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capitalism is not bad

I was watching Stossel this week which I recommend to everyone. It airs Thursday night at 9 PM Eastern on the Fox Business Channel. The theme of John Stossel’s show this week was Hollywood and their attack on capitalism. It was the topic this week because of the Academy Awards this weekend, but it was interesting to me because of a book I am currently reading, Atlas Shrugged. Ironically Stossel spoke about the book at the end of the show. Although the book was written in 1957 it has gotten a great deal of publicity recently because a movie based off the book is coming out in April. I have always wanted to read the book and went to a used bookstore to find a copy recently. Although I have only read about 200 of the over 1,000 pages I already  recommend it. Below is the movie trailer.

The book depicts a world where government bureaucracies  hinder business competition and there is little optimism from individuals. Intellectuals think that businesses concentrate too much on profit and that society has suffered from this. A few individuals disagree with this notion and the book is about their battle to do what they believe is right.

Stossel did an excellent job showing clips of multiple movies depicting the wrongs of capitalism and painting it as a problem. One movie which recently did this was Avatar. In the film an evil company wants to destroy a planet so that it can profit off a precious material which is found there. I will admit that I enjoyed Avatar. Viewing it in 3D was incredible but the story was certainly anti-capitalist.

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez & Oliver Stone

Another example is last year’s  Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps which is the sequel to the 1987 film Wall Street, both of which were directed by Oliver Stone.  In the second movie Michael Douglas’ character says, “Someone reminded me I once said ‘Greed is good’.  Now it seems it’s legal.” I don’t know if it is important to embrace the new found legality of greed or figure out when it was illegal. Reminds me of a certain someone saying, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Greed is not good, but  greed as it is referred to here and in many films is wanting to make a lot of money.

A few terms you constantly hear portrayed negatively in today’s media are

  • big business
  • wall street
  • oil executives

This list could go for miles but it is interesting to hear these terms used negatively today then read similar tones in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Perhaps the most evident anti-business message has been sent from President Obama when giving a commencement speech at Arizona State in 2009.

For we gather here tonight in times of extraordinary difficulty, for the nation and the world. The economy remains in the midst of a historic recession, the result, in part, of greed and irresponsibility that rippled out from Wall Street and Washington.

Many of you have been taught to chase after the usual brass rings: being on this “who’s who” list or that top 100 list; how much money you make and how big your corner office is; whether you have a fancy enough title or a nice enough car. You can take that road – and it may work for some of you. But at this difficult time, let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go; that in fact, the elevation of appearance over substance, celebrity over character, short-term gain over lasting achievement is precisely what your generation needs to help end.

As is usual with Obama government is the answer. This is not a new trend, it is a battle that has been going on for a long time and will continue to go on in the future. Reading Rand’s book gives me hope that although the future looks bleak and it seems that government hinders business far too much, there are always individuals who step up and do what they can. That is to provide a good or service better than anyone else or that no one else provides. In turn this benefits consumers and also provides jobs. Individuals will continue to do this no matter what obstacles the government or anyone else may throw at them.

jindal speaks out against ban on drilling

Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post Saturday. You can read it for yourself here. Not surprisingly he is highly critical of the federal government’s involvement (or lack there of) in helping out with the oil spill.

He is most critical of the moratorium that has stopped deep water drilling. He says it adds “insult to injury”, while also creating a “second disaster.”

Jindal’s best statement comes near the end when he says the following:

“Louisianans, of all people, don’t want to see another drop of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. It is our land and our way of life that are being harmed. Yet the administration tells our people to simply file a claim with BP or file for unemployment. Our people want to work, not collect unemployment checks.”