… Bear in mind that Hodsgkin, the author against whom these scaremongering jeremiads are directed, was a defender of private property on Lockean lines, and had simply pointed out that the capitalist class’s monopoly of the means of production was the product of state privilege rather than of Lockean homesteading and free exchange. So deeply enmired were Mill and Knight in a right-conflationist vision of the economy that they were apparently unable to see Hodgskin’s attack on state interference with private property as anything but an attack on private property itself.
- 1 day ago
"Genuine free education needs to stop putting new wine in old bottles, whether it be designing free course materials to fit within the conventional university degree model, or designing curricula for processing students to fit the needs of corporate employers. Corporate employers with Human Resources departments are part of a dying economy."
- 2 days ago
… The same general principle, big business acting through government to create the kinds of trusts they couldn’t establish through private action, applies in spades to FDR’s National Industrial Recovery Act. The Act created an industrial cartel administered by big business itself, to set output quotas and enable them to charge high enough prices to guarantee profits through cost-plus markup, even when there wasn’t sufficient demand to operate at full capacity. That’s what the private trusts had attempted, and failed, to do under Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan: allow monopolists to set levels of output and use administered prices to guarantee profit, without price competition upsetting the apple cart. Anyone who believes the New Deal’s economic legislation was motivated by an idealistic desire to restrain big business should do some looking into the figures involved in designing that legislation: specifically, Gerard Swope and the Business Advisory Council.
How can anyone take such a jaundiced view of the way his sausages are made, and yet be so blythely accepting of the official mythology of where the laws come from? The publik skools certainly did their job in this case.
- 2 days ago
"Right after the economic crisis the country went through over ten years ago, which reached its climax in 2001, Argentina bounced back and entered a period of relative prosperity due to favorable foreign trade conditions. Nevertheless, the situation of the average Argentine worker remains the same as it has been for hundreds of years: their access to the means of production, to capital, is still systematically restricted by the State."
- 2 days ago
"Everyday consumer financial security, ensured with the military-grade secrecy used in cryptocurrency, is already technically feasible. Only the government-business alliance prevents market competition from making it economically inevitable."
- 3 days ago
Washington, D.C. - Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry will testify Wednesday at a congressional hearing on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the dangerous “anti-circumvention” provisions that harm users, researchers, innovators, and more.
The anti-circumvention language of Section 1201 of the DMCA has been used to threaten those who unlock or jailbreak their phones, block aftermarket competition in toner cartridges and video came console accessories, and narrow the public’s fair use rights. In her testimony Wednesday, McSherry will argue that the costs of this law far outweigh the benefits, and that best way to fix Section 1201 is to get rid of it entirely. Short of that, the anti-circumvention provisions should be reformed so that it is focused clearly on copyright infringement.
Wednesday’s hearing is part of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. …
- 3 days ago
Alberta high school student Keenan Shaw was suspended for two days after he got caught selling an illicit substance from his locker at Winston Churchill his school. Weed? Nope. Booze? Nope. Acid? Nope.
Shaw says all those treats (and more) are on offer in the school’s corridors:
"I’m not going to name any names, but I know a couple of people selling marijuana, there’s kids selling smokes, there was a kid last year selling meth, as well as a kid selling acid," said Shaw.
But his drug of choice is full-sugar Pepsi. Commerce in the sweet, sweet drink is banned at his school, which allows only diet sodas to be sold on premises. …
- 5 days ago
… And where do the Somebodies get their power? From monopoly. Here, as usual, the State is the chief of sinners. Usury rests on two great monopolies, – the monopoly of land and the monopoly of credit. Were it not for these, it would disappear. Ground-rent exists only because the State stands by to collect it and to protect land-titles rooted in force or fraud. Otherwise the land would be free to all, and no one could control more than he used. Interest and house-rent exist only because the State grants to a certain class of individuals and corporations the exclusive privilege of using its credit and theirs as a basis for the issuance of circulating currency. Otherwise credit would be free to all, and money, brought under the law of competition, would be issued at cost. Interest and rent gone, competition would leave little or no chance for profit in exchange except in business protected by tariff or patent laws. And there again the State has but to step aside to cause the last vestige of usury to disappear.
The usurer is the Somebody, and the State is his protector. Usury is the serpent gnawing at labor’s vitals, and only liberty can detach and kill it. Give laborers their liberty, and they will keep their wealth. As for the Somebody, he, stripped of his power to steal, must either join their ranks or starve.
But it is an all-too-common mistake – and this tendency to underestimate the chasm between free markets and corporatism is enormously beneficial to the state, enabling a slick bait-and-switch. When free markets and government grants of privilege to business are conflated, those who are attracted to free markets are easily duped into supporting plutocracy, thus swelling the ranks of statism’s right wing – while those who are turned off by plutocracy are likewise easily duped into opposing free markets, thereby swelling the ranks of statism’s left wing. (These are the two tendencies that Kevin Carson calls “vulgar libertarianism” and “vulgar liberalism,” respectively.)
As one of the villains in The Fountainhead explains in a moment of frankness, talking about the choice Europe was then facing between communism and fascism:
“If you’re sick of one version, we push you in the other. We’ve fixed the coin. Heads – collectivism. Tails – collectivism. Give up your soul to a council – or give it up to a leader. But give it up, give it up, give it up. Offer poison as food and poison as antidote. Go fancy on the trimmings, but hang on to the main objective.”
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- 6 days ago
Nature of a Ruling Class
We tend to think of the “ruling class” as a Marxist concept; but the notion has a long history before Marx, particularly in the ancient Greek and Roman historians, and class analysis played a central role in 18th and 19th century classical liberalism as well. Whenever the decisions and actions of the political machinery are largely controlled by a particular group, and serve to advance the interests and reinforce the power of that group, such a group is properly called a ruling class. A ruling class is, obviously, a bad thing to have. This raises two questions:
- How does a ruling class operate and maintain its power?
- Is it possible to construct a political system that will not fall prey to a ruling class?
With regard to the first question: I do not believe that a ruling class needs to exercise its will or advance its interests consciously. That does often happen, of course. But what more usually happens, I think, is that as various policies are proposed or adopted in the governmental arena, those that adversely affect powerful, influential, and concentrated interests will get noticed and vigorously attacked, while those that affect the average person — too busy to keep track of what the government is doing, to poor to hire lawyers and lobbyists, too dispersed to have an effective voice — will be largely unopposed. This creates a kind of filter mechanism, that strains out legislation that harms the powerful, while allowing legislation that harms the weak to pass unhindered. The result, whether intended or unintended, is that government power tends to be turned more and more, by a kind of malign invisible hand, in the direction of advancing the interests of the powerful at the expense of the interests of the weak. …