So what’s the economic or political answer to ‘rents’?

This evonomics article points out the harsh truth that LAND value increases in the UK are largely what’s responsible for most of the economic ‘growth’ there. (Read the piece!) After reading it, I understand what the author sees as a problem in that ‘owners’ are getting an unearned windfall while those that don’t own land are being screwed. But what is the economic, in this case actually POLITICAL, answer to this ‘problem’?  I’m not sure there is a way out of this trap.  Capitalism often has to be ‘saved’ from the capitalists by politicians, but this time the capitalists have made damn sure they own the means of ‘politics’. Who’s going to save capitalist from themselves this time and how?

Maximize Shareholder Value BS

You always hear that myth that corporation’s first duty is to ‘maximize shareholder value’. Well that’s bunk, and I want an easy place to keep the response when someone tosses that BS my way, so I’m putting it here.

NakedCapitalism has the scoop and ya’ll should check it out. It’s a great econ blog.

 

Also included on that page: 

I read tweets like this from my elected officials ALL THE TIME. 

#Obamacare is broken. Americans deserve a market-driven health-care system that puts patients first.

I always come away thinking that, either they are really stupid or they think I AM. I mean what did they think we had BEFORE ‘obamacare’ that we so desperately needed something like ‘obamacare’ to FIX?  A ‘market-driven health-care system’ is what was BREAKING THE COUNTRY!

Do these guys just have no ability to REMEMBER things? They must think that their constituency doesn’t.

Troubling

By now everyone and their pet parrot have an opinion on the Indiana RFRA law. I don’t intend to discuss whether that law is good or bad but something more meta about it. Specifically, what’s bothering me is the fact that PEOPLE’S opinions don’t seem to be having much affect on the law makers. No, the only voices that seem to be bothering THEM is from corporations. THAT BOTHERS ME. I don’t think this is supposed to be “government for the corporations by their paid sub-contractors”. The ENORMOUS pressure being brought to bear that everyone is talking about is CORPORATE POWER.

We should ALL be bothered by that. Maybe THIS time the majority of powerful corporations are backing your position but what about NEXT time? Corporations need to have LESS ability to affect our laws and lawmakers and the CITIZENS, the actual PEOPLE, of our country need to have MORE.

How can we do ‘news’ in a capitalist society?

If the news is presented by a corporation(CNN, Fox, MSNBC) then it’ll want to make money off of it’s product or the owners will control the messaging (or both). To maximize profits they want the biggest viewing audience possible at all times. To get the biggest audience the best way is to run stories that scare, or anger or at least ENTERTAINS the audience. Keeping the public actually informed seems a very distant concern, if it’s a concern at all. If you doubt that just look at ANY of the 24 hour news shows. What are they showing almost all the time? Do you really consider what they’re presenting to be informative?

If the news is presented by a governmental group(PBS, BBC), then it’ll be beholden to that government. They won’t do the fundamental requirement of a news agency to question government and it’s officials. The only way I see this NOT happening, is if the government gives a guaranteed amount of money to the news agency that CANNOT be withheld or adjusted by the government, but I just don’t think our congress would EVER agree to such a thing. (I think the BBC is supported by a ‘TV Tax’, but I’m not really familiar with their situation.) Even then you’d still have the very real concern of collusion.

So here we are. Looking at the 24 hour news offerings I see a product that is simply BAD. Bad for the health (physically, mentally AND politically) of it’s consumers, and bad at actually keeping the populace informed.  We’re being divided up and destroyed piecemeal by groups of the super-wealthy that control the corporations that present us ‘news’. Is there a way out? Is there a solution to this problem?