Saturday, October 15, 2016

Some Interesting Criticism of Both Democrats and Republicans

The segment of Real Time linked below represents a particularly well balanced give and take between what Democrats are missing in trying to appeal to the still thoughtful group of Trump supporters, and a defense of what Liberals think are the more important issues. It's worth a listen.

First, Andrew Sullivan does a good job of explaining that, to appeal to Trump supporters, the Democrats have to take Immigration more seriously; going so far as to say that the Dems have nothing policy wise to address it. And then Bernie Sanders coming back and maintaining that immigration isn't nearly as important as the curbing the power of Big Money: as in drug company overcharging, Unlimited sums going into campaign financing, and tax increases only for the richest americans.

Immigration, of course, is a dog whistle for both sides. With extremely misguided perceptions of immigrants as a social ill on the one side, and a lack of appreciation on the other that, despite the miss informed views, there are still aspects of immigration for which concrete actions should be taken; so that through actual action they can both indicate they get it, while on the other hand taking pains to correct the ill informed perceptions.

Even if illegal immigration has fallen off in recent years, we still need to figure out what to do about it; especially as it relates to the folks who are already here. (the sad thing there being that a reasonable compromise had already been worked out). Of course, for me, they are here and we must accept them; not only because it is a very definite "fact on the ground," or the practical aspects of just how impossible actually doing removing them is, but also because, whether we like it or not, they fill a very necessary gap in the list of jobs that are at the lower end of the job skill requirements. They've been doing that for quite some time now and the contribution to detraction balance has, for the most part been positive (see here, here, and here).

I also believe, however, that to a very significant extent we share a responsibility for the very fact of the desperation that drove them to come here in the first place. How could this be otherwise when it is our drug addiction that fuels the drug wars in Central and South America. It was our extreme response to the spread of Communism that helped fuel the clandestine operations to prop up too many tyrants, and destabilize too many democratically elected governments. And it was our economic engine that played a large part of the resource rape that was endemic with Colonialism (as well as it forestalled the growth of independent domestic social institutions). All of these things made for ongoing weak, corrupt, and always in flux, institutional systems that have made for a perpetual poverty class.

With that being said it has always been my feeling that any program to curb illegal immigration must include a vastly reformed foreign policy as regards these nations; one that stops meddling with their governments, and focuses instead on economic development, and on site aid so that the core problem of poverty can be addressed. That, of course, won't be easy, but it has to be done and it has to have real resources devoted to it. We should then be ready to compromise here and allow for more border agents, as well as better border reconosense; if for no other reason than desperate people coming across can do desperate things when trying to get across; things that can, and do, make life hard not only for them, but for the people who live all along the border and we really need to acknowledge them.

We also have to acknowledge that much of what Bernie Sanders says about the imbalance of power between the upper ten percent of income receivers, and the rest of us, is true. And that recent trade agreements between us and the rest of the world have hurt the middle and lower income groups here. Having said that, however, doesn't change another fact that I think Mr. Sanders, and Liberals in general seem to not want to recognise.

The fact is, as a system, Capitalism actually does need certain operating parameters to be in place for it to work as it was intended to. That these parameters are not very humane, or socially responsible is quite beside the point. Profit should be left to the market, and the ingenuity of the investor to balance risk with cost, and the best price possible. Everything is a commodity in one form or another. The price of any commodity must be subject to the market and the availability of that commodity. Risk and competition are essential. And so on.

Naturally, not everything works as it was designed to (it always looks good on paper after all). Because the size of the investor, or the commercial entity created by investors, is limited only by its ability to accumulate profit, certain aspects of the design can be made more problematic; as in risk and competition both being lessened when an entity controls a market. And when placed together with a Democratic form of government, a system itself founded on the notion of rule by law, size also has a significant impact; whereby the process to balance the needs of the governed with the needs of capital, investors, and commercial activity, also becomes quite problematic (inasmuch as balance is an actual goal).

Then there is the fact of technological change itself. Along with material gain in general, Capitalism has also been a great engine for technological change; all part of doing more with less; having the best competitive commodity; as well as the best military to ensure resource and market accessibility and control. Technological change made capitalism possible. But that same change has also now made it obsolete.

And therein lies the problem that people like Mr. Sanders have always struggled with. Reforming the system to allow the balance already described above not only has limits (if it wants to keep the system going), it has an additive limit; which is to say a limit of quantity over time. A limit itself that gets further exacerbated exactly as technology increases in both output and rate of change; a situation where the legacy of past changes, altered, or only partially eliminated, builds up an ever greater element of complexity to the operation of the economic system. Complexity that then makes new reforms ever more difficult to propose or implement, if one also wants that system to continue to function robustly.

Which brings us to one of my usual bottom lines: Not only is Capitalism obsolete, but any hope of ever reforming it effectively any more has gone up in virtualized smoke. The time has come to start over. To realize that skill as a competitive commodity makes no sense any more when that commodity is human skill. That everything as commodity in a time of information systems, and the absolute need of information to move freely, makes no sense any more. Our job in the future should be sharing the burdens necessary in making not only community possible, but personal attainment possible as well. We can do that now because we have the technical means to make it possible. All we lack is first recognizing the need, and then the will to make it happen.

Bernie Sanders FULL Appearance on Bill Maher Real Time - October 14, 2016