Sunday, November 27, 2022

Capitalism and Regulations

From November, 2018:

Okay so here's my sermon on deregulation with regard to capitalism:

You wouldn't have a football team show up with baseball bats, guns and knives - the point isn't to destroy the opponent, it's to have fair play and an engaging game.  During the course of play we see which team is better based on certain merits: how well did they train? Are they eating right?  Are they employing strategy effectively? Do they understand how the game works?  Do they know how to anticipate the behaviors of the other team? Do they look good in their outfits?  That's as far as I can go with a sports analogy for now, so now I'll just lay it out lecture style.

Capitalism, like a game, is a structured set of dynamics that are intended to allow some people to provide goods and services to other people; I don't have the materials or skill to build a car, so I pay someone money for having done so. Now they have a business. Ideally (that's a tricky word here), business people will profit enough to live to work another day, maybe have a nice house and a nice vacation once in a while. After all, they put out the money to initiate the business and hired the employees to do the work they couldn't accomplish alone. 

Since the employees make it possible for the business people to live well, naturally (another tricky word!) the business people pass along the benefits of the business' good fortune to the employees. In the greater scheme, governmental structures ensure that the city can function in great detail, and each person contributes to the funding by setting aside a bit of their earnings and profits to support the common good.  Customers find reasonable prices, and healthy competition allows them to shop around to find the goods or services they like best. Employees have choices about where get the most fulfillment from offering their skills, talents and ideas.

People who understand civic organization look at the overview  and suggest rules for adoption by those engaging in the capitalist game. Those in governmental service work together (oh, a tricky phrase), to determine which rules to adopt and which to let go. Civic conscience (oh boy... I see why this is complicated...) requires business people employ without exploiting the employees, and provide without cheating the customers. These rules, also known as "regulations" are meant to keep honest people honest and weed out corruption -- for example, stop the company from pouring its pollution into the communal river or wearing down roads without paying their fair share for maintenance, prevent price gouging, ensure employees are treated fairly and, because monopoly is prevented (ouch! what the hell happened Mr. Walton?!), employees have choices about where to take their specific skills.

Somewhere along the line, the word "regulation" became synonymous with "oppression".  This introduces us to the dynamic of "marketing" and "PR" (don't get me started).

Imagine the football game again. See the quarterback whip out a baseball bat and clobber the opponent running toward him on the snap.  Aside from that being a mighty skillful feat, it would make the game into a contest of destruction rather than sport. So, regulations are simply rules to keep the game from becoming a bloodbath. Civic and governmental structures are the ways we engage to keep the game intact. Yay team.  (Nice pants!)

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