Monday, March 28, 2011

The Business of Bread and Circuses

Business is neither good nor evil. Business has no soul or conscience. The only consideration of business is to make a profit.

The free market is a concept. In concept the free market should be unaffected by normative judgment. However, whenever people are involved, and there are always people involved in business and the markets, the free market will be influenced by their perceptions, beliefs, and objectives; as well as the power they wield in influencing the market. Put as simply as I know how to, markets are influenced by the people that participate in them and the people that control them.

The more economic democracy we have, the "freer" the markets are. Please understand that I believe that free markets are good and that people should be rewarded for work and merit. I do not believe that the vast majority of the American population should be denied "the pursuit of happiness" because ostensibly free markets are rigged and being controlled and manipulated by politicians and lobbyists  for the benefit of the wealthy and global corporations. And I certainly don't believe that markets that are manipulated by theft, deception and fraud, should masquerade as free markets.

I cannot think of one free market that is operating in the world today; though I can enumerate many "kinda" free markets. The most obvious one is the oil market.

Friedmanites argue that the free markets are alive and well and support their position with flawed data. One disciple of Friedman and Kuznets recently stated that consumption in America is at an all time high, and in the same breath denounced TARP as being a failure. He continued by stating that intervention by the public sector is "forcing out private sector participation."

Have we forgotten September 2008? It comes back to human beings, and perceptions, beliefs and objectives. Without government involvement there is no indication and certainly no reason to believe that the private sector will act according to b school paradigms. And a sick, impoverished population is not able to purchase much in the way of goods and services.

Today, many Americans are acting like the little boy who is whistling in the dark; all the while waving the American flag and consuming McDonalds and watching NASCAR and the WWF.

I will leave you with a couple of quotes. The first one may explain the "rabid dog" demeanor of many Republicans which is characterized by the lower incisors protruding up, onto the upper lip. "It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured." Tacitus

The second quote requires no explanation. "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator. " George W. Bush

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