Every child, at the age of six, should be forced to acquire their own food. From ages four to six, they shouldshadow adults, raising livestock, growing edible plants, hunting, trapping, fishing and participating directly in the circle of life. The adults around them provide food and shelter until the age of six. At six, they need to begin providing for themselves. Then the true lessons of supply and demand, of a real economy with necessity of resources determining behaviors and attitudes would be starkly displayed, and inherently understood. As those children grow, they will know what Americans and others around the world have forgotten: Economics is all about what people need.
Making it about what people want is like writing a good book that everyone believes is true. The stock market was created so that men (and women) could bet what they have against what they think other men and women will want. If that sentence didn’t make any sense, it’s because it accurately describes the economic manipulation of “the free market” and is the truth behind the myth that the market isn’t or shouldn’t be regulated.
Our current economic crisis, both the credit crunch and the woes of Wall Street, is artificial. Don’t misunderstand . . . people are really losing their jobs, losing their homes, truly lacking in the trade goods we call currency to acquire the basic necessities to assure their survival. But the discussion of The Market as an organism, which lives and breathes and exists independent of human manipulation, that somehow it is going to “right itself if left unregulated” is an attempt by those who understand the lie we’re all being told, and are attempting to continue that lie for their own benefit.
The President, on the other hand, appears to understand the fantasy of the free market, and is willing to burst that bubble just like the dotcom and housing bubbles burst when people stopped believing in them. He is willing to engage enough to support the shared belief, to encourage it with modification, because to totally get out of the Matrix will allow it to crash, and the political system within which he has acquired authority and within which we all find definite measures of security would cease to exist as we all began to acquire the material resources that we actually need regardless of the consequences to others or the manner of our acquisition.
People who advocate a free market are walking, talking oxymorons. People who advocate a market economy with some regulation simply disagree with the President and those of us who call for increased regulation on the degree. But economic darwisnism, the fantasy of a free market that simply rewards the innovative and the ruthless people willing to use and manipulate others without regard for their outcome, too, lowers the bar, and speaks to the lower registers of human nature.
The free market isn’t free. It costs a lot in lives. And that isn’t a fantasy.
It’s a nightmare.