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Guys and Gals, this narrative shift was so abrupt and jarring that I actually felt it. I felt it and recognized it for what it was - a tidal change of words telling me what to think about China. I was NOT carried by the tied, not even a little bit, not at all.
I didn’t say “aw hell, why the fuck have we been trading with China all these years?!” I said “why do we suddenly want Americans to think it was a bad idea to trade with China all these years?”
I think this Epsilon Theory stuff is working?
Great but sad piece. As a sci-fi nerd, I watched multiple series of Star Trek and became familiar with a race called the Ferengi. The Ferengi culture was built around the concept of wealth accumulation, and they had no scruples about how they accumulated it. When you watch Federation interact with the Ferengi in The Next Generation series (late 1980s-early 1990s) it was not hard to think that the Ferengi were an analog for Japan. During the Deep Space Nine series, thd Ferengi might have been an analog for China. Either way, it was clear that the Federation was the United States, always putting principle above profit.
Today it is abundantly clear that America is the Ferengi Empire. Looking at our conduct toward China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc. over the last several months, it is clear that America is only in it for the money.
IMHO King James LeBron might still be king but a satrap of China. Commissioner Adam Silver has turned into a Commissar. Us? We are now comrades.
“We do so knowing that the meme form bears little resemblance to the simple belief that unstructured, democratic social organization which funnels rewards to risk-takers is a magnificent, proven mechanism to make men and women wealthier and more free.”
I used to think this in earnest. However, today I am not so sure. When I add the qualifier “all” (or even “most”) in front “men and women” it just doesn’t ring quite as true.
Is capitalize (not “Yay, capitalism”) a very efficient and effective way to organize, incentivize, marshal and get things done? Absolutely! Does it ride roughshod over people and things in the process? Absolutely! Are we in such dire need these days that the cost is worth the benefit?
Things that make me go, ?
As always, Rafa, you put your finger on it. I think your final formulation is exactly what has changed in the zeitgeist.
Credit goes to my aspiring poet daughter (24 and doing her MFA at University of South Carolina) who has been patiently explaining to me this point.
The operative words are “funnels rewards to risk-takers”. Is this the form of capitalism that is prevailing in the US now?
The “courage” of taking out a headphone jack comes to mind, when I try to think of the grand risk-takers in this form of capitalism.
I dont think you’re alone in seeing it that way, and I think it’s true that in this environment that a lot of people have produced remarkable wealth in ways that involved very little real risk taking. That’s a lot of what I mean by the meme form of capitalism overwhelming the real principles.
But full hearts, too. We can still want a world in which risk taking and skin in the game really do produce those results. We can still believe it is possible and work for it!
Trump is looking increasingly prescient……the man who had the balls to stand up to the communist bully when the wall street divas were all against the so called ‘trade war’……
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