This is only a quick introduction to a vast subject; mere musings. I’ll have a review of George Gilder’s timely new book, The Scandal of Money, next week, where I’ll explore matters in more depth. Forbes also has a new book, Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming The Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity.
On Wednesday, Steve Forbes and George Gilder held sway over an intimate gathering at the Cosmopolitan Club in Manhattan. The subject was What Future for Capitalism? Which is exactly the right question given we have presidential candidates promising, with all appearance of sincerity, to install socialism as official policy, to enforce “equality” and to shut down the coal industry and plunge us into darkness, and to, albeit indirectly, foist upon us a 45% punishing sales tax on many items in the name of greatness.
That’s only three, leaving one who would allow freedom to remain intact (well, more or less). Three-to-one against aren’t great odds. Still, there is no choice in our Democracy but to roll the dice. Gilder was optimistic and reminded us, “You can have revival almost overnight.”
Forbes made the case that “capitalism is profoundly moral”. It does good because it is a system where you need other people, with all that that implies. Socialism, as all experience proves, could rather do without people. Socialism always devolves into a heartless and brutal utilitarianism.
A problem, I think, are the names we give this system of economics: “capitalism”, “free markets”, which sound well enough considered as isolated words. But they by now have so much baggage that they grate the ears of many of us. “Free market” sounds, to many, like “rich people taking our money.” Well, that only goes to prove propaganda works.
My alternate title, freedom to keep and use your own money as you see fit, is too unwieldy. Have you ideas?
Against top-down control by self-credentialed experts of all subjects, i.e. socialism, and in the favor of letting people (families) look after their own business, Gilder said, “Creativity always comes as a surprise. If it didn’t, planning would work.” Centralized planning by definition is hostile to creativity, which is why socialist economies stagnant and develop cancers.
The cancers are entities which are not allowed to die. “Too big to fail” means the government supporting proven failures. Propping up the dead, besides consuming resources better left for the living, does not allow learning to take place—all people see is that failure isn’t failure—which is strange given the endless paeans to education which emanate from Washington.
Forbes said “Socialism goes against the grain of human nature.” Not those aspects of our nature that have fallen, but our more nobler parts. He also is a keen student of language. Take the phrase “giving back”, used of the generous. “Giving back implies you took something that didn’t belong to you.” Instead, in philanthropy, we should speak of freely giving “what you created.”
On trying to sell his flat tax plan, which is being used with great success in 40 jurisdictions around the world, he suggested giving people an option: use the new 17% fits-on-a-postcard plan, or use the old one, which requires an IRS to run. Then see which is preferred.
Now what about money. On this, Gilder has much to say, but I’m going to save most of it for the book review because there are too many details to summarize in this small space. However…
Both Forbes and Gilder agree that America is the biggest guilty party in manipulating its currency. Manipulating currency, a money tied to nothing but ephemeral human promises, is power, and politicians and their cronies like power. So it’s unlikely they’d cede this enormous benefit willingly. It has to be wrested from them.
Surely the most astonishing spectacle of our time is an official singular entity which gives almost free money to specially designated cronies, who in turn loan that money back to the government at a healthy interest. Strike that “almost”; it’s just-plain free.
Can you imagine what Janet Yellen must be thinking? “How are they letting us get away with this?”, she must whisper to her fellow Fed board members.
Indeed, how are we?
The solution is…What’s that? That celebrity, Whatshername, as a new selfie of her enormous buttocks? Let’s talk about that!
Pardon the indulgence, but since this post is emailed to many, and I want to test how an embedded mp3 player works for the podcast, and since I screwed up the time of this week’s show, I want to include it here, so I can see how it works.