Friday, February 27, 2009

On Economic Violence

When I was kicked out of private industry in 2001, and spent the next 7 years either unemployed or in civil service (which I didn't turn out to be suited for, being unable to understand appropriate/inappropriate behavior with public funds due to the autism- I know what I was fired for, but I still don't know WHY that was so wrong to build communities outside of the department on the internet to help me understand and do my job), it felt like a huge piece of my life had been taken away. As of two weeks from now, we'll be paying off the last of the credit card debt from that period (my parents last month purchased the last of our debt on a fee basis rather than an interest basis, and the difference will allow us to pay it off with the tax refund).

Arson would have been kinder- we could have gotten help if we were homeless.

So don't tell me that bankers aren't just as bad as hostile, invading soldiers when it comes to third world nations. The violence of a layoff or a foreclosure can be just as hard on a family as a death. Ok, in my private life it didn't help that same year of September 2001-September 2002 saw a couple of deaths on my wife's side of the family, and of course our national tragedy of 9-11. But September 2008 will be remembered by many people as being worse for them personally.

If you do violence, you must pay with violence being done to you. Sure, our religion tells us that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave everybody blind and toothless- but the lack of retribution and justice has become an evil in it's own right. When a man like Madoff can get by with a few years in a minimum security rich person's "jail resort", and his family can profit off of the huge ponzi scheme he created, there is some serious injustice in the system. When a man like David Li can come to our country and inject a new "investment product" that causes thousands of layoffs, millions of foreclosures, and increases our homeless rate; and then can just run back to China and get away with the crime, then justice has not been served.

It's said by the more liberal of us "If you want peace, work for justice". So let me tell all of you who think it's just fine to short sell stocks, to write credit contracts with usurious amounts of interest, who take advantage of third world poverty to increase their own bottom line or to undersell competitors, and whose "free and open market" siphons money away from the type of Research and Development that could REALLY make a difference in the world; you need to rethink the meaning of the word Violence. Profit is not the only value, and should not be the only value, that figures into your cost calculations. Subsidarity and solidarity should count for something, as should just plain old fashioned justice.

Remember, those who live by the sword, die by the sword. And sometimes, the poison pen of the the contract, is more deadly than the sword. Keep up the fraudulent economic system, and one day soon, perhaps sooner than we all think, the riots will start and at that point, it will be the bankers with their backs against the wall.

Six Assumptions

When a system fails we need to reexamine our basic assumptions in building the system. Six assumptions we need to reexamine in our economic system are:

1. Cheaper is better
2. Bigger is better
3. Our neighbors mean nothing
4. An anonymous market is good
5. Trade always makes both sides richer
6. Fraud is good

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Japan, Russia

Paul Krugman claims we're heading for Japan's lost decade. I think I agree more though that what we're really hading for is the utter collapse of Capitalism, in other words, Russia's lost half-decade as Dmitry Orlov points out.

Good thing I've got that Mormon-and-German-Apostolic-Christian inspired 2 years of food supplies, from my upbringing. It might have been hard as an autistic interested in technology putting up with them in grade school and their 19th century ideas about family values and farming, but in the end, the pain may well be worth it.

On Violence and the Proper Usage Thereof

First of all- I've got a much wider view of what violence is than most people. I suspect this is because I am autistic, as well as the fact that I have a history of being outside society.

So for me to see a layoff, a firing, a foreclosure, an arrest, or taking somebody's children or a portion of their life away, as a violent act, is not unreasonable to me. Seeing somebody come to another country illegally for work, or investing in another country in an exploitive way, is also a violent act.

And while I am completely pro-life in most situations, I do see self-defense as at least a valid and legitimate, if not "best way of dealing with the problem" response to hostile intentions.

To that end, personally as well as on a social level, I try to hold to St. Augustine of Hippo's original Just War Theory:

1. A just war must be fought on your own territory against a hostile invader. NO FAIR leaving your territory to take revenge on a foreigner who has retreated in good faith.
2. A just war must be a war of defense, not a war of offense, in support of your own way of life. No invasions.
3. A just war must be fought with weapons as likely to harm your own side as the other side.

Oddly enough- the Islamic Jihadi Suicide Bomber, as long as he follows the first two, is engaged in a just war.

The guys who flew the planes into the World Trade Center violated rule #1.

The United States, in invading Afghanistan and Iraq in revenge for that act, violated rule #2.

An autarky that lives in it's own borders and attacks nobody, no matter how militaristic and nationalistic, IS following the rules of a just war.

Hitler invading Poland did not.

Illegal Mexican workers are breaking #2, and invite the response of rule #1.

So maybe, that explains my more violent views to you. Or maybe not. But at least, like Ben told Charles Widmore on Lost, there are rules to the game that cannot be broken.

My reason for no longer posting on Economic Populist

Well, once again my Asperger's has led me to social blunderland. Apparently what I consider to be a valid economic and scientific worldview, and what the editor of this blog did, are apparently very different things.

Part of this is the fact that I've lost all faith in the US Economy and Government at this point. I am no longer satisfied by the lies I've been told in the past, like the idea that the stock market exists to help companies be profitable and individuals invest in companies.

A large part of that is indeed that I am a Technocrat and a distributionist, which I had thought I had made clear, but I guess I didn't make it clear enough that I was coming from an entirely different set of axioms than either the Chicago or Austrian schools.

So here's my problem: First of all, no, I don't see human beings as being capable of self-governance in a macroeconomic system. Thus I see a need for any large open market to be STRONGLY regulated to eliminate fraud. ALL forms of fraud. And utterly eliminated- the only risk you should be taking by investing in a company, is the risk that their basic science is wrong. Risks of competition, risks of idiots playing gambling games and short selling, risks of running out of money because apparently no company is profitable enough to be self-sustaining, seem to me to be risks I would prefer not to take.

I will go ahead and do the requested reading in this post, but I fear that yes, my definition of risk is unrealistic to the point of not being willing to invest in a business that isn't already profitable enough to not need my investment.

In fact, I'd say investing in anything riskier than that, is indeed gambling to the point that one does not deserve to ever retire.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A resolution for the Oregon State Council

It has been pointed out to me that this would be better as a recommendation to the State Council as a resolution

A Resolution for the Welfare of Our Members

Our nation of the United States of America faces a severe economic crisis. It is to our credit that our Insurance organization has not been affected by this crisis so far, but individual members are feeling the effects, primarily in the loss of breadwinner employment.

As health insurance in this country has become tied to employment, the families of members may well be affected by any change in employment. As many have become painfully aware, the extreme premiums required by COBRA continuation often meet or exceed whatever unemployment compensation is allowed by the states, thus families are often given the choice between continuing life-giving coverage and homelessness, upon loss of employment. And even with new employment, health insurance may not resume within the next quarter or at all, depending upon the classification of the worker.

We, in the spirit of Blessed Fr. McGivney, wish to resolve and send to the Supreme Council that the Knights Insurance Company partner with a national health insurance provider to provide coverage to members who find their families without coverage. We can make these insurance premiums affordable for our members by accepting the following points to reduce coverage:

- That our members are Practical Catholic Gentlemen, and thus our families do not need coverage for abortion or euthanasia.
- That we should accept the brave example of Pope John Paul II, and refuse heroic measures to sustain life beyond hope, or beyond the future welfare of our families.
- That each member has, in our Brotherhood, his local council behind him and thus can live with a large deductible, which in emergency can be raised by the local council.
- That the Insurance Company of the Knights of Columbus already offers long-term institutional care insurance, and thus the member can allow for a lower lifetime limit on payout per covered individual.

In conclusion, we ask in the memory of Blessed Father McGivney, who created our organization to protect the families of our membership in the case of illness and widowhood, for the Supreme Council and the Knights of Columbus Insurance Company provide this benefit for our members nationwide, during this time of economic crisis.
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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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