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Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,253

About Me

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

Journal Archives

The TPP is such a clear-cut issue that once you see someone support it, you need no further data.

Any politician who supports the TPP is out to make you poorer for their own benefit. It really is that simple, and "third way" is the least of the labels they deserve. If they're liberal on social or lifestyle issues they qualify for the "third way" category; if not, they're plain right-wingers or just as bad.


There's all kinds of other disingenuous lumping-togethering that gets done when someone wants to defend stuff they do... democracy = the two party system, free enterprise = deregulation, liberty = not paying taxes, and weirdest of all, capitalism is Christian.

a distinction that Wall Street doesn't want us to make

We usually hear the terms "entrepreneurship", "free enterprise", and "capitalism" lumped together as if they're all the same thing. But they aren't. They are three separate things.

Entrepreneurship is when you start a small business and hope it can expand beyond mere self-employment. Free enterprise is open competition without barriers or protections. And capitalism... that's when an investor or speculator takes ownership of other people's productivity, in exchange for cash they may or may not actually have.

Why do these three always get conflated? Because capitalists want what they do to seem as valuable and legitimate and necessary as entrepreneurship and free enterprise are. Because they want you to think they're job creators -- a description which is valid for entrepreneurs. Because they want us to see their games as being about freedom and openness, instead of as a narrowing of power and privilege.

Don't buy it. We respect free enterprise and entrepreneurship, but that doesn't mean we have to respect Wall Street's version of capitalism. It's not at all the same thing.

We've been undervaluing inflation for decades

Consumer goods made by machines get cheaper. Real wages drop but you can still afford to fill your house with junk. You don't see how much earning power you've really lost until you try to buy something that can't be made by a robot or a third-world laborer, such as an education or a house or a hospital stay. Wages aren't just stagnant, they've been driven downward by a huge distance. They hide this fact by basing the inflation index on consumer prices for cars and TVs and stuff, which cost far less than they used to because it takes far fewer person-hours to make each unit than used to be needed.
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