My Other Blog
Blog Schedule
Past Blog Posts
Various &
a Sundry Blogs
My Stuff
On The Web
This Month's Scripture Verse:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil -- I Timothy 6:9-10a



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For September 16, 2014

Sept 8

To R. Scott Clark and his quote by a Yale Freshman student who talked about Yale becoming uncomfortable with controversial conservative speakers. This appeared in Heidelblog.

This is a two-way street here. To criticize capitalism or question patriotism makes many conservatives, especially in church leaderships, very uncomfortable as well. After all, we can't afford to offend those members who are politically conservative. This discomfort from dissent spurs the use of pejoratives and that is by both sides. So when talking about this discomfort, nobody can afford to imitate the Pharisee in the parable of the two men praying.


Sept 9

To Michael Kruger and his blogpost on why Christians who call certain behaviors sin, especially homosexual actions, are called haters. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

There is a problem with using the 1st century Church as a grounds for why we are called haters today. That problem is that the 1st century Church had no track record in controlling society where the Church today does. And with regard to how homosexuals have been treated in the past because of Church's influence on society and its laws, there is legitimate reasons to accuse some Christians of hating gays and others. Those reasons are seen in the laws Christians supported which marginalized gays in society.

In addition, because too many Conservative Christians have so strongly associated calling homosexuality sin with supporting laws that marginalize homosexuals, such as laws that would prohibit same-sex marriage in society or Jim Crow type laws allowing Christians to deny legitimate business services to gays, calling homosexuality sin is now understandably perceived as being a hateful act.

We will get nowhere in evangelism if we attribute people's rejection of our message solely to them without considering whether we have any faults.


Sept 10

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on why Millennials have trouble trusting others. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Saying that the economic comes into play so late assumes that the economic dimension has a low priority in society. That presupposition should be checked at the door in a Capitalist society especially when the current form of Capitalism is neoliberalism and its revered teachers are people like Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman.

Rather, shouldn't we consider the inability to trust demonstrated by Millennials to be evidence supporting what Marx said about the Bourgeoisie of his day and perhaps Capitalism for our day:

It [the Bourgeoisie] has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self- interest, than callous “cash payment”.


To R. Scott Clark and his short video clip on 9-11 and ISIS. This appeared on the Heidelblog.

Seems like that only things some want us to remember is what is done to us. What is not forgotten because most of it was never known is what we did to others prior to 9-11.


Sept 16

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on linking poverty with the decline in marriage. This appeared in the Acton blog

We are looking at marriage as the only factor having a correlation with poverty? We are not going to look at low wages, the drop in union membership, technological unemployment, and the outsourcing of jobs  overseas with poverty?  

We should also note  that correlations do not imply cause and effect--something that most educated  people know. So who is to say whether poverty causes a decline in marriage, or marriage causes a decline in poverty, or both.

With many corporations relying on gov't assistance programs to subsidize their payrolls, it seems that some conservatives are determined to avoid linking corporate practices with poverty and this is despite their eagerness to cite crony capitalism as a threat to our system. Of course the main culprit they identify  in crony capitalism is gov't. So at least these conservatives are consistent.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how ending slavery made America richer. This appeared on the Acton blog.

It is not humorously funny that one should talk about the eradication of slavery as helping the economy without mentioning the other forms of worker abuse that took slavery's place. Those other forms included prison labor bolstered by Jim Crow laws and the horrible abuse of immigrant labor, such as those building the railroads, or those who were abused while working in factories. In fact, labor history in the US, especially after the Civil War, is replete with state violence against labor for the purposes of supporting businesses' control of labor.

Yes, ending slavery was human and moral necessity regardless of any possible economic sacrifice. But ending slavery did not end the exploitation of labor.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are Today's Leaders The Solution Or The Problem

Our country has a new enemy now: ISIS. Certainly this group is on friendly terms with evil as it passionately embraces brutality. And we are being told that this group poses an immediate threat to our country and thus what is required from our elected officials is leadership.

But the dangers posed by ISIS is not the only situation that has us looking for leadership from our elected officials. We have internal problems that cause us to to do the same. And we have called our own nation the leader of the free world. And such a leader needs its own leader. So when we go to elect a new President in 2016, we will be seeking a new leader, a leader's leader.

Now the opposite of the above leadership mentality was the working ethic of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). That ethic was a paradox resulting from putting in conjunction the statement, 'we are all leaders,' with statement, 'we have no leaders.' And though OWS was not as pure in working this paradox as it claimed, it provided significant steps in a different direction. The opposite of relying on leaders is leading oneself or being self-governed. And this self-leadership isn't a call to a radical libertarianism; rather, it is a call to group self-governance.

So the greatest question each nation in the world faces today is: Will we continue with the status quo of relying on leaders who are chosen based on the solutions they propose and the promises they pledge to keep, or will we discontinue our laissez-faire relationship with government--a relationship exhibited in the voting ethic of trying to elect a government we can ignore until the next election-- by looking to lead ourselves.

Of course the next question becomes, how can we lead ourselves while voting for elected officials? To become self-governed, wouldn't we have to completely eliminate our representative form of government? This blog will answer the latter question later. First we need to take a look at the relationship between being free and having leaders.

It's odd that not many Americans have questioned America's claim to be the leader of the Free World. Not many of us have asked the two important questions that would cause us to examine this rather self-flattering claim we make. The two question not being asked are:

  1. How can those who are under the leadership of someone else be free?
  2. Why do those who are free need to be led?
See, we Americans don't feel infringed on by America's "leadership" in the world. That is because we are the ones in charge--or to be more precise, the government we elect is the group giving the orders. But the question here becomes: How do the people from the different countries in the "Free World" perceive our leadership. For if they feel infringed on or if they have become passive and wait for orders to follow, they are no longer free. And if America attempts to use coercion to get other countries to fall in line, then those other countries that submit are not free

The second question basically infers the same concept but from a different perspective. If I, or whatever group I am in, am free, then why do I need a leader telling me what to do? We are told that if we follow orders, we have a better chance at becoming prosperous and being secure. So we should note here that prosperity and security are the carrots being dangled for why I or my group should follow the dictates of a leader. But still how can I be free if I need to be led?

By now, we should see that there is a certain inconsistency with being led and being free. Being led means I follow someone else's dictates. But if I am following someone else's dictates, how can I be free? Perhaps we should admit to ourselves here that, all too often, we give up self-governance for the promise of acquiring and keeping a greater prosperity. To put all of this in Biblical terms, we are choosing the love of money as our first love and will be willing to ride in on the coattails of our leaders regardless of the methods they use to provide prosperity.

But what about our representative form of government? Might we ask whether we can be free and self-governing while electing representatives who will make decisions in our place? We could ask that but we are not allowed to. But those who wish to be self-governed  should take a different approach to voting than what is traditionally taken by those loyal to the Two-Party system. 

How should our approach to voting be different? Instead of voting for those who believe that part of being a leader is pretending to know how to solve our problems and thus make promises, we should vote for those candidates whose highest priority and greatest attribute is to listen to us. And by listening to us, I don't mean that they will merely spend time listening to our problems. Rather, we should vote for the candidates who take our suggestions for solving problems and work to implement them. That is we should vote for those candidates who desire to find out what we think should be done. So instead of voting for the best or strongest authoritarian commander, we should be voting for the best listener who is skilled at implementing what we tell him/her to do. As a result, our political campaigns should run all year round and consist of our elected officials seeking our views rather than trying to impress us with the "strength" of their convictions and "wisdom" of their proposals. For should we note that the "strength" and "wisdom"  associated with any candidate is partly due to marketing and is often a manufactured mirage to win elections.

And outside the border of our country, those countries that follow the leadership of a single country are subject to the same fate as the people who allow a national leader to emerge and tell them what to do. Instead, decisions as to how to respond to an international crisis should be made jointly and by consensus rather than by the dictates of a single person or even nation.

Thus, we return to the need for leadership in our new crisis. We are being threatened by ISIS. So how should our elected officials respond? The immediate call is for our officials, our President in particular, to reassure us by offering "strong" leadership. The stronger the leadership, the more secure we can feel in the face of danger. But what is strong leadership other than mastery of the imperative? And if our President is master of the imperative, how can any person or country supporting him be considered free? 

And so now we return to the original comparison made in this blogpost. We can choose to continue with the status quo and look to vote for the next leader who pretends to have a handle on all domestic and foreign problems but who is destined to disappoint us, or we can adopt the philosophy of, though not the implementation adopted by, Occupy Wall Street. Remember that the status quo is leader oriented where we are told to hitch our wagon to the star who will promises to lead the way. The Occupy Wall Street approach, on the other hand, calls on us to participate more and more so that eventually we are leading ourselves, we are exercising self-governance. The former requires little attention and participation on our part while the latter demands great attention but gives us control.

The current disapproval rates of government tell us that neither major political party can deliver the leaders who can actually get the job done though they always seem to be able to rob us of the ability to govern ourselves. The result is that we either give up on voting or be continually fooled into voting for the next set of inept leaders. So isn't it time that we change how we select our elected officials? Isn't it time that we demand that our political candidates spend more time listening to us than we spend listening to them?

Monday, September 15, 2014

ONIM For September 15, 2014

Christian News

World News

Pick(s) Of The Litter

Friday, August 29, 2014

Reviewing The Cultural Case For Capitalism Part 9 Of 12

In this week's episode of this blog's review of Jonathan Witt's A Cultural Case For Capitalism, we actually hit an agreement. But one has to wade through some stuff before getting there. So following the work before pleasure ethic, we will hit the disagreements first.

Witt starts this episode with an error by saying:
Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, details how the growth of government-corporate cronyism during the past 120 or so years has been largely a phenomenon of the socialist left.

The error is the association being made between corporations aided by government and socialism. Of course he is citing Goldberg here, but repeating an error is still an error. The error here is the conservative insistence that big government = socialism. Thus, regardless of the driving force behind any form of big government, conservatives, such as Goldberg and Witt, conflate all big government under the label of socialism. 

Such a mix is often used to link Nazism and Fascism with the Socialism of the Soviet Union. But just as we should note that many Socialists never saw the old Soviet Union as being socialist because its workers lost control to Lenin's vanguard, we should realize that there was another key distinction between Nazism and Fascism on one hand, and Socialism and Communism on the other. The former has business and industrial leaders as a driving force if not its primary support while the latter did not. Like Nazism and Fascism, the Socialism and Communism of the Soviet Union had elite centered rule. The difference was that, despite not representing the workers, it was not supported by business. And if you go to Marx, you will see that he emphasized what he called the proletariate dictatorship. Such a dictatorship, which is actually a partial democracy, was not in control over the Soviet Union. These details are omitted by many conservatives in order to associate both Nazism and Fascism with Socialism and Communism.

So if we brush aside the misnomer,  we get an idea of what Witt has been saying for the past few episodes: using government to gain a competitive advantage is bad while, from his praise for the American Tobacco Company and his neglecting to mention its violation of antitrust laws and the its use of a secret deal with another business to dominate the market (click here to see the previous review), businesses using other businesses to gain a competitive advantage is kosher.

Certainly, the use of government by a business to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses that are under the jurisdiction of the same government is unfair. But governments enabling domestic businesses to grow through protectionism is a long established practice that has served well the economies of many countries. Its abuses in Mercantilism were objected to by Adam Smith. But government does have the right to protect the businesses of its citizens from outside threats. Such protection allows varied domestic economic sectors to grow enabling economic diversification and eventual self-sufficiency. And this is being mentioned because this is what Witt proceeds to criticize part of big government socialism. We might also add that the legitimate use of protectionism is counted as heresy by those advocating the new "comparative advantage" in which what a country can produce is determined solely by how its products best serve the outside world, that is the Global Free Market. Such makes the smaller economies more dependent on the larger economies and it primarily benefits the elite investor class.

Witt goes on to say how our government has, through "regulations and market manipulations," helped corporate agriculture at the expense of family farms. He rightly calls this relationship between government and corporate agriculture, "Crony Capitalism," and rightly protests it--thus our agreement. But we should note the following:

  1. With the competitive nature of an unadulterated Free Market, the survival of any family farm was never guaranteed
  2. That his blaming of the government and its actions for the failure of the family farm oversimplifies the situation
  3. He never considers that crony Crony Capitalism could be a natural outgrowth of the Free Market.
We should note regarding the last point, that what's important to the Free Market as an institution may not be what's important to the Free Market's participants. For example, competition is important to a functioning Free Market so that it can serve the needs and wants of both businesses and consumers. Thus, when any business becomes too big so that competition is significantly reduced, regardless of whether the business relied on government help in growing, that business is a threat to the Free Market as an institution. 

But note what is important to the participants of the Free Market. Surely competition is their source of energy, but the sole concern of any business in the Free Market is self-interest and its sole ethic is maximizing profits. So how does the combination of self-interest and maximizing profit not try to eliminate competition? And as we mentioned before, this doing away with competition can be accomplished with or without the help of government. So while Jonathan Witt somewhat indicates that the family farm, domestic and foreign, is a rival of corporate agriculture, he fails to see that businesses can eradicate their competition even without without the help of government as seen in the history of the American Tobacco Company (again, click here to see the review of part 8 of this series).

Rather than saying that Jonathan Witt's Free Market is not being shot by a gun it didn't see, we should say that the Free Market is shooting itself with its own gun as Witt fails to see that the gun has no safety. Witt's scapegoating of big government's intrusion into the Free Market is not only stated so that we will object to all government interventions into the economy, it is described in a way so that we become unaware of the dangers posed by the Free Market itself. So while Witt claims that government's interference with private property was the problem, the real culprit was a natural part of the Free Market: self-interest and the maximization of profits.

In the end, Witt unconsciously supports that which creates what he fears and abhors: Crony Capitalism. By declaring that big government is the problem, he conflates functioning democracies with elite centered rule. Here, he implies that both should have the same limitations because it is only the size of government that matters. But by fleeing democracy, he runs into the waiting arms of elite centered rule private sector style. And it is this rule that looks to eliminate competition in the Free Market regardless of what government does. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For August 27, 2014

Aug 15

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost and blogcast on grace and race including  his interview with Rev Leon Brown. This appeared on Heidelblog.

Our problem with race is an instance of a more general problem: tribalism. Though it is natural for us to divide into groups and have an affinity for each group, when loyalty to that group trumps our commitment to principles and morals so that what is right and wrong depends on who does what to whom, we have tribalism. And we have this problem with a number of different kinds of groups including, race, economic class, religion, political ideology, theology, and national identity.

And though the Church has the answer in the Gospel, it often seems that those outside the Church are living that answer while we get mired in tribalism.

One more problem here is that those of us who are White need to reach out knowing that we will not understand what Blacks have gone through because such understanding requires that we share their experiences ourselves. But we can still reach out by listening in order to learn, by being sympathetic, and by showing solidarity with those from different groups. We need to show solidarity with those from different races, economic classes, religions, political ideologies, theologies, different nations, and whatever else divides us.


Aug 26

To Joe Carter and his blogpost comparing Great Britain's economy to that of  the 50 states. This appeared in the acton blog

There are a number of problems here. First, if you want to criticize Great Britain's economy, realize that starting with Thatcher's regime, there was a neoliberal drive to privatize many of what was public services. In addition, there was an attack on some unions during that time. So what is it that we are singling out when criticizing England's economy when both economies still pursue neoliberlism?

But we also want to note that single variable evaluations do little to tell the whole story. For example, we can compare the purchasing power as done above. However, if we don't factor in state provided services, such as healthcare and other safety nets, then how do graphs like the one above give an adequate enough picture of wealth? This is especially true regarding healthcare because healthcare costs here are one of the most common causes for personal bankruptcy. How many people from the UK suffer from healthcare related bankruptcy?

We might also want to ask what similarities exist in the countries being compared. The above point about the UK adopting neoliberal capitalism is such and example of a commonality between the two. 

We might also want to ask what does comparing a nation that was once a mighty empire to the states prove? Does it prove that Britain should resort back to being an empire?

So we might ask what other information being excluded in order to try to prove the point above. Of course that point is that as long as we take care of the richest among us, the rest of us will do well.


To Anthony Bradley and his blogpost on when the Church was the center of society and took care of the poor. This appeared in the acton blog.

Are we comparing apples to oranges here? After all, when the church met needs during the 1600s, wasn't there a smaller population who were more dispersed with an agrarian lifestyle and economics? How does that compare to now? 

In addition, how well did the Church meet the needs of the poor especially of those who lived in urban areas? What were lives of the poor like right before FDR's programs? Did his programs help people who were previously living in poverty?

And how will the Church react to the nonChristian poor whose lifestyles go contrary to the Scriptures?

Finally, how interested are today's churches in meeting all of the necessary needs for all of the poor?

That we would want the Church to be more involved with poor is commendable. But to use that as an attack on government so that government can forget representing the poor because the Church is taking care of them seems to forget that our government should be a government of all of the people. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two Unrelated Events That Show What We Miss

While this blog was taking a break, two events occurred which can tell us what seems to forever go over our heads. The first event was the suicide of Robin Williams. While most heralded Williams talents and comedic genius, his real contributions were left unsaid. For while getting too caught up in how he performed, and he went beyond performing by giving of himself personally, we missed who he was as a person. He was a giver, he was empathetic, and he was compassionate. And he exceeded many Christians in what should be considered these Christian qualities because he had an outward-directedness to his life. But most of all, he was sensitive. We could see that in the roles he played and how he played them.

Perhaps if we watched his movies and learned the sensitivities his movie characters displayed from films like Dead Poets' Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, and Good Morning Vietnam  we could grow as people. His roles in those movies taught us things about what it means to be human. And how he played those roles showed that these sensitivities were a vital part of who he was for both good and bad. Becoming more human is what we will miss if we only focus on his tremendous talents. For it is about being human that Williams has much to teach us.

Of course, some of my fellow Christians will protest this. They will say that he was not a believer in Christ, which is probably true, and that much of his material went against the Scriptures, which is somewhat true. And so they conclude that we have nothing to learn from him. But the Scriptures beg to differ with that kind of arrogance. Romans 2 tells the Jews then, and includes all of us who are religious now, that we can be easily shamed by the conscience-driven acts of unbelievers because of our own sins. God can use the goodness that most unbelievers have to remind us of how sinful we are especially when we get caught up in performing religion rather than practicing it. And we perform religion when we use it to exalt ourselves above others (see the parable of the two men praying and Paul on judging others).

The Scriptures provide a guide on how to filter the material that comes from people like Robin Williams. So rather than shunning what he has to say because we ourselves prefer to perform religion, we should use the Scriptures to discover what we can learn from people like Williams.

The other event that occurred was a community's reaction to the shooting of one of its own in Ferguson, Missouri. Those of us who have shredded Francis Schaeffer's warning  against seeking our own personal peace and prosperity will not only have the greatest difficultly in understanding the reaction of the people there, we will exhibit the greatest resistance to even learning about the people's protest. In fact, most, if not all, Whites in America will not be able to understand how the people in Ferguson feel. Why is this the case?

Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef uses topics like love and poverty to show us that understanding comes from experiencing, not studying. This is why he says that unless we fall in love, we can never understand it. He says something similar about poverty. The same applies to understanding lives of the people in Ferguson. The killing of Michael Brown was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  And regardless of the actual facts in the Michael Brown case, it is what the people of Ferguson have had to live through, along with the belief in Michael's innocence, that have many in Ferguson saying, "enough is enough."

Enough is enough of what? A spiraling increase in crime and racially targeted police stops make up part of the problem. So is the racial makeup of Ferguson's police force. In addition, we have a national problem where it has become to easy to perceive that Whites are favored by police while Blacks are automatically viewed as suspects. New York City's Stop And Frisk program lends much credence to this police discrimination against Blacks. And then we have had a number of shootings with impunity of Black kids by White police officers or even citizens. And there have been reports that some Blacks are framed for drug offenses they did not commit. When we add to that the fact that the economic recovery has bypassed almost all but the very rich, we get a sad, Picasso-like picture of life for people who live in areas like Ferguson.

Certainly justice must be done concerning the shooting of Michael Brown. But life will still go on in Ferguson after the investigations have been publicly released. And with that life are the problems that were a part of life in Ferguson before the shooting. And that is what we will be missing if we focus too much on the shooting of Michael Brown. This is not to minimize the shooting and the investigation. Shootings, like the one of Michael Brown, are a tragic part of the lives of many minorities in America. However, I am saying all of this to draw attention to the problems of regular life in communities like Ferguson as well. Perhaps, if we studied and learned about these kinds of problems in the communities near us, we wouldn't need public flareups or dramatic events to discover the problems that many of our fellow citizens live with on a daily basis and to react to them.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Reviewing The Cultural Case For Capitalism Part 8 Of 12

In this week's episode of Jonathan Witt's A Cultural Case For Capitalism, Witt wants to draw a sharp distinction between the Free Market and Crony Capitalism. In addition, he wants to tout the achievements of the global market that, is in large part, a result of Crony Capitalism. It's as if he wants it both ways.

Again, Witt's target is Wendell Berry because of Berry's criticisms of Capitalism. We should note that Witt does appreciate some of what Berry says. However, Witt believes that Berry's writings approaches "land idolatry," something we should keep in mind for later, and it is, as written above, that Witt believes Berry can no longer distinguish between "free economies" and Crony Capitalism. Crony Capitalism is where competitive advantages in business comes from a collusion between those in the private and public sectors. This is why Witt presents as an alternative "the American Experiment of broad economic freedoms and limited government." 

One problem with Witt's solution is that this American Experiment contained neither. We should note that many American based corporations were able to establish themselves because of government provided protectionism and maintain themselves or grow because of State Capitalism--which is where a significant part of the business comes from the state. Another problem with Witt's solution is that his support for "limited government" practically conflates democratic governments with elite centered governments by aiming to limit all of them without distinction. This not only limits the power democracy can have in society, it fails to eliminate elite centered rule because such rule stems from power and power is not limited to those who have authority. Power is equated with having the ability to make changes whether one has the governmental authority or not.

And in fact, Witt seems to be targeting democracy when speaking about limiting government. For when Witt rightly criticizes Crony Capitalism, he neglects to tell us that unfair advantages in the Free Market can be gained through secret deals between businesses and elites in the private sector. His example of the American Tobacco Company, having morphed into the Tobacco Trust, provides such a example of that happening. In Part 7 of A Cultural Case For Capitalism, Witt tells the story of the founder of the American Tobacco Company, James Buchanan Duke, and how he "aggressively expanded" the new technology of a cigarette rolling machine invented by James Bonsack. Hidden behind the phrase "aggressively expanded" is the fact that a secret deal between the two, which included diminishing royalties, gave Duke a price advantage over other companies which made it necessary for other companies to eventually join Duke's group to survive.  1 Eventually, his Tobacco Trust was found to be in violation of antitrust laws and was ordered to break up. 2

If anyone wants to claim that the government's use of antitrust laws in principle is an example of government overreach, he/she will have to argue with one of the economic heros of the modern Free Market and of those, like Witt, who write at the Acton blog, Milton Friedman. For it was Friedman who said that there are two threats to the Free Market: government and businesses. And he added that it is government's responsibility to the Free Market to prevent any business from gaining unfair advantages that would reduce competition.

So what we have here with Witt's parts 7 and 8 of A Cultural Case For Capitalism is a double standard where if businesses gain a competition destroying advantage through government favors, it is called Crony Capitalism. But if there is collusion between businesses to gain the same kind of advantage, it is used as a positive example of building a company. Again with the emphasis on limited government regardless of whether it is democratic, this points to Witt favoring elite centered rule with the real power resting with non-elected elites from the private sector. 

Now we must deal with Witt's endorsement of the global economy and large corporations. Here, Witt points to a one factor analysis--that the current economy has reduced abject poverty in the world. Witt does acknowledge corporate abuses in this but praises the result in a way that suggests that the ends justify the means. His one factor analysis also suggests that, like what he accuses Berry of, he has submitted to an idolatry--it is the love of money.

So here, we really need to ask critical questions about this victory which Witt so praises. We need to ask how much misery has actually been reduced by this global economy when some countries are seeing a reduction in the number of people in the middle class because more are approaching poverty and how much misery is being alleviated by the reduction Witt brags about. We might also ask about other costs such as damage to the environment, exploitive working conditions, and a loss of freedom along with a reduction in reliance on democratic procedures.

We might also want to look at the specifics of the numbers themselves. When I have seen these kind of claims, most of the reduction of those living in such poverty are from Asia. And while a substantial number of them come from India where free trade measures have moved tens of thousands of Indian farmers to commit suicide due to debt, another significant number of people being raised out of "extreme poverty" come from China. And the problems with using numbers from China are multiple. 

The first problem with using China is that, because of the global economy, China has suffered severe environment damage such as dramatic increases in air pollution. Second, because of this global economy, some workers are pressured into accepting sweatshop labor conditions for the privilege of working and being raised out of extreme poverty while others lose their jobs. And finally, one cannot attribute China's improved numbers to the Free Market since their market is significantly controlled by the State. So to include China's numbers in with the statistics being used to make claims about the Free Market reducing world poverty is deceptive at best.

What we see with Witt's new global, free economy are inconsistencies along with partial information used to obscure its complete impact on the world. But most of all, this economy is reducing the control people have over their lives by shrinking democracy and shifting that control to elites in the private sector. And I write this as someone who views Wendell Berry's alternatives to Capitalism as being impractical. 

1.  Brandt, Alan M.: The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America, p. 29. Basic Books, 2007 cited in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Tobacco_Company


https://www.tracy.k12.ca.us/sites/rlee/Shared Documents/History of the Americas II/Industrial America Unit/Industrialist Biographies/Duke Bio 2007.pdf


2.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Tobacco_Company