Should the United States be zero-sum or mutually beneficial?
Most games are zero-sum. Baseball, football, basketball, gin rummy, etc. If you win, I lose, so I must do everything possible not only to win, but also to make sure you lose.
Is that the type of United States of which you would be proud and in which you wish to live?
Or would you prefer a mutually beneficial United States?
Would you prefer a nation in which my winning supports your winning?
Most families are mutually beneficial. The traditional TV family of father works, mother cooks, children help out and learn to become good people, is an example of mutual benefit.
Two companies competing for the same business are zero sum.
But what about a company and its employees? The best ones are mutually beneficial. When the companies prosper, the employees prosper.
The worst companies are zero-sum, with the employees trying to get the most and the companies trying to give the least.
I remember being a Chicago Bulls basketball fan during the era of perhaps the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. Externally, they were zero-sum. When they won, the other team lost.
But internally, the team and Jordan were smart enough to realize that great as he was, Jordon couldn’t do it alone. So he took a lower salary than he otherwise could command, so there would be enough money to pay Scottie Pippin, Dennis Rodman, et al.
Together they won six championships.
The team owners set a salary ceiling, so that the richest owner wouldn’t acquire all the best players. But as greedy as the owners were, they realized that they had to leave enough to motivate enough great players, so fans would be attracted.
As a result, the owners became rich, and so did the players.
The very concept of the United States came with the realization that to acquire the benefits of mutual protection, each state had to give up some of its sovereignty to a central government. The Constitution itself is a result of compromise, and our glorious, democratic world comes from mutual benefit.
The short-sighted are selfish, and they refuse to compromise. The far-sighted understand the power of compromise, and realize that over the long run, giving a little to get a little becomes what these days is known as a “win-win.”
Today, that compromise, win-win, mutually beneficial idea has been lost, especially by the Republican party.
This is a party, led by a psychopathic, short-sighted philosophy. It has become embedded with the notion that anything the Democrats wish to do must be fought, lest the Democrats receive credit, regardless of the benefits to the United States as a whole.
This is a party whose politicians 100% voted against the $1.9 million dollar stimulus package despite the fact that it contains many things Republican constituents want and need.
The problem: It was a package put forth by Democrats, and heaven forbid that “enemy” party receive voter goodwill, despite the fact that the majority of Republican voters support the bill.
This is a party that puts loyalty to Donald Trump above loyalty to America, to its middle-class, or to its poor.
The idea that a politician should represent his/her constituents is largely gone. The idea that a politician should follow his/her conscience and do the right thing is totally gone.
One must admire the morality of the Democrats who seriously consider the impeachment of a governor from their own party, because he may have been too flirtatious with young women, and because he lied about COVID in nursing homes.
Can you imagine the Republicans wanting to impeach a politician who has admitted to grabbing women “by their p*ssies, and whose ongoing lies helped kill 500,000+ Americans?
Today, there are only two questions in American politics:
- Will it help our side win?
- Will it help the other side lose?
Lying is fine. Exaggeration, misleading, and defrauding are expected. If one group of voters leans toward the other side, try to cheat them out of their vote.
And of course, the “I-didn’t-lose;-I-was-cheated divisiveness is an admired “win-at-all-costs” ploy.
As for “What’s-best-for-America,” even the electorate believes that’s a loser’s game. The voters have become accustomed to the narrow-minded, massively unpatriotic notion of “Me first; to-hell-with-everyone-else.”
Patriotism has devolved to waving a flag, chanting “USA, USA” and vilifying half of Americans.
And as for that 100% who voted against the stimulus packages, and still denounce it because some of the money goes to something they don’t like, really? Really 100%?
Are you so willing to sink the opposition and see the entire country sink into poverty, that you cannot find it within your hearts and minds to allot some dollars to the “blue” states you despise?
Do you really hate the blacks and Mexicans so much that you feel they should be disenfranchised during the next election, just to make sure they have no voice in the future?
Do you really enjoy the ranting misstatements of an anti-unity, alienating little twerp like Tucker Carlson, who would slam Mother Theresa and your mother, if he thought they were Democrats?
If so, then I thank God you were not among the ones who created the United States and our Constitution, else we would be a balkanized little bunch of fiefdoms, powerless and laughed at by the world.
Today, the self-proclaimed “patriots” of some states, wish to leave the union so they can wave the Confederate flag above their own miserable tribes, perhaps to re-install slavery and erect statues to traitors.
It was not always thus. There have been times, even within the past few decades, when politicians of opposing political parties, negotiated “what-is-best-for-America.”
Even recently, President Biden invited ten Republicans to the White House to discuss the stimulus package.
Well, that was a bloody waste of time. The Republicans wanted the infinitely rich federal government to spend less so the poor and middle-classes could receive less.
Even after the Dems compromised (fruitlessly, as it turns out) by cutting back on payments, still 100% of Republicans could find nothing to compromise about.
And horrors, the monetarily non-sovereign, on-the-edge-of-insolvency “blue” states will receive money to help support their poor urban areas that already send more dollars to the federal government than they receive.
I have news for you politicians and voters: The “winner-take-all, I-win, you-lose” attitude has not “made America great again.” Instead, it greatly has weakened the United States and turned us into the Divided States of America.
Once we were respected and admired. Today, we are scorned.
To paraphrase the Margueritaville song:
You Republicans claim
The Dems are to blame,
But you know,
It’s your own damn fault.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
- Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
- Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all or a reverse income tax
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
10 thoughts on “Should the United States be zero-sum or mutually beneficial?”
doesn’t the same apply globally?
hence the issues of fairness
and wouldn’t it be true that USA got greedy making all that money and also not having mechanisms that returned a portion of the resold (Chinese stuff, etc) at higher profits back to the Producers: be they Africa, etc [and long ago, China].
i liked your basketball example of both sets in the team winning more by sharing more fairly
The competitive nature of the human species (aka “greed”) has survival benefits.
Consider wars. They are both destructive and constructive. Lives and property are lost, but wars also impel progress in sciences and morality.
Short term, a cooperative life in Eden would be far more pleasant, but would it get us to the stars?
This is the question I did not address in the post: “A thousand years from now, would humanity have been better off following a zero-sum attitude or a mutually-beneficial attitude?”
Surely, the mutually-beneficial attitude will be more pleasant and less self-destructive.
But evolution doesn’t care about that. Evolution works by trial and error, so for evolution to progress, there must be error.
Evolution cares only about what works and doesn’t work in the near term, and it is in the near term that we all live.
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Found an insightful video by Author/Historian Timothy Snyder that was recorded back in November 2017, which talks about the concept of Sadopopulism. Characteristics of Sadopopulism include:
1) Leaders do not govern in the interests of own electorate
2) Remove the future by looping back to the past. Thus of course you don’t just make America great, but make America great AGAIN….
3) Teaching your ‘people’ and voters that they are better than others
4) You don’t have any proper policies or when you do it is in favor of regressive taxation, or denying benefits to “underserving” populations
5) Objective is to inflict pain on the electorate that can create a resource of anxiety that can be directed against political enemies
6) Government cannot help (i.e. afford) – life is full of pain, but at least you will be better off than (insert villain du jour here – Blacks, Mexican, Muslim, LGBT, etc) – form of Gap psychology
7) Do not offer policies but reinforce grievances and simply offer insults to problems
8) Don’t offer an obvious future path forward, keep recycling the past
It would seem that thanks to Trumpism, the Republican party is now the permanent party of Sadopopulism.
indeed, sorry it took so long to reply
If congressional Republicans keep voting in lock-step to deny benefits to their own constituents, won’t that only reduce their chances of winning seats in the future? Who’d vote for someone that denies them money? There is a limit to stupidity and narrowmindedness, you’d think.
Yes, you’d think, but facts are not how cults work. For those in a cult, sacrifice is a feature, not a bug.
Given the video link above it is not above who gets the most benefits, but who gets to inflict the most pain on the libs.
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
Given the supremacy of US-gov and US-UK finance, [vast wealth discrepancy] surely the “sole Purpose” should be amended [as global ultra-power] to be protect the lives of all the people, globally?. Don’t backslide to selfish nationalism?
Agreed. But that is exactly what the phrase says. It doesn’t say, “The sole purpose of America’s government is to improve and protect the lives of Ameirca’s people.”