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Matthew Anderson

Matthew Anderson

Posted: August 11, 2010 12:05 PM

Lower Case Capitalism

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Several days ago, National Public Radio broke the biggest story in the last one hundred and fifty years. I turned my radio on late and missed the introduction and some defining information but the topic was chilling! It was a story greater than the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. This story was greater yet than Albert Einstein's offering of his General Theory of Relativity. This new revelation from Harvard directly influences the lives of six plus billion of the world's citizenry and yet there was relative little fanfare about it.

When I telephoned the math department at Harvard University to learn more of their professor's seminal work, no one knew much about it. Indeed after I was passed on and hung up on twice (without even a word) by the same student, my antennae went up.

So I did what any reasonable person would do in our great democracy. I looked to the Fourth Estate for direction. But lo, "Rush to judgment Limbaugh" was absent that day and I just guessed that he was busy earning back the rights to his broadcasts from the oxycontin people. I then thought of Glenn "what the heck" Beck. There is no gunslinger out there faster and easier with the truth, so surely Mr. Beck would have covered this event of such monument. But no dice! So it was on to that cute and ornery little tyke, Sean "insanity" Hannity. He must surely have wanted to beat his big brothers to the scoop of two centuries. But sadly, Seannie was a no-show as well.

Now I knew not to look to Andrew "change you can't believe in" Breitbart nor was "deer in the headlamps" Michele Bachmann, (having not enough knowledge to wonder what I. Q. stands for) a good candidate for answers.

Here I should interject that I did not start out with this being a "hit piece" on the repugnant right. Though those aforementioned all apparently believe that "veracity" is the sister city to Atlantic City, it was my surmise that they would want to grab the helm of conversation on this issue. But none were anyplace to be found in any substantive way. And this was all the more troubling because they are all committed to Capitalism as they vie for support for conservative business ducats.

But seek though I did, I was unable to find anyone who knew much of the National Public Radio discovery I had heard a short time before.

That NPR report shared a Harvard math professor's finding concerning the essential underpinning of Capitalism. He found that the core pillar of "rationality" associated with free markets was not in line with mathematical empiricism. The very pillar that Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" theory has been employed to support is upended with this finding. This new finding suggests that the whole of the Capitalist "surge" is predicated on false assumptions.

If this was an accurate report, then this finding further suggests that as a nation and economic leader in the world, America has been chasing its proverbial tail for more than two hundred years. It should also be noted here that many economists have since Smith's time, distorted his work. Adam Smith was seeking a moral equation to balance market forces and notions that forward profit at the expense of a balanced moral imperative. American Capitalism's march towards profits at the expense of labor distorts Smith's work. So where was the fanfare and reportage about this momentous discovery?

My guess is that this news is not good for the political right. Which is why the news that our system is ill founded has been ignored -- and to the degree that it is addressed, will be pilloried. No matter what Adam Smith may have wanted, Capitalism has grown and emerged as the dominant philosophy of profit oriented business worldwide. That it may have been proven to make no sense is of little consequence to those whose station and profits are etched and based in this distortion of an errant philosophy.

And I apologize for the appearance of being unbalanced. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican and my issues with Republican thought is not merely ideologically based. Indeed Democrats would be the recipients of more of my ire but they are only lukewarm in their abuses of political etiquette and honesty in reporting. Democratic abuses have to do with not seizing the higher ground of their own philosophy in the face of bottomless economic support from big business to the Republican hand-maidens who stock Congress.

So why isn't the Fourth Estate all over this finding? Why aren't the airwaves abuzz with this new-found information? Why are there no debates about its potential and what it portends for America as a society and for the world? Why no discussion of our having been impacted by this two-hundred year old error in perceptions and the policies that have derived? Might the answer have something to do with media having been privatized in America? Could it be that the inertia of a bad system, already in place, sorely and irrevocably jaundices ideological perspectives? I do know that in my attempts to follow up and determine more about these findings, not even the people at NPR could give me more information.

We need to stop "pussyfooting" around with our futures. Acquiescing to power, merely because power is in the driver's seat has little ethical meaning and even less worth. And it carries even less ideological weight when we are driving off a cliff. The term sham derives from the root shameful I believe. If I am correct, then our destruction is downhill all the way. Especially if we don't begin as a consummate nation to take our heads out of that sand that is the negative inertia maintained by the powers that be.