PJ Media: AOC [says] ‘System That Allows Billionaires to Exist’ While Others Struggle Is ‘Immoral’

https://pjmedia.com/video/aoc-system-that-allows-billionaires-to-exist-while-others-struggle-is-immoral/

I think AOC is right, but her thinking runs backwards, not forwards. She’s looking at the world from the old, worn out, discredited framework of capitalism vs. socialism.

8 thoughts on “PJ Media: AOC [says] ‘System That Allows Billionaires to Exist’ While Others Struggle Is ‘Immoral’

  1. Think of it this way: With sufficient wealth in the world at large, the problem of billionaires just goes away. Its not that wealth “trickles down,” its that wealth cannot be contained in any case.

    Instead of persistently and persistently arguing over whether capitalist or socialist systems, or some hybrid thereof, produce more wealth, it is more productive to ask where does wealth itself come from?

    The answer is known: Wealth comes from energy. Wherever energy is abundant, life can be prosperous. Energy is the essential input to all economic systems such that more energy almost always equals more wealth, regardless of the accepted rules of the political game.

    This transcendental truth will eventually occur to AOC and her supporters. When it does, it will free them from Baby-Boomer-think. It may even inspire them to ask, “How can we get more energy to ‘input’ to our economy?” That question is a lot more fun to deal with than the old debate between capitalism and socialism.

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  2. “Wherever energy is abundant, life can be prosperous. Energy is the essential input to all economic systems such that more energy almost always equals more wealth, regardless of the accepted rules of the political game.”

    Assuming you mean energy that drives machinery or generates power.

    The part you seem to overlook is that the control of energy is the critical part. Appalachia’s coal was one of the richest sources of energy in the US, and still is to a degree. Yet the wealth was concentrated in the few who owned the mines. Overall, that region is one of the poorest, least healthy and educated in the country.

    It should be the wealthiest due to the value of its natural resources to driving our industrial development: best schools, finest healthcare, longest lifespans.

    Yet there are few single resource areas in the world where that is the case. A notable exception is Norway whose wealth comes primarily from oil. Yet unlike other oil rich nations such as Venezuela or Nigeria, the per capital income as well as the standard of living is one of the highest in the world.

    Applying Norway’s handling of the national resources to Appalachia when coal was king could have made Harlan County, KY the Silicon Valley of its day.

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    1. RE: “Applying Norway’s handling of the national resources to Appalachia when coal was king could have made Harlan County, KY the Silicon Valley of its day.”

      In other words, capitalist control of the Appalachian economy caused local impoverishment that socialist control might have prevented. If we continue thinking inside the box like that, we’ll never get out.

      Here’s the bigger picture: Appalachian coal fueled an industrial revolution that made the United States the richest empire in history and, in the process, measurably improved the quality of life for every single human being living on the planet. Capitalism didn’t do that. Coal did.

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      1. Not at all. Look at Alaska. They exact a royalty from every barrel of oil and it goes to residents of the state as well as other statewide projects.

        Natural resources are part of a nations wealth. There is not reason that some of the wealth that comes from selling off those resources shouldn’t go to improving the life of the citizens.

        Capitalism is merely the recognition of private ownership in a market society. But by keeping natural resources as a public wealth, but allowing private companies to extract for profit would be in keeping with a market economy. But a royalty must be paid because once the resource is gone, so is the value of the land.

        Norway is very much a capitalist country. They have some social programs that make life gentler for its citizens, but the means of production are still very much in private hands. The taxes are higher, but the understanding is that if you do business in a free nation with a good, healthy, well educated and secure workforce, there is a price to be paid for that value.

        I don’t think our country necessarily accepts that concept, Instead, we borrow heavily to pay for low taxes at the very top. I am not sure that is sustainable.

        I think our debt now is about 104% of GDP. And the deficit is closing in on a trillion this year and worse next year. Yet our healthcare is the most expensive in the world, our life expectancy is going down, student debt is ridiculously high and for an industrial nation we still have a high poverty rate.

        As far as coal doing something, it can’t by itself. The extraction and sale of coal was the key. And unfortunately, the ROI was way skewed in favor the coal companies rather than the miners who paid a serious price in health and lifespan. A more equitable distribution would have paid dividends multi-fold while still ensuring great wealth for the mining companies.

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        1. RE: “As far as coal doing something, it can’t by itself. The extraction and sale of coal was the key.”

          Had the same labor been invested in a non-energy asset — shoemaking, for example — there would have been no industrial revolution.

          What you describe is just a variation on the Marxist fallacy that labor has intrinsic economic value. It doesn’t.

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  3. Coal has no value except if there is a market for it. A market is nothing more than trading labor for goods and services.

    You shovel coal and I’ll make your shoes while Don raises cattle for my leather and our steaks. Meanwhile Al makes steel which Jim uses to make tractors for Don.

    All of those products and raw materials only have value because someone mines or makes them and someone else will trade labor to get them.

    Economics is nothing more than the flow of goods and services among people. And none have value outside of our species. The evolution from hunter-gathering to market economies was all based on the invention of agriculture. Agriculture requires trading labor and skills for less subsistence survival.

    Nothing Marxist about that. Capitalism merely allows you to own your products and labor.

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    1. I had hoped to show that the correlation between energy and prosperity is an important thing to think about. Perhaps I made a misktake in assuming the correlation itself is self-evident or acceptable for discussion, since you are repeating back to me the basic tenets of Marxist economics.

      I had hoped to escape that particular line of thinking.

      Has it occurred to you that labor consumes energy?

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      1. Breathing consumes energy.

        You keep telling me that labor has no value and anyone who thinks it does is Marxist.

        Yet our entire economy system is based on the value of labor. How many man hours does it take to buy a car, buy a meal, get an appendectomy. These items have, therefore and intrinsic value determine part by raw materials, part by labor and part by demand.These are methods of measuring the quality of life and not without good reason. Our entire methods of exchange, currency, is based on remuneration for services rendered or labor producing product from raw materials.

        There is not one single product or service that does not consider the cost of labor in its delivery, manufacture, profit or price point.

        Now it may be that you are trying to convey some esoteric attribution to energy v. labor that I don’t understand.

        But to me, a mountain full of coal is of no value in and by itself. Its value only come out when the coal comes out of the mountain through the efforts of labor, which adds to the cost, then delivery which adds to the cost again, and marketing which adds more cost.

        Then, because the coal is used to make electricity, the cost of labor is add again by the people that built the power plant, run it, maintain it, invest in it, sell it…and so the economic flow continues.

        And it is all because labor, from the miners to the CEO’s, making use of the raw materials that just sat in the mountains for millions of years.

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