Juan Alvear: Finding the common good

March 5, 2010 

We the people.

In France, a modern democracy, far more advanced than the USA, doctors make $80,000 a year. Please try to understand that the medical profession is a vocation -- like firefighters, police officers. The medical profession in developed and civilized nations is a vocation of service to the community.

One does not become a police officer in order to be rich (unless you are corrupt and in the extortion business). One does not become a firefighter to be rich (unless you are corrupt and on insurance fraud business). One does not become a doctor in medicine in order to be rich, unless you are corrupted by greed.

Do you really want to go to a doctor whose primary motivation is to make money, and not to heal you?

That is precisely why our costs per capita for health care, both private and public, are the highest in the world. The country is sick and uninsured.

We are almost bankrupted because we followed Milton Freeman's advice: "Let greed be your god and driving motor of economy." (Milton Freeman, the pope of WASP nations, told America that corporate profit should be the goal of a sound economic model.)

What about common good as the goal of a sound economic model? What about regulation to prevent greed from taking over like a cancer that devours the mortgage market, IRAs and your savings?

What about regulation to prevent banks and the stock market from becoming gambling houses, like the ones in Las Vegas, or like the ones in the ghettos?

Think, if we let the sharks eat everything on the ocean, and we do not control the population of sharks, there will be no more food in the ocean. Thus, we need to help the ecosystem reach an adequate balance. You do not let things just happen. We are the stewards of creation.

Think about it, even if you are running a diary, you balance the system by controlling the food. You also control reproduction and whose bull is going to be the daddy of future calves. You regulate the ecosystem: that is socialism.

Socialism is an economic model where common good takes precedence over corporate greed. The interest of the many take precedence over the interests of the few. Yes, and you can have private property.

In socialism, society matters most. In capitalism, capital matters most. Simplifying: Society vs. Capital, People vs. Money. What is more important? Who should serve who? Is capital supposed to serve us? Or, are we supposed to serve capital?

Who matters most? Answer: We the people matter the most.

Juan Alvear is a writer living in Merced.

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