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Capitalism: War of the Words

12:03 pm in Uncategorized by Grey Wolf

Kudzu house

Life is frustrating here among the humans. Humans have this thing called language that they can try to use to exchange thoughts and ideas between each other’s brains. It seems like a spiffy thing. This language can be spoken, or even written down so as to save for latter or reproduced and delivered to many humans. The spoken language, made up of all these individual words, is really fun because the humans combine the audible spoken words with hand motions and facial expressions, and even just slight changes in the human’s voice, which they call things like tone or inflection.  I can just point with my finger and say, “Give me that cock,” and the other human will use his hands to pick up the rooster and physically lift the rooster and move it through time and space into my hands. Oh, you thought I meant something else? You are obviously have a dirty mind, or are anticipating my next paragraph.

Yes, it is obvious, this language thing isn’t that useful at all unless the humans all agree what all these little individual words each mean. Often humans actually mean the opposite of what they say! Ya dig, my peeps? Or maybe the humans say really crazy, convoluted, stuff, but most everybody usually knows what the speaker means even then because … well, they learned what it means from being around other humans. Crazy things like, “I need a wife like I need another hole in my head.” Or, “A woman without a husband is like a fish without a bicycle.” That’s all clear, right? Left? Whatever. So if everybody understands that a cock is a rooster, everything’s fine. And if everybody understands that Tiny Tim is actually a very large man, everything is fine.

But the world just gets more and more complicated, and there are more and more people, and there are more and more words, and there are complicated systems already in place and it’s like we are all in a leaky boat and everybody just grabs a bucket and jumps in and helps bailing out the boat. We are all confident and intelligent humans and we can see the hole in the boat and we just do what we know needs to be done. But the world isn’t a leaky boat, not even close really. For instance, I do not believe that I will ever truly comprehend how complicated this world is, heck, I never even figured out my own marriage, much less how to program my old VCR.

So this whole language thing is a lot more complicated than it appears at first. It turns out that words can be wonderful–or deadly. Shh, remember, loose lips sink ships. See, despite all those useful and fun things we thought we could do with words, other people (not me!) actually use words to deceive, or to trick, or to confuse other humans.

Lies, lies, lies. Yeap, I’m talking ‘bout lies. Tiny Tim is a lie, he’s actually very big! And I don’t want another hole in my head, and you probably want to keep your hands off my cock. But none of those things really impact the major systems of the world, so we should just set Tiny Tim and my cock to one side for now and move to the big lie, capitalism.

Apparently nobody can agree what capitalism is. Heck, we humans can even argue about what the definition of “is” is. We humans are pathetic. Anyway … you might imagine that all of use agreeing on the definition of capitalism is would be rather important, because it seems capitalism is popping up everywhere these days, like kudzu (look it up ;-).

So let’s take a really brief tour of the rainbow of thoughts and ideas out there about this word capitalisim.

From our old friends Merriam and Webster:

CAPITALISM: a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government

Full Definition of CAPITALISM: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

Definition of ‘Capitalism’ from Investopedia:

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A Lone Cowboy with a White Hat

7:33 am in Uncategorized by Grey Wolf

White HatA basic tenet or belief often preached is that capitalism is a partnership between labor and capital, or capital and labor.

It shouldn’t matter which is listed first in a true partnership where profit is divided 50-50.

Since its inception, probably because it benefited them, and not from some confusion, capitalists have structured most corporations to transmit 100% of profits to the humans who contribute capital and 0% of profits to the humans who contribute labor to the partnership.

Some may protest at this point that the human laborers are paid a wage. That is true. Whether it is a whip or a wage, an incentive is required to transform a human into labor. To create a profit-creating corporation the owners, the creators, needed labor.

Captured slaves were burdensome to own and created multiple problems, while the capitalists realized that rather than providing food and shelter to the captured slaves, letting free-range humans struggle and fight for wages that indirectly provided them food and shelter could be more profitable. Higher finance evolved from profiting from owned humans to profiting from leasing the necessities of life to the humans, on credit. Humans will go into debt for food and shelter … and education and healthcare and transportation and … heck, sell them picks and shovels.

So preaching that capitalism is a partnership while structuring the corporations to transmit all profits to the capital owners appeared most beneficial. But Henry Ford yelled long ago to the other capitalists that labor needed to at least have enough cash to purchase the products the capitalists were selling.

But it is just too counter-intuitive to believe that paying higher wages, or, horror-of-horrors, sharing profits with labor, could somehow benefit the owners of capital. Naturally, most wages were always set at the lowest rate required to create the incentive for the human to correspondingly go into an offsetting debt for education and such. Doctors and lawyers demand higher wages because of the increased risk (of unemployment and debt) to the humans. Finance is about shifting risk. The risk of a slave owner having to feed valuable slaves through a drought has been shifted to the free-range humans gambling with their lives that they can reap enough in wages to pay off so much debt as they may acquire, from tech school to a doctorial degree.

So the connection between the health of humanity, and the health of humanity’s environment, is not naturally obvious to capitalists, though it is slowly becoming more apparent from observation. And individual examples are appearing throughout the economy.

Nucor Steel (wikipedia) is the most sacred corporation in the world, as far as I am concerned, though I am biased and have a US-centric worldview. Nucor Steel pays labor a percentage of profits, and shareholders receive a respectable dividend. Nucor corporate charter requires that at least 10% of profits be paid to labor’s profit sharing plan, but often pays extraordinary bonuses to labor based on strong profits. There’s even an entertaining book about Nucor.

I have always been perplexed by sports fans. It is readily apparent that we become fans of football teams based on random geographical criteria, not because of the personnel, or management, or behavior or what-have-you. Why should I be a Clemson or Georgia fan? Wouldn’t it make more sense to research teams and choose one based on the quality of players or coaches? Or because the team donates some profits to a worthy cause?

I have researched the teams and Nucor Steel is the most ethical I have found. I am a Nucor Steel fan.

Publix Supermarkets and the Evergreen Cooperatives are close runner-ups. Publix is an ESOP and the Evergreen Cooperatives are cooperatives. Merging the labor and capital categories avoids the ethical decision about the division of profits between labor and capital, but the lack of incentive to the capitalists makes creation, and existence, of such companies unique anomalies. New Era Widows is a new team that I’m watching, and there is of course the big foreign coop, Mondragon.
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