Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lots of economics ...

TS has been posting a bit of economic stuff lately (much pulled from elsewhere). Economics has been on my mind, so I will quote and comment. Number 1 (From Zippy via TS):

Every 'human resource' in the company is an asset, and assets that do not appreciate in value over time actually lose money for the company when measured against inflation; so they have to be gotten rid of...

People who enjoy what they do and want to do it for the rest of their careers and live like human beings may be made miserable by that situation, but they aren't the ones who will contribute large leaps of growth to the business anyway, so they don't matter. It is more profitable to get rid of them and staff with the other kind of people.

My take: Another instance of the capitalist system viewing people as tools to make money. Another reason I hope we can build a sustainable and viable family economy here instead of returning to the corporate grind.

Number 2 (From Gilbert Mag via TS):

So imagine a world without usury. The end of all growth? Nonsense. Even lending would still be profitable. Borrowers do do things with their money. If Coca-Cola shares would bring exactly the same interest rate as a startup bookstore down the street - zero -, where would you put your money? Which would give you a greater tangible benefit? No more free money, true, but you might get a free bookstore. Down the street. And it'd be the sensible, good stewardship, warm-fuzzies-of-maturity thing to do.

My take: Here it is. Living life by creed not greed (who coined that, Peter Maurin?). Life can be better if everyone isn't chasing money and profits. This is the way it should be, and CAN work. But some people have to sacrifice some things for the better good. Alas there is no Utopia in this vale of tears caused by original sin. But still there is a "third way".

TS' take:

"But I do really like that bookstore example. Quality of life could be much better under some other form of economic model, though I suspect any other model is unworkable in real life. "

Number 3 (from the radio via TS):

"Mike, the thing that was sort of shocking to me is I would deliver a pizza to a trailer, and the person who answered the door has no teeth, and they'd tip me five bucks. But I'd battle my way into a gated community and the millionaire would tip me two bucks. I firmly believe if you want even a shot of going to heaven you tip the pizza guy five bucks."

Another angle on this, when I was delivering papers as a kid, I got my biggest Christmas tip in my Catholic neighborhood from my Jewish customer. You never know where true charity lies, but it often doesn't come from where you expect or where it should.

So what does it all mean? I think it means that there are alternate ideas out there on how to run an economy and people generous enough and sacrificial enough to make it work-albeit a minority.

More later...including a surprise...our latest attempt to build and sustain a family economy here at our small holding in Bethune will be unveiled very soon.

Oremus pro invicem!


TS said...

Interesting that you commented: "But some people have to sacrifice some things for the better good."

Very cagey, since the fact that you said some people, and not all people, saves the "third way" from utopianism.

The ever-brilliant Tom of Disputations once wrote:

"Distributism sounds like a perfectly sound rule of life for a Christian interested in what is sometimes called an 'authentic life.' But it still doesn't sound like a prescriptive economic system...."

Long thread in response here.

Jim Curley said...

TS-I will read the thread on Friday, but to your first point-in every situation, somebody has to sacrifice something-there are tradeoffs. I think some type of Distributism can work-although no doubt it will eventually corrupt also. How to get there???? Baby steps or a total crash and rebuild.

Jim Curley said...

Read some of the thread you provided. I think few people in the thread had a good understanding of distributism as an economic system-I am just now trying to grasp the details and implications of it (and the potential problems.)

I am going to continue to post as I learn. Hopefully people can point out the problems.


TS said...

Baby steps or total crash and rebuild

We could easily have the latter given what oil is to our society.