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Indian Libertarians

Life, Liberty and Property

Central Planning | Part Two

srinivas.chakravarti Monday August 18, 2014

In an article published today (Monday 18 Aug) by Seetha, a senior journalist at Firstpost/Firstbiz, had this to say about State planning. Here is an extract - 

A lot of the ridicule attached to the Planning Commission came from the fact that the word 'planning' got inextricably associated with the Soviet Plans which inspired Jawaharlal Nehru to set up the body in the first place. But shorn of this negative connotation (and the accompanying paraphernalia), can one really argue that all planning is necessarily bad? Don’t large conglomerates work out long-term corporate plans and break it down into monitorable goals and targets? The difference probably is that a private corporation will give a lot of voice and autonomy to its constituent units, while governments typically tend towards centralisation and micro-management.
The first error committed by the senior journalist is to compare planning by private firms, and planning by the State. It is true, the Planning Commission in the year twenty fourteen is seen as a relic of the Soviet era; however, there are many reasons as to why planning in the Soviet context is accepted as a massive failure. One of the reasons being the mass democide committed by Stalin and others.

 

One fact that is not frequently discussed anymore is the failure of central planning itself; not just its failure in the Soviet Union, but in all countries, which adopted outright socialism. The argument against central planning is not only applicable to socialist countries, but to virtually every modern social democracy which has existed in the last hundred years.

 

So what is State planning? Simply put, it is - An economic system in which economic decisions are made by the state or government rather than by the interaction between consumers and businesses.

 

The question arises, how do the central planners know the wants and needs of every individual at every moment of their lives? The central planners say this can be done by collecting data about the behavior of its citizens. So if data, and data collection is deemed to be accurate and precise, then why has central planning failed so spectacularly worldwide in the last hundred years? Is the data wrong? Is the data not up to date? Is the data collection method faulty? Is data collection complete, and comprehensive, yet is the analysis of the data faulty? Is there is a knowledge problem? Is there is a coordination problem? Is there a lack of consensus among citizens? Is there a weak political will? 

 

Central planners rarely accept their faults, since they would be unemployed if they were to accept, that their concept of central planning itself is wrong. How does central planning get its legitimacy? It does so by the support from the intellectuals who defend the State, primarily from its economists.

 

In fact, it is the economists who must make it clear to the public that regardless of the time, place, and people who do State planning; central planning will always fail.

 

The senior journalist continues - 

Every country needs – and many have – an institutional mechanism that provides independent, high-quality inputs for policy formulation and economic management. This has to be qualitatively different from the drawing up of voluminous five-year plan documents, sections of which were simply cut-and-paste jobs from earlier plans (with updated data) or routine notes sourced from the different ministries.
 

One thing such a body should do is monitor macro-economic developments and suggest how to go about meeting challenges they pose or tapping into opportunities that they reveal. It should also study the cause of, and suggest creative solutions to, current pressing problems. Sure, there is a chief economic advisor and a planning unit in the finance ministry. But Pronab Sen, chairman of the National Statistical Commission who has spent close to two decades in the Planning Commission, has a point when he says the finance ministry looks at everything from the lens of economics and public finance, not in terms of development, which is more multi-dimensional. A weighty voice outside the finance ministry, which takes a more integrated view of how different sectors mesh together, will ensure that the Prime Minister does not become, as he puts it, captive to North Block.
There we go again. The central planners need to be efficient. They need to collect accurate data, study it closely, and formulate macro indicators to ensure optimal planning. While the author criticizes the method of formulating previous Five Year plans, there is no problem foreseen in continuing the system of planning which will be more "multi-dimensional".

The finance ministry only looks at how a nation-wide scheme of building toilets will affect the exchequer; it may not be able (or willing) to connect the dots between sanitation, preventive health and the macro-economic effects of ill-health. On the other hand, administrative ministries will tend to overstate deficiencies to justify their existence or get more money out of the finance ministry. There is, therefore, a need for a body that will take stock of where the country stands on various developmental indicators, sound alarms when necessary and suggest what kind of action is required.
The author in the paragraph quoted above, runs around in circles without realizing that central planning fails since there is no market price system to work with.

 

Almost all defenders of central planning say this - 

  • We need experts in various fields to become central planners, and they must be selfless, and devoted to the greater good of the people
  • We need accurate, and precise data about the economy in order to arm the experts to develop the most efficient plans
  • We need super-efficient implementation of the optimal plans, in order to achieve the goals of planning, and ensure planned outcomes
  • We need a feedback system to ensure plans are always kept optimal to keep up with the changing conditions of the market economy.
  • We need a system to groom the best, and brightest to become central planners to ensure the common good.

While most citizens in theory reject socialism, they wholly accept it in practice. Therefore, while many do study works of economics, which argue against central planning, in reality it is whole-heartedly embraced through the obsession with policymaking, which is simply a moderate form of Socialism.

 

While citizens, media persons, economists, and other experts shout out their opinions, here is a quote, which speaks the truth about them.

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
The journalist does not outright argue for classical socialist central planning, but fails to see the faults in her reasoning, or if there is any reasoning present at all in her article.

 

To understand why State planning fails, we must understand that which lies at the heart of every market economy i.e. the free market. The foundation of the free market, indeed society itself is; private property. Only when we understand workings of the system of private property, we can fully appreciate the free market.

 

Read about the concept of private property here - http://mises.org/daily/4718

 

For an in depth understanding of the economic calculation problem, go here - http://library.mises.org/books/Ludwig%20von%20Mises/Economic%20Calculation%20in%20the%20Socialist%20Commonwealth_Vol_2.pdf 

 

Note: The argument presented is against socialism and its central planning, however it also applies by extension to modern State planning, based on macroeconomics; which itself is a mix of Neoclassical, Chicago, Keynesian, and New Keynesian schools.

 

SEZs are an insult to Free Markets

smehra Monday August 18, 2014

A controlled economy is not an economy where there is no trade, it is an economy where people with stylish hats and special posts decide who gets the ‘freedom’ to produce certain goods and how to trade them. SEZs are nothing different.

Special Economic Zones (or SEZs) seem to be part of a growing list of ‘reforms’ which are passed in the name of ‘liberalization’. But a closer inspection shows that these reforms (along with the rest of them) are in fact corporatist reforms.

What is an SEZ? SEZs are zones, mostly near ports and borders, where many economic restrictions are not applied. These zones are places where “free trade” and “tax cuts” are applicable. The official need for these zones is to “attract” foreign investment and  promote “free trade” with other countries.

However let us not forget why SEZs thrive in the first place. The secret lies in the state’s tariff monopoly. Indian state, like every other state, has tried to control what gets imported and exported. Not everyone is allowed to import and export goods. We have complex procedures to get approvals and only a small group of individuals get that approval. It is also true that customs office is extremely strict in enforcing these rules and has the power to shut down operations. Not to mention that approved people have to themselves pay taxes in order to continue operations, which creates more barriers to entry.

And this is not even a secret. The administration knows very well that it is their rules that restrict people from attaining prosperity and restrict wealth. It is not surprising that they think SEZs promote “free” trade. These rules might be damaging to the economy but they are also excellent avenues for corruption. But no matter how transparently the traders are chosen, the fact still remains that the traders are chosen not by the free market but by the state - this is inequality in its most basic form.

Now obviously not everyone in the world can export goods to India through these channels and not everyone in India can export to the world through these channels. This means that government will have to show partiality and pick who gets to import and export goods. On paper they say that any private/public/foreign company can open an SEZ, but that can hardly be true and sure enough we can see that only the very privileged corporations and plutocrats are given this opportunity. Sure enough the government plays a very ‘vital’ role in setting up SEZs. In theory anyone can apply to open an SEZ (just like how anyone can become the Prime Minister) but in reality if they were committed to equality the concept of SEZ wouldn’t even exist because the entire country would have been an ‘SEZ’ with nothing ‘special’ about it.

The most disgusting part about SEZ is how the state considers setting them up. Most of the SEZs are created by stealing land from its previous occupiers. The total land acquired for SEZs is 150,000 hectares (the area of National Capital Region):

 

Estimates show that close to 114,000 farming households(each household on an average comprising five members)and an additional 82,000 farm worker families who are dependent upon these farms for their livelihoods, will bedisplaced. In other words,at least 10 lakh (1,000,000)people who primarily depend upon agriculture for theirsurvival will face eviction. Source: http://www.sacw.net/Nation/sezland_eng.pdf (Except for its section on loss of public revenue, it is otherwise a good write up)

The instructions for land acquisition (for all public, private and foreign bodies) can be found here: http://sezindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Instructions/Instruction%20No.65.pdf

Libertarian stance against land acquisition is pretty clear: Land grabs are against individual property rights. Land titles granted by the state are a theft of property.

SEZ, far from being liberal reform, is a corporatist reform that cares mostly for the well connected and should not be confused with free trade and free market in anyway. Free trade is the freedom of all individuals to trade freely, SEZs are a travesty.

 

Why so clingy? (to the government)

NumbMonkE Tuesday August 12, 2014

This kind of a behaviour is so irrational. You cling to a certain thing when it will be better for you to just let go. The religious change religions, fan-boys change to a different product but from the same manufacturers, voters/statists change political affiliations. Even after many failed attempts to get a better outcome they refuse to let go.

"The next one will be perfect."

"The last one was a mistake, they will correct it with the next one."

"But I chose the best they had last time. Surely they won't make the same mistake twice."

How I see it: There is a piece of poop lying on the floor in your house. So you buy an air freshener. Doesn't work. You buy a different air freshener. Doesn't work either. So you buy yet another air freshener. Now, Instead of actually cleaning the place and getting rid of the cause of the problem, you waste resources in trying really hard to remedy the symptoms or live with it. Every time someone suggests that you clean it, you come up with some excuse to defend your behavior. Let it be like the way it is. You say:

"That's extremist! Just because the last air freshener didn't work doesn't mean the next one won't."

or

"I kinda like the smell of the air freshener now. I'm addicted to it. If I got rid of the shit then I wouldn't have any reason to buy that air freshener."

or

"Me buying those air fresheners keeps the air freshener business going. If I stopped buying them then people who work in the air freshener business would loose jobs. I cannot let that happen."

Years pass by and you still haven't fixed the problem. You are still waiting for the next innovation in air freshener technology. You have become attached to that piece of poop in your house. Is it rational to behave like this?

Just let go!

 

Disembodied Manipulation

FoolishRisk Monday August 11, 2014

https://soundcloud.com/foolishrisk/disembodied-manipulation

 

Namuh
We disembody.callings off.
falling from the top in height.imaginary mind of might
the fate of a dynamite. and if we die tonight
wouldn't the wrong be right with orgonite equipped
with foreign sight while pouring light encrypt in distant hieroglyphs.
pissing opposites of myth.
only holy to a phony. what you sold me slowly blow me.
folding the obstacles to one. dissing from a twisted tongue
turn into everything he comes in contact- into dust.

 

 

Say your prayer for deceased and least forgiven.
mind is spinning like the earth in which im living.

death is given fuck your limit.



Foolish Risk
Ill versed. killing the coercion.
make the flat line beep just in time for the nurse to see it first.
pragmatic; solely serving a purpose.
tax addict; the habit slowly preserving its curses.
you can't have it. rabbit holes resurface in person.
so when you have to try grabbing but you just can't grasp;
remember the universe is certain even if you can't fathom,
subservient to no man--so none shall pass.
i'll never be in the clear, but they're never going to take me.
i can run but i can't hide, so keep on chasing.
if i fall short of breath, i'll just fly like the next man
and hurdle through death defying odds toward the check stand
vamped for the sequester. stuck pampering the amateur jesters
while professionals sever the heads of kings with a pestering speech.
the peasants sense deceit but it's infested with freedom.
forget the kingdom.
real recognize real til someone reasons with treason.
how can you rectify guilt unto a legion of demons?
i can exercise knowing secretion would leave me weakened
if not for the thoughts processed when i can see true meaning.

 

 

What it means to me and what it means to you
the two don't compare unless it feeds the truth
because if i don't even care what it means to me

why would i need to do what you need me to?
 

 

Abolish the APMCs

smehra Sunday July 27, 2014

Imagine, being a farmer, if I (as a private citizen) come to your farm land and impose an order that states that you shall only sell your farm produce to me and to me only - that would be considered a criminal act. In fact that would be considered slavery. Yet this is exactly what APMCs do, on behalf of the state, and get away with it. APMCs have turned the farmers of this country into slaves.

Let us look at the ‘official’ intent of APMCs: to facilitate farmers to sell their produce and get reasonable prices. Yet its clauses that force farmers to sell only through APMCs do the reverse. How is it exploiting the farmer if another private citizen offers higher profit margin than what the farmer gets through APMCs? How is stopping this trade beneficial to the farmer? It can’t be. We must conclude that APMCs are not a mechanism for collective bargaining for farmers (as it tries to proclaim) but a mechanism of price control and exploitation. Yet it is surprising how we have allowed the state to get away with this narrative and accepted that APMCs are required to protect the farmers, when the farmers themselves are against it.

Exploitative bodies like APMCs have both short term and long term destructive effects. Short term effect is of course the loss of profit for a farmer. Long term effects are interesting:

 

  • With farming no longer being a ‘for profit’ venture, the farming activity tends to decline. The artificially low prices of farm produce are ‘signalling’ the farmers that his labour is needed elsewhere and that country is surplus in food, when its not. These false signals force farmers to leave farming and come to urban areas for jobs.
  • Farmer now has to decide what to do with its land. Here too we find the claws of the state interfering in his development. With artificially increased cost of setting up workplaces and industries in the form of licenses and fees, farmers become more eager to sell their land at a low price to an industrialist who can afford these licenses. Due to ‘land use’ laws and ‘land acquisition’ laws (which just like the APMCs control the price and buyer of land) the price the farmer receives for the land is too low.
  • Due to these restrictions mentioned, many farmers continue to live in slavery and earn bare minimum to sustain themselves. These laws make it hard to farm, hard to use their land of other purposes and hard to sell their land for a fair price.
  • With monopolies given to chosen traders, they will not be subjected to market competition. These traders can therefore hoard food because it would be more profitable to do so.

And then we wonder why there are so many farmer suicides. APMCs are mafia organizations set up with dual motive of price control (by the state) and guaranteed profits (by the traders foreign and local).

APMCs must be abolished, not amended, not subjected to FDI (foreign exploiters are hardly better than domestic) and certainly not ‘democratized’. APMCs cause harm even without the expected corruption in the government departments. We should let the farmer sell his produce to whomever he wants and at whatever price he wants. Without profit motive the produce will drop and ultimately the consumers sitting in urban areas will start to feel the effect when the government can no longer subsidise food and the ‘Right to Food’ law won't be worth the paper it was written on. In India many people go hungry, why should farmers not be in demand?

 

Government: The solution to poverty

NumbMonkE Wednesday July 23, 2014

There is poverty? How to solve it? Through the government, of course!

Here's how:

 

Forcefully extort a percentage of wealth from every productive people and give poor people "free" money. Fine, kidnap and murder those who refuse to part with their wealth. Hey! They're wealthy, they wouldn't mind, right?
People become poor because there is less and less profit for their employer and he can't afford to pay his employees as much as he would otherwise do. That Selfish Prick! That reduces productivity of the organization and eventually lay-offs. Asshole! How dare he not pay from his own wealthy pockets!
The media reports a rise in unemployment. Media is good, they tell us stuff. The saviour, the benevolent, the omniscient, the regular people (usually greedy old parasites) who got the power, not by being competent but by being popular, the government steps in! YAY! The government proposes unemployment schemes, but that requires funding so they find new ways to extort from the productive people and the cycle continues. But hey, people are at least getting relief from excessive poverty through free stuff! We're so awesome!

 

  • Meanwhile*


The scared people who think freedom or innovation is scary make an organization to stop things from scaring them. The government, in an attempt to cater to their insecurities, imposes regulations (read restrictions) on business. Such good people, right? The sacred people feel safe again (*phew* but not for long). This effectively increases the cost of setting up a new business because of all the licensing and permits that have to be obtained. Hey, it's for the good of the people, don't blame us! This also increases the time required to set that business up, again, proving costly to the new entrepreneur. But it's necessary, it scares us that people can do whatever they like with their money. So some just choose to get a job instead as that requires less hassle and risk. So where jobs would have been created more people are now looking for jobs. Unemployment increases and thus poverty. But, the children!
Already established businesses discover that they don't have to worry about competition if they just make the government impose enough regulations. They start allocating funds to establish such regulations. Monopolies are established. That's just conspiracy bullshit!
Now people start complaining about the wealth disparity among the corporate bigwigs and the average middle class man.How dare anyone have more money than us! The government delivers again through more reactionary measures and more freebies i.e. more regulations and more welfare schemes. Everybody's happy!

 

Now things are getting expensive, what with the costs of maintaining people's "happiness"(i.e. regulations) and the low profits from productive work due to heavy taxation. So people demand a solution from their savior, the government. And they deliver yet again! They fix the price of commodities so they're available at an affordable price. Everybody rejoices! (... or at least breathe easily... for a while.) Due to this price fixation, more businesses find it difficult to keep up with the costs and reduced profits.Those greedy bastards deserve that! They go out of business. Hundreds are now unemployed, there are no jobs available and there is no way to start a small business without much capital. Commodities keep getting scarce and more expensive. So the people demand that the essential businesses be given money, like they did with the unemployed people. That oughta solve the problem! Subdisies are born! So those who are friends with the government start getting free money while others get caught up in the endless paperwork. You gotsta do it officially! More monopolies...

 

People realise that the root of all these problems is capitalism. How dare anyone have the luxury of private property when we can't even get a good rent on a flat! They start a movement to stop capitalism. They buy all the billboards and markers and costumes and masks and start protesting against the evil businesses. The government sees the outrage and introduces more regulation and taxation for the rich people. (The regulations apply to small businesses too.) People are relieved that other people can't have excessive money. People should be equal! The newly imposed regulations stiffles more small businesses thus creating a monopolised environment. While the government was taxing those who make more money and "helping" those who can't make enough money, the status quo changed from "the most productive are better off" to "the most parasitic are better off". More an more people start getting on welfare schemes because honest earning aren't enough any more for survival. This paradigm shift changes the whole established natural order. Now more people are dependent on government handouts than are independent. A few business(which are now swollen beyond proportion) control the supply of commodities. The elected officials have all the power in the country to make laws. People are reluctant to oppose the government which they are dependent on. Now the people vote for those who readily promises more handouts. The big business are kept from failing by the government because they are now the only suppliers of commodities and their collapse would mean an economic and social crisis. So the people are now working to keep paying taxes in order to keep the main(and only) suppliers of goods (barely) functioning. Survival is the primary goal of the people who were previously contemplating luxury.  The great human species capable of moving mountains, scaling oceans and exploring the universe is reduced to being parasites. but we wanted everyone to be happy! (and you made everyone a slave)

 

Why and why not Capitalism

smehra Monday July 21, 2014

For a greater part of the world ‘Capitalism’ is a pejorative term. It is used with contempt towards everything that is wrong with our society. And why not? As left libertarians point out, one of its first usage was in the writings of the free market defender: Thomas Hodgkin; where he used the term with negative connotations. Capitalists, the enemy of the free market, were those holders of capital goods who used their power and influence in the state to kill market freedom and competition. Free market socialism, no doubt, pre-dates Free market capitalism. So how is it that the term “Capitalism” came to be associated with the “Free Market” causing much confusion and “spilled ink” (Resulting in Anarcho-Capitalists being almost read out of the Anarchist movement)?

 

“By ‘capitalism’ most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by ‘capitalism’ is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term ‘capitalism’ as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market. And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favouritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favouritism toward business.” - Roderick Long

To understand why this happened, we must understand the origins of the supposedly opposite of “Capitalism”: Socialism. We are, of course, speaking of the 20th Century when almost all revolutionaries were “Socialist”, who considered themselves to be part of the “Socialist Movement”. It didn’t matter if their concepts and ideas were as opposite as day and night, all of them were hesitant in letting go of this highly marketable term that could (even today) garner large support from the population. This was a period of, what could be called, a “boom” in the ideas of “socialism”. The Marxists and Leninists were socialists. Collectivist and Individualist anarchists were socialists. Communists and Mutualists were socialists. It seemed that anyone who wanted radical change was considering himself a socialist.

A good example of opposites calling themselves socialists is Benjamin Tucker and the State Socialists. Here are some of the definitions that Benjamin Tucker wrote in “Armies that overlap”:

 

State Socialist: one who believes that each industry should be coordinated for the mutual benefit of all concerned under a government by physical force. Socialism: The belief that progress is mainly to be effected by acting upon man through his environment rather than through man upon his environment.

Tucker admits that this definition of Socialism is far too general and that this definition “does not exclude all who have no such title” (We will get to his more specific definition later). However I contend that this definition is in fact not too general and moreover, it excludes the “State Socialists”. State Socialism, by definition, requires cooperation “under a government by physical force” which is only possible if the government acts “through man upon his environment” (All acts of physical force being just that). State Socialists therefore, by definition, cannot be the “general” Socialists as defined by Benjamin Tucker. In fact, I think it is actually impossible to give a general definition of Socialism that includes both the “free market socialists” and the “state socialists” in any meaningful way; and that their armies actually do not overlap as Tucker thought them to be.

Tucker’s more specific definition of Socialism is:

 

“The belief that the next important step in progress is a change in man’s environment of an economic character that shall include the abolition of every privilege whereby the holder of wealth acquires an anti-social power to compel tribute.”

This definition, one can say includes the state socialists but only if you consider the ruling class to consist only of plutocracy and not statocracy. Marx’s view of class analysis is close to this position. In his view, it was the plutocracy that gave the government its “political character” and that with certain policies intact, that demolishes plutocracy, the state could be trusted with power (and wither away when it was not needed). This privilege, in view of Marx, would not give “the holder of wealth (the state) an anti-social power to compel tribute”. But this was, however a faulty analysis of classes, which the USSR clearly exemplified. (For a better understanding of different Class Analysis please read Roderick Long’s “Towards a libertarian theory of Class” Part 1 and Part 2)

Now a marxist can argue that “this was not Marx’s intention” but it is not Marx’s liberal intentions which are called into question but rather his conservative means. However I would still not exclude Marx from Tucker’s improved definition of socialism because this definition is, in my opinion, far more general than specific. Since the destruction of privilege has been the central point of almost all major political philosophies, Tucker might as well have defined Socialists as “The good intentioned guys”. Which is, in some ways, a correct representation of Socialism. As I said before, anyone who wanted a radical change against power wanted to call himself a “Socialist”.

Tucker’s improved definition of “Socialism” also falls short of its original intent, which is to “exclude all who have no such title”. Anarcho-Capitalists, despite how they are portrayed by other Anarchists, do not want the holders of wealth to be privileged or entitled in any way (not even property). Property being entitled to protection is a Minarchist view rather than Anarcho-Capitalist. I myself have criticized this position here. An Anarcho-Capitalist insistence on “Property Rights” comes from his understanding that they are the only means of allocating scarce resources in society. And that the best way to have a just and economical allocation is through private defense and arbitration (as opposed to centralized defense of property and subjugation). Here is another analysis by Brad Spangler: Market Anarchism as Stigmergic Socialism.

Rothbard is repeatedly blamed by left libertarians for “muddying the waters” of market anarchism. However Mises (from whom Rothbard inherited these definitions) can hardly be blamed for this stark reverse of definitions. As we shall see, Mises is hardly the source of this confusion.

 

Competitive vs Collective Socialism

Even though Socialism is too varied a thought, it can be broadly be split into two categories based on a very important question: Is the current system of ‘capitalist’ economy a result of ‘peaceful’ market process?

Collective socialists would answer “yes”:

 

“The best that can happen within the competitive system is that the most ambitious, cunning, and lucky individuals in the working class would be enabled to claw their way into the exploiting class.”

The most known proponent of market socialism (or competitive socialism ), Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, in his book “Property is Theft” defends competition:

 

“Competition is as essential to labour as division.... It is necessary ... for the advent of equality.”

Market Socialists were by no means without a reply to Collective Socialists and this debate can be lengthy. But who among them was right is not the focus of this article. Austro-Libertarians have had major issues with Collective Socialists but they also have had fair share of disagreements with Market Socialists. These criticisms, summed up in this paper, have indeed influenced modern market socialism (Kevin Carson being one example).

In a broad sense, market socialists were defenders of the peaceful market process and collective socialists argued that peaceful market process being competitive resulted in exploitative society that we have today. Of course this is too general and there have been numerous confused overlapping socialists. But by no means should market socialists (classical or modern) be confused with “middle of the road” mixed economy advocates.

Obviously the Socialist movement could not progress if its major thinkers disagreed on this very basic question. And as with every movement, its foot soldiers did not have enough insight for an in-depth analysis. This meant that one side had to oust the other and kill it in ideologues that could be made popular among the foot soldiers. This resulted in an expansion in definition of Capitalism. Capitalism was “redefined” to mean not only government favouritism to business but also market process (or more specifically exchange market) itself. Since collective socialists considered “free markets” to result in Capitalism, “free markets” became Capitalism and Capitalism became “free markets”. It is interesting to note that Adam Smith, considered as father of Capitalism, never called himself as such. Smith called his fourth age of man, ‘commerce’ (after Hunting, Shepherding and Farming).

Since free markets started to be criticized as capitalism, it was only a matter of time when free markets were also started to be defended as capitalism. The result was massive confusion. The Anarchist movement too was affected where it became commonly accepted that “free market” must be demolished along with the state forgetting their pro-market roots in Proudhon (while they maintained their opposition to state socialism). State Socialism had won the battle of definitions.

With the rise in State Socialism, the political intelligentsia was convinced in the “scientific” reasons for state socialism. Free Market advocates were hardly mainstream and were pushed in the corner. It was at this time that a new defence of free markets was needed and Mises, with his “Economic Calculation Problem of Socialist Economies”, came to the rescue. And he was indeed an advocate of "free market" definition of “Capitalism”.

Mises was in not your usual free market defender, he did not base his arguments on positivist methodology or the economics of David Ricardo et al. He based his defence on Mengerian Economics (or Austrian Economics as it commonly known). His take on Economics was based on study of Human Action and its implications. Mises’s challenge of “Economics Calculation” was an intellectual blow to State Socialists. Of course, the State Socialists, within their framework of methodology did provide some answers. However, State Socialism and by that extension Socialism was set back with the fall of USSR. As it turns out, Mises’s “Problem of Economic Calculation” was indeed fatal flaw in USSR’s State Socialist system.

Libertarian socialists (or market socialists) later claimed that “Economic Calculation Problem” was a flaw in State Socialist economy but not libertarian socialism. But libertarian socialism is quite varied a thought and depending on strand to strand, Mises’s criticism can apply. (Again I refer to this paper which concludes similarly).

 

Why Capitalism?

While it is true that Mises was a free market defender but his defence of free market (which the Anarcho-Capitalists have inherited) was radically different than the original Market Socialists. This is also why you would find Market Socialists butting heads with Anarcho-Capitalists and Austrian Economists. So while Mises was not a Capitalism supporter in the "hierarchical" sense, he was a supporter in the "free market" sense where he defined it as a system that allows each private individual to create and posses capital goods. His (and later Rothbard’s) support for free market does not tangle with support for labour movement, democracy etc. He practised Economics in a “value free” sense. He did not discriminate between individuals, their preferences and their class. Which lead to interesting differences between Anarcho-Capitalism and classical Market Socialism:

 

  • Anarcho-Capitalists do not consider all forms of Wage labour as slavery. Instead they wish to leave it to the worker to decide what he wishes to do with his labour. However this is not to deny that current system of wage bargaining is heavily shifted towards ‘Capitalists’, especially those who get Corporate Welfare. Providing labour in exchange for something is not coercion. This also means that Anarcho-Capitalists have no special preference for worker owned cooperatives, leaving it to individual workers to choose and organize.
  • Anarcho-Capitalists are radically more propertarian than their Market Socialist counterparts. They have provided criticism for Georgist, Mutualist and Minarchist systems of property. But most (if not all) also realize that current outcomes of property rights are not a result of the free market but rather government allocation and ‘theft’. (Some do forget this from time to time).
  • With the new Socialist takeover of Union Movement, Anarcho-Capitalists find it hard to identify with it. Indeed Unions after repeated government interventions have become power centres where the state nominates one of the laborer as a fellow exploiter.
  • Anarcho-Capitalists insist on thinking economy from the consumer’s side and not just labourer or capitalist side. They would not restrict choices of the consumer to protect labor (which the labour unions do) or capitalist (which corporate lobbies do).
  • In all the quagmire of Socialism in the 20th Century, importance of Capital goods had taken a back seat. Anarcho-Capitalists want to bring back the discussion to importance of capital goods.

There are of course more differences and the line between the two camps have blurred due to “cross-pollination” of ideas that it is useful to call them all “Market Anarchists”.

Rothbard was heavily influenced by Benjamin Tucker, who called himself a socialist. So it was not that Rothbard didn’t know the issue of definitions. Rothbard (even though he didn’t coin the term) adopted Anarcho-Capitalism as a term knowing fully well that it would “muddy the waters”. So maybe it was that he really did want to muddy them or rather prune market socialism of all its baggage, history and faulty economics. Indeed I consider Anarcho-Capitalism as “Market Socialism” corrected using Austrian Economics, a process that really took off after Rothbard. (This needed to be said)

 

Why not Socialism?

Socialism isn’t what is used to be. The term no longer means “proletarian revolution” or “state ownership of industries” but rather “this mixed economic welfare state that we have right now”. Most supporters of “Socialism” these days are simply “social democrats” of the mixed economy variety. Rothbard called Marx’s State Socialism as “Conservative means to liberal ends”. It would be appropriate to call this modern socialism as “Fascist means to liberal ends”.

I could have called it “Corporatist means to liberal ends” but i have run out of sugar coating. Our world is filled with Fascist states who promote and feed on corporate economy which in turn feeds on ‘free’ people. Modern socialists with “good intentions” while trying to fight this very nexus, unwittingly fuel the fire that is burning them.

Despite the popular understanding, “corporate” economy was central to Fascism not a violent dictatorship. One must read their “good intentioned” manifesto to get the idea:

 

“We have constituted a Corporative and Fascist state, the state of national society, a State which concentrates, controls, harmonizes and tempers the interests of all social classes, which are thereby protected in equal measure.”

If this sounds familiar it is because this is what all states have been claiming to do. This is also what parties promise to get elected: Protection of all social classes through control. Fascists also have a familiar concept of Democracy:

 

“In rejecting democracy Fascism rejects the absurd conventional lie of political equalitarianism, the habit of collective irresponsibility, the myth of felicity and indefinite progress. But if democracy be understood as meaning a regime in which the masses are not driven back to the margin of the State, and then the writer of these pages has already defined Fascism as an organized, centralized, authoritarian democracy.”

This might be confusing, but quite simply Fascism is rejecting the concept of “mob” democracy. Instead it is advocating a form of authoritarian democracy where responsibility can be fixed. This too sounds quite like the systems of Democracy we have today, only our systems need to be more authoritarian to completely satisfy this definition.

As Rothbard writes in “Left, Right and the Prospects of Liberty” while criticizing New Deal policies:

 

“And, surely, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Herbert Clark Hoover make far more recognizable figures as proto-Fascists than they do as crypto-Communists.”

USA didn’t start out as a Fascist state, with its doctrines of Individualism, but it certainly has moved towards it in the garb of Socialism. Policies that it claims to be Socialist are actually pacifiers to different social classes, protecting them in “equal measure”. Indeed you will find modern socialists of USA (specifically Modern Liberals) calling New Deal as a step in the right direction. USA version of “free stuff” socialism is impossible without the corporatism that these socialists supposedly fight.

A Fascist state allows markets inasmuch as it does not conflict with the state’s goals or if it does not economically effect a social class it “needs to show protection towards”. A Fascist state also feeds off of the white market through taxation and it needs some amount of market process to generate that revenue. Fascism can hide in a “middle of the road” movement for corporate power.

In India, most liberals consider the 1991 “liberalization” as a reform in the right direction. But here too it is easy to see that these reforms, pushed down our throats by IMF, are in fact Fascist reforms. India’s Socialist state could not keep up with its promises of production (a flaw Austrians point out) therefore it had to open its doors to corporates with licenses. It also had to drop licenses rule wherever it could not afford.

Why not Socialism? Because it either devolves into Fascism (in case of India) or complete break down and starvation (in case of USSR) or it allows Fascism to hide in its cloak (in case of USA). Either way Socialism is no longer a movement where libertarians can ride on.

With the rise of Fascism everywhere, it has become ever more important to defend freed markets.

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Why not Capitalism?

In the section “Why Capitalism” I argued why Anarcho-Capitalists insist on “defending Capitalism”. Here I argue the opposite.

It is true that “Free Market Capitalism” is under attack by those who wish to argue for so-called Socialism (which feeds the Corporate economy) and wishes to empower the state (so that it can grant privilege for “social” purpose rather than destroying privilege). However it is also true that many neo-liberal defenders of what they consider “Free Market Capitalism” tend to be only against laws that define “limits on privilege” and not against laws that grant the most basic privilege (As I have described before in Two types of laws and Vulgar Libertarianism)

The more I read these defenders of “old definition of Capitalism” the more it becomes tough for me to identify as a “Free Market Capitalist”. The ideas of government induced “perfect competition” haven’t helped either. In this fight of Socialism vs Capitalism the winner is Fascism, which has successfully hidden itself in both the rhetoric.

Libertarians today must remember the words of Konkin in the “New Libertarian Manifesto”:

 

“Where the State beclouds, Libertarian clarifies; where the state conceals, Libertarian uncovers;”

Libertarians must do exactly that, as was my intent with this article.

 

“And that, I suggest, is the function of these terms: to blur the distinction between the free market and neomercantilism. Such confusion prevails because it works to the advantage of the statist establishment: those who want to defend the free market can more easily be seduced into defending neomercantilism, and those who want to combat neomercantilism can more easily be seduced into combating the free market. Either way, the state remains secure.” - Roderick Long

 

Liberty, self-ownership and child rights

Shivank Mehra Monday May 19, 2014

Rothbard defined liberty as self-ownership: each individual has himself as his property. From this, he deduced that the product of an individual's labor, being partially derived from the individual's body, is also the individual's property and that an individual property right in the product of his labor cannot be violated without also violating his self-ownership. Thus, his entire philosophy rests upon the concept of "self-ownership". I perceive some immediate problems with this concept that I shall attempt to resolve. The first one is that it allows someone to sell himself into indefinite absolute slavery, like he has the right to sell any other property. If we deny the legitimacy of the institution of slavery, we must accept that the "self" is not exactly "property" in the same sense as land or food. Yet, why this distinction is made is not very clear. The concept of self-ownership leads to, as its immediate consequence, property in the product of one's labor. The second issue with the concept of self-ownership is this: who owns a baby? The mother, whose product of labor the baby is? Or the baby himself, since all individuals own themselves? This is not immediately clear from the concept of self-ownership. I'll address both these issues.

To understand the concept of liberty it is essential to break down human existence into the physical aspect (the human body) and the non-physical aspect (the human agency; moral, intellectual and emotional). Human agency is quite simply the faculty of purposeful behavior. No matter whether such agency can exist independently of the physical body or not, it is, as a concept, distinct from the physical body. The fundamental principle of liberty is that human agency has the right to materially express itself unobstructed, but within the same right of others. This immediately necessitates the ownership of the human body by the agency, yet the agency itself is not owned by anyone, not even itself. From the ownership of human body one can derive ownership of the products of one's labor, i.e., property rights. Yet, the fundamental distinction here is that property rights emerge from the more fundamental right to liberty, and not vice-versa.  This immediately solves our first problem: a person cannot sell himself into slavery because in doing so he would sell, along with the rest of his body, the very faculty of decision-making. This would not be a legitimate transaction since it would be in violation of liberty.

Reproductive conception is not invasion on part of the child to be born, since being conceived is not a conscious act, let alone voluntary. On the contrary, since the body of a child is caused to be conceived in a naturally dependent position by his parents without his consent, the parents owe restitution to the child. The child is entitled to a minimum level of care by the parents sufficient to bring the child out of the natural state of dependency. Furthermore, the parents shall be the trustees, but not owners, of the child until he comes of age. As trustees of their children, parents shall be liable to pay compensation for any acts of invasion perpetrated by a child. Parents shall have a reasonable amount of say in the private life of their child, to the extent it is intended to prevent or mitigate harm for the child or preventing the child from violating the rights of others. When the child achieves reproductive maturity, since the child can reproduce and can thus be expected, according to the laws of nature, to take care of children of his own, he most certainly can be expected to take up responsibility of his own life. Thus, the child is not to be considered biologically dependent upon the parents beyond the common age of reproductive maturity, and neither do the parents owe the aforementioned duty of care beyond this point.

 

|| Anarchism in Action ||

iljaimine Friday May 16, 2014
My essay The Culture of Sheepleocracy in India brutally elaborates the status quo of vociferous statism. Provoked by the pro-eristic statists, I decided to essay down my thoughts in this essay to convince voters about Anarchism, Anarchism and Terrorism, State and Anarchism in Action. This essay is not a Communist Manifesto. It is simply an argumentative essay or a bold attempt to distort the cognitive dissonances of various people around me. I hope this essay motivates the online readers to ditch their stockholm syndrome. Nevertheless, psychedelicism is something that your government hates a lot. The illegalization of psychedelicism is mainly done through the languages of the government and they are sedition act, defamation act, political intimidation and appropriation. These languages are also the social norms of the people. These languages are spoken in all spectrums, therefore, anarchism is considered as a perilous idea and state as a pacifist idea by the normal society. Any fish that dares to not flow with the mainstream faces ad hominem, social avoidance, academic isolation, etc. The mainstreamists have failed to realize with their real eyes that “to stand alone, takes everything. To stand with crowd, takes nothing.” Only the dead fishes flow with the stream.

Now,

Anarchy is a condition of life without the intrusion of governance and the mechanisms and institutions of the state. Anarchism is the philosophy which has anarchy as its goal. Anarchists believe that the point of society is to widen the choices of individuals. This is the axiom upon which the anarchist case is founded.

The ideal of anarchism is a society in which all individuals can do whatever they choose, except interfere with the ability of other individuals to do what they choose. This ideal is called anarchy, from the Greek anarchia, meaning absence of government.

Whereas,

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one infinite object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous person to any government is an anarchist. An anarchist is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so he tries to discards the state.

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a poetic phrase which uses “the people” in three different senses: the people as a collection of individuals, the people as the majority, and the people as a single entity. In prosaic terms, it means power over individuals, exercised by the majority through its elected officers, for the benefit of the whole population. This is the ideal of democracy.

Voters in a democratic election contribute to the choice of who shall exercise power on behalf of the majority, and in doing so consent to be ruled by whoever the majority chooses. For five thousand years, monarchy was the mark of civilisation. In less than two hundred years, the norm of civilisation has become democracy. Military usurpers used to claim, either that the throne was rightfully theirs, or that they were acting on behalf of the monarch. Military dictators, today claim, either that they have a mandate from the people, or that they are going to organise elections when order has been restored.

It used to be generally accepted that people had a duty to surrender their power unconditionally to a hereditary monarch. Now the accepted form is for citizens to surrender their power periodically, to rulers chosen by majority voting. Anarchists are against the surrender of power, and therefore against democracy. Not just against the perversion of democracy (though that is often mentioned), but against the democratic ideal. They do not want people to give power to whoever they choose; they want people to keep their power for themselves.

Murray Rothbard, in his #0000ff:Anatomy of the State

 

State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet. Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects...The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.

It is a disconcerting fact to note that many people have forgotten their sociophilosophical roots. Men have evolved from anarchy. Anarchy generated Men. Today, many are marching towards destructionism. Unlike “creative destructionism”, I propose “destructive destructionism”. Destructive destructionism is a psychological venue in which ignoramus seek solace. This venue is for the ignorant, of the ignorant and by the ignorant. There is no way out. Critical consciousness is disdained, free thinkers are handcuffed, freebies are cherished and anarchists are called terrorists, in this venue. The venue is engineered with servitude and is monitored by the clandestinistic government. In this venue, statists tell me that “We run the government”, “Without government, who will build the roads?”. “Go to Somalia”, etc What these people have failed to logically realize is that this venue is an abattoir. To say that “we run the government’ is like saying “cows run the slaughter house”. To say that “without government, who will build the roads?” is like believing that government can change the laws of physics. These statists are so inured with the empiricism philosophy that they will fight to defend stupidity. In this fight, they blindly dismiss that anarchy in Somalia made it very beautifully. They also dismiss without reading this stuff that there can be rule of law without the state. Moreover, to tell them to do an anatomy of voting is like administering medicine to a dead body. Nevertheless, I am also repeatedly told by them that anarchism is utopia.

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Utopia means, literally, “nowhere”. This idea is thrown at all anarchists as an argument that their vision for society could never exist because utopia is and will always be “nowhere”. Well, to remind them, stateless societies have existed before, proving their compatibility with human nature, and proving that they are not utopian. In contrast, a successful government, successful in the sense that it has achieved its purported goals of creating fair law, preserving order, and ensuring justice and security, has never existed and will never exist for philosophical and economic reasons. What has existed is a state successful in the sense that it has achieved conquest, plunder, class warfare, economic dependency, and every other means of expropriating wealth from others. That state does exist; hundreds of them exist and have existed, in fact. Last but not least, Anarchism is apolitical in its characteristics and has apolitical goals, whereas terrorists have political goals as per the definition. To succinctly enunciate, I say that politicians have political goals and now it is conclusively clear to learn that government is an institution of terrorism. To legitimize the government, in the society, people resort to induction reasoning. To inform about deduction reasoning to voters is like speaking arabic in Mexico.

There are many popular misconceptions about anarchism, and because of them a great many people dismiss anarchists and anarchism out of hand. Misconceptions abound in the mass media, where the term "anarchy" is commonly used as a synonym for "chaos," and where terrorists, no matter what their political beliefs or affiliations, are often referred to as "anarchists." As well, when anarchism is mentioned, it's invariably presented as merely a particularly mindless form of youthful rebellion. These misconceptions are, of course, also widespread in the general public, which by and large allows the mass media to do what passes for its thinking.

I am an Anarchist because Anarchy alone, by means of liberty and justice based on equal rights, will make humanity happy, and because Anarchy is the sublimest idea conceivable by man. It is, today, the summit of human wisdom, awaiting discoveries of undreamt of progress on new horizons, as ages roll on and succeed each other in an ever widening circle. Man will only be conscious when he is free. Anarchy will therefore be the complete separation between the human flocks, composed of slaves and tyrants, as they exist today, and the free humanity of tomorrow. As soon as man, whoever he may be, comes to power, he suffers its fatal influence and is corrupted; he uses force to defend his person. He is the State; and he considers it a property to be used for his benefit, as a dog considers the bone he knaws. If power renders a man egotistical and cruel, servitude degrades him. A slave is often worse than his master; nobody knows how tyrannous he would be as a master, or base as a slave, if his own fortune or life were at stake.

I also practice agorism, because

 

  1. Even under perfect conditions the State is utterly incompetent in economic matters.
  2. The State is built on numerous contradictions as in, “We need government because some people are evil.”
  3. The inherent logic of State power is to attract evil people, and it has no conceivable way to stop them from getting into power.
  4. On moral matters the State either implements a shoddy version of what market based law would produce, or it enforces victimless crimes which are at best insanely dangerous.

And, yes, there are many anarchist societies in action. You cannot see it on the main spectrum because the schooling of statism is systematically injected into the young minds. The basic resources like land, water, etc. are monopolized by the state, therefore, anarchism is considered impractical. In a discourse between statists and anarchists, the burden of evidences precisely should rest on those who put their faith in statism because state’s mayhem is not conjectural but factually horrendous. I repeat, do not believe that anarchism is not practical as I am academically preaching my students “apolitical catallaxy” than “political economy”. Now, statists can report this essay to their local police and fulfill their constitutional obligations.

Suggested readings:

Anarchism in India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_in_India

HISTORY of Anarchism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_anarchism

LIST of Anarchist societies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities

A disloyal wife and a loyal slut http://indianlibertarians.org/a-loyal-slut-and-a-disloyal-wife/

 

The Honest Politician

mithun.dutta Tuesday May 6, 2014

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Mark Twain famously said “No man's life, liberty, or properties are safe while the legislature is in session.” Politics has been the dominating factor for thousands of years now shaping the human society. Philosophy and religion are the other two tools besides politics which plays the influencing role in shaping of our society. Politics has fused itself with philosophy and religion to become the de facto tool in dealings of our society. With the rise of representative republics, democracies and constitutional monarchies politicians are the individuals who rules over us. The apparatus of representative government running the state chosen by us gives us the illusion that we are the ones who are part of the government and we are the decision makers. Abraham Lincoln's famous quote "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." reflects the central idea of this belief. With this belief we the governed masses take interest in politics and political decision making which will help us in betterment of our lives, preserve our liberties and finally protect our lives and properties from harm.  This makes the process of choosing a political representative, the politician a critical part. We desire our politician to be incorruptible, a do-gooder, an intellectual, competent to address over problems, unbiased, moral, ethical, humanitarian, truthful, passionate, having a pleasing personality, strong enough to take pressures of running the state, witty, diplomatic, to be able to remain cool and calm when required and all the other idealistic traits and characteristics we would love to see in an imaginary idealistic perfect person.

Being a politician is not an easy task. In representative democracies the role of the politician is more demanding as he has to be the popular amongst the masses to become their ruler.  One wonders how can some individuals appeal and please millions of voters to become powerful ruler by winning the elections and rule over them including the ones who voted for him. The state incorporates this mechanism within itself of producing politicians and the methods to make them popular. The state is one of the most tempting institution and the most powerful agent in human society. The state by definition is the territorial monopoly over the use of so called legitimate force and ultimate decision making. The state is considered as the agency which helps in maintaining order and welfare in society. It is seen a noble agency for most. It’s supposed to be an agency of social service. It’s an agency just like the idealistic imagination that we have of our ideal honest politician. We have a similar idealistic picture in our mind for the state.  In fact it’s the state through its methods of indoctrination and propaganda has convinced us of its omnipotence. The state indoctrinates us by taking control of us since childhood via means of schooling, making laws of moral standards and also via religious institutions. It uses religion as a tool by incorporating religion into its laws and at times presenting itself as a secular state which protects freedom of religion. Religious priests are used to give the state the sacred sanction of being the protector and the promoter of religion and peace. The intellectuals are the next. They are given patronage and positions of prestige by the state. They themselves are convinced that the state actually benefited them and praise the state for its promotion of scientific research. We view intellectuals as the wise advisers who cannot err nor make stupid mistakes.  We assume that they are men of moral and ethical perfection as they sacrifice their lives for well-being of fellow men. Sentiments of race, nationalism and patriotism are other ideological elements which the state uses. Linking them with history, tradition and culture of the region it integrates the diversity and forms the nation-state.  Not all individuals support the state. Some individuals view the state as an evil institution however they say it’s a necessary institution otherwise the society will disintegrate into chaos and disorder.

The reality is different from our interpretation of the state and politicians as we have experienced for several thousand years with the state that it’s not what we assume it to be. Human beings are probably the only species which can deceive itself by perceiving reality in their own way. In the real world the changes are continuous. Time and again we find conflicting interests with our fellow men over how resources need to be managed and how society needs to be organized. The conflicts are mostly over resources. Resources are scarce. We continuously deal with the scarcity of resources and the infinite wants to utilize those resources. With our labor and trade we come to own certain resources and add them to our private possession. There are individuals who are envious of other individual’s private possessions. Every individual is unique. They have different abilities and skills. They choose differently. Due to this difference between one individual and another at any point of time we find that different individuals have different amount of wealth in their possessions. Some have no wealth at all. Some are under debts. For some the situation is even worse and their survival is at stake.  To make matters worse some individuals lose their wealth due to natural factors where as some individuals are exploited by their fellow men. The history is full of evidences and tales of exploitation of one individual or group of individuals by another.  In this world of crisis and opportunities, of scarcity of one resource and abundance of another, of exploiters and exploited and of the haves and have not; politicians are the individuals who exploit these opportunities, taking advantage of our beliefs, conflicts and sentiments to establish themselves as the saviors, solution providers as our popular leader.

Every individual is unique. However we know that there are identifiable personality traits or patterns which are commonly found in quite a large number of individuals. These traits are strong in certain individuals, in some it might be mild and absent in certain individuals. These personality traits called as archetypes or personality types are studied under various schools/branches of psychology. Politicians are also subject of various studies done by many psychologists. We already know the traits we expect to see in an ideal politician such as honestly, trustworthiness, competence, rationality, wits, authoritative, adventurous, inspirational etc. The conclusions arrived by many of these studies are alarmingly different. Most studies found that politicians share distinct similarities found in psychopaths and serial killers. Almost all studies found them suffering from some form of narcissism and pathological liars. The politician has to be popular with the masses. Only a self-obsessed narcissist can convince others by telling how competent they are. Being pathological liars they brag about their abilities and accomplishments manipulating and exaggerating the data they present to the masses. Elections are mostly fought on personality versus personality basis rather than a realistic and rational problem-solution method. Studies also show that facial features and the personality of the politician matters. Voters subconsciously try to figure out who is a fitting candidate from their looks.  Politicians tend to be good with language and are mostly great orators. Politicians are good actors. They have to continuously pretend that they care about the masses. Acting to keep calm and a poker face through all crises is essential job requirement. Politicians jobs also require them to take decisions to wage wars in which huge destruction takes place, manage welfare funding, dislocate people from their properties if necessary, order execution of criminals, mass execution of civilians, working in secrecy and put their weight around to get what they desire even if it needs to be done by threats. Such decisions to drop nuclear bombs on highly populated cities are not easy to call for most human beings. Many studies have shown that dropping A-Bombs on Japan was completely unnecessary. Most of us cannot order such autocracies. Only an insane mind can do so. Politicians drag us into hate and wars. Politicians with power are interested in women and sex. Scores of instances about affairs of politician’s relationships with women and involvement in sex scandals are known.  Politicians due to their narcissist traits feel that they are the ones who can change the world. They crave for power as they want to change the world and impose things they consider right. There are politicians who love to be praised and considered as a messiah of the masses. They will brag about their simple lifestyle, that they sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of the people etc. They will pretend to be easily approachable by the public and lead a life amongst them. Such politicians rarely are interested in increasing personal materialist wealth but find gratification in praises, popularity and being worshiped by the people as a noblest person. Others like flamboyance and materialist well-being. They’ll talk about progress, welfare, education, poverty, women rights, minority rights etc. They lead keep their personal lives away from public eye. Material wealth of such politicians grows by the day and are rarely worshiped by the masses as noble ethical and one of their own but liked and loved for being competent efficient statesman.

The masses lead a different life than politicians. The masses are the productive class. Their lives revolve around producing various goods and services, planning for the future, upbringing of their kids, well-being of their families, following their hobbies and interests, involving in social things like festivals and celebrations etc. The masses prefer to cooperate and resolve conflicts and differences via negotiations and other peaceful means over violent means. The masses can be categorized into two types: the liberals and the conservatives. Here the words liberals and conservatives do not reflect the mainstream political reference of liberals and conservatives but the literal meaning of the words. Our needs with time and generation keep evolving. The technology changes, knowledge changes, environment changes, traditions changes and cultures change. We all dislike changes as we have to adjust according to them which involve costs. Individuals who are liberals often views changes as a good thing. They love to make things better. They want cultures and traditions to discard the inefficient ways of the past and accept better and efficient ways of the present times. These segments of the masses are likely to be appealed by politicians who talks about change, progress and development. The liberals think that if they don’t change they will be left behind and sooner or later they have to struggle for survival. The conservatives on the other hand do not like changes. They like to see things as they are at least to a large extend. They consider changes as a threat to their cultures and tradition. They view culture and traditions as a binding and uniting factor which maintains peace and order in society.  Liberals and conservatives are thus form the two opposite ends of the spectrum. Most individuals have certain conservative element as well as liberal elements within them. Only few are extreme liberals or conservatives. For example a person may be liberal about the way he does production and runs his business but very conservative when it comes to how they should run their family conducts. On the other hand there are businesses which still manufacture goods and provide services in the old fashion traditional way. However these individuals may be very liberal in their personal lives. When it comes to politics and how things must be managed in society, their views remain the same. Politicians who are at the extreme ends of being liberals or conservatives are rarely popular and rise to the top as they fail to appeal to the majority of the voters who are in the center of the liberal-conservative spectrum. Depending on the need of the time the balance tilts in favor of liberals or conservatives and changes along with preservation takes place. For example an economic crisis most conservatives will be ready to accept most decisions demanding changes in the economy. In cases like when there is a threat war or conflicts with influx of immigrants or refugees the liberals might accept to traditional values. During economic boom time conservatives might get their way by saying that too much progress is a threat pointing to damage to environment,  uncertainties due to unseen unknown effects of these changes, employment disparities etc.  However during this period due to material well-being cultural and traditional adjustments to liberal ways are seen.

Almost everyone with an exception of the few feel that there is a need for an authority to maintain order in society. We respect authority. Most people try to please those in authoritative positions. Some admire the ones in authority and see them as achievers where as others despise them and at times enviously wish to see their downfall. Political authority is no different. It is in fact the most powerful territorial authority. In republic or constitutional democracies it’s not just the politicians who are interested in gaining power but also a section of the masses whose support matters. The democratic element in this kind of state apparatus makes it fundamentally a mob rule. The minority’s rights and opinions are disregarded by the majority and seldom granted even if fundamental basic natural human rights are clearly mentioned in the constitutions. Politicians place their strategies in accordance with the opinions and the sentiments of the majority. They propagate ideas which appeals to the majority and the ones they will willfully accept and pledge support to.  This farce is conducted by exploiting crisis and conflicts which are always a part of human society to their benefit. H. L. Mencken, in prejudices, First Series (1919) made a very important remark that "The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."

The politicians are not alone involved in the election process. Every politician has a set of advisers, policy advisers, speech writers, campaign manager, media personals, stylists and team of political workers who will represent him to campaign in areas where they cannot personally visit. The politician’s personality plays a key role. The politician seldom answers a question in a direct and clear manner. They tend to use rhetoric and vague terms to answers most questions. If you ask a politician what will be their priority after winning the elections; they will give vague answers like: change, growth, development, equality, nation building etc. Thomas Sowell points out that “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” What the politicians utters is always under scrutiny by the media, public, opposition party politicians as well as their own party men with whom he has an internal competition with. The politicians have to be aggressive. He has to create opportunities by finding flaws and criticizing the opposition. Any radical view that the politicians might utter can be exploited by the media and the opposition. Such mistakes can cost the election. Many a times the politician makes a mistake and speaks out his mind. This is called as a gaffe. The media spotlight is on gaffe detection to sell more of their news. The campaign managers manage the campaign. They chalk out the places where the politician must personally visit. These areas of visits are basically the places where the politician has a good chance of winning. Their presence can boost up the confidence in the residents of that constituency thus increasing the chances of winning the electoral seat.  The campaign managers also work to figure out clever campaign slogans which will attract the psyche of the voter and out do the opposition’s slogan. If you wish you could try recalling the previously held elections and the losing party’s slogan. The policy makers work on policy proposals which the politician can promise the masses. It’s not necessary that after getting elected the politician has to fulfill all the promises he made during the campaign and implement all the policy prescriptions. The political campaigns are cost heavy.  The politicians not only have to win the confidence of the voters but to run his campaign he has to raise funds as well. These funds can come from the masses. However the masses rarely donate enough money that can fund the massive election campaign costs. This is where the wealthy anti-capitalist elites seeking special privileges for their interests from the state come into the picture. The politician’s policy makers work out an acceptable policy that the wealthy elites find suitable to their interest which is mostly directed in subsidizing them or bailing out their loss making/nonperforming assets or granting them coercive monopoly licenses or restricting their competition by using cleverly written entry barriers clauses or granting them highly profitable government projects. The politician gets into an agreement that after the elections he would implement the policies which helps their interest in exchange for campaign funds. Many businessmen if they find that a certain politician is most likely to win the election, approaches the politicians campaign managers themselves and donating huge amount of sum for their campaigns. This is why we see politicians are able to spend millions for their campaigns.

The voters also have their own interests. They too seek subsidies and benefits from the state.  All kinds of welfare like free electricity, healthcare, education, infrastructure, homes, jobs, quotas, reservations, insurances, free meal, laws, protection, defense, wars, censorship, control of religious institutions, control of immigrants, environment, wealth equality and all other such stuff are demanded by the masses. Thomas Sowell pointed this mentality of voters who seek welfare entitlement as “One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” The politician whom the voters feel are more likely to address their interests is most likely to get their vote. Therefore you’ll see every politician promising a bulk load of goodies for the masses. It’s a different matter that they don’t fulfill most of them. The masses are indoctrinated since childhood to worship the state and respect authority. They have always been taught and trained to be conformist.  With the psychic tendency to respect and fear authority even those who do not wish to accept certain views of the politician will still vote for them as they do not wish to be ostracized. The minorities confirms to the fate and know that they have to accept the views of the majority. Even most individuals from the masses don’t see a point in participating in the political process. They know that it’s pointless to vote and nothing much will come out of it. The cost benefit analysis shows that it is pointless for voters to be politically well informed. To stay informed voters must go through painstaking research and of data and educating themselves of both economic and political theory. They too have silently resorted to the helplessness due to the present political set up which refuses to provide any say to them but doesn’t spare them from getting subjugated and pay for the unconsented decisions that the winning party after forming the government will make.

The politicians also need celebrated individuals to recommend them. You’ll find well known artisans, authors, scientists, businessmen, professors, sportsmen, intellectuals and other well-known individuals participating in the election campaign.

Once the election is over a ritualistic oath taking swearing in ceremony will put the winning legislators in power to legislate the masses. Besides this the uniforms of government officials, their huge buildings with specific architectural designs, the political complex jargon language based clauses which they use to form laws and rules, military parades, paying respect to the flag, standing up when the national anthem is played and other such ritualistic or symbolic acts are a mean to demonstrate that they are significant, the authority and create the psychological influence towards the sanction of it.

Lord Acton famously quoted “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Power attracts evil, immoral, unethical and dangerous people from the society. Warmonger are addicted to wage war and get their kick through violence and killing. They glorify wars and consider war as the answer to most conflicts. The ideology of nationalism and patriotism will be propagandized by such bloodshed loving politicians. There are those who believe they can achieve heaven on earth. That they are men sent and selected by gods to serve humanity. They believe they must force other men and stop them from sinning. Punish those who have sinned. Set high moral standards. They believe that evil men must be eliminated or tortured so that they become good. Force for them can be used for moral correction. This is untrue. There are few criminals who change in character and nature after being jailed and tortured.  As soon as they are set free they get back to their old ways. Such myths that violent punishments and laws are the only necessary means of deterrence against the criminal mind are put into our mind since childhood. This is necessary for authority to do so that we remain convinced for life that violence is the way to manage society and fear violence in our own lives. Most of us do not think of violent methods. The shopkeepers, laborers, workers, businessmen, factory owners, farmers and others do not think that they will sell their goods or get services by the use of threats and coercions. Most of us prefer peaceful cooperation of trade and commerce over violence. This is evident from the way society is naturally arranged and operates since history.  It’s only certain kinds of individuals who believe in violence and they are the kind of people attracted to power as it the only way which can serve their interests. The first thing they do not respect is property rights and ownership.

The state’s higher authority seats have nearly absolute power such as the “Presidents” or “Prime Ministers”. After getting into power, power plays on their psyche. They become addicted to it. They feel they can bend the laws of nature and especially that of economics. They lose touch with reality. They tend to become more apathetic, less sensitive towards their own, extreme narcissists, aggressive and authoritarian. They urge to get more control under themselves, put themselves above the law and demand obedience from all by setting new rules and laws for them. Coercion, black mail, threats, exploitation and extortion becomes they means in time. Abuse of positions of power is a well-known fact of ruling class. The politicians either wants to loot the wealthy under the pretense of income distribution by appealing to the sentiments of the lower income classes or they will help their wealthy friends to gain more wealth by promising more economic growth to the lower income classes. Communism and socialism demands nationalization and state control of private means of production. Liberal and fascist countries gives numerous benefits monopolistic licenses, exclusive access to mineral wealth, subsidies, bailouts, tax benefits, duty exemptions and tax holidays to the wealthy elites. These tax related benefits to them helps these wealthy elites to create mega-corps. Due to tax factors being lower to negligible for them enable them to sell their goods at lower prices than their competitors who enjoy no such benefits. This is one of the major reasons why certain businessmen fund politician’s election campaigns in order to get them elected.

Not all wealthy entrepreneurs and capitalists are of this mentality. The state needs money to spend as well as politicians knows that their terms are limited. Therefore they must loot as much as possible as soon as possible. Taxing people will affect their re-election. There won’t be new funding till the next elections. Unfortunately they have the authority to legislate business and market. A legislative bill with respect to the economy serves as a great way to get more funds and bribes from the wealthy elites. There are two kinds of bills that the politicians use. One is termed as the “milker bill” and the other one is called “toll bridge bill”.

A milker bill is a type of bill which is written in a way which will alarm the business sector. It is designed in a way which sounds bad for specific sector or segment of businesses. The businessmen will then line up, lobby and bribe the politicians to stop the bill from passing. Such bills include increasing duty for certain goods, putting a quota over the quantity of goods one can import or export, put in new license and regulatory requirements which most businesses cannot meet, outright banning of goods etc. are some examples of milker bills. Once the bribes are received such bills are put off from being tabled or are defeated in the house.

A toll bridge bill is a bill which will do well for the business as well as the people. Examples of such bills are like deregulation, subsidizing the products, tax benefits to the sector, lowering or removal of duty over those goods etc. The politicians will draft the bill and inform the media that such a bill is being thought over and will be tabled soon.  The people and businessmen think it will be tabled soon. When the bill is not tabled and consumers lower their consumption expecting lower priced goods to arrive soon in the future the businessmen has a problem now. The politicians on the other hand won’t table the bill until and unless some businessmen bribes to do so. These are the tricks how the state exploits businesses and the masses.

Our faith in politics over economics is one of the major reasons why we still have conflicts and scarcity. The market efficiently today provides all those goods and services which once the government said only they could provide due to the huge investments required for them. Unfortunately huge investments were made via investors on various companies which planned for projects which required huge investments. This is far more efficient way of raising the infrastructure costs than taxation. The state interventions still creates a problem for most businesses to function efficiently and serve customers requirements. Both the masses and the politicians believe that economic decisions on how society must be arranged can be taken by them, put into a policy and enforced. However the laws of economics cannot be changed by political policies. Thomas Sowell made some important observations from the economist’s point of view. He said “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

The system of economics is not simply concerned with production of goods and services or the optimum amount of money in the economy. It deals with the study of all human actions. Economics tells us how social phenomenon works and how we can economize and utilize scarce resources. Economy is a system where there is scarcity of resources. A system where there is infinite supply of goods like the “Garden of Eden” cannot be considered as an economy.  Politicians and masses do not like economics. They consider it to be a dismissal science. It’s true that we can consider most of the mainstream economics at play and practice to be defunct and their economics as dismissal science. However economics is a science and with the correct methodology (like from the theory from Austrian school of economic thought) it’s quite effective in explaining the social world to us. There are many things which we feel is possible if we can somehow organize society and force people to behave in certain ways. Economics most of the times tells them that what they are advocating and planning to try won’t be possible. We can fantasize that if we make healthcare free we’ll get a healthy world. Such fantasizes are proposed during elections and fought on. Many of such policies are enacted as laws. The results are devastating. The basic of economics tells us that no resources are free and abundant. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” goes the famous saying.  Economics tells us central planning is not only inefficient but impossible. These findings of economics are against the interest of politics and politicians. Economic knowledge enlightens and helps the masses to understand social happening much better. If the masses start to analyze and figure out the outcome of proposed policies as well as the promises of these politicians to check even if they are possible or plausible; that should mean the end of the political business and the ruling oligarch. Thus economic knowledge is kept away from the masses. Instead they are presented with education which seldom serves to liberate them but to keep them subjugated and dependent on the political system.  The intellectuals hired as economists, consultants and policy makers are part of the state machinery. Thomas Sowell warned us about these intellectuals by stating that “Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God” and that “too often what are called "educated" people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-covered buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years”

The political system is an irresponsible system. The politician pays no price for being wrong. The policy maker’s pays no price for being wrong. The economists pay no price for being wrong. Thomas Sowell states “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” The price is paid by us. It’s we who are harmed.

The political system must be discarded at the soonest. To do so self-enlightenment by learning economics and logical reasoning is vital. System which operates on individual liberties and voluntary participation like the anarchy of market works more efficiently to address our wants. Ideas of “Agorism” and market anarchy must be practiced by us to break free off the existing system. To sum up the political system nothing can be far from the truth and facts pointed out by Thomas Sowell:

“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems—of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two.  Whatever is number three is far behind”

“The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses.  It is about the egos of the elites.”

“If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win”

“Understanding the limitations of human beings is the beginning of wisdom.”

“One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people's motives, make bold assertions, and repeat slogans-- anything except reason.”

 

Sources and credits:

Peter Schweizer Speaks at YAF Conference: http://youtu.be/oZo_CiysrMk

Thomas Sowell various quotes and political vs economic decision making: http://youtu.be/zByuQPichGY

Michael Huemer - The Irrationality of Politics http://youtu.be/4JYL5VUe5NQ Problems of Political Authority https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXBCD-bJ5wY

The Psychology of Politics - Professor Glenn D Wilson http://youtu.be/sus0-3upvuA

American Military Leaders Urge President Truman not to Drop the Atomic Bomb http://www.colorado.edu/AmStudies/lewis/2010/atomicdec.htm

Serial killers and politicians share traits http://www.examiner.com/article/serial-killers-and-politicians-share-traits