Thursday, May 1, 2014

An explanation of how we got rich

Makes a lot of sense:



Freedom, along with sound morality, is the secret to flourishing.

Socialism, you may have noticed, is the antithesis of both. 

27 comments:

  1. No. The affluence of the West was due to the Industrial Revolution. Which required cheap abundant energy from fossil fuels.

    The Industrial Revolution began in Britain with the cotton mills in the Midlands. The raw cotton came from the American South, which required slavery to be economically viable.

    So actually, Western affluence began, not with freedom, but with slavery.

    And continuing affluence requires energy to continue to be cheap and abundant, which won't happen, because demand is increasing (due to the growing global population and the development of countries such as China and India) and the easily accessible reserves of oil and gas have been used already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      blankfield: :Western affluence began, not with freedom, but with slavery."

      Da, Comrade. Da!

      Silly git.

      Delete
  2. Freedom without a good dollop of socialism inevitably leads to the accumulation of vast wealth by a very small number of individuals. It’s not a coincidence that the golden age of the middle class in America started with strong unions and the new deal, and continued with the great society programs of the 60’s. It’s also no coincidence that the demise of the middle class started with Reaganomics and government supported union busting.

    -KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Socialism is a city on a hill. Unfortunately, the city is Detroit.

      Delete
    2. Detroit is more the fault of Reagan’s union busting race to the bottom than socialism, not to mention the burden of having a Republican Governor that wants to see his state’s largest city fail for purely ideological reasons combined with racial indifference.

      The city on the hill I’m envisioning is more like Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, New York, Seattle, or San Francisco.

      -KW

      Delete
    3. KW - New York? Really?

      I'll agree with you than an unregulated free market would inevitably spell disaster, but New York State is not exactly small-business friendly.

      Delete
    4. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Popeye: "a good dollop of socialism inevitably leads to the accumulation of vast wealth by a very small number of individuals"

      How true. Fidel Castro's net worth is estimated at $900 million dollars. The income of the average Cuban is less than $10k/yr.

      Delete
    5. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Popster: "Detroit is more the fault of Reagan’s union busting..."

      Detroit is one of America's most unionized cities, supported by the Big Three automakers, who are among America's most unionized companies, in Michigan, one of the most heavily unionized states.

      Think of another excuse.

      Delete
    6. "Freedom without a good dollop of socialism inevitably leads to the accumulation of vast wealth by a very small number of individuals. It’s not a coincidence that the golden age of the middle class in America started with strong unions and the new deal, and continued with the great society programs of the 60’s. It’s also no coincidence that the demise of the middle class started with Reaganomics and government supported union busting."

      The demise of the middle class has been underway for decades but the real undermining of American enterprise is occurring through outsourcing, socialization and redistribution. There are two classes in a socialist country: rich and poor. The idea is for government to regulate their way into every nook and cranny of society, including our private lives.

      Delete
    7. Curio:

      I'll agree with you than an unregulated free market would inevitably spell disaster, but New York State is not exactly small-business friendly.

      It may surprise you to learn that 'socialist' Europe is small-business friendlier than the US and Europeans are more likely to be self-employed than Americans.

      There is no need to choose between capitalism and socialism. It's possible to combine the best of both worlds.

      Delete
    8. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      Troi: "It's possible to combine the best of both worlds. "

      Yeah. It's called the Turd Way. Oops! Typo alert....

      It's called the Third Way. Think Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

      Delete
    9. Another interesting statistic: the US is trailing many countries in median per capita wealth, despite its high mean p.c. wealth. That sucks, doesn't it? There is obviously not enough redistribution.

      Delete
  3. The items you mention, slavery and fossil fuels, exactly makes her point. Slavery has existed since the beginning of human history, fossil fuels since before the beginning of human history. What changed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strong democratic socialist governments with educated populations, strict law enforcement, social safety nets, and trade unions.

      -KW

      Delete
    2. These items certainly were in the mix. The early union movement and child labor laws were good things but have way outlived their usefulness in 1st world western societies. (Unions are in fact an overall societal hindrance now.) Rule of law was and is still critical, particularly property rights. But you are missing the main ingredient, which was development of free-market capitalism driving innovation - that is the engine - none of the items you mention would generate the wealth we have seen enabling the massive improvement of standards of living for billions of people over the last couple of hundred years.

      Delete
    3. Free market capitalism has also existed since the beginning of human history. The unregulated free market historical norm is a few very rich people and lots of poor people. The free market has given us slavery, indentured servitude, child labor, and Chinese sweat shops. People have and will work long hours for a bowl of gruel and a place to sleep if it’s the only way to obtain them. The “development” of free market capitalism you speak of is the addition of the things I mentioned above that made it work for everyone.

      Do you really think child labor laws have outlived their usefulness? If so I’m flabbergasted.

      -KW

      Delete
    4. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Popeye Parrot: "Free market capitalism has also existed since the beginning of human history."

      The history of capitalism can be traced back to early forms of merchant capitalism practiced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.[1] It began to develop into its modern form during the Early Modern period in the Protestant countries of North-Western Europe, especially the Netherlands and England.
      --- Wiki: History of Capitalism

      Is your ignorance bottomless, Popeye?

      Delete
    5. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      The glories of left-wing government...

      PRINCETON, NJ -- Every state has at least some residents who are looking for greener pastures, but nowhere is the desire to move more prevalent than in Illinois and Connecticut. In both of these states, about half of residents say that if given the chance to move to a different state, they would like to do so. Maryland is a close third, at 47%.
      --- Gallup 4/30/14

      Pop-Tard... what do those three states have in common? If you can't answer, I'll be delighted to tell you.

      HINT: It's why some countries had to put barbed wire and machine gun towers on their borders to keep people in.

      Delete
    6. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      HINT-HINT: It's not because they are insufficiently unionized.

      Delete
    7. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      HINT-HINT-HINT: It's not because they are insufficiently educated.

      Delete
    8. Sorry Gramps, I’m still a productive member of society, I don’t have time to play your silly games. I would prefer it if you didn’t engage me at all. It’s tiresome and boring.

      -KW

      Delete
    9. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      I have all the time I need to expose your ignorance, Popeye. It's one of the fun parts of my day, along with my many other hobbies and pleasurable pursuits. You don't need to respond. I understand. But I'll be here to help you.

      The best way to shut me up is to do a little work before you post and avoid making erroneous and ignorant comments. Then I won't have any reason at all to pay you any mind. Example:

      "Capitalism existed since the beginning of human history"

      Pish-tosh. Blatantly false. Easily falsified in 10 seconds. Quit your psittacinic ways, parrot.

      I may know what the problem is, though:

      BOSTON -- At least a third of the 1,800 candidates who took Massachusetts' first teacher certification test are not qualified because they can't read or write well enough, state Commissioner of Education Frank Haydu III said yesterday.
      --- Baltimore Sun, 1998

      Your teachers, Popeye?

      Delete
    10. Senile old fart,

      What is your definition of capitalism? Stop cutting and pasting from Wikipedia. Rodney Stark in 'How the West Won' (quoting himself) defined it as "an economic system wherein privately owned, relatively we'll-organized, and stable firms pursue complex commercial activities within a relatively free (unregulated) market, taking a systematic, long term approach to investing and reinvesting wealth (directly or indirectly) in productive activities involving a hired workforce and guided by anticipated and actual returns".

      Stark is trying to claim that Christianity invented capitalism because the medieval monasteries were very rich with estates producing a surplus, which they were able to sell.

      Anyway. On that argument, Christianity also invented socialism (the monks lived in a commune) and Communism (the monks didn't own anything).

      Stark's definition of capitalism would easily include any long distance trading. 'Complex commercial activities' means (according to Stark) little reliance on direct producer-to-consumer transactions - which certainly applies to traders.

      For example, the Silk Road involved traders buying silk from the producers in China, hiring camel drivers and sentries to transport the silk, and finally selling it to merchants in the Middle East. Who then sold it to customers in Europe via intermediaries.

      And this had been going on since at least Roman times.

      Delete
    11. "Do you really think child labor laws have outlived their usefulness? If so I’m flabbergasted." Please read more carefully... the sentence continues... "in 1st world western societies." Of course there are parts of the world where children are exploited and there need to be better child labor laws. In 1st world free market capitalist countries we have been able to generate such tremendous wealth that we don't have sweat shops full of young children working. (and please don't tell me how the horrible capitalist have just moved their exploitation of children to the third world. If you believe that then you have a delusional view of what life was like before these countries had the opportunity to actually earn a living). It is all about where you are starting from. Free market capitalism has been the single biggest force for the improvement of living conditions for the largest number of people in the history of mankind....should I dare say it.....period.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous,

      Child labor laws haven't outlived their usefulness in 1st world countries. The laws are still necessary to prevent unscrupulous employers exploiting the vulnerable.

      In Australia (a first world country), there was a recent case in which the owner of a MacDonald's franchise had a 14 year minor (children of this age are allowed to work casually for a few hours at most after school to earn pocket money) work several long shifts well past midnight in flagrant breach of the law.

      He gained because he had to pay far less than he'd have to pay an adult.

      Delete
  4. Anyway. The professor in the video claimed that Western affluence was due to 'economic liberty' and 'social honour' given to manufacturers.

    Which Egnor mangled into 'freedom, along with sound morality'.

    The professor denies exploitation being a factor. But takes a historical viewpoint, in which case she's wrong. The West might be rich today and not exploiting the Third World.

    But exploitation was very much a feature of the Industrial Revolution for at least a century. The owners of the English cotton mills relied on raw cotton coming from slave plantations in the American South and poorly paid over-worked workers living in slums around their factories. Including child labor.

    It was only when governments and trade unions became strong enough that capitalism became moderated and the increased wealth also started to flow to the workers, causing general affluence. And practices such as child labour were banned.

    ReplyDelete