I recently posted a comment on the general discussion at Jim Kunstler's blog. It is always surprising how supporters of this administration can say that they support market economies when the principal players in the administration have clearly practiced -- and continue to practice -- crony capitalism. Crony capitalism is one of the greatest under-miners of free markets possible. Why the loyalty to a team that does not represent free markets? Maybe their loyalty -- and I'll give credit to my spouse on this one -- has to do with how conservatives believe that the best of times lie in the past. This is so important to them -- and I'll grant them that this administration is their best hope for returning to the past -- that they ignore the hypocrisy. By contrast, progressives believe that our current quality of life can be so much better.
This post touches on almost every category that I have formerly established. I am sometimes asked what I do. Maybe I should start referring questioners to the About area of this blog. I'm trying to find our why we as a society do not live up to our potential. The fragility of our present circumstance requires some integral and creative answers. We have to create a system that competes with the prevailing system.
Why a "private" hedge club? A public entity requires the oversight of the government. Why anyone would want this government involved in their financial affairs is a mystery to me. Fiscal irresponsibility aside, the government has a "leader" who less than 15 years ago was placed on a board -- through a favor from the well-connected -- and proceeded to distinguish himself during his tenure by telling dirty jokes.
Why a private "hedge" club? Most people have put all their marbles -- literally and figuratively -- in a system that is fraught with corruption and inefficiency. They need to realize that there can be a way to "hedge" the current system. The fragility of the current system is there -- for us all to see -- but yet we remain in a state of denial. (To be up front, this also permits playing the "fear card." A tool that unfortunately seems to be required in order to get the general public's attention.)
Why a private hedge "club"? A private club seems to me to be the only entity that can encompass all of the elements necessary to create a new institution. Education, a physical infrastructure, lack of dogma and doctrine, and longevity. The term "society" works as well but makes it harder to define the rules that are necessary for sustainability.
Primary Hedge Areas
One of the dominant -- read thought-killing -- characteristics of the current system is debt. Debt is all about possessing. The irony is that so long as debt is involved, the system -- not the bank per se -- possesses you. This is unhealthy and one reason -- in my opinion -- for the high levels of depression. (This reminds me of the standard Christian response with respect to the poor: They will always be with us. Baaad Attitude!) If one wants to hedge the current system, one would create an institution in which "banking" is equity only.
As has been pointed out in earlier posts, our education is primarily geared towards producing certified individuals, rather than critical-thinking individuals. Another dominant characteristic of the education system is that it is concerned with turning out folks who work/manipulate behind a desk -- or in a hotel lobby with a laptop -- rather than doing something that is hands-on. In the new global economy, your desk job will soon be done somewhere around the world where the costs are lower. Why would anyone want to sit behind a desk for 8+ hours anyway? The hedge club will commit resources to shaping an education system that includes hands-on activity and real-world projects.
Opportunity, not charity or propaganda. The current system's tax laws either encourage charitable giving or cause (special interest) giving. A hedge club can be structured to encourage members to quit giving to charity and propaganda. Pay your taxes and use the balance to build up equity in a system that builds and provides opportunity, rather than tears down and gives hand-outs.
Anyone who thinks the current system is not sustainable should contact me and make a commitment to help get the ball rolling. Hit the "Email Me" button (above left) and contact me. We can change the course of history this afternoon.
The issue of what defines a liberal and a conservative is a current topic. Let me share something that appears in The Ayn Rand Lexicon:
"Open Mind" and "Closed Mind." [There is a] dangerous little catch phrase which advises you to keep an "open mind." This is a very ambiguous term--as demonstrated by a man who once accused a famous politician of having "a wide open mind." That term is an anti-concept: it is usually taken to mean an objective, unbiased approach to ideas, but it is used as a call for perpetual skepticism, for holding no firm convictions and granting plausibility to anything. A "closed mind" is usually taken to mean the attitude of a man impervious to ideas, arguments, facts and logic, who clings stubbornly to some mixture of unwarranted assumptions, fashionable catch phrases, tribal prejudices--and emotions. But this is not a "closed" mind, it is passive one. It is a mind that has dispensed with (or never acquired) the practice of thinking or judging, and feels threatened by any request to consider anything.
What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an "open mind." but an active mind--a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically. An active mind does not grant equal status to truth and falsehood; it does not remain floating forever in a stagnant vacuum of neutrality and uncertainty; by assuming the responsibility of judgment, it reaches firm convictions, an active mind achieves an unassailable certainty in confrontations with assailants--a certainty untainted by spots of blind faith, approximation, evasion and fear. [Page 347]
For a variety of reasons, most of our institutions do not collectively exhibit an active mind. Today's right wing "think tanks" are financially supported by interests that primarily support the status quo. As a consequence, they are closed to ideas that change that status quo. Most "cause-oriented" institutions are geared to stopping something and are unable to come up with creative solutions. I will make the point that I would much rather get an open-minded person to consider a new idea, rather than a closed-minded person. Fundamentalist groups are doctrinally close-minded.