Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “greed is good”

Gordon Gekko Lives – Tom Rossi

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I’ve been wondering lately (okay, for many, many years) how people can still hold onto conservative ideas about the economy. Social issues are one thing – there is a legitimate debate about abortion, for example, but for some people, economics seems to be even more of a religious issue than that. People just hold onto their beliefs, despite a wealth (pun intended) of evidence to the contrary.

To track down some of the reasoning of the followers of the tired, old religion of conventional, “free-market” economics, I interviewed démodé economist Charles “Chipmunk” Griedesgud at the Gordon Gecko Center for Economic Satire in Slashington D.C.

Presented here are some highlights of the interview. The entirety of the interview will be published in book form by the same publishers that put out Bill O’Reilly’s weekly treasures. It will be called, Killing… something or other.

Me: Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Mr. Griedesgud.

Griedesgud: Please, call me “Chip”.

Me: Fifth generation at Yale?

Chip: Exactly.

Later…

Me: Ha ha! I’m sure your cat didn’t see THAT coming! Oh… Ahem. The main thing I’ve been wondering about, Chip, is how people can still believe that giving corporations big tax breaks leads to more jobs. The corporations don’t seem to create jobs anymore; they just build factories overseas or buy robots to do the work. Don’t people know these things?

Chip: If we cut taxes on corporations, they will build factories and make jobs… in China and Mexico.

Me: How does that help us?

Chip: But then, you see, the Chinese and Mexican workers will become more affluent.

Me: Uh huh.

Chip: Meanwhile, American workers will accept lower and lower paying jobs…

Me: Waiting for the good part.

Chip: …which will eventually allow them to make the commodities that are demanded by the newly affluent foreign workers.

Me: Yeah. Great.

Chip: So, it still trickles down; it just might go through a couple of extra steps.

Me: Wow. I can’t understand how I never thought of that.

Chip: I sense a little sarcasm in your voice.

Me: Me? Nooooooo.

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Chip: Would you, instead, have no job creation at all? I mean, if we balanced things more toward the mythical “middle class,” then there wouldn’t be the concentration of wealth at the top that it takes to start the projects and businesses that do just that.

Me: But isn’t that exactly what happened between the 1950’s and the 1970’s, America’s greatest period of economic growth and shared prosperity? The progressive tax structure taxed the super-wealthy and their corporations heavily, and they all kept right on growing anyway, along with the well-being of their workers and the workers’ families.

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Chip: That approximately three-decade period was essentially an illusion of economic bliss. In reality, the so-called “middle class” was stealing from the providers – the wealthiest Americans, who could have built a much LARGER economy, and created even more jobs. They did this through forming alliances known as “unions” and through other underhanded methods.

Me: Those bastards!

Later…

Me: So, what could we expect if we were to follow your prescription, which seems to be the way we’re headed, anyway?

Chip: Well, economic growth and prosperity, of course! Our economy could be growing like the Chinese! And why not?

Me: Do you mean the Chinese economy, or the Chinese population?

Chip: Take your pick.

Me: But won’t this scenario mean that those countries make the same “mistakes”, as you call them, that we made? And won’t they be hurting their economies?

Chip: Yes! That’s exactly what we want! There are two ways to look at winning a competition – you can perform better than the others, or they can perform worse than you!

Later…

Me: So, you say we could head into a period of fantastic economic growth and prosperity. But the “middle class” can’t share in that prosperity, lest they sabotage the whole process.

Chip: That’s exactly right. You asked me about the benefits before: the average income would rise beyond anything we’ve seen.

Me: But wouldn’t that just be a result of the outliers? Wouldn’t the income median and mode be dismally low?

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Chip: Well, thanks to years of effort, nobody knows what those even mean. We’ve trained people very effectively to think that averages are everything. We’ve kept telling them about the average income in America being so high and we even invented a term called “GDP per Person” that throws them way off. Complaining about your income just makes people feel ashamed now.

Me: Wow. Just… wow.

Later…

Me: Well, thank you, Mr. Griedesgud, for the interview. I suppose you’ll be going back to work for the rest of the day?

Chip: Work? What work? This story hasn’t changed since 1890! I’m going to dinner with some lobbyists at the “Oval Room”. I love a restaurant with a punny name!

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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The Triumph of Fake Feminism

I’m gonna make some enemies with this one, but this has to be said.

Feminism…

has failed.

At least modern feminism has failed. It has been co-opted, diverted, lured and seduced by false goals – the goals that are deemed acceptable by our society… a society historically constrained by testosterone. It has been subverted by a race that essentially threw away the advances in thought brought to us over 2,000 years ago by the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in favor of that most masculine form of expression, war. A few early victories, such as gaining the right to vote, still stand as the only significant accomplishments for feminism as a movement.

There are many examples of women who have achieved success and status in America. But, in my opinion, most (no, not all) of these successful women have sold out. I say this because it seems that, to climb the corporate or the political ladder, what’s required of a woman is that she abandon the very qualities that makes hers the finer (again, in my opinion) gender.

The feminine qualities of nurturing, caring, empathy, the ability to not only see the other person’s point of view but to FEEL their feelings even if just for a second, the emotional intelligence, the talent for real, two-way communication, and the tendency to prefer cooperation over conflict seem all too often to be abandoned in the quest for status. Either that, or it’s just the women who least exhibit these qualities in the first place that are able to advance in our society.

Before I get 10,000 pieces of hate mail, I’m well aware that a human being is very complex. Both men and women share qualities that, for the sake of discussion, have been labeled as the exclusive domain of one or the other. These qualities overlap to varying degrees and there is no linear spectrum.

However, our political and business landscapes are largely penis measuring contests. Who’s toughest on crime? I am! Who wants to spend even more on our military? I do! Who’s got the most Leave-it-to-Beaver-like family values? I have! Who wants our company to make the most money at any expense? I do! Who’s the most greedy? I am! Who will sell out every principle of civilized conduct in order to advance “our” interests? I will!

What we’ve (men) said is essentially that we’ll allow you, as a woman, to rise up, but only if you act like a man, embrace masculine behavior, and lead with masculine policies.

We have not seen the rise of femininity or feminine traits in our society. Instead women have gained the right to “succeed” – if and when they act like men. Women who espouse the greed-is-good “philosophy” are allowed to join the man-created rat race to run on the hamster-wheel of materialism, faster and faster, until they die.

Most of the women who have succeeded in our society have done so only by masculine definitions of success. The images of successful women with which we are bombarded on TV and in the movies are of ass-kicking, gun-toting, tough, and sometimes ruthless “winners.” They prioritize money and power and status and they get those things and they let no one stand in their way.

Thankfully, there are notable exceptions to the masculine imperative. Some women have shown true strength in either defining their own goals and their own criteria for success, or in gradually doing their part in turning science or academic thought in new directions. Oprah Winfrey is one example. Oprah is not merely an entertainer; she’s a social-engineer who works to advance the positives of both the feminine and the masculine. Others include many of the women scientists and activists, some of whom I have been lucky enough to know personally, and others whose works I have read.

Women like Elinor Ostrom, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Vandana Shiva, Sandra Postel and Malin Falkenmark are great examples. The word “hero” get’s tossed around way to much in our country, but these women really are heroes – not to feminism, not to women, but to humanity. They are working to make the world a better place for everyone – men, women, children, and in some cases, animals too.

I make my criticisms with a great deal of sadness. I’m tired, disgusted and damaged by what the men with the biggest penises have done to our world. Certain masculine qualities – logic, rationality, courage, decisiveness, the ability to calculate risk and choose a course of action accordingly – would blend so well with the best feminine qualities if we weren’t all enslaved by violence and misguided competition.

I pray that one day this world will graduate from junior-high and enter a new, more advanced mode. If we start listening to the feminine, it could happen.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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