewhere regarding decisions and so forth, but we already have agencies that function for the most part today “behind the scenes”, especially those regarding our own domestic safety from terrorists. The idea is to isolate our political representatives from the sort of “offers” made by “special interests” that will cause them to put those “interests” above our own. This is how certain groups of people gain the “protection” of government from the cost controlling aspects of the free market. The licensed professions and occupations likely enjoy incomes 50% to 100% over what they could earn in a true free market where people were free to buy the medications they wish without having to first pay to get a doctor’s “permission” (prescription) to purchase virtually anything more than just simple OTC medications like aspirin. In effect we have given these people a “license” to force everyone else to pay them for the privilege of being able to take care of your own health. The legal profession is no better, perhaps even worse in their activities. This sort of procedures goes back to the Middle Ages when the “guilds” were organized with the express purpose of limiting people’s freedom to buy what they wanted. Generally at a price lower than what the guilds wanted. This is why the guilds were so willing to allow the governments of the time the power to control things. There is really nothing like “having the government on your side” when it comes to being able to earn (steal would be a better term) large amounts of money from everyone else.

The organization of labor unions is based upon the same basic principle. Employers are no longer free to hire (or fire) whoever they wish. Or set the rate of pay at whatever level is now needed to obtain willing workers. Instead, the union uses the power of “government” to force employers to pay wage and benefit levels higher than those that would be set by the free market. Of course since there are more “workers” than employers, the politician who supports “organized labor” will get more votes even the employers vote for the “other guy”. Thus we had the “Golden Age of Labor” that ended (Reagan administration) when the Republicans were able to create a situation where business could “de-unionize” itself by moving production outside the US to where labor was much cheaper. Mexico was the major beneficiary at first, but then China beckoned with labor costs much lower than those of Mexico. Previous to this time, items produced outside the US were often subject to the tariff, which made them as expensive as union made products built by organized labor in the US. Which issue I will leave for another as to the pros and cons. In any case the fact that American business was able to free itself of both unions and our historical tariffs did in fact greatly change our society from what it had been previously.

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Why We Don’t Have A “Cure”…

Ebola is not a “new” disease. It’s been in existence for centuries at least, perhaps as an endemic disease that existed among certain African animals for a long time. HIV is much the same, another endemic African disease that existed among primates before eventually “jumping” to human beings. Ebola has been known for decades now, but since it was a disease that killed only “third world” people, there was no incentive to seek a cure by the profit seeking drug companies. No drug company would spend millions of dollars creating a vaccine when those who were likely to become victims of Ebola had no means to pay for it. Drug companies are in business (like any other business) to make a profit from what they do. If you can create an expensive new drug, get it patented, you can not only cover the cost of the research, but sell it for many times what it actually costs to produce it. The price will only fall when your patent expires and generic drug makers can produce it for a small fraction of what it previously sold for as a “brand name” medical drug. For example, the popular anti-cholesterol drug “Lipitor” cost a couple hundred dollars a month as a “brand name” drug. Today one can actually get it for “free” from the Meijer chain of “superstores” as the generic atorvastatin calcium. The production cost is now so low that it is given away to encourage people to shop there! Proof if any is needed as to the cost of production relative to what the drug originally sold for! A small percent of its selling price.

What this means is that if a “cure” for a disease cannot be produced at a good profit, there will be no “cure” offered. Additionally, should a drug company discover a “cure” that cannot be patented, they will likely conceal the fact that there is a “cure”! There is some justification in that without a worth while profit, there is little reason to do research except as a “humanitarian” charitable action. This is why we shouldn’t expect “cures” for diseases where a good profit cannot be made from the drug or treatment as a rule. Especially as if there is already a “profitable” treatment available, those who now make their living from treating a disease are unlikely to switch to something from which they can earn little if any profit. Sometimes public support is sufficient if the taxpayers are willing to pay for it. This was the case with the polio vaccine, which was created through government paid research. The individual responsible for the discovery (Jonas Salk) did refuse to allow his product to be “sold to the highest bidder”,  but Dr. Salk was probably one in a billion who would do so…

For example, there is some evidence that a low cost generic drug used to treat high blood pressure is also capable (from tests on mice) of “curing” or reducing diabetes. However the drug companies that make injectionible insulin make a great deal of profit off of doing so. Sufficient levels that they can get Congress to offer them a great degree of “protection” from any possible “competition”. After all, the definition of an “honest politician” is someone who when bribed, remains bribed even if someone else offers them a yet larger bribe… This is so commonly accepted today that no one now thinks anything of it. Drug companies “bribe” doctors to prescribe their product through “under the table” payments. This is one reason why American health care is the world’s most expensive. Anyone with access to a good state wide public library system (as I am lucky enough to enjoy) can find this out this fact for themselves. The drug companies are in business to make money, just like almost any other kind of business. Nor are doctors anymore likely to put your interests first over their own than you would expect from any of the other licensed professions and occupations. There are enough “jokes” about lawyers to leave no doubt what people think of them, and the same holds true with all those occupations where someone stands to gain over someone else. We don’t expect “benevolence” from business, nor should we expect it from anyone else who is in “business” of providing a good or service for profit. It is how they make their living. There is even enough evidence that our “men of God” are quite willing to exploit those who believe in them… It is unfortunate that it is this way, but most likely the trait has existed since the very dawn of the human race. Observation has actually shown that even animals will seek their benefit over another of their species, so it is likely that seeking your gain by such means dates back to the dawn of life itself here on Earth. Since drugs cannot be legally sold without FDA approval, even if someone was to discover a “cure” for an existing disease using an existing FDA approved drug, the FDA would have to authorize such a use. Effectively the government and doctors have a legal power to keep people from treating themselves with a drug that is “legal for use” for something else. Just another way that we are deprived of protecting our health and welfare by both government and the licensed profit seeking professions who are effectively “parasites” living off of us!

Nor does it appear that elected politicians can be relied upon to serve the interests of the people over the interests of profit seeking business. We have plenty of examples that this is so. The professions also buy “protection” from the government from possible competition. The tens of millions of dollars (an estimated “FOUR BILLION” in our recent election) that end up in paying for political campaigns leave little doubt that our Representatives, Senators, and everyone else is “for sale to the highest bidder”. Even if we were to switch to a system where our representatives were selected by lottery from the general population, eliminating elections, we would still have a problem with those seeking political favors and offering briefcases of cash to get what they want. No one has ever invented (yet) a form of government that can’t be “corrupted” by those seeking political favors. All countries, states, localities have people in positions of power that can be made to “see reason” by those willing to pay for such services…  There may however be a solution to this problem which will be the topic of my next post.

Jerome Bigge (jerbigge@toast.net)

“muskegonlibertarian.wordpress.com”.

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Libertarianism: The Self Responsible Individual and Freedom of Choice.

One of the major differences between Libertarians and the rest of the political scene is that Libertarians believe in “freedom of choice”. That you, not the government, the professions, or any other group should be allowed to deny people the freedom of choice as to their lives. Drug laws, prescription laws, all take away our freedom of choice. Deny us the choice as to “how” we take care of our health. How we live our lives. What decisions we make. This is the major difference between us Libertarians and everyone else. The only restrictions upon our freedom of choice is how our actions, decisions, effect other people. Anything that you do that harms others is generally wrong (outside of the issue of self defense where you are defending yourself from harm).

The “other side of the picture” is that you have to accept responsibility for your own actions. Freedom and Responsibility are the two sides of the same standard. If you are “not” willing to accept responsibility for yourself, you can hardly claim freedom of choice. Children for example do not have the same freedom of choice that adults do because children due to their youth have not yet developed both mentally and physically to the point that they have the ability to be legally responsible for themselves. The age at which they are considered to be “responsible” varies with the culture. In the “Age of Sail” this in some cases was as low as the age of 13 where they could serve aboard a ship of war as a midshipman. This probably seems to be almost unbelievable today, but back in the 18th Century it was not all that uncommon. The culture was “different” than ours is today, and the practical aspects of it may have been a quicker path to adulthood than we have now… Nor was this limited to the navies of the time. Boys in their teens often served in the military forces of the era. We also forget that children often also worked in factories, on the farms, something that was common until the 20th Century. The idea of a “childhood” that lasted until the age of 18 is actually not all that “old”. It certainly wasn’t true back in the past. Most likely because people matured faster, started families earlier, and lived less long for the most part. On the other hand government played a far smaller role in their lives for the most part. FDR created Social Security at a time when the average life span was less than 65. It was only a little over 70 when LBJ created Medicare (and Medicaid). Prior to this seniors relied to a great deal upon their children for their last years of life.

Today of course things are “different”. We have Social Security, Medicare (Medicaid). But there is a growing problem with these programs as the “baby boomers” move into their retirement. The generations following are smaller, and in many cases, effectively earn less than their parents did. This means that there is less revenue coming in to support these programs at a time when there are more collecting benefits than paying into these programs. We also have an increasingly “expensive” government thanks to increasing regulation of more and more of what we buy, use, and so forth. We have more people working for government (local, state, federal) than those producing things. Both of our political parties have been busy “growing government”. And the average government worker now earns close to twice (in pay & benefits) what the average American worker does today… Then there is the increasing amount of interest we are paying on the national debt. Both China and Japan each own over a trillion dollars of our national debt. Increased regulation of the economy, the decrease in jobs that pay much more than “minimum” also means that our “overhead” is increasing much faster than our revenues are! We are not only now a debtor nation, but our level of debt is increasing with time! Plus we have lost control of our borders, which means a greater and growing flood of poorly educated (for the most part) are streaming into the USA seeking any sort of work at any wage they can get. Without the minimum wage we’d probably see wage levels lower than those of the 1980′s. Our true level of unemployment is at least twice what the administration will admit to!

Adding to this is an increasingly regulatory environment that saps the growth of our economy. The “licensed professions and occupations” increase the cost of services through monopoly. The drug companies seek more and more government “protection” which also raises costs. In effect, the “politically powerful” have done very well for themselves at the expense of everyone else. We now have a gap between rich and poor that is much more like that of some “third world” country than a “first world” developed nation. With our very own “government” now effectively serving only a small minority of privileged people…

What comes as a surprise is how many Americans now want yet a bigger and more regulatory government! If “Uncle Sam” was a person, he’d weigh 500 pounds! We have the world’s highest health care costs, less and less “choice”, and have turned the professions into legal monopolies that increasingly rely upon “Uncle Sam” for their growing incomes. We are going in the WRONG DIRECTION! The American people are becoming less free! We are being overwhelmed by professional politicians who seek the favor of an economic elite, not the citizen voters who elected them! The Republicans we voted in are no better than the Democrats we voted out. Both of our major parties today are composed of “statists”. Of people who believe in “BIG GOVERNMENT”!

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Like Reading Blogs Like This One?

The big ISP providers want content producers to pay the ISP providers a yet unknown sum of money so that they will continue to have broadband access to you. Otherwise whenever you visit a site that hasn’t paid off your ISP, you will find that the site will load quite slowly because the transmission will be “throttled down”. In effect the same sort of “monopoly” that I’ve been writing about on this blog since the start if the FCC allows this to happen…

So let your representatives know that you do not approve of this sort of “censorship”!  If necessary use Google to learn who your federal representative is and who your senators are. Send them an email letting them know what you think about this idea!

Jerome Bigge

“muskegonlibertarian.wordpress.com”

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How Americans Are Becoming Less Free…

Got an old VCR around? The kind anyone could hook up with a length of coax to your TV? Watch one show, record another? Those were the days, weren’t they? The consumer was in charge, made the decision what to watch on TV and when. Slip in a VHS tape and record up to 8 hours of shows. Simple enough that a kid still in kindergarten could do it! Compare that to what you’d have to go through today with one of our “new” and inferior VCR’s…

Buy a VCR today and the first thing you will notice is that there are no coaxial connectors on the back. Instead there are a bunch of different colored connectors you plug wires into. These come in difference colors and you have to match the color of the wire to the color of the connector. You will need two sets of these. One set goes to the TV (hope your TV is a more modern kind that can accept these). The other goes to your converter box (digital to analog, cable or satellite box). Here you have to plug in the second set of RCA wires into the correct connections. You’re going to have a problem however if you have one of those adapters that only has coaxial connections on it. Then you need to buy what is called an “RF Modulator” into which you have to connect both the coaxial connections and also the connections with the RCA connectors. You will need two sets of these, one for your VCR and the other to your TV (hopefully supplied with the proper connectors here).  Then you can start setting up the VCR, which is pretty much the same as it used to be. There will be one problem however. You have to set your TV to “source” (differs with different makes). This allows you to switch your view from the TV to the VCR which you have to do in order to set the clock, set the program, etc. Once you have done this, you have to change your TV back to its regular channels. If you don’t, you may or may not get a picture, but most likely it won’t be of the quality you get with your TV set to its usual channels.

If you have had experience with the old style VCR’s, you’ll wonder “why” all of this is even necessary? Prior to these “new type” VCR’s, you might have to had to set your VCR and TV on either channel 3 or 4, but otherwise than this, along with the loss of the ability to watch one show while recording another. Setting up your VCR was no more trouble than before.

So how did this state of affairs come about? Those corporations that supply entertainment saw a golden opportunity with the switch from analog to digital to put an end to people recording their product. This is also where the cable and satellite companies come into the picture. Supply people with a device that allows them to “time shift” entertainment, but not permanently record it. Thus the “DVR”. Uses a hard drive (like a computer), but does not offer any means (except to perhaps real skillful computer geeks) to actually save their recordings to something that allows the use of a removable storage media. There is one exception to this, and that is the Magnavox DVR/DVD recorder. This also has a “tuner” in it so it can tune different channels (if you use an old fashioned antenna). However, this recorder has been “castrated” by not being able to send its data stream by “rf coaxial” to your TV (or any other storage device). You can however “burn” a DVD with it that may be “read” by your computer or another TV with a DVD player. Thus if you want to use the hard drive to record a show to watch later, in order to do so you have to change your TV to “source” in order to see what you have recorded.

All of this added complication has obviously been “designed in” to the system in order to make it as difficult as possible for people to record TV shows. When you compare even the Magnavox device to what exited a decade ago, you will see that “SOMEONE” has had a “hand” in all this… The makers of consumer products would not make things this difficult unless the federal government, acting on behalf of the major donors to political campaigns now has effectively been acting not in behalf of the American people, but instead in the behalf of the infamous “1%” whose wealth has already now corrupted our political system!

One reason “why” our political system is so incredibly “easy” to corrupt is due to the nature of our elective political process. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, you cannot personally finance a successful political campaign today for Congress, let alone the Presidency. The last person to actually “create waves” was Ross Perot, and he was a billionaire. He did manage to divide the electorate to the point that sufficient right of center voters went for Perot instead of Bush. Which in turn elected Bill Clinton with a minority of the actual popular vote. Here locally a libertarian candidate did draw enough votes from a Republican to elect a Democrat in her place. Which was actually a good thing since the Democrat was actually the better of the two state house candidates to start with!

The problem is that it is becoming increasingly expensive to run for political office today. This in turn along with recent decisions by the Supreme Court to remove all limits on political donations to someone’s political campaign. The Court claimed this was to preserve the right of free speech. The effect however is to make it impossible for those candidates with lesser funding to ever have much of a chance to win over the voters… Naturally the “special interests” can now afford to sway the political process in their favor. Which is “why” the VCR you buy today is inferior to the one you could buy a decade or so ago. It may still “work”, but you will have more difficulty with it, and the entire process is one that likely will “encourage” a lot of people to “give up” and let the cable or satellite company provide you with a DVR on which you can “time shift”, but can’t “save” anything. Naturally this delights the content providers, who are now pushing for scrambling “over the air” TV so that there will no longer be any “free TV” any more. You will have to pay monthly for the “descrambler” or simply give up and let the cable guy fix things up for you. The fact that you now have to pay for something that was “free” since the beginning of TV broadcasts is again proof that we no longer have control over what government does today!

 

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The Free Market… What It Is, What It Is Not!

People often confuse the free market with economic systems. The free market is “not” the same thing as “free enterprise (capitalism)”, “group enterprise (technically syndicalism)” or “socialism (government owned and controlled enterprise)”. These are just means to the production of goods and services for sale. The free market is the sale of goods and services to consumers in return for money (or what passes for money). A true free market is devoid of regulation except to control fraud or attempts to “deceive” the consumer which itself is a form of fraud. Any additional regulation makes the market less “free” than what it would be otherwise. Reduces the freedom of the consumer to make economic decisions that are freely based upon what they consider best for themselves. Once regulation is introduced, the freedom of the consumer is reduced accordingly. This is true even if the regulation in question is thought to be of benefit to the consumer. What is forgotten here is that the consumer may sometimes find it necessary to expose themselves to some risk. This is especially true when it comes to their own health care. Medicines do have “side effects” that have to be taken into consideration. However one might “tolerate” certain side effects in order to gain the greater benefit from taking the medicine. For this reason the FDA should not be the final arbiter as to what medicines people are allowed to buy and use. Naturally drug company that conceals adverse side effects is legally liable for what does happen to those consumers who use the product in question.

It will be argued here that “regulation” is necessary because otherwise the producers of goods and services will defraud the consumer with inferior and sometimes hazardous goods. That without the FDA we will go back to the “snake oil” medicines of the past, our food will be unsafe to eat, and no one will know whether or not the products they buy are in fact safe to use. We’ll have environmental pollution, poisoned land, much as can be found there where the Soviet Union once ruled. The Communists having had little if any concern of the long term consequences of their industrial policies. Or the low quality of the items produced, “worse” some will say than what will be now found anywhere else.*

*As we had to rely upon the Russians for transport to the Space Station, one wonders…

Oddly enough, even with the regulation we have, we still get sick at times from food that is contaminated with disease producing bacteria or viruses. Our automobiles despite all the government regulation still have manufacturing defects that sometimes kill people. Doesn’t really look like all this regulation has really done all that much good, does it? It does add additional cost, however. However most businesses are deterred from selling known harmful products because of legal liability. Because of this, most businesses do actually take precautions against possibly harming those who consume their products.

Another issue here with “government regulation” is that a government agency decides for itself what is to be produced and what is not to be produced. It appears that sometimes corporate interests are able to “covert” government agencies into a method of keeping any who might compete with them from being able to do so. Ever notice that today you cannot buy a VCR with a tuner capable of converting digital to analog so that you can record the TV shows you might like to record? If you will check eBay, you will see that people are in fact selling used machines for more than what these sold for brand new! So why isn’t anyone today building new VCR’s capable of recording TV shows. Nor for that matter do you see DVD recorders that could do the same thing? Yes, you can buy an (expensive) DVR-DVD recorder ($300 at Amazon) to do this. Or “rent” such a device from your cable or satellite provider. Curious isn’t it how something once popular no longer exists. You can buy a VCR-DVD machine without a tuner, but it is designed to require that you use the more expensive converter box to connect it up. Obviously the “demand” is there, but it appears that something has happened to make it increasingly difficult/expensive to record TV shows. It’s not a matter of copyright either, as the cable companies and the satellite companies will “rent” you a DVR. Obviously political “pressure” has been applied…

This sort of problems comes about once we started allowing the government to decide what we are allowed to buy and what we are not allowed to buy. This goes back a century or more when the American people allowed the government to pass laws regarding what you could buy and what you could not buy. Note these laws were not about fraud or any sort of action that harmed people. As first the laws applied to certain drugs, mostly those in the narcotics family. Then marijuana (a product of a certain type of hemp plant) was outlawed despite the fact that it did not appear to cause harm. This was followed by the idea of the prohibition of the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Then in 1938 the AMA got the FDA to grant doctors a monopoly over access to medical drugs. Of course this did create problems as it increased the cost of health care. But for doctors, it was effectively about as close as a “license to print money” as anything. Just as government regulation gave the legal profession monopoly status over legal matters. For a minority of people, government is a benefactor, but for the rest of us, not so much…*

* In a previous post I have shown that the same amount of money that is collected by the payroll tax would actually create greater benefits if it was allowed to be invested instead. The same thing is true in health care. Better service for less money without “government”.

BTW my email address is “jerbigge@toast.net” for those who wish to write me.

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The “Shareholder” economy versus the “Stakeholder” economy…

Many people mistakenly believe that only a “capitalist” (shareholder) economic system allows for the maximum level of personal individual freedom. They also now mistakenly believe that the only choice is between the private ownership (shareholder) of the means of production of goods and services or that of the government now owning the means of production as was practiced in the USSR. (supposedly in the name of the people) Also some believe that once the government starts providing “welfare” in the form of services (and goods through public assistance) that economic freedom is diminished and those who are “productive” are excessively burdened by taxes to pay for the welfare of those who are not (workers). Question any of today’s Republicans, Tea Party member, or many libertarians and you will see in fact that the great majority of them will agree with what I’ve just written. That the capitalist (shareholder) economy is superior to any other…

There is, however a superior form of economic organization that historically has done far better. That survives economic downturns much better, that resolves the growing “gulf” between the increasingly wealthy shareholder class and the increasing poverty of those who do the actual work. One reason for this is that the shareholding class’ major concern is “Return On Investment”. Seeking the highest ROI is the major reason that the share holding class has created the sort of society in which we find ourselves today. If nothing else counts but the highest possible ROI, then the ruling shareholder class through their control over elective governments will do what is necessary to produce the maximum ROI’s.*

* Return on investment in the form of interest, dividends, or increasing value.

The economic interests of the shareholding class is opposite that of the “worker class” (stakeholders). Improvements in the quality of life for the stakeholders means a lower ROI for the shareholder class. Free trade as practiced today among economic unequals means that obtaining maximum production at the lowest possible cost while beneficial to the consumer, is even more so to the shareholders. However, most consumers are of the stakeholder class, not the shareholder class. What “savings” they receive through being able to purchase consumer goods at lower cost hardly make up for their loss of income caused by free trade with countries with much lower costs of production. The decline in unionization also means less income and job security. So while the shareholders have in fact gained better returns on investment via “Right To Work” legislation, their gains have been actually in truth at the cost of lower incomes and job security for the stakeholders…

The book “Capital and The Debt Trap” goes into detail about “stakeholder controlled enterprises” and is well worth seeking out through your public library system. The fact that “stakeholder controlled enterprises” actually did do much better than “share holder controlled enterprises” leaves little doubt as to the superior of the stakeholder controlled enterprise as compared to the shareholder controlled enterprise as a basis for an “free enterprise” economic system. Perhaps for the major reason that the stakeholder has a vested interest in the enterprise where he or she works while the shareholder can easily sell their investment on the stock market and seek out other investments that might provide a better rate of return on the investment. Especially since the shareholder’s interest in any form of enterprise is mainly one of obtaining the best possible return.

This also appears to have been one of the driving forces that was behind the “sub prime mortgage” crisis of recent times. “Profit at all costs” created the system of “fraud” that underlaid the securitization of mortgages that were known to be likely to soon default. The idea was to make a quick profit and then bail out just before everything collapsed. The fact that these actions were (at least in the moral sense) “criminal” meant next to nothing to those seeking the maximum profit. Nor did the government even attempt to prosecute those responsible. Some relatively meaningless fines were handed down, but as these fines were “tax deductible”, they amounted to a “slap on the wrist” if even that! It appears likely that if organized crime could offer stock on the stock market, that there would be ample numbers of investors who would buy in, despite the actual nature of the “business” involved! Just as German corporations (and some American owned) provided the necessary means to the Nazis to kill millions of innocent people. Our own “military-industrial complex” is also in the business of “killing people” when it comes down to it. Profiting off the misery of others has been going on for a long time, unfortunately…

There is an unfortunate worship of “profit about all” that infects our modern capitalist society. An idea of “business before people” that has grown with time. Aided no doubt by the power of massive corporations to propagandize the voters into believing that there is “no alternative” but to accept the nature of share holder controlled business as the only “way” to organize an economy. Unfortunately too many “libertarians” have accepted this idea as being right and proper. That in a libertarian society it is “sink or swim”. No doubt a part of this is due to the thinking and writings of Ayn Rand, who virtually worshipped a sort of self centered individualism over everything else. The fact that no society has ever been successfully organized on those principles in all of human history going back to the hunter-gatherer cultures of the Stone Age is the best refutation of such ideas. Nor can we ever have any effective political role to play when we simply repeat these kind of ideas. For libertarianism to be accepted by a majority of the people, it must offer the hope of a better life than that offered by conservatives or liberals. To do this, we have to offer “more” than they can offer. Less government, work for everyone, greater freedom.

 

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