Economic growth vs. economic justice

One of my biggest concerns is the blatant inequality of wealth in many societies and how that often translates into total injustice. Those who are raised in wealthy families tend to remain wealthy. And where there is wealth, there is also power. Meanwhile, those who come from poor families tend to remain poor. Because there are a finite range of resources in any society, those who already have wealth also have access to the highest technologies sooner than others, thus enabling them to maintain and even increase their wealth still further at the expense of the impoverished. And I’m not just talking about individuals, but about nations as well. The United States is far, far richer than Afghanistan  and will probably always remain so. Thus, while America is on the cutting edge of technology, the people of Afghanistan still live largely like they did a century ago, because they simply cannot afford the latest computers, cars, or private jets.In a capitalist economic system without any restraints, the rich will get richer and the poor remain poor until finally you have a few ultra rich and masses of the poor that will never have a chance to get better. And because cash flow then drops to minimal levels due to the tendency of the rich to hoard their fiances while the poor cannot even spend much money, the capitalist system collapses under its own weight.Karl Marx forsaw this. His mistake was to assume there was no way to prevent this and it was actually a good thing. Wrong! A restrained capitalism in which the government taxes the rich highly to prevent them accumulating too much wealth for themselves and does not tax the poor at all is both just and more productive in the long run. That is why I cringe whenever I heard about President Bush taking credit for his tax cuts for the wealthy helping the economy grow. Such growth will not last forever, of course. I’d rather have economic JUSTICE and STABILITY rather than merely GROWTH.

One thought on “Economic growth vs. economic justice

  1. Since I am not so materialistic that I am obsessed with economic growth entirely for its own sake, higher taxes slowing down the economy doesn’t concern me that much. Besides, government employees are also part of the economy, spending money as much as all other employees. Conservatives act like all the money that is taken as taxes simply “disappears” from the economy, never to be seen again. Of course, that is nonsense. When governments spend money, it is all returned to the economy. As long as the cash flow continues at a high rate, the economy is healthy, whoever or whatever is spending the money. America began an economic boom as a result of World War II, despite the massive growth of its government both before and during the war, and that boom continued for years afterwards.

    What concerns me more is treating all members of the American economy with equality, rather than just have the wealthy retain all the natural advantages for themselves. Economic growth in an unrestrained capitalist economy benefits all social classes, but the most benefits go to those who are already wealthy.

    Capitalist economies naturally go through periods of strength and weakness, resulting from the willingness (or unwillingness) or people to spend money. The best way to prevent the economy from sinking into a depression is to get as many people working as possible. If the most people are working, they will have the most money to spend. Part of the problem is that too many corporate executives in the USA are being paid millions of dollars each year when most of that money should be invested into economic growth that benefits the lower classes as well. Somehow, it strikes me as absurd that CEOs would demand dozens of times more money for their work than the average working Joe. If you cut the pay of the CEOs, your company has more money left over to hire a few more workers, increasing productivity. So, why are CEOs in most American corporations getting paid so damn much? Because in most cases, those short-sighed and selfish pricks can get away with it!

    But not always.

    Who is to say we cannot have both a larger economic pie and a more equal distribution of the pie? Not a totally equal distribution of the pie, but certainly not the absurd extremes of wealth and poverty that can actually weaken a capitalist economy by slowing cash flow. More workers, more money to be made from the resulting labor increase. More money to be made, more PROFIT for the company as a whole. Plus putting more people to work and thus allowing them to spend the money they made from their work benefits other companies, and thus the economy as a whole. It’s a perfect win-win situation for everyone.

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