Category Archives: Worldview

It’s Where You Start That Determines Where You Finish

I enjoy articles on economics. The first thing I attempt to determine however is the writer’s starting point.

If a writer  starts from the premise that “government planners” can successfully control the allocation of scarce resources better than free markets, then I know that the author isn’t living in reality. He instead lives in a daycare world.  His “finish”, no matter how sophisticated his thinking, can be summed up as all us children nicely sharing our little resources like Tonka Toys.  Of course those who write from this perspective see themselves as the grownup women watching over us selfish children and our resources with a keen eye on who gets to play with what.

Many “economists” still live in such a world.  Because resources like, say, food, simply appeared on their tables at dinner time, and cars appeared in their driveways at 16, and a full government or daddy-funded education just appeared, seemingly from nothing, experience has conditioned them to feel that resources simply appear from nothing and the driving question then is not how to create more but rather how can what already exist be fairly distributed. That homes, medical care, education, or food are not a right that can be guaranteed by one man to another is utterly unfathomable to those who start with such thinking.  Such starting points determine the finish; though like all Utopian dreams, that finish must ever be in the future requiring patience from those who suffer interminably from the inevitable hardships that come with them.

On the other hand, writers whose starting point is the realization that resources are the result of risk, work, and production, not to mention human factors such as self-interest and motivation, are much more trustworthy.  Good thinking must necessarily be aligned with reality.

As for me, I’m much more confident in the economics of one whose thinking was forged in making payroll and successfully competing for business in a hostile world while simultaneously thwarting greedy lawyers, and power-hungry politicians and their bureaucrat dogs.  I’m much more inclined to think this person’s economics more insightful than those of tenured theorizers whose circumstances insulate them from the consequences of their stupid “ideas”.

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Filed under Economics, fairness, Government, Harsh Reality, Worldview

Marxism, Capitalism And Their Politics, Explained

Why can’t government use its power to force equality?

What are some real problems with Marxism’s idealistic theories?

Does Capitalism really exploit the weak?

This video is a great short lesson in answering these questions:


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See also:

Bob And His Apples

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Filed under Economic Science, Economics, Government, Harsh Reality, Politics, Worldview

Free The Slave? Not So Fast!

The prominence of slavery was a reality for all but the tiny slice of recorded history we call the present.  But mankind appears to have rejected this practice  in modern Western Civilization, which, given the stock from which I come myself, probably saves me from being one… which is good.

But fortunately for us lazies and unfortunates another kind of slave has emerged.   This new slave is cheap, works hard day and night, never complains, and separates us by leaps and bounds from the toils, cares, and harsh realities that were ever present in the lives of our ancestors.  But, best of all, this slave is willing to be enslaved, and needs no crusader on his behalf… until lately.

The slave of which I speak is “energy”.  This slave looks like a washing machine, a dishwasher, air conditioner, automobile and so on. And for those who in the past needed armies of slaves for building pyramids and harvesting crops and so on, those armies now look like bulldozers, cranes, and combines.

Also, we generally associate slavery with back-breaking labor.  But this slave does much more than that. It will take us 2000 miles in a few hours, or pump blood through our bodies while another heart is installed, and much more. Let’s see our mental image of a slave do that!

There’s an old Chinese proverb that supposedly goes like this: “If you want to know about water, don’t ask a fish”. Everyone alive today has benefited so much from this slave, and in so many ways,  we now take “him” for granted.  It’s almost as if this slave is as sure to us as tomorrow’s sunrise, and as plentiful and certain too.

Perhaps life immersed in a world filled with the benefits of energy explains why so many, who daily depend on this willing slave for life as we know it, also believe that it can be done away with, and life as only we few humans in history have experienced it, will continue unchanged.

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Filed under Economics, Harsh Reality, Politics, Words, Work, Worldview

Was Hitler A Radical Right Wing Extremist, Or A Leftist?

To answer the question one needs to define the terms. What does it mean to be a leftist, or right winger?  Confusion on these terms lead many to embrace more laws and government intrusion in the name of liberty.  Taking ten minutes to watch this little explication will be ten minutes well spent for the sake of clarity.

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and more:

http://suyts.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/shock-news-nazism-is-short-for-national-socialists/

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Filed under Government, Morality, Politics, Worldview

Static Snapshots Reveal Nothing About Economics.

A young man went to a grocery store one night to buy food.  He left with a loaf of bread and a stack of bologna, because, well, that was all he could afford.  He then went home to his apartment which was furnished with aluminum lawn furniture.  His bed was a cushion from an outdoor lounge chair as well.  He kept it on the floor of his closet where he slept.  He worked at night, you see, and couldn’t afford curtains.  Needless to say, he was poor.

But this true story is only a snapshot.  To examine only this snapshot tells us virtually nothing except for those “present” circumstances.   In this case for example, the young man had done poorly in school.  But his poor performance had nothing to do with any of the usual culprits that are trotted out.  It was because he thought it more important to “hang out” with his friends.  By his own later-in-life admission, his meager circumstances were not the result of something so vague as rich white men’s greed, but of his own laziness.

The story also says nothing of his future.  In time this person managed to get his act together and buckle down.  He went to school, read, and worked hard.  In time his fortunes changed.  He learned a skill that paid well, got married, had children, and is now living a comfortable middle-class life.

This is why snapshots aren’t worth much beyond fueling emotional “causes”.  Life, economies, fortunes, circumstances; they are all dynamic, not static.  The vast majority of young people fortunate enough to live in free-market systems begin their lives with very modest means, which actually build character.  Left alone, with equal opportunity and the right mindset, they will find their way out of those circumstances if they are willing to make sacrifices, work hard, roll with the punches that are certainly coming their way, and live ethically… and the sooner one starts the better.

The young man in this story, if you haven’t guessed, is me.  I suppose I could have blamed my circumstances on social injustice, or the 1%, or some other shadowy boogie man meant to send me cowering into the arms of the socialist.  But my real enemy resided in my own skin.  It still does.

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Filed under Economics, Harsh Reality, Human Nature, Morality, Work, Worldview

“Words Are Wise Men’s Counters… But They Are The Money Of Fools”

In the post before last I excerpted a passage from “The Road To Serfdom” concerning the redefining of “words”. Below is a short video that builds on that idea.  It also explains how the words “social justice” are “money of fools”.

H/T Right From Yaad.

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Also check out this series on social justice:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

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Filed under Economics, Equality, Harsh Reality, Morality, Politics, Social Justice, Words, Worldview

Unless Deceived, Or Intending To Deceive, Effective Communication Requires Words Have Universal Meaning.

Following are a few excerpts  from “The Road To Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek concerning “words”

From page 174:

The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen. And most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning.

And continuing on page 175:

If one has not one’s self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion which it causes, and the barriers to any rational discussion which it creates. It has to be seen to be understood how, if one of two brothers embraces the new faith, after a short while he appears to speak a different language which makes any real communication between them impossible. And the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of the words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people. Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional association which still adhere to them.

Clarity, unlike obfuscation, is not only required for discourse it is medicine for the deception that ails.

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Filed under Economics, Politics, Worldview