Capitalism

Capitalism

The below is a decent description on Capitalism via Wikipedia:

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.

Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free-market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism. The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.”

If you want to read a terrific view of the evolution of capitalism and predictions for the future please consider “Capitalism” by Thomas Pikkety. My view is that the owners of capital tend control the distribution of both income and wealth. Numerous decades ago, the primary source of capital was land. The owners of the land (primarily the Royals) controlled the living conditions of the masses. Today Capital is primarily controlled by major corporations and the top .1% of the wealthiest families (the Nuevo Royals).

There is no question the Nuevo Royals have been more generous with income & wealth distribution and are responsible for the emergence of the “middle class” and a significant reduction in the size of the lowest income segment. When land ownership ruled the day there were basically the Royals & their appointees and the peasants.

Can the middle class make a case that make a case that they are reaping their fair share of income and wealth accumulation? I think so, but I think there is a stronger case for the lowest 50% income group. I have addressed this topic in numerous prior posts. When a family has absolutely no chance to participate in our capitalistic system. In reality they do not have the income to satisfy the basic needs that the middle class takes for granted without some form of subsidy; Food, housing, transportation & healthcare.

I will leave you with this final thought. Most alarming to me is that many of the CEOs of major corporations make 500 times as much (and more) compensation than the average compensation of their employees. Is this fair to the middle-class worker?

Just for fun – From The very small to the very Large

Just for fun – From The very small to the very Large

An atom is very small, but it is actually almost all “space”. Some have attempted to describe the make-up of the atom by imagining that the proton is a tennis ball in the exact center of a standard sized football field and the electrons are circling around it at a distance of approximately the goal lines. Atoms are small, but watch this:

Just for fun How big is the Universe?

137 Just for fun How big is the Universe?

I am amazed at scientists that speculate on items like the chance of intelligent life in the universe. We are not able to conceive of how we would ever be able to travel to our closest solar neighbor, much less between galaxies. Just how big is the universe. The answer keeps changing as we come up with more powerful telescopes and as usual is just an estimate that is based on the “observable” universe. The fact is that we are not able to see all the way to the edge of the universe. Just ten years ago scientists estimated that there were at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Today that number has grown to a range of 500 billion to a trillion galaxies. These are numbers that are far beyond my grasp.

The Milky Way galaxy is not extremely large and yet is contains approximately 200 billion solar system. Our closest solar neighbor is Alpha Centauri. This isn’t a single star, it’s actually a triple-star system — three stars bound together by gravity. Alpha Centauri A and B are two bright, closely orbiting stars with a distant, dim companion named Proxima Centauri. The inner binary appears to the unaided eye as a single star, the third brightest in the night sky, but it lies 4.37 light years from the Sun. Faint Proxima Centauri is the one that claims the honor of being our true nearest stellar neighbor at only 4.24 light years away. If we were able to achieve a velocity of 10% of the speed of light (not a clue as to how we would achieve and maintain this) the round trip would take 85 years.

The estimated size of our galaxy is 100,000 light years in diameter. Do you think that is large, it’s not? The Andromeda galaxy, at a distance of about 2.5 million light years, also known as NGC 224 and M31 – is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way apart from smaller companion galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds. Andromeda is also a ‘spiral’ galaxy, like the Milky Way. From locations far away from the city lights, it can be spotted with the naked eye. The space between the two galaxies is 25 times the size of our galaxy! That would be quite a long trip.

Just how large is the universe? The proper distance —the distance as would be measured at a specific time, including the present—between Milky Way and the edge of the observable universe is 46 billion light-years (14 billion parsecs), making the diameter of the observable universe about 93 billion light-years (28 billion parsecs) assuming we are near the center.

I’ll leave you with the following to ponder: Since the best estimate is that the Universe started from a singularity 13.7 billion years ago how could it possibly be larger than 13.7 billion light-years in diameter?

This link will take you to a video I think you will enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy7NzjCmUf0