Friday, April 10, 2009

My Daughter and Economic Theory

Every time my daughter calls I expect it's going to cost me some money. For years I never said no to anything she requested. I told her though that when she calls me she should get to the money part first and skip the niceties . I also told her never to use the word "loan" when discussing our financial arrangements.

Some of my friends thought that I was a pushover, that I should cut her off. I didn't think so then, and I don't think so now. I believe that you should help your kids as much as you can. I don't believe you spoil your children by giving them too much. It's more complicated. I don't think that having no money makes you value money more. I also don't think that giving people things for free causes them to be less motivated to work.

I don't think that work is necessarily a valuable or productive way to spend your time. Matter of fact, God punished Adam in the Garden of Eden by requiring him to give up his life of leisure and work for his sustenance. So work, from a biblical point of view, is a punishment It's not a great thing, though, no matter how you look at it, especially if you don't like your job. An important question to ask yourself is "What would I be doing if I didn't have to work?" The whole concept of the "work ethic" and the nobility of putting in an honest days work are, in my opinion, part of the brainwashing that have been promoted so that we will work whether we want to or not.

I am noticing lately that there has been a lot of talk on TV, radio, and internet about the relative merits of capitalism vs. socialism. Capitalism refers to a system in which the means of production are controlled by individuals with the goal being profit. Socialism refers to a system where a group or government controls the means of production and profits are shared or given to the people for their benefit.

It seems to me that in our world today, there are no pure capitalist or socialist countries. The distinction between these two economic theories have become blurred. They probably were never, in their purest form, realistic ways to run a society. In order to determine how our financial system can function in the best way, we need to by-pass outdated labels and look more deeply into what is most practical and will create the best possible world.

Those who are motivated to work to make more or get more should absolutely be allowed to do so. We should encourage everyone who wants to have their own business and earn a profit to do so. But everyone in our society should have, without working, a house fully furnished with all appliances including TV, computer, food , clothing, health care, and a vehicle to get around. If everyone in the world could be given these basics a lot of our problems would be over.

This is not an unrealistic goal. A few advances in robotic technology and discoveries of new sources of energy can combine to enable us to produce all the stuff we need for these basics without much manpower. Everyone then would have the opportunity to use their time in ways that would make them happy. Isn't this what we are all striving for? This would not be socialism. It doesn't matter what you call it anyway. This will happen, if we survive as a species, at some point in the twenty-first century. Then, our biggest problem will be to determine how should we spend our time. I see nothing wrong with this.

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