Thursday, March 4, 2021
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A Time to Lead: Here’s a Quick Blueprint Forward

by Josh Chernila The election of Donald Trump is the end of what we know as America and everything that made the 20th century America's...

More Hidden Truths About Modern “Capitalism”

This is the promised follow-up to the earlier article Hidden Truths About Modern Capitalism, based on Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang's easy-read book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism.

To refresh your memory, these two hidden truths, or "things," were explained previously:

Thing 1:  There is no such thing as a free market. The truth is, so-called free markets, the foundation of Freidman economics, simply do not and cannot exist in the real world. They are a fantasy, and pretending you can create such markets by formal de-regulation only screws it up for everybody.

Thing 5: Assume the worst about people and you get the worst.The truth is, no society, much less any economic activity, can survive and work efficiently if everyone really operates on the rational basis of grabbing their own short-term personal profit by any means possible, because the system would completely collapse under the weight of cheating, catching cheaters, and punishing them. No trust, no market.

The Famine Next Time

is the title of this New York Times op ed by Samuel Loewenberg.   I think it should be mandatory reading.  The Horn of Africa is facing massive famine.   Loewenberg writes, appropriately I would say,
American attention to the hunger crisis has focused on the dire conditions of Somalis, but they account for just about a third of the 13 million people affected. According to the United Nations, hunger afflicts 4.5 million people in Ethiopia and 3.75 million people in Kenya, which has about half of Ethiopia's population. An estimated half a million Kenyan children and pregnant or breast-feeding women suffer acute malnutrition.

He also writes

Unlike earthquakes or hurricanes, droughts and food price increases take time to develop, and the resulting hunger crises are forecast well in advance. From water harvesting to livestock support to cash assistance, there are a plethora of steps that could have significantly ameliorated the current crisis. Why weren't they taken?

There is more, much more, in his op ed, including why it makes more sense to send money than our excess food -  the latter loses half its value in transport, while the former allows local purchase which can help build up a sustainable food production system; to build roads -  transport of food stuff and broader markets for local agriculture.   We know that.  You can read what he has to say.

I want to use his column as a starting point for a further discussion.