Here is a well reasoned and said article, “The Doctrine of Fairness: It is Time,” and my reaction: One can build the case the Great Depression of the 1930s proved unfettered capitalism does not work for long under normal conditions.
After robber barons gained control of the US economy by the 1890s, causing a serious regression, and anti-trust legislation was passed to deal with it, the US economy chugged along, roaring some said, in the 1920s, until it crashed in 1929.
New Deal socialistic policies, a progressive income tax rate, and WWII finally got the US out of the Great Depression by 1945, and the US economy functioned reasonably well for most US citizens until 1980 or so, at which time greedy, rich, unethical Republicans and Democrats began to pay politicians to undo New Deal fairness and progressive income tax rates, outsource US jobs to low-wage countries, and divert ever larger funding from domestic infrastructure to the military-industrial complex, running huge trade and budget deficits significantly financed by recycled dollars invested in US bonds by China and other countries, leading the US down the primrose path to where it is today, to another depression, with no relief in sight for most US citizens barring another massive injection of New Deal-like, Keynesian exogenous expenditures, necessary to jolt the US into another recovery, as if waking up a Frankenstein monster.
Unfortunately most US voters are clueless about economic history, being unable to remember what they saw and heard on TV last week, much less remember what happened a hundred or more years ago. At least 50 percent believe lies and inane slogans churned out by politicians, lobbyists, so-called think tanks, and mainstream media presstitutes. So the chances of a majority of voters voting for politicians knowledgeable enough to vote for tax rates and expenditures necessary to fund infrastructure jobs sufficient to get the US out of its current depression anytime soon are slim indeed.
Most US citizens have no concept of what economic fairness is, while many go around parroting, “Life is not fair,” as if the current state of affairs is natural.
Most likely economic affairs will have to get much more miserable, and unfair, before most voters will believe and accept the causes of their dire situation, so corrective action can be taken.
Here is a passage from my book Business Voyages, embarking on page 645, first published in 2008, giving my long-standing perspective on the situation:
“I am not a Democrat, or a Liberal, and for sure I am not a Republican, or a Conservative. I am a member of the FFPP, my own creation, the Freedom, Fairness, and Progress Party. If you would like to join this party, send no money, but act in such a way as to encourage all people to act in truly free, fair, and progressive ways. Most Democratic Congress people seem about as devoid of workable solutions for real problems in today’s world as Reagan and Bush II, although I will say I think Democratic politicians in Washington in general have been more Christian-like than Republican politicians in Washington since 1980. At least they did not take from the poor and give to the rich. Most Republican and Democratic politicians have done little in the last 25 years but slavishly vote for their party line, as they were told by their party bosses, to conserve their chances of getting help from their party bosses in their next election.”
While there is little hope significant improvements will happen any time soon, for whatever it’s worth, one thing US citizens can do is vote; and I am convinced Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are the two best possibilities for US president and vice president in 2016. Whatever you do, please do not vote Republican in 2016 or in the mid-term election of 2014. The Republican Party has clearly demonstrated its capacity to make economic affairs worse for all US citizens but large corporations and the elite rich by winning the US presidency and control of Congress. Vote Sanders/Warren or Warren/Sanders for US president and vice president in 2016, if possible, and any independent-thinking, fair and ethical politician you can find for US senator and representative.
If interested see my article, “Toward the Creation of Spaceship Earth, Incorporated” for my long-standing perspective regarding a long-term solution for Earth’s economic plight, which is more fully covered in Business Voyages. Basically I think competitive free enterprise should be preserved in the small business sector around Earth, but large corporations should be managed in such a way as to insure a decent standard of living for all Earthians.
While I am not a communist, remaining a strong believer in fairly-managed free enterprise in all markets in which it can fairly function, I think this suggestion by Karl Marx remains appropriate: “Let us not in base subjection brood away our fearful lives, when with hope and aspiration we might enter in the strife.”
Richard John Stapleton is an emeritus professor of business policy, entrepreneurship and ethics who writes on business and politics on Facebook. He is the author of “Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds.”