Category Archives: Capitalism

UPDATED (12/22/019): Little Guy Shoulders Costs Of Crony Capitalism: Pollution, Red Tide, Ground-Water Contamination…

Business, Capitalism, Donald Trump, Economy, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Free Markets, Globalism, IMMIGRATION

Paul Craig Roberts gets to the nub of American crony capitalism: profits are privatized; external costs are socialized. In other words, The Little Guy bears the brunt of the pillage, be it reckless commercial farming or rampant real-estate pillaging (“development”), fueled by endless immigration central-planning.

External or social costs are costs of producing a product that the producer does not incur but imposes on third parties or on the environment. For example, untreated sewage dumped into a stream imposes costs on people downstream. Runoff of chemical fertilizers from commercial farming produces dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and toxic algal blooms such as Red Tide that result in massive fish kills, make seafood unsafe, cause human ailments and adversely impact the tourist trade of beach areas. The result is lost incomes, ruined vacations, health expenses, and none of these costs are born by the commercial farmers.

Real estate development produces massive external costs. Scenic views from existing properties are blocked, thus reducing their values. Construction noise and congestion impose costs on existing residents and reduces the quality of their lives. Water runoff problems are often created. Infrastructure has to be provided, such as larger highways to provide evacuation from hurricane-impacted areas, usually financed by taxpayers. …

the external costs of coal-fired power plants being built in India by the Indian conglomerate Tata with a loan from the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank. The ground water in the area has been ruined and is no longer drinkable. Farmers are no longer able to grow crops on half of the area farmland. Heated wastewater that is dumped into the Gulf of Kutch is destroying fishing. The ecology and the livelihoods of the population are essentially destroyed. None of these costs are born by the private power companies.

Tired of being doormats for capitalists and the World Bank, the residents of the affected provinces rebelled. They have succeeded in getting their case before the US Supreme Court. It seems that the International Finance Corporation is so accustomed to financing projects that produce large external costs that it overlooked its obligation to examine the environmental impact of the projects it finances. This oversight resulted in Indian farmers and fishermen getting their case before the US Supreme Court. The International Finance Corporation’s lawyers argued that the World Bank lending agency had “absolute immunity.” The Supreme Court said no and remanded the case to the circuit court to rule on the damages.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this apparent victory for ordinary faraway little people in an American court against the World Bank, a principle instrument of American imperialism, is that the Trump administration appeared in court as a friend of the Indian farmers and fishermen. The US Solicitor General, represented by Jonathan Ellis, rejected the notion that international orgnizations have absolute immunity. The Establishment exists on its immunity. Here we see the ultimate reason that the ruling Establishment wants rid of Trump.

Already the senior staff of the International Finance Corporation have come to the realization that they have other responsibilities than just to shuffle money out the lending shute. If the Indian farmers and fishermen succeed in protecting themselves from ruination by external costs, perhaps Americans who suffer external costs will follow their lead.

[SEE: “US Supreme Court rules against World Bank’s claim of absolute immunity.”]

No wonder Paul Craig Roberts—he served in the Reagan administration—has been expunged from official Conservatism’s polite circles. All good people have been. Fortunately, we have the Unz Review.

RELATED are my pieces on homelessness and high-tech.

 

As I wrote in “Why The H-1B Visa Racket Should Be Abolished, Not Reformed:

Barricaded in their obscenely lavish compounds—from the comfort of their monster mansions—these social engineers don’t experience the “environmental impacts of rapid urban expansion”; the destruction of verdant open spaces and farmland; the decrease in the quality of the water we drink and air we breathe, the increase in traffic and traffic accidents, air pollution, the cellblock-like housing erected to accommodate their imported I.T. workers and extended families, the delicate bouquet of amped up waste management and associated seepages. For locals, this lamentable state means an inability to afford homes in a market in which property prices have been artificially inflated.

* Image of the Tata Mundra power plant is courtesy of Joe Athialy

UPDATE (12/22/019): And now “Mysterious greenish-yellow liquid [is] gushing from walls on I-696.” Goo will probably contaminate drinking water.

Chile: A Well-To-Do People That Wants MORE … Socialism, Not Capitalism

Capitalism, Culture, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarianism, Elections, Free Markets, Race, Socialism

Chile is the country with the highest per capita income and least inequality in all of Latin America,writes Pat Buchanan. “Yet the protesters have succeeded in forcing the elected government to capitulate and write a new constitution.”

The economic issues propelling workers into the streets to protest inequalities of wealth and income are occurring at a time when our world has never been more prosperous. …
Neither authoritarians nor the world’s democracies seem to have found a cure for the maladies that afflict our world’s unhappy citizens. …

What we have in reality is what Pat Buchanan has always warned of:

The ethnic and racial clashes within and between nations seem increasingly beyond the capacity of democratic regimes to resolve peacefully.
As for matters of fundamental belief — political, ideological, religious — the divides here, too, seem to be deepening and widening.

The Economist concurs that Chile has it quite good, writing that it “is the second-richest country in Latin America, thanks in part to its healthy public finances and robust private sector”:

Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s centre-right president, at first took a tough line with the malcontents. “We are at war,” he declared during the rioting. The state’s response was heavy-handed. Although most of the deaths occurred because of arson …

What the people of Chile want, it would appear, is less capitalism and MORE socialism:

Under a model developed by free-market economists during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990, citizens are expected to save for their own retirement. … In many other countries, public pensions are financed by taxing current workers and giving the money to current pensioners—a system that comes under strain when the population ages. Chileans, by contrast, invest the money they save in privately managed funds. This system has helped Chile manage its public finances and encouraged the development of long-term capital markets, which in turn has boosted economic growth.

IS this good? You bet it’s good.

The conservative Mr Piñera is unlikely to scrap a system which in many ways has served Chile well. It is the second-richest country in Latin America, thanks in part to its healthy public finances and robust private sector.

BUT the people are not interested.

* Image courtesy The Economist.

NEW COLUMN: Update II (12/20/019): Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead

Capitalism, China, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Education, Intelligence, Kids, Left-Liberalism, Reason

NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

An excerpt:

To judge by their writing, the youngsters who’ve been given the run of the conservative op-ed pages, pixelated and printed, know little about how socialism differs from capitalism.

To their credit, they’ve chosen a side—the right side—but are incapable of arguing the morality of capitalism and its efficacy (which stems from its morality).

Discredited are their employers for failing to demand that their young, conservative charges methodically and creatively motivate for the right—and the Right—side.

Endeavoring to explain the oft-repeated banality that, “Colleges are turning young people [into] socialists,” one such prototypical writer says this in her dog’s breakfast of a column, for the Washington Examiner:

“Students are gullible and moldable because they have little conviction and no foundation. Too often, public universities teach students to accept basic, shallow ‘knowledge’ at face value. They are not trained to ask why this knowledge matters or how it influences the rest of their education or how it relates to higher principles.”

The writer at once, and incoherently, condemns “shallow knowledge” (whatever that is), yet laments that students are not taught to relate “shallow knowledge” to higher principles. What does this even mean?!

Such bafflegab is published absent the telltale signs of editorial oversight. Or, perhaps the editors of the Examiner and publications like it think that voicing an opinion is the same as advancing an argument.

However, meandering assertions, circular arguments, non sequiturs and assorted banal utterances don’t belong on editorial pages. Agile argument does.

The piece continues in this puerile vain, conjuring the catchphrase that currently precedes every sentence spoken by a millennial: “I feel like.”

“I feel like” columns and essays are a dime a dozen; their purveyors having procured plum positions in the conservative press.

That “students are not learning” in schools and are thus gravitating to socialism is beyond trite—it’s also a non sequitur. For one would have to argue that lack of learning leads to socialism, and not merely assert it.

In showcasing amateurish, intern-quality material in national forums, conservatives are letting the liberal credo guide them. …

… READ THE REST.  NEW COLUMN: “Conservative Kids Must Learn Before They Lead.” Read it on The Unz Review or WND.COM.

Updated I (11/28/019):

You can’t think critically when there is nothing between your ears: On Critical Thinking: We can only think critically about things about which we have knowledge.”

Update II (12/20/019):

Harley-Davidson Had Been Looking To Move Production Off Shore For A While

Capitalism, Debt, Donald Trump, Economy, Free Markets, Trade

Conservatism once had the genius of James Burnham, Russell Kirk, Frank Chodorov, and Felix Morley; now the brand boasts Rich Lowry, Meghan McCain and S. E. Cupp.

The last has learned nothing from the 2016 election. S. E. Cupp, a Never Trumper who hosts a CNN show, is betting against Donald Trump. She says, “Trump Supporters Soon Will Learn That No One Wins A Trade War.”

Where’s the learning curve? I would not bet on Trump losing a trade war.

This is not to advocate tariffs. I am for free trade. But here’s the clincher. We don’t have free-market capitalism. Never have; at least not in recent memory.

Thus, “trade deficits must be seen in the context of state-managed trade and systemic debt.” That’s what Trump is negotiating; he’s not messing with the divine order in which we true free-marketers believe. For it doesn’t exist.

As for Harley-Davidson’s decision to move some of its production outside of the U.S.: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Kennedy of Fox Business disclosed that the company had been looking to move production off shore for a while and were searching for an excuse to do so.