Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lotsa Thoughts

Lots of thoughts, but not much time. I start putting the June Learning at Home together tomorrow, I'm preparing a couple of sermons, and there's lots of repairs around the house.

Standing in line at the grocery store tonight with the ice cream melting before my eyes. Most of my stuff is on the conveyor belt but the guy ahead of me decides to go pick up a couple of extra chicken breasts. And it takes him about 8 minutes. One of the fundamental signs of a society in decline is simple rudeness.

I was talking to someone the other day as she told her mother that with all the money her company was making they should pay her more. Now I should say the ladies involved are all really great people, but it did get me thinking about the degree to which most people in our country understand our economic system, the basics of business and personal investing. And I suspect that while most people in this country benefit from a capitalist economic system, very few understand it or appreciate it. Modern capitalism understands that workers with good living wages increase the amount of economic activity and contribute to overall wealth. Skilled labour must be well paid, or they will go elsewhere. And many enlightened companies understand that when workers have a share in the profits they grow much faster. But we also need to understand that companies are run for the benefits of the owners. If I own shares in a company, I am one of the owners. The profits belong to me, and I don't want my money being given to other people just because that money happens to exist!

Those who seem philosophically opposed to capitalism need to understand that capitalism provides a strong economic base. With that strong economic base you can offer comprehensive social programs, afford a clean environment and pursue social justice. Without a strong economic base, you can't afford any of these things. Socialism is a philosophical and practical failure. Our country can offer so much of the social programs the socialists want precisely because we have a capitalist economic system. To the extent that we have allowed capitalism to flourish, we have benefited economically. And if there is not enough money for all the social programs we would want and if some people still don't have great jobs, the answer is not to clamp down on capitalist enterprises. The answer is not to bleed our companies dry. The answer is to allow more freedom for capitalism to grow the economy. The guy making $7.00 an hour doesn't need an increase in the minimum wage; he needs an economy that is churning out jobs that pay $20 an hour. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the capitalist economic system. While socialism might seem more compassionate, it is modern enlightened capitalism that brings the most benefit to the most people.


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