Think Localization, Not Nationalization

The main arguments against capitalism, that I’ve heard, include that it’s an unfair system primarily about greed and taking advantage of your fellow man. Arguments for government intervention and social planning can sound attractive. “Free” education, “free” health care; as the laundry list of “free” items stack up, it sometimes sounds too good to pass up.

The primary problems that I see with government intervention and central planning on all levels is that it assumes that those select few individuals know what’s best for the people, the economy, etc. Capitalism is the only system that “admits”, so to speak, that there is room for improvement outside the control of the government and central planners. Human nature to increase efficiency, get lower prices, and create sustainable living styles cannot be outdone by an interventionist government system.

What we’re going to realize is that a nationalized, subsidized, and fiat money economy is not sustainable. We’ve experienced and tinkered with it for nearly a century, and while the short-term results haven’t been too bad, it simply cannot last. With an inflationary monetary system like we’ve had since 1971, saving is discouraged because it makes no sense to hold dollars when they’re losing value every month. This is the largest fundamental problem with our economy today. It seems that we always have to be spending, that is at the heart of the bailouts and stimulus packages over the past year. Never has it been suggested that people save money and make their own decisions with their money. Whether it be banks or auto businesses, the U.S. has lost the core capitalist principle of individual responsibility and instead has gone the route of letting no one fail.

I’ve heard many times that we’ve had an economy of greed over the past several years. In many ways this is correct, but blaming it on capitalism is not. I believe that our paper money system controlled by the Federal Reserve has encouraged more greed than anything else. When you have a deceitful central bank with an unsound currency, I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of that not stimulating greed. Central banks do not hold the citizens’ interest, that is the first thing to remember. With the Fed, we have a central bank who doesn’t even give out the names of the many banks it has loaned trillions of dollars to in a matter of months. With these special, unbalanced interests, it will not impact the economy in a good way. Couple this with a paper money currency enforced by the government which leads to higher prices and a stretched middle class, and you’ve got a recipe for greed and reckless spending to take off. I am not saying that the Fed is the only entity or factor to blame, but merely that it has contributed more than anything else to this unbalanced and unfair economy.

When the greed argument is used to blame capitalism, this often is aimed at “lack of regulation” on Wall Street. With the amount of bickering about too little regulation, you’d think we had a system of anarchy ten years ago. People forget about Enron and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that came of that scandal. People forget that The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established in 1934 to prevent corporate abuse on reporting information. Laws and regulations have stacked up for 70+ years, yet bad and stupid things still happen in the world of business. Only now, when something goes wrong, the whole country accepts more regulations and the belief that more money poured into government intervention will suddenly make everything better.

Instead of shareholders being responsible for the business and its accounting practices, the SEC stepped in and essentially led people to believe that it has everything under control. It discourages investors from performing their own research and due diligence. Rather than the SEC, FDIC, and lord knows what other regulatory agencies try to take the place of personal research and responsibility, the destiny of a business must lie with the shareholders and consumers. As we can see from the past hundred years or so, when the government tries to take the place of the invisible hand of supply and demand, it does not solve the problems. It’s foolish to think that the government and central planners can perform a task in a more efficient, smart, and sustainable manner than the individuals of this country.

As the federal government and Federal Reserve have pulled in more responsibility for themselves, taking it from the people, we have embarked on the road to nationalization, big business, and big government. We’ve tried our hand at nationalized education, which has been a horrendous excuse for a public program. Ever since the 1970s the federal government has gotten much more involved with the health care industry and put more control into the drug companies, taking away from the pivotal patient/doctor relationship. In a broader sense, we are quickly moving toward nationalizing industries, both with government and through the government’s favoring of larger corporations.

What I see this as is an attack on localization. I find it silly to believe that we can solve our problems by putting them up on a larger scale, by “modernizing” industries which has always led to the destruction of smaller businesses at the hands of government intervention, and many other ways through government involvement. By discouraging local and community involvement, we have lost the key to what makes an economy great. Strong growth doesn’t mean a thing on its own in the short-term. Rather, it is strong, sustainable, honest growth that capitalism aims to create. I think the easiest, most efficient, and most sustainable way to achieve this is through local economies and community involvement. Whether it be with politics, economics, or business, it is the personal interaction that makes a strong system.

When we nearly force businesses and politics to be done at a national level, it tears away the personal touch that is so essential to a prosperous society. Individual responsibility is much more easily accomplished through a local economy, rather than through a government and corporate-controlled national economy, which is increasingly evident what we have in place today. With politics, it is much simpler and beneficial to bring about change on a local or state level than on the national scale. I think the same goes for a business and economy too. With a strong, involved community, next to nothing is impossible.

The Founding Fathers shared this ideal as they were writing the Constitution and envisioning America. They made it very clear in the Bill of Rights with the 10th Amendment; that issues not given to the federal government or prohibited to the states were to be put in the power of the states or the people:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The federal government was not created to solve every social, economic, and even political problem. The federal government was initially created to be as little involved as possible compared to the states, but today the opposite seems to be true. Rather than give more power to the people and states to make their own decisions and take their own responsibility, that power has been given, like never before, to the federal government. In other words, localization is near being destroyed due to nationalization and a huge federal government overstepping its bounds.

The sooner we realize that individuals, local communities, and states can solve their own problems far better than the federal government, the sooner we will be on the road to recovery, and a prosperous, sustainable economy and society.

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