Friday, November 07, 2008

Answers to Human Misery

"This is no time to repeat the shopworn panaceas of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society. John Kenneth Galbraith, who, in my opinion, is living proof that economics is an inexact science, has written a new book. It is called “Economics and the Public Purpose.” In it, he asserts that market arrangements in our economy have given us inadequate housing, terrible mass transit, poor health care and a host of other miseries. And then, for the first time to my knowledge, he advances socialism as the answer to our problems.

"Shorn of all side issues and extraneous matter, the problem underlying all others is the worldwide contest for the hearts and minds of mankind. Do we find the answers to human misery in freedom as it is known, or do we sink into the deadly dullness of the Socialist ant heap?

Those who suggest that the latter is some kind of solution are, I think, open to challenge. Let’s have no more theorizing when actual comparison is possible. There is in the world a great nation, larger than ours in territory and populated with 250 million capable people. It is rich in resources and has had more than 50 uninterrupted years to practice socialism without opposition.


"We could match them, but it would take a little doing on our part. We’d have to cut our paychecks back by 75 percent; move 60 million workers back to the farm; abandon two-thirds of our steel-making capacity; destroy 40 million television sets; tear up 14 of every 15 miles of highway; junk 19 of every 20 automobiles; tear up two-thirds of our railroad track; knock down 70 percent of our houses; and rip out nine out of every 10 telephones. Then, all we have to do is find a capitalist country to sell us wheat on credit to keep us from starving!"

--from a 1975 speech by Ronald Reagan

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a relief! I thought for a moment that you were actually talking about a book that you had read yourself. But then, no, JKG died in 2006 so that cannot be the case. No, it is just another one of your gossip-like snibbets of coffee table faux discussion of ideas.

The big lie on the "Obama is a socialist" rap is that there has been no bigger socialist ever than GWB and his huge expansion of the deficit, the militarization of the national security state, and the increased government control - takeover - of the financial services sector. Obama could not match that if he tried.

The danger is that the crony capitalism of Bush (free market gains; socialized losses) has been such a failure that people may actually start thinking about government as the solution rather than the problem. This is especially dangerous since most of the population does not really think about capitalism or socialism or whatever imaginary system you wish at all. However, they do tend to really think about it more than you do.

Now that the election is over, why don't you go back to 1975 and keep chatting with RR. Do pass on any more pearls of wisdom you get. But Reagan's musings about the failures of Communism have even less to do with the problems we are facing today than you do.

Nov 7, 2008, 9:09:00 AM  
Blogger Publia said...

Comrade,
We are all socialists now; we shall be moving to the next stage shortly.

Nov 7, 2008, 9:34:00 PM  
Blogger El Rider said...

Wow, Ellen is starting to comment here?

Btw, I saw a fox at Greenbay and Forest last Sunday night, I commented on your last fox post.

Nov 8, 2008, 3:38:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

Hi, el!

Hope that Fox at Green Bay and Forest is okay; that's a busy area with a lot of traffic. I think the foxes like going along the railroad track right-of-ways. They are definately good looking animals; I'll bet you were happy to spot it.

No, that can't be Ellen, the words are too big; I think it's my Wilmette reader who likes to come over and call me names, but who goes strictly by anonymous.

Nov 8, 2008, 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger Balaji said...

What I wonder is whether to find a mix of both...A capitalist nation uncaring to the needs of its average people and a socialist nation without any need for progress is both detrimental isn't it?

Nov 10, 2008, 4:25:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

America, even when healthy Capitalism was practiced, was not ever uncaring for the needs of the needy, but generally speaking the average person can care for him or herself here and doesn't need the government-as-nanny. I am, however, beginning to think that if Barack Obama wants to buy me a dream house and a flashy new car that would be okay with me. I am human and my needs and wants, like all people, are unlimited. One way community organizers work, and one way governments become large and powerful, is to poke around until they find areas of discontent among the people then provide a solution. For example, before Barack Obama's run I thought I was doing okay and had enough money, etc. Now I know I am poor.

In downtown Chicago, all around City hall attached on the street lights are banners of that picture of Obama and the word "Progress" on the bottom. Next to it is another banner with some verbiage about Barack Obama as President-elect. Those were provided by the Obama campaign, so it appears the watch word will be Progress.

Nov 11, 2008, 11:27:00 AM  

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