Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Past Savings Trap

The Just Third Way does not guarantee ownership by anyone.  The goal is equality of opportunity, not equality of results.  The idea that society should be arranged in such a way as to guarantee results is one of the deadliest traps of modern civilization.  It leads to worship of the State as the only body that can (allegedly) guarantee results just by ordering people around.

So what’s the other deadly trap?  The assumption that the only way to finance new capital formation is to cut consumption and save.  This locks an economy into either capitalism or socialism, with no hope of real equality of opportunity — the only true kind of equality.

As we see it, the fundamental difference between both capitalism and socialism, and the Just Third Way, is that both capitalism and socialism assume as a given that the only way to finance new capital formation — and thus ownership opportunities — is by accumulating savings, then financing new capital.

If we respect the natural right of private property, this effectively restricts virtually all new capital ownership to those who are already rich and can afford to save the amounts necessary to finance advanced capital instruments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
If we do not respect the natural right of private property, we redefine it in such a way as to abolish it, so that the State in some form presumably ensures that everyone gets what he or she needs

The only solution is if we realize that past savings are not only not the sole source of financing for new capital formation, but are actually the worst (because it necessarily cuts consumption, violating Adam Smith's dictum that the purpose of production is consumption, and decreasing the demand for new capital), we can get out of the capitalist/socialist trap that restricts ownership to either a private sector elite or a State bureaucracy.

Since the reinvention of commercial banking in the 16th century, and the invention of central banking towards the end of the 17th, it has been possible to finance new capital formation by turning the present value of future increases in production into money that can be used to finance new capital formation.  By making these financing techniques available to qualified borrowers, and replacing traditional collateral with capital credit insurance and reinsurance, people without capital can become capital owners without existing wealth being redistributed.

If someone is unable to take advantage of these financing techniques, he should be assisted in charity. If he chooses not to take advantage of them, that should be a free choice, and he should suffer the consequences, or reap the benefits, however it works out.  The goal of the Just Third Way is to make it possible for everyone to own capital, not to force them to do so if they do not choose to do so.

The goal is freedom, not slavery to either the State or a wealthy elite.


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