Is capitalism fatally flawed?
“Capitalism” refers to an economic system in which private individuals, rather than governments, own the “capital” (land, resources, tools and other means of production and distribution) and are free to use it, multiply it, trade it and/or lose it depending solely on the decisions of the owner. Many today are concluding that capitalism is fatally flawed and always self-destructs due to unsustainable imbalances caused by the greed of owners and their exploitation of everyone else.
But greed and exploitation are not unique to capitalist societies. They have always been and will always be with us, because they are extensions of self-interest, which is arguably the oldest and most powerful social force at work among men. So the proper question is how to harness self-interest so its energies are released for good while its excesses are restrained from evil.
The great American experiment was to attempt this by simply recognizing and affirming every individual’s God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If America is disoriented today, it is not because the principles on which we were founded were found wanting but rather because we abandoned them in our fevered attempts to use government as just another pawn in the promotion of our own self-interest. This is being done by strong factions on all sides, and it is tearing America apart.
I’ve been lucky to visit the Sunflower State frequently over the past five years, flying to and from and enjoying Wichita. What I have found is that despite some East Coast author’s opinion, there’s nothing the matter with Kansas.
Boeing’s recent decision to close its Wichita plant and move the tanker production out of state only highlights a problem affecting not just Kansas but the entire nation. Boeing’s ethical lapses in the procurement process have been atrocious – from the initial canceled lease program (kudos to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.) that cost Boeing’s CEO his job to the fact that Boeing convinced the U.S. government to rebid and change the parameters of the contract, thus ensuring a victory for its consortium over Northrop Grumman/European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. Even Kansas officials lobbied to have EADS’ winning bid thrown out.
What’s even more tragic than the plant closure is that our politicians and even Boeing executives didn’t trust the Midwestern work ethic enough to have a fair and legitimate bidding process for the tanker project. The EADS consortium out of Alabama might have contracted some of the fuselage and other work to Wichita private corporations. We’ll never know now because of Chicago-style cronyism disguised as capitalism. Maybe there is something wrong with Kansas and the U.S. after all.
JAY C. MASTRUD
So much malarkey
There is so much malarkey in local, state and national politics that I hope I’m not the only one with a headache.
The Wichita City Council wants to unburden developers from having to make sure their projects don’t pollute the water. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, backs dead-on-arrival legislation making sure the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t fine farmers for dust pollution, something the EPA never planned to do. He is also a fiery proponent of free markets and letting business decide where and how to prosper sans regulation – that is until Boeing makes a profit-based decision and announces it is leaving town. Now Boeing is a lying liar and not playing fair. Did it need some regulation?
Gov. Sam Brownback unfunds the arts, refuses millions for early implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and now wants to begin to eliminate the state income tax, which will inevitably mean higher sales and property taxes.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach moonlights writing illegal immigration legislation for other states and solves voter fraud in Kansas. However, much of his legislation has been struck down or blocked, and there never was a problem with voter fraud.
The problem is the superheated air of ideological purity and leaders making decisions based on facts as they wish they were.
A recent Opinion Line contributor wondered what the difference was between a teenager’s tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas House speaker’s forwarded e-mail comparing first lady Michelle Obama’s windblown coif to that of the Grinch.
For one, the teenager is a high school student while the speaker is, well, speaker of the House. One presumes that holding the office would dictate certain comportment. Grown-ups also have a responsibility to model acceptable behavior.
One thing the two instances have in common is their lack of intelligent content and relevance. I would not want my teenage son to tweet disrespectful remarks about our governor. Instead, I would encourage him to be specific and articulate about his differences with the governor’s positions. Similarly, the speaker’s remarks, which are his remarks now that he has forwarded them, lack intelligence and relevance to our country’s present situation. As a result, I am left to think that such an e-mail is purely about being unkind at best and racist at worst (“Mrs. YoMama”).
I support the teen’s right to speak, as I do the speaker’s. Yet it concerns me greatly that we seem to lack the ability to have civil discourse and disagreement in our country.