By: TheStatelessWonder | Jan 25, 2012 Class War
The following is a running commentary I did by request on an article e-mailed to me last summer by a friend. It’s kinda dated, but I thought I’d put it up anyway. I am posting this in its entirety save for some light editing as I was playing it a little “fast and loose” when I wrote it. In case it is not clear, I am being intentionally cynical and boorish when I use phrases like “little brown people” and “the dogs below”; for the record, I am one of those “little brown people” as well as one of the working “dogs” that is made to eat the crumbs that “trickle down” (or fall down, I guess) from the capitalists. The text of the article I am commenting on is in black. For a link to the original article, you can click here.
The number of Obama supporters seems inversely related to his time in office. Many wonder what happened to “The One We Are Waiting For.” Obama assumed office in difficult economic times. After a couple of years of excuses — which included “the problems were worse than we knew” and the generic, all-purpose “it’s Bush’s fault” — Obama now owns the original problems and new ones of his own doing. An incomplete report card on his “accomplishments” would include the following:
the economy worsened
discretionary military efforts (“kinetic” if you prefer) increased
an unpopular, flawed health care plan was forced on the public
inflation increased, especially in critical goods like food and gasoline
job prospects decreased
the stimulus failed miserably
“transparency in government” became a laugh-line for late night TV
corruption in government accelerated to Chicago-style warp speed
Housing worsened and shows no sign of bottoming soon
Government debt and spending spun out of control
Wall Street was bailed out and continues to enrich themselves
Main Street was ignored and becomes poorer as bankruptcies and foreclosures mount
race relations appear to have worsened
Somewhat correct, though I would not blame the race relations issue on Obama. I also would not use the word “accelerated” to describe corruption under the Obama administration, but rather to be increasing at basically the same rate it was increasing under Bush. It definitely has not halted or even slowed, however. Also I see problems 3,4, 9, 10, 11, 12 as inevitable problems that would have happened regardless of whose presidency (McCain or Obama) it was; i.e. they are not problems “distinctive” of Obama’s policies.
There are a plethora of other problems that could be attributed to Obama. In short, it is difficult to ascertain what, if anything, has improved other than the demise of Osama bin Laden.
Two hypotheses are often cited to explain why things have gotten so much worse:
Obama is incompetent.
- Obama knows what he is doing and is deliberately destroying the country.
False dichotomy: I propose an option # 3. Obama somewhat knows what he is doing and does not place the country’s welfare as a priority but rather how the interest groups backing him fare. If the country does well, he would be happy I think, but it is not a priority.
These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. Evidence is consistent with either or a combination of both. The remainder of this article deals only with the first. Readers should not assume that the second is unimportant, inoperable, or impossible.
Dr. Thomas Sowell wrote about “seductive beliefs” in a two-part article (second part here). He touched on some of the incorrect beliefs guiding President Obama. In short, Obama is an ideologue, narrowly (and poorly) educated. As a result, he is ignorant in the ways of the world.
Economics versus Morality
Sowell’s analysis provides perspective on Obama’s behavior. Obama has virtually no understanding of basic economics. Exploitation ideology is the basis for his world- and economic view. This ideology sees the world as a zero-sum game. In essence a fixed pie is divided. If one person gets more, others necessarily get less.
Another partial falsehood. The world IS currently working towards a zero-sum game system, and largely functions that way. The fact that it doesn’t HAVE TO is irrelevant. Also, “zero-sum game” is a generality. I don’t think any sane person denies for example that a slave during the feudal period or early mercantile period was not as “well-off” than a slave during the later mercantile/early capitalist period. Our current system, with its constant state intervention on behalf of the capitalist class distorts both the pricing and production structure for the purpose of protecting profits. This results in “choice architecture” for the working class as well as a greater scarcity of goods and resources than would otherwise exist. Thomas Sowell operates on the assumption that we have a “free” market system. We don’t. There ain’t no such thing.
A country becomes successful by taking advantage of other countries.
This is actually true. It is only false in the theoretical world of Dr. Thomas Sowell where a fantasy called “free trade” exists. I could name numerous examples showing free trade is impossible in our current world, but I’ll give you a very obvious one: CURRENCY. Different countries depreciate their currency at different rates, which distorts exchange values, and therefore prices. This provides artificial incentives to either buy or not buy certain foreign goods.
This naive view, based on the long-discredited concept of mercantilism, sees success as exploitation. Freedom, markets, institutions, incentives, and voluntary trade have no place in Obama’s world. Success or failure is determined by one variable — whether you are the exploiter or the exploited.
There is nothing naive about this. Mercantilism never died, it simply morphed into capitalism when the ruling/parasitic/owning class realized they could integrate some free market principles into their current practice to increase their wealth. Furthermore, mercantilist practices intentionally experienced a partial resurrection in the first half of the 20th century due to the influence of the economist John Maynard Keynes. One does not have to be a Keynesian to adopt these principles as they have permeated pretty much every school of economics that is considered “orthodox” today.
Those are my comments for the moment. I will finish the article later and comment some more.
Exploitation theory does not comport with economic theory, history, or reality. As Sowell points out:
It is hard to reconcile “exploitation” theories with the facts. While there have been conquered peoples made poorer by their conquerors, especially by Spanish conquerors in the Western Hemisphere, in general most poor countries were poor for reasons that existed before the conquerors arrived. Some Third World countries are poorer today than they were when they were ruled by Western countries, generations ago.
I doubt Obama really believes in any kind of consistent theory of exploitation, but rather he, like most good democrats believe that capitalism will work more efficiently if more “crumbs” are thrown to the poor. In a sense that is true, which is why the U.S. has the lack of armed revolution found in other countries. I once read an article on Yahoo Finance by economist Charles Wheelan back in 2007 about income inequality in Brazil compared to that in the U.S. and other countries. My political beliefs were very different at the time I first read this, but I never forgot the article. The economist is presenting the capitalism of other industrialized nations as more “humane” than that of Brazil and that is supposed to be great and wonderful, but that is not the way I take it today. These days I realize that the U.S. has a fairly effective “pressure relief valve” for capitalism that other countries lack: when the oppression becomes too great, concessions are made in order to placate the poor. Furthermore, there is much more opportunity for a poor person to “climb the hierarchy” and become one of the exploiters…it is basically a “lottery” that functions much like a carrot on a stick in front of a donkey to keep him working hard. Anyway, enough about Obama/democrats for the moment…
Slight improvements in the living standards of 3rd world does not disprove exploitation. Exploitation is what it is due to the exercise of POWER by some people over others, imposing themselves as an illegitimate authority over said people. When a third party invades an area rich in natural resources and takes them, it is only natural that some “crumbs will fall off the table to the dogs below”. I am not impressed. Whoever wrote this does not understand what exploitation is. Exploitation is like someone invading the home of an eldery couple in order to turn it into a crackhouse; the fact that they then give that couple a few vials of free crack every week does not change the fact it is exploitation.
Obama’s ideology blinds him to relevant variables. Incentives, institutional frameworks, profit and loss, individual initiative, saving and investment, hard work, etc. have no role in his simplistic world.
It is this author’s “world” I find “simplistic.” What if the “work ethic” (or “hard work”) isn’t ethical? Who created the “incentives” and what gave them this right? Institutional FRAMEWORKS– what happened to FREE markets? If you gained your “profits” due to having patents, copyrights, licensing, business permits, subsidies, etc who decides this framework and by what right? Who is being “simplistic” again?
He is a political creation with no experience in relevant matters. He does not understand markets, business, meeting a payroll, or managing an organization. This vacuum in knowledge produces failed economic results because policies do not consider the relevant variables for economic success.
True, but who in power does? From a realistic standpoint, i.e a McCain presidency, I don’t think there would have been significant differences. Until we went to Lybia, I would have cited more war and death under McCain, but I have to take back even that now.
In Obama’s world, success and failure are moral rather than economic outcomes. Success is a marker for evil. Failure is due to someone else’s success rather than personal shortcomings. Failure represents passivity, the choice to not exploit others. Proper moral behavior produces failure.
For Obama, economics itself is inconsistent with morality. Hence economics itself must be evil. This view of the world is both simple and ignorant. No, it is beyond that. It is a sign of stupidity! Recognition of this stupidity is the key to understanding Obama’s behavior and policies.
Some professing Marxists (not all) have expressed these beliefs to me regarding economics, but Obama is a Keynesian who last year added a Rubinist (think: Bill Clinton) to his advisory staff, so he is neither a radical nor a Marxist in any sense of the word. This paragraph is anti-Obama propaganda parading around as an objective evaluation. Obama simply follows a different economic school. The fact that it has been ineffective has nothing to do with whether Obama “believes in economics”. Another thing to note is that ALL economists insert some type of moral/ethical/legal presuppositions into their economics which is why we don’t have economic policy suggestions regarding armed robbery and murder to take the possessions of others for example.
An Interpretation of Some Obama Policies
The key to understanding much of Obama’s behavior is the notion that economics itself is necessarily evil and must be constrained or even remedied.
Sigh. See above.
Successful allies (think Israel and Great Britain among others) are morally inferior to unsuccessful, backward nations who only are so as a result of exploitation. Third-world nations require restitution for the evils imposed by successful nations. That some of these are enemies of the US makes them even more deserving. The US, heretofore the greatest success, therefore represents the greatest evil. Obama’s world-apology tours and treatment of allies can be understood in light of such convoluted beliefs.
Don’t even get me started on foreign policy. You already know what I think here. If you read Henry Kissinger’s book “Diplomacy” there is a chapter explaining the foreign policy differences between Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Republican Teddy Roosevelt, which, in a way are still operating today. Basically Republicans believe America is special and righteous in such a way as to give the government the right to unilaterally enter countries and blow up little brown people. On the other hand, Democrats, being much more “civilized”, see America along with western Europe as an elite group of nations that has a right to rule the world because they are so democratic and wonderful and everything. The major difference between these two foreign policy models is that under the Democratic model, America needs to bribe France and Germany before blowing up the little brown people.
Moral judgments also drive domestic policy. Individual success is simply a microcosm of national success. It too is achieved by exploiting others. That explains Obama’s “Joe the Plumber” moment. If the pie is fixed in size, the rich make others poor. That is the fallacy underlying Obama’s belief that people are entitled to only so much income or wealth.
In his mind, he has a right, probably a moral obligation, to confiscate and redistribute wealth. The rich and successful must be punished at some level of success. Their success causes the poor their pain.
I’ve already covered this, but I will add a few comments specific to these paragraphs, or rather the last two sentences. I don’t have words to express what bullshit this is. To accuse Obama of “redistributing wealth” is a level of hypocrisy that is incomprehensible beyond belief. THIS ENTIRE ECONOMY FUNCTIONS ON THE REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH. It’s funny (or perhaps enraging) that people only seem to worry about wealth redistribution when it’s being taken from the rich and given to the poor. I actually believe more wealth redistribution happens in the other direction. How so? Well, to give one example out of many possible ones, let me start with a drum I beat frequently: the monetary/credit system. If you were to take the aggregate of all the dollars in circulation in the year 2007 let’s say, physical cash would only be about 10% of the money supply, maybe less. Where does the rest of the money come from? A large portion of it is what is called “checkbook” money, which is money that is “created” by private banks when money is deposited by one party, used to pay another party, then withdrawn and deposited again by other parties. This results in many more dollars in circulation than actually exist as cash. The corresponding increase in the money supply distorts prices and raises prices over the long term. Working class people who have little or no access to credit, along with salaried employees, and people on fixed incomes essentially have the purchasing power of the dollar stolen from them. Is this not “income redistribution”? It greatly multiplies the banks’ profits as they can make interest off of money they don’t even have. It also makes loans very cheap for those who already have lots of money. Let me give you an example. Extremely low interest rates can help a company like Starbucks flood the so-called “market” with coffee shops during an economic boom to the point to where Starbucks locations are basically competing with themselves. Smaller competitors who do not have as much access to credit, are simply unable to compete, and close down. A recession then hits, which causes Starbucks to close down many of its superfluous locations, but it doesn’t matter; many of its competitors are already gone, and maybe even a few more fell because of the recession. What do you think will happen to the wages of coffee shop workers when they have a much smaller pool of employers to choose from? What will happen to their benefits or their chances of having benefits in the future? If this is not “income redistribution”, what would you call it?
Other examples abound. What about your food? I’m sure you know farming in the United States is subsidized. Taxpayer money goes to make corn artificially cheap in order to keep foreign sugar sales down (“free” trade anyone?), make ethanol for cars so that the oil companies can get richer (did you think they made their money off of “rugged individualism” and “hard work”?), flood the market with corn syrup based products to make us fat (and sell more diet products!), and ship the subsidized corn into Mexico so that rural population lose their farms since they can’t compete with artificial prices, be forced to move to the city to work crazy hours for pennies a day, and risk grinding their fingers off in some machine with no safety features so that the American corporation who moved their factory there can save a few bucks. The remaining Mexicans who couldn’t get a job in the city then head north since all the city jobs are taken and see if they can get a slightly less shitty job in America. Working class Americans, completely oblivious to the fact that their tax dollars are essentially causing an imbalance in the natural flow of migrants into the United States are subjected to a “one-two punch” of so-called “free trade” causing a flow of cheap human capital into Mexican cities due to the displacement of Mexican farmers, and the corresponding flow hyper-stimulating a migration of American factories to Mexico causing job losses here in the United States. Fox News then tells our American working class friends that this is to be blamed on the “damned illegals” taking “our” jobs and that the solution is stopping random brown people on the streets of Arizona to hassle them for their papers. Let’s tally the score:
Talent, hard work, ingenuity, risk-taking, etc. are not relevant in Obama’s third-grade level of economic understanding. As expressed by Tom Sowell, “[w]hether at home or abroad, Obama’s ideology is an ideology of envy, resentment and payback.”
Blah, blah, blah….
By: TheStatelessWonder | Jan 20, 2012 Featured
An Exercise In Futility
“The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.” ~ H.L. Mencken
I felt compelled to write this series of articles due to the discouraging tendencies that I have seen and currently see among the statist left. As an anarchist, I do not primarily rely on working within the system in order to achieve my ultimate goals. However, I do wish that I could count on Progressives, state socialists and even Democrats to at least relieve some of the pain caused by The State as well as inch things along in somewhat the right direction.
Far too often, I’ve had to mutter under gritted teeth, “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”.
This attitude of mine is not popular on The Left, for obvious reasons. All too frequently I get glares, and am accused of believing in “all or nothing”. Furthermore I am frequently told, “that attitude” is what keeps getting The Right into power time and time again which is why things are getting so bad economically for the working class and socially for anyone who is not a well-to-do heterosexual male W.A.S.P..
The statement “all or nothing” is implicitly juxtaposed with, “something is better than nothing”, unless I am seriously misunderstanding something. In other words, there is a HUGE assumption being slipped into the attempts dissuade me from being so critical of the statist left, namely, that I am “getting something”.
But what is that “something”?
Obviously, Progressives have answers for me. They tell me tales of all the wonderful things FDR did during the depression, or about the years of wonderful prosperity immediately following WWII. Any attempt to question these “wonderful” things, or their application to today is usually met with a greater or lesser degree of hostility. The lesser degree would include saying that I am too “all or nothing” and that to get things done, I must “compromise”. The greater degree includes me supposedly being a “capitalist”, or “pro-Hoover” or sounding “right-wing” not caring about the poor– you get the idea.
There’s A Reason I’m Balding
“Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” ~ Genesis 25:29-34
The attempt to have a serious discussion with the statist left on economic issues is often frustrating, maddening, saddening, and feels fruitless, with very few exceptions. I often feel alone politically as the people who are supposedly my allies support many short and midterm goals which I also support, but often approach the problems on unsound economic footing, which often lead to greater concentrations of capital, greater entrenchment of the capitalist system in our society, greater chances for a totalitarian state, and reduced chances of ever destroying said system. As far as actual electoral politics go, Progressives tell me that “at least” Democrats serve to “slow the downward slide” toward a more oppressive, more impoverished, less educated society. My contention, which I will attempt to demonstrate as I write this series, is that Republicans and Democrats each advance an authoritarian agenda towards a totalitarian, capitalist state, albeit each in their own specific way, each advancing a different part of the same agenda.
“There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” ~ George Orwell, 1984
Coming To Terms With Being A Minority: Yeah, I’m One Of Those Pesky Libertarians
“The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.” ~ H.L. Mencken
Part of the reason why I can only get along with Progressives to a point is that we have different long-term goals: I seek to abolish The State, while Progressives seek to tame The State, make it more humane, and cause it to serve the working class. This brings about wildly different conclusions in terms of strategy and in what types of economic policies are proposed.
So I am stuck seeking alliances in odd places if I truly want to make a difference in the world, and this tends to create even more tension between myself and my Progressive friends, since they tend not to approve of my “other” political allies. My only other choice would be to simply “swallow it” and go along with my statist left friends as they make bad proposal after bad proposal, and what few good proposals they make, they try to “sell” to the American public in completely the wrong way. I will have to keep smiling and quietly nodding my head at the rank-and-file Progressives in appreciation of their passion, compassion, and intent as they spout off completely wrong-headed rhetoric when it comes to the role of government, about monetary policy, about government spending, and about how to fix a recession. I will have to shut my mouth and listen to condemnation after condemnation of ideas that are only “wrong” because they came from people they didn’t “approve” of, even when these ideas would serve their agenda even better with just a little minor tweaking, or in some cases, no tweaking at all.
So my message in this series will be a negative, critical one, aimed right between The Left’s eyes. However, it is not meant to be mean-spirited or insulting. My hope is that this series of articles will provoke new discussions on what is good Progressive policy that actually makes “progress” and what is not. I will present a number of very specific ideas on a wide range of issues, primarily economic issues, but also crossing over into social issues that have economic implications that tie into the economic issues I am talking about. Some of my recommendations will undoubtedly be discovered to be incorrect, or not fully thought out, but as long as the discussion is revived and sacred cows of the New Deal and the prosperous 1950′s and 1960′s are made a little less sacred and untouchable, I will have done my job, and a new way of thinking that is both more sound and more reasoned will begin to emerge, along with better tactics for winning the propaganda war against The Right. I am thinking that one of the best ways to get this across is to demonstrate what an actual agenda that makes progress would look like, if I were to choose to use The State as a means of accomplishing real social change, so that my comrades understand why I am so frustrated with the current formula and the accompanying rhetoric.
And maybe, just maybe, I can persuade a few of my statist readers that a society that is both libertarian and socialist is not only possible but desirable.
So sit back and enjoy the ride. We’re gonna pretend I was elected president in 2008, and that I had a congress that was willing to cooperate fully.
Ok, stop laughing. Stop. Cut i- STOP!!!!!
By: TheStatelessWonder | Sep 3, 2011 Anarchism
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian anarchists accused of murder in 1920 and put to death in 1927 after a famously biased trial. The pair came to symbolize the bigotry directed toward immigrants and dissenters in America. Their struggle is retold in this probing documentary.
Even A Randian Can Stumble Upon A Gem Once In A While…
Many months ago, I was watching some anarchist videos on youtube regarding the issue of defense in an Anarchist society and stumbled on one which happened to be a response to a video made by an objectivist called “Anarchism Is Stupid“. The defense video was made by an anarchist who identifies himself as a mutualist, much like myself. However, as frequently happens with me when I am surfing youtube videos, I end up stumbling upon something which causes me to seriously reflect on some other point unrelated to what I was originally researching, and very often it is a simple comment made by the uploader that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the main “thrust” of the video. In this case the objectivist is actually attempting to make the point that having competitive defense organizations will result in one of them seizing power and ending up creating a new totalitarian state. This is something I had heard a million times, so I watched the video, muttered “yeah, whatever” and moved on without thinking much about it. Months after this, I had e-mailed both the defense video and the original video to my good friend PunkJohnnyCash, which prompted me to watch the videos again. This time, what the objectivist said starting at 1:47 struck me in a way it hadn’t before. That’s when the sentences that I will be focusing on throughout the rest of this rant stood out:
“‘The market’ is a creature of the law CREATED BY GOVERNMENT.”
and at the end of the video he repeats:
“The market is a creature of law. It is not a floating abstraction or a flower or a tree that you can just take out of the middle of nature and use. It is an institution of law.”
So what’s the big deal? He’s wrong, right? My knee jerk reaction as someone who has used the term “market anarchist” to describe himself at times was to simply dismiss this charge as a big stack of “Bovine Scatology” on video format and move on.
Well, today I have to say he was not completely wrong. I think his reasons for saying this are wrong, but the part about “the market” being a creature of law is very instructive I think.
I Don’t Smoke, My Cigar Does
Ask yourself this question, reader: what in the hell is a “free market” anyway? Am I “free” to take your stuff at gunpoint and sell it to the highest bidder? I think market anarchists/”anarcho”-capitalists/voluntaryists would say “No, because that violates the non-aggression principle”. Ok, so there’s one regulation I supposedly can’t violate as part of a free market. How about if you saw your neighbor take someone else’s stuff at gunpoint and then try to sell it to you? Has your neighbor’s aggression then been “laundered” and that makes it ok when he transacts with you on a voluntary basis? I think most sane people would also say no. However, this is pretty much what happens in capitalism when we buy chinese goods from Wal-mart that were made by prisoners: someone else committed an act of aggression, then the product changed hands a couple of times before you bought it at a very low price. What type of “market incentive” would we be creating in a stateless society if we considered this to be an acceptable practice? We simply farm out the dirty work to a third party, have the product “cleansed” by a distributor then sold to the general public?
If you’re interested in the honest truth rather than “winning” a debate, I think you’d concede that the Smithian concept of the “division of labor” needs to operate within certain boundaries in order to prevent an incentive towards using violence in an attempt to lower prices, which is what capitalism is based on (i.e. exploitation or “capitalizing” upon others). Failure to do so violates the original intent behind markets which is to provide a method of peaceful interaction for people to have their needs met. So in a society that obtains its products through exchange rather than “planning” could we then concede that the community engaged in trade will want to limit the division of labor to what they can reasonably observe to be in line with the other principles that they value, such as the non-aggression principle? If your answer is “we only care about efficiency” will you then allow for slavery in the case of mundane and undesirable tasks that can’t be automated at the present time if slavery in those cases is found to be “most efficient”?
What I began realizing in my mind is not that the “market” concept is wrong per-se, but simply that the idea of a market being “free” is something that can only exist in a hypothetical vacuum if you are using the word “free” in an arbitrary sense. To this day, the idea of individual artisans and cooperatives producing and exchanging goods and services is still my preferred mode of organizing the economic aspect of a free society, but it’s very important to realize that one CANNOT organize a society itself on the basis of “the market”, because markets operate within the boundaries of a how a society is organized. Market principles are simply the application of logic to understand what is taking place as exchanges occur over a large scale, what this does to the prices and availability of goods and services, and what information this communicates to both producers and consumers. Failure to apply this logic can result in a myriad of problems for said society, but no economic system can decide what a society’s values are, and since economics is logic-based, it is up to a society to decide what presuppositions that logic is based on.
This point strikes a blow to the arguments made by capitalists (“anarcho” or otherwise) against the concept of social justice. If a society values the “lowest price” without any other qualification whatsoever, then we will automatically have a society that accepts a certain amount of violence, and the only question would be, how much violence is acceptable, what kinds of violence, and towards whom? There is no way around this. If your regulating principle is “as long as it’s voluntary, it’s fine” then you can easily turn a blind eye toward quite a bit of violence as you would only need a middle-man to aquire goods obtained by involuntary means and then sell them to you on a “voluntary” and therefore “kosher” basis. I consider myself a “voluntaryist”, but if we were to liken a free society to a table, voluntaryism is simply one “leg”… it’s necessary, but such a society will not stand for any reasonable amount of time without at least a couple more legs, preferably a few more.
Once we understand this, we realize that it is perfectly valid to at least question such things as rent, interest, wage labor, and landed property, even if we conclude that some or all of them are still valid. This idea that we somehow are not allowed to question whether these things should exist based on the idea that they “come from the market” is an abstraction. What market? The “free” market? Even the most extreme anarcho-capitalist would tell you we do not at this time have a “free” market.
“BUT, BUT, BUT….”
“But if someone wants to borrow money voluntarily from someone else at a compounding percentage rate? Shouldn’t they be allowed to if they want to?”
That’s a stupid question. How so? Well, how seriously would you take me if I went around saying, “I think that in a free society, if I want to beat my own skull in with a hammer, that’s my right”? I suppose that’s technically true, but how much time would you spend in forums arguing with people and cranking out youtube apologetics videos defending the right to beat your own head in with a hammer? If you had the choice between a loan instrument where you paid a small “maintenance fee” at certain intervals, a system where you sell IOUs at slightly below face value for set terms in order to obtain investment funds, or a fucking mastercard with a compounding ass-rape of 21.99% per annum, which would you choose? All “us regular folk” know that in our current society, the third option is the only “choice” which makes it no choice at all.
As Fugazi would say, “here comes the argument”.
The anarchocapitalist, immediately after telling us that the reason life-saving medications are so damn expensive is all the fault of the FDA, patents, and other government regulation, will defend the banks to the death and tell us compounding interest exists and is “valid” because “the market” said so. Forget the fact that the money monopoly/legal tender, the banking system, and other government regulation restrict the amount of possible exchange media to a trickle of what it ought to be. Choice architecture is no choice at all, and therefore doesn’t prove squat about whether compounding interest is justified.
Markets Outside Of Any Context Will Always Die Of Suicide
This brings forth another interesting question… can a “market” based on who can make the most profit survive indefinitely? I don’t believe it can, simply because it would have to remove certain checks and balances in the name of “efficiency” in order for those profits to be sought. Once a society values so-called “efficiency” over freedom itself, any semblance of a “free market” dies. Aggression must set in, simply because the society has decided to turn a blind eye to it in the name of “efficiency”. Any goods aquired through these means then become cheaper by, pardon the pun, “forces” outside the “free” market, which will out-compete those produced in a manner consistent with libertarian principles. This in turn creates a significant wealth inequality, which in turn creates an incentive to protect this higher income. What other incentive does it create? Well… if you obtained your “market” advantage via force, either directly or via contract with those who committed the violent acts for you, you very well can’t have someone with more access to force take that from you, can you?
Enter “The State, version 2.0″, and this time, they’re not gonna even pretend it’s democratic.
Anyway, long story short: while markets are a valid way for people to associate in my opinion, what they are not is a basis on which to organize society. Society determines what “the market” will look like, not the other way around.
In Part 2, I will be discussing the flawed definition of “market” that is frequently used by Anarcho-capitalists and Voluntaryists which leads to flawed reasoning, and in the end, to a defective anarchism.
By: TheStatelessWonder | May 14, 2011 Featured
Member of the Juan de Mariana Institute
Translated by The Stateless Wonder
This week they have killed Osama Bin Laden. It was not an act of defense, but of revenge. Thus admitted an official of the Obama cabinet when affirming that, “The objective was to kill Bi…n Laden, not to capture him”. The Spanish State also gave its congratulations for the fact of this being revenge upon saying that “Obama has done justice to the victims of 9/11″. When a person administers justice by his own hand, they call him a murderer. When the State does it, they call it a heroic act. The mindset of West does not stand out for its impartiality, nor its capacity to use reason.
Without a doubt, it’s great news that there will be one less criminal, but all this is nothing more than part of the neo-con circus. The director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, rushed to say that al-Qaeda would “almost certainly” attempt some form of retaliation. Hilary Clinton, before anyone could call for an end to the U.S. police state around the world, also said that the fight against terror will not end with the death of bin Laden. The concentration camp at Guantánamo will continue to exist, along with the great abuse of human rights under the Patriot Act, abuses committed by law enforcement, as well those of the TSA, and the occupations and killings in foreign countries under the guise of national and world “security”.
When will this end? Never. Fear is what permits the State to grow. We see it in the field of economics. When someone speaks cutting social entitlements such as pensions, education or government medical care, there will always be a politician, or some lobby shouting, “The elderly will die of starvation”; or “without healthcare (governmental), thousands of children without vaccines will die by the day”. And funnier still: “Without education (State-funded), the children will be idiots”.
The truth regarding the involvement of government in the area of pensions, medicine, and education? What results have they given us? The government began the grand larceny of “public” pensions with the excuse that the people should have a “dignified old age”. There is nothing dignified about seven hundred euros a month. here is no one under the age of thirty who believes they will receive a worthwhile pension when they retire. The Government, political parties, unions and employers’ organizations have raised the age of retirement and we are all going to die with our boots on. The promise of the State was LIE. It was an excuse for ROBBERY.
The State also came up with government healthcare to give us more security. The result has been bad service, long lines, beds in the hallways and now the imminent bankruptcy of the system in some regions such as Catalonia. Boi Ruiz, the Minister Of Health for Catalonia, recently recommended that “the Catalonians join a mutual insurance company” to avoid the collapse and ruin of Catalonian finances. This is not a regional anecdote. Claude Castonguay, creator of the Canadian social health system affirmed some years ago that his “system is in ruins”. Again, The promise of the State was LIE. It was an excuse for ROBBERY.
And what happened when the State took over education? Indoctrination, intellectual sloth, and enormous percentages of school failure. The more the State invests in education, the more inept, dependent on the State and cloudy-minded our youth are. Spain, one of the most interventionist countries in this area, has the sad honor of being among the poorest performing countries of the world in school competence. The promise of the State was a LIE. It was an excuse for ROBBERY and INDOCTRINATION.
Why should national security be any different? The politicians promised us that we would be better off. The result has been a clear decline in our welfare with a radical increase of the police state (insecurity), invasions in other countries, robbery, creation of Central Banks, private monopolies and the mass murder with the the economic and political domination of the world as its end.
The objective of the State is not to offer more security, that is something only society interacting with itself can provide: the market with its security firms,alarms, gatekeepers, private agents, fences, weapons, cameras… The only end of the State is to create more insecurity and to continuously seek scapegoats that intend to destroy the world. Something like that is fine if it’s created a boy when reads a Superman comic, but is a very vague excuse for an adult (makes sense, since it’s repeated a thousand times in those indoctrination farms they call”public schools”). The more the State investsin a sector, the more deteriorates it, to thus continue exerting its weight on it.
What has national security given us, the American Empire, the UN and similar governing bodies? More insecurity, more deaths, more deficits, more taxes, new enemies for the politicians tweak so that they jump. Don’t you believe that the same is now being done with Libya? They arm the rebels as they did with Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden. Later they had to kill them both. What do you believe is going to happen thirty years from now?
Again, The promise of the State to guarantee our security was a LIE. It was an excuse for ROBBERY, DECEIT, MURDER, unlimited POWER and CRIME on a grand scale. The greater criminals are called Politicians and they live off our money. National security does not have a “national” solution, but rather a local and private one, but that’s another story.