Friday, December 08, 2017

Quote of the Day

LeGuin identifies all capitalism as "growth capitalism," and is concerned that, like cancer, it requires endless growth to survive. By her definition, she's right. I'd point out that government efforts to regulate it, to channel it, have resulted in many of the deleterious effects she lays at its door: corporations are actively discouraged from looking much past quarters, or single years at best -- "What's good for General Motors is good for the county" once carried the implicit assumption that GM was in it for the long haul, century after century, in the kind of way that we now call "sustainable." It no longer does, and has not for quite some time. Other regulations encourage rent-seeking, regulatory capture and the use of regulations to stymie new entrants and thwart competitors. And vast defense budgets ensure many corporations have a vested interest in war. This does not strike me as a wise long-term strategy.

A mess like that, is that "capitalism?" Karl Marx said it was -- but he was defining an enemy. When I go to a hamfest, a farmer's market, an antique mall, a gun show or the Feast Of The Hunter's Moon, what is that selling of things you've got plenty of for tokens that will let you buy what you need and want, if not capitalism? And does it not manage to achieve an equitable -- or at least mutually-acceptable -- distribution of goods and services? To limit "capitalism" to the goons of Wall Street, to a game best played by those with money to gamble that doesn't risk their physical survival, is to ignore all those regular people, getting by selling loose cigarettes for a penny profit each, selling excess honey from their backyard hive to buy Christmas presents (or, like my Mom, simply giving the honey as gifts -- how she missed her hive when she and Dad moved to a subdivision that was shocked, shocked at the notion of a tiny home apiary, and forced her to rehome it) and a jillion small businesses and minor exchanges.

via Roberta X.


Old NFO said...

Everything is becoming more restrictive... And I'm sure she DID miss that fresh honey!

Borepatch said...

Merry Christmas, Bob!