Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Not the Free Market's Fault Thing

Dear America,

capitalism and the free market and a free people can be so misunderstood...

...while we so happened to have traveled so far away from our country's founding intentions -- crafted by the pure genius of our founding fathers and learned men -- the ordinary citizen has not a chance in recognizing our failure to uphold our duty and responsibility to it...

surely, we have lost our way....
...we have forgotten the reason why
...we have ignored the facts, making up new rules as we go along --  finding ourselves choosing to rationalize bad behavior at every turn, and siding with the irrational, emotional pull of human nature versus sound decision making, we seem to have reached a dead end.

But when allowed to operate correctly, freedom itself, can be best expressed within a free market economy; there is nothing else like it in the world!

According to The Naked Communist,  "It allows everyone to win, either by making a profit or by improving his position as the result of an honest transaction."

Of course, take out "honest" and we all fall down.

IF a company grows a reputation of being dishonest -- if a seller uses tricks and gimmicks to sell an inferior product -- word gets out.  Rather quickly, actually. But let's not get hung up on this aspect...

True free enterprise is based on the value of something and how each party in a transaction wins something in the exchange.   As my little red paperback by W. Cleon Skousen goes on to explain in plain language:

"Take a man who wants to buy a used car.  He has a certain amount of money or credit.  When he offers this money to the dealer it means that he would rather have the car than that amount of money -- the 'value' of the car is greater to him than the 'value' of the money.  If the dealer agrees it means that the dealer would rather have the money than the car.  In fact, he won't sell the car unless the price he gets is of greater value to him than the value of the car...both men have made a profit."

The thing is -- very few of us really respects the dynamic of supply and demand and the true value bestowed upon things that fuels this free market on a daily, moment by moment, transaction after transaction, basis.   Nobody has a gun to somebody's head (aka a penalty, or a tax) to force them to buy a new used car (at least, not yet...health care, yes, a used car, no).

But in a free country, it is the individual who decides what is of value and what is not.

AND  -- at the moment we choose something -- we are expressing our freedom to choose or walk away, to spend or to save, to risk or to play it safe, to buy or not to buy, to sell or not to sell --  basing our decision entirely upon what it is worth to us after weighing it against all pros and cons.

What we fail to teach our children (and ourselves) is the power of that specific, dynamic, revolutionary choice we make.  We fail to teach the great responsibility back behind it, even if it is merely a pack of gum.

As another example from Skousen:

"If a man has ten dollars and chooses to spend it on a night of celebration he has thereby lost the freedom to spend that same ten dollars on some new clothes.  One the choice is made, a person is not free to avoid the consequences of that choice.  That is why we say there is no such thing as unrestricted freedom, or freedom in general.  Freedom is always restricted to some specific choice and freedom is always restricted to choosing one direction at a time."

oh and he continues with this kicker:

"It is for this reason that a free economy requires a continuous education of its people so that they will exercise their "freedom to choose" in such a way that it will sustain sound moral principles and build a dynamic economy with a strong social structure to preserve it.  In making such choices, the people must sense what is best for both the individual and the community [so as to not become a burden on it].  They must be well informed.  They must know enough about each problem so they can anticipate what the result will be when they have made their choice." 

Romney has made phenomenal choices for himself and his family (while his boys seem to be following right behind).

Are the results of Romney's choices simply because he was a ruthless businessman, a capitalist pig?

I think not.

He made good choices based upon, first and foremost, being an honorable  man.  And this man, as part of the private equity firm, Bain Capital, invested into the future value of other companies, basically risking their capital on hand to a future value, virtually unknown.  Each party wanted something of value and were willing to exchange something of value, and so on and so on.

And by the way, there wasn't some kind of magic ball, some kind of built-in GPS system giving directions, you know what I mean... 

There were no guarantees that Staples, for an example, would actually make it.

And certainly, I have no idea of the particulars of the deal.  But somewhere in the mix, both parties came away with something of greater value.   There was an exchange of values (and hard work); and fortunately, in the end, it all  worked out for all parties involved.

Staples only continues to thrive because the public, in general, likes what it sells at the price points they provide.  People work at Staples because they see the value of what they get paid in salary and benefits in exchange for the amount of time and energy they spend there.   Manufacturers continue to cater to Staples, for they, too, appreciate the return on the "value exchange" overall.  And, in turn, the lucky company who sells the packaged health insurance, the corner gas station who fuels the delivery trucks, the neighborhood deli which feeds all the passersby all win (just to name a few).

Throughout every leg of the process, at the very core, a specific choice is made.

And THIS FREEDOM is what it's all about.  This freedom, at one time, was revolutionary; and it was so dynamic, it led in this country's decision making. And we, as a whole, glorified it for all the right reasons.

But oopsie daisy, today... not so much.

We have stopped teaching it.  We have ceased leading with it.  And more often than not, have encouraged vilifying it.

The thing is, as a people, we have made horrendous choices over the last hundred years in government.

As a people, we have enslaved ourselves -- every single one of us!

Now, I know, deep in my heart, that I have made relatively bad choices with my individual freedom to choose (carrying a bevy of consequences in tow).  But it's not anyone else's fault but my own.

While, as a people -- given we have seemingly fallen fast asleep behind the wheel of our fine used car, tagged America -- we are currently dealing with the results of our freedom to choose collectively.  We have made some seriously bone head choices.

I don't even wanna know what some of our founders must be thinking.

The road ahead will not be pretty, nor pink; for we are seeing red everywhere we turn.  Our innocence has been lost upon things frivolous and short sighted.

Our toil has been wasted upon a corrupted exchange of values and control.

The things we should value, we trash; while the things we throw away, are disposed of mindlessly of the consequences it creates.

And strangely enough, the good news is:  we have done this to ourselves.  
[yay...   fist pump for freedom everyone]


All we have to do is make better choices again -- come one and all, individually and collectively.

It's a clunker alright.  But we have the ability to recognize the beauty within -- to re-introduce ourselves to ourselves and the very things that make us special -- the attributes intrinsically built into the free market, capitalist, republic that we are.

We can teach our children -- and our 'brothers and sisters', too --  to be wise in their freedom of choice.

We can teach our representatives that they serve the people.

We can teach our so-called unlimited government that it answers to us.

We can all learn to drive this thing all over again if we have to, whatever it takes.

The freedom to try, to buy, to sell, to fail is our engine.  And without these things working in unison with the ignition being lit by the freedom of choice provided by every single one of us -- responsibly, deliberately, conscientiously, and honorably -- for the benefit of our own life and each other's -- we might as well drive off the proverbial cliff right now.

It works with ideologies, too.

It's called making one good choice after another, until one day, we get back to where we started.  (oh the irony of going backwards in order to move forward with integrity, preserving all the things that make this country pretty wonderful) 

Make it a Good Day, G

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