Monday, April 27, 2015

The Great Sprawlmart Conspiracy


According to news reports, Walmart is closing a number of stores due to “plumbing problems,” whatever that means.  Not unnaturally, Walmart — which is practically the “poster child” for how capitalism oppresses workers (nobody ever seems to mention how socialism oppresses everyone) — is coming under fire for laying people off jobs that they were formerly criticized for hiring them for (a little tangled syntax there, but not as complicated as the situation).

Coincidence? I think not!
Also not unnaturally, Walmart is being accused of a conspiracy to shut down its own stores to get rid of workers.  For this, Walmart is in part to blame — its defense of its hiring and compensation policies has always smacked of, “Capitalism: It’s Not Quite As Bad As Socialism.”  It’s only natural that some people will believe the worst they can.

Plus, defending capitalism always seems a little like pointing out the benefits of being slowly strangled instead of hanged.  Hey, at least you’re alive a little longer. . . .

Hilaire Belloc
The situation is getting just a trifle surreal.  Back in 1912, Hilaire Belloc wrote a book, The Servile State, in which he predicted that the time was coming when people would be compelled to have a job for income, whether or not they wanted to work.  This was (obviously) “the Servile State,” in which most people would be dependents of the government or the large corporations, and capitalism and socialism would start to merge.

What we actually have today is pretty much the opposite of what Belloc predicted . . . except that the result is the same.  Instead of people being forced to do servile work (defined as “work performed at the behest of another” — how often do you get to use the word “behest”?), the problem today is that governments and corporations cannot provide all the jobs that people want or the income they need.

Servile State, Version 1.0
What happened is the confluence (another word we’ve been dying to use) of two developments: 1) advancing technology that displaces human labor from the production process, and 2) financing of the new technology in ways that concentrate ownership in the hands of the already-wealthy without spreading it out.

Thus, the problem of the Servile State would solve itself if (and only if) ordinary people had the opportunity and means to own the capital that replaces them and drives down the value of their labor instead of relying on government or the corporations for their income.  If people could become capital owners on easy terms without redistributing existing wealth, getting rid of the Sprawlmarts would be a blessing instead of a curse.  Something like Capital Homesteading could do this very easily.

As an added benefit, the family would not be under constant attack — or, if it were, it would be able to fight back.  Keep in mind that, as Daniel Webster said, “Power naturally and necessarily follows property.” We need to put ordinary people and the family, the basic unit of society, back in control.

That’s why we’ve started the “Five for the Family“ campaign to bring certain ideas to the attention of the powers-that-be.  You might want to visit the fundraising webpage for the campaign so you can “share” or “tweet” it to your networks, and possibly even make a small contribution.

See you there.

#30#

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