Friday, March 16, 2012

For Those Who Favor the Republi-con 'Every Man For Himself' Governing Philosophy

UPDATE: "[T]he wealth of a country is most closely correlated with the degree to which the average person shares in the overall growth of its economy. . .

[I]ncentives matter . . . If national institutions give even their poorest and least educated citizens some shot at improving their own lives — through property rights, a reliable judicial system or access to markets — those citizens will do what it takes to make themselves and their country richer.

Read The New York Times, Why Some Countries Go Bust.

Before the modern era, life was nasty, brutish and short.

But you don't have to read history to see that. There are many countries you can visit today characterized by "social-Darwinist brutishness" where profound poverty exists next to fabulous wealth and the "economic system is geared to reward motivated and resourceful individuals with personal wealth" while others trade garbage.

Where do garbage traders feel lucky and "gain their sense of upward mobility by contrasting their lot with that of their less fortunate neighbors," 'miserable souls' who 'trap rats and frogs and fry them for dinner' or 'eat the scrub grass at the sewage lake’s edge'?

Where does the poverty of "[m]igrants fleeing a crisis-ridden agricultural sector cause an oversupply of cheap labor" such that a "boy whose hand is sliced off by a shredding machine turns, 'with his blood-spurting stump,' to assure his boss that he won’t report the accident"?

Where is this land that has the 'government economic and social policy' of an "insider network of patronage in which the powerful flourish""'to preserve and consolidate' their 'established privilege vis-à-vis those without privilege'"?

And where do 'maggots breed in the infected sores of the garbage scavengers and gangrene inches up fingers, calves swell into tree trunks, while fellow scavengers "'kept a running wager about which of the scavengers would be the next to die'"?

Where is this land of opportunity that "accrues to the already privileged in the age of globalization", this "hollowed-out democracy [of] mean-minded new capitalism", this utopia of laissez-faire free enterprise unburdened by government regulation or health care?

Closer than you think.

Read The New York Times, Fighting for Scraps.

How I Became a Pilot

From an email:

One of the questions from the career placement test given applicants for flight training and a military commission: Rearrange the letters P N E S I to spell out an important part of the human body that is more useful when erect!

Those who spell spine become doctors, the rest of us went to flight school.