Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Notable and Quotable

Thomas Sowell at his best, distilling fundamental truths that shock politically correct sensibilities:

You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility, and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large. Non-judgmental subsidies of counterproductive lifestyles are treating people as if they were livestock, to be fed and tended by others in a welfare state — and yet expecting them to develop as human beings have developed when facing the challenges of life themselves.


randy said...

Mr. Sowell's comments are fundamental truths, and important coming from an African American. Even though I agree with the statement, I can offer a counter, and think it's fair to do so.

You cannot take any people, of any color, and allow society to evolve such that it continually and seemingly without care diminishes their opportunity to participate in the incredible wealth of our country - primarily through jobs that offer some level of self respect and self support - without ruinous consequences to them and society at large.

As a 1%'er I see it. The incident in Baltimore has me re-evaluating my rationalities.

I don't have the answers... I know we've had a war on poverty since LBJ that has fairly well won in the sense that few are starving, but at a huge social cost. And I don't mean to preach, but damn it sure reads like that! What Mr. Sowell said is true, but there has to be more from all.

Scott Grannis said...

randy: thanks for your thoughtful comment. Have you read the whole article? My sense of what Sowell is saying is that society has tried to do too much to "help" poor communities. Society has also made it too difficult for businesses to create the jobs that would allow the poor to participate in the wealth that many of us enjoy.

"Society" cannot magically create jobs that offer self respect and self support. Good jobs come from good companies, good entrepreneurs, and hard workers. The good stuff is not easy to get, you have to work for it.

As a society there are many things that we could be doing differently (e.g., lower taxes, fewer regulations, less crony capitalism, and yes, less welfare) that would allow businesses to flourish in our urban slums. This I think is Sowell's point.

randy said...

In fact I had not read the whole article, but have now. The topic is on my mind a lot lately. Thank you for posting the commentary... and of course the ongoing financial commentary. Always thought provoking.

Joseph Constable said...

The corruption in the many cities with a 500,000+ population with black cores is massive. These cities might as well be in the Philippines or Venezuela (or Argentina). There is rarely success where there is corruption.

No amount of redistribution will fix this problem.

Benjamin Cole said...

I would like to see free trade zones, or free enterprise zones, in some urban areas. Aside from pollution and other matters of public safety, no regulations.

No minimum wage, no labor laws and no federal taxes. Surely we can experiment with Detroit or Buffalo?

Dave said...

Randy, if you are interested in this topic I would also suggest you read "When Helping Hurts" and "Toxic Charity".

Joseph Constable said...

My boss donated an unseemly amount of money to Bill Clinton when he was president in order to gain access to him. He wanted to persuade him to set up enterprise zones for the apparel industry. He had detailed plans which the White House received.

At a fund raiser he was hoping to speak with Clinton but Al Gore came to him and said while they were very appreciative they were going to let the apparel industry go, that the creative industries, the internet, was the future for our country.

We then proceeded to send 100% of our production to Thailand and China, laying off hundreds of people. None of them were ever going to transform into the creative industries. Three years later I ran into our former warehouse billing man who was black. He made his living selling drugs.

Free trade is a net benefit. This is undisputed. But there are winners and losers and the US lost, in spite of low apparel prices. Bill Clinton got China to join the WTO by giving them a one sided deal in their favor.

The reason the Trans Pacific Partnership is being kept secret is that it too will be one sided. It is necessary to have a one sided deal so it keeps China from becoming so dominate over the other Asian countries. The trade off is employment in the U.S.

Benjamin Cole said...

Joseph---I support free trade. But I remember workers in the Firestone plant in Los Angeles buying houses and boats. The message to Americans is, "Due to free trade and competition, we can't pay wages like before. But it is good for you."

I sometimes ask myself, "Are you going to believe your own eyes, or economic theory?"