- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Better living through anecdotes

Posted by: Stoller on October 06, 1999 at 11:54:35:

In Reply to: Manipulating stats posted by Stuart Gort on October 05, 1999 at 18:57:48:

I'm glad to see you are back defending one of your points. Unfortunately, all you really have to proffer are personal anecdotes!

: I made $38,000 one year [in the lithography trade]. How did I get $120,000 to invest into my clever ideas, Barry? Did I steal it from some oppressed proletariat?

: Yet my Vanguard investment program remains unrebutted [sic] by you or any other collectivist theorist. $32,000 is ever so much more than is actually required to obtain wealth in this program - about $20,000 per year more than my original example!

I should add that the figures I cited before---median income of $35,492 a year---is household income. The median annual income for one person is actually $17,897. (Statistical Abstract of the United States,1998, table 740, p. 469.) I'm sorry I didn't make that clear before!

Let's look at putting $12,000 into this 'vanguard investment program' of yours. Using the median individual income, what remains after rent, food, heat, transportation, etc., is a mere $6,000...

Let's look at the math using the household median instead! $23,492 remains after the 'vanguard' scheme. That's roughly twelve thousand a year for each member of the couple, a thousand a month. How long did you say it would take to realize the American Dream?

Now I presume that this program pays back big, bad dividends. Will the 'bull market' remain on an indefinitely high plateau? Is not that money expropriated from labor? Are independent businesses generally successful---or do larger concerns crush them regularly?

: If a higher education is required for success you have a point...

If higher education is not required for success---in the majority of instances---why would higher education result in an earning power twice that of only a high school education?

: Sadly, the 60 units I received of higher education was time spent listening to a number of bubble heads who had as their objective to reprogram my WASP brain. I didn't like that and I left to do something productive.

Can you not entertain the idea that the anti-intellectual climate of the country---with its high-profile ideology of success without education---is not intended to counteract a policy of making education inaccessible to 75% of the population?

Of course not: you are an exception to the reality that most people experience. Your reality will always contradict the majority's reality; because you experience your reality, it will always seem more pertinent. And it is---to you!

But should a minority experience become the basis for policy that affects the majority? Should a minority achievement become the standard for all success? In a culture where success means selection, perhaps it should.

But should success be a process of selection? Would not an inclusive culture of success bring to society even stronger characteristics? Those are questions that has motivated socialists for hundreds of years.

: Again, Barry $40.00 per week for 50 years at 10.5% gets you 4.5 million!

50 years? I hate to say this, Stuart, but there are people in our country that earn about $150 a week---millions of them. Perhaps you have noticed them waiting on you in restaurants, filling your gas, stocking the products that you buy, ringing up your purchases at cash machines (and they’re not always smiling). Are they to set aside almost a third of that money for a 50-year get-rich scheme? Or should they keep their landlords and grocery chains and utility companies happy today instead? Would education offer them anything---or should they simply stop whining and work a little harder?

: No comparable collectivist example exists of such provision.

Yes, it does. Think of socialism as a big, leveraged stock company---only the stock isn't money stolen from the working class, it's labor expected of everyone.

And for the last time: It's not income that matters so much as it is what people are doing with their lives!


Did anyone mention health care for employees of small businesses?

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