[FoRK] Obama: communitarian, redistributionist, confused? (from NYT)

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Aug 25 19:19:19 PDT 2008

Tom Higgins wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 2:24 PM, J. Andrew Rogers
>> Optimism does not contribute to the GDP without the working fluid of
>> capital.
> ...
>> Where will the optimism come from in business in the absence of real
>> economic opportunity?  This is revolutionary thinking, the idea that
>> optimism trumps basic economics.  That experiment has a poor track record.
> I think maybe we are talking about two different things here.
> I have been running under the assumption (yes I know) that the wealthy
> power holders in the systems are maximizing their holdings so that
> their holdings continue to give them the edge in maximal value.
They can try.  How did they do against Sergei et al?  Unless they 
support innovation well enough.
> I do not see the system, or systems, in real terms, of doing the most
> good for the most...or that the bottom line for any nation
> state/corporate entity is anything other than maximizing value.
With proper rules, market, and behavior, they should tend to be the same.
> Yes, in places and at times that can mean working out better living
> conditions for the parts that make up your portfolios of
> holdings...better wages make them eat better thus they are less prone
> to ask for more (shudders demand or even riot for more)/ keep the
> creature comforts scaling up so they are happier (happy being the
> value of contentment over the cost of contentment minus the vlaue of
> seeking change) and thus less likely to do that demanding thing, look
> bad for you on the cover of Time, or such as.
Ideally, and to a large extent in reality, the marketplace for 
customers, workers, and operators of a company, and the marketplace for 
politicians, will tend to drive improvements for everyone.  This should 
be true simply by people looking out for themselves, in direct and 
indirect ways.  In the cases that this isn't the case, especially the 
runaway cases, we should find ways to tweak the system to make it more 
so.  Clearly, we aren't perfect at it yet, but clearly it works 
reasonably well since our entertainment, gadget, communication, 
socialization, health, and other aspects of our lives are massively 
better than they were 30 years ago.  Mine is anyway.  Complaining that 
the whole system isn't working and we're heading for doom and gloom is 
annoyingly myopic.

This ties back into our discussion of economies of plenty.
> Now before my back is covered with dissenting posts,  lets go back ot
> the idea that a person is not a people, that people are masses which
> by and large behave and are very different in goals from a person.
Which is exactly what the book "The Logic of Life: The Rational 
Economics of an Irrational World" shows over and over.  (Thanks Enob!  
Err, J. Bone.)

> Examples abound...pick any three.
>> J. Andrew Rogers

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