Labels, categories and pigeon-holes are stupid.

Labels, categories and pigeon-holes are stupid. Economically stupid.

the one percent


Economically stupid names for theories and ideologies divide and confuse us. Free marketer, supply side, open market, protectionist, conservative, trade unionist, socialist, libertarian or any other economic ideology have become political footballs. Many are the people that believe that you cannot be both one and the other. That’s just not true. In fact, it’s really detrimental to believe this way.

I am always filled with joy when, with careful study, we learn that what has worked was other than what was expected. Transversely, I am led to despair when rational people will not let go of what has proven to be an utter failure. These things always bother the ideologue and inflame tempers among the political purists. Let me say it here. Ronald Reagan was wrong. About many things. Mostly, about economics.

I’m not here, right now, to argue the point and if you want to deify the “Gipper” that’s just fine with me. My point is strictly economic and has to do only with the use and importance of economic systems or theories. I am not in support of any specific one and that is the point. They all have the capacity to advance the evolution of society when applied where they may do the most good. A sock that fits every foot is likely not a very good sock and fits many feet poorly.

In a dynamic society there are many market sectors that are different in every way from other sectors of the economy. There is, and should be, no comparison to the financials of fashion design, production and delivery as compared to the financials of the prison industry. I mention these two industries because they are both intrinsically evil. In fashion, 99% of the people earning their living get 1% of the reward, 1% get 99% of the reward. A very high profit, low cost industry. It’s perverse. The private prison industry would like to achieve the same results. Both sick and sad.

Profits uber alles. Well, it just won’t work that way. In a prison industry that values profits, you get the largest prison population, per capita, in the world. That’s what we have and that’s nuts. In a fashion industry that is in a constant search for the lowest cost labor that they have developed portable factories, well, slavery and serfdom almost seem like the goal.

The bottom line is that each sector of society has its impact and unique conundrums. Some of these should be highly profitable, others should be loss leaders. Who should decide? What criteria should be used?

Common sense comes to mind. The common good should be the goal. Moral righteousness and the strength to consider tomorrow and the next generation should be our guideposts. Reason our rationale.

So many things about the economy that you have been told are absolute gospel are really just lies.  These labels, categories and pigeon-holes are the things used to convince you. ”Call them libs, socialists, Marxists and we’ll get our way.” Stupid. Just as dumb is forming an opinion about our economic future based on these labels. Economics is the one category of our human endeavors that people are not expected to understand yet easily has the most effect on all of us. So I’m going to get professorial and give some advice I got decades ago.

There is no economic system that is suitable to all human endeavors. There is no economic system that is wrong. There is no economic system that is right. Burdens should be shared as rewards are shared. Effort to effectiveness calculations should not be used to determine rewards alone. Much effort is redundant yet, needs to be done and rewarded in a manner that requires going above the idea of lowest common denominator employment.

The only way to advance our society is through the expansion of and security for the middle class. The easiest way to grow the middle class is to invest in the poor and the next generation. The key to the security of the middle class is to limit the ability of the top 10 or 3 or 1% of asset holders to dodge their specific responsibility to regard these truths as specific personal financial responsibility. Specific and responsibility is used twice in that sentence. Intentionally.

If you have amassed one million in assets and think the poor are moochers you’re stupid. Find a poor kid in the 9th grade and help them graduate high school, then pay for their college. You can. Why not? If you have amassed 20 million in assets and think that poor people are moochers then open an outreach program that will provide day care for twenty families at a time. You can. Why not? If you have amassed really big assets then find a portion of your assets that can be directly invested in the growth and nurturing of those below the poverty line. Take a cut to realize the financial security of more of those that have not known security before. Don’t just give to charity. Find a need. Don’t raise funds. Use yours. Don’t “raise awareness”, do the job of investing in all of our futures, for the betterment of your own.

Now anyone that reads this is going to try to figure out what label to put on me. What category I fit into. They’ll want to pigeon-hole me and find names to call me. They would be wrong and that would be stupid. The point that I am making is both reasonable and logical.

We need to be flexible in our use of economic systems in virtually all of our endeavors with the goal of growing our economy in the areas where growth has the most capacity for growth. It is not the ossified assets stacked on top of more assets accumulated by fewer and fewer people in greater and greater amounts. Growth has its greatest potential among the poor and the next generations.

Growth is not accurately measured nor is security achieved by celebrating the next billionaire. If you think it is, well, you are truly stupid.











I am

Max Oebulet

Social Philosopher