Wednesday, August 25, 2004

a right angola is exactly 90 degrees

in honor of the sincere interst which dennis expressed to me yesterday regarding the US-angola basketball showdown, i decided to look up angola in the dictionary of cultural literacy. though it is not related to the typical themes of the CAMPVS, i will share it anyway. here's what it says:

'Republic in southwestern Africa on the Atlantic coast, bordered to the north and northeast by Zaire, to the east by Zambia, and to the south by Namibia. Its capital and largest city is Luanda.

'After achieving independence from Portugal in 1976, Angola was the scene of a civil war between its Marxist government, supported by the Soviet Union and Cuban troops, and a rebel organization known as UNITA, which was aided by the United States and South Africa. In 1988 the United States engineered a settlement that led to the withdrwawal of Cuban troops and to South African acceptance of black majority rule in neighboring Namibia.'

while prowling my way around the dictionary, i found myself in the 'business and economics' section. while there, i read the following definition of 'mixed economy':

'An economy that combines elements of capitalism and socialism, mixing some individual ownership and regulation. Some capitalist countries--for example, Great Britain, which has free markets but extensive governmental presence in the economy as an owner of industries and preserver of social services--have mixed economies.'

the second sentence strikes me as (oxy)moronic, since the idea of free markets is incompatible with 'extenisive governmental presence in the economy'. so i looked up their definition of 'free market':

'The production and exchange of goods and services without interference from the government or from monopolies.'

hmmm. and what do we find under 'monopoly'?

'The exclusive control by one company of a service or product.'

and if we, in our most reaganite fashion, conceive of government as a corportation or business, what do we have except a monopoly when the government is 'an owner of industries'? and since monopolies are antithetical to free markets, how can the idea of a 'mixed economy' be anything but silly doublespeak?

thus ends, for the moment, my foray into 'the dictionary of cultural literacy'.

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