Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today's Crisis

Oh my, Oh my, Barbie's ankles are too fat! What to do? Let her take Furosemide. That's what I do.

Corn Subsidies: The Multifarious Complexities and Ambiguities of Life

The Law of the Infinite Cornucopia: No shortage exists of reasons to bolster whatever theory anyone wants to believe.  (Leszek Kolakowski)
The Law of Universal Self Interest: We are all driven by self-interests, meaning not only selfishness but what the self is interested in. (Ken Cauthen)
Given the Law of the Infinite Cornucopia  and the Law of Universal Self-Interest, this essay is undertaken boldly but with humility and in light of Whitehead's observation that sometimes it is more important that something be interesting than true.

My understanding is that the huge subsidies given to American corn farmers Under NAFTA have been disastrous for Mexican corn farmers, leading to immigration from the farms to Mexican cities and the United States.

I propose that the government subsidies, which totaled $56.2 billion from 1995-2006, should be reduced by 10% each year and the savings used to sponsor illegal immigrants willing to return to Mexico and grow corn or take other jobs, with  added assistance from the Mexican government.

Will it work? I have no idea. Will  it happen? Absolutely not.

But it is an awfully interesting subject. If you google the terms, you will soon get into economic theory regarding free trade (may produce gain for the many, pain for the few), the loss of Amazon forests,  ethanol controversies, a lot of interpretation  to suit the predilections of the interpreters, American political realities, e.g., power of farm lobbies (Obama voted for the subsidies, McCain against, etc.), corn products and obesity, how rich nations can help overcome poverty in poor and developing countries,  economic adaptation to changing conditions, and a lot of other stuff illustrating my favorite terms -- complexity and ambiguity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Plutocracy Rules. Who Will Save Us?

Surely President Obama knows that we live in a plutocracy or something far too close to one. Surely he does not approve. Granted these two premises, I can only conclude that he thinks he is powerless to do much about it.

The financial industry has been dealt with tenderly, despite some brave words to the contrary. Tim Geithner's ties to Wall Street are cause for alarm. He is too much in the mold of Henry  Paulson. Larry Summers provides no comfort.

Congressional Committees seeking to provide stiffer regulation are having tough going. "Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is none too thrilled by the watering-down he has been compelled to accept by the New Democrats -- chiefly Democrats from affluent, suburban swing districts -- on his committee," says Harold Myerson in The Washington Post, (October 14, 2009).

Does anyone know how we can elect a Congress with Ralph Nader's ideas on this subject and a President who will suppport their legislation?