Friday, February 17, 2012


From The Belmont Club post, "Pretend it's Working":
The Washington Post reports that North Korea’s new strategy for advancing socialism is to secretly let domestic capitalism support it. In that way socialism can pretend to succeed while capitalism can pretend to fail. “Recent defectors and economists who study North Korea describe an emergent underground capitalism in which ordinary people bring dollars, euros and Chinese yuan into the country and stockpile the currency or spend it at black markets.”
The money comes from cross-border trade with China or via remittances, payments from defectors sent back home using middlemen. Some security officials don’t crack down because they, too, need the money; some receive payoffs from traders that outweigh their own salaries, defectors say.

That would make North Korea’s dependence on capitalism complete. South Korea and the United States have long been its sources of food aid. Socialism has literally been fed by capitalism. Now even its security officials are being paid from the polluted source of profit.

Nothing is new. The definition of an revolutionary socialist has always been someone whose food, shelter and clothing is paid for by the taxes levied on those who practice capitalism. But there is nothing hypocritical in that. The great thing about socialism that nothing has to resemble reality.

Meanwhile, Al Gore, the environmental huckster extraordinaire, is reportedly taking aim at "unsustainable" capitalism:
"While we believe that capitalism is fundamentally superior to any other system for organising economic activity, it is also clear that some of the ways in which it is now practised do not incorporate sufficient regard for its impact on people, society and the planet," Gore said.

At a briefing ahead of Thursday's launch, David Blood said capitalism has been blighted with short-termism and an obsession with instant investment results, which had ramped up market volatility, widened the gap between rich and poor and deflected attention from the deepening climate crisis.

You've got to admit that it's awfully nice and sporting of Gore to accept that "capitalism is fundamentally superior to any other system for organising economic activity".

I assume that the problem as he sees it is that HE would be even more superior than capitalism insofar as organizing economic activity and managing the lives of others; and so HE should be driving the engine of production instead of the neutral marketplace.

When you think about it, Al Gore's position is not very much different from the North Korean one of pretending that what they are doing is working and is far superior to capitalism. Indeed, Al Gore and others like him who know so much better than the market, might just as well be another Kim Jong.

People like him ALWAYS believe they "know" better than reality. Oh, they are willing to let a little reality in so that their little pretense is bolstered (as well as their ego); and the benefit of doing so is that they can then blame capitalism for any problems that might come up, rather than themselves--or their ideas or their interference in the market.

The goal of these despots is not to augment reality, but to try and circumvent it so as to optimize their own little egos; thus, any resemblance of what they do to reality is purely coincidental.

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