This issue asks for reader feedback and suggestions, and responds to some interesting comments made about the last issue.
Lee, what would your dream outcome of the publishing of this newsletter be and what could we as your readers do to help you accomplish this outcome ? I have some guesses, but it would be better coming from you !!!
Lee, I love these posts, and I love that you care enough to devote time and energy to posting! Thank You!
They always provide food for thought. Some are beyond my easy comprehension and require me to dig deeper (a good thing) and all are important subject matters. I fear, that as of yet, you are mostly communicating with people of a similar mindset, and I sincerely wish that your voice could have more impact!
Yet, you never know what/who you might inspire by continuing to put your thoughts out there. Even if people aren’t commenting they may still be hearing you, you are still planting seeds. So, it might be too early to stop, and perhaps instead look for ways to increase your audience. Perhaps adding comments to appropriate twitter feeds with links back to your Substack? Or, better yet, run for office!
Lee, I always put the articles out on social media~
Hi, Lee! I enjoy the articles and I appreciate how much work it must be to produce such detailed, well-thought-out pieces. On my own, I could not research these topics and simmer the data down to anything as concise and understandable as what you write. Thank you, I hope you will continue. (I trust that you're not neglecting your wife, children, and grandchildren in order to produce the articles!)
That sounds like a win-win to me :)
For better or worse, I receive many emails and substack articles often tackling the same or similar topics. I just don't have time to digest everything and your pieces tend to be more lengthy and data-heavy. When I have time to read them, I enjoy them, but I often don't have the bandwidth. Maybe when I'm retired I'll be a better consumer of content!
Hi, Lee. Alas I have not been a regular reader because overwhelmed with so much other stuff. However, I am hoping that after the election, I can get back to being a regular reader!
I haven't come out to play yet (save for one time on Facebook, if I recall correctly), but I expect I will. I'm habitually slow to start commenting in new venues ...
I have shared link to others who might gain ideas and knowledge
Win Win Democracy should be required reading . It is “left”, but arcs toward justice in a way no other publication from the right does, in my experience.
Having said this, it is not clear how any system promoting public welfare can prevent oligarchy. The history of the world seems to depend upon concentrated wealth and battles by the less wealthy to participate in the wealth. This has spawned what appears to me to be a virtually impregnable orthodoxy based on Malthusian economic beliefs: there is not enough to go around, so if you want some better scramble for it.
I grew up that way, being taught the virtue of sharing. But my house is mine, and you stay out and leave me alone unless I invite you in. So just how much am I willing to share?
The reality may be that the world is a bountiful place, providing enough for everyone, but perhaps not as much as we individually would claim. Denial is something a few practice during “fasting days”, or perhaps for members of our family. Most, including me, hate tax season, particularly if we did not pay enough during the quarter or the year. So sharing is not in our DNA, sadly.
The probable reason that we cannot participate in the bountifulness of the world, and in sharing, is because monarchs, oligarchs, and people better at wealth accumulation than others control and distort access to wealth. Our economic theories, grounded in this history, tell us of wage price spirals and inflation, or the reverse and deflation. Living in the middle of these tendencies is difficult, and the moment we try to develop programs to tax and redistribute wealth to the “impoverished”, the wealthy are threatened and try to grab more, sending us into one of those spirals.
So, it seems, the higher we might make the income of the lowest 5th, the higher becomes the income level we call the poverty line. In other words, we are locked into a systemic concept of economic theory that serves the oligarchs and the wealthier.
The system, however, also provides the opportunity for a few to escape their relative wealth deprivation and move into the top 5th or higher, at least for a while. And welfare allows a few to climb back into the middle, at least for a little while. It is more likely that the wealthier will remain in their status longer than those who climb back into the middle.
Without resetting our fundamental belief system, from one of scarcity to one of abundance, it appears that we can experiment with all forms of taxation and income redistribution and receive benefits for a while. The system has enabled the globe to be less hungry, except in disasters, which may increase as a result of global warming, and the likelihood that the giving and distributional components of the system will increasingly fail.
This thinking is reductionist and pessimistic, regrettably. It is difficult to envision or propagate plans and ideas based on abundance theory. Maybe an equitable tax system and a guaranteed annual income of some form would be more equitable and less subject to corruption than current tax loopholes and welfare programs and maybe it would instill a greater acceptance of abundance theory, and for that reason, they make sense and will help more people for a while, but I am skeptical that they will fundamentally diminish oligarchy.