Thursday, July 17, 2014

Producers and Parasites

One problem many of us on the right have is that we're so annoyed with the left that we automatically leap to the defense of capitalism and capitalists without thinking first. The fact is, of course, that most of what goes on inside Wall Street and other "capitalist" strongholds couldn't be any further from a free enterprise system. Some Republicans, even, have started contrasting capitalism with "crony capitalism," and that's a healthy development.

Sure, the left is a bunch of scumbags, but some of the flakier-sounding leftists actually have a valid critique of the system, only they unfortunately call it "capitalism," as though they think it somehow reflects the spirit of free enterprise. It doesn't, despite frequent rhetoric that tries to convince us all that it does.

Right now, the Government is in a position to decide which businesses fail and which prosper, by any combination of regulation, subsidy, taxation, government contracts, and just plain lawsuits. It's getting comically obvious, with Obama creating this crippling "health care" system, and immediately exempting his friends and donors from participation in it, that there's very little freedom in enterprise these days.

Bob Wallace gives a summary of what we've got, and it isn't free enterprise. His essay makes me want to go dig Oswald Spengler out and read him again. He has interesting things to say about politics and
money.  Well, read Bob's essay from HERE, and I'll think about Spengler a little.

"Makers and Takers - Not What You Think"

"Behind every great fortune there is a crime." - Mario Puzo, The Godfather

Half the wealth in this country is concentrated in the New York/Washington DC/New England area. How did this happen?

Let's see...what is in that area? The federal government and the financial sector.

The political scientist Kevin Phillips has pointed out the empires go through three phrases: agricultural, industrial, financial, then they collapse.

The sector I just spoke of produces nothing. It is purely parasitical. And I'm half-amused, half-contemptuous, when people think corporations are free market and not creations of the State (the have the legal status of persons). Let's put it this way: the Revolutionary War was started because of the biggest corporation in the word at that time - the East India Company, which had gotten a tax rebate of millions of pounds from the Crown to drive out of business its smaller American competitors. It'd be the same today if a world war was started because of McDonalds or Wal-Mart.

Too bad the South didn't win. It couldn't be any worse than it is now.

The following article was written by Kevin Carson and is from the Center for a Stateless Society.

"The old '53% vs. 47%' meme that got so much attention in the 2012 election resurfaced this week when it came out that Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez apparently first coined it at a 2010 Rotary Club speech. The 47% who pay no income tax, he said back then, are 'dependent on the largesse of government' and 'perfectly happy that someone else is paying the bill.' The talking point got traction with the Tea Party and was soon picked up by politicians like Paul Ryan (who warned we were approaching 'a net majority of takers vs. makers') and Mitt Romney.

"Of course this is pure buncombe. It presupposes that high taxable incomes result primarily from being 'makers,' when the truth is just the opposite. The higher your income, in fact, the more likely you’re a taker who’s — all together now! — dependent on government.

"It’s possible to get moderately wealthy — say, an income that qualifies you for the 'top 1%,' which is somewhere under $400,000, or assets in the low millions — through genuine entrepreneurship. Even at this level, of course, it’s more likely you have an income heavily inflated by membership in a licensing cartel, or help manage a highly authoritarian, statist corporation where your 'productivity' — and bonuses — are defined by how effectively you shaft the people whose skills, relationships and other human capital are actually responsible for the organization’s productivity. But it’s at least possible to get this rich by being a maker of sorts, by being more adept than others at anticipating and meeting real human needs.

"But you don’t get to be super-rich — to the tune of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars — by making stuff. You get that filthy rich only through crime of one sort or another (even if it’s technically perfectly legal in this society). You get the really big-time money not by making stuff or doing stuff, but by controlling the conditions under which other people are allowed to make stuff and do stuff. You get super-rich by getting into a position where you can fence off opportunities to produce, enclosing those natural opportunities as a source of rent. You do it by collecting tolls and tribute from those who actually make stuff, as a condition of not preventing them from doing so. In other words you get super-rich by being a parasite and extorting protection money from productive members of society, with the help of government.

"So don’t be fooled by the fact that some of us aren’t paying any income taxes. We pay lots of taxes — to rich takers who live off our largesse. The portion of your rent or mortgage that results from the enormous tracts of vacant and unimproved land held out of use through artificial property rights is a tax to the landlord. The 95% of the price of drugs under patent, or Bill Gates’s software, is a tax you pay to the owners of 'intellectual property' monopolies. So is the portion of the price you pay for manufactured goods, over and above actual materials and labor, that results from embedded rents on patents and enormous brand-name markups on (for example) Nike sneakers over and above the few bucks a pair the sweatshops contract to make them for. So is the estimated 20% oligopoly price markup for industries where a few corporations control half or more of output. If by chance you do pay federal income tax, half of it goes to support the current military establishment or pay off debt from past wars — wars fought for the sake of giant corporations.

"The 'takers,' in short, are the people Romney spoke to at $1000/plate fundraisers, who pay Hillary Clinton several hundred grand for a speech reassuring them Wall Street’s not to blame. The entire Fortune 500, the entire billionaire plutocracy, depends on largesse from us makers — and they can only do it with government help."
Quibcag: Found a nice depressing, but undeniable, Spengler quote. The girl seems to be Dalian, from The Mystic Archives of Dantalian (ダンタリアンの書架 Dantarian no Shoka).


  1. 'Behind every great fortune there is a crime", Balzac originally.

  2. The 53:47 divide is that not a misused statistic as Ex-Army was one of the 47% in his Army days but he was also a taxpayer.

  3. The wealth of the North was based on two things,the rape of the South, during and after the Yankee invasion, and the free land given to railroads by the Federal government.