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I want to give a run down of the world as I see it, something I had more or less done on my previous blog that was also read by nobody. At least I get in some good practice typing.

First my opinion on capitalism.

I don’t think capitalism is evil in the same way I don’t think it is evil when I see film of a lioness catching and eating a gazelle. I’m pretty sure the gazelle would beg to differ, but I think its opinion would be biased.

There are a couple of things that fundamentally color my viewpoint on capitalism.

First, that every time I get more of something, it leaves less for the rest of the world. I know that is obvious, but have you ever thought of it? Going back to the lion, it knows what it kills first hand. How many chickens have you eaten? Capitalism has produced a system in which a part of the human population consumes massive amounts of energy and material, and at the same time has insulated the consumers from seeing directly the consequences of their actions.

I have a desktop computer, a laptop, a netbook, a blackberry, a psp, a large flat screen tv, a dvr, and my kids have broken 3 playstation 2’s.(They are gonna be waiting a long time for the playstation 3). When I read that Americans have 5% of the worlds population but uses 25% of the energy, I know I am part of this.

Second, a “free market” capitalism is bunk. Capitalism is too chaotic to run freely. It would crash and burn much too often to allow for consistent growth and continual prosperity.

The chief interest and responsibility of government in this age is  to maintain economic growth. It must be maintained at all costs, because to be unable to do so guarantees that the current government will become the former government in the next election.

Our government attempts to maintain constant economic growth by a system of patrimony over certain areas of industry. The first of these is the infamous military-industrial complex. The United States transformed itself into a massive war machine during the Second World War. After the war was over, this war machine was throttled back somewhat, but became a fundamental part of the economy in response to the the threat both real and perceived that the Soviet Union posed.

The United States has effectively been at war time production for the last 70 years. The military-industrial complex has evolved into a huge, corruptive, lobbying beast. The generals in charge of weapons procurement create specs for ships, planes and weapons that are so advanced and cutting edge, that they themselves become the prime driver of our computer, medical, and science advancements. If there happens to be a civilian application for these things, then fine. If not, then it is a great way to continue to give billions of dollars to the companies to create weapons, that then become the property of said developer to be sold to the military. No free market capitalism allowed. The generals then leave the Pentagon to become sales reps for the companies they procured from, and they sale to their former subordinates that took their old position in the Pentagon.

The cold war has been over for 20 years, but we still haven’t gotten the genie back in the bottle. In fact it continues to grow more powerful. Some weapons are now built by parts from all 50 states, insuring support by politicians who want to keep those jobs. Every time the military releases its list of base closures, the howls of the politicians of both parties reaches fever pitch.The number of lobbyists cajoling our elected officials at the behest of the military-industrial complex has also grown commensurate to the exponential growth of the military budget.

Instead of the military serving the government and the citizens, it is reversing to all of us serving it. The military budget this year, when the extra money for our two wars is included, stands at $600 billion dollars this year. This expenditure will not soon diminish even if procurement for new weapons is stopped, because tanks, jet fighters, bombers, etc, all have a “life expectancy”, beyond which they cannot be repaired and must be replaced. This “life expectancy” for these systems has been spent at a greatly accelerated rate since the wars began in 2003.

$600 billion dollars is $100 billion more than the combined rest of the nations of the world spend on defense. Remember last year when all of the ominous reports were broadcast about China vastly expanding its military spending? They now spend $50 billion a year, for a population 5 times our own, and they are now the number two nation in the world for military spending. We spend 60 times as much for defense per person, but can’t catch Osama, or secure the our borders. That is not a lot of bang for the buck, my friends.

We are also the number 1 arms exporter in the world, so remember when you see atrocities committed in most parts of the world, at least they are doing it with stuff built here in the good old US of A. It has been said that death is the ultimate democratic event, as it comes to us all, so think of us as spreading democracy through the whole world.

The story is basically the same when we discuss the banks, the pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc, etc, etc. Vast amounts of public wealth making them rich, products of dubious use, driven by the ugliest of human emotions and needs, e.g. lust, fear, greed. (for example, pharmaceutical companies spend several times more researching baldness cures than they do to cure cancer or heart disease). Unlimited and direct access to elected officials, and constant propaganda to get you to keep believing the American Dream, while you keep getting more in debt.

I am not anti-American, nor am I anti-military, but I do think that we could shut down our 65 year old bases in Japan, and Germany and bring the troops home. I think we could get body armor for the troops, because they need it, and stop buying F-22’s that we don’t need. We could draw down the military, secure our borders, go back to having a small, elite military with a large reserve and National Guard system, and save billions of dollars that could be used for many more useful things.

If we have to falsely stimulate the economy, then why do it with the military? If we cut military spending in half, every kid in this country could go to college full price, for free.   We could house thousands of Americans every year. We could repave the highways, rebuild or repair bridges. Everybody in this country could get a tummy tuck, or hair transplant, or boob job, for free. A waste of money, maybe, but we are wasting it anyway. We could do ANYTHING WE WANT.

The entire budget of the Department of Education is 10% of our military spending. No wonder all the computer jobs are going to Indians and Chinese. What does that say about our priorities? What does that say about our nation? To me, it says that our nation lacks commitment to democracy. Education and health care and decent housing, and everything else we “can’t afford” gives opportunity to those who are without. As they excel, they contribute, and they also change the status quo.

This nation rose to become the greatest world power in history after World War 2. I believe a great part of that was because of the advancements in medicine, science, technology, and quality of life, all made possible by the G.I. Bill allowing men who would have never gone to college to go, and to patent and market their ideas. That was free market capitalism, and it was true democracy, all made possible by access to education.

The next time you see the fighter jet overhead, the tank in the parade, or the submarine in the harbor, think on this quote by one of the greatest generals of American history, as well as one of it’s presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
For his view on the military-industrial complex, a term he created, please read his presidential farewell address.

One Comment

  1. This, my friend, is a little piece of genius. Thanks for putting down in words some of the thoughts I’ve been mulling for a long time. Brilliant post.

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