Real power lies in economic liberty. It is when people are able to command wealth in a society that they’re able to have the most amount of influence in government and take a greater amount of interest in the function and well being of their social worlds, not to mention, be able to live happier and more fulfilled lives in spite of having jobs that are of perceived lower station in our society. I am not talking about that “do whatever you may”, laissez-faire nonsense that Libertarians and conservatives like to talk about, but rather, the ability for each individual who works or is truly unable to work to go out and buy, sell and save goods, services and capital. The difference is that one brings people up to the maximum amount of freedom that they can actually have on this plane of existence, the other, pretends that there are no such limits to the concept of freedom on this plane of existence. We are all bound to tend to the well being of the society and to the environment in which our societies exist. Destruction or negligence of either one of these systems leads to the death and destruction of the individual, whom the Libertarians and conservatives claim to support so vehemently, if ineffectively.
When you have a system to promote economic “liberty” as defined by the Libertarians and conservatives, you essentially get a system where wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or individual companies, such that the actual wealth of society is sucked into the maw. Workers race to the bottom for wages, their essential cut of the goods and services that they produce; the environment is ruined for the sake of monetary wealth and the society gutted for the sake of the personal profits of those few individuals who more than likely, already controlled most of the economic wealth of society combined. The result is the ruination of the social order upon which those individuals attained their vast amounts of wealth (which is usually greater than what they actually can use in a given lifetime) and the eventual destruction of their economic wealth combined.
What I am not doing is challenging the validity and value of markets. I think that goods, services and capital need to be exchanged freely without the authority of the central state/government, in order to produce the most amount of value for the sake of a given society. What I am challenging, is the notion that markets are a perfect means for allocating resources among the general, working class population. If a company is realizing profits of $5 billion and it is paying its 1.8 million employees according to the minimum wages of their communities, it stands to reason that the value of the work that the workers are doing is worth significantly more than the legal minimum wage that is set for them. Without that push back from either the society acting through the government or through society acting through functional and honest worker led unions, it is always going to be in the interests of the employers to undervalue their workers’ labor for the sake of their individual, small self-gain. Therefore, people are forced to take on more work and divert more of their energy inefficiently into the market for the sake of barely making ends meet, or else, are significantly forced to compromise on leading happy, whole and fulfilled lives for the sake of the marginal gains of the employers. Indeed, there does come a point where the profits that are realized through pure profit maximization are pointless to the employer and to the shareholders and executives in question, especially when you factor in the inevitable social unrest and potential environmental destruction that results from when pure financial profit-maximizing logic dominates in our political and defacto policy-making circles. It is neither in the interests of the companies, nor of the executives, nor of the shareholders to gain so much wealth at the expense of the society and the environment.
Yet this is the logic that is promoted by government policy makers, leaders and officials! The conservative and Libertarian model of economic function and economic policy only leads to the defacto enslavement of most of the society for the sake of idle “freedom” on the part of the executives and top shareholders in our economic systems. It is neither democratic, nor is it conducive to a functional society that can adequately sustain and maintain itself, nor does it promote actual freedom for any member of society. Rather, it just encourages the mental slavery to money and material wealth on the part of the elites, while enslaving the rest of society in very real and very cruel forms of wage and laboring slavery. It is no better than the logic of the slave owning Southern plantation owners, and it is both prohibitive of real economic growth, real economic wealth and the development of real quality of life for everyone (including the current owners of capital and property).
There is a very good reason why Thomas Jefferson defined the United States as being based on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as opposed to property. Obsession with property and financial wealth is, in itself, a form of slavery which distorts and blinds the individual to the economic, environmental and social realities of the world in which they are living. It kills the individual through the destruction of the society and the environment. You don’t need to have faith in me or these concepts in order to see these all in actions. Rather, you should have faith that you don’t need faith in order to see these general courses of actions arise, ever so slowly, ever so surely, when this small-self oriented and poorly grounded logic pervades in our political realms, which then influence and develop the economic, social and environmental worlds in which we’re living, onto our eventual death and ruination, thanks to this poor perception of the self and poor prioritization of society.
This has been replicated several times throughout the course of human history, both as environmental changes have ruined the Indus and Mayan civilizations and as social and economic changes upset the order of Europe, China and Russia. It is through benevolent care, honest attention and genuine focus on the needs of the other; the society and the environment, that a government and its members are going to thrive. It’s through adaptation and a genuine willingness to help the society and the environment, sometimes at ones’ own expense, that a regime is able to carry on. It’s just how things work in this universe.
All other cases throughout history have shown that the opposite case is true. Why not try something different, instead of pushing the same button and expecting something different to happen?
Think about it.