Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution
- Name: Kevin Carson
- Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Bleg re Mutualist Political Economy
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Homebrew Industrial Revolution Available in Kindle Format
Bleg re Homebrew Industrial Revolution on Kindle
Is it in a readable format? Any serious glitches, like strings of empty pages? I announced some time ago that I couldn't vouch for its quality, but there have been occasional Kindle purchases since then. (I haven't checked it myself in a long time because I don't have a reader and -- aside from the sheer hassle of navigating the CreateSpace dashboard -- I don't know if the version that appears there is an accurate representation of what a reader on Kindle sees).
If it's OK, I'll start promoting it again.
Just occasional brief updates about new publications and appearances. "Occasional," especially, because I have to tweet from public computers; Twitter doesn't load properly on my Firefox browser at home.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Welfare State for the Rich
In his column of Aug. 1, Gitz notes the tendency of welfare states to push themselves to bankruptcy. He quotes the old saw, attributed in urban legend to 18th century Scottish historian Alexander Tytler, that democracies only survive until "voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury."
Politicians shower the general public with unearned benefits, rather than telling them to "find jobs, work hard, and save"; you get a lot more votes for having "compassion" than for being "cruel and heartless."
Reading Gitz, you'd get the impression that the main beneficiaries of the welfare state are working people and the poor. But genuine welfare for the poor, like TANF and food stamps, barely amounts to a CBO rounding error. Adding up the so-called "defense" budget, two unfunded wars, "national security" spending on DHS, CIA, DOE and NASA, and interest on debt from past wars, the bulk of the federal government's budget goes to welfare for the Military-Industrial Complex.
Indeed, the dominant feature of the American polity is welfare for big business and the rich. This welfare consists of a wide array of government interventions into the market to enforce artificial scarcities and artificial property rights.
These interventions include patents and copyrights. They include enforcement of absentee title to vacant and unimproved land, which has never been altered by human labor -- the only legitimate means of appropriating land in a free market (in fact, the government pays landowners tens of billions to hold land out of cultivation). They include enforcement of entry barriers to free competition in the supply of credit. And they include enforcement of regulatory cartels, mandated artificially high capital outlays, and all sorts of other entry barriers.
The cumulative effect is to make land and capital artificially scarce, impose overhead costs and other penalties on self-employment, and raise the price of the means of production and subsistence relative to the price of labor. As a result, government intervention shifts income from those who work to those who live off the rents of artificial property rights and artificial scarcity.
That's welfare for the rich. Every time a consumer pays $200 for a CD of MS Windows or Word, when the free market price absent copyright would be $10, she's taxed to pay welfare to Bill Gates. Every time she pays $200 for a prescription that would cost $10 without patents, the patent markup is a tax for welfare to Pfizer. Every time a tenant pays an extra $100 in rent because untold hundreds of millions of square miles of land are closed to development, the extra rent is welfare for the landlord.
The problem is that this welfare state for the rich shifts income from classes with a propensity to spend to classes with a propensity to save and invest. The rentier classes have far more investment capital on their hands than they can find productive outlets for, because there's insufficient demand to fully utilize existing productive capacity. So government resorts to things like the perpetual warfare state, the drug war and prison-industrial complex, and boondoggles like the Interstate Highway System, to use up surplus capital and productive capacity and stave off depression. The financial sector grows steadily, and becomes increasingly prone to speculative bubbles, as investors seek outlets for excess capital.
The welfare state for the poor was actually created to solve the problems created by the welfare state for the rich. New Deal programs like Social Security and AFDC were promoted by "socialists" like GE head Gerard Swope and the Business Advisory Council in order to put a floor under aggregate demand. Government-enforced monopoly and unequal exchange redistribute wealth upward with a backhoe, and then the welfare state for the poor gives back some of it with a teaspoon.
If it weren't for the welfare state for the rich, we wouldn't need welfare for the poor.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Two Letters to Lawrence O'Donnell
Before you called the Reason staff "right-wing Republicans" and asserted they never criticized the police, perhaps you should have Googled "site:reason.com police" or "site:reason.com 'radley balko'" to see what they've actually written about the police.
Well, better late than never. Now you should do the above-mentioned searches -- followed up by a retraction and an apology.
This is the sort of canard that, if anyone else had done it, you would have used as fodder for a rewrite and demanded a public apology for. If you fail to do so in this instance, you should be ashamed.
Remember earlier this year when you aired footage of Gov. Christie telling an ordinary woman in his audience that his schooling choices were "none of her business," followed by footage of him politely explaining the reasons for his schooling choices to a Fox News host? You said the difference was that the talking head show host was entitled to courtesy because he was somebody; the ordinary woman wasn't because she was nobody.
Fast forward to your remarks about Reason magazine's coverage of the police. Now, I know you're a smart man. There's no doubt in my mind you've found out by now that Reason does -- and more specifically Radley Balko -- does, in fact, do very extensive coverage of police abuses. In fact, as I'm sure you've found out, Balko has the best claim to being the Internet go-to guy on the subject. And I have no doubt you've realized that you screwed up enormously, and that there's a somewhat embarrassing kerfluffle about it in the libertarian blogosphere.
So what to do about it? If you'd made the erroneous accusation against Somebody, you'd have already apologized -- as you've done many times before under similar circumstances when the target had a high enough profile. But since the target was Nobody -- a commentator from a comparatively marginal political movement most of your audience is familiar with only second-hand -- you can afford to just stonewall and wait for the issue to go away.
Does that about sum it up?
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Free Software, Free Society
God Bless America(c) (with corporate logo flag)
There's also a lot of great antiwar, anti-drug war, anti-police, and anti-tsa stuff.