Can America Get It's Groove Back?

I just got back from listening to Thomas Friedman do a lecture about his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. I left the lecture with a sense of disgust, but not for the obvious reasons. I'll give TomTom this, at least he's realized that that there limits to growth that at the very least must be overcome. This is a start.

What bothered me the most was they you had an articulate individual. Who I honestly believes wants to be constructive. Recognizing that there is a problem, but presenting an absolutely shitty solution. I left the lecture thinking about one of my childhood friends.

When my friend Dave was about 5, he really wanted to help his cat out. It was the middle of winter, and the poor thing was freezing. So using the wisdom that only a 5 year old could come up with, Dave hit upon a solution. Ok, the cat's cold. What's warm in the house, the towels that mom gets for me out of the dryer. I bet if I stick the cat in there it will warm it up too. And so he did. Needless to say the cat did not enjoy the experience. He was though, warmer. The lesson here. Right problem, shitty solution.

I think everybody can forgive Dave, he meant well. And he after all, 5 years old. TomTom on the other hand is, if I did my math right, 55, and again I think he honestly means well.

Although he recognizes that there are serious limitations on to sustainable growth, he chooses to see them as something that can be fixed by the mechanisms of the market. Government action is to be limited to creating the right incentives.

The problem is that he chooses to submit the man and nature alike, both sacred and not made by the market, to the animate demands of the market. Like Dave sticking the cat in the dryer, he gets that there's a problem, he's just come up with a shitty solution.

The dryer didn't know that that cat wouldn't respond well to being thrown about, it operated according to the function for which it was designed. It was designed to dry towels, not warm cold cats.

The market is much the same thing. The market does not reproduce man and nature, it does not have the power to make these things. Children may not be bought and sold. Nature results from its own internal motivation, the continuance of life and the means to preserve it, not the market. Man and nature are not commodities. As Karl Polanyi pointed out, the tendency of the market to see them as such leads it to destroy man and nature alike. The market exists for the reproduction of capital, and it acts to do this, not to preserve man or nature. To submit man and nature to the imperative of the market will result in the market converting them both into commodities, stripping them of their sacred character, and denying them the ability to reproduce so that capital may thrive and multiply.

This is why TomTom's solution of putting the problems we face now, themselves the product of the market acting to turn man and nature into commodities, to the market is a shitty solution.

In what has to be one of the worst cliches ever, TomTom opened his lecture with a question: How can America get its groove back?

I know this for damn sure, the market isn't the answer. It's a shitty solution.

So what I have to say is this.

Tom, don't stick the damn cat in the dryer.

Meta: 

Comments

America can get it's groove back

If it stops listening to corporate propaganda idiots like Thomas Friedman.

Honestly I don't think this guy means well, unless he is simply programmed like a cult by his corporate board and lobbyist friends who funnel that garbage which he turns into books.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Friedman

Thomas Friedman is a globalist/corporatist/supply sider propagandist plain and simple.   He offers up nothing but simplistic answers and ideas to complex issues.  It seems his answer to nearly everything is outsourcing as summed up by this classic Tom Tomorrow carton

"If the hand of the Free Market is invisible, how come we can see it?" Tom Tomorrow

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Clashes of sorts

This past weekend, I actually managed to get a hold of a copy of the book, though instead of buying it, I read it at the coffee shop Borders has. Didn't finish the book, just read a few chapters while sipping tea (doctor has me off coffee for while), and I see what Mfmd is saying.

See markets are a construct of man, a method of managing resources in social arrangements. Nature is science, science is neither a social construct, it is a force. It is agnostic in regards of preference of economic systems. Nature only deals with actions and reactions, which while Kudlowites may say "see..just like a market", is in reality nothing of the sort. So what we have here is a clash of science and economics. The latter can manipulate the former, but only so far.

Sure, there are market solutions, but this only goes so far as to manipulate human decisions. For example, take the fisheries that once provided an economy for Atlantic Canada. Financial incentives may motivate companies in hiring biologists and what have you to try and repopulate those areas. But external environmental factors may negate any such activities. For all their work to attempt to restock in places like Prince Edward Island, the fish are not repopulating, or at least not coming back to the same degree as they were before.

Global warming is the same. Financial incentives may ultimately motivate folks and nations into alternative energy. Yet deserts will still continue to expand, dead ocean areas will become more commonplace and we still will face a warmer earth. There isn't a stock option in the universe that can convince climate to go the other way.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Greater Fool and AIG

Both the bet and it’s insurer are examples of the greater fool theory. Who insures the bet of a fool? An even greater fool.

You can fix AIG with a trustee in a bankruptcy court cheaper than $85 Billion. We need to stop bailouts soon, just stop the FASB rules regarding marking securities to market, at least for a while. FDR did this in 1933. No write downs of the worthless bonds and mortgages and it worked for almost 70 years.

According to A.M. Best, U.S has upwards of 10,000 insurance companies. Roubini's RGE site ratings of economic development shows how the U.S. is the most insured nation on earth. We just will not run out of insurance companies any day soon.

Save the ammunition for the productive economy.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.

Burton Leed