Only doing a So-So job at not being anxious

Well my plan for combatting my anxiety re the agent search was threefold: surrender the illusion of control and put the agent search out of my mind; focus on the things I can control, like revising my assassin book; and, finally, when I’m searching for distraction, try to read magazine articles and books instead of scrolling Twitter.

On day one, the plan has gone…okay. This morning, unlike in mornings past, I didn’t check querytracker or hover over my email. I read a really excellent article in N+1 about our relationship with Iran. On a sidenote, I’ve always wanted to be an n+1 reader, but was stymied by their paywall. It’s only recently occurred to me that I can just, like, subscribe to things.

You know, it seems like every article these days in every liberal journal always talks about ‘capitalism’ and ‘imperialism’ and how the problems of the world are driven by the demands of ‘capitalism’…and I dunno. I agree, I guess, that large corporations do a lot of harm, and that certain goods ought to be highly-regulated and perhaps publicly-controlled. But I don’t know…did we invent some alternative to capitalism when I wasn’t looking? The socialism that many young American liberals advocate isn’t really an alternative to capitalism, it’s merely the divvying up of the economy into a massive public sector and a smaller private sector. But since we already live in an economy with a huge public sector (healthcare and education each make up twenty percent of the economy, and much of those expenditures are public), it’s really only a matter of degree. Our government is already quite large. Increasing its size by fifty percent wouldn’t exactly destroy capitalism.

I just hear all this criticism of capitalism, and I feel as if I missed a memo someplace. What’s the alternative? Statism is attractive in many fields, and it may provide better results, but even there one would want there to be some market-related pricing mechanism to create more efficient allocations of resources. The things that are built and created must in some way be controlled by how much people want them, and although under capitalism that pricing power is distorted because the people don’t have the economic resources to ‘vote with their feet’ and demand construction or provision of things they need (i.e. it’s not economically advantageous to provide those things), the problem there isn’t with capitalism per se, but with the distribution of income and of wealth. Let me put it this way, I’d rather live in a world where poor people had the money to rent the housing they wanted, rather than being forced to live in housing projects. I’m pretty sure that’s the world that poorer people want themselves.

It’s only a rhetorical strategy. When you dig down into liberal, or even radical/progressive, proposals, you often find that they’re not particularly anti-capitalist. Dramatically increasing the number of Section 8 vouchers, for instance, is in no way incompatible with private ownership and construction of housing. It was a program designed for the support of landlords, and it’s frankly a lot better and more popular than public housing proposals.

Oh well, the sky isn’t red today, but I’m living with literally the worst air quality in the world. Global warming will soon destroy everything. Maybe we need statism because it’s the only way to quickly reduce consumption of fossil fuel. I do not know. Sometimes I am very, very glad that I am not the person responsible for fixing the world’s problems.

As you can perhaps tell, I have not done much writing today.

Comments (



  1. Lucy

    As a person who, until very recently, was definitely in the “working poor” category, I agree, at least regarding housing. I live in an apartment complex owned by a realty company, they have affordable options and they accept vouchers and stipends. My apartment manager is trustworthy and efficient, and I feel pretty safe here. Especially compared to the last place. I just don’t think there’s an alternative that makes sense.

    I kinda feel the same way about school vouchers. I mean, I realize my state was swindled by a charter school company that was a scam, lied about enrollment, and then went bankrupt. So that was bad. But like, why not empower people to send their kids to literally any public school in the state, and let the money follow?

    Reward the best schools, don’t restrict choices based on geography. It’s a win-win.

    I’m kinda worried that the answer to “Why not?” is, “Racist parents are afraid of Black students,” and I don’t know what to do about that ☹️