Barrack Obama was big on fundamental change. If we listen to the news or social media, we hear a good deal about it. Certainly, politics in North America and Europe seems to be moving in that direction.
If anything, we should try to estimate how the intermediate to long-term future will differ from what it has been. That requires a theme.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about it? I am inherently an optimist, but I notice most of the people I recognize to be to the left of me tend to be pessimistic. They relate to and focus on “problems” – global warming, income inequality, systemic racism, equal vs equitable, a decline of religious belief, failure of traditional institutions, biased media, and more. They seek specific methods to “solve” each. All of those solutions require a stronger, wealthier, and more intrusive government.
Strong government or weaker is a decision we must address. We have forgotten that the government has nothing they did not first take from some citizen. To assess government as being better because they are stronger requires that we believe they can spend money and exercise control better than we can do so by ourselves. Could be true, but history supplies little evidence to support the thesis.
Do you believe in goals and programs or direction and systems? Systems seem to work best because once a path is chosen in a goal-oriented environment, there tends to be an unwillingness to change regardless of outcomes. Systems tend to be direction oriented and, therefore, more flexible. The best comparison comes from negotiator Chris Voss, “Never be so sure of what you want that you would not take something better.” Systems deliver the, as yet unseen, “something better.”
Markets are systems. Governments manage programs and define problems. Notice the difference in outcome as a result. Do we end up with solutions or with embedded bureaucracies?
Are governments the answer?
Governments and programs have a single perceived advantage. They offer fast solutions. That their solutions tend to fail seems unnoticed. The tendency towards failure destroys the advantage.
Are markets the answer?
Markets can take a long time to fix inequities, and they typically take longer when government programs come along. Nonetheless, they work, but the solutions are unnoticeable in the short run. Markets have an underlying ability to destroy the misallocation of money, or time, or people resources. In simple terms, things that don’t work don’t last. The Soviet Union took 70 years to disappear. Royalties ruling Europe are long gone.
Not easily, but using leftist ideas, I can’t see what the future will be. Will we be more free? More prosperous? More ethical? Healthier? Happier? Longer living? With wider or narrower choices? The leftist people I know see only an idea of the future. They don’t see what the idea means in terms of how we will live.
Can we see what markets achieve over 50 years? Not very well, but we can see how market-oriented things have worked in the past. I listened to a podcast that draws on a Wall Street Journal’s article about the 50th anniversary of 1971. The idea is to understand the fundamental changes that occurred and how they present themselves today. The five chosen were these:
The idea is each permitted or even created a platform.
There are some already growing.
Finding the new “don’t knows” will be the biggest adventure.
I don’t see how. It is inherently illiberal. It is founded on competition instead of co-operation, envy, revenge and other negative emotions. Assigning government power to it is hardly a prescription for success. It didn’t work in the Soviet Union, and the government there was all-powerful.
Recall, “Things that don’t work don’t last.”
Perhaps we should look back 250 years and the idea of classic liberalism. The idea of freedom to choose and the freedom to fail was permitted. Those are the fundamentals of market solutions—especially the destructive side of it.
As the current system fails, look for:
Every change is hard to see inside the bubble, but every year has brought fundamental change. None of the positive parts have appeared by command and control, though. Be observant of meaning and possibility, be thoughtful, be willing to change, be wise.
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