State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

The Meltdown

http://money.msn.com/bill-fleckenstein/post.aspx?post=6f26569b-6654-4f71-8bb6-6095a58da9dc

 I thought this article by Bill Fleckenstein of MSN Money was interesting.  He looks beyond the normal drumbeat we usually hear about our financial situation and focuses on the obvious–we can’t continue to overspend as we do and avoid extreme inflation and eventually skyrocketing interest rates.  If we do what Greece did, we will get the results Greece got.

I will make the case that the real problem here is our pride.  We think we deserve things–benefits, governmental rights, safety nets, the welfare state, etc., but we don’t think we have to pay for them.  The proof of this is found in our constant budget deficits.  A deficit is really nothing more than a belief that we deserve to receive more than we give.  For me, this is the definition of pride.  When people are caught up in pride, they also seem to have a really difficult time recognizing their errors, and the obvious, inevitable consequences they bring.

In the end, life is simple and is about choice and accountability.  No one can escape this for too long.  If we don’t want a financial meltdown, then we need to choose fiscal responsibility.  If we don’t choose fiscal responsibility, then we are choosing a meltdown at some point.  Anyone who says differently is either a salesman or a politician, or deceived by them.  I would encourage us to be honest.  To pay our debts and put our fiscal house in order.  In the long run, this will happen.  The question is will we go through a (now seemingly inevitable) meltdown to get us there?

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  1. Troy B.

     /  May 25, 2012

    All people do have a right to clean water, adequate food, quality education, sufficient health care, and physical security. The problem in my mind is the economic system itself, the ideas of supply and demand, private property and the belief we can ‘earn’ something are convenient masks to hide behind. In reality I agree that it DOES come down to pride and the lack of love for our fellow human beings. Poverty is a plague that is the root of many of our problems and the so called ‘capitalist’ system is dependent on poverty. Capitalism can not exist without losers; it can not exist without someone being poor or going without; this mentality causes competition and the belief that we are different (and worse, that we are enemies). Equity and charity can not exist in the same space as division and competition. There is more than enough resources to go around and then some (if we accept LDS theology and the declarations found int he D&C). I want to say more, but my time constraints limit my response at this time. I’ll get back at you.

    Reply
    • Brinton

       /  May 25, 2012

      Troy,

      A few quick ideas to bounce off you while I wait for more. When we list “rights” I think it confuses the topic just a bit. I think everyone wants everyone to have the things you’ve listed. The main difference in political opinion is who guarantees those rights. To stay focused, this piece is not a left or right argument or saying whether government should guarantee such rights or not, but I am suggesting that if government is to guarantee these rights, then it must be done in a sustainable way. We must pay for the services we receive. Even if money didn’t exist as the marker, we would have to deal justly with other countries and our own citizens. Capitalism is a broad word, which means many different things to different people. The free market (I’ll define it as the right to say “I’ll trade my corn for your wheelbarrow” or “I’ll help build your house if you help build my barn”), I believe can and generally does exist without losers. Both parties generally benefit. I have summed up my thoughts on competition in today’s post. If we are to accept the D&C, then I believe we also need to accept it’s teachings supportive of private property. Our trick becomes finding out how these work together, which is what I have dedicated this site to. I really look forward to hearing the further amount you have to say on these issues.

      Reply
  2. Kerry

     /  May 25, 2012

    The challenge is to blend the ideas of needs within a capitalist system. I think Troy is making a good case as to why the system of equity will fail under the current practice of capitalism(as long as we have greed we will never find equality). If minimum wages would have grown at the rate of the top wage earners then that wage would be near $25-$35 per hour. I do not agree with your assertion that, “I think everyone wants everyone to have the things you’ve listed” [clean water, adequate food, quality education, sufficient health care, and physical security], a simple afternoon watching Fox tells me that!!! I think your post on competition is a well thought out and articulated metaphor, and you could further develop that into a more full critique of modern culture. Competition does not mean you stack the deck against your component to insure that you win!! Pride is a two way street-those with excess use pride as a way to assuage their guilt and those with less use pride to point fingers!!! I will end by saying that the BoM is clear(really clear) as to the warnings and blessings of the promised land-these types and shadows tell us what we ought to be doing and we we should not be doing to bring us blessings or eventual destruction-and we aren’t doing very well in the warning department!!!

    Reply
    • Brinton

       /  May 31, 2012

      I think we all seem to agree on some important issues (tell me if I’m wrong):
      1. The root problem is pride. I think you have summed that up quite well.
      2. Pride manifests itself in a number of ways, inequality and debt are two major ones and there are possibly more.
      3. These issues will cause any system of equity to fail.

      I like that you’ve defined capitalism as the “current practice of capitalism”. Whether we call it “capitalism”, “state capitalism” or “pluralism” or some other name, I think we can all agree that the current system is generally unfair, unsustainable, and will fail.

      I disagree somewhat with your disagreement (this could get funny after a while) that “everyone wants everyone to have [basics]”. I’ll give you that my saying ‘everyone’ may have been over inclusive, but I do believe that the vast majority of people do desire this, including Fox News Contributors (I’ll admit to not watching them or their counterparts at MSNBC or even the major news networks very often, as I prefer deep study of a few things to the surface reporting we receive). I’ll elaborate in my next posting.

      I agree with your sum up of pride and the BoM.

      Reply
  3. Kerry

     /  May 31, 2012

    I know you didn’t mean “everyone”. Ok, clean up the competition post, edit to under 2000 words(which it is, but I would like to see you expand some of the ideas), give plenty of scripture and quote references, let me do a final edit, and then email it to the Ensign. I am not easily impressed, so that should tell you how much I like your thoughts as a doctrinal article, then further expand it into an essay, then a full treatise, and then maybe the ideas you are forming from your writings on this page will produce your first book.

    Reply
  4. Brinton

     /  June 1, 2012

    Thanks. I’ll need some specific help to accomplish such a thing, as I am definitely not a professional writer. Perhaps you can elaborate on the ideas you would like expanded and some needed cleaning, and send to my personal email.

    Reply

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