Thursday, January 29, 2009


When someone says, why should the rich pay more in tax, I say, why should the rich be rich?

Of course you believe the rich should be rich if you believe you might be rich. But it doesn't make sense if you will always be poor. It used to be that people knew their station, and knew they could not become rich. Now they believe that the government will steal what's theirs should they win the lottery or have a hit pop single.

There are so many celebrities on TV that they have lost sight of how few people strike it lucky. No one reflects long on broken dreams.


A free market only seems like a good idea if you benefit from it. And if you benefit from it a great deal, it must surely occur to you that it cannot be fair.

Markets would only be free if all were free to compete. Which they are not.

I do not get to have my book published and let the market decide whether it's good. If the market's gatekeeper does not like my book, I have to use means to publish it that do not afford me equal access to the market.

The same is true of access to riches, but the argument would require more development than I have time for.


At 6:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The existence of secondary markets is destroying, or perhaps has destroyed, capitalism.

Capitalism in itself is not a bad thing. I have an idea for something useful, you have money, we start a corporation and both share in the rewards or failures.

Aside from a total lack of stuffism I think that's about as good as it gets.

But the secondary markets are not about capitalism. There is no investment involved when shares are purchased from other than the company, when their purchase does not contribute to the company.

When shares are purchased on the secondary markets, it amounts to speculation. Or to use another word, gambling.

The world's economies are so locked to secondary markets that I see no avenue for repair.

Stock prices on the secondary markets fluctuate based on expectations, and executive compensation is usually locked to the stock price.

When speculators who think themselves investors do not see a hoped-for massive quarter-over-quarter profit increase they sell their shares. It amounts to a whip on the executives' ass.

Then in order to continually increase profit executives find ways to cheapen products and outsource work.

It's a fucking mess. Obama may have the best intentions in the world, and he may have the best advisors available, but unless the entrails are ripped from the beast it will continue to rend.

At 6:51 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

You are also wrong. Capitalism is not in itself a good thing. It is coercive, not cooperative. You are forgetting in your model that only the man with the money and the man with the ideas share in the rewards, and neither produces them. Secondary markets are simply more of the same: people using their intellectual property to get money for basically doing nothing.

Dude, if you make the goal of all work to create a profit, you can hardly complain that the people you entrust with achieving your goal do it singlemindedly. You want an exploitive system that has no social component, so you cannot whine when they ruthlessly fuck your society over.

Obama is not going to change any of that, and has no intention of doing so.

At 7:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Z, I find it highly offensive that you take your own assumptions and stuff them into my mouth.

"You are forgetting in your model that only the man with the money and the man with the ideas share in the rewards, and neither produces them."

You are forgetting that I said nothing about anyone other than the man with the idea and the man with the money.

I said nothing whatsoever about hiring, exploiting, or fucking employees, that is your assumption.

And you may fucking keep it, thank you.

I have an idea for something I could do that would be useful yet I lack the resources, someone else supplies the resources in exchange for a share of the risk and the reward. As long as we let ourselves be fooled into thinking we are condemned to a world of stuffism that seems a decent enough arrangement.

Employees, servants, or other slaves are not required for capitalism to be practiced.

I should know better than to comment on your insane communistic rants, fucksake I am in no way any kind of stuffist. Unfortunately I felt that a mention of the gross wrongness inherent in the secondary markets might be interesting since it contains implications for our near future.

Clearly not as it simply provided you with an opportunity to assert that stuffism is vile and evil.

Well guess what, not only is stuffism wrong, it is unnecessary. The concept that the world contains limited resources is a fallacy.

Now I'll shut the fuck up and remain pissy for just a bit about your rudeness while you pretend that Marx and Mao have all the answers. Good day.

At 8:08 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

No, wrong again. Capital is not just applied to ideas in the absence of labour. I know facts are all icky and shit, but someone has to create the input of labour. That ain't the capitalist, buddy. It's me, the labourer that he is exploiting. That's what capitalism is: the use of capital to purchase resources that are inputs to the creation of value. You don't just turn up with money and it magically turns into profits, bro.

At 9:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning you are being a dogmatic fuck, Z. And exceedingly stupid.

You seem incapable of understanding the concept of creating something without having workers, perhaps you have never worked for yourself.

You seem incapable of considering the idea of exchanging work for shares of the company and being paid in dividends, perhaps you prefer being a paid lackey so you can whine about how you are being exploited.

For now you've driven me away, the stink of your blinkers has filled my nostrils and smells like shit.

At 9:04 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Of course it is conceivable to create something without inputs. But you do not use capital in doing so, boots, and consequently, you are not a capitalist. HTH.

BTW, you should be used to the smell of shit, given that you talk it so often. Please return soon for my post on free will.

At 9:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

You may contine to ignore what I wrote in favor of what you wish to espouse.

"post on free will"

What could you, an inanimate object derived from the material universe, possibly know of free-will? Only creatures that are alive have free-will.

At 8:58 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Despite yourself, you just paraphrased my post.

At 12:34 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

I hope you'll bear with me, as you know my knowledge of economics is basically nil, so my thoughts come from general experience.

but someone has to create the input of labour.

But what if the one with the idea, is also the one doing the work? Like someone with an awesome cookie recipe who starts out in their home, but needs specialized cooking equipment to be able to produce on a larger scale? At least in the beginning, it's as boots says, it's between the creator and the investor alone, the two of them sharing in the risk and the profits.

I do realize it never stays like that, does it? We're never satisfied to keep the cookies in our own kitchens. We're not satisfied with the customers we have or the orders we get. We don't want to turn anyone away because they mean more money. So we get a kitchen somewhere else, with bigger and better ovens and equipment, and helpers, and, and, and...

My question is, as long as everyone within the cookie making business is being dealt with fairly and all agree with what they're getting out of it, what's wrong with that? What better way do you suggest of having cookies for everyone, with no one being exploited? We all make them ourselves? We could do that, but some aren't so good at cookie-making, or don't like cookie-making, yet love cookies, want cookies.

We don't live in small groups where each person's talent contributes to the tribe as a whole, so how can we all have good cookies?

At 12:49 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. HTH.

At 1:25 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

Yeah, but how do you make it happen? That's like saying, can't we all just get along?

At 1:26 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

At 1:34 pm, Blogger Arleen said...


There must be a better way.

At 1:41 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

At 1:42 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

But it's really unlikely since religion has ever been a tool for creating inequity, despite its tenets.

At 1:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're screwed. People will be arguing the same old, same old when the planet is finally consumed by the sun.


At 7:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

Stupid shite, you're getting exactly what you need already without the intervention of any gods, without economic revolutions, without any of that crap.


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