Capitalists strike back?

Nathan Strong is obviously a dyed-in-the-wool communist, so nothing I say is going to change his mind, but for the people who might be swayed I thought I should respond to his letter [“Green Capitalism Still Sucks,” March 30 Xpress].

What he forgets is that most people work simply and purely for the money they get paid. I would be surprised if one one-millionth of a percent of the population of the United States work purely because they love their job. For the rest of us there are no jobs that we would do without pay. I love my job here in Asheville, but if I were independently wealthy, I would not be doing it.

The purpose of an economy is not to be “fair” (whose idea of fair would you use exactly?) or to provide everyone, or even the largest number of people, with all they need (just because you need something does not mean you deserve it). Economic systems exist to reward, and thus encourage, work and innovation.

History has proven that a country with an economic system that does not reward innovation and work can’t survive. Russia had more people, more natural resources and more land than America, but less innovation because of its economic system. Europe has had significantly less innovation than the states in the past decades and thus has been hit much harder than us in the recent economic crises.

Strong is also laughably wrong in stating that those who work with their hands are the main drivers of the economy. Economies are driven by new ideas, new ways of thinking. The innovators are the drivers of all; they are rare and thus worth much more and are significantly more difficult to replace if they immigrate to another country where their talents are more respected (as Europe has learned over the past few years).

If the choice is between the dictatorship of the proletariat or rule by the wealthy (checked by the votes of the entire populace) I would much rather be ruled by the educated, the motivated and the successful.

— Daniel Cole
Asheville

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39 thoughts on “Capitalists strike back?

  1. bill smith

    [i]I would much rather be ruled by the educated, the motivated and the successful.[/i]

    …I don’t know… that sounds kind of elitist.

  2. Hah. This is pretty funny. “History has proven”! Wow! I love that one, every time I see it! Heheh.

    Economic systems aren’t fair! Wow. It just keeps getting better. How do you sustain such a level of comedic genius, sentence after sentence? It must be hard work!

    But wait! Hard work isn’t part of the system! It’s ideas! Ideas aren’t hard work! Wow! It’s coming around full circle! It’s like Ayn Rand’s mind and yours are connected!

    Ideas are so hard, in fact, that it’s best to just write a letter to the editor that’s an abbreviated version of the Cliffs Notes of Atlas Shrugged! After all, what better way to show innovation than to just outright repeat what someone else said and sign your name to it?

    Wow! It just keeps going!

    This is great stuff! I love how you are going to tie the Tea Party’s willful ignorance and populist anti-intellectualism to all of this!

    Oh, whoops, you would “rather be ruled by the educated, the motivated and the successful.”

    Well, I guess you can’t win them all. Still, a brilliant effort at comedic writing.

    I’m so glad that no one actually thinks like this. What a sad little world that would be.

  3. JWTJr

    “I’m so glad that no one actually thinks like this. What a sad little world that would be.”

    Mat – at least one person thinks this way. I hate to break it to you, but hundreds of millions of people think that way.

  4. JWTJr

    Mat – Who is operating now with your ideal economic model? Can you describe it? It easy to say ours is bad. Who’s is good?

  5. JWTJr

    FYI – I personally think hard work and good ideas are valuable and should be rewarded … before I’m grouped as an Ayn Rand disciple

  6. bearsnotyuppies

    Wow! If THIS is capitalists “striking back” then yall don’t stand a chance.

    “just because you need something does not mean you deserve it”

    Amazing. Really. Food and housing should be luxury items. I see where you’re going. Starving children should just come to terms with the economically necessary and morally justified position they’ve been placed into because Daniel Cole thinks they don’t deserve food.

    Cool ill let them know.

    And then you finish with “I would much rather be ruled by (the wealthy because they are)the educated, the motivated and the successful.”

    Of course the people with access to resources have them, not because they rob the poor but because they are better then poor people and deserve their wealth.

    Thanks for helping further delegitimize capitalism.

  7. mule

    “I hate to break it to you, but hundreds of millions of people think that way.”

    Hundreds of millions? I guess that explains why the Libertarian Party wins all the elections.

  8. JWTJr

    Mule – the US isn’t the whole world. As much as we’d like to think so sometimes.

  9. Ken Hanke

    the US isn’t the whole world.

    The rest of the world is plugged into Ayn Rand?

  10. JWTJr

    “The rest of the world is plugged into Ayn Rand?”

    Math obviously isn’t your strong point. Stick to reviewing movies made by capitalist zillionaires.

  11. Ken Hanke

    Math obviously isn’t your strong point.

    If I was a right-winger, I’d yell “ad hominem attack,” but since I’m not, I’ll merely note that that doesn’t answer the question.

  12. JWTJr

    You guys are something. You know exactly what I meant, but instead of addressing it, you try to create a distraction.

    Matt, I’ll answer your question if you answer mine above. You’ve been mysteriously absent. Researching?

  13. Mysteriously absent? Researching?

    Hardly.

    After all, what would be the point? I give you some long, well researched piece about comparative economics and you will poo-poo it for any number of reasons.

    You said it yourself, the current model is broken. It sends money upward into an ever smaller number of hands, leaving more and more people sinking to the bottom as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows wider and wider.

    There aren’t even too many people left in the “comfortably-sort-of-haves” category anymore. No great American middle class. All because a never ending procession of business-friendly Democrats and business-loving Republicans have consistently lowered taxes on the rich while slashing programs for the poor, the middle-class, the artistic, the marginalized, and anyone else who isn’t a day trader or investment broker, who have created an atmosphere where industry has ceased to create anything other than new logos to slap on the side of sweatshop swag stitched together in portable factories that migrate from third-world country to third-world country in the same way they fled this country two decades ago.

    These same self-serving politicians, functioning as the figureheads of an ever-shrinking oligarchy, have traded off the value of real capital for the mythical virtual capital of stock options. They have convinced most of the nation to trade in sensible savings accounts and Social Security for the Ponzi scheme of private investments and 401Ks. Sure, they only fail every sixth or seventh out of eight years on average but when your numbers up, your value falls.

    I grew up hearing stories of the elderly eating cat food. I don’t want that for my parents. Neither do I want my children growing up to raise children who will be taught that nothing more in the world is more worthy of pursuit than profit.

    Sure, I could tell you all this and more. But you aren’t likely to care. You will spend another day or two acting indignant that we’ve challenged your insupportable assertion that there are “hundreds of millions” of people in the world who are solely motivated by greed and avarice when you know full well that there aren’t.

    But there are billions of poor people. And growing every day, thanks to the pursuit of profit.

    If profit is a person’s only motivation, that person is a soulless, shriveled shell of a human being. And that’s being generous.

  14. Ken Hanke

    You guys are something.

    In other words, you’re not going to tell us who and where these “hundreds of millions” of Rand adherents are.

  15. Mark Anderson

    This is from John Rodgers:“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged,” he wrote. “One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  16. bill smith

    [b]In other words, you’re not going to tell us who and where these “hundreds of millions” of Rand adherents are.[/b]

    Or just admit it was hyperbolic flourish and be done with it.

    [b]Right on, bro.[/b]

    Glad you agree, tim. Thanks.

  17. mule

    “Mule – the US isn’t the whole world. As much as we’d like to think so sometimes.”

    If there were even tens of millions this nonsense would have taken root somewhere. Why hasn’t it?

  18. Isle of Man

    I think everyone has forgotten that arguing on the internet about politics is like running in the Special Olympics – even if you win, you’re still retarded.

  19. JWTJr

    “You said it yourself, the current model is broken. It sends money upward into an ever smaller number of hands, leaving more and more people sinking to the bottom as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows wider and wider.”

    The same problems exist in every country with slightly different names. Where is it different? Better? Somewhere on this planet? Is the whole world broken? If the US is broken, the rest of the world is wrecked because the rich and powerful run every country and always have. I still like the US and our broken model best

    Just trying to add some perspective here.

  20. JWTJr

    Ken – where did I say that? The author never mentioned Rand. Mat did as we all knew he would.

  21. Ken Hanke

    The author never mentioned Rand.

    Alright, then where are these hundreds of millions of people who subscribe to this Rand-like philosophy?

  22. JWTJr

    Ken, why are you so focused on Rand? Is your distraction strategy still in play or are you just obsessed with Rand? Neither I nor the author made a Rand comparison.

  23. Ken Hanke

    Is your distraction strategy still in play

    Distracting from what and to what end? Do you really think that “winning” an internet argument is deeply meaningful?

    Neither I nor the author made a Rand comparison.

    It it nonetheless perfectly in keeping with the same philosophy.

  24. Notice that JWTJr has, by now, completely dropped his earlier assertion that he is not an adherent of Rand in favor of continued avoidance of the question and/or continued insistence that I provide a better economic model to point to, regardless of the fact that pretty much the entire world is now beholden to the failed economic model that has grown out of the last 40 years of continual deregulation of banking, privatization or national resources, relaxing of tax codes, and crushing of labor unions and laws protecting workers.

    Nope. Just more of the same tripe about “if there were a different model that were more successful”, and that completely ignores the fact that America was pretty doggone economically sound in the fifties and sixties with enormous tax burdens on the rich and Glass-Steagall intact.

    But, no! Let’s blame the problem on the notion that we haven’t deregulated enough! Let’s ignore the collapse of Chile under Pinochet and his Chicago Economists! Let’s ignore the collapse of the Russian experiment. Let’s continue to ignore the fact that we are operating under a discredited economic model that serves only to enrich a very small minority at the expense of the vast majority and then, after all that, let us spit in the faces of every poor person in the world by saying it’s all about “freedom” and “liberty”.

  25. Margaret Williams

    While there seem to be some interesting points and discussion here, we detect an increasingly make-it-personal tone in the exchanges. If you’ve made comments and don’t see them posted yet… take a breath, rethink, rephrase. Criticize the ideas, not the people.

  26. Ken Hanke

    MOTHER OF GOD! HE IS CONJURING HER!

    I don’t think that has a connection to me having to sit through that Atlas Shrugged movie this afternoon.

  27. bill smith

    [b]at least one person thinks this way. I hate to break it to you, but hundreds of millions of people think that way. [/b]

    I’m sorry, perhaps I missed it. Where and who are these hundreds of millions?

  28. RHS

    < >

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  29. awatkins

    “I had no idea that the definition was a matter of contention.” Mat, I do not understand why you made this comment.

  30. There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

    My new signature. Thanks!

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