We seem to be stuck between two apparently irreconcilable positions.
Both the ‘free-market totalitarians’ and the avid ‘state interventionists’ agree about the present situation being untenable but are unable to identify a mutually acceptable way out.
And the rest of us watch them fighting each-other, as if mesmerized by some irresponsible/immature hypnotism stage-artist, instead of clearing a path of our own!
But since we’re already gathered around the ring, let’s see first what are they fighting about.
The laissez-faire people maintain that things will eventually get in shape by their their own – only if we’d let them, while the statists say that waiting for that to happen would take too long and provoke too many ‘collateral victims’.
Each of the two sides advocate a very specific solution.
The free-marketeers are OK with what seems to be going on – relatively fewer and fewer individual people/corporations becoming richer and richer/more and more powerful while the rest are falling behind but not at all OK with the left behind becoming angrier and angrier.
Meanwhile the interventionists demand that the state should take more and more ‘things into its hands’ and ‘solve’ them. As if it knew how.
I must confess that I fail to see any real difference between them. Both imply that a small number of individuals – belonging to the same species and being subjected to the same cultural and social conditioning – becoming extremely powerful relatively to the rest of the people.
Historically, all societies which had allowed power to become concentrated in too few hands had crumbled. The more concentrated the power, the faster the fall.
When confronted with the argument that greed, for both money and power, is bad for you, both sides react in a very fatalistic manner.
‘Greed is natural, hence it must be good!’
The funny thing – if anything about any of this might be considered funny, is that greed has been castigated by all religions. And by mainstream science.
Let both religion and science rest for a while.
Actually this is one instance where common sense is more than enough.
Greed, like appetite, is indeed natural.
But that doesn’t make it necessarily good.
We need indeed to strive towards improving our lot, just as we need a healthy appetite.
Otherwise we’d end up worse than where we were at the start.
Dead by starvation.
But hoarding a good thing doesn’t necessarily improve it.
There is a difference between appetite and gluttony.
That’s why we use different words for each of them.