Thursday, October 9, 2008

Free Market Capitalism and Damon's iPod

I'm spending the next week in Georgia and the Carolinas.
It's a work related trip to take care of some problems with one of our customers.

Listening to right wing AM radio stations and left wing NPR, you would guess that the sky was falling, people were throwing themselves out windows, and four horsemen were spotted riding toward Bethlehem to see what rough beast was slouching over to be born.

But guess what I'm seeing?

Interstate highway traffic is rolling along nicely. Restaurants are full. Fuel prices are dropping. People seem to be in a good mood, despite the recent looting of The Treasury by the people whose gambling losses you just covered.

NPR this morning featured a conversation between William Greider and some other economist (Kevin somebody?) on the virtue and flaws of Free Market Capitalism. They agreed that Free Market Capitalism could be defined as the free exchange of goods and services between individuals with minimal government interference.

Here's what I don't understand about the link people are trying to make between our current difficulties and Free Market Capitalism....

The government has encouraged, if not insisted, that various institutions give home loans to people who ordinarily wouldn't qualify for them. The government has implicitly and explicitly guaranteed loans AND INVESTMENTS that no one in their right mind would underwrite with their own money. And due to the upcoming retirement of a jillion baby-boomers, there will soon be more government mandated claims against the dollar than there are against asbestos manufacturers. The government has now run up the national debt to 10 trillion dollars. They'll soon be printing money like it was toilet paper, and it will soon have a similar value.

All of the pipers are lining up to be paid.

What, exactly, does this have to do with failures of Free Market Capitalism? Can anyone tell me?

My companion on this trip is Damon, our Director of Human Resources. His political opinions on economic freedom are pretty much in line with mine.

His opinions on music....well, that's another story. Damon has an iPod that features pop, rock, and metal from 1981-1986. I've heard lots and lots and lots of Journey, Styx, Foreigner, Van Halen (pre Sammy Hagar) and, God Help Us All.....Huey Lewis And The News.

If it were my iPod, it wouldn't contain any of that overproduced crap. The perfect music for this trip would be Bob Dylan, Charlie Robison, Chris Knight, Rodney Crowell, The Marshall Tucker Band, Neil Young, and a sprinkling of Skynyrd.

Which one of us is right?

Both of us. I should decide for me. And He should be allowed to decide for himself, regardless of the damage he is doing to his moral character by continuing to listen to Journey so much. After all, it's his iPod. Since we're sharing the same Ford F-250, whoever is driving controls the music. We worked that out on our own, no help from Bush, Pelosi, Reid, or the Supreme Court required.
Who should decide how much House you can afford?

You. And anyone willing to lend you the money for it.

Who should decide how much you should be allowed to bet on the housing market, the stock market, or any other variation on a Blackjack table?

You.

And as long as both parties in our agreements are honoring their obligations, how much government involvement do we need in the contents of our iPods, the purchase of our homes, or any other decisions we make?

A lot less than some people think we need.

p.s. - when I get home, I might buy the Journey Live CD.

20 comments:

fembuttx said...

Mr Whited,

Let me refresh you on my choice of music, which you enjoyed so much at Cowtown.....SAVE A HORSE RIDE A COWBOY....oh yeah woo hoo...get me a stallion!! A cowboy with chaps!! No pants!! Even better!!

By the way, my car is broke down in Weatherford. I am driving my son's 20 year old Toyota truck, beat to shit with 300,000 miles on it. Only has a CD player, no radio. Yesterday was Aerosmith, today Cheaptrick....Rock on.

Dr Ralph said...

In my family, there are 3 vehicles: guess who drives the oldest, crappiest one?

But I like driving the 12 year old Saturn station wagon, because it is the only vehicle with a CD player that plays MP3s. Aftermarket, of course.

My musical tastes tend to be cyclical. After a rock and roll high school and college period, I spent about 5 years listening to nothing but classical. Then went on a jazz binge that probably lasted another 5.

These days, thanks to my kids, streaming audio, and the internet in general, I have pretty eclectic tastes.

So I say go for that Journey album. And while you're at it, give the Propellerheads, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Seks Bomba, and Trio Nova a listen.

You might be surprised at what you hear.

fembuttx said...

Today, the sound track from Pulp Fiction...Cheeseburger Royale...Jungle Boogie...Smashing Surf Boards and Flowers on the wall...

sandersonmom said...

The best music to get you going....Ice Cube 'Put Your Back Into It" right Fembuttx???

Monkey's Rule!

fembuttx said...

I cant drive and listen to that song...You have got to get your butt in the air for that one.

sandersonmom said...

You can do it! We'll pay to see that one!

fembuttx said...

In my way back past, in my 20's...I did moon downtown Fort Worth, all the way past the court house and the police department. No, I was not drunk. We were on our lunch break to the Mexican Inn.

I could do it, way back when. But no longer. I am now a Methodist.

sandersonmom said...

A beer drinking South Park watching methodist, right? At least you pray for forgiveness after your sins...OOps. that's a Catholic. My bad.

fembuttx said...

I don't have to pray for forgiveness, I am forgiven, even for watching South Park 3 nights a week.

Mr Whited may not forgive me, but I am pretty sure I am also forgiven for all the crap I have posted on his blog.

sandersonmom said...

I am sure that the beer drinkin Baptist forgives anything after a couple...

I however, am probably never gonna be forgiven...I still work here...

fembuttx said...

Ah you are mistaken, the Whited prefers Cosmos...You know little pink sippy drinks

sandersonmom said...

Oh well that just about explains everything...I bet they serve those in Cape Girardeau.

fembuttx said...

And Georgia....He can sip a Cosmo and listen to Damon's IPOD...Huey Lewis and the news...He will get his ASS kicked!!

sandersonmom said...

And sing Sweet Home Alabama out loud...

fembuttx said...

I wonder if he thinks Kidd Rock is sexy?

sandersonmom said...

only God knows the answer to that. And I am not too sure I want to know!!!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Dr. Ralph,
I'm already a fan of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Great stuff.

Jay@Soob said...

"What, exactly, does this have to do with failures of Free Market Capitalism? Can anyone tell me?"

Similar to drug, gun and "three strikes" laws. The cement heads that we elect are either unwilling or unable to address the root cause of a problem and so they fixate on something shiny like a pack of hyper-active ferrets. Got crime? Illegalize guns. Got lots of crime? Get medieval and fill up the prisons. Got drugs? Exacerbate both crime and lots of crime by manufacturing a lucrative black market through prohibition. Got economic corruption? Reward it and then plop your overfed ass atop a high horse as you breeze on during a congressional hearing, feign utter shock and wag your finger at capitalist villains who had the audacity to take advantage of a situation in which they could sit at the black jack table, slap their paycheck down and, win or lose, walk away with more money. How's that for a run on sentence.

As for music, the "huddled masses" that cheerfully overextended themselves in taking on mortgages that my five year old nephew could discern as fiscally untenable recall the first half of Pink Floyd's "Sheep."

All that aside, Van Halen makes my teeth hurt.

fembuttx said...

I can't beleive someone (Jay) has tried to make this musical discussion into a government mortgage diabolical....:)

Van Halen? Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth....I liked listening to Hagar, but I loved looking at Roth's Pants!!

How about you?

Dr Ralph said...

After checking the current state of my retirement account, I'm about ready to queue up Bing Crosby singing "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime."