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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Howdy Howard and Linda!

Yep, I'm a Texan! And I've been lurking for some time. But now you've gotten my dander up. I realize you're working on the circular hypocrisy thing but I just have to say something here. That nice Ford truck is a by-product of capitalism and so is the fiver you're towing. Those nice little side businesses you're pitching are an example of capitalism and so are the Google ads. Perhaps you meant to say exploitivism and not capitalism because the old Soviet Union and now The People's Republic of China are very exploitive of their resources. I think just maybe you expounded this idea just get some of us lurkers to come in from the cold.

Steve Haynes
Houston, TX

Ah Steve,
No longer a lurker. Great to hear from you! :)

Sorry your dander is up, but I think we probably agree more than we disagree on this topic. :)

Your example of our little businesses is exactly what I meant when I said "to the extent we need it to survive, it's a decent concept".

Don't get me wrong - I'm a proponent of capitalism and free markets. But I'm afraid our capitalism has run amok in search of profit margins at the expense of our environment and people.

I love "small business" because it still has heart and it will forego higher profit margins to care for its surroundings and employees that it considers family. There is still a sense of responsibility and community.

Large business is now run by Wall Street, and short-term profits are the only thing that matters.

Stewardship and conscience are gone, and good people at the top ignore the long-term effects because they are caught in the middle of an avalanche they can't stop. Bad people at the top exploit everyone and everything. And businesses are making boatloads of money using advertising to prey upon human weaknesses.

Supply and demand - I'm okay with that theory. But I'm afraid we're creating artificial demand for short-term gains that harms society as a whole. Unfortunately, we Americans don't have the discipline (or maybe the intelligence) to resist or the foresight to understand the long-term effects.

At least humans have choices. We're trying to make that clear. :) Folks don't have to succumb to the pressures of society - there are other ways to be happy and to put food on the table. For those that choose to keep doing what they're doing, I suppose the companies we own stock in will keep profiting from them and benefiting us.

Now our habitats and environments and wildlife don't have choices. And again, short-term profits in the name of "economic growth" drive destruction of things we can never get back. And, if we are not careful, the lack of choice may soon fall upon sectors of the human population as well.

In summary, the idea of capitalism is fine and is better than many other systems. But are we at a point where it needs an injection of conscience and caring for the future of the planet?

Two years ago, you never would have heard these comments from me. I was right there with the "make as much money as you possibly can while you can" folks. Funny how perspectives can change. :)

You hit the exploitation of people on the head...Look at what Circuit City is doing, firing 3500 or so higher paying people (some long term and dedicated) so they can reapply at a lower wage. Kind of makes moral high, doesnt it. I have a choice and I will no longer use stores or companies that do this to people. Greed has taken over. Jim

You should think of posting your answer to Steve as a blog so a wider audience can read it.

Howard, Your follow-up comments are outstanding. Now if you could just get that posted at all of the nature preserves, national refuges, forest services, schools, conservation clubs, and the list goes on, you would make a difference. Don, TC,MI

I don't think the abuses seen in our capitalistic economy are inherent in the system itself; rather, they are the result of human nature - some people are just greedy. There have always been abuses in all economic systems. Does that mean we just have to accept them? No, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system that has been devised... look no further than the general standard of living in the good old USA for evidence of that.

The problem I see growing in this country is that there are too many people who want government to insure them against failure, and take care of them from cradle to grave. That has been tried - it's called socialism - and it has failed everywhere it's been tried.

We have lost our skepticism of goverment as the answer to everything and our willingness to take responsibility for ourselves. That's one of the things that attracts me to the RV lifestyle. By and large, from everything I've seen, RVers are pretty much a bunch of resourceful, intelligent, self-reliant people.

Having said all that, I agree we need to be more careful about what we do. What we destroy may be gone not only for the rest of our lifetimes, but forever. And I also agree that the focus is too much on short-term (quarterly) financial results. Nobody is taking the long-term view, and that's why the Japanese auto makers have been kicking the pants off of US auto makers. They HAVE been taking the long-term view.

We are here, I believe, not only to take advantage of the environmental resources available to us, but also to be good stewards of those resources. We live on a tiny little planet, in a vast universe, and it's the only planet we have. We need to take care of it. If we kill it, we kill ourselves.

Ah Howard, Don't blame the system for the greed and avarice of the humans existing in it. There is nothing in or on this earth that can't be turned into something bad if the wrong people chose to use it that way. All of us desire to better ourselves throughout or lives. We just need to remember not to do it in such a way that others have to pay for it! Without moral people any system is doomed to be exploited! Don't despise the system, despise the people who abuse it.

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