Socialist myths about conservatives

JC, our Horatio on the bridge, took on all comers at Club Troppo over this post, “Capitalism is only harmful when bad people abuse it (and other conservative myths)”. The gist:

Promoted by Winning Our Future, a pro-Gingrich super PAC, ‘When Mitt Romney Came to Town’ features a series of poignant interviews with workers who lost their jobs, houses and health insurance coverage when the businesses they worked for were restructured or went under.

This misleading video illustrates what’s wrong with American conservatism today — an unwillingness to talk honestly about how free markets drive technological change and generate wealth. The economist Joseph Schumpeter called it ‘creative destruction’. Economies grow as new technologies replace older ones and industries and jobs move to where work can be done most efficiently.

It is we conservatives who show “an unwillingness to talk honestly about how free markets drive technological change and generate wealth”? Gimme a break. It is free markets that drive tech change and generate wealth. But it is not “tech change” as such, but entrepreneurs, those people, like Mitt Romney, who do the driving and if they succeed, end up very wealthy. To present it as “tech change” means that rubbish like the NBN or batts in the belfry might get counted. This man really needs to get a copy of my book.

Newt Gingrich was hammered from pillar to post by us conservatives for attacking Romney’s role in creating wealth at Bain and Co. No one I can think of said a good word on Gingrich’s behalf, and many said quite a lot of very bad words about this ad made for Gingrich. It is why so soon as we conservatives had actually looked at what Gingrich was saying and what he stood for he disappeared as a serious contender. It was clear that despite all his bluster, he was a “progressive”, that is, a complete nong. It is why he has now disowned the ad.

But meanwhile you folk over there on the non-conservative side, it is time you owned up that it is not some abstract force called tech change but the very direct application of talent and risk by our entrepreneurial class that create the wealth. Can I take the following as a straightforward criticism of Obama and Gillard, looking in each case at the car industry just for starters:

Instead of using tax payers’ money to prop up failing businesses, governments can let uncompetitive businesses fail. Instead of trying to generate jobs by picking winners, governments can leave the selection process to the market. Freeing markets will accelerate the process of creative destruction and create wealth.

Will he say that Obama and Gillard are WRONG? You really wonder how deluded this man is about the United States and indeed about every free market economy everywhere:

If conservatives would confront the reality of markets honestly, then Americans could have a serious debate about how to protect individuals and families while allowing markets to operate as efficiently as possible. It’s a debate that might include issues like health insurance, education, social security and social assistance. And it would mean giving up the pretense that tax cuts and deregulation are the solution to everything.

I know it’s not popular to mention it at the moment, but it was Mitt Romney who introduced Health Care into Massachusetts, and he defends it still. Meanwhile Obama is bankrupting the American economy but I hear not a word of criticism from anyone on the left. It would be nice if there were the occasional recognition by these people of just how much damage Obama has done to all of those families he pretends to care so much about.

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270 Responses to Socialist myths about conservatives

  1. m0nty

    You’re still not explaining what was blocked, Dot. As 26 pointed out, there were a number of commercial networks and BBSes around that time. What exactly was blocked for two to six years? What was the name of the bill?

  2. .

    So you refuse me any quantification but demand evidence? Wanker.

    I don’t know the bill but we know Bush and Clinton deregulated after the fact.

    As 26 pointed out, there were a number of commercial networks and BBSes around that time.

    Yet above you refuse to believe the internet would have happened or that it would have been prohibitively expensive.

    Absurd.

  3. .

    You’re still not explaining what was blocked

    It is common knowledge commercialisation was held back.

    Pretty easy to claim competitive advantage if you prohibit competition.

  4. JC

    Give it up monster. You’re getting destroyed.

  5. .

    The Australian government needed a better network so paid various competing public and private Australian companies to build it, out of that NBN was born.

    The NBN hasn’t been “born” at all.

    They’ve built less than 1% of a seven year project almost three years into it.

    Costs have blown out at least 25%.

    What a joke.

  6. m0nty

    I don’t believe this bill existed, Dot. You’re making it up. You have displayed your wanton ignorance often enough in this thread that the default should be to assume that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    An Internet that grew from commercial BBSes would have been a bunch of silos. Imagine about five different AOLs, massive walled gardens of content with no interoperability and DRM everywhere. The analog hole of the telco sector all over again, what a disaster. That’s what you would have got from them if the public sector hadn’t stepped in.

  7. m0nty

    It is common knowledge commercialisation was held back.

    No, it isn’t. Point it out to me in a historical document about the birth of the Internet. Go!

  8. Peter Patton

    I thought the Internet started in the military? Either way, the Internet that we all use and have used over the past two decades is undoubtedly a product of entrepreneurialism!

  9. twostix

    I never claimed anything of the sort, 26. Steve is right, you are silly as a two bob watch.

    You’re a lying cnut M0nty you claimed that the Internet by definition is government run:

    The Internet is the whole IP stack and the public infrastructure that surrounds it, none of which the private companies had any inkling of doing.

    Truly that and the fact that you try and erase the massive contributions of MIT (who only helped to invent that little inconsequential operating system called UNIX which runs the bulk of heavy lifting machines on the Internet) and the inventor of Packet Switched networks: Paul Baran, in pursuit of your dogmatic unreal belief that it was all government all the time who “created” and runs the Internet is nothing short of disgraceful.

    If you were honest you’d accept Jarrahs summation of the history – which is the most accurate.

    But you’re not honest, not at all, and you’ve become very, very bitter lately.

    Finally your continued bizarre attempts to equivocate the US government funded research into packet switched and redundant networks for military purposes during the cold war and the current Australian government’s state owned public network monopoly are bizarre and not worth disgussing.

  10. .

    No, it isn’t. Point it out to me in a historical document about the birth of the Internet. Go!

    It is widely known commercialisation was held back. The National Science Foundation had to lobby Congress for commercialisation AFTER Gore co authored his “invention of the internet”.

    An Internet that grew from commercial BBSes would have been a bunch of silos.

    Anti commercial quackery.

    That’s what you would have got from them if the public sector hadn’t stepped in.

    Horseshit. Private sectors and walled gardens give us Apple’s market dominance in consumer IT now, Al Gore gave us NERN and dial up.

    The NBN hasn’t been “born” at all.

    They’ve built less than 1% of a seven year project almost three years into it.

    Costs have blown out at least 25%.

    What a joke.

  11. .

    Truly that and the fact that you try and erase the massive contributions of MIT

    monty actually went on to say that beforehand.

    Cognitive dissonance par excellence.

  12. m0nty

    It is widely known commercialisation was held back.

    Translation: I am too lazy to research it. Or, I don’t even believe the rubbish that comes out of my own mouth so I’m not going to bother. Signed, Dot.

  13. .

    Translation: I am too lazy to research it. Or, I don’t even believe the rubbish that comes out of my own mouth so I’m not going to bother. Signed, Dot.

    You fucking idiot.

    Research NSF 93-52 you dummy.

  14. m0nty

    I don’t know the bill but we know Bush and Clinton deregulated after the fact.

    The National Science Foundation had to lobby Congress for commercialisation AFTER Gore co authored his “invention of the internet”.

    Wait, so did this deregulation happen under Bush or did it get delayed until Clinton? You can’t even make your own lies internally consistent. What a loser.

  15. .

    It began under Bush. Gore wasn’t as far sighted as he thought when he co-authored the bill as a Senator and the NSF had to lobby Clinton to commercialise.

    Learn to fucking read, chump.

  16. m0nty

    Commercialisation was not held back, Dot, unless you’re an ideologue who considers any public investment to constitute crowding out. The NSFNET backbone was the backbone of the Internet, pretty much, when the advent of the Web kickstarted demand for Internet services. The NSF allowed commercial operators on it but imposed acceptable usage policies – not censorship, but relating to volume of traffic to prevent free riding. This is normal, prudent resource planning.

    The only problem with NSFNET was that smaller operators didn’t like the cosiness of the larger vendors like IBM and larger ISPs like MCI, as the government was picking winners with its funding for projects a fair bit at the time. This came to a head in the ANS CO+RE controversy, which was about peering, which is the interconnections between networks – a subject I know like the back of my hand, as I worked for a peering organisation for 8 months. This was about commercial negotiations over contract terms between ISPs of different sizes to connect to each other, which has always been fraught with aggro. If you think grousing by smaller ISPs about the unfairness of it all is a terrible scandal, pay some attention to the industry for a while, as that’s pretty much every story no matter what the market conditions. They do like to complain.

    While this spat was important on its own terms, it does not come close to fulfilling your statement that “commercialisation was held back”. There was a transition to commercial networks, but it was never going to happen overnight. The four-year period from 1991 to 1995 when NSFNET during the Web era was still operating was always going to be temporary.

    tl;dr: Dot still has no idea what he’s talking about in this area.

  17. .

    Commercialisation was held back. Stop bullshitting us, monty. Commercial activity was once illegal. The US Government insisted that because it’s part of the network was there first – it could/should regulate the whole thing – you could be connected by a private network but the G men insisted you were misappropriating their funds and bandwidth.

    Furthermore, e Commerce was really born when netscape utilised ssl. This innovation did not come from Government.

  18. m0nty

    The NSFNET was created for universities and academic institutions for the purposes of research and education, paid for by the taxpayers of America. It was not so egregious to regulate its use to prevent free riding for commercial purposes. It became clear quickly after the advent of the Web and the explosion of demand that this situation was untenable, of course, which is why the NSF transitioned to the NAP model. You can argue the toss whether it took too long, but the transition started just after the Web took off.

    I should think that the fact that the controversy spanned the administrations of Reagan, Bush I and Clinton would tell you that this was not a leftist conspiracy.

  19. wreckage

    feudal, soviet-style or even hunter-gatherer economies?

    None of those are trade-oriented, and the fuedal isn’t even production-oriented. Limits on “planning” mean that central authorities did not have control of production decisions, so feudal and hunter-gatherer slip in there, but I consider the Soviet to be a central authority. We can quibble on that, if you like, but overall I think you’ve misread my intent.

    My replies to you assume you work from Marxist assumptions, as I understand them; they’re implicit in much of your argument. My background is in business, specifically farming and agribusiness, and lifelong. I think we can understand each other better if we acknowledge there are fundamental differences in our outlooks, right down to word definitions.

    I have used the word “Capitalist” to mean trade-oriented, production-oriented, (ie “open”) economies where production decisions are largely decentralized and almost exclusively profit-motivated.

    It is very frequently used as such, which I agree is very broad, whereas it implies (and means to some) a society driven by maximising capital gains by whatever means present; I’d tend to call that mercantilism or crony capitalism depending on the mechanisms used to create and cement legislative advantage.

    It is my opinion that placing down an arbitrary line before which there was no capitalism is like arguing that before a certain time there were no collectives. Perhaps specific academic models do so; I suspect they are ahistorical.

  20. .

    I should think that the fact that the controversy spanned the administrations of Reagan, Bush I and Clinton would tell you that this was not a leftist conspiracy.

    No one ever said that. It’s just how the Government works. We disagree with you that it is efficient or innovative.

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