It seems to me that Capitalism is the best way to distribute goods and services and to encourage the development of new products and to generate new ideas.
But, “free enterprise” or “unfettered capitalism” as the US Republican party wants is a road to disaster. There must be regulation. With proper regulation the Gulf oil disaster would not have happened. With proper regulation the sub-prime mortgage mess would not have happened. There are many, many more examples.
Governments must make laws to regulate all manner of industries and areas. They must also insure that there is sufficient money to enforce the regulations. Regulation without enforcement is useless. Regulation is the way to protect the general population from excessive greed or malfeasance by the Capitalists.
But regulation can also go too far. When excessive regulation is used by small groups on projects that they want to stop then regulation has gone too far. Regulation that takes years to complete and million of dollars can just be a measure ensnarl otherwise good projects.
I think that Social Democracies like those in the Scandanavian countries are very good at making the balance between Capitalism and the good of the people work.
Like many other things it all comes down to balance and how to achieve it.
A Google search for “church membership” unearths some interesting statistics: In the USA, only 15% to 20% of the population are members of a church. These figures are lower in Canada and even lower in Europe.
Given these figures, why are churches exempt from property taxes? Why should the unchurched support the churched through property taxes?
I think that all church property should be taxed. The tax could be phased in over ten years so that the churches could have time to adjust their budgets.
Here are a couple of links to help you explore the matter:
Although I generally agree with the core message of the various “Occupy” happenings, I do not agree with the medium of the message. Building encampments on public property does not seem to me to be the way to deliver the message. It seems that the messages that came out were about the encampment and not about the issues. Besides that, it is a very bad precedent to set. How would Unitarians feel if the anti-abortionists took over the same park? Or if Hell’s Angels took over the space in front of City Hall? Or the Nazis encamped in front of Queens Park?
I think that demonstrations in front of the stock exchange or bank buildings would be more newsworthy and a much better way to promote the message.
The recent debt ceiling crisis in the US would be funny if not so serious. An extra trillion dollars would have solved the problem. The Gulf war cost the US almost a trillion dollars and not one weapon of mass destruction was found. See http://bertc.com/subfour/truth/boneyard.htm for some of those costs. Now, the Republicans want massive cuts to virtually all parts of the budget except the military. The cut I would make would be to cut military expenditures by 10% a year for the next five years.
On news programs you will often hear references to the Fraser Institute and the C. D. Howe Institute. These are both right-wing organizations and their pronouncements are always the same, slash expenditures and lower taxes. This means slash social programs and reduce the taxes paid by the rich. The Fraser Institute hired Mike Harris when he left office as Ontario’s Premier.
An acquaintance, who is a news broadcaster, told me that he received constant messages from the Fraser urging him to use their right-wing stuff. I think that news programs, if they use the stuff at all, should preface the item as being from a right-wing institute. I have complained to stations a couple of times but perhaps more complaints would help.
To just broadcast the statements by these institutes without revealing their slant give them a sense of authenticity which is misleading.
I believe that religion, by and large, is harmful. Just look at all the conflicts and wars waged in the name of religion. Look at the billions of people praying to so-called gods and prophets who were invented hundreds or thousands of years ago to try to explain what, at that time, was not explainable by any other way.
I put my “faith” in science both the hard sciences and the social sciences.
If we really want to learn where we came from, how the universe is constructed, if there is other intelligent life somewhere or many of the other big questions, only science has a chance to answer them.
If we really want to live peaceably without racism, sexism or any other negative isms and to live with harmony with our neighbours, then the social sciences surely should lead the way rather than the writings of thousands of years ago.
I look forward to your comments.
When voting in the Federal Election on May 2nd, please remember that Stephen Harper comes out of the old Reform Party with its ultraconservative ideas and that Jim Flaherty was the Finance Minister in Mike Harris’s disastrous years as Ontario Premier.
Should the Conservatives win a majority, you can be sure that a similar set of policies aimed at destroying social programs in favour of lowering taxes for the rich will happen.
It seems to me that a way to stop a Harper majority is to vote strategically. In ridings with close races, a vote for the NDP can actually be a vote for the Conservatives because it takes away a vote for the Liberals.
By background (my father was a staunch supporter of the CCF) and inclination I am NDP type but, in this election I am going to vote for the Liberals as the best way to stop a Harper majority.