For my post this week I wanted to reflect back to unintended consequences. I think that they are a very important subject that many should get a better grasp of. It is becoming increasingly important to understand both the ramifications of our actions and the actions of countries decisions including our own. With the capability of waging nuclear war and an ever growing power in our government the possibilities of what the future may hold truly cannot be anticipated.
I find that many people fear the future because with ever day there is more being discovered and more changing but, sometimes change brings the best of things also sometimes the worst. Knowing the outcome the best we can is sometimes all we can do. I hope to see more people making more carefully thought out decisions. Perhaps it will bring around people who are more satisfied with the blessings they have. Many, especially in a country full of wealth and opportunities feel have a capacity of greed that is bottomless. The opportunities and programs of the past have always trumped the rest of the world yet we still institute increasingly robust social welfare programs that go to the extent of giving phones to individuals. It is not to say social programs are bad but simply to say that there are many consequences involved with increasing benefit coverage or decreasing. One does not simply buy things they cannot afford and not expect hard ship or challenges down the road. There are many consequences to everyday actions and decisions. There are always many consequences we do not anticipate, or decisions that turn out differently than expected. But everyone needs to work on making decisions that have more beneficial unintended consequences and less detrimental. As a country we need to have some pride in what we stand for and care more for the future than ourselves.
Many monumental unintended consequences I anticipate will be showing up in the near future. They will not be in result to policy changes, the government, or fiscal cliffs such as the one coming up on January 1. Instead I believe that they will be in result to an ever changing mind set in a country whose mind set has proven itself unwavering for so long. What started as a nation built by hard work which could ultimately lead one to success is now drastically changing. People are losing faith in their ability, they are getting lazy, and they are becoming unwilling to actually research ideas and decisions and are voting selfishly to appease their current want and desires. Many are not dreaming the old American dream and instead creating a new one that is not built on work and does not hold many values that have kept us strong as a country. The consequences to follow these actions I do not know, perhaps there will be none as many believe. I believe though that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction and I am prepared to face a good or bad one because immanently one is unquestionably on the way.
Monday, December 3, 2012
After nine weeks of SWEET Scholars meetings, and a semester of political economy, I’ve come to realize that property rights are king. Many economic problems come down to the stability of property rights. After watching the PBS mini-series the Commanding Heights, I also realized that one of the biggest problems with communism wasn’t just the lack of incentives, but rather it was the lack of property rights.
Personal property is one of the greatest incentives in our modern world. Without property rights, workers or “land owners” have no reason to invest in their property. Without any investment or development of their capitol, progress is constricted and economic growth is stunted. One of the key principles of economics is that economic growth leads to an increasing standard of living. One of the key problems in developing nations is the lack of secure property rights for citizens. Musa (Sherri’s TA originally from Tanzania) talked about some of the struggles that people in sub-Saharan African countries face. Without governments that are strong enough to enforce property rights, many local African tribal chiefs delegate property to their “constituents.” But, without any security, the “constituents” never bother to develop their land.
This is a very destructive cycle, and it seems to be plaguing too many developing countries. While I’m not advocating an authoritarian or overly-powerful government, I do feel that one of the government’s key roles is to protect property rights. I’m sure that if all African citizens were certain their property was safe, we would start to see both development and standard of living rise within their respective countries.