Friday, November 28, 2008

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Go to the ant, thou sluggard (proverbs 6:6)

An ant has thousands of sisters, one mother, no husband and no children. It's not the best comparison, but you get the idea.

We forget sometimes that the point of our economic system is to provide for the public good. Making money is just a side-benefit. If making money were the sole objective we'd allow the most profitable ventures like theft, extortion, prostitution and the like.

Like the ant colony, the vast majority of Americans need a daily task to provide for themselves and for the greater good of the colony. We've chosen capitalism as the model for our economy because, unlike the ant, we're fearful creatures, and we feel safest when we have at least the opportunity to have a little more than our neighbor.

Left to its own devices, a completely free market would resolve all the problems in our current economy, but it would cause untold havoc in the process. We put restraints on the free market because people need stability and security and those are things a completely unfettered economy can't provide.

In our efforts to free the markets over the last thirty years, the top ten percent of us have seen unprecedented gains in income while the middle class have been losing ground when adjusted for inflation. When the overseers make more and more money while the workers make less and less, that's a recipe for slavery, which is where we were headed.

In some ways, this current economic crisis was a needed thing. It's caused us to take a much needed sober look at what we were doing and gives us the chance to make corrections. America, and all it's ideals and convictions, works best when the middle class is the strongest. We have an opportunity now to re-dedicate ourselves to this objective. I say we take it.

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