Role of Government

A major point of disagreement among citizens in the USA is the degree to which government should be  involved in people’s lives. Should government try to control the economy?  Some want free markets.  Others want government regulations, but in the absence of a direct democracy, the most powerful people end up making the regulations. Some…

What, exactly, is “Capitalism,” and “Ownership”?

Dictionaries usually define “capitalism” as a political/economic system in which individuals or corporations are said to have the right to “own” things and therefore get to decide pricing, production and distribution of goods produced or services rendered. There are three different kinds of ownership: 1. The right to the fruits of one’s own labor  2….

End the Federal Reserve

In 1913, the U.S. Treasury gave our country’s sovereign right to create currency to the Federal Reserve Bank (which is essentially a private commercial entity with little to no oversight from Congress). Prior to 1913, the Federal government had created money itself. These were called Greenbacks. The value of a Greenback fell dramatically during and…

Three Pillars of Society: Business, State and Charity

Much of our political discourse is about whether the government or the free market should control the basic structures of society.  Each has its role but there are three pillars of society, whose roles should be kept separate: 1. For-profit 2. Government 3. Non-profit The for-profit community provides all those goods and services that are…

What, exactly, is “Socialism”?

Dictionary definitions of “Socialism” don’t seem to fit the way it’s often used. For example Merriam Webster tells us Socialism is “collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods,” which sounds a lot like Communism.  The term “Socialism” is most often used to describe government support for and…

Universal Basic Income

Many politicians and mainstream news outlets are telling us that our modern digital and post-industrial economy has reduced or transformed whole classes of jobs. With online shopping, retail sales jobs are disappearing; robots are replacing factory workers, and industrial farming has replaced field laborers. In response, some countries, such as Finland and Netherlands, are testing…

Public Banking

A public bank is essentially a nonprofit organization, owned by a local, state or federal government that manages its own checking/savings accounts. The Bank of North Dakota, which has been in operation since 1919 with great success, deposits all tax and fee revenue in the state bank and uses it to provide low-cost student loans,…

Free Market

Some of the most well known free market philosophers are  Adam Smith,  F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman.  Proponents of free markets believe that individuals (should) make their own decisions about what to buy and where to work.  When this freedom/right is exercised, the market responds to supply and demand by valuing goods and labor…

Minimum Wage

In the US, while the cost of living per year has increased since 1970, the average income has not increased.  This means that a lot of people are not earning a living wage, about 30% of non-self-employed workers over eighteen, according to the Pew Research Center. Behind an increase in the number of people working…

Anti-Monopoly Laws

Anti-Trust Laws were conceived to break up big monopolies in order to allow fair competition between similar companies and guarantee consumers fair prices and quality products.   This assumes that competition leads to best practices and encourages innovation. Some claim that anti-trust laws are used mainly by smaller businesses suing larger more competitive businesses, in…

Utilities

Utility companies provide electricity, cable Internet, cell service and natural gas. The free market may be less capable of providing utilities because generally only one utility company can operate in each area, and/or because governments often regulate or subsidize the construction of lines and access, and this benefit should not go to any private corporation. …

Hospital and emergency care

No civilized society allows people to die just because they don’t have money for medical care. The United States is the only developed country without a universal health care system and where medical bankruptcy is a problem. Even people covered by insurance may suffer bankruptcy when insurance covers only 80% of care that runs into…