A Well Balanced Recipe For The Nation
On Opposite Day, we do our best to argue in service of a position that, under normal circumstances, we argue against. Coke people might sing the praises of Pepsi, Cat people might talk about why Dogs make for superior pets, Political Types might put forward the position that is usually held by their opponents. After all, *ANYONE* can beat up a strawman. Here is the kickoff post for the symposium. Here is a list of all the posts so far.
As any high school physics student knows, energy and mass must be conserved. They can’t be created out of nothing. The wealth we have is taken from our environment and converted into useful products and services. But the total wealth available at any given level of technological advance is limited. There is only so much food, energy, raw materials and medicine available at any given time, and if some of us have more, others must have less. Indeed, much of modern growth in economics has come from us foolishly using up resources and fossil fuel energy that could have and, arguably should have, been left for our descendants.
In reviewing history and modern society, it is clear that the most useful distinction is between the oppressors and the oppressed. The greedy and the needy. There is more than enough for all of us, but everything is thrown out of whack by the greedy taking more than their fair share and exploiting the needy, including those in future generations.
By calling them the greedy, I am not implying they are cartoonish Snidely Whiplash types who like tying damsels to railroad tracks. There are probably less incendiary terms I could use, but to be honest this just obscures the truth. The point is that there really are people out there who use their position and power to take advantage of others, and I will not shy away from calling them what they are — greedy.
To some extent their position is proof of their transgressions. If they had played fairly and maintained a balanced lifestyle and values, they wouldn’t be so rich and powerful. Once in power, they use their position to further weight the scale in their favor. The situation self amplifies as they use power to further oppress those without. This leads to the outrageous and totally unbalanced level of inequality we see today. Twenty percent of Americans, the oppressors, control an astounding 87.8% of all the wealth and resources of America.
This is greed. When a CEO asks for a salary of twenty million dollars so his workers can earn minimum wage, we are observing greed. When Walmart makes record profits at expense of sweatshop workers in Thailand, it is greed. When billionaires give to lazy trust fund babies rather than the needy, it is greed. When manipulative Wall Streeters never working an honest day in their lives push for tax reductions on their capital gains, it is greed.
Another example of greedy oppression is how those in the majority use their numbers to oppress those in the minority. Examples here include how intolerant, white Christian “good ol’ boys” use their status and privilege to exclude and oppress minorities, native americans, women, gays, those with handicaps and other religions or creeds. It isn’t a coincidence that minorities, gays, women and those with disabilities make substantially less than their white, straight, male oppressor counterparts. More greed. Systemic greed.
The way to fix the world is to use enlightened democracy to change the world by creating a better, more compassionate and more equal state of affairs. This comes about by neutralizing the greedy and intolerant practices of the oppressors. We can then use some of their undeserved spoils to subsidize the previously oppressed and to create systemic opportunities for the needy to flourish. There is enough for everyone, and we can ensure all get their fair share without oppressing anyone or sacrificing future generations.
In brief, this entails asking the rich and corporations to pony up and use their ill gotten funds to pay their fair share for infrastructure, schools, health care, environmental protection, scientific research and income transfers. This can be accomplished by taxes, or through fair market adjustments such as union wages, minimum (living) wages, mandatory benefits, price controls and such. The oppressed need and value this aid more than the oppressors, and as revealed by their status, the needy are more entitled to it in the first place, as it was created by their blood, sweat and tears. A level playing field isn’t only more fair, it is also more just.
We understand that not everybody shares this vision. The oppressors naturally want to keep their wealth for themselves and their children and let the rest of us suffer. We find this position untenable and plan to use democracy and the enlightened will of the majority to correct it.
The details are to be worked out through rational debate by our elected representatives and planned out in such a way to accomplish the outcomes we desire. In general we recommend a well orchestrated and reasoned plan run by carefully monitored professional administrators. This is almost always superior to messy local initiatives and decentralized grass roots or private efforts. We know what we need to accomplish; competition and decentralization just get in the way and lead to a race to the bottom as the oppressors flee to “better” shores. In other words, as we fix places like Illinois and California, the oppressors will just jump to dysfunctional havens like Utah and Texas, thus undermining our good intentions.
In summary, the world is a messy place with extensive amounts of intolerance and greed, and if left alone will result in a snowball effect of rising inequality and misery of the masses . This is why we need a rational, centralized, progressive guidance to achieve the world we deserve. In doing so, we know that capitalism has its place, but it should be a softer, smarter, kinder type of capitalism. Kind of like Sweden.