Common Problems with the Commons   Leave a comment

From the previously posted article —

“The old world is one of concentrated economic power that hoards wealth; that creates corrupted and hierarchical governance to serve and further concentrate wealth through exploitation of people and the planet. People are experiencing the ravages of this global neoliberal economy in which the market reigns supreme and everything is a profit center, no matter the human and environmental costs.

We are at a crossroads in the global economic order. If not stopped, the two massive “trade” agreements under negotiation at present, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (known as TAFTA), will cement this globalized neoliberal market economy through greater deregulation, profit protection and an extra-judicial trade tribunal in which corporations can sue sovereign nations if their laws interfere with profits.”

Even a broken watch is right twice a day and the writer of this article makes certain points that are worth looking at and even agreeing with them … while at the same time jumping to conclusions that leave holes you could fly a C130 through.

The world as we live in it today does “concentrate economic power through hoarding wealth and does create corrupted and hierarchical governance to serve and further concentrate wealth through exploitation of people and the planet.”

The market does not reign supreme, however. Most of the world has some form of mixed economy where government picks favorites among companies and reaps the benefits of cozying up to some capitalists at the expense of other capitalists. In socialist countries, companies that can afford to do business with politicians are even more blessed than in countries with a more capitalistic bent. You can tell the countries where a “profit center” no longer exists because that country’s capitalists are looking for markets and basing operations in other countries. Hence the current sorry state of the United States’ economy.

I agree we’re “at a crossroads in the global economic order” and that the two “trade” agreements are a danger to all of us – not through greater deregulation, but definitely through the trade tribunal and increasing regulation from outside sovereign borders.

If you want to see what the global economy might look like under this scheme, take a look at Alaska. Yes, we have great mineral and petroleum wealth, held in common for the people of Alaska. Most of it is untapped and attempts to tap it more often end in either disappointment or windfall profit taxes to the federal government than in benefit to the Alaska people.  In the 50 years of Alaska Statehood, the federal government has been the recipient of nearly half of all revenues generated through the sale of our oil wealth. Petroleum companies pay taxes on their profits and Alaskans pay income tax not only on what we earn at our jobs (which are oil-dependent), but on the Permanent Fund Dividend. Our 21-year-old daughter and our 14-year-old son have owed income tax every year of their lives since they were born.

I’m going to explore what the common “ownership” of land means to Alaskans and try to guess at what private ownership might mean, both positive and negative. As the world rushes headlong toward this socialist utopia, it behooves us to look at where it actually exists in a democratic republic and to ask ourselves — is this a good idea or a very bad idea or … hey, here’s a thought — maybe it’s a well-intended idea that has a lot of unintended consequences.

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