There’s No Such Thing As A “Free Market”

The debates leading up to the election this year will no doubt invoke the “American value” of capitalism. But what, exactly, does that mean? And what should it mean?

I’m no economist, but I took a few economics courses while earning an undergraduate business degree. Growing up in a capitalist society, I thought I understood the basic concepts underlying capitalism — free markets, competitive advantage, and so forth.

Then I actually read The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, the founding work that described what we call capitalism in the first place. That was a game changer.

We’re all probably familiar with Smith’s ideas at some level.

The market regulates itself, as each of us operates based on our own self-interest. Businesses try to earn profits, and consumers try to meet their needs at the best prices. The market ensures that the demand of consumers is met with supply from business.

The government’s job, the doctrinaire thinking goes, is to get the heck out of the way. It doesn’t set prices or quotas. It just lets the market function.

Adam Smith cast this arrangement in glowing terms in 1776. He was describing England during the Industrial Revolution. He thought it was amazing that millions of individual actors, each operating based on self-interest, could so efficiently revolutionize society without any central planning at all.

Only, he was wrong…

There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”

Hillary Clinton: A Threat To All Humanity

Clinton Cash

The War In Afghanistan Is A Good Thing (If You’re A Drug-Dealer)

The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are more intertwined than that media and our elected officials would like us to think.

And this became full front and center when the U.S.-led global crusades overlapped in Afghanistan, leaving in their wake a legacy of death, addiction and government corruption tainting Afghan and American soil.

In the U.S., the War in Afghanistan is among the major contributing factors to the country’s devastating heroin epidemic.

Over 10,000 people in America died of heroin-related overdoses in 2014 alone– an epidemic fuelled partly by the low cost and availability of one of the world’s most addictive, and most deadly, drugs.

Despite our promises to eradicate the black market, the U.S. actually enables the illegal drug trade. As journalist Abby Martin writes, the U.S. government has had a long history of facilitating the global drug trade: In the 1950s, it allowed opium to be moved, processed and trafficked throughout the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia while it trained Taiwanese troops to fight Communist China. In the 80s, the CIA provided logistical and financial support to anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua who were also known international drug traffickers.

Since the DEA got the boot from the Bolivian government in 2008, cocaine production in that country has steadily fallen year after year.

And in 2012, a Mexican government official claimed that rather than fighting drug traffickers, youthe CIA and other international security forces are actually trying to “manage the drug trade.”

“It’s like pest control companies, they only control,” Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, the Chihuahua spokesman, told Al Jazeera. If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”…

http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_War_In_Afghanistan_Is_A_Good_Thing_%28If_You%27re_A_Drug-Dealer%29/52914/0/38/38/Y/M.html

We May Be At A Greater Risk Of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During The Cold War

“Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry, “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

A former U.S. defense secretary from 1994 to 1997, Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 years. And his book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, is a sober read. It’s also a powerful counterpoint to NATO’s current European strategy, which envisions nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war: The purpose of nukes “is to prevent major war, not to wage wars,” argues the Alliance’s magazine, NATO Review.

But as Perry points out, it’s only by chance that the world has avoided a nuclear war — sometimes by nothing more than dumb luck — and, rather than enhancing our security, nukes “now endanger it.”

The 1962 Cuban missile crisis is generally represented as a dangerous standoff resolved by sober diplomacy. In fact, it was a single man — Russian submarine commander Vasili Arkhipov — who countermanded orders to launch a nuclear torpedo at an American destroyer that could have set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States.

There were numerous other incidents that brought the world to the brink. On a quiet morning in November 1979, a NORAD computer reported a full-scale Russian sneak attack with land and sea-based missiles, which led to scrambling U.S. bombers and alerting U.S. missile silos to prepare to launch. But it turned out there was no Soviet attack — just an errant test tape.

Lest anyone think the incident was an anomaly, a little more than six months later NORAD computers erroneously announced that Soviet submarines had launched 220 missiles at the United States. This time the cause was a defective chip that cost 49 cents — again resulting in scrambling interceptors and putting the silos on alert…

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45171.htm