What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: waxident
Sen. Obama cited new economic forces to explain what appears like a return to an older-style big-government Democratic platform skeptical of market forces. “Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers,” he said, and a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably.
Reading this article reminded me of the old adage “He who does not learn from the mistakes of others is condemned to repeat them.” So it is today, with Barack Obama arguing something that has been argued since the industrial revolution and beyond: that technology hurts the position of workers, that it cheapens labor to the point of potential unemployment, and that it should be heavily regulated to provide and guarantee employment for all human workers.
Such flawed thinking was masterfully trounced by the French statesman Frédéric Bastiat, who fought against protectionism and government interference from Barack Obama’s philosophic predecessors. In one of his essays, he wrote:
“A curse on machines! Every year their increasing power condemns to pauperism millions of workers, taking their jobs away from them, and with their jobs their wages, and with their wages their bread! A curse on machines!
That is the cry rising from ignorant prejudice, and whose echo resounds in the newspapers.
But to curse machines is to curse the human mind!
Bastiat goes on to provide an example as to why machinery (technology) does not hinder the position of workers and the potential for employment, but instead facilitates and enhances it. Obama is foolhardy to subscribe to such an economic philosophy, for he fails to recognize that the vast majority of jobs in the market today exist only because of globalization, technology, and automation. Does he drive a car? Fly in a plane? Use a microphone in his speeches? Eat with metal cutlery? Use email? Wear clothes made in a foreign country? Surely such dripping hypocrisy is not entirely lost upon the masses!
Economic thugs like Barack Obama seem to feel that central planning is the key to economic integrity. With no faith in the market, they think that they have the mental acuity and moral authority to regulate the affairs of their (alleged) peers. Repudiating the current economic choices made by their fellow citizens, they conjure up some notion of a more ideal society—one that they aspire to implement.
Little noted in such economic theories is the principle upon which such policies are implemented: force. (Bastiat had something to say about that as well.) Obama and his team, like their predecessors, will find themselves (eagerly, no doubt) using the vehicle of government to carry out their visions. This must be so, for enterprising citizens would never voluntarily renounce the tools and techniques that allow them to provide a service for others, and food for their family.
Barack Obama would not be where he is today were it not for globalization, technology, and automation. Without these, we would all be isolationist agrarians living off of the land, literally working by the sweat of our brow. The sanctimonious hypocrisy of his economic policy is unfathomable.