I have slowly built up a good relationship with my sister and while I visited her on Thanksgiving, we had a healthy discussion about politics/economics.
One of our stark differences was on the subject of education. She is getting her MBA and so am I. I was of the opinion that education is free and that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a top quality education. I also argued that she (and all individuals) can learn a lot more about political issues simply by reading things we disagree with.
Just reading the most opinionated, logical arguments from all viewpoints (democrat, republican, socialist, libertarian, centrist) goes a lot further than watching a vanilla news program or reading an Associated Press article. Raw, unvarnished opinions provide different ways of interpreting a current event and give people food for thought.
I’ve sent my sister about two long emails about the automotive bailout and I just sent her this quick one after the Fed cut the target rate to 0 – 0.25%
Rather than taking a sarcastic tone, I tried to appeal to her social justice side. She is a Democrat and I’m trying to see if I can get her to wake up and see that Wall Street banks are socialist institutions that are using their money and influence to get away with things individuals would never be able to do (borrow at 0.5% at the discount window with outrageous amounts of leverage).
Here is what I sent her:
Citigroup, which would have been bankrupt(!!) last week if the government hadn’t stepped in, now gets to borrow at one half of one percent and has full backing by the TARP.
Socialism is alive and well.
Again, no one questions the ethics behind any of this. It’s not ok for you or I to do it, just wall st.
Ask yourself why investment banks are given the privilege of getting such generous borrowing terms. Really, think about it.
It is obvious that they aren’t playing by the same rules and they are able to get away with it since no one knows how money is created in our system and people have been fooled into thinking paper based money can create prosperity.
As long as there is a large government that can be manipulated, it will be manipulated by people with money. Period.
The reason libertarianism maintains the highest moral ground of any ideology is because of the fact that they realize that any institution of great power and force (government and the ability to print money out of thin air) should be extremely limited in its scope and power.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have tried to plug any sort of ideology or politician since that might distract or taint the argument I was trying to make. I also should avoid exclamation points or sweeping generalizations. The more clear and coherent, the better.
She has promised to write me back after her exams and I will try to do my best to rationalize and speak to her on her terms. I will continue to tinker around and see what works in shaping her opinion. This should be a great learning experience in communication and “selling” of ideas.
Maybe I can even earn some MBA credit!
Thanks for reading.
To read more about shaping an accurate worldview, click here.