Sunday, September 14

(Non-Statist-Communism) Alternatives and Capitalism

I had my first conversation with a vocal pro-capitalist in a social setting last night. I don't think I was terribly eloquent or knowledgeable or necessarily even persuasive, but I'm proud of myself because I think I managed to do it w/o doing any damage--and might have gotten a single seed of something that will later persuade her in there. If not, well, again, at least I did it, and did it w/o doing any damage.

I have Brownfemipower to thank.

Credit also goes to Benjamin Dangl's The Price of Fire, though I only ended up reading that because bloggers kept recommending a book that, in the hunt for more, led me to that one.

Nevertheless, without Djangl's description of how things work in many different countries, and his chapter on the city of El Alto, I could not have furnished the kinds of descriptions of non-free-market and yet non-command-and-control methods of conducting economic activity that I was able to (however poorly) last night.

She simply didn't know that there were third, fourth, heck, twentieth, ways of conducting economic activity in the world at a scale larger than a small tribe.

I'm proud of myself for listening--I haven't been very good at that much of my life. Otherwise, I wouldn't have found out that she didn't know that anything had ever existed on significant scales besides "our way" and "the Soviet Union's way."

I'm proud of myself for making myself listen to everything she had to say. She said that she wasn't going to judge what people did elsewhere, as long as they didn't mess with our ways of conducting economic activity. Because I listened, I had my fair chance to clarify that actually, I wanted to know if she thought what I'd described could work well for parts of the United States. And I didn't get a kneejerk response to that question. So I'm glad I wasn't kneejerk or interruptive to her, as I can sometimes be.

Last but not least, she gave me a huge shove towards doing more to find a candidate with my set of dream policies and vote for that candidate.

She believed that our political system currently gives people all the power they need to change our way of conducting economic affairs if they don't like it.

I said, "Then how come the few politicians in Roosevelt's presidential era--if I'm correct that that's whom the author was talking about--were able to override the will of the many poor people and farmers who supported alternative forms of economic activity?

She retorted, "They kept voting for him, didn't they?"

She's probably right. They probably did vote for someone who implemented some economic policies that helped them but also implemented a lot of economic policies that hurt them. (Or, more specifically, vote without flooding the streets, creating roadblocks, and giving that politician all sorts of hell over his harmful policies.)

I nodded and said she had a really interesting point. And that she'd probably just convinced me to vote my favorite candidate, no matter what party, this November, so I wouldn't be "a 30's co-op organizer voting for Roosevelt."
*Maybe she'll do the same. Right now she's voting for McCain. She believes government expenditures will be lower under him than they will under Obama (I don't, by the way), but she isn't happy with how high they'd be under him, either. Maybe, if America is lucky, both of us will end up voting and working hard for our true beliefs by November.)

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