Saturday in Austin, Texas the media darling of the Democratic Party spoke in front of attendees of a conference and shed light on her profound lack of understanding of all things business and finance. This Thick as a Brick award goes to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez who obviously doesn’t understand the first thing about the system of free enterprise which made our country prosperous and strong nor how she herself is chopping with an axe at the very foundation on which she’s standing.
“Capitalism, to me, is an ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital, and it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else and we seek it at any human and environmental cost. That is what that means, and to me, that ideology is not sustainable and cannot be redeemed.”
Inane babble aside, let’s look at the intent of her criticism. That is not the definition of capital. That is not “what that means.” It isn’t how capital works. That is her self-proclaimed, “to me” perception of capitalism, a qualifier which demonstrates to me that she has no clue what she is discussing. She expresses her opinion of capitalism, her emotional response to situations that she believes proceed from free enterprise which she confuses with capitalism, and is not dealing with the facts of the matter at hand.
Thoughts on Capital, Free Enterprise, and Wealth Generation
- Capital is wealth, or an abundance of money, put in service to establish enterprise and produce profit. Capital is what seeds enterprise and creates an economy which funds many family incomes, and on which taxes are levied. When you destroy enterprise, the capital disappears, the profit disappears, and everything else disappears closely behind.
- Wealth and profit stem directly from adding complexity to base materials. Software, silicon, copper, silver, aluminum, and oil refined into materials that can be molded and assembled into a smart phone are worth much more than the materials alone.
- Wealth stems directly from complexity. Complexity requires ingenuity. Ingenuity requires motivation. Only free enterprise offers the individual enough personal incentive to motivate them to sacrifice now for the promise of multiplying many times the value of their own investment of time, labor, ideas, and capital.
- Innovation requires personal motivation. Experimenting in unexplored areas is time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive. Only free-enterprise supplies motivation through the promise of reward to those who maintain a vision to persist through the hardships.
- Enterprise embodies the idea of “I can”. Government embodies the idea of “you can’t”. The only thing government can produce is obstruction to human behavior. When it acts in areas that it should not, it obstructs the success of enterprise. Government should be a referee, not a player.
So, if someone can get those brief ideas in front of the good congress-woman from New York, I’m sure her constituency would benefit from her improved understanding and perhaps NOT lose 25,000 new jobs the next time a large business like Amazon is seeking to expand into the New York area.
“We’ve strayed so far away from what has made us powerful, and just, and good, equitable, and productive.”
AOC has no working conception of what has made the United States powerful, just, good, equitable, and productive over her history. To do that you must look at Judeo-Christian foundations of morality and society which were woven into our Constitution and have been evident, though not always prominent, in our culture. We are not a perfect people and government is far from the bastion of moral character. Nor will it ever be.
But two founding ideas that stem from the guiding principles of the first society who believed in one God, Father, and Creator were (1) Thou shalt not steal, and (2) Thou shalt not covet… anything that is your neighbor’s. These lead in unswerving fashion directly to property rights. To cut directly to the chase, and the bone, under those guiding principles of divine (and secular) wisdom, socialism cannot exist as it taxes the rich (coveting the neighbors wealth) to redistribute it. It is abundantly clear in recent days, however, that “Democratic Socialism” has little regard for Judeo-Christian principle or reasoning.
Two Good Points (no, really!)
In the following two comments, she does hit on a good point: there are problems in our current economic state and they really need to be addressed.
“I think all of these things sound radical compared to where we are., but where we are is not a good thing.”
I agree, where we are is not “a good thing“. Sadly, she doesn’t understand how we got to where we are, who is responsible, and how the socialist ideology embedded in our own educational systems is responsible for much of the problem.
Students over the past several decades are not taught to think for themselves. They aren’t educated to gather information, observe, formulate, hypothesize, and experiment to find truth on which innovation can spring. Students increasingly are told how and what to think rather than being encouraged to discuss, debate, and compromise or at least agree to disagree. This targeting of education is traceable back to the influences of Saul Alinsky and his thoughts in Rules for Radicals (1971), and the Frankfurt School and its targeting of education and the popular culture since the early 20th century.
Most of our nation lacks even a basic understanding of money management, personal finance, and basic economics. It is that way largely because those who determine the content and focus of public education likely want it that way. The less the populace understands about finances and economics, the easier it is to extort the cream off the top of the 350-million person economic barrel.
The largest problems we face are economic interference of the Federal Reserve and World Central Banks in the free market economy. They continually inflate artificial value bubbles and allow them to pop destroying both capital and the savings of the people. That alone is a topic fit for several books.
Our nation’s elected representatives are addicted to spending. In a nutshell we are over 160-Trillion dollars short of where we should be as a country leaving us an 8:1 ratio of gross domestic product over debt, unfunded liabilities, and money for which the defense department cannot account. If your household owed eight times what the amount you produced as a gross income each year, you’d be in real trouble; and we are. It isn’t “a good thing“.
Government spending is at unprecedented levels of deficit which is a major contributor to the issue. This is a show to which Congressional Representative Ocasio-Cortez has a front-row seat and back stage passes. With an agenda of Socialized Everything I don’t see the government expenditures being rolled back under her watch.
“…and this idea of like 10 percent better from ‘garbage’, shouldn’t be what we settle for!”
In those last two comments I agree with her point in that our current situation is not tenable, and in fact needs to change if we are to expect to improve our economy, it’s foundation on business and industry, and the opportunity of all of our citizens across the social and economic spectrum. Granted Miss Ocasio-Cortez, we have issues that need to be addressed, but you have taken aim at the wrong enemy. I have no idea of where she gets “10 percent better than garbage” idea. I can only say that reports (which, granted, I do not wholly trust) are that unemployment and the need for welfare programs are down across the board. Headed in the right direction? Maybe…
AOC focuses on free entreprise, what she calls “capitalism”, as an easy target which is simply commensurate with her lack of understanding. Her goals and desires are to implement a system by which the wealth accumulated by the successful is seized through tax law and redistributed, otherwise termed socialism.
Capitalism for this discussion is also a misnomer. What she likely means is free enterprise. Capitalism is the process of applying capital to ideas so that both the ingenuity and the investment can proceed and hopefully prosper. From that activity, entrepreneurs hope to gain a market share and thereby prosper or profit, from which they share most of what they glean in profits to those they hire (labor) to help them produce products or provide services to those who seek the results of their efforts.
A note on labor, universal income, and minimum wage: wages should be self-governing and outside of the purview of government. If employers in a thriving economy don’t offer enough compensation, workers will seek employment and better opportunity elsewhere. Employers must offer realistic compensation or they won’t have workers. That’s free enterprise. But we haven’t had free enterprise in the markets nor the workforce for a number of decades. How much buzz have you heard over a national minimum wage where across the nation, government seeks to dictate to employers what they will by law offer in compensation to employees. Free enterprise? No.
The greatest expenses in business are the wages and the benefits of the workforce. Most of the profits from business activity are routed to the workers. From these profits and wages, all created through ingenuity and capitalization, government derives its tax base. No business, no jobs, no taxation, no socialist benefits to hand out to everyone. AOC is her own worst enemy! Government creates nothing. It can only tax and redistribute.
Beatings will continue until morale improves.
The excuse for all the hoopla? Global warming. An idea with no substance in fact or scientific foundation. And I mispoke, the term is now “Climate Change”… as if the entire idea wasn’t over-simplified enough. Many independent members of the scientific community refute the claims of “so-called-experts” who benefit from government grants and research fellowships to continue singing that old song, that human activity has impacted Earth’s climate to the point that our very existence is in danger within the next 10 to 12 years. Al Gore claimed similar doom and gloom over 15 years ago and we’re still here. Air quality in US cities has improved dramatically since the 70’s. Mr. Gore’s net worth is significantly expanded as a result of the activity that branched from his alarmist claims. Funny how that works…
Nasa recently published images taken from space that confirm that areas in India and China are “greener” than anytime over the past two decades. There is geological evidence that CO2 levels were at one point in Earth’s history eighteen times what they are today. By that standard, plants are currently starving to death.
Now, that said, I believe that if we can do whatever it is that we do cleaner, safer, more efficiently, then we certainly should. I do not believe, however, that we should give government yet another baseball bat with which to continue beating us and the businesses that supply our jobs and generate the success of our economy. “Beatings will continue until morale improves!” is the mindset of government when what they should do is provide incentives to reward desired behavior. That isn’t, however, where government derives its power. The people in government derive power from offering some services as an excuse to tax a productive nation of 350-plus-million citizens and redirect the proceeds. The Green-New Deal is “the same old deal”, to usurp the productivity of the populous and redirect the proceeds; nothing but a power-play!
Green with envy and greed, lusting after things that belong to her neighbor and her fellow citizen to collect and broker power. If you’re looking to correct a problem, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, start by eliminating your own ignorance of the country in which you live, appreciate how you have enjoyed it’s benefits and protections, and understand how the system under which you prospered and have risen to a seat of responsibility (not to power) actually works.