One can debate, over and over, the resulting negatives of both free trade and government intervention within the economy, but you may be wasting your breath by arguing for either side. No matter what moral or fiscally responsible argument you make, in the end, the economy will rise and fall as it has always done. So, first and foremost, to all the politicians out there with zero economic teachings in your pockets, and the ideological economists who ignore the need for an intellectual bipartisan stance, shut the hell up! You are the problem. While, I may not be an economist (right now, anyway, maybe someday.), I sure as hell, made it a point to make economics 101 a priority course. So, I am going to rant about what I learned, and how I pieced that together to simplify and better understand our complex economy. Remember though, I do not claim to be an expert nor do I expect these words to be taken as text-book answers. I would be surprised and even let down if you, the most elegant reader in the world, did not question everything you read.
One of the hardest things for us to do as citizens and humans in general, is to ignore ideologies and look at the actual situation in front of us. So, my assumptive conclusion is that the biggest hurdle we face is not the system but those within it, those who choose to fight over ideological differences, which in turn creates frictional issues that hurt us all. Now, while this is nothing new to anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the way our society is run, it still continues to be one of our biggest hurdles, or more accurately, failures.
Lets go back to basics, a business (a vehicle of private profit) is allowed by, and given special privileges by, the government, and these vehicles of private profit help to solidify, strengthen and or weaken a nations economy by their activities. It is also correct to state, that the government positively and negatively affects the flow of the market and overall economy, and much more so in some cases. But, one can not forget that the populace comes into play as well. So, ignoring outward influence from foreign inputs, let us focus on the roles of these three entities – government, our citizens and the private sector.
The U.S., which, of course, is run on free market principles (capitalistic endeavors), but also uses bits and pieces of socialistic governance to control output and input of trade and national economic flow (to an extent), provides us with a unique look at the detriments of lack of understanding. At any given moment, you can speak with a citizen within this country, and they will know very little to zero information on the actual effects of policy and private sector growth, nor will they care what the actual truth is. And oh, for shame, America! But, I don’t hold it against you, the cushion of a rich society is not without merit, and I would be a hypocrite if I acted as if I didn’t enjoy the spoils of our over indulgent society.
Let me put forth a crazy notion, into a statement for you to ponder: For a nation to truly function, and prosper in the global market, it must concede some, or even much, of its economic independence. In fact, there are no true independent nations within this world. Even those countries, that the west so deems as rogue nations, are not completely independent from the world economy, international trade and business, and the pressures of money flow. Okay, done. If you read that statement and said, shit, I already knew that, than congratulations my oh so awesome reader, in my not very humble opinion, you’re on the right track. Damn, that was a lot of commas. Anyway, back to business. Did you ponder that statement? Good!
So, if our nations are not truly independent of one another than what is up with all this insanity throughout the world? Is it resources and religion, or maybe it’s greed and power lust, whatever the case is (and there are many), humanities differences hinder us from meaningful mutual existence and true mutual economic benefits.
Stop! Before you grumble and humbug about, tra la la, whatever, here comes another – lets all be friends and eat cheesecake together – tirade, think again. Breathe and exhale. Are we good? Okay. Let us pause for a moment, and return back to the economy at hand, America. But, I want you to remember the above statements going forward.
Think for a moment then how the populace acts within our nation. We have many different types of cultural influences, perceptions on government actions and inaction, types of family focus, types of career focus, this list can go on to many things. Add media coverage geared to swing the thoughts of this large bucket of differences, and you get confusion. From a populace stand point, it is easy to get wrapped up in the differences and ignore the larger effects on the overall health of the economy. It is our job as citizens to not exploit or marginalize those differences.
The main thought process that all Americans share is a suspicion of those in power. There are varying degrees to this but it is there. This seemingly innate thought process is another difficulty that we add to the mix. Yet, this does not burden our economy it enhances it. The burden is us and or inability to remove fear of what is different from us. This fear hurts the economy. On the other hand, fear of other nations boosts our economy because it is a stepping stone to war, and war makes the national economy money. Yes, I am saying fear in, bad and fear out, good. However, I do not condone this approach. It is ethically immoral and will ultimately lead to the demise of our country, but that is for another time.
We needn’t fear capitalism as Marx said, although his fears were correct in theory and in some ways we see the truth of his warnings in front of us, but we wouldn’t be here enjoying all that we have if it wasn’t for the freedoms gained through the use of capitalism. The idealism of returning to a barter system or creating the perfect ‘communist’ system is fantasy. The barter system would cause society to regress and would send us into economic shambles. As far as communism, In our current intellectual capacity, as a societal whole, we are too infantile and filled with greed for such a utopia to exist, so this to is fantasy.
Oh capitalists, you’re not getting off the hook here, you too have your fantasies. Pure free markets and perfect competition are currently improbable theories, and have ethical compromises that are just as harmful as those resulting from the theories of Marx. This is where Marx was right, without regulation and the intervention of socialism to combat the negatives of capitalism, there would be large amounts of inequality and frustration in our society. Classical economics tells us, things will work themselves out but unfortunately in the interim there would be issues like that of the great depression. The markets may not return to their equilibrium in time to avoid heavy damage to the populace. In the business world, this may be an acceptable trade-off, rather than being forced to deal with government intervention, but for the societal whole it is ethically irresponsible to allow that. Hence, Keynes approach to short-run economics.
Compromise, there must always be compromise for the economy to succeed. When you watch or read these arguments on economic ideological beliefs, you are experiencing intelligent people who are ignoring the big picture. The fact is they are all right, and all wrong, at the same time. There are many reasons for the why, some may be malicious, some truly think they are doing good, but they all want you to think they alone are right. The truth is in front of us. The economy runs on both the freedom of private business and the ability for the government to regulate the inadequacies of the private industry. It of course falls to us to fix the inadequacies of the government. In the end, it is our failure as citizens, because we fall prey to the divisive arguments that are meant to sway us one way or the other. There must always be a measure of control over both business and government if the economy is to stay stable. The utopias either side looks to create are fantasy and we as citizens are the only cure to reign in the insanity.