(L150) We Were Not Raised to Be Leaders

Big actors, singers, performers, etc. are typically (publically) biased against capitalism. In my opinion, this more likely than not has a great deal to do with the people at the very top of the entertainment food chain who are controlling who truly does become famous, and who does not. In the opinion of Gary North however, the chance that guilt has a role to play could also be an option to explore. He states that the fans are the ones who truly make normal people into widely known stars. According to his logic, since famous people do not consider the fans or their talents as the root of their success, they actually develop guilt about their lavish lifestyles. In turn, they begin to support socialist/communist models of society; in order to ease their success guilt, they support routes of life that are equal for everyone.

The reason that I do not support the “guilt” solution is because of everything I have seen happen in the entertainment industry throughout my life. To believe that fans are the sole source of success would be naïve, especially considering the blatant one-world, universal control agendas propagated through actors and singers today. I do believe that actors feel guilt, and maybe even shame for their success, but it has nothing to do with wanting things to be equal for them and their fans. Wildly famous people are not idolized for their talents; the masses have just been so conditioned to follow and flock that they cannot see the truth of the matter: souls have been sold and strict orders are being followed. Should someone famous break this mold, they will disappear without a doubt. Fame comes from the devil; the fans just follow. It is my understanding that fame does not come from a capitalistic economic model, which is why I cannot point the finger at guilt.

I believe that the reason people are okay with the riches of the famous and not the riches of businessmen is because they idolize singers and actors. Children are raised to put pictures on their walls of the voices they love to hear, rather than the minds they admire. They grow into teenagers who obsess, cry and fight over the ability to be in the presence of these famous people; but never would they pay to see a successful entrepreneur. By the time they become adults, they are so conditioned to follow the entertainment industry’s every instruction on how to dress, what to listen to and what to say that they have been bought for life. We are not raised to support successful business owners. We are not raised to admire those rich in knowledge. But we are raised to fall to our knees at the command of our favorite corporate artist. We are raised to be followers, not leaders; and this is why a businessman’s success will never be glorified in society today, but rather seen as greed.

(L70) Capitalism Vs. Communism: Karl Marx

What are some of Marx’s criticisms of capitalism? How might you respond to these criticisms?

One of Marx’s criticisms of capitalism was that it’s inferior to communism because it exploits wage labor in the sense that workers are only paid enough to survive, rather than being paid in accordance with the value that they create. I would respond to this by saying that in reality, a capitalistic economy is based off of voluntary contract between worker and employer. If the worker is good, and they have high value as an employee, then they will be paid according to that (with the value of their work decided between themselves and the employer). If a good worker is not being paid as they should be, then they have the option to take their services elsewhere and the employer has to make the decision between paying a worse worker the same amount, or keeping his good worker at a higher wage. This is the freedom of competition.
Another criticism of capitalism that Marx made was that the division of labor is wrong, and should be removed from the economy. My response to this is that, in all honesty, it makes no sense. I mean, would you rather have a hundred good workers who are each specialized in a certain field, or a hundred okay workers who can do a hundred different things alright? I certainly would rather have a great doctor do surgery on me than someone who is only a doctor in their down time!

(L65) Swedish Prosperity & Fascism

1.) The standard claim about Sweden is that it shows that society can prosper without such a free market and with extensive government intervention. Based on the lesson and on your reading, what would be a good response to this claim?

Sweden’s prosperity was originally birthed from a free market capitalistic economy, as well as avoiding war (as best they could). There is no historical evidence, even as late at the 1950s, of great welfare funding, and Sweden’s Austrian economics standpoint lasted between the 19th and even the early 20th century. The economic strength and prosperity that resulted from these practices was eventually funneled into a welfare state. Between 1970 and 1989 taxes were raised and hand-outs were increased; Sweden’s place as the 4th richest industrialized country dropped to the 14th by 1993. Just as capitalism had built their country strong, the turn away from it had began to make their country weak economically; since then however, economic freedom has increased (and surpasses that of the United States greatly).

2.) What were the primary values of fascism?

The primary values of fascism basically hold that the rights of the individual are far surpassed by the “good of the Nation”. In the words of Mussolini, “everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.” Beside putting the state on a pedestal and pushing for political centralization, fascism also highly encourages nationalism and the glorification of the military.

My Summer Reading List 2015 (L175)

Create a reading list (equivalent to that of roughly 8 books) for this coming summer. The books you choose should focus on either business, personal finance, and/or economics.
Each of the books I have chosen were picked from the suggested reading lists in this weeks lessons. I also left the majority of the other book suggestions (which I did not choose) at the bottom of the page.

The first book I picked (at almost 200 pages) is called Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By, by Carey Siegel. I chose this book first because it covers a broad range of principles at a few pages a piece; I think it will be an impacting way to begin my summer reading.
The second book I picked is called What Has Government Done To Our Money, and like many other books on the suggestion list, it was written by Murray Rothbard. Being a short book, it doesn’t fail to cover crucial topics in understanding the gold standard, the history of money, and the barter system.
The third book I picked to read this summer was written by Bob Murphy, and while being officially titled The Great Depression and The New Deal, it is also known as the “Politically Incorrect Guide to The Great Depression”.
The fourth book I chose is How Capitalism Saved America, by Tom DiLorenzo; I am rusty in my economic history and this will hopefully be a good book to help me brush up.
The fifth book I’ve chosen is The Cause of The Economic Crisis, by Ludwig von Mises (who also appears on the suggestion list quite a few times).
The sixth book I’ve chosen is called Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow, by Ludwig von Mises.
The seventh book I chose is called Trade Offs, by Harold Winter. It covers the economic “trade offs” between safety/quality, and expense.
The eighth (but not the last) book I’ve chosen to add to my reading list this summer is The Road To Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek.

Other Books On The Suggestion List Included:

  • Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell
  • A Beginners Guide to Investing: How to Grow Your Money The Smart and Easy Way by Frey, Frey and Byte (100 P)
  • Common Sense Economics by Gwartney, Stroup, Lee, and Ferrarini
  • Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson
  • America’s Great Depression by Murray Rothbard
  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman (400 P)
  • Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

The Russian Revolution & It’s Aftermath (L125)

1.) What are the primary differences discussed in this week’s videos between Marxism and Marxism-Leninism?
The primary difference(s) between Marxism and Marxism-Leninism discussed this week were that Marx believed communism was bound to happen; that it was inevitable by the laws of history. He believed that it possibly be accelerated or slowed, but never stopped. However, communism could not happen until after the point which capitalism had come to term; after reaching it’s peak, it would become “a fetter on the productive forces”. Marx believed that this is how and when capitalism would give way to communism. Lenin on the other hand believed that fall of capitalism alone was not going to be enough to cause the emergence of a revolutionary proletarian class. Lenin called for a “vanguard of the proletariat”; a class of professional revolutionaries. It was required that they be intellectuals, not workers; it was their duty to guide a violent uprising against capitalism, which would then lead to the proletariat’s dictatorship. Lenin believed that this dictatorship would be the first stone on the pathway to communism.

2.) Historian Richard Pipes wrote, “Soviet Russia was the first society in history to outlaw law.” What did he mean by that?
Being a judge during this period became easy for most anyone to apply for; there was not formal education required, and there were no fixed rules one would be required to study. Rather, judges were instructed to rule according to their “revolutionary conscience”. The court system in fact, according to Lenin, was “not to eliminate terror”, but to “substantiate and legitimize” it.

3.) What was the Russian government under Lenin like? What kinds of tasks did it attempt to achieve?
The Russian government under Lenin was manipulative, untrustworthy, and malevolent. Among the many atrocities he orchestrated in his time, Lenin attempted to wipe out the church as his opponent; he ordered that sacred vessels be seized, and then had them melted for weaponry cash. Even nearing his death bed, Lenin had not yet caused enough destruction. In 1922, he ordered hundreds of opposing people exiled without explanation; these people were for the most part economists, scholars, and even philosophers. Even still, neither of those things tops the time that he was the cause of the starvation of 5.2 million people.