Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quote of the Day and Must Read

Ecosystems are complicated things but once established they tend to maintain a balance within the ebb and flow life's tolerances. Go into a functioning ecosystem and damage one part of it and things go all out of whack. The calculus of existence tends to fix things if the offending cause is removed but things rarely go back to the way they were. After some mega disruption of our entire planet's ecosystem the large land roving dinosaurs got punked and what was left of them had to take to the air in order to get away from competitors at ground level.

To illustrate a point, let's look at a much smaller ecosystem, that of a large island in a great lake on the USA Canadian border. The island has a lush plant cover with excellent diversity. It also has moose and wolves. In centuries past, before massive quantities of sequestered coal were dug out of the ground and burned, the climate was stable and the great lake froze solid in some winters. If the moose population got too large there would be too much pressure on the plants, the moose would eat too many of them and the plants would not be able to produce enough food to keep the moose population going. This was prevented by the wolves which had a taste for fresh moose meat. The wolves ate moose, the moose ate plants, and the plants regulated the number of moose by starving them if they ate too much and the wolves didn't eat enough moose to keep the plants thriving, and so on. It was not exactly a perfect system and occasionally something got out of balance. In warm winters the moose, who are excellent long distance swimmers, could swim away from the island to the mainland and work things out from there. In cold years the wolves who are excellent long distance runners could run across the ice to the mainland and so on.

Everything works well within certain parameters as long as there is a balance and some way to relieve the pressure of too many wolves or too many moose. But what happens if something happens to the wolves? The moose will die out if there are either too many or too few wolves. If all the wolves were to be killed off by disease, for instance, the moose would become way too dominant, eat all the food in the summer and starve in the winter. If the wolves have too many babies and nothing to keep their population to a workable number, at some point they need too much food to survive and will eat all the moose and die once the moose run out and climate change keeps the lake from freezing over so they can run to the mainland. No more moose and no more wolves. It is both more complicated than that and just that simple. It's all about balance.

Something has to keep the moose in check and something has to keep the wolves in check...or they both die.

We can think of economic systems in the same way. In America we have our resources, our people, and our corporations. In a libertarian society there are no rules. The most voracious predator eats everything until it runs out of food and dies. Left unchecked, our corporations would grow and devour each other and all of the resources. Peoples' wages would be driven down until eventually there would be no more resources and the people would have insufficient wages to survive and buy whatever it is that the one remaining corporation would be selling. The end would be economic Armageddon...This is where we are heading.

There is no salvation from this unless we add regulation to the economic system...To the ecology of people, planet, and how we do business. Anarchy does not produce balance. It does not produce a happy citizen. It produces only ruin. It does produce what some people would call a winner. I prefer to use the term, "The Biggest Loser." The one last corporation can die knowing that it has won. It has no more competition. It has all the money. It has eaten all the resources. And...It has let all the people die since, by virtue of its perfect productivity ratio, it has no more use for them. Now we will have reached the ultimate state of imbalance.

This is where we are heading. The wolves get fat for a little while. And then they die.

We are seriously out of balance at this point in time and somebody's going to die. Maybe everybody.

This is what President Obama did not state to the Chamber of Commerce yesterday. he was very nice to them. But he did not tell them they were killing America. He should have. They are. And ultimately they will die...Unless...

They recognize the ultimate truth in ecosystems and economies:

Regulation is life!

The incentives and demands of the corporate charter are clear: maximize value to the shareholder. Asking nicely of even the most beneficent and moral of the corporate titans that they explicitly violate that charter is worse than useless: it's an insult to their characters.

Only hostile regulation--regulation expressly opposed to the principle of shareholder return, and thus inimical to the individuals whose job it is to maximize that return--can do what is necessary to achieve the closest thing to economic utopia that we imperfect creatures will ever hope to attain.

Ronald Reagan was lying to us. Government IS the solution. Government of, by and for the people.

Amen, brothers and sisters...Amen


  1. Amen. Try playing any game without rules or where the first winner gets to set the rules as they please and see how many players want to (or are able to) remain in the game. No more game. Everybody loses.

    BTW. Something's logically or grammatically missing or unclear in your sentence following "Ask a Tea Party person..."

  2. Yeah, I think faster than I type.

    Republicans must cheat each other at golf, too. But they don't really want the refs taken off the field. They want the refs watching you and me, but not them.