Saturday, January 31, 2009

An exchange of ideas

So I have heard of the marketplace of ideas on occasion and this is a perfect example.
This is an exchange of emails between myself and a friend with differing viewpoints.


Greetings:

It occurred to me that if Blogojevich had been in corporate rather than government things would have been different. If he was in corporate and trying to sell a seat on the board of directors and he got $50,000.00 for that seat he would be praised as forward thinking. If he sold the seat for $5,000,000.00 he would be hailed as a genius and given at least one of the millions as a bonus.
On the other side of the equation the Wall Street bankers gave themselves 15 Billion of our money in the form of bonuses while their companies were going to the government for a handout of public money. If these guys were government employees, like a governor, they would be out on their ass and we'd have our money back.
This is just one of the reasons that I am less concerned about big government than I am about big corporations. While I do not necessarily favor big government at least with that we have some control. With big corporate we have no control of the corporations and worse, the corporations, through their immense wealth, begin to rule government.
Blogojevich is out of office. The heartless bastards who stole 15 billion of our money will never be thrown out of their offices. Remember that when people start harping about how much better it is to have a corporation run things than to have them as government functions.

Any enterprise that operates with no oversight other than it's own is subject to ongoing corruption. Unmonitored greed is what got us into this economic situation. Too many people wanted something for nothing. "It is increasingly apparant to psychotherapists that the normal state of conscieousness in our culture is both the context and the breeding ground of mental disease. A complex of societies of vast material wealth bent on mutual destruction is anything but a condition of social health." (Alan Watts, 1961)

I hope that new administration will find sufficient support to bring sanity to our public policy. I also hope that the world will begin to realize that allowing corporations to reach a size where they can compete with, and dominate, governments is an unhealthy and eventually suicidal mistake. Until we have strict accountability of corporate officials we remain in danger of that mutual destruction mentioned by Watts. Ever increasing universal prosperity will not bring out the best in us. There are many cultures where it is apparent that there is not enough. Where is the culture that has realized that it has more than enough, that more is a detriment? We will have either a new concept of justice, fairness, accountability or we will have eternal war and eventual ruin of the planet.

My response

I would argue a couple things you have posited. Those corporate bankers you mention were given money by a government who were entirely unresponsive to the wishes of the people they represent. At the time of the propsed bailout phone calls to congress ran 3 to 1 against any bailout, Wall street was given money by a government who did not earn it and in fact will be collecting what they spent from us whether we approved of the bailout or not.
If government were a corporation I would have the choice to purchase the goods they have for sale or buy their competitors product, we do not have that choice with government. They have both a monopoly on force and the product they are selling we must pay property and income taxes or have our property siezed at a minimum.
I also do not see a significant improvement in cleanliness when comparing government to corporate scandals. We have repeated government scandals of theft, bribery, improper sexual behavior, graft and just plain inefficiency, how is that an improvement? When corporations are inefficient it is reflected in the price of their product, when they engage in morally repugnent behavior it becomes known. The primary difference again is I have a choice. I can choose to buy my ammunition at Wal Mart or the local gun store, I can choose to avoid buying products made in China, with government I am not allowed a choice. If I wish to add on to my home I must buy a permit, if I wish to drive I must buy a license, license plate and tabs. If I disapprove of a war or war supplies I cannot opt out of paying for it without again having my property seized. I may be killed if I object to strenuously. A quick and obvious example the Branch Davidians, the BATF, a branch of the IRS believed the Davidians had converted some quantity of weapons to full automatic and had failed to pay the 200.00 per weapon tax due for NFA regulated firearms and the 1000.00 per annum SOT fee required if one manufactures a NFA regulated firearm.
In my opinion I have significantly to fear from government than a business. A business doesn't draft you into a job you may not wish to do as the US government did to prosecute both Korea and Vietnam. Few businesses have committed mass murder on the scale of even a piker like Idi Amin let alone the impressive death toll of the USSR, China, Nazi Germany, Cambodia or the 19th century genocide our government perpetrated on the American Indian.
Tell me again why I should prefer an even larger government than we have?
Your friend and libertarian,
Scott


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