The Author’s criticisms stand (mostly), if we restate them as “increases in productivity and decreases in prices are beneficial only so long as the externalities are not more costly than the price discounting”.
I think all of us are now aware that the big box reseller movement was as disastrous as he suggests.
I think that it’s become obvious that free trade can be performed just as disastrously by the same criteria.
I think it’s become obvious that the perverse incentive of immigrating labor at the expense of the populace has political effects for either party, and for the Deep State’s corrupt self interest, but negative effects for the population and their offspring.
I think it’s obvious now that democracy a convenient tool for useful idiots used to place labor(organizer of goods and services), manager(organizer of production), entrepreneur (organizer of production), and lender (organizer of production) into conflict for the benefit of the state bureaucracy and the large financiers.
I think it is obvious that the financial sector is privatizing nearly all gains of the world commons because we use that financial sector to distribute fiat currency (divisible shares of stock in the commons used as a money substitute) instead of directly distributing liquidity to consumers (and creating a political hazard under Democracy). And I think it’s become obvious that the mistakes of the 20th century were made with good intentions by those outside of the marxist/socialist/syndicalist/frankfurt-school/postmodern schools (the quantitative economists), but that most of these errors were errors of pseudoscience and ignorance in an era of great change.
Now, the cause of this monstrous behavior is not only the economics profession, and it’s convenient use of measuring what’s visible and not whats invisible to justify its own existence. But also the stock market and the fiat money system that make such inter-temporally risky (and unmeasurable) allocations of capital possible, and then privatize that speculation (as did Mitt Romney – albeit not knowing that he was immoral. BTW: I was one of the owners of those prior downtown businesses affected by Staples).
Just as importantly, perhaps the most important cause in the 20th century, was the use of the Union movement to artificially increase prices, that renders businesses price-uncompetitive and drove our businesses offshore, and created a war between labor and entrepreneur rather than the ancient partnership between savers, craftsmen and entrepreneurs.
Improved goods matter to us. It’s not moral to charge import duties on superior goods at superior or inferior prices. But I have no idea why it is NOT moral to charge import duties in wage differences in a world where there are no longer comparative advantages other than wages. This concept is important, because like all theories, the theory of competitive advantage has limits. Hence why in Propertarianism I require that truth propositions include limits and morality, rather than ‘assume’ that all measurable gains are without worse negative externalities.
It is drastically cheaper to pull oil out of Saudi Sands and get it to the sea, than it is to pull it out of Russian Tundra and ship it across thousands of miles of pipeline, or extract it from Canadian oil sands and get it to a port. These are matters of comparative advantage whose price differences produce no externalities. The fact that canadian wages, russian wages, and saudi wages differ so greatly is not a factor of production open to comparative advantage. It is price arbitrage at the cost of human suffering. (I am sure I will get hammered for this but according to propertarianism it is an objectively moral statement).
It is likewise just as distorting of the information system not to account for intertemporal shifts in credit cost by state subsidized loans and wages – although I cannot see that this is immoral, only that trade wars can be immorally constructed by doing so.
It’s not more efficient if we produce negative externalities in excess of gains. It’s only efficient if people are freed up for more productive work (farm labor for factories, factory labor for white collar work), but not if people are made unemployable (I hate automated cash registers and parking lot attendants and movie theatre service and anything else of that nature frankly. Minimum wage is a bad idea but human replacement because of external costs created by the state that make employment undesirable are far worse.
CONVERSELY THE IMMORALITY OF THE LABOR AND UNDERCLASSES
Conversely, people demonstrate that they will prefer price over quality help, service and employment. Which is why I am so much against immigration of labor that makes such things possible. So we give rise to black markets, because while people claim to be moral and want justice they do so only when it affects others not themselves.
So people demonstrate moral selection bias. If we fix the financial and legal system will that help us in fixing the immorality of individuals who seek to create black markets in oder to circumvent the higher costs of immorally discounted goods?
It is not just the big boys in power that are immoral. Every asian shop-keeper without a credit card terminal is a tax evader, and a thief. And there are thousands of such cases every day everywhere. Immorality is difficult to suppress in all walks of life. And there is pretty good evidence that it’s harder to suppress it among the little people than the middle and upper middle class.
And moreover, it is one thing to say that we may not profit by privatizing the commons and act immorally, and another to say that we must share our profits in creating commons (increases in productivity and decreases in prices) with others who already gained from the compound effects of increases in productivity and decreases in prices. Capitalism after all refers to ‘consumer capitalism’ which has benefitted consumers and the state far more than entrepreneurs.
“Thou Shalt Do No Harm In The Pursuit of Self Interest” is quite different from “Thou Shalt Do The Most for Others Out Of High Mindedness”.
The moral requirement that the preservation of cooperation requires that we limit our actions to those involving productive, fully-informed, warrantied, voluntary transfers, free of imposition of costs upon that which was obtained by others by the same means – meaning free of negative externalities – does not require that we also redistribute the gains from taking the risk of doing so.
The moral requirement that we insure others against the vicissitudes of nature despite their good efforts says nothing about those insufficiently productive in value to others that they can expand their moral hazard – doing harm to others – by reproduction of offspring and placing the burden on others. Or that taxation that transfers rates of reproduction from those productive in the service of others to those unproductive in the services of others – which imposes a cost on the producer and upon the commons.
So the immorality of our current state of affairs cuts both ways. Each class preys upon the other using government as the method and obscurantism and fog of political accounting as the means of escaping both criticism and self awareness of our immorality. Each class imposes costs upon the other until we all decide that the incentives are insufficient to play the game and descend into civil war – which is certainly a possibility on the near horizon.
THE PROBLEM OF ECONOMIC PSEUDOSCIENCE
These various externalities that allow immoral abuses of capitalism are measurable. But so called ‘economic science’ does not (often) practice full accounting or morality. I practices Selective Accounting to Justify Immorality that creates opportunity for the financial class to privatize commons of all forms.
It is this pseudoscience created by marx and keynes and justified by Rawls on the left, rand and rothbard in the libertarian movement, that accomplished this horror – and did so over the objections of the white conservatives who simply lacked the science and understanding other than tradition to stop it. Yet somehow capitalism is to blame despite its use in dragging humanity out of disease, poverty, ignorance and mysticism. And despite the revelry the underclasses have demonstrated by their unregulated dysgenic reproduction and overpopulation of the planet and its carrying capacity.
I cannot see less developed societies refraining from ‘cheating’ by conduct of immoral trade any more than I can see them abandoning levels of corruption endemic to all cultures outside of christendom.
So it is one thing for a MORAL PEOPLE (us) to INCREASE our use of morality and decrease our use of immorality within our borders and quite another thing to expect OTHERS to discontinue immoral behavior in the borders and across their borders via trade.
THIS IS WHY PROPERTARIANISM IS TAKING ME SO LONG
This is why, in my work on Propertarianism, I demand tests of ‘full accounting’ as a scientific warranty of due diligence in any promise of truthful speech about matters of the commons. By full accounting I mean across all capital forms across all time periods affected. (note that we idd not have the economic and financial knowledge to do this prior to the era of computers in which immoral economics – marxist and keyensian economics – were constructed.
I tell everyone that it’s the Economics. I need to make sure that I understand the implications of Propertarianism’s Testimonial Truth in an attempt to cleans economics of pseudoscience and immorality.
One of my ambitions is to correct the pseudoscience of economics by restoring objective MORALITY to economic science. But this is a huge problem and I have to work through these issues carefully and at some painful level of detail.
This particular argument I think survives for eternity. And I think that we solve the problems of capitalism with it. Problems that are not problems of capitalism per say: they are problems with pseudoscientific Keynesian economics of obscurantist aggregates and the Rothchildian use of financialism as state authorized parasitism specifically created to circumvent the morality of western ethics.
The Propertarian Institute