12/16/2008

I Want to Move

Where do I go? Are there any capitalist countries left?

Save us John Galt.

ST. JOHN'S — — Newsprint giant AbitibiBowater Inc. [ABH-N] is warning of possible legal action against the Newfoundland and Labrador government after the province hastily passed legislation Tuesday to expropriate the company's hydroelectric assets, water and timber rights in Grand Falls-Windsor. Click on the read more icon for the full story.


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8 comments:

thelonelytrader said...

Oh for Christ's sake. Stop your whining! You think you have it bad? Have you traveled much?

You do know that the stylized ideology of Ayn Rand can only work if her "first handers" -- all geniuses in their fields, all of European descent, and all victims of the farting masses -- go to some undisclosed remote location (ring any bells?) and isolate themselves from the "unworthies", so as not to pollute their pure culture (and so as not to dilute their gene pool). But then who would do all the manual labor and who would take care of the children and cook the meals and clean house? How would Mrs. Solfest clean, cook AND make the breakthroughs in organic chemistry that make immortality finally possible! LOL! And would you expect a first hander to shell out 25% of his or her income to pay for common space initiatives, public infrastructure, and other services? (In other words, they would pay taxes to a governing / organizing body of some sort! Hey, sounds like SOCIALISM!!!!! Where did those sneaky bolsheviks come from!)

I can, however, recommend some "capitalist countries" for you: Nigeria, DRC, Israel (admittedly socialist, but mostly for those of Jewish descent so I think you're good there), Dubai(admittedly not a country, but the UAE has too many drawbacks), and the like...are you sure about these? They each have very large drawbacks for cultural/ ethnic/ religious "outsiders". Or maybe Japan or South Korea, which has a penchant for selecting who has access to capital along racial, patrilineal AND gender lines...or maybe China, which will be in a state of ecological failure in ten years.

Not sure what you mean by capitalist, however. Do you want a democratic system? A monarchy? An oligarchy? A republic? Or an anarchy, where everyone seems to make rational choices that perfectly complement one another? (And monkeys are flying out of my butt!) Lots of capitalism to go around in all of these political contexts...

Or you could just start a community in North America -- in some remote mountain location -- and invite Captains of their Fields, and call it Galtsland or something like that. But that sounds like some other communities I know about in Northern Idaho and Montana. And I don't think you want something like that.

Anyway, let me know what you want. I'm sure that I can come up with something as long as you're willing to compromise.... ;)

Solfest said...

LOL LT, Wow, maybe you should limit your caffeine intake. :)

I just spent 6.5 hours of my life staring at charts that never turn blue. Now this, I'm not sure I can take it.

In my current muddled state I can only object to the pure European comment, all, who have the goods, are welcome.

Location to be disclosed at a later date.

J the FX Wizard said...

Capitalism does not create a free society, however if you have a free society then you must have capitalism.

I dare say that we haven't seen true capitalism for quite some time.

The problem with Nigeria and other countries is not capitalism, but corruption. Its not the same issue.

Milton Friedman really helps make sense of the whole capitalism issue. Now I'm starting to recognize that often the arguments presented for or against capitalism are often not relevant to capitalism but other issues for which capitalism is blamed.

Theres a post further back with a link to uglycharts blog. He has some Milton Friedman interviews. Worth a review I would say.

It is the small and steady concessions that cause us to wake up one day to discover the world changed "over night". Keep whining. In fact we should all whine a little more. I'm thankful for all of the freedom I enjoy, but that doesn't mean I'm happy to stand by and watch it be eroded.

Merry Christmas

thelonelytrader said...

"The problem with Nigeria and other countries is not capitalism, but corruption. Its not the same issue."

It's a lot more than corruption, my friend. Capitalism and corruption are inextricably linked, much as they were in the US during the industrial revolution and as they are to this day. (I would say the same for communism and corruption, for obvious reasons.) To try to seperate them is to select which bits of the truth we want to believe and which we want to ignore. I've been to Nigeria. I know the place and the people and the history. My knowledge of these places is not theoretical or second hand. But in any case I was being ironical...guess the intended impact of that device is lost in this medium.

To say that we want capitalism before we know how we will organize it is putting the cart before the horse. Even Adam Smith knew this -- and he wrote extensively about it, as it turns out. (This is a problem that Milton Friedman neglects almost totally in all his antihistorical glory.)

And let's all remember that when times aren't good they are bad. No economic panacea can eliminate the swings. A nascent redistributive politics is an unfortunate necessity in such times. Sometimes it works to the advantage of capitalists. Sometimes against. We have already seen what the other extreme can do. Over time, in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, everyone wins because we have strong and resilient institutions that protect our freedom to choose.

There are greater imperatives to those capitalists who hold court with power than romantic notions of free markets -- particularly when the whiff of social instability and the smell of their own burning arses is in the air. I thought this was self-evident to most folks.

Once things settle down, we'll all realize that countries like Canada and the US weren't even close to having core freedoms eroded -- at least not any more or less than before. And just as some say we have never had free markets, so we have never had truly free societies. We are always bound in some way to an imposed order...whether by a monarch or the tyranny of the majority.

Capitalism is an idea. It is an ideology that is philosophically incomplete. It is not, nor will it ever be, a perfect reality. It is a living project much like democracy. As an economic operating principle, it happens to complement an organized democratic society better than anything else. But it also has inherent within it some logical contradictions that cause friction in more than just political terms, and these contradictions must be managed by rational people. This is not a cryptic apology for socialism -- it is a fact of modern statecraft in the West.

The choices people make are the reality. Their priorities dictate the give and take. Like I said, one can always seperate from the mob and build one's own anarchic utopia, but the pressures of social dynamics will soon challenge the new "status quo". And you're back to square one.

Me musing...

PS: Solfest, I actually forgot my coffee this morning! LOL!

Solfest said...

You guys seem real serious; I'm staying out of this. Remember to play nice.

It is dangerous to adopt someone else’s theories about life, politics, and economics so I will post my own "manifesto" some time soon.

I do not believe in Ayn Rand's objectivism verbatim, I just found parts that spoke to me.

My “life” thesis is derived from a combination of wisdom from Solomon, Jesus, Rand, Friedman, Kiyosaki, Buffett, Graham, Templeton, Drucker, and probably a few others I can’t remember right now.

That group would make for an interesting dinner party wouldn’t they.

Market is starting to tank so I must go stare at charts now.

J the FX Wizard said...

thelonelytrader, well said. I agree with much of what you've said. You are right we'll be always (and should be) bound to some rules of order. Rules need to be enforced and therefore there must be an enforcer, so I don't mean to belittle the importance of government.

I guess what it comes down to is that there are perfect theories (or at least good ones) but imperfect people. Someone will always take advantage of an opportunity even if it has to be done in a corrupt way. Which is why I think the role of government is so important. In light of all the problems that we've witnessed lately, I would say we should definitely have laws that demand more transparency, but nothing will be perfect.

You are right. Capitalism is an idea. The thing I like about that idea is that it allows me the little guy to contribute to society and profit from doing it. So I guess to some things up, I still maintain that capitalism as an idea is sound. People are by nature not good...I'm still a capitalist.

Its late. I'm not sure if I've put down anything cohesive.

We shall see in the morning.
I enjoyed your comments by the way.

thelonelytrader said...

J, AMEN brother! That's why I'm so thankful I live in North America. (I say North America in deference to the Canadians that lurk here -- I'm an out-of-the-closet Canadian wannabe.)

I aspire to be a capitalist -- I don't actually own a factory or produce or accumulate anything of significance...yet.

But one day...

thelonelytrader said...

"My “life” thesis is derived from a combination of wisdom from Solomon, Jesus, Rand, Friedman, Kiyosaki, Buffett, Graham, Templeton, Drucker..."

And you say I'm real serious? A little like the "pot calling the kettle", dontcha think?

;)