Thursday, November 25, 2010

John Stossel: Privatization created Thanksgiving...Oh Brother!

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

John Stossel is out there (I heard him on Fox yesterday) with a story about the experiences of the Puritan colonists who established the basis for our Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US. I think I've heard Rush Limbaugh provide a similar account some years ago on his radio show. This is an excerpt from a recent column Stossel wrote at the link above that parrots the Limbaugh thing.

"So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented," wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, (I) (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

Then Stossel jumps to the conclusion:

In other words, the people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.

I do not agree with his characterization of the apparent re-organization of the small agricultural micro-economy of that time, and certainly not for the reasons he cites. If you read the words of Bradford, he said:

1. "it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year",
2. (they) "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could"

This could otherwise be interpreted that something happened to cause a tremendous collapse in agricultural output, and then the colonists wisely came together as a community to put together a game plan to get through this potentially lethal environment.

Systems of integrated agriculture normally involve the growing of feedstocks and husbandry of livestocks and perhaps this system had failed. This could have easily been due to non-organizational or non-distributional reasons such as disease or drought or both. It would be at that point that a rational community would come together and quickly change over to a subsistence type of agriculture when faced with the real possibility of death by starvation. That is, the normal more complicated approach would have to quickly be abandoned in favor of everybody growing a simple crop that would ensure subsistence for the community, here they apparently chose corn as the crop that could provide that sustenance with the highest probability.

Bradford continues: "they should set corn every man for his own particular", "And so assigned to every family a parcel of land". Read these words; this is a very directive course of action, the fathers of the community organized and directed a course of action to ensure survival (oh no! big government!). Additional seed corn was distributed ("they set corn for every man") and tracts of land were assigned for the families to work. There is no disclosure of any assignment of rights to private property, or any distributional issues or the political things that Stossel forces into this.

It seems to me that they were faced with the real prospect of death by famine in some months, and knew that they had to go back to a subsistence type of farming that would lead to the most amount of food in the shortest amount of time with the least risk, and the 'government' of the time directed this. End of story.

Let's continue with the historic account: "This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."

Yes "it", that is, execution of the plan to combat the prospect of death by starvation would probably have "made all hands very industrious". It would me anyway!

Think about it, to believe the Stossel and Limbaugh account, you have to believe that the Puritans only wanted to eat 'corn on the cob', this is absurd and non-insightful, and their political observations are deceptive.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all and let's all be thankful for the daily gifts He truly provides!

18 comments:

hiljaa said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApVSOZbJpng

Economic Illiterate Peter Schiff Says 'No US Productivity Gains' Over Past 2 Decades

This is much more idiotic than anything Stossel said in his show.

hiljaa said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHbUxx63UH8

'Austrian Economist' Peter Schiff Doesn't Know US Is World's Largest Manufacturer!

CONVERSATION WITH PETER SCHIFF RE. HIS IGNORANCE - THE "REVERED" ONE SHOWING HIS INFALLIBLE LOGIC YET AGAIN..

@SchiffReport - 'Austrian Economist' Peter Schiff Doesn't Know US Is World's Largest Manufacturer!

SchiffReport - We make mainly weapons, aircraft, and machines. We do not make all the consumer merchandise sold on black Friday. That is why we run a 1/2 trillion annual trade deficit.

@SchiffReport - Oh, so you think its great to make widgets and plastic Ken dolls for Rmb2,000 (US$250) per month? Is that what you are proposing so we can cut the budget deficit - a return to low value, low cost manufacturing?

Also please address the more pertinent question, which is why you are unaware (as amply demonstrated in the video clip) that the US is the largest manufacturer in the world, and has been for many many years.

AGAIN, NO REPLY WHATSOEVER - AND THIS TIME, THE MASTER OF IGNORANCE ALSO LIMITED THE OP'S POSTING RIGHTS.

PETER, GREAT DEFENSE OF YOUR ARGUMENT!

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

DoggeyStyleMikey said...

What artificial lending standards are you talking about?!?!?!!?!?

welfarewarfare state said...

The early pilgrims did practice collective farming. They had the same results as every other group of people that has tried collective farming in world history: epic failure.

BTW, Mr. Stossel wasn't just basing his claim on that one quote. There is a great deal of evidience that the fist pilgrims were farming collectivists. These people had the good sense to discover that private property, trade, and individual initiative are crucial components of wealth creation. When some people in the community had a poor crop, they relied on private charity. This worked much better than the primitive socialism that Mr. Norman advocates.

Matt Franko said...

welfare,

Can I use your time machine some weekend?

googleheim said...

Stossel is wrong. From looking around today, thanksgiving is about forgetting about those Native American Indians who made it all possible.

Privatization did not create the technology for the food or living off the land.

That was a matter of ripping it off from the Indians, and nobody really gives thanks to them any more.

Capitalism was born in the heavily socialist monestery systems ( Catholic ) that were in Europe. This point was detailed and punctuated by David Brooks.

Capitalism is a child of Socialized contracts of agreement.

Also, King Arthur was a Catholic and not a protestant. Therefore, he was not of the Austrian School of economics.

ALL HAIL ARTHUR.

StaticNoise said...

OK, so what Stossel and Limbaugh said was a stretch. Trying to view every single cultural and economic thing through the lens of socialism is bad capitalism is good becomes contrite and mind numbing. But is this site any different? Schiff, Fox News (in general) and every Republican are ignorant morons who couldn't find their ass with both hands.

Actually I find the economic theories discussed here to be fascinating, even if can't easily determine if they're any more valid than the "other side". I am sure, however, that an ever more powerful central government is bound to be a bad thing and that's what Limbaugh and Stossel (and even Fox News in their own clumsy way) is really trying to convey.

Marty Steinberg said...

But is this site any different?

Yes, this site has all the 7 smart people in the U.S blogging or commenting. Rest of the world is stupid and wrong, therefore they should listen to the experts here.

welfarewarfare state said...

Matt,

No you can't borrow my time machine. I enjoy it too much. Just the other day I went back in time to 2007 where I heard Mike Norman (and other MMT'ers) claim that nothing was wrong with the housing market. I may let you guys borrow it in 2012 when the bond market implodes/interest rates explode so you guys can go back to 2010 and still claim those things could never happen.

googleheim,

You are trying to claim that capitalism came out socialism, I think? The pilgrim's social contract was a collectivist system for a time until it failed repeatedly. A social contract doesn't mean that state collectivism has to exist does it? A social contract would be a constitution. Individual contracts between employers and employees or renters and landlords are not social contracts; they are individual contracts between the interested parties. My car loan isn't a social contract for instance.

Matt Franko said...

Welfare,
"borrow it in 2012 when the bond market implodes/interest rates explode so you guys can go back to 2010 and still claim those things could never happen"

I'm not saying that, to the contrary, if the Fed senses in any way what THEY perceive to be so-called 'inflation', then they wll indeed raise rates and you will be correct. Furthermore, they will think they are putting on the brakes and will instead be hitting the accelerator and will yes indeed probably crush the bonds... but there is a long way to go to get there imo as austerity is being implemented globally....

welfarewarfare state said...

Matt,

The Fed is purposefully creating price inflation. And it isn't "so-called" price inflation when real consumer price increases are rising at a double digit clip next year. They won't try to soak up all of the "excess liquidity" at that point because it will mean large financial instiutions will fail among other things. They are already caught between a rock and a hard place. Since the federal government seems hell-bent on current spending levels, the Fed will think they have no other choice but to monetize debt and create price inflation.

I am happy to see that at least one other person on this site realizes that the bond market will implode.

Matt Franko said...

"the Fed will think they have no other choice but to monetize debt "

How would that be different from what they are already doing in QE2?

Mike Norman said...

We have private farming in the U.S. and produce a great abundance of food, yet millions of people go hungry each year.

We have a vibrant private sector and economy where corporations reap huge profits, yet many are without jobs and income.

Marty Steinberg said...

We have private farming in the U.S. and produce a great abundance of food, yet millions of people go hungry each year.

We have a vibrant private sector and economy where corporations reap huge profits, yet many are without jobs and income.


You mean millions go hungry in the U.S? Where do you get those stats from? In fact, biggest health problem of the poor in the U.S is obesity and diabetes, a problem of abundance of calories - arguably a better problem than dying of hunger.

You could state the same thing differently - Government at all levels combined, including Fed, State & local, is more than 44% of GDP, and yet millions are without Jobs. Same goes for hunger, assuming its true.

Mike Norman said...

Marty,

Are you serious?

Marty Steinberg said...

Mike,

Yes.

Matt Franko said...

Marty,

Better report this site to the FBI anti-fraud division then, as you can see they are taking donations!

Marty Steinberg said...

Food INSECURITY. LOL