A few days ago, I heard Greg Gutfeld — a self-styled libertarian and host of Fox News’ Red Eye — grieve the “death of private property” in his comment on homeless people squatting in Bank of America-owned houses. As a free marketer, defender of private property, and a libertarian, I’m always offended, or at the very least peeved, at the predisposition of ostensible libertarians like Gutfeld to make common cause with the likes of Bank of America, member of “the brotherhood of thieves who prey upon labor.” Given many self-identified libertarians’ instinctive reactions about private property, the subject is observably susceptible to all of the difficulties that attend hazy definitions and even more confused applications of the definitions we actually have.
“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.” ~ Journalist Lewis Lapham
The pomp and circumstance of the presidential inauguration has died down. Members of Congress have taken their seats on Capitol Hill, and Barack Obama has reclaimed his seat in the White House. The circus of the presidential election has become a faint memory. The long months of debates, rallies, and political advertisements have slipped from our consciousness. Now we are left with the feeling that nothing has really changed, nor will it.
This is not by accident. The media circus leading up to the elections, the name calling in the halls of Congress, the vitriol and barbs traded back and forth among people who are supposed to be working together to improve the country, are all components of the game set up by those who run the show. The movers and shakers behind these engaging, but ultimately trite, political exercises are the elite, the so-called upper class, who benefit from the status quo. This status quo is marked by an economic crisis with no end in sight, by the slow but steady growth of a police state aimed at the lowest rungs of society, and a political circus which keeps us enraptured long enough that we don’t question what’s really going on.
HONOLULU, January 26, 2013 ― With national optimism now at a historical all-time low since the Carter Administration, many are wondering whether or not America’s best days are behind us. Scarce employment opportunities and rapidly rising costs of food and energy have made life increasingly difficult for young and old alike.
For a perspective on the declining fortunes of America and what’s next for an entire generation of young persons looking for both work and a sense of self-value in the middle of the worst “recovery” in U.S. history, I sought out economist and author Aaron Clarey.
Clarey, famously known to fans as “Captain Capitalism” from his highly popular blog, believes that there are “serious structural economic problems with the U.S. economy” and has published a new book entitled Enjoy the Decline which tells readers how to brace for the coming time of trouble. When I asked Clarey if he thought there was a D.C. policy solution to this crisis, he told me that would involve serious reform to entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and constitutionally eliminating corporate taxes – a therapy seen by many contemporary legislators as so controversial that Clarey concedes “in other words, no, there’s no hope whatsoever.”
A Florida man has been sentenced to prison — again — for threatening to kill the president of the United States — again. Stephen Espalin says he only made the threat to get free medical care, though, and it wasn’t the first time he tried it either.
While being treated for heart attack-like symptoms at a Boca Raton, FL hospital in December 2010, Espalin, according to the Sun Sentinel, told Secret Service agents that he had shipped a bomb to the White House only hours earlier.
For most of the 20th century, American libertarians were mostly seen as — and mostly saw themselves as — defenders of capitalism. Was that an accurate view of 20th century libertarians were about? If accurate, is that a good thing about libertarianism, or a defect that should be amended and avoided?
By Ludwig Von
Despite the Great Depression and numerous extended financial troubles in the century since passage of the Federal Reserve Act (I may detail these in a future article), supporters cite the “panics” and other crises of the late 19th century More…
From its very beginning, gun control — the attempt to regulate the possession of means of self-defense by the ordinary populace — has been closely associated with class rule and the class state.
In early modern England, regulation of firearm ownership was closely intertwined with the struggle by the landed classes and capitalist agriculture to restrict the laboring classes’ access to independent subsistence from the land. This included enclosure of common woodland, fen and waste — in which landless and land-poor peasants had previously hunted small game — for sheep pasturage or arable land. It also included exclusion of the common people from forests via the Game Laws and restriction of hunting to the gentry.
Jack Donovan joins Colin, Richard, and Andy to discuss David Fincher’s seminal mind-twisting masculinist cinematic epic, Fight Club.
Around a hundred years ago, guild socialist G.D.H. Cole argued that social democrats had made a major strategic decision not to contest the way property was distributed or production organized under corporate capitalism. Instead, they would limit their agenda to a (partial) equalization of the way the rents on concentrated property, the output of these institutions, was distributed.
One reason was that challenging the actual ownership of property would be politically impossible. But another reason, Cole suggested, was that the original socialist project of attacking the institutional structures of capitalism itself, and putting labor in direct control of the production process, would undermine the power of the managerial and professional classes who made up so much of the social democratic, Fabian and Progressive movements.
Thinkers ranging from Hilaire Belloc to William English Walling argued that such calculations resulted in a grand strategic bargain by which the capitalists were guaranteed some minimum profit and stable oligopoly markets, the managerial-professional classes retained control of the large organizations that dominated society, and the working class was guaranteed job security and a minimum subsistence income. The managerial classes, for all intents and purposes, were coopted into corporate capitalism as Overseers of the Poor.
In 1934, University of Chicago economist Henry C. Simons published a seminal policy pamphlet titled A Positive Program for Laissez Faire. An early leader of the so-called Chicago School of economics, Simons laid out in this short but dense work a series of reforms aimed at rehabilitating a free-market liberal economic order in the United States.
This article is included in the recently released National-Anarchism: Theory and Practice, edited by Troy Southgate and available from Black Front Press.
By Wayne John Sturgeon
Mutualism as Free Market Anti-Capitalism
It was the French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who first coined the term ‘anarchist’ and produced the economic theory of ‘mutualism’. This original anarchism and mutualism envisaged a society which, contrary to popular notions, was pro private property, patriotist, and advocated a kind of co-operative free marketism through the establishment of a mutual credit bank, which would lend to people at a minimal interest rate to avoid systematic debt creation and usury, etc. Although widely celebrated by the ‘left’ for his slogan ‘property is theft’, this slogan is completely taken out of context and misrepresented; for he also said, ‘property is order’, distinguishing between the
property created by labour and the ‘property’ created by state coercion and exploitation.
Proudhon described mutualism as a ‘synthesis of communism and property’, as he warned that a society with private property but without equality would lead to statist hierarchical relations. This emphasis on the balance between property and equality would later find another attempted resolution in the thinking of Michael Bakuinn who developed a more collectivist strategy, thus paving the way for anarcho-communism via also the significant contributions of Peter Kropotkin and Errico Malatesta etc. Thus, mutualism came to be associated with ‘individualist’ traditions of anarchism. More…
National Intelligence Council also sees water and food shortages and suggests world is at a ‘critical juncture in human history’
The report said: ‘China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030.’ Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP More…
Apple will need to rely on automation to make its U.S. factory work
Computerworld – Apple’s planned investment of $100 million next year in a U.S. manufacturing facility is relatively small, but still important. Apple has the money, talent and resources to build a highly automated factory that turns out products that are potentially cost competitive with those it now makes in China.
A growing list of permaculture projects worldwide
This will be the premier place to find out who is doing what, and where, in the permaculture world. You can search for projects by keyword, and/or filter to specific project types. You can even constrain your search by climate zone, so you can find others working in similar conditions as yourself. As you search, you’ll see pins on the world map below appear or disappear to reflect your search results, and you can either browse the project cards or click on map pins to go to individual project profiles. More…
To the point of causing intestinal convulsions, there has been no shortage of analysis on the elections of 2012. Every no-name mop-head mainstream media hack with a niche audience has put in his or her two cents on the finale of perhaps the biggest non-event of the decade and almost every single one of them has been depressingly wrong or completely disingenuous – but perhaps this was to be expected. The word “journalist” has today become synonymous with “whore”, simply because success in the field makes whoredom essential. The job of news outlets is not to report on the facts, but to fashion an illusory world out of manure bricks and glossy paint, and this is exactly what they have done in their musing on the fate of the GOP. More…
A new study finds that money you spend at chain stores quickly leaves the community, while money you spend at local businesses helps make the neighborhood better.
Think about this the next time you go to the neighborhood CVS or Starbucks: You could do more for the local economy by visiting the small pharmacy or coffee place on the corner. How much more? According to a recent study for Louisville, Kentucky–which looks at the “local premium” of spending at local outlets instead of big chains–perhaps four times as much. More…
I know that it’s unattractive and bad form to say “I told you so” when one’s advice was ignored yet ultimately proved correct. But in the wake of the Republican election debacle, it’s essential that conservatives undertake a clear-eyed assessment of who on their side was right and who was wrong. Those who were wrong should be purged and ignored; those who were right, especially those who inflicted maximum discomfort on movement conservatives in being right, ought to get credit for it and become regular reading for them once again.
Are traditional urban environments an antidote to mass consmerism, big box retailer-dominated markets, and stale strip mall culture? Nathan Lewis thinks we should start bulldozing suburban shopping malls and strip malls and replace them with traditional urban environments: really narrow streets, thoughtfully designed public places, no space wasted on parking, buffers or useless filler landscaping. I have a hard time disagreeing with him.