See below some ideas for reflections. Just to shaping the debate on global economy challenges
“Learn all theories and dominate all techniques, but when touching a human soul be just another human soul”. Carl Gustav Jung.
“Rotary will continue to be charitable, but it can do more than that. Let us make Rotary exterminate the cause that makes charity necessary”. This pearl of thinking by Paul Harris was published in “The Rotarian” magazine of August 1916.
This time I looked for help, in references from world leaders and thinkers, to profit from their rich experiences, so as to enrich this text of reflections at the beginning of the New Year. It is always useful to remember the sensible message of:
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): “Beware of the person of one book”.
“Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.” – Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)
“The most valuable of all talents is never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Great scholars are skeptics” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Fanaticism is the only form or willpower available to the weak” – Friedrich Nietzsche
”Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings”. John F. Kennedy
Since a young age I was fascinated by the market economy – a system where the producer, isolated, does not take part in the evaluation of his product – it is the forces of supply and demand that will determine the value-price. This ethics, which exists also in the law of cause and effect for human activity, is self-applicable
“Smith did make one claim that, in his day, was the most important claim that he made. It laid the foundation of modern economic theory. He claimed that the free market system is autonomous. It would exist apart from legislation by the state. He called this “the system of natural liberty.” He described how the free market would work if the state did not intervene to pass special-interest legislation that benefited one group or another. What Rousseau claimed for the General Will, Smith claimed for the free market. But Rousseau’s General Will needed a representative institution to express itself. Smith’s theory of the free market was its own interpreter. Gary North
So, the market economy is something magical, that must be pursued in an obstinate way – it was devalued, however, by a system that does not offer equal opportunities for all.
Let us see how we can rescue it.
We can find in Thomas Aquinas – XIII century – the seeds of the free market. One of the main representatives of scholastics (medieval philosophical line with a Christian foundation), he founded the thomist school of philosophy and theology, which thrived at the university of Salamanca in the XVI century.
“The value of an article, does not depend on its essential nature but on the estimation of men, even if that estimation is foolish.” – Variarum (1554) – Diego de Covarrubias y Leiva (1512-1577) – bishop of Segovia
In the XVII century William Petty (1623-1687), the father of classical economic analysis, wrote two essays that revolutionized economic thought in his time: a “Treaty on Taxes and Contributions”, in 1662 and “Political Arithmetics”, in 1690.
All of this orchestra of contributions was beautifully condensed in the works of Adam Smith, who marked the conscience, the soul and the heart of his generation and subsequent ones. The ethics contained in the entrails of the free market is the real reason that drives me to passionately defend the free market economy.
“Since time immemorial two political systems have confronted one another and both have good arguments to support them” “According to one, the state has to do a great deal, but it also has to take a great deal. According to the other, its twin action should be little felt. A choice has to be made between these two systems.” – nineteenth-century economist, Frédéric Bastiat
“The issue is always the same: the government or the market. There is no third solution” – “Economics deals with real man, weak and subject to error as he is, not with ideal beings omniscient and perfect as only gods could be”. Von Mises
“Neoliberalism appears to be little more than a justification for plutocracy” “What they call “the market” looks more like the interests of corporations and the ultra-rich”. “It strikes me that the entire structure of neoliberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power”. George Monbiot
”Socialism and middle-way economic interventionism by the state produce poverty and bureaucracy. If your goal is to keep poor people poor, generation after generation, you should promote socialism. But be sure to call it economic democracy in order to fool the voters”. Gary North
“The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries. It is an invention of civilization”. Mikhail Gorbachov
“We must understand that capitalism was created to deal with money, not with human beings”. Maxwell Vitor
“Capitalism is a banquet in which only the bones are left for the poor”. Pierre de souza
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the belief in ignorance and the preaching of envy. Its inherent flaw is the egalitarian distribution of misery”. Winston Churchill
“Rich peasants have a strong propension to capitalism”. Mao Tse-Tung
“The market does not have a conscience or mercy”. Octavio Paz, mexican poet Nobel Prize in literature, 1990
“The market came with the dawn of civilization and it is not an invention of capitalism. If it leads to improving the well-being of the people there is no contradiction with socialism. Mikhail Gorbachov
“We are evolving to socialism, a system which, as they say, only works in Heaven, where it is not needed, and in Hell, where it already exists”. Ronald Reagan
”All hope abandon, ye who enter here”!(at Hell´s door) Lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate! Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
“The disadvantage of capitalism is the unequal distribution of riches; the advantage of socialism is the equal distribution of miseries”. Winston Churchill
“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth”– Leon Tolstoi.
“For a world in which we are socially equal, humanly different and totally free”. Rosa Luxemburgo
”Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration”. Abraham Lincoln
This truth must be rescued by all the zombies who are wandering, lost and disconnected from the basic concepts of economy.
“Everything the Communists told us about communism was a complete and utter lie. Unfortunately, everything the Communists told us about capitalism turned out to be true”. – World Bank staffer John Nellis
Capitalism and socialism were bitter medicines in the history of mankind, and they are no longer valid, nowadays
“Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Socialism is the opposite of it”. Millôr Fernandes
Government is an institution that invariably spends more than it collects, either because of the high social demand in societies with concentrated income, or because of a perverse desire to feed the military might in rich societies.
Government is an institution economically impractical, because its revenues and expenditures shall be determined by acts of human will. Economics is a science whose techniques are valid and applicable when the will of economic agents is limited by the natural law of supply and demand
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953
The real need for government intervention is in the fact that 3 sectors: agriculture, health and education cannot walk alone – The government needs to pump resources into these 3 sectors – something necessary, even if inefficient. Under the current rules, the reduction of government intervention in the economy would considerably increase the distance between poor and rich.
The complexity of modern societies cannot be managed by central planners. The so-called democratic centralism is pure sophistry, that appeals only to autocratic rulers.
Whatever the concept that one may have of democracy, the fate of citizens cannot depend on the virtue of their rulers.
Dictatorships or strong regimes are defended only by those who would like to be lashing the whip; whenever placed on the other side, they will stand for democracy emphatically.
“The State is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.” Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)
“The problem has been developing for many years: a sort of economic alcoholism in which society has depended upon government to solve all its problems. Governments have promised to do away with unemployment, to eradicate poverty, to mitigate the pain of old age and sickness, even to ease the consequences of banking and business mistakes. Such irresistible promises! It was exactly what everyone wanted. We became economic alcoholics, dependent on government, and have had no concept of who will pay the price for this happy addiction.” Von Mises – (from a speech at Athens College in 1984)
“There is only one kind of freedom and that’s individual liberty. Our lives come from our creator and our liberty comes from our creator. It has nothing to do with government granting it”. Ron Paul
“Don’t forget what I discovered that over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars”. Franklin D. Roosevelt
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” Ronald Reagan
“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare”. James Madison, the principal architect of the U.S. Constitution – 1795
“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” – Louis Brandeis – U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)
“Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions – it only guarantees equality of opportunity.” – Irving Kristol
“We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added”.
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government”. Thomas Jefferson
“Government could not help us to solve problems, government is a problem”. Ronald Reagan
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it”. – Ronald Reagan
“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint”. Alexander Hamilton
“The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government”. Mitt Romney
“Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers”. Ron Paul
“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other”. Ronald Reagan
“It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach”.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“In the general course of human nature, A power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will”. Alexander Hamilton
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first”. Ronald Reagan
Dearest – the market competition that we are witnessing today is like an athletic race: some citizens, well fed and accessing health and education systems are far ahead; most of the others are left unjustly behind: the fair and decent minimum that can be done is to put them all on the same line of departure, giving equal opportunities at the beginning.
Workers need to eat and to have access to health and education systems, so that their labor does not get destroyed – it does not make sense to embed this in their salary, because the hunger of people is not a market variable, but a biological need
“Excessive inequality is corrosive to growth; it is corrosive to society. I believe that the economics profession and the policy community have downplayed inequality for too long.” Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund managing director
“Criminality, for example, can be reduced basically in two ways: with preventive investment in education or with the reinforcement of police surveillance on the streets. I estimate that the option for education costs about a tenth of the expenses with security.”
“Each dollar spent on the education of a person means that they will produce something like 10 cents more per year along their whole life. There is no better investment.” – James Heckman, Nobel Prize winner in Economy in the year 2000
“A State divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor will always develop a government manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their property.” – Harold Laski – British political theorist (1893-1950)
“There is nothing wrong with describing Conservatism as protecting the Constitution, protecting all things that limit government. Government is the enemy of liberty. Government should be very restrained”. Ron Paul
“When you notice that, in order to produce, you must be authorized by someone who produces nothing; when you confirm that money flows to those who negotiate with favor, not with goods; when you notice that many get rich with bribery and influence, more than with work, and that the laws do not protect us from them, but, on the contrary, it is them who are protected from us; when you find that corruption is rewarded and that honesty becomes self-sacrifice; then you can say, with no fear of error, that your society is doomed.” Alissa Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand) – 1905-1982
“It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past”. Mikhail Gorbachov
“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” Adrian Rogers, 1931
Job-generation is not a task for the State, which produces only lesser jobs. It is private initiative that creates productive employment.
“We will practice charity when we could not impose justice”. Because it is not charity that we need. Justice reaches the causes of the problem; charity mitigates its effects” Victor Hugo
With Smith I learned the importance of the “invisible hand”, that today is called market – individuals acting on their own interests – and it is always the individual interest that prevails – without governmental interference – as a superior model for human coexistence.
I have learned from Marx that the workforce must not suffer wear – “The worker sells his labor to keep it unscathed, except for the natural wear, but not to have it destroyed.”
I Learned with Joan Robinson that the market economy makes what is profitable and not what is needed
I Learned with Mises and Hayek that nothing beats the power of the spontaneous organization of the market price mechanisms.
“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were”. John F. Kennedy
But in a new social pact where nutrition, health and education became private responsibilities in the productive process, the Government would proportionately reduce taxation and its interference in the economy. Instead of transferring resources from rich to poor, society would provide equal opportunities for nutrition, health and education. This is not philanthropy, but a new concept of human labor as a transformation process of human energy into physical or intellectual power. It will replace the changing logic of ideas – ideology – with the invariable logic of life – biology
The complete liberation of prices and salaries will result, inexorably, in full productive employment. Only with full employment we will do without State supervision – the invisible hand acts inexorably!!! Certainly, businessmen will not act philanthropically only: full productive employment will be the guarantor of this agreement of wills – the dynamics of the economy will lead to full employment, where government supervision will no longer be required
The comments below are from the experienced, realist and competent american thinker Gary North, who also believes that Keynesianism keeps dominating the political scene by default, for lack of an alternative.
“Without hope of deliverance, the voters lose confidence in politics as a means of healing. This is the central religion of our era. This trust is waning. The Keynesian system holds on power by default. There is no widely shared faith in what can be substituted and how”.
“Austrians have simple solutions: “Let the free market alone.” “Less government is better.” “Lower taxes increase liberty.” “Trust gold, not bankers.” These were basic themes in the late 18th century. They were basic themes of classical liberalism in the 19th century. They are not untried concepts. They made the West rich when they were honored”
“The only way we can make it better is to reduce the power and privilege of the groups, and this means passing laws against existing laws. This means replacing centralized planning, in its various forms, with the planning imposed by the free market”
“There is no simple solution to this, other than to persuade people that when a crisis occurs, the proper response is to shrink the government, not expand it. People generally do not want to hear this in a crisis. But if the crisis is based on the fact that the government has run out of sound money, they are going to have to listen to it”.
“The tools of victory which previous leaders have invoked to solve the problem, namely, a strengthening of the central government, an increase of taxation, and a forced lowering of interest rates, are exactly the policies that got us into the problem we are in. So, the proposed reforms are simply more of the same”.
So far – Gary North
“All truths go through three stages. First they are ridiculed. Secondly, they face violent opposition. Finally, they are accepted as evident” – Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), – german philosopher
“People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.” – Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
“the purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.” Joan Robinson
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do” – Goethe
Force is the weapon of the incompetent, whereas intelligence is the instrument of the sensible. Force will never transform anything that intelligence cannot transform.
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis”.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
I would feel glad if these thoughts lead readers at least to the diagnosis of the trouble we are in – recognizing mistakes is a decisive step to search for solutions.
1. the free market, though highly desirable, is impossible to be practiced without a new social pact
2. Offering equal opportunities for nutrition, health care and education is a “sine qua non” condition to make possible the market economy – these goods and services are attached to people´s evolution, survival and progress, do not depend on human will, are non- cumulative and are interdependent.
3. There is no conflict between the market economy and equal opportunities – on the contrary, it is only with equal opportunities that the free market can operate completely
“Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience normally recognize the voice of justice as well”. Alexander Solzhenitsyn
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
“Sometimes it is not enough that we do our best; we must do what is required.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.” Mahatma Gandhi – (1869-1948)
“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.” – Mahatma Gandhi – (1869-1948)
Let us celebrate this year with much hope and faith in the endless possibilities that humans have, to find in the future generations the solution to our many problems. Each child coming to this world is a flame of hope and renewal. Have always in mind these teaching from Thomas Aquinas:
“The first step to wisdom is humility”.
“For those who have faith, no explanation is necessary. For those without faith, no explanation is possible.”
, the link below is food for the spirit: enjoy it
Ronaldo Campos Carneiro – september/2013
RI 4530 DG – 2008-9 – Brasilia – DF – Brasil
De: Urs Herzog [mailto:email@example.com]
Enviada: domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2013 08:52
Assunto: AW: Happy 2013 – rotarian reflections
Dear Rotarian Ronaldo Carneiro
What an worthful collection of thoughts and ideas from human beings who never gave up und saw that everybody could be able in following a peaceful way of life.
PDG Urs Herzog
DRFC D 1980
De: Richard Fisher [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Enviada: domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2013 11:03
Para: ‘Ronaldo Carneiro’
Assunto: RE: Happy 2013 – Rotarian reflections
Good day Ronaldo
Many thanks for your letter with all its quotations. Much food for thought. Indeed, we have many challenges to consider in our Rotary world!
District Governor 2007-08 D9270 South Africa
De: Eric Adamson [mailto:email@example.com]
Enviada: segunda-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2013 15:13
Para: ‘Ronaldo Carneiro’
Assunto: RE: Happy 2013 – rotarian reflections
Thank you, Ronaldo, for these quotes and thoughts…very interesting and often inspiring..
Eric E. Adamson
Past R.I. Vice President, 2009-10
19 Walnut Drive
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
De: Bob Scott [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Enviada: segunda-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2013 14:12
Para: ‘Ronaldo Carneiro’
Assunto: RE: Happy 2013 – rotarian reflections
Thank you for sending me these many quotes
De: Petr Jan Pajas [mailto:email@example.com]
Enviada: segunda-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2013 13:40
Para: Ronaldo Carneiro
Assunto: Re: Happy 2013 – rotarian reflections
Dear PDG Ronaldo Carneiro,
tahnk you for a lot of citations, which are inspiring.
Please notice a change in my e-mails
All the best
Petr Jan Pajas
RC Praha City
mobile: +420 603 450 802