Monday, September 06, 2010

A Celebration of Labor Day Part Two - The Consideration Of An Economic Constitution

I guess the first order of business is if you are relatively new to this blog, I would encourage you to read the post we first put up in August of 2008 and then reposted on Labor Day of 2009. Some are finally starting to gain a realization of what we have often discussed on here be it our kaizen or lean methods manufacturing posts of years ago or countless other posts including the aforementioned previous Labor Day post.

Now, let's continue on to this year's Labor Day post.

I read this anonymous remark some time ago. It is profoundly simple yet elegant in its truth.

"Seems that sometimes we get caught up in believing that the 'government' or the 'officials' that administer the government are like doctors - who are allowed to inspect and test and diagnose our ailments and then are free as they please to prescribe remedies. We have to remember that they are merely professional politicians who have learned to manipulate whole populations."

Would you allow an anonymous plumber to listen to your private phone conversations? Would you allow an anonymous lawyer to decide your economic fate? Would you allow BP's CEO to tax you at whatever rate he deems appropriate then to spend the money how he sees fit? Because that is exactly what are essentially anonymous politicians of unbridled arrogance do. They are take and they take and they take. Most often they steal from the middle class or poor and give to the rich. Which is exactly how our economy has worked for decades and at numerous times throughout the United State's history including through the acts of class-based indentured servitude, the African slave trade, the labor abuse of Asian immigrants and the current dynamic of undocumented workers to name a few.

What is Labor Day other than really American citizen's day? Unless you write your own paycheck, you work for someone else. Often another laborer, such as a CEO or bureaucrat, but these laborers often seemingly have no conscience. Are not the vast majority of Americans laborers whether they are teachers, doctors, engineers, servicemen, plumbers, retail associates or whatnot? The concept of self-reliance is constructive and has virtuous qualities but frankly it is limited in its practicality - once humanity moved from a frontier agrarian society to a socialized or industrialized world, self-reliance became a matter of relativism. There may be fifty people in the United States that are truly self-reliant, although millions convince themselves they are through the ego's arrogance. No one truly has achieved economic success or some modicum of self-sufficiency without benefiting from a reliance on society. Labor day is really a celebration of being an American and the respect and democratic value we should have for all of our fellow citizens. And frankly, all of the people on earth.

Let's stimulate the mind with an update to one of our previous posts regarding the topic of an economic constitution. I would say our founding fathers were accurate with most of what they accomplished. Especially given the times. The real issue in some regards is that they didn't go far enough. There are obviously many reasons for that. Maybe the unforeseen rise is multinational corporations and the associated corruption of politicians and their hijacking of the rule of law or the corrupt Supreme Court ruling in the United States that granted corporations the rights of persons or countless other dynamics. It was impossible to envision every possible heinous act of evil and place it into the Constitution.

Jefferson, for one, remarked an updated constitution every so often would be beneficial. His definition of every so often was every twenty or so years if memory serves me well. We have well surpassed twenty years and during that time our Constitution has seen limited updates or amendments. In many regards that's a plus. In some regards it is not.

Thomas Paine, a man who is almost always portrayed inaccurately by the self-serving status quo, was so radical in his desire for a new type of society and democracy, that his views were never consistent with the majority of founding fathers. Paine was a radical for freedom. Many of the wealthy founding fathers were uncomfortable with Paine's perspective on freedoms and democracy. Yet Paine clearly understood government was a necessary force in maintaining freedom. Paine argued for a democratic society which cared for the least among its citizens yet provided unprecedented freedoms through very vigorous and involved self-rule. Paine railed against slavery, religious fanatics and the tyranny of one man over another in any circumstance. Paine's view of democracy is a vision I respect more than any other American political voice from that time in our history. His disdain of bigotry, racism, injustices against women, ideology, unreasoned religious fanaticism, timeless corruption of politicians & power and desire for a truly democratic society with equal rights were so new that he was literally centuries ahead of his time. Paine's literary desire for freedom was considered sedition by the English state.

Above all, this self-taught man may have simply been a great humanitarian - not something a leaderless Washington has any claim to in today's world. Not too many of the political idiots today claiming an affinity to Thomas Paine actually know the first thing about the man. And I doubt more than a handful, if any at all, would gain his admiration. But it's just part of the manipulative baby-kissing syndrome that afflicts all power mongers and bureaucrats.

Anyhow, I believe it would possibly be beneficial to have a succinct document either incorporated as an addendum into our current constitution or complementary to it in a standalone form to protect our citizen's economic rights from the timeless desires of those who wish to be our masters; the bureaucrat and the politician. Over the two hundred plus years of our nation's existence, we have finally achieved some modicum of consciousness as it pertains to civil equality and democracy within society itself; although it will clearly never be perfect. That equality was achieved generally because virtuous and altruistic people were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to shove society in a direction that would mandate changes in our government. Yet our economic model has regressed into such a neoliberal feudalistic paradigm that it embraces none of our democratic ideals nor any of the equalities we have achieved as a democratic society. How does serfdom in a corporate office with little to no individual liberties or free speech within that organization embrace anything closely resembling democracy? Yet our President seemingly delivers a consistent message that a college degree for everyone is the answer to our economic woes - an opinion of complete nonsense. Remember, our economic model should serve our democratic ideals and virtues as a free people. We are not a capitalism. We are a democracy. Capitalism is not required for a market-based economy. Nor is it required for democracy. If capitalism is better than the other choices, so be it. But it must be democratic capitalism or American-style capitalism. Not the corporate capitalism ruled by robber barons that we have morphed into time and again in our history. We need to once again rid ourselves of modern day robber barons.

Whether we ever actually have a written economic constitution, we do have an economic rule of law with child labor protections, workplace safety laws, corporate environmental laws, etc,. But unlike any economic laws we have in place today, an economic constitution could not be changed, repealed or overturned by corrupt politicians and their corporate masters or by political ideologues. Crooks can attack written laws as they have, but attacking a basic human right contained within a constitution has been much harder to accomplish over our history. Repealing the First Amendment hasn't happened yet. Repealing the laws regulating our banking system has happened systematically and continually over decades.

So what might be contained in a democratic economic constitution? Well, I'll give you a few things to think about but you should really consider your own ideas. This topic is going to define our future possibly more so than any other. Whether anyone yet realizes it or not is irrelevant.

Maybe a first issue to tackle with regards to an economic constitution is that a credit-based monetary system artificially limits the amount of money and trade in an economy thus creating systemically and artificially high unemployment rates. This dynamic leads to racism and major pockets of underprivileged Americans. Add in a private banking system and it doubles the negative consequences and impact on artificially high unemployment and economic opportunity.

A gold-backed banking system in itself does nothing to resolve this dynamic. It just makes the problem of private banking less obtuse. We still leave the arbitrary decision of who gains access to society's capital in the hands of private for-profit bureaucrats and not in the hands of democracy or a country's citizens. Access to society's capital should first be in the hands of democracy with an intent of human capital development. That may be by some form capitalism or it may be something else. Democratic human development cannot be addressed through private for-profit banking whether it is backed by gold or by dog poop. The drive to return to the gold standard is driven in large part by a herd mentality in some attempt to bring legitimacy back to banking. But it does nothing to solve the underlying problem of democratic access to society's resources and ultimately democratic human development and sustainability. A gold-backed dollar and banking system allowed criminals to destroy our economy more than once in times gone by.

On some level it's almost as if the gold advocates are playing right into the hands of the status quo, for a return to the gold standard at this time would be devastating to our economy yet would clearly benefit Wall Street and the very wealthy. I can assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt, a return to the gold standard today would lead to a depression as far as the eye can see. It would restrict the access to money needed to rebuild our economy but would benefit those who have accumulated wealth today. Wealth that was often achieved through shifting their risk onto the backs of the poor and middle class. As we wrote years ago, the gold standard is not the answer for our economic issues. So, what type of economic bill of rights or economic constitutional rights would permanently mitigate these dynamics?

An additional issue that might be addressed in an economic constitution is that every American willing to participate in our economy should have access to a living wage. This will draw howling from economic ideologues and members of the status quo who cannot seem to see beyond the end of their nose. Some will argue it infringes upon the all-knowing free market. This from a profession, economics, who was exuberant right before the world collapsed and seemingly has no idea how to build a mathematical framework for working markets. They and many other boobirds will believe a living wage is sacrilegious. An afront to the all-knowing market god. That god is a myth and a legend worshipped by ideology. Why don't we let the bureaucrats worry about manipulating our politics, destroying our banking system and teaching ivory-towered theories at Harvard's finance and economics programs while the rest of us get this economy back on track by doing what works.

A living wage is clearly achievable. Whether an ideologue can figure out how to do it within the framework of a mathematical construct of a merit or market-based economy is irrelevant. If I can figure out how to do it, it can be done. I'm not Albert Einstein. And regardless of the howling that would come from bureaucrats, it does not mean we would have unmitigated inflation nor does it mean the price of all goods in the United States would explode upward. Another myth perpetuated by the clueless and ideologues who think have a far too limited view and don't understand productivity, best practices lean methods or what drives advancement in economic efficiency. And I think we speak with some level of knowledge on this topic given our kaizen or lean manufacturing posts were favorably highlighted and reviewed by one of the largest manufacturing consultancy firms in the world. By the way, it is not a firm of bureaucrats, financial ideologues or economists.

This quote below has come across my blog numerous times over the years. When America was the mightiest economic engine the world had ever seen, before the boobirds gained control, we accomplished it under this precept cherished at that time. How might such a dynamic be accomplished and included into an economic constitution of today's world?

"We are justly proud of the high wage rates which prevail throughout our country and jealous of any interference with them by the products of the cheaper labor of other countries. To maintain this condition, to strengthen our control of home markets and, above all, to broaden our opportunities in foreign markets where we must compete with the products of other industrial nations, we should welcome and encourage every influence tending to increase the efficiency of our productive processes" --Henry Towne, President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1911

In closing, isn't it ironic that the financial community and their political lackies are recommending austerity once they have stolen everything from society? Government cuts to social programs, education, assistance for those with developmental disabilities and the like is the order and part of the elixir needed to solve our crisis. A preposterous and even criminal notion. Yet these same thugs say nothing of endless war or corruption or subversion of democracy or our economy for their self-interest that has left our society broke. The thieves now want to protect the value of the money they have stolen. The gold advocates are playing right into the hands of the crooks. Yes we need honest money. Gold does not resolve this dynamic. It's lipstick on the pig. And, frankly it's unnecessary. We need a public banking system designed to serve society's development. One that is managed by the people and not by Washington crooks. And if we can't reform capitalism to work more consistently under the guise of democracy, sustainability and human development, then we should start tinkering with new ideas from creative minds. We've mentioned a few on here. But the creative minds with these new ideas aren't going to be financial commenteurs, the mainstream media and bureaucrats. It's going to be the productive people of society who have always made our economic engine hum and who built this country to greatness in the first place. In order for that to happen, a democratic economic authority needs to be returned to the citizens of this country.

Well, I suppose we could go on forever but a few examples will suffice to make the point of what a democratic economy and unalienable economic rights could and should look like. Our economic model lags our social awareness and the general consciousness of society. That is because a handful of bureaucrats continue to apply the same imperialistic, empire-driven controlling economic servitude that has defined economies since the creation of modern man. And how do we know this? Because when bureaucrats are not bound by the rule of law, that is the order of the day we see in the global economy today. In other words, when a free society of expanding awareness of what is virtuous and just requires a living wage, requires environmental protection laws, requires child labor laws, requires economic rights for underprivileged and requires workplace safety laws, to name a few, said bureaucrats will do anything to subvert society's expanding enlightenment by stealing society's capital and seeking out economic servitude where there are no democratic rights regarding a living wage, no environmental safety laws to stop them from dumping mercury out their back door, constant exploitation of child labor, exploitation of unsafe work environments producing often poisonous, cheap and unsafe products and exploitation or bribes or manipulation of anyone and anything that money will afford them the opportunity to control. That's how we know.

We need a new economic model. And we need it right now. It's time to vote out all of the corporatist crooks in Washington and replace them with public servants who will do the will of a free and democratic society. And the first order of business is a revamped economy with rules that can never again be subverted by anti-democratic forces of evil and tyranny. One easy way to accomplish that would be via an economic constitution.

Happy Labor Day.
posted by TimingLogic at 12:01 AM

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home