Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

The Occupiers want Uncle Sam/Big Brother to step in and level the playing field. They want the fat-cats taken down a peg or two, and things made fair.

Many others want Uncle Sam/Big Brother to get his fingers out of the pies. They feel the Occupiers should  “occupy a job.” They believe Thomas Jefferson’s laissez-faire economic policy is best. Get government out of business, and get business out of government.

Here’s an interesting article I found about a set of twins on opposite sides of this debate.

Jill- “I’d be very much more pleased if [Nicole] would be able to come up with solutions to these problems that use the tools of the country and the world like economics and things that I feel have potential really to change the way that things work and the way people behave.… I feel that’s what’s gotten us into this mess in the first place. There are always unintended consequences with government regulation.”

Nicole- “[Jill] lacks a fundamental understanding of structural oppression that is inexcusable and immature…. She just really trusts capitalism and doesn’t recognize that capitalism is kind of responsible for a lot of the injustices we have in the world.”

(I find their wording telling. Jill wants solutions where Nicole passes judgement.)
The occupiers’ actions aren't improving or fixing anything. Capitalism is a wonderfully self-regulating system. Products and services, prices and quality, pay and production are all determined by the markets within which they operate. Something that is rare and valuable- a product, a service, a quality, an employee's traits... those will command a higher price. Something that is common and/or of poor quality can be had at a much cheaper price. That's simply how it is. It works, and it works beautifully.

The horrifying thing is when someone begins to meddle with the system. Once government regulation becomes a part of the equation, these balances and checks can't operate in the organic and beautiful simplicity they should. Regulations push the system out of balance, subsidizing the sub-standard... whether it's sub-prime lending, cheap and shoddy products from China, or less-than contributing employees. These sub-standards that are forced to be part of the equation mess up the system, and we all catch the fallout.

Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." More regulation is what got us into this mess in the first place- it's not going to fix the problem simply because it can’t. I understand where the Occupiers are coming from, but they want to fix the problem with what caused the problem in the first place.

I don’t have all the answers, but I know that the Occupiers’ offered solution isn’t it.

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