Both you and Hardin are correct. The only obvious 'rational' solution for the masses of dispossessed and disenfranchised our current culture produces is ultimately extermination of 'unnecessary' humans. For that reason, I (like many others) characterize our economic tradition as a bleak and dismal death cult.
During one of our regular meetings about a year ago, the owner-operator of the company for which I work asked us (the employees) to tell him how we want to strategize and react to the 'economic downturn' and made us decide whether we want to reduce all our hours evenly across the board as circumstances dictate, or if we would prefer he permanently lay off individuals to maintain a full time schedule for the rest. (He of course did not identify whom among us he would permanently lay off to accommodate the full schedule for the rest.) It's funny how modest everyone's assessment of their talents and abilities becomes when wagering their incomes on it. (I'm too lazy to look it up right now and can't remember the guy's name but a sociologist wrote an article on this, and called it something like 'the society behind the curtain'. It's a utopian theory in which any given subject lays out the blueprint for the perfect society THEN someone else picks the people that constitute that society. If the subject designs a society in which physical prowess or intelligence act as advantages to determine who 'rules', then the one that picks the members of the society assembles a society in which the subject is the weakest or the dumbest, respectively. The intent of the sociologist is to demonstrate that what is always in our best 'self-interest' is a cooperative and sympathetic society that does not arbitrarily choose then reward esoteric advantages.)
The only obvious alternative to the extermination of 'surplus' humanity is cooperative apportionment of labor and benefit. The idea of 'competition' is unsophisticated, primordial, brutish and antiquated, and has been so for thousands of years already.
'Selfishness' and 'egotism' ARE contemporary American values along with hatred of society, contempt for fellow humanity, celebration of the deprivation and misfortune of others, morbid narcissism and sadistic fetishism. The mythology of 'self-reliance' and 'fierce rugged individualism' in American culture has long since morphed into an overzealous psychopathic religious death cult. It is an extemely toxic and hazardous ideology that poses a very real potential for the kind of 'rational' extermination policies practiced by the nazis.
There are no 'individuals' - Humanity is collective. Our worship of 'individualism' has stripped us of the ability to appreciate, respect and preserve our individuality, and the only hope for the future is the conclusion of the age of psychopathic individualism.
EDIT ADD: I cite as evidence, the several psychopathic reactions your question attracted best represented by Disco Stu:
"Individuals know best how to solve their own problems. (Agreed.) Government serves the economy the best by simply getting out of the way."
For the respondents (including Stu) that question the authenticity of your references, I as usual am too lazy to spend any time on it now, but I did however write an article on it available on my website in which I in fact cite specific references, ironically for the specific phrase, "government serves the economy the best by simply getting out of the way". In its current contemporary form, this idea is popularized by Ayn Rand in the 1950s and I follow the ideal through quotes by the likes of Reagan & Bush all the way to the current president of (former Soviet Republic) Georgia, fully intact, in all its original glory. For Disco Stu to ask where you came up with this stuff then quote Ayn Rand (which is where you came up with this stuff) is a profoundly clarifying and disturbing indication of the current quality of the ideology: overzealous fanaticism and repitition of learned phrases without comprehension of their origins or meanings.
(commences on page 5 under subtitle: 'Six Degrees of Separation from Ayn Rand to Kevin Bacon')
· 10 years ago