Re: columbia -- what really happened
Brooks R. Robinson wrote:
| How the US can justify spending so much money on Space while 33 million US
| citizens live below the poverty line amazes me.
The ideology of capitalism puts people with money into power. Benevolent as
the may want to be, power corrupts, and they are corrupted by power. From
this point of view, the impoverished only have themselves to blame. The
impoverished should go get jobs or an education, then jobs. It does not
occur to those in power to aid in education, but to cut it. Those in power
are, to a certain extent, educated and no longer require education. It's
their money and they can spend it how they choose (after all it is
capitalism). There are potential economies of scale and new opportunities
to make money to be had from space. What better way than to get to those
potentials than by getting your government (which you control) to pay you to
get to do it! Space shuttles are expensive and you can share the burden
with your fellow man. I can suck those tax dollars into my own coffers and
still get the space research I desire. It's a win win situation.
Why oh why do I have to put up with nonsense like this? Why is it that
otherwise intelligent people seem to fall into making these kinds of
tirades? I see and hear it on campus and now I see it cropping up here.
You are making a classic mistake and equating capitalism with
corporatism. Wealth is created according to the capitalist ideology
you're so fond of trashing through the saving of a part of the income
and investing it; both individuals and firms can engage in this wealth
creation through capital accumulation. Corporatism on the other hand is
essentially a method of transfering existing wealth through the power of
the state. At present, corporations, unions and NGOs, not to mention
lawyers, all engage in this kind of shakedown of the taxpayer (I don't
mean all corps, unions or NGOs, but a fair number -- Debian and other
GNU organizations for example don't and I hope they never do as the
corruption goes both ways). In centuries past it was the church (the
original corporation) that was the main beneficiary. It is for this
reason that most bone fide capitalist ideologues like to see state power
and freedom of action reduced because if the state has no power to
transfer wealth around then vested and monied interests will have little
or no incentive to control and corrupt it.
As hard as they try, putting a socialist blanket over capitalism will never
work. There will be class warfare sooner or later, the question is when.
The only thing those of us stuck somewhere in the middle can hope for, is
that the research paid for by our government accidentally stumbles upon that
magic energy formula, bringing us into the Stak Trek economy.
You do realize that a Star Trek economy is not really possible? I like
Star Trek as much as the next geek but they really got that aspect
wrong. They can get away with it aboard the Enterprise because it is a
military ship and the chain of command determines how things get done.
But there is scant attention paid to how the rest of the civilian, free
and democratic Federation functions. Who builds all these ships? Why?
Why not something else? Where do the materials come from? All ignored,
because it can't work.
All too apparent
David P. James
4th Year Economics Student
The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.
-Dr. Leonard McCoy, Star Trek IV