Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Capital-ish and Social-ish

Suggest reforming a shitty health care system and you're called a socialist. Suggest that a private business can create public value and you're called a capitalist.

This is bothersome.

To begin with, even if I espoused an unfettered free-market ideology - which those that call me a socialist know I do not - I still couldn't be a capitalist. A capitalist is someone who owns capital. Not me.

Beyond this, while it's easy to see the socialish aspect of an idea or policy, or the capitalish aspect - and I believe it's worthwhile to note these aspects and include them in any worthwhile discussion of an idea or policy - it seems truest to me that most of the time there's a bit of both. It's like anima and animus. Hemingway contains both masculine and feminine energy. The proportions change from individual to individual and for one individual over time, but there's a little of both in everyone.

In examining policies I would like to simultaenously (1) not jump to any foregone conclusions based on the ishness of a policy, but (2) DO consider the complexities over time that said ishness implies. In other words, if a policy has a socialish aspect, let's consider what that might do to the motivation of the policy beneficiaries (for example). Let's consider it IN CONTEXT. I'm a big fan of this in-context thing. And, contrary to the presumptions of a lot of people, I don't think it's impossible to think in context while also considering the long-term implications and theoretical complexities of the thing you're thinking about. As a matter of fact, I think it's necessary.

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