Tag Archives: Economic inequality

A Letter From the Past

The study of history, and learning from the consequences of decisions, all help in determining the future of a nation. No nation is immune to social upheaval or degradation in spite of past success.

A Time Capsule from 1938 includes a message from the physicist, Albert Einstein

einstein_picture_1921_profileOur time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves. However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Further more, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce some thing valuable for the community. I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.”

What’s so sad to me is that people once again swallow the Marxist theories of economic production and wealth creation. Robbing one group of people to benefit another group, is a sure path to crippling both.

I grew up in a dysfunctional impoverished family. I lived with the hope and dream that through education (much of it self-taught) and disciplined work, I would not have to endure a lifetime of poverty. That was the dominant view of the society then, and it shows through because we stand upon the shoulders of those who organized, invented, shared, and distributed those ideas to all those willing to learn and move those ideas forward. Elon Musk named a car company Tesla, based on his respect for his inventive genius.

Today, there’s a different populist message. A message of despair, distrust, and selfishness. It goes something like this…
There are some who are privileged and lucky. We who believe we are not, see your success and believe you cheated others out of their rightful inheritance. We demand our fair share and will use that ballot box, legislation, riots, and personal violence if you don’t comply with our demands for social and economic justice.

I think I liked my youthful hopes better.

Education ~
During the 1920s, high school enrollment increased as a result of higher economic prosperity across the country and higher educational standards for industry jobs. It was seen as an avenue for career success and more young Americans entered high school and continued their education through college to gain an edge on others competing for new jobs.

ve1_vespucci_amerigoThere’s a significant push by some to suggest college is an expensive and un-rewarding choice, or that many would benefit by forgoing that education and taking up a trade. As in every “big idea”, there’s a grain of truth. Undoubtedly many people find themselves with burdensome student loans after they finish college. There are several things to consider when paying for higher education, no matter what choice is made, the end result must be examined before the journey begins. Some people would benefit by looking ahead and seeing what their education will do for them in terms of a career. Obviously some career paths provide greater compensation than others. That should be taken into consideration before considerable time and money are invested.

Economies of Scale ~
Mass production improved the economic output of the USA through the manufacture of many identical products by the division of labor into many small repetitive tasks. In the 1920s Henry Ford revolutionized the mode of production to produce inexpensive automobiles that could be purchased by many Americans.

The cost of bringing beneficial and useful appliances, tools, and entertainment, is expensive and risky in the initial phase, with no guarantee the item will be fully functional or desirable to a large group of people. There are a number of economic levers that must be pulled in order to create and launch a new product. Investors risk their reputations as well as the money from others when they support a new idea. Should the ‘product’ be in demand, everyone has a potential for a large economic reward. There are many instances where we see that success happening, but many which are no more successful than the Titanic.
titanic_sinking_drawing_1930s_magazine

The Constant Obsession ~
There are patterns and habits among many, which humanity clings, the need to compare. We constantly compare our lives in a never-ending chase of dissatisfaction. We feel the need in one form or another to “keep up with the Joneses“. This insatiable pull doesn’t take into account the myriad of differences and abilities each of us possess. The emotional draw ignores facts or discrepancies in order to satisfy the urge.

It’s Official: Wall Street Topped $100 Billion in Profit

This article focuses on the profits made by people on Wall Street. It’s ironic that the company on which this Masthead is posted was founded by Michael Bloomberg. In 1981, with the help of Thomas Secunda, Duncan MacMillan, Charles Zegar, and a 30% ownership investment by Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg launched his successful self-named business. Bloomberg installed his ‘market terminals’ in investment firms, as well as many publicly traded companies. His net worth is now over $58 billion.

In its strongest forms – greed, avarice, jealousy, are a perverse way of keeping score. It’s been said he (or she) with the most toys wins. What do any of us win with that type of focus? We all end up with the same amount of material possessions with which we came into this world. This obsession over what others have instead of ourselves must be tempered by some reality.

There are differences between people, their abilities, their strengths, weaknesses, discipline, goals and consistency. Obviously preparatory education helps, but execution and a willingness to take risks and failure are hallmarks of most successful people. If the game is rigged, either play the game or learn ways in which you will be satisfied without the need to constantly compare and fret over things beyond your control.

The pursuit of happiness (or the movie title misspelling – Pursuit of Happyness) isn’t necessarily about pursuing wealth but there needs to be freedom in which that’s possible. The economic system must allow room for that to occur, even though it’s not always achievable, there’s a need for those who pursue it, the possibility of upward improvement. Economies must not be rigged in such a way that fortune follows only the well-connected and powerful. Many understand it to be that way, based on the considerable pandering and inside deals made between business and politics. This “crony capitalism”, is a cancer on a country’s economy, and perhaps a start point for revolutionaries launch.

What we mustn’t forget are the false promises made through the disenfranchisement and disenchantment by some, to another grand scheme of lofty promises of a group or leader who claims if we only give them the authority, a utopian society will emerge. Such were the promises of Lenin based on Marxism. A society of fairness and higher order doesn’t evolve through more centralized control of production and distribution.

• Marx stated that the revolution of the working class was inevitable; this is why he even state that all history is a history of class struggle.

• Lenin pointed out that along with imperialism a condition for revolution does not emerge. Although heavily influenced by Marx  he diverted from the original ideas of Marx.

•  The communist revolution of Lenin took place in Russia which was economically stagnant.

• The nazi revolution of Hitler took place in Germany, economically ravaged by the outcome of World War I.

• The fascist revolution of Mussolini took place in Italy, because of its economic position after World War I, even though it had sided with the allies.

Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” G. K. Chesterton

 – – – 

Choices We Make – Cause Us to Think Later

Timothy Ferriss

Timothy Ferriss (Photo credit: davidcrow)

I ran across an interesting link tweeted by Tim Ferris. It has to do with people who have communicated with their care givers on the things they look back and wish they had chosen different in their life. As they say hindsight is 20/20. In reading this, does it make you pause and think about the choices you’re making now? Perhaps I’m wrong but most people don’t spend a lot of time on introspection and course correction. I could be wrong…

Here’s the link, and here’s the summary:

  1.   I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2.   I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3.   I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4.   I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5.   I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Sometimes you read a poll on what people regret and you think there’s a lot of continuing the shallowness of life reflected in this summary. Again, I could be wrong. Take a look and see what you think.

According to askmen

1 – Not going after the hot girl
2 – Not spending enough time with dad
3 – Ignoring your health
4 – Being a workaholic
5 – Not sleeping with all willing parties
6 – Getting married too soon
7 – Not splurging on a bad-ass car
8 – Not getting in a fight
9 – Not staying in touch with friends
10 – Not playing a team sport

Ten disturbing facts about income inequality.
_____________________________

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in habits which are self-defeating. Whatever your choices are now, are you making ones that later on you might regret? Perhaps this is a sign of maturity when we realize we control our own happiness and direction.

Add your comments, tell me what you think. Keep it to the point, please.