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Analogies of the American economy

Libertarians and progressives have many things in common including even some of our criticism of the American economy. We both see the problem as corporatism, but then our remedies are different. Libertarians think that if we just got "government" out of the equation the individual would rise to the top and create a prosperous economy which punishes the lazy and parasitic, regardless of class.

Progressives think that the solution is to inject democracy into the economy. What we need is government of the people writing and enforcing the rules of commerce, universal single payer health care, a large green stimulus, worker ownership, fair trade, etc.

Today's American economy is like an American football game. The quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers get all the rewards as if they scored all their touchdowns without an offensive line or a defense to set them up.

Libertarians think we need to end the football game and play baseball. It's a team sport without team work (except the double play). It is also a game without a clock. There is no sense of history. Every individual is born into a historical vacuum. We are never running out of time. What came before does not matter. Whether you come from the inter city, the rural plains or the suburb's privilege gated communities, we can all become Willie Mays or Ted Williams. We just need to get rid of the clock and the notion that your teammates have anything to do with your success. The westward movement, the accident of fertile lands and natural resources, the genocide of natives, the enslavement of Africans, the dislocation of workers have nothing to do with our great American economy. And neither does the government, especially not the government, that monster that would basically cease to exist if we shut down Washington left Wall Street to its own devises.

What we really need is an American economy that looks like a basketball game. Yes, the individual would greatly matter but the individual would have to be a team player and have teammates to assist the individual. Yes, there would be a temporal context; no one inning rally could change the game. Not as dramatic as baseball but much more realistic and only somewhat more predictable. The greatest players are members of the greatest teams. Every Jabbar needs a Magic and every Magic needs a Worthy; every capitalist needs workers and consumers; every business needs an internet and an interstate and government which builds the infrastructure. Not many Michael Jordans in such an economy but neither need there be any Tom McHales or Ted Johnsons.

For now, it looks like we will continue the gridiron economy where tackles dream of home runs.

Originally posted to progressiveevangelical on Wed May 11, 2011 at 07:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Trolls.

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