August 23, 2012

Loss of Worthwhile Imperatives to Unintended Socialismization

Words are important, and words can get bartardized; words can tip us from one design framework of aiming sensible objectives into another, and one cannot sell an airplane ticket for a journey for which the traveller also seeks the thrill of driving; the wrong choice of vehicle can sum to naught the whole journey, could even land us somewhere we did not even intend to go! “Fairness” and “Justice” are conjuring “socialist”, “equal outcome” imagery and could damage the imperatives of “Open, Accessible Opportunity” and “Affordable gear-up to It”. Changing structures & incentives might be more successful than fighting individuals and groups, and 'Socialismization' could prompt the dumping of even the most sensible and undisputed imperatives, like throwing away the bread with the fungus.


For a productive, robust socio-economy, efficiency and sensible outcomes are important. A person wants to be able to earn what he keeps and keep what he earns, whether s/he operates as an individual or family. At the same time, the individual can also be explained the need to do his fair-share to maintain the very structure in which s/he achieves and keeps. That calls for, for instance, fair, equitable taxation: there can be arguments whether the tax contributions be proportional or be they mildly progressive, but it’s difficult to buy regressive taxation. Furthermore, taxation levels ought to be generally mild (read: low rates) else the motivation to produce and achieve takes a beating. Also see: Dimensions of Fair Taxation

Showering too much welfare is also a problem for it dulls the need to be individually responsible and enterprising and leads to the bad outcome of becoming “equally poor” rather than “unequally prosperous”. The latter is a much better outcome, actually desirable, than the former.


An anarcho-Capitalist, truly freemarket economy does not have objectives. The expectation therein is that people’s choices in the free market will decide and achieve what society desires. In fact, what exists and endures is what society must have wanted in the first place.

An anarcho-Capitalist society may or may not be functional, hard to conjecture one way or the other. The important thing is that currently it does not exists nor are there sufficient people asking for it. The aggregate free choice of people is not calling it forth.

So, there can be Societal Objectives. For example, that people be able to affordably access health, nutrition, and aspiration tools like education. That one’s life and property be protected from actions of other people and the State itself.

Design Umbrella & Landed Design

The objectives above, by themselves, do not impose one design over another. They do not, by themselves, carry whether there be Government services to deliver some of these..or none of these. The design choice is dictated by the direction the populace finds acceptable. A society could choose an overarching umbrella of Capitalism providing freedom and feasibility to achieve for one and all, but shy away from receiving achievement for free. An unbridled freemarket Capitalism demands Government inaction no matter what, yet an actual “Capitalist” society, its strong psyche in favor of Business entities notwithstanding, could be quite at home with Antitrust Laws and breakup of Too Big for Comfort corporations.

The right word for a Capitalist societal intention described above would be “Private Open Opportunity & Achievement” society. Herein, to keep opportunity and competition open, the Government can act in ways that are not dogmatically capitalist, including running free public schools. But this might not override the staunch distaste and distrust for slipping into the design choice of Socialism.

Structure & Incentives

If some market participants entrench themselves in a way that brings forth bizarre outcomes, that need to be slashed, the cause of the outcome structured or nuanced out. As an example, I was hit by a bill of more than $1,000 for waiting my turn at a medical facility’s ER for 2 hrs, the doctor’s bill comes separate! This is plain ridiculous and there is no doubt that Insurance Companies and Medical Establishments have manipulated the prices and access mechanism to shift the equilibrium of demand and prices that yields them better money for lower effort (seeing fewer patients) than what a normal freemarket would yield. In a practical Capitalist umbrella, it is possible for the Government to act on such malfunctions and undesirable outcomes, just like Antitrust. The options for the nature of intervention, or control (such as disintermediation through legislation), or participation of the Government in the domain of malfunction can be several. Also see: Thought for Medicine

Constraints & Room for Action

A “Private Open Opportunity & Achievement” society is clear as a rock that it does not want the Government to achieve for an individual. Yet it will likely want Government to ensure that the Opportunities and Achievement are open to all. That, having once achieved, the achiever does not rest on his laurels through his earning life such that his wealth multiplies passively on an autopilot, certainly not by means of a systemic creation of barriers of entry for challengers. Rather, the system even support the losers of the last battle to be able to retrain, provided they have the interest, and challenge the winner back. This is not a moral imperative, at least not merely so. It is also a practical imperative, for else the Achievement Society will be maintaining a man in his one call wonder achievement, and in effectively ~shielding him from challengers, suffer the same degradation and plummet of productive steam as socialism, albeit it will be a plummet just one step better.

Government Budget and ability to spend is a constraint as well. If college has become ridiculously priced, perhaps they need to be allowed to crumble by themselves by never guaranteeing student loans. This forces the banks to question the price (and value) of the degree for which loan is sought. Same, if a student for whom the degree did not work out is structurally enabled to have it wiped out in a bankruptcy.

The Government might be a currency sovereign, and money mere paper for it that it theoretically can print as much of as it needs to, but MMT discourse forgets that it needs to never become mere paper to the players in the economy that they can simply ask from the Gov. See: A Qualified Critique of Popular MMT Soundbites


Erroneous labeling of objectives can lead to their wrong perceptions, derailment, or march in the wrong direction. In economic terms, it might be better to march to “Open Opportunity” and “Open Competitiveness” and "Widespread Motivation" (to play, replay, and succeed), than to “Justice” and “Fairness” that could degrade to protectionism and overly State-nannyism. In economic policy discourse, the latter terms have gotten corrupted to have Socialismic connotations and can even actually tip a person not originally intending Socialism headlong into it as rhetorical duels ensue. Fewer people will join an invitation into a socialist sounding vision if the overwhelming ethic is one of individual achievement. Individual achievement does not favor entrenchment or upwards redistribution or other ways of success-maintenance by Gov or Top-Down ‘shamanigan’ employment, but it will likely choose a status-quo with such elements (as opposed to lending solid support to weeding them out) when faced with a, real or perceived, onslaught of “let us all be rather equally poor” socialism.

There can be a pursuable objective of having wider, willing buy-ins to change proposals. For instance, if entitlements are planned-in, or otherwise projected, to dilute or crumble for a given demographic (Under 55, Under 45, as the case may be in the changes about to be implemented), the buy-in from the demographic could be induced by weaving-in the lowering of their entitlement taxes right now. The tax reduction for the demographic need not be in the same proportion as the cuts or dilution they will face when they receive benefits, but the sugarcoat does make the inevitable bitter pill buyable. Call it fairness, compassion, or Buy-in, normally it makes no difference. Yet it does to a population firm on not slipping into a design that is not favored by it, one that is illogical and not based in the reality of human motivation.

Replacing or cobbling Structural mal-designs and ill-structured incentives in the game might be much better geared to succeed than fighting or dissing malevolent and noxious players of the game: individuals or organizations personified. If the game is appropriately restructured, players will deliver the goods, and it could even yield a reworked player set.

It is a challenging walk of thought, words and actions – to keep the direction right - that the political leadership intending on stepping a socio-economy to the next level has the o(w)nus of executing. Some of it could be like putting popping corn on the stove and turning on the heat (of policy, structures, incentives) and see them pop only a little later.

EPILOGUE: Time to Make Amends Is Before the Next Boom

Significant changes are normally not possible when Party is in full bloom.

The time to make changes to the structure and incentives, and beef the competition formation infrastructure, is when the previous party fizzled and the new one hasn't started yet, or is still in infancy. Nobody can stop a football match after it has started and engrossed the players, betters ("investors"), sponsors and spectators.

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