Monday, April 18, 2011

The Slavery of Past Savings, Part I: Introductory Thoughts

On Friday of last week the Coalition for Capital Homesteading staged its seventh annual Rally at the Federal Reserve. The security guards, as usual, seemed glad to see us. Evidently the annual demonstration by the Coalition is a refreshing change from individuals and groups screaming hate at an institution they don't understand, that fills a role they don't grasp, within a system based on principles they fail to comprehend.

No, the Coalition doesn't have the time or other resources to waste in preparing "Enemies Lists," as seems to be the most popular pastime of people who insist that the most important thing in the world is to find the guilty and punish them, even if you have to invent charges or change the natural law to do it. In practicable terms, why waste all the effort hating others in the Name of Love when it's much easier (and certainly more consistent with real concern for the poor — as opposed to The Poor) to organize, make the necessary changes in the system, and make it possible for the non-rich to achieve a reasonable degree of affluence?

Yes, it is, admittedly, much simpler just to blame "them." This excuses you from actually having to do anything constructive — and it's certainly a lot more fun. Mindless hate justifies itself as you amuse yourself thinking up all the dirty, rotten things the rich or others must have done (and that you're going to do to them) or they wouldn't be rich, right? No honest person can possibly work enough to accumulate the amount of savings necessary to purchase such vast amounts of capital, so they must be thieves, right?

No, only half right. It's absolutely correct to claim that no person, honest or otherwise, could possibly produce enough using human labor alone or even capital to accumulate sufficient savings to purchase the vast amount of capital, the ownership of which is concentrated in the hands of a very few people today.

If something is half right, however, it necessarily implies that it's half wrong. And there is clearly something seriously wrong with the analysis that causes people to rant and rave endlessly (and fruitlessly) against the greed of (other) people, their (alleged) violations of God's Law (which, although the law is God's, they can't seem to leave it to God to enforce), their presumed oppression of others, so on, so forth.

The most obvious wrongness we see in that orientation is found in the Christian saying, "By their fruits you shall know them." The people who endlessly condemn the rich (and, seemingly, everyone else who doesn't agree with them), appear to be convinced that the best way to demonstrate their love for the poor is to hate the rich as much as possible. The hate becomes all the more hysterical if they don't have anything specific to go on other than the fixed belief, itself based on the assumption that no honest person can accumulate sufficient savings to purchase the incredible amounts of capital that characterize developed economies, that existing accumulations of capital must have been obtained dishonestly.

Proof? Who needs proof? The suspicion alone is sufficient to condemn anyone — the dhurty basset — who has more than I have, or that I think justified. Hate and envy are enough. We don't have to show you no stinkin' badges.

Is it, however, an absolute certainty that anyone who has more than others obtained it dishonestly by stealing from workers and consumers?

Yes — IF you are a slave of past savings, that is. Of course, once you realize that very little capital is actually financed out of existing accumulations of savings, the analysis — and the reason for the hate (Oh, what a feeling!) — disappears.

That is why the subtitle of Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler's second collaboration, published half a century ago this year, is so important. The title doesn't really say much, and isn't accurate in any event: "The New Capitalists." It's the subtitle that tells you what you need to know: "A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of [Past] Savings."

The sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, fought to free the chattel slaves, began just last week. Also last week was the 7th annual Rally at the Federal Reserve, another "shot" in the battle to free the wage slaves from dependency on past savings as the source of all economic good. Perhaps it's time for another look at Kelso and Adler's work.


1 comment:

nail-in-the-wall said...

Financing the Future 2012
Look kids, video pictures.