Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Everyone is Playing "Time for a Change"

When you think about it, it is remarkable how much of politics is the Blame Game. In the 2000s liberals liked to blame George W. Bush for everything, although his Iraq policy was the consensus ruling-class "regime-change" policy. Now conservatives are blaming Barack Obama for everything, even though liberals are confident that the problem is that conservatives opposed everything that Obama proposed.

There is a reason why so much blame goes in in politics. It's because government is force, and force is a very blunt instrument. So politics always comes down to our guys shoving around their guys. But the question always is: what happens if something goes wrong with our plan to shove the other guys around?

Here's a chap who says that the problem is that "the center-left has told the bottom 60% of the income distribution in their countries the following story: 'Globalization is good for you. It’s awesome. It’s really great...'" and so on. Only, of course, it hasn't been so great for a whole bunch of people, and now they are angry.

Here's a chapette who says that the problem is that "America has been rocked by a series of semi-coherent social movements that blend some real and compelling grievances with a great deal of confusion, cinematic victim-mongering, and wildly imprudent demands."

But don't forget that the last 200 years has seen a Great Enrichment of 3000 percent, and it has been lifting billions out of poverty in the last couple of decades. You'd think that everyone would be over the moon.

They aren't over the moon because at the street level life is always hard and full of disappointment. I like to say that the most disappointed are the "little darlings" of the ruling class that have been promised goodies and are now disappointed that the goodies haven't changed their lives and, anyway, the ruling class didn't deliver on its promises.

So the global elite promised wonders from globalization. Actually, they were right. Cheap everything from China has been a global miracle. But plenty of people have been hurt, starting with unionized workers that priced themselves out of a job. Whatever the advantages of "free trade" (which is just another term for market prices) the constant innovation of the market through market prices creates plenty of angry losers.

So the angry losers are rallying to politicians promising to punish the evildoers. Of course they are. Governments always promise to protect us from existential dangers and what is more existential than losing your job to a foreigner?

Yes, but what about the future? How can anyone expect Donald Trump to deliver on his promises of curbing immigration and teaching the Chinese a lesson? Good point. How can anyone expect Hillary Clinton to deliver on the fatuous promise of universal government health care and keeping all the Democratic victim groups onside? Everything the government touches turns to dysfunction, because government is force, and force is useful only for breaking things.

The truth is that we only advance by trying stuff, and most innovation is a mistake. So we bumble along from mistake to mistake, and turn around to find that, after 200 years of mistakes, we have increased per capita income by 30 times! And there has never been anything like it, ever.

We all wish confusion on our enemies, to teach them a lesson, and so we demand that it is Time for a Change. But the way to the future is by finding a useful way to serve our fellow humans, and not to demand our pound of flesh up front.

In the real world, humans demand to get their pound of flesh, their government check, up until the moment that the government runs out of money. Governments know this, so they do anything rather than disappoint their followers with "cuts" or "austerity." Until it is too late, Venezuela.

It is easy to say: Don't rely on government, but the truth is that the government takes 35 percent of everything we produce, so we have to take the government's dime and go along to get along. When the crash comes, of course, it will be minorities and women hardest hit, although in the Crash of 2008 it was probably minorities and white working class men hardest hit. Those folks are hardest hit because they have no option than to play the government's game. It is only people up the food chain that can afford to save for a rainy day against the government running out of money.

Meanwhile, I'm angry, I blame President Obama and politically correct liberals, and I think it is Time for a Change.

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