Monday, January 23, 2012

Definition of Terms: Zero Sum Game

In a recent post entitled "Barack Obama is not a socialist" I clarified the terms "socialism" and "fascism" which are constantly misused.

"Zero Sum Game" is another term one hears frequently these days. There are actually two meanings for this term. One is best exemplified by a game of monopoly. In Monopoly you can only win as much money as comes with the Monopoly game. The more you take from your opponents, the more you have and the less there is in the pot, but the total amount of money available never changes.

That's how a lot of people think of our economy. The more money we make in the U.S., the less money the rest of the world has because, in this faulty way of economic thinking, there is only so much wealth to go around. That is one definition of Zero Sum Game.

The truth, however, is that economics is like weather. It is constantly changing and nothing about it is finite. It is entirely possible for wealth to increase for everyone at the same time, as it more or less did during the Reagan years, just as it is possible for wealth to disappear for everyone, just as it did during the Roosevelt years.

That loss of wealth during the Roosevelt years brings to mind the second definition of Zero Sum Game. It's the process by all the productive people of the world end up with no money if Barack Obama wins a second term.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Government Workers Holiday!

Or more appropriately, Happy Government Workers and Intimidated Businesses Day!

I admire Martin Luther King as an exceptional American who helped our country come around the corner to repair the damage caused by slavery. But this holiday is a joke.

I think Dr. King would have been pleased with the ways that the doors of opportunity have opened to people of all stripes who, until he forced the country to face the problem in the sixties, found those doors closed more often than not.

But I suspect Dr. King would have been disgusted with what many of  the most obvious heirs to his struggle have done with the prize he bequeathed them, including some who marched with him. The civil rights struggle has degenerated into a farce where underachievement is championed and overachievement is denigrated. For a man of achievement and a man of the people like Dr. King, it would bring tears to his eyes to see the headlong rush into welfare state dependancy to which such a large proportion of the black community has been led by the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Barack Obama.

I will celebrate Dr. King's legacy today by keeping my hindquarters and those of my employees at work. In a fully integrated workplace, by the way--one of choice, not of government mandate.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Barack Obama is not a socialist.

As we all try to define exactly what the shadowy president Barack Obama really is, it is important that we be careful with our terminology.

It is a disservice to socialists everywhere to call Barack Obama a socialist. He is no more a socialist than is Hugo Chavez. Socialists are well-meaning Robin Hood utopians who believe you can take from the rich to give to the poor and everyone will be happier. The continent of Europe and its hapless financial plight is proof enough that this kind of idealism cannot be sustained.

For the Barack Obamas and Hugo Chavezes of the world, socialism is merely a convenient cover for their real purposes. Socialism gains the support of the underachieving half of all societies (a half which grows to a majority in a socialist economy) and it seduces the productive, successful class by appealing to their Judeo-Christian principles. Thus a Barack Obama can undermine the most successful elements in a capitalistic society for his own ends while his supporters think they're helping him create a society just overflowing with peace and justice and a higher consciousness and all that tripe...

What Barack is really about is consolidating government and corporate power in one. It is no accident that the same Wall Street he has attacked as the root of all evil has been the greatest beneficiary of the bailout money, nor is it an accident that GM and GE and all those corrupt "green" companies are morphing into quasi-governmental agencies.

So far the oil companies have been strong enough to fend off such attacks, even after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But they have seen what just happened to Exxon in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez accused Exxon of cheating the Venezuelan people, then nationalized its assets in Venezuela. Exxon had spent nearly a billion dollars there but had not yet started enjoying profits from its investment. With an oil crisis - perhaps aided by President Obama's friends in Iran - American oil companies are vulnerable to just the same fate. They will be accused of exploiting Americans through high gas prices and then taken over by the government as soon as they feel they can get away with it.

When governments nationalize corporations it is known as fascism. The word derives from a Roman term that essentially means "bundling". Most simply put it is a bundling of state power with corporate power to minimize the economic and political power of the individual and thus completely dominate a society.

But be careful to understand fascism correctly. Fascism is not the same as Nazism, though there has never been a more successful fascist state than Nazi Germany. Though the Nazi Party purported to be socialist (that's what the Z stands for in Nazi), it was really fascist. It was through this consolidation of both political and corporate power that Hitler was able to squelch the voices opposed to him in Germany and wage war against the free societies of Europe and beyond.

Though most of us who might call Barack Obama a socialist mean it in a disparaging way, we should recognize that Barack Obama loves to be called a socialist. As long as we complain that he is a socialist he can work his fascist aims more effectively.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: Year of New Consciousness?

Lest we get too excited about what 2012 might portend, consider Ecclesiastes 1:9...

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

I would like to think that human beings will come out of this coming year with a better love for one another, a higher consciousness, and a unity of spirit that will take us to a higher plain.

But we must remember that we are not God nor any kind of god. We are just people. We are imperfect and sinful and rather than wishing we were otherwise, we should each try to make the best of it for ourselves and those around us.

I find that a happy challenge, not a disappointment... and I'm glad to be around for another year of seeking perfection even if I know I'll never achieve it.

So happy new year!