Yah, I know. Not one single entry since December. What a loser. I’m still trying to get my ‘blog-mojo’ in gear – still looking for that convergent level of awareness and willingness to make this a weekly habit. Work interferes, you know?
I have been doing some reading and just came across this bit of Christian rhetoric:
You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
– Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 – 2005
With all due respect to the late Dr Rogers, his statement fails on two points.
First point of failure:Definition
Thanks to the GOP/Tea Party of late, the definition of socialism has devolved into rote histrionic hate list of so-called “liberal” public policies. Socialism, Capitalism – these are different forms of economics. Period. And this may come as a shock for some – entitlements are not exclusive to socialism, no more than free markets are to capitalism.
Consider the fact that all economics have symbiotic relationships with the people they serve. It follows then that a vibrant economic system depends upon the existence of a free society populated by healthy people who want to interact within the economy. Therefore, the healthier society, the more vibrant the economics, the greater potential for growth and wealth.
Even an ardent socialist such as myself must admit that the wealthiest nations on the planet became wealthy because of capitalism. Bar none – Capitalism grows economies like no other system. It creates markets, it meets demand, and it reaps tremendous profits and tax revenues. But here’s something that Dr Rogers fails to mention. ALL successful industrialized nations support a healthy socialistic infrastructure: public institutions and operations that help raise the standard of living by offering broad benefits to the society at large. Name them: airports, sports arenas, roads, freeways/highways, bridges, military, public schools (including colleges and universities), unemployment insurance, welfare, social security, unions, collective bargaining – all of these activities are firmly rooted and wholly supported by socialism.
Are there any living examples of totally pure free market capitalism? Certainly not among the major industrialized nations. Most definitely not stocks and commodities. Certainly NOT bonds and foreign exchanges (currencies). I’ve heard some traders (cynically) say that the only example of truly free market capitalism is in the pornography and porno trade. But even then… only marginally.
We regulate our “free markets” for good reason. After the debacle of 2007 and the ensuing Great Recession, one might assume that even more regulations ought to be in the wings (a debate for another time). Meanwhile, among our proud socialistic institutions, which one is truly an entitlement? The many sports arenas that major municipalities sponsor through bonds and public money? Would anyone go so far as to expect to degree without working at one of our proud colleges and universities? And can anybody truly say that poor people in this country really do not deserve at least some help?
On this next point is Dr Roger’s second and greatest failure. See next post: “Failure of Ministry: You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it (Part II)”