Letters: At length

Government plays key role in society

Hardly anybody knows what economics is really all about, least of all contemporary mainstream economists. It is about income distribution. Who is rich and who is poor.

But economists have always focused almost entirely on the technically challenging resource allocation part of economics turning it since the 1970s into a glorification of capitalism stylized with mathematical equations.

Actually the economic problem is the dual problem of resource allocation and income distribution. Firms hire resources to produce goods and services and it is the payment for the resources that is income.

So it is natural that analysis of capitalism would begin on the production side or on the allocation of resources. The trouble is that hardly anyone ever got around to the income distribution side.

The loadstar came to be the so-called model of perfect competition. In this model the economy would reach an ideal economic state for consumers, labor and owners of capital. The government played no economic role whatsoever.

The problem was that the conditions required for this perfect state were so utterly unrealistic that it bore almost no resemblance to the real world.

The story in a nutshell of the evolution of capitalism and economic theory was that only a few mavericks ever caught up with reality and the economic role of government.

But Roosevelt at the height of the depression, paying no attention to economic theory, saw some of the obvious deficiencies of capitalism and thought that government should do something about them. He launched a raft of New Deal programs of unprecedented scope and boldness.

Business, horrified at this new development and seeing it as only the beginning of something big, scrambled to sink the whole idea of government intervention.

Thus began the highly successful, corporate financed, conservative crusade to redefine liberalism and conservatism. Conservatism has turned a blind eye to common sense and experience to serve up a modified, high-tech version of Classical theory &

rich in mathematics and detachment from reality &

to become mainstream economic theory taught in the Principles courses.

Economics students now learn that there are "market solutions" to most economic problems and rarely should government intervene. There is limited discussion of income distribution or corporate profits. Monopoly issues are assumed away by accepting the myth that markets are price competitive. The economics profession, with its head in the clouds, thereby provides cover to the economic exploitation of society by business.

Harry L. Cook

Who owns Ski Ashland?

Little did they know when the instigators of "Save Mt. Ashland" decided that the City of Ashland should hold their use permit, that they'd picked the wrong landlord. Over the intervening years, the slogan of some of the activists in Ashland's environmental community has become "To hell with Ski Ashland."

A Sept. 4, 1970 Tidings "At Length" letter lamented that less than one-quarter of the MAA Board of Directors are listed as residents of Ashland. The writer charged that "At several meetings about this expansion plan a couple of years ago, MAA sought to pack the meetings with people from other towns, and then misrepresented this turnout as demonstrating Ashland's own support of the expansion. MAA has shown similar respect for truth and fair play, throughout."

It may not matter to them, but those activists should at least be aware that Ashland residents played a very minor role regarding the ownership of Ski Ashland. The successful effort to "Save Mt. Ashland was organized and directed by a Medford attorney and the owner of a Medford ski shop, and the majority of the locally donated money to "Save Mt. Ashland" (apart from the majority of the total funding that came from the state economic development agency) came from outside of Ashland.

But since the recreation area's user permit is vested in Ashland, I suppose the rest of the valley is doomed to have their vision of a viable regional ski development be held hostage to a few Ashland activists, whose values hierarchies place healthy winter sports for youths much below many of their own values.

It's my opinion, possibly held by the majority of Ashland's longer term residents, that Ski Ashland is a very important resource for the valley's young people and business community. I greatly regret the campaigns by Ashland activists that are threatening the viability of that resource. And I'm bothered that those activists seem unaware that they are attacking a regional organization &

one that doesn't belong just to their community.

Hal Cloer

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