You hear it all the time from conservatives: "Leave it to the market." Health care: Leave it to the market. Social Security: Leave it to the market. The climate crisis: Leave it to the market. Campaign finance: Leave it to the market. Minimum wage: Leave it to the market.
The classical assumption behind markets is that everyone is trying to maximize profit, with sellers trying to maximize prices and buyers trying to minimize costs. This leads to the idea of the market as "determining value"—what the buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to accept.
The central idea, promulgated by Adam Smith, is that everyone is, or should be, trying to maximize his or her profit. By what Smith termed the "invisible hand," that is, as a matter of nature, such a market maximizes profit for the totality of buyers and sellers and so helps everyone—including the nation.
This is the idealization. ... The idealization makes many assumptions that economists know are not really true: There is near-perfect competition, there is perfect knowledge by both buyers and sellers, there is equal accessibility, there is no collusion by sellers to inflate prices, both buyer and seller are equally powerful, and both buyers and sellers act rationally. These assumptions are false, and the fact that they are false raises serious questions about the natural and moral aspects of markets of many kinds. Nonetheless, it is widely assumed—by both liberals and conservatives—that the idealization is true.
Have we become such a Money-obsessed culture, that we have now allowed this principle of the Invisible Hand, "Leave it to the market", to take over the "Market Place of Ideas" too? It would seem so, with the Media, it's certainly true that money runs the show.
It would seem so, with Democracy too, Money has become the ultimate judge of Character, here too. When the "Viability" [ie. ability to grow] of a Candidate has been boiled down to a simple "Bottom Line" question: How much Money you got?
- capable of living.
a. physically fitted to live.
b. having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus.
- Botany. able to live and grow.
- vivid; real; stimulating, as to the intellect, imagination, or senses: a period of history that few teachers can make viable for students.
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- having the ability to grow, expand, develop, etc.: a new and viable country.
When both the Media, and some in the progressive community, treat the Money Race as the end all, be all -- it would seem, our Future has already been sold, to the highest bidders:
MSNBC -- Those pesky campaign expectations
One of the more intriguing aspects to presidential campaigns is how much expectations play into how the media and the public perceive and eventually choose their presidents.
Two candidates in particular are benefiting from the voter expectations game: Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.
It's been one of the more remarkable aspects to this campaign. And how Clinton benefits from low expectations from both the press and voters.
Washington Post -- Race to the Bottom Line
The expectations game for presidential fundraising shifted into high gear today, with the two leading Democrats trying to persuade reporters that they would lose the battle for top of the money heap when they close their books at the end of this month.
Why are the campaigns so keen on declaring themselves the likely money loser? It's all about expectations. If they start conditioning people now ...
Conditioning People? That's what passes for Political Viability in the 21st Century? What ever happen to "voting for the Candidate who best represents your values and priorities"? What ever happen to judging the person -- NOT their pocketbook?
Is the truism really true: Money equals Power?
Is that what Life and Leadership really boil down to, in the modern world?
Is the best Leader really the best wheeler-dealer?
Does money buy happiness? Freedom? Opportunity? Every college student is gambling on the idea that a high-paying job will enable them to achieve social prestige, wealth and possessions, but we all know that doesn't always happen.
Our capitalistic economy and values encourage constant accumulation of wealth because in America, the myth that money equals power, power equals success, and success equals happiness prevails. But even in the Great Land of Opportunity, there are distinctive social classes, a great divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots." The "have-nots" think they want a glimpse of the other side -- as if the other side is that much better.
The idea of getting rich quick, be it through a lottery ticket, gambling, or any other scam is the biggest hoax of America.
Money can bring out the worst in human nature. It's dangerous. It's a test of character. ... Families have been torn apart over money conflicts.
Money isn't a bad thing in and of itself. It's our attitude about it that can make us either miserable or content. I tend to have a deeper respect for those who work hard to earn an honest living.
Unchecked Capitalism leads to many things, but Happiness, Freedom, and more Opportunity are usually NOT among its most common results.
Even the well respected Capitalist, John Bogle, is having second thoughts about the negative effects that the short-term focus on Profits, is having on the long-term Productivity of America.
John Bogle, 77, created The Vanguard Group, Inc., in 1974, which today is one of the two largest mutual fund organizations in the world.
FORTUNE magazine named him one of the four giants of the 20th century in the investment industry. TIME magazine called him one of the world's 100 most powerful and influential people.
JOHN BOGLE: Well, I spend a lot of time thinking about that. I mean, you kind of asked the question, which I've asked in some of my work. What is enough here? And the society is out of control. I mean, in THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM, I talk about the frightening similarities between the American economy in America, our nation, at the beginning of the 21st century and Rome all those centuries ago around the 4th century.
BILL MOYERS: What are the comparisons?
JOHN BOGLE: We have an idea that we are the world's value creator and leader. And I'm talking not just about economic value, but, we like to think of America as having the best values of integrity and citizenship in the world. We're getting a little bit too much self interested. ... And we see this not just in our economy, in our financial system. This very short-term focus on everything. You see it, sadly, in our government.
Everybody knows social security is going to run into crisis. We can't run these federal deficits forever. But, everybody looks out two years and says, "Will I be elected two years from now or a year and a half from now?" And, the short term focus ultimately betrays the very values that we have come to be used to in this great nation of ours.
It's just we've taken it too far. Today's capitalists are different from yesterday's capitalists-
BILL MOYERS: How so? What's the big difference?
JOHN BOGLE: Well, I think much more they're operating on their own. Instead of for the interest of whose money has been entrusted to them. It's an element — it's what we call a bottom-line society, again. But I think it's the wrong bottom line.
BILL MOYERS: What does it say to you that people seem so indifferent to the fact that one tenth of one percent of the population owns most of the wealth in this country?
JOHN BOGLE: Well, in the long run, I believe it's unsustainable. You know, this is not going to be, you know, a country like France, say, at the time of before the French Revolution. You know, the lords of France, the kings had probably the same kind of distribution of wealth we had today come by through long generations. Their own castles. We have those castles in America now. But it says to me that, in this society, it's not sustainable. There will be an outcry.
Recently John Edwards has taken a stand for Public Financing, which has led to spirited discussions, regarding his "Long-term Political Viability".
The Long-term Future of this Country is what matters to John Edwards -- NOT just the Short-term race to cater to Special Interests.
Question: Is standing up for the 90% of Americans who comprise in the working class in America, who NEED a Champion, is that not Viable?
Question: Should Edwards be seeking PAC money and Lobbyist Money, as the Clinton Campaign actively does? Would that make him more Viable, in the eyes of the Media? Is having even more Millions in the coffers, is that what counts as "being pragmatic", even in the eyes of the Progressive community, too?
Time will tell if the cynical pragmatism of Congress will taken root in the American People as well. Most Americans still cling to their "Rugged Idealism". Most Americans still vote their Conscience! Yet, these days most members of Congress, even among Presidential Candidates in Congress, they view every Vote from the prism of "what Political Ad will ultimately result from it."
But that's what "letting the the Market Decide" gets you!
John Edwards has refused to Play that Game -- the game of Political Expediency and Compromise. John Edwards has taken a stand on principle! -- (many stands in fact.)
Is this really what Democracy has come to, Damn the consequences whether or not we call Iran's Revolutionary Guard a Terrorist Organization, just give me a good Sound Bite please, for next Campaign season, PLEASE!
Whatever happened to our Representatives "just Doing the Right Thing"? Afterall that's what WE the People sent them to Washington for in the first place! WE did NOT send them there to create more Sound Bites for their NEXT Campaign Cycle!
But that's what "letting the the Market Decide" gets you!
Without serious Public Campaign Finance Reform, this is what American Democracy has degenerated to. "War with Iran" now even looks Viable -- who cares, long as I get elected. This is NO TIME for "a Politician" to take a Stand for what's Right, it's Campaign Season, don't you know!
But this is what America gets, when we use Money, as the ultimate Measure of the Worth of a Person, or the Worth of a Candidate, IMO. This is a bad metric in Life, it's also bad metric for Leadership too! (Bush knows how to spend money -- BUT that hasn't made him a good Leader, now has it!)
But as Hillary might say, you got to "Work the System" in order to someday "Fix the System", right?
Oh Really? Well-intentioned Politicians keep getting elected, and Campaign Finance Reform, somehow keeps falling on deaf ears. Much like the Voting Irregularities of the last few voting cycles -- Out of Sight, Out of Mind!
That's what "letting the the Market Decide" gets you!
"Leave it to the market." The Market knows best ... the Market will sort it out -- the Pretenders from the Contenders.
Oh Really? Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" depends on several assumptions that are NOT necessarily true here in America:
The idealization makes many assumptions that economists know are not really true: There is near-perfect competition, there is perfect knowledge by both buyers and sellers, there is equal accessibility, there is no collusion by sellers to inflate prices, both buyer and seller are equally powerful, and both buyers and sellers act rationally. These assumptions are false
The idealization makes many assumptions that economists know are not really true:
There is near-perfect competition, there is perfect knowledge by both buyers and sellers, there is equal accessibility, there is no collusion ...
Corporate consolidation—"mergers and acquisitions"—in industry after industry has greatly limited competition and pushed up prices and profits by transferring more wealth from ordinary people to the wealthy.
Deregulation has given corporations a great knowledge advantage over consumers; corporations, not consumers ... Collusion on pricing is widespread and has become sophisticated. You don’t have a free choice about buying lifesaving prescription drugs. Wal-Mart is far more powerful than the people it hires in its nonunion shop. And every marketer knows that consumers do not act rationally.
The "free market" isn’t free.
Markets have moral functions, and they are constructed to meet moral values and principles. Conservatives have been defining markets to fit their moral worldview. Progressives are way behind. It’s time to speak out.
Question: When was the last time the Media had as one of its goals, supplying us with "perfect knowledge" or complete information?
Question: When was the last time "collusion" was not part of the Media Narrative? (ie. think of the equal access "air time" that is divvied up to each Candidate)
When was the last time the "best candidate" got the job, and not the most Expedient one?
When was the last time you were proud of America?
(and how much of that feeling had anything to do with Money, I ask you?)
John Edwards is all about fixing what's wrong with America -- John Edwards WILL make us proud to be Americans again!
A Vote for John Edwards is a Vote for America!
Are Americans ready to do the Right Thing, or just the most Expedient Thing? Choose wisely ... or you may end up with neither.
More of the Same -- is NOT Good Enough, this time around, IMO