Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Liberty For All, Regardless of Income

Is it possible that lack of freedom in the marketplace for those with limited incomes, negatively affects the freedoms of those who have more? I believe this is a fair question. However, my framing in this matter, could possibly account for the fact some right leaning folk likely question whether my "claims" to a libertarian point of view, are valid.

Meanwhile, others on the left are just as likely to question my defense of a free market approach. I believe that market dynamism is central to well being. But how can markets be considered truly dynamic, if they don't function well for a wide range of income levels? Further: how can individuals expect to reciprocate for societal responsibility - for anyone - if they have little valid purpose in the economic constructs that define their lives?

Some say they wish progressives knew what it was like, to be responsible for running their own business. Fair enough. Sometimes I also wish more people on the left understood how scary the process of survival can become, when there are too few remaining economic options, by which to actively take part in life. Granted, plenty of folk on the right totally get this, but find the matter too frustrating to actively contemplate. And many who are not needed by other individuals or institutions, are living on borrowed time. Chances are, they are keenly aware of that fact.

Consequently, I advocate for free markets not just for the rich, but also for the poor in spirit, along with anyone else who may also have a limited amount of money to spend. For these individuals, both their income potential and time value deserve more respect than they have received thus far. Even though I disagree with constant minimum wage increases, it is quite pointless to react to them, if non tradable sector representatives are constantly seeking higher prices for terms of economic engagement across the board. In all likelihood, the lack of free marketplace options - especially in terms of time based services creation - now contributes to a growing vulnerability for the personal liberties of all citizens.

Sandy Ikeda has spoken of the fragility of liberty, and the fact it can too easily be lost for centuries at a time. In "The Urban Origins of Liberty", he wrote:
The idea of liberty emerged in the struggle between the forces of collectivism and individualism. It is the idea that each of us has a rightful sphere of autonomy in which we may be free from aggression. In politics this manifested itself as liberal democracy, in economics as market competition and in the broader social realm as scientific advance, artistic expression and religious tolerance.
Most important, liberty is not so much about anyone's right to consume specific forms of goods, as it is one's right to produce for - and actively engage - in the marketplace. How can anyone expect to consume, what is purposely prohibited from production? And the fact that too many rights of production have been lost, accounts for the fact that policy makers are anxious to be rid of programs which became excessive burdens because the rights of production were too limited, to begin with.

Indeed, for Obamacare, there is presently no rational "replace", other than a reversion to the twentieth century form of healthcare, which supplanted all other previously existing options available to most income levels. The twentieth century health care of the U.S. created investment incentives and provisions which were primarily, and understandably, aimed at middle to upper class levels. But consequently, it is pointless to expect "healthcare for all" from this system. Meanwhile, the coming years are likely to be filled with the struggles of the "not so poor" to retain their own, increasingly fragile healthcare access.

More than anything, my aversion to government redistribution for the poor, can be attributed to the initial mistakes of granting too much marketplace responsibility to too few individuals, for some of the most basic time based product of our lives. There are simply too many places where government largess needs to reach, before it ever gets to the small wage levels so many will experience in the years ahead.

Which is why I believe much more would be gained, if the forgotten, the frustrated, the "redundant", the misunderstood, the "supposedly" untrustworthy, the ones with health based challenges, the socially inept, in short, all those who are poor in spirit, at least be given a chance to recreate economic life on their own terms. There is simply too little room for these groups in the near future, as politics is more likely to become a battle among competing special interest groups for the spoils of the economy that exists, now.

There's little liberty to be had for those who are unemployed or are on a small income, too little freedom to live by one's identity and purpose, if one is without the "appropriate" college credentials or the career that gives the green light to do so. Liberty is also hard to come by for those who are "freed" from prison, only to find themselves in a different prison of society's making.

Where for millennia there were value in use knowledge networks which people from all walks of life could tap into, these have been mostly reoriented into the channels which those with the "right" credentials can use. If redistribution were an actual possibility for all, perhaps this limited knowledge use framework might be understandable. But there is not sufficient redistribution for everyone who wants it, nor is such imaginary redistribution likely to occur in the near future. Therefore, it is time to define wealth on broader terms, than what currently exist.

Those without credentials, and indeed some who can't put credentials to good use, need to be able to create alternate knowledge use networks. It is too difficult for many, who - even though they are diligent and prepared - to make the necessary connections with others in the knowledge based networks that already exist. Practical and useful knowledge once again needs to be freed. Liberty for all, regardless of income, starts with a knowledge use network that is not limited to those with college degrees and the "appropriate" jobs. Otherwise, there is too little means to heal the divide between rural and city life, even as rural voters recently sided with the political party which at least appeared more willing to take their personal concerns into account.

At least some Republicans would like to face cronyism head on, but doing so is not easy. Too much government redistribution, much of which is initially intended to assist lower income levels, only ends up parked at higher income levels. Hence the very act of redistribution, quickly goes out of control and out of reach of any logic. This raises the bar of economic entry for all concerned, along the entire spectrum. Presently, it's impossible to assist the poor, because of the massive government obligations that are already "baked into the cake" for everyone else. Hence a suggestion: before anyone loses their cool at the enormity of the task, please give the disenfranchised a new chance to recreate their own economic realities. Doing so might actually be easier, than making sense of the subsidies tangle in Washington.

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