Sunday, July 07, 2013

GDP, "trickle down" and the economy

President Reagan, or one of his speech writers came up with the term "trickle down economics" and a lot of us call that "piss on the people" economics.  The first President Bush called it "voodoo economics".

There isn't a problem with capitalism in this world, there is a problem with selfishness and greed.   Some people will accumulate huge amounts of private resources while other people go without.  Why?

Some people blame evolution and if the theory of evolution is accurate our species has actually bred itself to be selfish.

Study after study has shown that selfishness and the ability to disregard the welfare of others within a group are primary survival skills.  This skill is usually tempered by the fact that homo sapient sapient is a species which uses interdependent social systems to survive.  In other words, survival is based on the ability to be selfish, the ability to disregard the wellbeing of others as long as those others are available to provide survival support until the point at which the survival of "others" influences an individuals own survival.

Essentially the evolutionary theory tells us that we have bred ourselves such that people are going to help others survive as little as is possible without the others dying until the point at which our own survival becomes threatened.  At the point at which our own survival becomes threatened we will not only cease helping others we eat them.

So what do people need to survive?

That is actually an individual assessment.  For example, I have spent weekends living off the land.  Sometimes I eat very well, other times I have not.  I can survive without external support structures like trade.  Others require trade of some sort, the ability to exchange services for goods in some stage of preparedness.  Wheat may come in a sheaf, wheat may be threshed and come as seeds in a bag,  wheat may be ground and come in a bag as flour or wheat may be prepared with other items and be distributed as bread.  There are people comfortable with all of these forms of distribution.

Obviously if someone does not know how to bake bread their survival will require someone to prepare the bread for them.  If someone does not know how to grind flour...etc, etc.

Survival skills are based on an individuals ability to use the available resources.

The Donner Party is a great example, a bunch of people who knew nothing about foraging or hunting were trapped in an area where native foods abounded and yet they did not have the ability to utilize those resources so they killed and ate each other.

This is where the phrase, "its a dog eat dog world" came from.

If we accept that the theory of evolution is accurate then we have evolved to look out after ourselves first and once we have achieved what we individually require for our survival we help others survive by helping them have the minimum that we feel they require to survive.

If we examine income demographics across cultures and across the globe I believe that we discover the most selfish people accumulate the most and that they will generally provide minimal support for those which have the least.

Animals, like people, often fight for resources or social position.

This is obvious where we watch groups of social animals like wolves or geese.  Some group members accumulate more and other group members accept the bare necessities to survive.  Sometimes, during periods of shortage, the least members of the group are ostracized and excluded.  Without support of the group they usually, but not always, die.

Sometimes the ostracized form separate groups and attack other groups.

"hackers", "nerds" or "geeks" are an example of a socially excluded group which has developed resources and uses its abilities or resources in an animalistic way to attack and or exclude/ostracize other groups or other individuals.

Groups of bandits, groups of industrialists, all groups who bond together work in a similar fashion, attempting to establish their authority within the social heirarchy.

The over riding theme is one of the groups or individuals within a group or groups, deciding which members survive and which members are left for dead.
 Studying animals and cultures it becomes obvious that trickle down economics is an animalistic process inherited through the evolutionary process.

Should people default to such animalistic behavior?

We do, there is no doubt about that.  Should we?  Should we instead find ways to exploit human resources more efficiently?

We could.  The old NAACP slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" is a good example of an attempt to find ways to exploit human resources more efficiently.  In fact, working to utilize resources more efficiently is a survival mechanism in itself, one that has not evolved well.  Human beings, Homo Sapient Sapients, are a wasteful species.

When a wolf or a chimpanzee kills another animal it rarely makes fully efficient use of  the carcass.  Rarely do animals other than humans use the skins, the bones or other non-edibles as efficiently as humans do.  Are these animals more or less wasteful of resources than humans?

We could argue that the difference is in the ability to understand the waste and this is my point.

The selfish survival model is no longer evolutionarily required.  With the current resources available we could very easily support four to six billion people very comfortably.  Yet humans continue populating in a selfish desire to increase their survivability by increasing the number of family members to help support each other.

The first step in a non wasteful survival is to reduce the world population to one that can be supported, around 4 billion people.

The second step would be supporting and educating every one of those people to the point where the group can fully exploit the abilities of each of the individuals.

This is unlikely.  The probability is that humans will continue to behave as other animals do, expanding their population to the point where resources no longer support it and establishing a social hierarchy based on some individuals receiving more of the resources than others.

The problem is that, since humans have an expanded intellect,  we know these animalistic methodologies actually reduce the probability that our species will survive.  Yet we continue along the same path because of the selfishness of the group leadership and the basic animal instincts of these leaders to take first for themselves, especially in times of limited resources.

I have no doubt about it, unless the United States and the world begin a process of population control, more efficient utilization of resources including human resources and a more equitable distribution of resources among the global population the global social structure will crash.

How do I know this?  Because the same thing happens among all animals when the leadership becomes too greedy, acquiring too many of the resources for itself and leaving the rest of the group without.

Humans are easily tricked, unlike other animals, by their leadership so it may take longer than other groups of animals.  It will happen just the same though.

And the leaders won't care, they will just find other means to control the group and keep taking the best and the most for themselves, allowing their greed to control what portions of the kill trickle down to the rest of the pack.

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