our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a



Government is us - redux
deborah conner
op-ed roanoke times,
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boom and bust is ever the stuff of market economies, especially when fierce competition is embraced over sense and symbiosis. In nature, the real world of laws we live by, only cancers work so selfishly, and they compete to the point of killing their host. Not a good way to do business.

Looking back, one can make an argument that groups that focused on community building -- guilds, granges, civic groups like the Masons -- were buffers for this wild fluctuation. How did insurance develop? Locals got together and pooled resources so that when Farmer A's barn burned down (lightning, acts of God; stuff happens), all would help rebuild it.
But coming out of the Gilded Age, when -- like today -- a small group of individuals were obscenely rich, there was indeed some major hocus-pocus stepping up to contrive a bailout. All business is conspiracy, if you think about it. Simple self-interest, keeping the lid on, putting out fires: conspiracy, collusion.
With paper speculation based on theory (e.g., the short-sighted 1997 Nobel Prize-winning derivative formulas that proved wrong) -- fool's gold, whatever thin air the market can be made to agree is its worth -- we have something like a grand casino, and you know the house always wins. Thus the house perpetuates itself, and everyone goes along, hoping to cut losses and praying that the house keeps standing. Goldman Sachs is mothership Titanic. I can hear them walking down its halls telling each other "Act normal! We'll think of something!"
In truth, resources are ultimately finite, and so is need. From biology we know that maintaining a biosphere has to be (and will make itself) a factor in any living system. At the heart of it all must be a realistic long-range energy policy, which some seem to be doing their best to distract us from.
Bob McDonnell, current governor of Virginia { --  or  -- just replace his name with any of the current Republican Presidential candidates}, tells us his party believes big government is bad. He wants to let the free market rule, lower taxes and, in their place, let the churches step up to the plate. We know from history how fair and reasoned such a Calvinist cosmos was in the past. So did the Founding Fathers.
With Franklin D. Roosevelt, regulation became the grand experiment, and it served us well until it was abandoned, most simply by not being enforced. Drowning government in a bath tub is easily accomplished by quietly underfunding enforcement agencies.
The thing that government can do and has done is protect people. It gave us the 40-hour work week, stopped child labor. By fair and reasoned lawmaking, it gave us the middle class. It keeps the bridges from falling down. Food safe.
And what is "it" -- government -- but the people? Except when it's the corporations, their lobbyists, their players. Those who drown human rights and equal access.
Right now, because of rumor mongers, fear-manufactured corporate astroturf, patriot vigilantes and their self-fulfilling non-historic prophecies, we stand to lose the things that are actually precious: Order, peace, growth, life.

link: Government is us

extra credit:
ok. here's what we do. get a big bottle of cognac and drink it, NEAT...
orts n slarts:
Financial Reform 101
The Warning
Breaking the Bank
Wall Street's Bailout Hustle
Punks and Plutocrats
Inside the Meltdown