02 Jul 2021

Catching up on the Podcast: Murphy Quintuple Play

Bob Murphy Show 70 Comments

Bob Murphy Show episodes:

203 on “What Did Bob Learn?” Part 2 of 3

204 on Scott Sumner arguing the Fed was too tight in 2008.

205 on Matt McCaffrey on entrepreneurship and Chinese military history.

206 on “What Did Bob Learn?” Part 3 of 3

and

207 on “They Said What?!” John Lennon edition.

70 Responses to “Catching up on the Podcast: Murphy Quintuple Play”

  1. guest says:

    Bob Murphy Show Ep. 207, “They Said What?!”:

    Regarding John Maynard Keynes’ “In the long run, we are all dead””

    The point is saying that doubling the money supply ultimately just doubles nominal prices and accomplishes nothing else is that there’s no point in doing it.

    Those short term economic effects are redistributional in nature, and chaotic. Redistributing other people’s wealth is theft, and that’s all it is.

    So, whatever benefit Keynes had in mind with those short term effects of monetary expansion had to be for certain people at the expense of others.

    I think his critics’ point stands: In the long run, Keynes isn’t accomplishing anything, and what he does accomplish is cronyism.

    Thanks for nothing, Keynes.

    • guest says:

      “The point [EDIT: “in”] saying that doubling the money supply ultimately just doubles nominal prices and accomplishes nothing else …”

      I would clarify that doubling the money supply accomplishes nothing else *only if* the money has no link to use value.

      Real money is always non-neutral, even in the long run, because real money is also a non-monetary good that people value on the margin, and because as commodity money is being consumed for its non-monetary use-value, some demands for its use-value are being satisfied, which alters the use-value-based ability of money to enable economic calculations.

      (Calculations of arbitrary numbers are meaningless. If paying $1 says nothing different about the exchange than does paying $30,000, then the money isn’t telling you anything of an economic nature. Which is why calculations of an economic nature *must* have a link to use-value.)

      • random person says:

        Those short term economic effects are redistributional in nature, and chaotic. Redistributing other people’s wealth is theft, and that’s all it is.

        The theft is deliberate. Karl Marx cites DeWitt, who apparently characterized the system of using so-called “public debt” to print more money as being “the best system for making the wage labourer submissive, frugal, industrious, and overburdened with labour” (Marx’s summary of DeWitt’s position). I looked briefly over DeWitt’s work, and the writing is archaic, and it seemed to me he intended this as a condemnation, but presumably, someone out there, someone in power, is doing it on purpose.

        Also, you should go back and read this comment:
        https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2041639

        Anyway….

        The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation. As with the stroke of an enchanter’s wand, it endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital, without the necessity of its exposing itself to the troubles and risks inseparable from its employment in industry or even in usury. The state creditors actually give nothing away, for the sum lent is transformed into public bonds, easily negotiable, which go on functioning in their hands just as so much hard cash would. But further, apart from the class of lazy annuitants thus created, and from the improvised wealth of the financiers, middlemen between the government and the nation – as also apart from the tax-farmers, merchants, private manufacturers, to whom a good part of every national loan renders the service of a capital fallen from heaven – the national debt has given rise to joint-stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage, in a word to stock-exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy.

        At their birth the great banks, decorated with national titles, were only associations of private speculators, who placed themselves by the side of governments, and, thanks to the privileges they received, were in a position to advance money to the State. Hence the accumulation of the national debt has no more infallible measure than the successive rise in the stock of these banks, whose full development dates from the founding of the Bank of England in 1694. The Bank of England began with lending its money to the Government at 8%; at the same time it was empowered by Parliament to coin money out of the same capital, by lending it again to the public in the form of banknotes. It was allowed to use these notes for discounting bills, making advances on commodities, and for buying the precious metals. It was not long ere this credit-money, made by the bank itself, became. The coin in which the Bank of England made its loans to the State, and paid, on account of the State, the interest on the public debt. It was not enough that the bank gave with one hand and took back more with the other; it remained, even whilst receiving, the eternal creditor of the nation down to the last shilling advanced. Gradually it became inevitably the receptacle of the metallic hoard of the country, and the centre of gravity of all commercial credit. What effect was produced on their contemporaries by the sudden uprising of this brood of bankocrats, financiers, rentiers, brokers, stock-jobbers, &c., is proved by the writings of that time, e.g., by Bolingbroke’s. [8]

        With the national debt arose an international credit system, which often conceals one of the sources of primitive accumulation in this or that people. Thus the villainies of the Venetian thieving system formed one of the secret bases of the capital-wealth of Holland to whom Venice in her decadence lent large sums of money. So also was it with Holland and England. By the beginning of the 18th century the Dutch manufactures were far outstripped. Holland had ceased to be the nation preponderant in commerce and industry. One of its main lines of business, therefore, from 1701-1776, is the lending out of enormous amounts of capital, especially to its great rival England. The same thing is going on today between England and the United States. A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States without any certificate of birth, was yesterday, in England, the capitalised blood of children.

        As the national debt finds its support in the public revenue, which must cover the yearly payments for interest, &c., the modern system of taxation was the necessary complement of the system of national loans. The loans enable the government to meet extraordinary expenses, without the tax-payers feeling it immediately, but they necessitate, as a consequence, increased taxes. On the other hand, the raising of taxation caused by the accumulation of debts contracted one after another, compels the government always to have recourse to new loans for new extraordinary expenses. Modern fiscality, whose pivot is formed by taxes on the most necessary means of subsistence (thereby increasing their price), thus contains within itself the germ of automatic progression. Overtaxation is not an incident, but rather a principle. In Holland, therefore, where this system was first inaugurated, the great patriot, DeWitt, has in his “Maxims” extolled it as the best system for making the wage labourer submissive, frugal, industrious, and overburdened with labour. The destructive influence that it exercises on the condition of the wage labourer concerns us less however, here, than the forcible expropriation, resulting from it, of peasants, artisans, and in a word, all elements of the lower middle class. On this there are not two opinions, even among the bourgeois economists. Its expropriating efficacy is still further heightened by the system of protection, which forms one of its integral parts.

        — Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter Thirty-One

        marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm

        Also see:
        oll [dot] libertyfund [dot] org/title/court-the-true-interest-and-political-maxims-of-the-republic-of-holland

        • guest says:

          “Karl Marx cites DeWitt, who apparently characterized the system of using so-called “public debt” to print more money as being “the best system for making the wage labourer submissive …”

          “… The state creditors actually give nothing away, for the sum lent is transformed into public bonds, easily negotiable, which go on functioning in their hands just as so much hard cash would.”

          What in the … This must be Marx’s schizophrenic stage, right?:

          Because in his Communist Manifesto, plank 5 is this:

          “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

          Printing claims to something that doesn’t exist (or was never intended to exist) is theft and redistributional no matter who’s doing it.

          Whether it’s a private bank or the US Treasury or a central bank, it doesn’t matter.

          Go back to using a money that also has a use-value of its own on which to base its moneyness, and a lot of these problems don’t even get started. And those that do are eventually weeded out by the price system.

          “Also, you should go back and read this comment …”

          “… The depraved employer in the example given did absolutely nothing other than to claim to own the products of the employee’s labor by virtue of an alleged legal title (which was never actually proven), i.e. the employer was simply a thief.”

          Socialists don’t believe these obvious examples of theft exhaust their definitions of theft. They literally think that working for a wage is somehow *necessarily* exploitive, and so they come up with nonsensical concepts like “worker-owned” companies, or “stakeholder capitalism” – clearly confusing unequal outcomes, themselves, as exploitation.

          You can’t blame wage-labor for the theft that occurs in your example. That’s the point.

          • random person says:

            I try to avoid terms like schizophrenic, because I believe the psychiatrist class is generally violent, and likes force drugging people, locking people up, torturing people (e.g. at certain points in history, the labotomy), and uses labels like “schizophrenic” to justify their abhorrent behavior.

            However, there are obvious inconsistencies between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, such as this. (Or at least, obvious if you compare specific statements, one from Das Kapital, and one from the Communist Manifesto, side by side.)

            I searched around on Quora to see what other people thought of this inconsistency (not this one specifically, but the general inconsistency between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto), and I thought the best answer was this (Quora technically labelled it as a “related answer”, but anyway):

            The Manifesto is a manifesto, a short statement written early in Marx’s career (1848), before he had developed the account of bourgeois society he was to present as the culmination of his life work in Capital, vol 1 (1867)

            quora [dot] com/What-are-the-differences-between-The-Communist-Manifesto-and-Das-Kapital-Which-is-more-definitive-of-Marxs-thoughts

            1848 versus 1867. I think that is sufficient to explain the inconsistency. 19 years is plenty of time for a person’s views to change, especially if that person reads a lot of historical documents.

            You can’t blame wage-labor for the theft that occurs in your example. That’s the point.

            My point is that I gave you a very specific example: worker goes out, finds a piece of unused land, and plants a garden, because he wants to “earn the land”. Thieving capitalist comes along, alleges that he has legal title to the garden that the worker planted, and offers to pay the worker to harvest “his” crops. Since the worker doesn’t want to fight for his land (and, given the political situation in Brazil, could not reasonably hope to be able to do so in any case), he accepts this and is transformed, against his will, into a wage laborer. However, it is not 100% against his will in the same way that sl***ry is: he could still *leave* if he wanted to. But his rights as a peasant proprietor to work for himself and sell his crops to whomever he chooses aren’t respected. Because this is an obvious injustice, but I don’t want to conflate the problem with sl***ry, a worse crime, I call it exploitation. (However, things get worse for the worker, and he is tricked into sl***ry later in his story.)

            Then, rather than read the example I provided, you proceeded to pretend that I was talking about a situation where the capitalist had planted a garden with his own labor, and then hired an employee to tend to and/or harvest it, and attack that strawman accordingly.

            Now I’m not sure how much of what you wrote to reply to, because trying to argue with someone who is distracted by attacking a strawman is tiresome. I feel superfluous. Like if you want to argue with the strawman, you don’t actually need me here.

            Also, the thief in that case was motivated by the desire to claim a monopoly on the right to buy the products of the worker’s labor, i.e. to deprive him of the right to sell the products of his labor on a competitive market, i.e. to make him a wage laborer. The thief was to blame, along with the corrupt Brazilian political system that enabled him, but the concept of forcing “wage labor” on someone was the motive.

            Socialists don’t believe these obvious examples of theft exhaust their definitions of theft. They literally think that working for a wage is somehow *necessarily* exploitive, and so they come up with nonsensical concepts like “worker-owned” companies, or “stakeholder capitalism” – clearly confusing unequal outcomes, themselves, as exploitation.

            1. There are many different kinds of socialists, just as there are many different kinds of feminists. You can see that there are some feminists who focus primarily on fighting the worst abuses of the patriarchy, such as rape, “marry your rapist” laws, so-called “honor killing” of women who marry the man they love instead of who their father tells them to marry, and so on. And then there are others who seem more interested in the wage gap (real or alleged) in the US workplaces. Likewise, there are many different kinds of socialists.

            Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t apply any sort of basic sanity check to the term “socialist”. If people applied no basic sanity check to the term “feminist”, than a serial rapist could run around declaring that because he was allegedly raping women “for their own good”, he was a feminist. He might even go so far as to declare that women have a “right” to be raped. However, this would not pass any sort of basic sanity check. No self respecting feminist should accept this man as a fellow feminist.

            However, for some strange reason, people consider it perfectly acceptable to avoid applying any sort of sanity check to the terms “socialist” or “communist”. Thus Stalin is called a “communist”. However, this makes about as much sense as calling a guy who organized a rape gang that raped millions of women a “feminist”. Or, to use another example, it makes as much sense as calling King Leopold II an abolitionist.

            I believe the CIA may be partially to blame for this. The seem to know the real definition of the terms, more or less, when they label anti-slavery and land reform movements as communist (though they should probably say “socialist” instead, but whatever). But they’re counting on a public perception that a “communist” is someone like Stalin, so they can get away with suppressing anti-slavery and land reform movements with extreme prejudice, e.g. in the case of the Guatemalan genocide.

            2. Wage labor can’t be fully free unless the wage laborer has the full, free choice to be a peasant proprietor instead, and, through informed consent, genuinely decides that he or she would rather be a wage laborer. Furthermore, for this to occur in the context of a truly free culture, the wage laborer cannot be paid in stolen goods. (E.g. As an obvious example, if a soldier is paid a “wage” out of goods obtained in the process of looting and pillaging, this has obvious moral problems, even if the soldier himself is happy with it.)

            If you live in the United States, what do you think would happen to you if you went out, found a piece of unused land, and tried to build a house and plant a garden on it?

            In the United States, there was a homeless guy who tried this — at least the house-building part, I don’t know about planting the garden. (Well, probably many homeless people have tried it, but I’m citing a particular example.)

            I decided to build a house just to see if I could do it. I didn’t really have any experience. I began by putting pallets and tarps together, and then started cutting pieces of wood to fill in the gaps. I go round the nearby streets with a modified shopping cart and collect useful things to build with. Whatever I find determines what I’ll build and how it will look. For example, I found a table and sawed off the legs and used them to prop up the house.

            I’ve been homeless and in Seattle since December 2014. I’ve almost always camped within two blocks of the freeway. When nobody’s running around yelling, you can almost imagine that the sound of the passing cars are waves hitting the shore. I’ve been in this spot for about eight months and was the first person here. A lot of other people came here after but most have since been kicked out or moved on, which is nice because I like to be isolated.

            I’m really proud of everything I’ve learned. The most difficult part was putting in the window and getting the boards around it to all fit properly. Unfortunately, one day I got pissed and broke the window. I’ve replaced it with something smaller but there’s a five-inch gap on one side now.

            I clean out the area around me quite a bit to make sure there’s no food garbage attracting rats. My husband, who I don’t live with, slept here a couple of times. My bed’s hardly big enough for two people, but we did it, all cuddled up. He did help me with the building once but I accidentally hit his finger with a hammer, so I don’t let anyone help me any more.

            I know it’s inevitable that my home’s going to be torn down. The police who patrol the area have given me compliments on the house and admired it; they’ve said I can stay until spring.

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/14/homeless-self-built-homes

            Okay, so this guy built his own home. But, rather than say “yay for you, here’s a legal title to formally commemorate your achievement, and don’t worry about paying property tax, we know you can’t afford it”, the police are going to evict him. (Or, since that was written years ago, I presume they already have by now.) And those police are probably more generous than a lot of police in the US — many probably would have evicted him immediately. (Perhaps the police in this particular story didn’t feel morally right about evicting this person from the house he built in the winter, and decided to delay their law enforcement action until spring.)

            There’s a lot of police in the US who deliberately slash the tents of houseless people with knives. I truly believe that if the rights of houseless people to become peasant proprietors were respected, a lot more of them would build their own houses.

            But that’s not what your supposed to do in the US. You’re supposed to get a job, pay rent (which has property taxes included in it), save up to buy a house if you want to, get a mortgage, pay off the mortgage (and property tax at the same time), and keep paying the property tax even after paying off the mortgage. This artificial need for money, created by evicting people who try to build their own houses, acts as an indirect coercive measure to force people to become wage laborers. However, because it is indirect, and people are technically free to be homeless if they want to, at least in certain parts of the country, it doesn’t rise to the level of sl***ry. Also note that, while many employers, especially large employers, do arguably benefit from this, in so far as it makes people more likely to accept wage labor, many employers, especially smaller employers, are arguably in a similar position: they too must earn money to pay for their homes, even if they’d rather not.

            The prevalence of sl**e-made goods, and other goods acquired by means of theft, on the market is also a problem: it means that at least some of the incentives being offered to wage laborers in the United States are stolen incentives (often stolen from people living in third world countries). Thus, even if some people are happy with this, it poses a similar moral problem to the aforementioned soldier being paid with stolen goods obtained in the process of looting in pillaging.

          • random person says:

            I try to avoid terms like schizophrenic, because I believe the psychiatrist class is generally violent, and likes force drugging people, locking people up, torturing people (e.g. at certain points in history, the labotomy), and uses labels like “schizophrenic” to justify their abhorrent behavior.

            However, there are obvious inconsistencies between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, such as this. (Or at least, obvious if you compare specific statements, one from Das Kapital, and one from the Communist Manifesto, side by side.)

            I searched around on Quora to see what other people thought of this inconsistency (not this one specifically, but the general inconsistency between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto), and I thought the best answer was this (Quora technically labelled it as a “related answer”, but anyway):

            The Manifesto is a manifesto, a short statement written early in Marx’s career (1848), before he had developed the account of bourgeois society he was to present as the culmination of his life work in Capital, vol 1 (1867)

            quora [dot] com/What-are-the-differences-between-The-Communist-Manifesto-and-Das-Kapital-Which-is-more-definitive-of-Marxs-thoughts

            1848 versus 1867. I think that is sufficient to explain the inconsistency. 19 years is plenty of time for a person’s views to change, especially if that person reads a lot of historical documents.

            You can’t blame wage-labor for the theft that occurs in your example. That’s the point.

            My point is that I gave you a very specific example: worker goes out, finds a piece of unused land, and plants a garden, because he wants to “earn the land”. Thieving capitalist comes along, alleges that he has legal title to the garden that the worker planted, and offers to pay the worker to harvest “his” crops. Since the worker doesn’t want to fight for his land (and, given the political situation in Brazil, could not reasonably hope to be able to do so in any case), he accepts this and is transformed, against his will, into a wage laborer. However, it is not 100% against his will in the same way that sl***ry is: he could still *leave* if he wanted to. But his rights as a peasant proprietor to work for himself and sell his crops to whomever he chooses aren’t respected. Because this is an obvious injustice, but I don’t want to conflate the problem with sl***ry, a worse crime, I call it exploitation. (However, things get worse for the worker, and he is tricked into sl***ry later in his story.)

            Then, rather than read the example I provided, you proceeded to pretend that I was talking about a situation where the capitalist had planted a garden with his own labor, and then hired an employee to tend to and/or harvest it, and attack that strawman accordingly.

            Now I’m not sure how much of what you wrote to reply to, because trying to argue with someone who is distracted by attacking a strawman is tiresome. I feel superfluous. Like if you want to argue with the strawman, you don’t actually need me here.

            Also, the thief in that case was motivated by the desire to claim a monopoly on the right to buy the products of the worker’s labor, i.e. to deprive him of the right to sell the products of his labor on a competitive market, i.e. to make him a wage laborer. The thief was to blame, along with the corrupt Brazilian political system that enabled him, but the concept of forcing “wage labor” on someone was the motive.

            Socialists don’t believe these obvious examples of theft exhaust their definitions of theft. They literally think that working for a wage is somehow *necessarily* exploitive, and so they come up with nonsensical concepts like “worker-owned” companies, or “stakeholder capitalism” – clearly confusing unequal outcomes, themselves, as exploitation.

            1. There are many different kinds of socialists, just as there are many different kinds of feminists. You can see that there are some feminists who focus primarily on fighting the worst abuses of the patriarchy, such as rape, “marry your rapist” laws, so-called “honor killing” of women who marry the man they love instead of who their father tells them to marry, and so on. And then there are others who seem more interested in the wage gap (real or alleged) in the US workplaces. Likewise, there are many different kinds of socialists.

            Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t apply any sort of basic sanity check to the term “socialist”. If people applied no basic sanity check to the term “feminist”, than a serial rapist could run around declaring that because he was allegedly raping women “for their own good”, he was a feminist. He might even go so far as to declare that women have a “right” to be raped. However, this would not pass any sort of basic sanity check. No self respecting feminist should accept this man as a fellow feminist.

            However, for some strange reason, people consider it perfectly acceptable to avoid applying any sort of sanity check to the terms “socialist” or “communist”. Thus Stalin is called a “communist”. However, this makes about as much sense as calling a guy who organized a rape gang that raped millions of women a “feminist”. Or, to use another example, it makes as much sense as calling King Leopold II an abolitionist.

            I believe the CIA may be partially to blame for this. The seem to know the real definition of the terms, more or less, when they label anti-sl***ry and land reform movements as communist (though they should probably say “socialist” instead, but whatever). But they’re counting on a public perception that a “communist” is someone like Stalin, and quite possibly have done a lot to encourage that public perception, so they can get away with suppressing anti-sl***ry and land reform movements with extreme prejudice, e.g. in the case of the Guatemalan genocide.

            2. Wage labor can’t be fully free unless the wage laborer has the full, free choice to be a peasant proprietor instead, and, through informed consent, genuinely decides that he or she would rather be a wage laborer. Furthermore, for this to occur in the context of a truly free culture, the wage laborer cannot be paid in stolen goods. (E.g. As an obvious example, if a soldier is paid a “wage” out of goods obtained in the process of looting and pillaging, this has obvious moral problems, even if the soldier himself is happy with it.)

            If you live in the United States, what do you think would happen to you if you went out, found a piece of unused land, and tried to build a house and plant a garden on it?

            In the United States, there was a homeless guy who tried this — at least the house-building part, I don’t know about planting the garden. (Well, probably many homeless people have tried it, but I’m citing a particular example.)

            I decided to build a house just to see if I could do it. I didn’t really have any experience. I began by putting pallets and tarps together, and then started cutting pieces of wood to fill in the gaps. I go round the nearby streets with a modified shopping cart and collect useful things to build with. Whatever I find determines what I’ll build and how it will look. For example, I found a table and sawed off the legs and used them to prop up the house.

            I’ve been homeless and in Seattle since December 2014. I’ve almost always camped within two blocks of the freeway. When nobody’s running around yelling, you can almost imagine that the sound of the passing cars are waves hitting the shore. I’ve been in this spot for about eight months and was the first person here. A lot of other people came here after but most have since been kicked out or moved on, which is nice because I like to be isolated.

            I’m really proud of everything I’ve learned. The most difficult part was putting in the window and getting the boards around it to all fit properly. Unfortunately, one day I got pissed and broke the window. I’ve replaced it with something smaller but there’s a five-inch gap on one side now.

            I clean out the area around me quite a bit to make sure there’s no food garbage attracting rats. My husband, who I don’t live with, slept here a couple of times. My bed’s hardly big enough for two people, but we did it, all cuddled up. He did help me with the building once but I accidentally hit his finger with a hammer, so I don’t let anyone help me any more.

            I know it’s inevitable that my home’s going to be torn down. The police who patrol the area have given me compliments on the house and admired it; they’ve said I can stay until spring.

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/14/homeless-self-built-homes

            Okay, so this guy built his own home. But, rather than say “yay for you, here’s a legal title to formally commemorate your achievement, and don’t worry about paying property tax, we know you can’t afford it”, the police are going to evict him. (Or, since that was written years ago, I presume they already have by now.) And those police are probably more generous than a lot of police in the US — many probably would have evicted him immediately. (Perhaps the police in this particular story didn’t feel morally right about evicting this person from the house he built in the winter, and decided to delay their law enforcement action until spring.)

            There’s a lot of police in the US who deliberately slash the tents of houseless people with knives. I truly believe that if the rights of houseless people to become peasant proprietors were respected, a lot more of them would build their own houses.

            But that’s not what your supposed to do in the US. You’re supposed to get a job, pay rent (which has property taxes included in it), save up to buy a house if you want to, get a mortgage, pay off the mortgage (and property tax at the same time), and keep paying the property tax even after paying off the mortgage. This artificial need for money, created by evicting people who try to build their own houses, acts as an indirect coercive measure to force people to become wage laborers. However, because it is indirect, and people are technically free to be homeless if they want to, at least in certain parts of the country, it doesn’t rise to the level of sl***ry. Also note that, while many employers, especially large employers, do arguably benefit from this, in so far as it makes people more likely to accept wage labor, many employers, especially smaller employers, are arguably in a similar position: they too must earn money to pay for their homes, even if they’d rather not. Thus, the situation is exploitative, but individual employers may or may not be to blame, and may, in some cases, themselves be exploited too. (If we wanted to judge an individual employer, we might check if they were paying politicians, or “lobbying”, to enforce coercive policies, such as evicting homeless people who try to build homes. We might also look for command responsibility issues, e.g. if they are knowingly ensl**ing African children.)

            The prevalence of sl**e-made goods, and other goods acquired by means of theft, on the market is also a problem: it means that at least some of the incentives being offered to wage laborers in the United States are stolen incentives (often stolen from people living in third world countries). Thus, even if some people are happy with this, it poses a similar moral problem to the aforementioned soldier being paid with stolen goods obtained in the process of looting in pillaging.

          • random person says:

            I try to avoid terms like schizophrenic, because I believe the psychiatrist class is generally violent, and likes force drugging people, locking people up, torturing people (e.g. at certain points in history, the labotomy), and uses labels like “schizophrenic” to justify their abhorrent behavior.

            However, there are obvious inconsistencies between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, such as this. (Or at least, obvious if you compare specific statements, one from Das Kapital, and one from the Communist Manifesto, side by side.)

            I searched around on Quora to see what other people thought of this inconsistency (not this one specifically, but the general inconsistency between Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto), and I thought the best answer was this (Quora technically labelled it as a “related answer”, but anyway):

            The Manifesto is a manifesto, a short statement written early in Marx’s career (1848), before he had developed the account of bourgeois society he was to present as the culmination of his life work in Capital, vol 1 (1867)

            quora [dot] com/What-are-the-differences-between-The-Communist-Manifesto-and-Das-Kapital-Which-is-more-definitive-of-Marxs-thoughts

            1848 versus 1867. I think that is sufficient to explain the inconsistency. 19 years is plenty of time for a person’s views to change, especially if that person reads a lot of historical documents.

            • guest says:

              “Then, rather than read the example I provided …”

              “Now I’m not sure how much of what you wrote to reply to, because trying to argue with someone who is distracted by attacking a strawman is tiresome.”

              Dude, you write a lot of stuff. I come back and there’s often four responses. I’m not going to read through them all because I have other things I’d like to do with my time.

              Again, your obvious examples of theft say nothing about a free market, which I claim would tend to suppress such violations of individual rights.

              Socialists, in their bleeding heart agitations, neglect to use their brains and thereby cause even more damage. That wage-labor, itself, is not exploitive was the point. None of your examples where someone steals a homesteader’s land and threatens them with eviction if they don’t do wage-labor are relevant to my point.

              Socialists *do* think wage-labor *as such* is exploitive with or without someone stealing from a homesteader, and I’m correcting *that* misunderstanding.

              “Wage labor can’t be fully free unless the wage laborer has the full, free choice to be a peasant proprietor instead, and, through informed consent, genuinely decides that he or she would rather be a wage laborer.”

              BS. Someone without the means to plant his own food (and again, here, you’re missing my point) does not have a right to have land that is already owned demolished so that someone can plant food on it.

              If the land around him is already owned, and the only current means of eating is wage-labor, then logically he either becomes a wage-laborer or he dies of starvation. In those circumstances, wage-labor is his only choice regardless of his desire to plant a garden – because his rights end where another’s begins.

              Now, through wage labor one can acquire the capital and productive capacity to hire other wage-laborers, not to mention the capacity to simply buy already-processed food from stores or wholesale suppliers.

              You should look up an article where this guy starts an experiment to see how much it actually costs to make a sandwich, except that all the ingredients are made from scratch (growing the food himself, etc.) I think the cost, in money terms, turned out to be around $1,500.

              For a sandwich hat would cost far less to just assemble ingredients he buys at the grocery store.

              And this was my point about me saying that the guy in my previous example doesn’t want to grow his own food.

              If you can help it, you *don’t* want to be “self-sufficient” in the sense that you own and control all the means of production that supplies your consumption. Because the opportunity costs are *enourmous*. No, what you want to do is to trade with others who have control over their production processes so that you can focus on what you’re good at doing and then just trade.

              In fact, the whole idea behind “buy America” and “not being dependent on foreign oil” is based on socialist thinking where, because people are “dependent” on the production processes of another, that means they’re vulnerable to being exploited by being cut off from supplies that they rely on. But people *want* to make a profit off of you – they would hurt *themselves* by not trading with you.

              “Murray Rothbard also endorsed the concept of worker-owned companies, in certain cases …”

              No he didn’t. In the examples of Rothbard you share, the workers should own the land because the workers are the only ones to have mixed their labor with the land and therefore have become the real homesteaders in those examples, not because workers, as workers, have a better claim to ownership of the business they work at.

              In those examples, the state has just asserted its claim to ownership of a piece of land because it paid for it – except that the funds came from the theft of taxation. And so the state didn’t really pay for it. That leaves the only legitimate homesteaders to be those who are actually mixing their labor with, as yet, unowned resources.

              (Aside: My point about leaving otherwise voluntary trade alone, even when it involves trading in stolen goods, is not to legitimize the theft, but to protect any existing voluntary aspects of the trade. The reason this is important is that socialists often attack the wrong things, and cause even more damage than the original theft of goods.)

              “If you live in the United States, what do you think would happen to you if you went out, found a piece of unused land, and tried to build a house and plant a garden on it?”

              The government would claim ownership of it, and deny your right to homestead unowned land (it has to be unowned, and not merely “unused” – something unused can still be owned by someone else).

              Not only is this the fault of central planning, such policies of government are based on the socialist belief that private ownership of land leads to grossly unequal outcomes. So if you want to prevent such unequal outcomes, you have to violently prevent people from homesteading their own land.

              And of course, socialists can’t leave people alone to own their own land, because then what would they need the nanny state for? No, in order to implement social programs (building centrally-planned infrastructure, promising people a “living wage”), they would have to impose property taxes.

              If I can just trade for my neighbor for whatever I need, what do I need the government for? So the property taxes that you claim to be opposed to are, in fact, based on consistent applications of socialist theories.

              “However, for some strange reason, people consider it perfectly acceptable to avoid applying any sort of sanity check to the terms “socialist” or “communist”. Thus Stalin is called a “communist”.”

              That’s because, as was said above, if you leave people alone to homestead and own their own property, what you get is unequal outcomes which can happen entirely due to humanity just being human (different desires, aptitudes, different arbitrage opportunities that result, etc.).

              So, in order to suppress what is a natural and desirable bent of humans, which is to attempt to better their lives with the naturally unequally supplied opportunities around them, you have to literally commit genocide in order to scare the humanity out of humans before they can ever hope to become “other minded”.

              As C. Bradly Thompson said, Stalin is not an aberration of socialism, but a fulfillment of it:

              “Why Marxism?” An Evening at FEE with C. Bradley Thompson
              [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt58gg1DQGk

              • random person says:

                Dude, you write a lot of stuff. I come back and there’s often four responses. I’m not going to read through them all because I have other things I’d like to do with my time.

                You don’t have time to read, but you have time to write a long argument against a strawman?

                If you don’t have time to read, the sensible thing to do would seem to be to not reply until you do have time.

                Socialists *do* think wage-labor *as such* is exploitive with or without someone stealing from a homesteader, and I’m correcting *that* misunderstanding.

                Marx and certain other socialists have gone to great length to show how, in every instance they investigated, wage labor and other forms of exploitation was preceded by mass theft from peasant proprietors, or, if you prefer, homesteaders. If you don’t acknowledge that because you don’t have time to read, you aren’t correcting a misunderstanding, you’re fighting a strawman.

                “If you live in the United States, what do you think would happen to you if you went out, found a piece of unused land, and tried to build a house and plant a garden on it?”

                The government would claim ownership of it, and deny your right to homestead unowned land (it has to be unowned, and not merely “unused” – something unused can still be owned by someone else).

                Not only is this the fault of central planning, such policies of government are based on the socialist belief that private ownership of land leads to grossly unequal outcomes.

                No, it is not the result of socialism: it’s the plan of capitalist thieves who know they cannot make people submit to wage labor (or other forms of exploitation) unless they expropriate the peasants from the land (or, if you prefer, rob the homesteaders) — or in this case, would-be homesteaders — as documented by Marx. In Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 33, Marx specifically cites Wakefield, who apparently deliberately advocated for the government to put an artificial price on land in order to compel people to be wage laborers. Marx call this process by which the peasants are expropriated from the land (or the homesteaders are robbed, if you prefer) the “slaughter of innocents”. Clearly he’s not against legitimate homesteading. He’s against this murderous process of robbing the homesteaders to turn them into proletariats (or other forms of exploited people).

                As C. Bradly Thompson said, Stalin is not an aberration of socialism, but a fulfillment of it:

                Marx wrote that capitalism was founded based on the appropriation of the peasants from the land. What did Stalin do? He expropriated the peasants from the land. He was not a communist. He was not even a socialist. He was a pro-sl***ry mass murderer who claimed to be a communist, just as King Leopold II was a pro-sl***ry mass murderer who claimed to be an abolitionist. And you attack strawmen!

                No, what you want to do is to trade with others who have control over their production processes so that you can focus on what you’re good at doing and then just trade.

                Marx isn’t against trade between free people. Edmund Dene Morel wrote quite a bit in favor of trade, where it was between free people. You attack strawmen.

              • guest says:

                “You don’t have time to read, but you have time to write a long argument against a strawman?”

                It’s not a straw man, and you know it – as evidenced by what you said next:

                “Marx and certain other socialists have gone to great length to show how, in every instance they investigated, wage labor and other forms of exploitation …”

                You admit that you think that wage-labor, as such, is a form of exploitation.

                So no I didn’t need to address your specific example to respond to it. I attacked the heart of your claim, which *does not require* there to be theft from an invading capitalist – you believe that wage-labor, *itself* is exploitative.

                I win.

                Further, that Marx went to great lengths to try and prove that correlation equals causation is moot and, again, childish.

                You’ve just taught me that Marx and socialists are not concerned with breaking out events into their constituent parts for their examination. You don’t have to understand the wage-labor relationship, on its own, to make a value judgement?

                In what world is *that* considered educated?

              • random person says:

                “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS.”

                To make your strawman argument, you had to replace that part with “…”, i.e. deliberately quote me out of context.

                You admit that you think that wage-labor, as such, is a form of exploitation.

                You attack strawmen by replacing “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS” with “…”.

                So no I didn’t need to address your specific example to respond to it. I attacked the heart of your claim, which *does not require* there to be theft from an invading capitalist – you believe that wage-labor, *itself* is exploitative.

                You attack strawmen by replacing “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS” with “…”.

                I win.

                You are only capable of winning against strawmen. I.e. you lose. To do this, you replaced “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS” with “…”

                You’ve just taught me that Marx and socialists are not concerned with breaking out events into their constituent parts for their examination.

                I have apparently taught you nothing, because you insist on attacking a strawman by replacing “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS” with “…”

                YOUR ENTIRE ARGUMENT CONSISTS OF ATTACKING STRAWMEN. YOU LOSE (EXCEPT AGAINST THE STRAWMEN).

              • random person says:

                are not concerned with breaking out events into their constituent parts for their examination.

                If you mean because I’m not interesting in discussing what wage labor might hypothetically be like without any sort of theft preceding said wage labor, its because a) without any specific historical or modern examples, it’s like trying to imagine what unicorns are like and b) because I’m not interested in having that discussion with someone who strawmans me by replacing my nuances with dot dot dots. If it weren’t for B, I might look and see if I could find any historical or modern examples, but given B, it seems pointless.

              • guest says:

                “If it weren’t for B, I might look and see if I could find any historical or modern examples, but given B, it seems pointless.”

                Thank you, you’ve proven me right a third time.

                Correlation does not equal causation. The socialist method of analysis is short-sighted and childish.

                I will use this experience going forward to press socialists on their method of analysis to see if this is the primary reason why they cannot be reasoned with.

                If so, I will blow that error wide open for everyone to see.

                Your world view ends up murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of people all because you guys don’t understand that correlation doesn’t equal causation?!

                Your worldview isn’t moral. It’s childish and insane.

              • random person says:

                Definition of a strawman argument,

                The straw man is a fallacy in which an opponent’s argument is overstated or misrepresented in order to be more easily attacked or refuted. The technique often takes quotes out of context or, more often, incorrectly paraphrases or summarizes an opponent’s position. Then after “defeating” the position, the attacker claims to have beaten the real thing.

                Why should I continue a debate with someone who repeatedly misrepresents my position, refuses to accept clarifications or nuances?

                There is no reason for me to do so. Because no matter what I say, you keep misrepresenting my position and claiming to have beaten me.

                WHY SHOULD I CONTINUE AN ARGUMENT WHERE NOTHING I SAY MATTERS BECAUSE MY OPPONENT CONTINUALLY MISREPRSENTS MY ARGUMENT NO MATTER WHAT I SAY?

                And because I’m not interested in being strawmanned, you call me childish, insane, an incapable of being reasonsed with?

                YOU HAVE SERIOUS ENTITLEMENT ISSUES IF YOU EXPECT PEOPLE TO JUST ACCEPT THAT THEY BELIEVE WHAT YOU SAY THEY BELIEVE RATHER THAN WHAT THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE. MY THOUGHTS DO NOT BELONG TO YOU. I BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE, NOT WHAT YOU SAY I BELIEVE.

              • guest says:

                “Definition of a strawman argument …”

                Definition of Genetic Fallacy (from Wikipedia):

                “The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue)[1] is a fallacy of irrelevance that is based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. …”

                “… The fallacy therefore fails to assess the claim on its merit.

                This is why all the correlation that Marx observes is irrelevant.

                Socialists appear to be unwilling to examine the wage-labor relationship with an employer on its own merit.

              • random person says:

                “Definition of a strawman argument …”

                Definition of Genetic Fallacy (from Wikipedia):

                “The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue)[1] is a fallacy of irrelevance that is based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. …”

                “… The fallacy therefore fails to assess the claim on its merit.”

                This is why all the correlation that Marx observes is irrelevant.

                Socialists appear to be unwilling to examine the wage-labor relationship with an employer on its own merit.

                Even if I asked you what you mean by examining “the wage-labor relationship with an employer on its own merit”, what would it matter if you kept strawmanning me? I’m not sure what “examining the wage-labor relationship with an employer on its own merit” means to you, but to me at least, examining anything at all involves at least the possibility that I will need to make nuanced distinctions, which are impossible (or nearly so) to make effectively if I have to constantly be on guard against being quoted out of context and told that I believe things that I don’t believe.

              • guest says:

                “… if I have to constantly be on guard against being quoted out of context and told that I believe things that I don’t believe.”

                “… in every instance they investigated, wage labor and other forms of exploitation …”

                Definition of “other” from Websters:

                “(1)a : being the one (as of two or more) remaining or not included held on with one hand and waved with the other one

                “(1)b : being the one or ones distinct from that or those first mentioned or implied taller than the other boys”

                Saying “wage labor and othher forms of exploitation” means that you believe that wage labor, as such, is included in what qualifies, to you, to be exploitation.

                Those are *your* words. You are *not* being quoted out of context. And this is *not* a straw man.

                Again, it is *irrelevant* what preceded wage-labor relationships, because correlation is not causation.

                Examining the wage-labor relationship on its own merit would be to isolate the implications of exchanges of labor for money.

                For example, is there something about the nature of labor the legitimacy of exhanges for which would merit something other, or more, than wages.

                (Socialists certainly think so, with their labor theory of value, and Austrian Economists have a rebuttal to that.)

                The historical circumstances surrounding any given wage-labor employment relationship can’t tell you those things.

              • random person says:

                Those are *your* words. You are *not* being quoted out of context. And this is *not* a straw man.

                You took some words that I wrote. You deleted the part that didn’t serve your strawman argument, namely “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS.”

                Then you said,

                “I attacked the heart of your claim, which *does not require* there to be theft from an invading capitalist – you believe that wage-labor, *itself* is exploitative.”

                That argument doesn’t work, except as a strawman, when I specifically said “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS.”

                YOU DON’T believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists. I DO believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists. By pretending I share your belief, when I don’t, you are strawmanning me.

                In other words, you’ve repeatedly strawmanned me, and repeatedly insisted on continuing to strawman me even after I’ve repeatedly clarified my position.

                You could, instead of strawmanning me, attempt to prove that my belief that wage labor’s existence necessarily requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists wrong by attempting to find a historical or modern day counterexample. But instead you keep strawmanning me as if we already share that belief.

              • random person says:

                Those are *your* words. You are *not* being quoted out of context. And this is *not* a straw man.

                You took some words that I wrote. You deleted the part that didn’t serve your strawman argument, namely “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS.”

                Then you said,

                “I attacked the heart of your claim, which *does not require* there to be theft from an invading capitalist – you believe that wage-labor, *itself* is exploitative.”

                That argument doesn’t work, except as a strawman, when I specifically said “WAS PRECEDED BY MASS THEFT FROM PEASANT PROPRIETORS, OR, IF YOU PREFER, HOMESTEADERS.”

                YOU DON’T believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists. I DO believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists. By pretending I share your belief, when I don’t, and deliberately quoting me out of context so you can ignore the fact that we don’t share that belief, you are strawmanning me.

                In other words, you’ve repeatedly strawmanned me, and repeatedly insisted on continuing to strawman me even after I’ve repeatedly clarified my position.

                You could, instead of strawmanning me, attempt to prove that my belief that wage labor’s existence necessarily requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists wrong by attempting to find a historical or modern day counterexample. But instead you keep strawmanning me as if we already share that belief.

              • guest says:

                “I DO believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists.”

                That’s what I’ve been saying the whole time. Again – not quoting you out of context.

                What’s that, like the fourth time you’ve proven me right, now?

                Your part of the quote that I replaced with an elipsis is where you’re committing the genetic fallacy.

                Your historical examples do not prove that wage-labor must, of necessity, accompany invasions of capitalists because correlation does not mean causation.

                That’s why it’s not relevant, and also why it’s not a straw man.

                Included in your historical example of accompanying invasions by capitalists was another claim that wage-labor, in and of itself, is exploitive.

                Your historical examples are irrelevant to whether wage-labor is, in itself, exploitive, and *that’s* the point I was addressing.

              • random person says:

                “I DO believe that wage labor requires there to be theft by one or more invading (or ruling) capitalists.”

                That’s what I’ve been saying the whole time. Again – not quoting you out of context.

                No, it’s not the same thing. I’m not trying to allege that, in a situation where there are no invading or ruling capitalists, and someone agrees to wage labor, that that is exploitative, I simply don’t believe that such a thing happens, and I won’t believe that it happens until I see an example of it, like I won’t believe that there are horses with horns until I see one. And if there was a horse with a horn, then is it actually a horse, or is it a unicorn?

                Your historical examples do not prove that wage-labor must, of necessity, accompany invasions of capitalists because correlation does not mean causation.

                “Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouth ‘look over there.'”

                The constant refrain we here from many right-wingers is that wage labor is voluntary. Wage laborers wouldn’t do it if they didn’t see some benefit in it to them. Even supposing we exclude situations like the Belgian Congo where workers are given a choice between wage labor and prison, why do we keep finding that in these allegedly “voluntary” situations, peasants are first thrown off their land (or some other theft occurs), such that they “agree” to this allegedly “voluntary” arrangement only after violence has occurred? (Also, note that a situation in which workers are given a choice between wage labor and prison or other harsh penalties may evolve over time as these penalties are reduced, said penalties never seem to go away completely, e.g. even in the United States we still see a lot of criminalization of homelessness.) Why are employers not able to tempt them off the land with strong positive incentives (and, to make sure everything is legit, strong positive incentives which were not themselves procured by theft)?

                “The genetic fallacy (also known as the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue)[1] is a fallacy of irrelevance that is based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or context. …

                So you want more current examples?

                Peasants are still being expropriated from the land. That hasn’t stopped. Simply look at eminent domain laws. Also look at “forced pooling” laws, i.e. where legal landowners are forced to cooperate with oil and gas companies against their will as long as a certain percentage of acreage worth of landowners agree. (In Virginia, the threshold is as low as 25% of the acreage.) Consider what happens to people who can’t afford to pay their property taxes. Consider homeless encampments forcibly cleared out by police.

                Look at so-called third world countries, where peasants often aren’t given legal title to their land to begin with, and dictators sell the land out from under their feet, or else the government is so weak that the companies just come in and steal land from whomever they want and the government can’t stop them even if it wants to, e.g. when a Nigerian court told Shell it had to stop gas flaring (which was a form of expropriating peasants from the land by means of poisoning them), and Shell was just like, “No, we’re going to continue”.

                Look, there’s a recent journal article right here:

                Chih-Jou Jay Chen (2020): Peasant protests over land seizures in rural China,
                The Journal of Peasant Studies
                https://www.ios.sinica.edu.tw/people/personal/ccj/Chen%202020%20Peasant%20protests%20over%20land%20seizures%20in%20rural%20China.pdf

                Why are they being expropriated? Why don’t they go to the factories and other workplaces voluntarily?

                One possible explanation…

                “600,000 Chinese die from overworking each year”

                www [dot] chinadaily [dot] com [dot] cn/china/2016-12/11/content_27635578.htm

                If given a legitimately free choice, why would anyone choose being worked to death over being a peasant proprietor?

                This isn’t new. This is from Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 10

                In the last week of June, 1863, all the London daily papers published a paragraph with the “sensational” heading, “Death from simple over-work.” It dealt with the death of the milliner, Mary Anne Walkley, 20 years of age, employed in a highly-respectable dressmaking establishment, exploited by a lady with the pleasant name of Elise. The old, often-told story, [56] was once more recounted. This girl worked, on an average, 16½ hours, during the season often 30 hours, without a break, whilst her failing labour-power was revived by occasional supplies of sherry, port, or coffee. It was just now the height of the season. It was necessary to conjure up in the twinkling of an eye the gorgeous dresses for the noble ladies bidden to the ball in honour of the newly-imported Princess of Wales. Mary Anne Walkley had worked without intermission for 26½ hours, with 60 other girls, 30 in one room, that only afforded 1/3 of the cubic feet of air required for them. At night, they slept in pairs in one of the stifling holes into which the bedroom was divided by partitions of board. [57] And this was one of the best millinery establishments in London. Mary Anne Walkley fell ill on the Friday, died on Sunday, without, to the astonishment of Madame Elise, having previously completed the work in hand. The doctor, Mr. Keys, called too late to the death-bed, duly bore witness before the coroner’s jury that

                “Mary Anne Walkley had died from long hours of work in an over-crowded work-room, and a too small and badly ventilated bedroom.”

                In order to give the doctor a lesson in good manners, the coroner’s jury thereupon brought in a verdict that

                “the deceased had died of apoplexy, but there was reason to fear that her death had been accelerated by over-work in an over-crowded workroom, &c.”

                www [dot] marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch10.htm

                It’s happened before and it’s happening now. People are being worked to death.

                If we accepted the right-wing argument that these were genuinely voluntary arrangements, it would mean that, for some very strange reason, large numbers of people were voluntarily agreeing to be worked to death. But, on further examination, we find that the situation is preceded by peasants being expropriated from the land, and it makes more sense. If they had a truly free choice, they would probably choose to remain peasant proprietors, and not work themselves to death. But since they only have limited choices, they have to pick whatever they think is the best of bad options.

              • guest says:

                (Don’t forget @Major_Freedom’s responses)

                “… e.g. even in the United States we still see a lot of criminalization of homelessness.) Why are employers not able to tempt them off the land with strong positive incentives …”

                It’s because we have central planning in the way that is ostensibly there for everyone’s benefit.

                Property taxes, zoning laws, building codes. Absolutely enourmous areas of land are “owned” and “managed” by the government to “protect wildlife and habitats”.

                None of which is constitutional, mind you.

                So, it’s because socialist ideals are in place that the poor and homeless are still harassed.

                The poor don’t need the government to do anything for them other than get out of the way.

              • random person says:

                Guest wrote,

                So, it’s because socialist ideals are in place that the poor and homeless are still harassed.

                YOU ATTACK STRAWMEN!

                I have repeatedly shown you that I oppose the criminalization of homelessness. I’ve repeatedly shown that Marx did as well.

                BUT YOU ATTACK STRAWMEN.

                EVERYTIME YOU SAY/IMPLY WHAT SOCIALISM IS (so far as I have seen), YOU ATTACK STRAWMEN!

                The criminalization of homelessness can be traced back to the post-Civil War “vagrancy” laws in the United States, when the pro-sl***ry people in power in the former Confederate states wanted to re-ensl*** black people. (See, for example, “Sl***ry by Another Name” by Douglas Blackmon). And it can be traced back further still, for example, to the 16th century English legislation Marx cites in Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 31, and we he clearly opposed.

                ANTI-VAGRANCY LAWS (the precursors and more extreme forms of the modern criminalization of homelessness laws) HAVE THEIR ORIGIN IN PRO-SL***RY CAPITALIST LEGISLATORS LIKE KING HENRY VIII!

                BUT YOU DON’T CARE, BECAUSE YOU ATTACK STRAWMEN, AND TRY TO BLAME SOCIALISTS FOR THE ACTIONS OF PRO-SL***RY CAPITALIST LEGISLATORS LIKE KING HENRY VIII, EVEN THOUGH SOCIALISTS LIKE MARX HAVE SPECIFICALLY OPPOSED WHAT KING HENRY VIII AND OTHERS LIKE HIM DID!

              • Harold says:

                Marx and von Mises were both clever people and both got an awful lot wrong.

                A lot of time has passed for both, more for Marx of course, but not that much more. Given what we know now, it is somewhat daft to cling to their words when there is so much more information and thought since then. It is somewhat like criticizing evolution because Darwin got something wrong.

              • random person says:

                To: Harold

                Marx seems to be much more mercilessly strawmanned that other economists. Additionally, some of the same people who strawman Marx tend to make the part-to-whole fallacy of assuming that all socialists think like Marx did, so when they strawman Marx, they tend to strawman all socialists by extension.

                For example, Matthew Dunnyveg writes on Quora:

                What other than a bad person could Marx be when he waxed poetic over a revolution in which workers would kills literally tens of millions of people? Unlike Nazi atrocities, what happened under Lenin and Stalin was exactly what Marx wanted, and that was the deaths of millions. Though it is the case that Marx thought his Revolution would be successful, a decent man as smart as Marx wouldn’t have bets tens of millions of lives of other people to experiment and find out whether The Revolution would work or not. Marx was gleefully homicidal, and thus a very sick individual.

                https://www.quora.com/Was-Karl-Marx-a-bad-person

                Alright,
                1. Marx was dead before the so-called Russian Revolution even started. He didn’t lead it, even in the beginning. The doctrine of command responsibility requires that the commander you wish to blame for “tens of millions” of deaths must actually be in command, or specifically, that the commander either commanded or encouraged the atrocities, or, alternatively, that the commander either knew or should have known that his subordinates were committing atrocities and failed to take appropriate disciplinary action to stop them. It would be kind of hard for Marx to do all that, being dead and all.

                2. Considering that Marx was dead before the so-called Russian Revolution even started, he most certainly never even had the opportunity to “wax poetic” over it. He had no opportunity to critique it either, being dead and all. However, based on Das Kapital, there is strong reason to believe that if he could somehow come back from the dead and critique it, it would be a harsh critique. For example, the Holodomor bears some similiarity to the Irish famine of 1846, which Marx criticizes harshly in Volume 1 Chapter 25 of Das Kapital. According to Marx, the Irish famine of 1846 killed over a million people. Considering that Marx critiqued the British landlords (inheritors of conquered land) so harshly for that famine, it’s ridiculous to think that if he had the chance to critique the Holodomor, which killed an estimated 7 to 10 million people, that Marx would have spoken any more kindly about the people who caused it.

                Further, Marx might have noted that, “enough grain was exported to buy machinery for USSR’s modernization and military buildup that could’ve fed the entire population of Ukraine for nearly two years” during the Holodmor. This fits in with his theories of the “expropriation of the people” being the cause of much misery (in this case, the peasants were expropriated of the right to keep their own harvests from the land) and about how “capital
                comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt” (Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 31). The machinery the USSR bought, i.e. the capital, came dropping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt, to use Marx’s colorful anguage, since it was paid for with stolen food, and millions starved as a result. Also in Volume 1 Chapter 31, Marx writes, “The treasures captured outside Europe by undisguised looting, ensl***ment, and murder, floated back to the mother-country and were there turned into capital.” In the Holodomor, the treasure – grain – captured in the Ukraine by undisguised looting and murder floated back to Russian and was there turned into capital (machinery).

                source for quote about grain being exported: auburnpub [dot] com/opinion/columnists/balyszak-honor-the-victims-of-the-holodomor/article_ab7821ed-fa22-52ee-9c53-28f4925283ef.html

                3. To the extent that soldiers, assassins, etc., can be considered “workers”, it could be argued that all atrocities are committed by “workers” specializing in murder/torture/etc, or in commanding murder/torture/etc. However, these were not the type of workers Marx wrote about. He mostly wrote about oppressed plantation sl***s, farmers, factory workers, and so on. However, it is worth pointing out that the so-called Russian Revolution was not even a genuine revolution — it was a coup d’etat, a capture of the government by a small minority.
                As Sean McMeekin writes in “The Russian Revolution: A New History”,

                What happened in Red October, Pipes asserted, was not a revolution, not a mass movement from below, but a top-down coup d’état, the “capture of governmental power by a small minority.” Far from being a product of social evolution, class struggle, economic development, or other inexorable historical forces foreseen in Marxist theory, the Russian Revolution was made “by identifiable men pursuing their own advantages,” and was therefore “properly subject to value judgment.” Pipes’s judgment of these men was withering.2

                Coming out at a time when the Soviet Union was in the process of collapsing, Pipes’s thoroughly revisionist study acted like a wrecking ball, demolishing any last claim the Russian Communist Party had to democratic, popular, or moral legitimacy. Pipes was even called as an expert witness in the Nuremberg-style trial of the party’s crimes convened in 1992 (and then quickly abandoned) by Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s post-Communist government. Although many Soviet specialists scoffed at Pipes’s revisionist history as irretrievably biased (Pipes had worked as an adviser to the Reagan administration in 1981–1982), no one could ignore it. In the long-running debates about Communism between sympathizers and “Cold Warriors,” it seemed that the sympathizers had been placed squarely on the defensive, if not routed for good.

                Also, I recall Sean McMeekin writing something about the promise to end the war with Germany being the Bolshievek’s sole claim to popular support, and how they didn’t even manage to keep that promise; however, I can’t find the exact quote for that at the moment. In any case, it’s worth pointing out that the war was very unpopular, and although no truly popular uprising rose to counter it, it did create conditions which made a coup d’etat more likely to succeed.

                Furthermore, not only was the so-called “Russian Revolution” not a genuine popular revolution, it was actively resisted by many elements of the working classes.

                Sean McMeekin writes,

                In more distant cities, the Bolshevik revolution took place considerably later if at all, as there were few local party committees strong enough to act. In Viatka province in the Urals, the Bolsheviks had to send a commissar from Petrograd to effect the coup, and he did not arrive until November 23. In Perm province, a soldier-emissary named Deriabin arrived four days later still, only to discover that most of the locals had not yet heard the news from Petrograd. The only thing most of them had noticed was a wave of “drunken pogroms” in early November. When he told the story of Red October to peasants in the village of Otradnovo, they responded, “We know you Bolsheviks! In our city you robbed the poorest of peasants.” Deriabin asked them to vote for the Bolsheviks in the Constituent Assembly elections, but he did not expect that they would. Farther east in Siberia, the Bolshevik revolution did not arrive until spring 1918.11

                Part of the reason early armed clashes were limited in scale was that, following the failure of the counterrevolution in Petrograd and Moscow, most opposition forces began coalescing in the south, under protection of the Don and Kuban Cossacks in the Don River basin and the North Caucasus, respectively, where the Bolsheviks had made little headway. Generals Kornilov, Kaledin, and Alekseev were all en route for the safety of the Don region, but it would take months before they could muster a real army of resistance.12

                With armed opposition subdued—for now—resistance to Bolshevik rule shifted onto new terrain. Despite wresting control of Ispolkom and its Soviet equivalents in most of the cities of European Russia, the Bolsheviks were unable to secure the loyalty of the civil servants who ran Russia’s government, or what was left of it. Lenin’s abolition of the aristocratic Table of Ranks on October 29, although supported by the Mensheviks and SRs, angered many state officials, who had worked their entire lives to achieve their positions. As early as October 28, the “All-Russian Union of State Employees” protested “the usurpation of power by the Bolshevik group in the Petrograd Soviet” and resolved that “work in all the administrative departments of the state shall cease immediately.”13

                This was no idle threat. On October 29, the Central Committee of the All-Russian Union of Railwaymen (Vikzhel) announced a “complete stoppage of all train movements” to begin at midnight, “if by that time fighting in Petrograd and Moscow has not ceased.” While not supporting the Kerensky government either, Vikzhel denounced as “enemies of democracy and as traitors to the country all those who continue to settle internal quarrels by means of force.” So critical were the railways to military logistics that Lenin was forced to dispatch Kamenev to negotiate a sort of laissez-passer with Vikzhel for a detachment of armed Baltic sailors sent to reinforce Moscow. It turned out to be a one-time concession, as Vikzhel returned to a posture of strict neutrality after the fall of the Kremlin. Not until January 1918 were the Bolsheviks able to break the Russian railway strike, after methodically packing Vikzhel with their own people.14

                The railway strike was only the beginning. When Trotsky made his first visit to Chorister’s Bridge on October 28 to introduce himself as the new minister of foreign affairs, he was met, according to a report in Delo Naroda, “with ironic laughter.” Summoning his pride, Trotsky ordered everyone to return to work. Instead, six hundred employees packed up and went home. Employees at the Ministry of Agriculture struck next, followed by those at the Ministries of Education and Food. On November 7, telegraph and telephone workers walked out, followed by transport workers and school-teachers, and then Moscow municipal workers. On November 8, the “Union of Unions” called a general strike of government employees against Lenin’s power seizure:

                “The Bolsheviks, making use of brute force, have declared themselves at the head of government. Both capitals are reddened with the blood of fratricidal war, the lives and freedom of citizens have been brutally violated, and holy places have been ruined. Now, the Bolsheviks are aiming to get control… of the entire machinery of government… we defy [their] threats, and refuse to offer our experience and knowledge.”15

                Thus, although we cannot argue that no workers whatsoever participated in the coup d’etat, it appears that large numbers of workers actually valiantly resisted it. It is therefore senseless to blame “workers” as a class, although some individual Bolshieveks no doubt happened to be workers.

                4. It is true that Marx wasn’t a pacifist. Throughout human history, strict pacifists have been a minority — most people, or at least most people whose views have been recorded, are not against a bit of revolution to overthrow what they perceive as an unjust system. For example, the Fourth of July in celebrated annually in the United States, in honor of a violent revolution. Do we call the people who celebrate the Fourth of July “gleefully homicidal”? What about the people who celebrate the US Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment? I suppose some people might call such people “gleefully homicidal”. However, I haven’t heard anyone do so. I think it’s because on some level we understand that although the revolutions involved some bloodshed, it’s not as if everything was fine and bloodless beforehand. Oppressive regimes also spill a lot of blood. Many people consider the overthrow of an oppressive regime necessary to stop that blood spillage, even if that overthrow also involves blood spillage. Even Machiavellian pacifists don’t want to stop revolution, just propose a new set of tactics that require less bloodshed.

              • guest says:

                “YOU ATTACK STRAWMEN!

                “I have repeatedly shown you that I oppose the criminalization of homelessness. I’ve repeatedly shown that Marx did as well.”

                Do you believe that public schools and police should exist?

                Do you believe, as you alluded earlier, that there is such a thing as the “dumping” of cheap goods in the economy that destroys local businesses, and that “dumping” should not be allowed to happen?

                Do you believe that homeowners or renters should have the security of knowing that a building’s builders have been forced by law to make sure a building meets certain safety standards?

                Do you believe that the natural beauty of nature should be preserved against the destruction involved in the growth of civilization and commerce?

                These are all loaded questions? They constitute part of my response.

              • random person says:

                Guest wrote,

                Do you believe that public schools and police should exist?

                Probably not, and probably not, at least not in their current forms. (And if they were radically different, they probably wouldn’t still be called “public school” or “police”.)

                However, I’m not going to go shoot a bunch of people just because I don’t approve of how they are living their lives or am unsure if I approve of how they are living their lives.

                Guest wrote,

                Do you believe, as you alluded earlier, that there is such a thing as the “dumping” of cheap goods in the economy that destroys local businesses, and that “dumping” should not be allowed to happen?

                See, this is one of the times you attacked a strawman.

                I had just quoted something from Marx showing how, even under conditions that would not rise to the level of sl***ry as it is conventionally defined, certain immoral employers prefer a more or less captive workforce, and are willing to keep a workforce captive by resorting to governmental means, e.g. prohibiting or placing unreasonable restrictions on emigration.

                The exact quote from Marx was:

                At the same time, the manufacturers acted in secret agreement with the government to hinder emigration as much as possible, partly to retain in readiness the capital invested in the flesh and blood of the labourers, and partly to safeguard the house-rent squeezed out of the labourers.

                https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040672

                And then in this comment, you quoted the intro blurb I wrote to Marx’s quote, and your reply included the Tom Woods video about predatory pricing.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040685

                The only relevant thing I could see about the video, was that Tom Woods had for some reason assumed that “cost of production” and “cost of acquisition” were equivalent, and kept saying “cost of production” when he should have been saying “cost of acquisition”.

                Selling goods at below the cost of acquisition for a long enough time to wreck other businesses might indeed be very difficult for the reasons he describes. However, he kept saying “cost of production” rather than “cost of acquisition”. It is possible for unethical people to get the “cost of acquisition” to be lower than the “cost of production” utilizing theft and other types of violence. Whether this harms competitors or not is somewhat besides the main point, especially if the competitors are also using unethical methods of acquisition.

                The main point is that businesses should not be allowed (i.e., should not be protected from lawsuits) to deliberately sell stolen goods. (And if they accidentally sell stolen goods, they should still be sue-able, but for a lower amount of reparations, just as you still should pay reparations even if you only accidentally cause a traffic accident.)

                This has very little to do with holding a workforce captive (preventing or inhibiting emigration), except in so far as that might be a way of getting the cost of acquisition to be lower than the cost of production.

                Guest wrote,

                Do you believe that homeowners or renters should have the security of knowing that a building’s builders have been forced by law to make sure a building meets certain safety standards?

                I think without the government and/or feudal landlord (same difference, really) artificially increasing the price of land (both when you initially buy the land, and for the entire time you live/work on it, whether this is called “property taxes” or whatever other term), more people would build their own homes, either by themselves or with the help of their family / neighbors. (For this purpose, we can assume a “feudal landlord” is anyone who acquired the land by conquest or other types of theft, or inherited/bought it from someone who acquired the land by conquest or other types of theft, regardless of what label they are called by.)
                For example, I have heard that it used to be a tradition in parts of the southwest of what is now the US that, when a couple got married, the members of community would bring them adobe bricks and wedding bricks, and help build an adobe home as part of the wedding celebration. If more people were free to build their own homes, either by themselves or with the help of their families/communities, I think building developers as they currently exist would go out of business, rendering current regulations on them irrelevant.

                In Volume 1 Chapter 33 of Das Kapital, Marx discusses how capitalist governments put artificially high prices on land in order to prevent people from easily becoming peasant proprietors, and instead indirectly force them into wage labor, in the sense that they must work as wage laborers for a long time in order to be able to afford their goal of buying land at the artificially high price set by the capitalist government.

                Guest wrote,

                Do you believe that the natural beauty of nature should be preserved against the destruction involved in the growth of civilization and commerce?

                I believe the allegation that environmentalist, and especially indigenous/peasant environmentalists, are just worried about “the natural beauty of nature”, is a strawman argument that capitalist corporations and government use to justify stealing already-homesteaded land. The beauty is not, in fact, purely natural — around the world, indigenous/peasant communities engage in various forms of stewardship to keep the land useful. The usefulness also happens to correlate to beauty. Then capitalist thieves deny the work that these people’s have done as a way of justifying their right to buy the land from a conquering/dictatorship government or conquer it themselves.

                I already provided an example of capitalist thieves doing this in this comment:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2041655

                Specifically, I quoted this document by Hyacinthe Vanderyst, a Jesuit priest and missionary who lived in the Belgian Congo, as quoted by Jules Marchal in Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts,

                Hundreds of thousands of hectares of palm groves and secondary forests with elaeis palms scattered through them have been, or are about to be, granted by the State to companies, despite the public or private protests of natives, who claim full and untrammelled property rights in them … There is a danger here, and one worth pointing out.

                The facts of the case are anyway serious enough. The natives believe themselves to be wronged: they often make themselves out to be the victims of an injustice; they claim that the State deprives them of immobile property created or preserved through their agricultural labour or by that of their ancestors; in short, they accuse the State, or specific companies, of dispossessing them, of despoiling them and, not to mince words, of robbing them …

                If their protests are well-founded, they ought to be taken into account, their entitlements to property should be examined, the damages they have suffered should be assessed, and they should be granted a just and equitable compensation for expropriation effected for the sake of the public good. The State and the companies are alike responsible for repairing the injustices committed, committed indeed, until such a time as there is any proof to the contrary, in good faith …

                The crucial question

                Can the Belgian State dispose of the palm groves as if it were their owner? The State answers in the affirmative. But is this affirmation not purely gratuitous? Is this not the decision of the master who imposes his will upon subjects who cannot make their voices heard in Europe, or have their rights acknowledged? Has this question been scrutinised, has it been seriously studied, while taking into account all the elements necessary for a proper assessment? …

                At any rate, no serious, rigorous investigation has been held, to my knowledge, in the Congo, by a responsible commission appointed specifically for this task. No document has been published, to my knowledge, by the administration such as might justify the expropriation of the palm groves without just and prior compensation. These lacunae are much to be regretted …

                Native customary law is not familiar with the notion of prescription! Every dispute persists and subsists indefinitely until such a time as a settlement is arrived at through friendly discussion or through a trusted arbiter chosen jointly by the interested parties. The question of the palm groves, if it is not resolved according to native customs, will remain open forever, because of its great material significance …

                Are there natural palm groves?
                In the debate between the State and the natives, this is a question of the utmost importance. The natives claim in the most formal sense that they—they or the ancestors—are the creators of the palm groves in the Congo. They deny the existence of natural palm groves, at any rate so far as their own observations extend. Conversely, with a remarkable display of unanimity, the interested parties, both the State and the companies, assert that the Congolese elaeis palm groves are natural formations, that is to say, formations which arose of their own accord in nature, and without any human intervention whatsoever.

                Who is right? This is the question that must be resolved. All of my own observations, researches and studies confirm in the most positive and absolute fashion the argument espoused by the natives. For this very reason, I hold it to be my duty to intervene on their behalf. Conversely no one has so far openly attempted to prove that the palm groves are natural formations. This is no more than an assertion, wholly lacking supporting arguments …

                The natives declare themselves to be owners of the palm groves, and perhaps of the secondary forests, and this on several grounds:

                On the grounds that they were the original occupants of the country, in terms of stable settlements, hunting, fishing and the harvesting of natural products;

                On the grounds that they were farmers who cleared and exploited the savannahs, which were thereby turned into forests, and later into palm groves;

                On the grounds that they were clearers of virgin forests which, being periodically exploited for the production of food, gradually turned into palm groves;

                On the grounds that they were creators of palm groves thanks to their direct and deliberate intervention, which had entailed introducing the elaeis palm into the country …

                For what reasons does the State deny these grounds, or refuse to take them into account? …

                Certain steps ought now to be taken. I propose in fact that a special commission of enquiry be set up, consisting of three members, a botanist, an agricultural engineer and an ethnologist qualified in law, in order to investigate thoroughly this question in the field, in Africa, and thereby to settle it in conformity with the dictates of Right and Justice.

                Everywhere civilization is built, it is built on theft, bloodshed, forced labor, rape, and torture. The only more or less “free” peoples are the so-called barbarian peoples, and, to the extent that even some barbarian tribes have some rather oppressive internal power structures, only a subset of them are really more or less “free”.

                To quote James C. Scott’s “Against the Grain”,

                It would be almost impossible to exaggerate the centrality of bondage, in one form or another, in the development of the state until very recently. As Adam Hochschild observed, as late as 1800 roughly three-quarters of the world’s population could be said to be living in bondage.9 In Southeast Asia all early states were s***e states and s***ing states; the most valuable cargo of Malay traders in insular Southeast Asia were, until the late nineteenth century, sl***s. Old people among the so-called aboriginal people (orang asli) of the Malay Peninsula and hill peoples in northern Thailand can recall their parents’ and grandparents’ stories about much-dreaded s***e raids.10
                Provided that we keep in mind the various forms bondage can take over time, one is tempted to assert: “No sl***ry, no state.” Moses Finley famously asked, “Was Greek Civilization based on Sl*** Labour?” and answered with a resounding and well-documented yes.11 Sl***s represented a clear majority—perhaps as much as two-thirds—of Athenian society, and the institution was taken completely for granted; the issue of abolition never arose. As Aristotle held, some peoples, owing to a lack of rational faculties, are, by nature, sl***s and are best used, as draft animals are, as tools. In Sparta, sl***s represented an even larger portion of the population. The difference, to which we shall return later, was that while most sl***s in Athens were war captives from non-Greek-speaking peoples, Sparta’s sl***s were largely “helots,” indigenous cultivators conquered in place by Sparta and made to work and produce communally for “free” Spartans. In this model the appropriation of an existing, sedentary grain complex by militarized state builders is far more explicit.
                Imperial Rome, a polity on a scale rivaled only by its easternmost contemporary, Han Dynasty China, turned much of the Mediterranean basin into a massive sl*** emporium. Every Roman military campaign was shadowed by sl*** merchants and ordinary soldiers who expected to become rich by selling or ransoming the captives they had taken personally. By one estimate, the Gallic Wars yielded nearly a million new sl***s, while, in Augustinian Rome and Italy, sl***s represented from one-quarter to one-third of the population. The ubiquity of sl***s as a commodity was reflected in the fact that in the classical world a “standardized” sl*** became a unit of measurement: in Athens at one point—the market fluctuated—a pair of working mules was worth three sl***s.

              • guest says:

                “Probably not, and probably not, at least not in their current forms.”

                I responded to that post some time ago.

                Just waiting for the comment to be approved.

          • random person says:

            You can’t blame wage-labor for the theft that occurs in your example. That’s the point.

            My point is that I gave you a very specific example: worker goes out, finds a piece of unused land, and plants a garden, because he wants to “earn the land”. Thieving capitalist comes along, alleges that he has legal title to the garden that the worker planted, and offers to pay the worker to harvest “his” crops. Since the worker doesn’t want to fight for his land (and, given the political situation in Brazil, could not reasonably hope to be able to do so in any case), he accepts this and is transformed, against his will, into a wage laborer. However, it is not 100% against his will in the same way that sl***ry is: he could still *leave* if he wanted to. But his rights as a peasant proprietor to work for himself and sell his crops to whomever he chooses aren’t respected. Because this is an obvious injustice, but I don’t want to conflate the problem with sl***ry, a worse crime, I call it exploitation. (However, things get worse for the worker, and he is tricked into sl***ry later in his story.)

            Then, rather than read the example I provided, you proceeded to pretend that I was talking about a situation where the capitalist had planted a garden with his own labor, and then hired an employee to tend to and/or harvest it, and attack that strawman accordingly.

            Now I’m not sure how much of what you wrote to reply to, because trying to argue with someone who is distracted by attacking a strawman is tiresome. I feel superfluous. Like if you want to argue with the strawman, you don’t actually need me here.

            Also, the thief in that case was motivated by the desire to claim a monopoly on the right to buy the products of the worker’s labor, i.e. to deprive him of the right to sell the products of his labor on a competitive market, i.e. to make him a wage laborer. The thief was to blame, along with the corrupt Brazilian political system that enabled him, but the concept of forcing “wage labor” on someone was the motive.

          • random person says:

            Socialists don’t believe these obvious examples of theft exhaust their definitions of theft. They literally think that working for a wage is somehow *necessarily* exploitive, and so they come up with nonsensical concepts like “worker-owned” companies, or “stakeholder capitalism” – clearly confusing unequal outcomes, themselves, as exploitation.

            1. There are many different kinds of socialists, just as there are many different kinds of feminists. You can see that there are some feminists who focus primarily on fighting the worst abuses of the patriarchy, such as rape, “marry your rapist” laws, so-called “honor killing” of women who marry the man they love instead of who their father tells them to marry, and so on. And then there are others who seem more interested in the wage gap (real or alleged) in the US workplaces. Likewise, there are many different kinds of socialists.

            Unfortunately, however, a lot of people don’t apply any sort of basic sanity check to the term “socialist”. If people applied no basic sanity check to the term “feminist”, than a serial rapist could run around declaring that because he was allegedly raping women “for their own good”, he was a feminist. He might even go so far as to declare that women have a “right” to be raped. However, this would not pass any sort of basic sanity check. No self respecting feminist should accept this man as a fellow feminist.

            However, for some strange reason, people consider it perfectly acceptable to avoid applying any sort of sanity check to the terms “socialist” or “communist”. Thus Stalin is called a “communist”. However, this makes about as much sense as calling a guy who organized a rape gang that raped millions of women a “feminist”. Or, to use another example, it makes as much sense as calling King Leopold II an abolitionist.

            I believe the CIA may be partially to blame for this. The seem to know the real definition of the terms, more or less, when they label anti-sl***ry and land reform movements as communist (though they should probably say “socialist” instead, but whatever). But they’re counting on a public perception that a “communist” is someone like Stalin, and quite possibly have done a lot to encourage that public perception, so they can get away with suppressing anti-sl***ry and land reform movements with extreme prejudice, e.g. in the case of the Guatemalan genocide.

            2. Wage labor can’t be fully free unless the wage laborer has the full, free choice to be a peasant proprietor instead, and, through informed consent, genuinely decides that he or she would rather be a wage laborer. Furthermore, for this to occur in the context of a truly free culture, the wage laborer cannot be paid in stolen goods. (E.g. As an obvious example, if a soldier is paid a “wage” out of goods obtained in the process of looting and pillaging, this has obvious moral problems, even if the soldier himself is happy with it.)

            If you live in the United States, what do you think would happen to you if you went out, found a piece of unused land, and tried to build a house and plant a garden on it?

            In the United States, there was a homeless guy who tried this — at least the house-building part, I don’t know about planting the garden. (Well, probably many homeless people have tried it, but I’m citing a particular example.)

            I decided to build a house just to see if I could do it. I didn’t really have any experience. I began by putting pallets and tarps together, and then started cutting pieces of wood to fill in the gaps. I go round the nearby streets with a modified shopping cart and collect useful things to build with. Whatever I find determines what I’ll build and how it will look. For example, I found a table and sawed off the legs and used them to prop up the house.

            I’ve been homeless and in Seattle since December 2014. I’ve almost always camped within two blocks of the freeway. When nobody’s running around yelling, you can almost imagine that the sound of the passing cars are waves hitting the shore. I’ve been in this spot for about eight months and was the first person here. A lot of other people came here after but most have since been kicked out or moved on, which is nice because I like to be isolated.

            I’m really proud of everything I’ve learned. The most difficult part was putting in the window and getting the boards around it to all fit properly. Unfortunately, one day I got pissed and broke the window. I’ve replaced it with something smaller but there’s a five-inch gap on one side now.

            I clean out the area around me quite a bit to make sure there’s no food garbage attracting rats. My husband, who I don’t live with, slept here a couple of times. My bed’s hardly big enough for two people, but we did it, all cuddled up. He did help me with the building once but I accidentally hit his finger with a hammer, so I don’t let anyone help me any more.

            I know it’s inevitable that my home’s going to be torn down. The police who patrol the area have given me compliments on the house and admired it; they’ve said I can stay until spring.

            https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/14/homeless-self-built-homes

            Okay, so this guy built his own home. But, rather than say “yay for you, here’s a legal title to formally commemorate your achievement, and don’t worry about paying property tax, we know you can’t afford it”, the police are going to evict him. (Or, since that was written years ago, I presume they already have by now.) And those police are probably more generous than a lot of police in the US — many probably would have evicted him immediately. (Perhaps the police in this particular story didn’t feel morally right about evicting this person from the house he built in the winter, and decided to delay their law enforcement action until spring.)

            There’s a lot of police in the US who deliberately slash the tents of houseless people with knives. I truly believe that if the rights of houseless people to become peasant proprietors were respected, a lot more of them would build their own houses.

            But that’s not what your supposed to do in the US. You’re supposed to get a job, pay rent (which has property taxes included in it), save up to buy a house if you want to, get a mortgage, pay off the mortgage (and property tax at the same time), and keep paying the property tax even after paying off the mortgage. This artificial need for money, created by evicting people who try to build their own houses, acts as an indirect coercive measure to force people to become wage laborers. However, because it is indirect, and people are technically free to be homeless if they want to, at least in certain parts of the country, it doesn’t rise to the level of sl***ry. Also note that, while many employers, especially large employers, do arguably benefit from this, in so far as it makes people more likely to accept wage labor, many employers, especially smaller employers, are arguably in a similar position: they too must earn money to pay for their homes, even if they’d rather not. Thus, the situation is exploitative, but individual employers may or may not be to blame, and may, in some cases, themselves be exploited too. (If we wanted to judge an individual employer, we might check if they were paying politicians, or “lobbying”, to enforce coercive policies, such as evicting homeless people who try to build homes. We might also look for command responsibility issues, e.g. if they are knowingly ensl**ing African children.)

            The prevalence of sl**e-made goods, and other goods acquired by means of theft, on the market is also a problem: it means that at least some of the incentives being offered to wage laborers in the United States are stolen incentives (often stolen from people living in third world countries). Thus, even if some people are happy with this, it poses a similar moral problem to the aforementioned soldier being paid with stolen goods obtained in the process of looting in pillaging.

            • Harold says:

              Random, there was an interesting series on radio $ (UK) about connections from slavery to current day.Link here, I don’t know if it will work for you
              https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000wdgh/episodes/player

              One example was Chidi, a descendant of an African trader who traded slaves and palm oil. This tied into Lord Leverhulme (of Lever) a well known philantropist who built Port Sunlight. He also utilised appropriation of lands in Belgium Congo as you describe above to obtain his palm oil. A school he founded in Bolton has had the opportunity to re-examine the legacy of their hero. The pupils recognise both his forward thinking reforms, but also the darker side.

              Anyway, I found it very interesting and it seems up your street. Of course, everyone else as well.

              • random person says:

                This looks like a very interesting series. The link does work: the BBC website just wanted me to register an account, and now I can listen to the series.

                I still need to finish listening to the series, but these seem to be excellent examples of how wealth stolen by the most brutal means in the past continues to be present in wealthier countries.

                Lord Leverhulme utilized a combination of land appropriation and outright forced labor. (Basically, having bought the stolen land from the Belgian colonial government, he believed he had the right to force the people to work the land for him. This, of course, is a very simplified summary. Jules Marchal discusses the matter in great detail in the book Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts.)

                It should be noted that wealth from past theft is not the only problem. The massive theft regimes continue in the present day in new and terrible forms.

                Al Jazeera has a good docuseries, “Sl***ry: A 21st Century Evil”

                Should be the first search result here:
                https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aaljazeera.com+a+21st+century+evil

                Or if you’d rather read a text document, Longreads has an article, “Your Phone Was Made By Sl***s: A Primer on the Secret Economy”

                Which should be the first search result here:
                google [dot] com/search?q=site%3Alongreads.com+your+phone+was+made+by

              • random person says:

                I was just getting to the part where Deadria Farmer-Paellmann was talking about tracing the wealth looted by ensl***rs to companies that still exist.

                I wish there was a transcript I could quote directly, but it was in this episode:
                https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09jjqk1

                Yes! You go Deadria Farmer-Paellmann! Those companies should pay those reparations!

                (As should the companies that are *still* using forced labour.)

              • random person says:

                Overall, a very excellent radio series!

                There were, however, a couple problems that stood out:

                1. In the “James Cleverly MP and Deadria Farmer-Paellmann” episode, one of the corporate representatives, presumably a lawyer, arguing against reparations said that the last sl*** had died in [some year]. I don’t recall the exact year he gave, but whatever it was, it was blatantly false, and someone should have called him out on it, because there are an estimated 40.3 million people in sl***ry as of 2016, according to the Global Sl***ry Index. Although the exact figure is disputed, multiple people and organizations studying the matter clearly agree that the figure is in the millions, if not higher. More people are being ens***ed every day! So it is ridiculous to speak of any “last sl***” dying in any year, except perhaps in the future, if you want to make predictions.

                This error in particular drives me nuts, since how can would-be abolitionists help fight against sl***ry if they mistakenly believe it has already been abolished?

                Also, it would be interesting to investigate if corporations who got rich off of past sl***ry were continuing to invest in modern sl***ry. (I believe in many cases, especially banks, the answer is yes, but for obvious reasons, the question would need to be answered on a case by case basis.)

                2. In the episode about Lord Leverhulme, they admitted that he used forced labor, but insisted several times that it wasn’t sl***ry. I believe the only way they could reach this conclusion is if they were using an obscenely narrow definition of the word sl***ry. I understand that part of why people do this, is because the transatlantic sl*** trade, and the hereditary racial sl***ry resulting from it, were so incredibly horrible, that people are reluctant to label other types of forced labor as sl***ry if it doesn’t match hereditary racial sl***ry very very closely.

                However, I believe this is a mistake. And I’m apparently not the only one, because the international legal definition of sl***ry backs me on this one.

                According to the 1926 Sl***ry Convention, which is international law,

                Sl***ry is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

                https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/sc/sc.html

                The UN document linked above also clarifies that,

                As the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has determined in its 2016 judgment, the first of these elements – “status or condition” – “refers to both the de jure and de facto situations”; that is: status is a legal concept while condition is a state of being.

                and also,

                While a number of international judgements have repeated a set of indica to look for in ascribing the second element of the definition: the exercise of the powers attaching to the right of ownership; the Inter-American Court has engaged with the substance of what constitutes those powers. It did so by reference to the 2012 Bellagio-Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Sl***ry in stating that “the ‘powers attaching to the right of ownership’ must be understood today as control exercised over a person who is restricted in or significantly deprived of his or her individual liberty, with the intention of exploitation through the use, management, profit, or transfer of a person to another” (Workers of Fazenda Brasil Verde v. Brazil, paras. 270 and 271). Where control tantamount to possession is established, sl***ry exists.

                Okay, so, even if it was a very different kind of forced labor from what happened as a result of the transatlantic sl*** trade to the Americas, it still met the international legal definition of sl***ry, so long as “control tantamount to possession” was established.

                I believe it is important not to define sl***ry in an excessively narrow way, lest we let ensl***rs off the hook just because they implement a few reforms. While such reforms may be part of a gradual abolition process, sl***ry should not be said to be abolished until “control tantamount to possession” is no longer present. Even then, other forms of exploitation may persist — the abolition of sl***ry, i.e. of control tantamount to possession over workers — does not mean that workers have gained full freedom — i.e. they may still be controlled in unethical ways that do not rise to the level of tantamount to possession.

                In the book “Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts”, Jules Marchal documents that the “Huileries du Congo Beige” (HCB), Lord Leverhulme’s company on the Belgian Congo, requested a military outpost in the Lusanga region to help them with their forced labor recruitment as early as 1912.

                There is evidence of resistance to the forced recruitment going back at least as far as 1914. Jules Marchal gives the following examples:

                • a recruiter by the name of Buelens was met with a volley of arrows in the village of Kasamba, whose chief was Mosenge; he was slightly wounded in the chest;
                • a recruiter by the name of Vanherenthals was attacked in the village of Kisimuna, one hour’s journey from Leverville; he suffered serious arrow wounds in the arm and the chest;
                • a recruiter by the name of Sosson was met with a volley of arrows, and the man in command of his escort received a wound in the leg;
                • a recruiter by the name of Monard was also greeted with arrows.

                The volleys of arrows are a fairly clear indication that the Africans in this region did not consent to work for Lord Leverhulme’s company, even if he did pay wages. The presence of wages don’t mean that it wasn’t sl***ry, just as a transaction can still be theft even if the thief leaves payment behind.

                (Imagine, for example, that you quarried some alabaster, carved it into a statue, and intended to sell the statue for $100. Then some thief steals the statue and leaves you $3. It’s still theft, even though he left you $3. Likewise, a situation can still be sl***ry, even if a wage is paid. The point is that it is coerced, and that the coercion rises to the level of “control tantamount to possession”, regardless of whether a wage is paid.)

                Military outposts were established to repress such resistance against the forced labor recruitment. However, the was some struggle over this — it appears that at certain times, some military outposts believed they were there to actually enforce law (which included tax collection, so let’s not pretend they were innocent, even if they weren’t fully cooperating with the companies), and not just carry out forced labor recruitment, causing the HCB to complain.

                In a letter from Kinshasa dated 28th June 1915, managing director Wall made the request, but not in terms that Vanwert had anticipated. The letter took Devos violently to task, reprimanding him, among other things, for the manner in which he collected taxes: “Instead of promoting labour recruitment by making tax-collecting trips on the periphery of our region, he does precisely the opposite, and collects taxes at our station and at posts in the immediate vicinity. Many workers are therefore driven to desert.” The letter continued as follows:

                “We cordially request that you have the superintendent of police transferred forthwith. We propose to ask the government for a duty picket of from four to six “policemen”.24 These men would be under the command of our head of station, who could be sworn in as a police officer. An arrangement of this sort exists in the Compagnie du chemin du fer du Congo, where it has worked well. We cordially request you to grant this provisionally, until such time as we are able to request it formally from the government.”

                However, it seems that the Belgian colonial government was at times reluctant to grant this request, so the HCB simply hired their own private forced labor recruiting military personnel.

                On 30th September 1915, Henry wrote to Vanwert informing him that he could definitively withdraw the “policemen” from Leverville, the management of the HCB having just reassured him that it did not wish a European police superintendent to be retained there, and that it would itself see to the surveillance of its stations by guards in its own hire, with the proviso that all infractions of the law be referred to the nearest government civil servant.

                It seems that this was in response to World War I: the Belgian colonial government had previously been helping more with forced labor recruitment, but scaled back its efforts due to World War I. (Not that this actually stopped the forced labor recruitment from happening, since, as you can see above, the HCB simply hired their own forced labor recruiting military personnel. Hence people who say that sl***ry can’t exist without state assistance are clearly wrong. Sl***rs may *prefer* state assistance, but they are capable of arranging their own coercion even without it.)

                Since war broke out, military occupation of Lusanga country has been reduced to almost nothing, and the natives are well aware of this. Recently in a village ten kilometres from our posts, the natives declared to our recruiting agent, when he asked them for labourers, that they would no longer go to work, having no need of money now that Bula Matari [the government] no longer had soldiers to collect taxes.

                And there you see a portion of the Bula Matari’s role in the matter, when they chose to help in ensl***rs — to compel people to accept wage labor by means of requiring them to earn money to pay taxes.

                Accepting wage labor *only* out of fear of unjust tax collection is not voluntary labor. That is forced labor. The tax is essentially the fee that Bula Matari expects in return for their role in forced labor recruitment.

                Bula Matari did attempt to regulate the sl***ry, that is, to demand that Lord Leverhulme and other ensl***rs treat workers with a certain minimal amount of humanity, such as supplying food and whatnot. These regulations seem to have been largely ignored, but attempts at enforcing them has left some documentation of the situation.

                For example, in the 1923 Lejeune report, Dr. Emile Lejeune noted workers not being given blankets and subsequently dying of respiratory illness.

                When you force someone to work in such bad conditions that they die of respiratory illness as a result, this is murder, in my opinion. Thus, Lord Leverhulme was a mass murderer. Also, this information is evidence that the situation rose to the level of sl***ry,

                According to the Bellagio-Harvard guidelines,

                Mistreatment or neglect of a person may provide evidence of sl***ry. Having established control tantamount to possession, such disregard may lead to the physical or psychological exhaustion of a person, and ultimately to his or her destruction; accordingly the act of bringing about such exhaustion will be an act of sl***ry.

                Lejeune also noted that the workers were only being given one meal per day, and not on Sundays, so only 6 meals per week.

                And also Lejeune wrote,

                I discovered that the Yanzi arrange for caravans of provisions to be brought from home, so as to compensate for the shortcomings of the ration issued to them, and the same is true of the imported workers at the agricultural posts, as I learned in particular from M. Cotton at post 5.

                Some very delusional people sometimes claim that sl***ry isn’t that bad because at least sl***s are “guaranteed” food, housing, etc., but as we can see from the Lejeune report, this is clearly false. Lord Leverhulme’s company provided so little food, that the families/communities of the workers felt the need to donate food to their ensl***d kindred! The people back home were, in a sense, indirectly ens***d. By holding their family/friends hostage, and failing to provide proper food, Lord Leverhulme’s company forced this people to work to provide food for them (on threat of watching their loved ones starve to death instead).

                Of the housing conditions, Lejuene writes,

                In Leverville there is a brick-built camp, which would be good if there were latrines, kitchens and a rubbish pit, and if it were fenced in, cleared of brushwood and regularly whitewashed. Besides, this camp is only large enough for a very small fraction of the workers currently at the post.

                I have seen the camp of the imported Yanzi [whose overcrowding had been particularly criticised by Rhodain during his inspection in November 1922, but later put an end to, according to Horn, in a statement to the minister].9 The camp consists of straw houses in which from 10 to 20 men sleep in cramped conditions, on pallets upon which 7 or 8 at the most should be accommodated. The camp is in reality little better than a simple night shelter of poor quality.

                The workers living in this camp, 400 in number, have to carry all their valuables with them when they go off to work, for nothing can be locked up. They therefore set out in the morning, around six o’clock, with their sacks and without having eaten. They get THE MEAL at midday, and return in the evening. They have the whole night to chat and to sleep, but nothing to get their teeth into. If they came with their wife, they would not be given any suitable accommodation. Finally, newcomers often have no shelter, and have to fend for themselves. One may readily understand how it is that, given such conditions, they refuse, after a first stint of three months, to re-enlist …

                Lejenue also notes that children were not spared from the forced labor.

                These are pretty terrible conditions. It is no wonder Lord Leverhulme’s company had to used forced recruitment to get workers — no sane person would want to work in such conditions.

                Also, as we can tell from this quote from Ryckmans (as quoted by Jules Marchal in Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts), the workers were subjected to whipping. Jules Marchal tells us that this was part of Ryckmans’ correspondence to his wife regarding the Leverville area.

                My initial impressions have been confirmed. Overall the outlook is fine; an encouraging future—but with some shadows in the picture, and very well-defined shadows at that. Now we are in a position to grasp that the shadows are very black—villages in a ruinous state owing to the excessive workforce [owing to excessive recruitments], excessive workloads, arbitrary methods, arrests of chiefs, chicotte etc.

                Alright, so, Ryckmans was clearly pro-sl***ry. The chicotte was a type of whip, so he’s admitting here that workers were whipped into submission.

                Although Ryckmans was pro-sl***ry, this didn’t stop him from criticizing the HCB’s quota system in a 1931 report, which he wrote along with two others. Apparently, the HCB failed to vary the quota throughout the year based on the productivity of the palm trees. This lead apparently lead to natives being punished to failing to harvest non-existant fruit, during the times of year when there was little if any palm fruit to be found.

                In my opinion, Lord Leverhulme was clearly guilty of being a mass murderer and an ensl***r, using the international legal definition of sl***ry, even if it was a very different form of sl***ry than what we saw resulting from the transatlantic sl*** trade.

          • random person says:

            and so they come up with nonsensical concepts like “worker-owned” companies

            Murray Rothbard also endorsed the concept of worker-owned companies, in certain cases, even though he self-identified as an anarcho-capitalist.

            Let us now apply our libertarian theory of property to the case of property in the hands of, or derived from, the State apparatus. The libertarian sees the State as a giant gang of organized criminals, who live off the theft called “taxation” and use the proceeds to kill, ens***e, and generally push people around. Therefore, any property in the hands of the State is in the hands of thieves, and should be liberated as quickly as possible. Any person or group who liberates such property, who confiscates or appropriates it from the State, is performing a virtuous act and a signal service to the cause of liberty. In the case of the State, furthermore, the victim is not readily identifiable as B, the horse-owner. All taxpayers, all draftees, all victims of the State have been mulcted. How to go about returning all this property to the taxpayers? What proportions should be used in this terrific tangle of robbery and injustice that we have all suffered at the hands of the State? Often, the most practical method of de-statizing is simply to grant the moral right of ownership on the person or group who seizes the property from the State. Of this group, the most morally deserving are the ones who are already using the property but who have no moral complicity in the State’s act of aggression. These people then become the “homesteaders” of the stolen property and hence the rightful owners.

            Take, for example, the State universities. This is property built on funds stolen from the taxpayers. Since the State has not found or put into effect a way of returning ownership of this property to the taxpaying public, the proper owners of this university are the “homesteaders”, those who have already been using and therefore “mixing their labor” with the facilities. The prime consideration is to deprive the thief, in this case the State, as quickly as possible of the ownership and control of its ill-gotten gains, to return the property to the innocent, private sector. This means student and/or faculty ownership of the universities.

            As between the two groups, the students have a prior claim, for the students have been paying at least some amount to support the university whereas the faculty suffer from the moral taint of living off State funds and thereby becoming to some extent a part of the State apparatus.

            The same principle applies to nominally “private” property which really comes from the State as a result of zealous lobbying on behalf of the recipient. Columbia University, for example, which receives nearly two-thirds of its income from government, is only a “private” college in the most ironic sense. It deserves a similar fate of virtuous homesteading confiscation.

            But if Columbia University, what of General Dynamics? What of the myriad of corporations which are integral parts of the military-industrial complex, which not only get over half or sometimes virtually all their revenue from the government but also participate in mass murder? What are their credentials to “private” property? Surely less than zero. As eager lobbyists for these contracts and subsidies, as co-founders of the garrison state, they deserve confiscation and reversion of their property to the genuine private sector as rapidly as possible. To say that their “private” property must be respected is to say that the property stolen by the horsethief and the murderer must be “respected”.

            But how then do we go about destatizing the entire mass of government property, as well as the “private property” of General Dynamics? All this needs detailed thought and inquiry on the part of libertarians. One method would be to turn over ownership to the homesteading workers in the particular plants; another to turn over pro-rata ownership to the individual taxpayers. But we must face the fact that it might prove the most practical route to first nationalize the property as a prelude to redistribution. Thus, how could the ownership of General Dynamics be transferred to the deserving taxpayers without first being nationalized en route? And, further more, even if the government should decide to nationalize General Dynamics—without compensation, of course—per se and not as a prelude to redistribution to the taxpayers, this is not immoral or something to be combatted. For it would only mean that one gang of thieves—the government—would be confiscating property from another previously cooperating gang, the corporation that has lived off the government. I do not often agree with John Kenneth Galbraith, but his recent suggestion to nationalize businesses which get more than 75% of their revenue from government, or from the military, has considerable merit. Certainly it does not mean aggression against private property, and, furthermore, we could expect a considerable diminution of zeal from the military-industrial complex if much of the profits were taken out of war and plunder. And besides, it would make the American military machine less efficient, being governmental, and that is surely all to the good. But why stop at 75%? Fifty per cent seems to be a reasonable cutoff point on whether an organization is largely public or largely private.

            And there is another consideration. Dow Chemical, for example, has been heavily criticized for making napalm for the U.S. military machine. The percentage of its sales coming from napalm is undoubtedly small, so that on a percentage basis the company may not seem very guilty; but napalm is and can only be an instrument of mass murder, and therefore Dow Chemical is heavily up to its neck in being an accessory and hence a co-partner in the mass murder in Vietnam. No percentage of sales, however small, can absolve its guilt.

            — Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum Vol. 1, No. 6, June 15, 1969
            https://mises.org/library/complete-libertarian-forum-1969-1984

            I think if he’d been Guatemalan, instead of American, the CIA might have called him a crypto-communist and killed him and his neighbors.

  2. Major_Freedom says:

    Randomperson:

    continued from past thread, re: Marx empiricist or purveyor of axiomatic system?

    Here’s the nail in the coffin to the notion that Marx arrived at his conclusions ’empirically’:

    Marx wrote to Engels that he has just forecast something in his column for the New York Tribune. He adds cynically and revealingly:

    “It is possible that I may be discredited. But in that case it will still be possible to pull through with the help of a bit of dialectic. It goes without saying that I phrased my forecasts in such a way that I would prove to be right also in the opposite case’.”

    Since the ‘dialectic’ allegedly means that the world and human society consist of conflicting or ‘contradictory’ tendencies side by side or even within the same set of circumstances, any prediction can then be justified as the result of one’s deep insight into whichever part of the contradictory dialectic might be prevailing at any given time.

    Since either A or non-A can occur, Marx and his followers could always safely hedge their bets so that no prediction of theirs can ever be falsified.

    And what do we call a non-falsifiable system?

    AXIOMATIC.

    QED.

    • random person says:

      Since either A or non-A can occur, Marx and his followers could always safely hedge their bets so that no prediction of theirs can ever be falsified.

      If that’s an axiom, so is the statement, “I don’t know.” Is someone who says, “I don’t know” safely hedging their bets so that no one can prove their statement false? Or are they simply being humble with respect to their knowledge on the topic in question?

      If a weatherman says, “I predict an 82% chance of rain tomorrow in this town,” is he “safely hedging” his bet so that even if there’s no rain, he can’t be proven “false”, because after all, he did admit there was an 18% chance of no rain? Or is he simply acknowledging that, not being God, he can’t be 100% certain about these things, and therefore is expressing the level of confidence that he does have?

      If a doctor prescribes you a medication, and when you get the prescription filled at the pharmacy, there’s a list of potential side effects, is the pharmacy trying to “safely hedge” their bets by trying to list all the possible outcomes you might experience from taking the medication, so that you can prove their predictions “false”, or are they simply acknowledging that, not being God, they can’t be certain whether the medication will have the desired effect or not, and therefore, in the interests of informed consent, they need to warn you of the potential for things to go wrong?

      • Major_Freedom says:

        RansomPerson:

        This reply is totally left field.

        • random person says:

          It’s not left field. It’s sensible field. Your own summary was “either A or non-A can occur”.

          If I say, “either A or non-A can occur”, that’s just a fancy longwinded way of saying “I don’t know if A will occur,” or, to use the abbreviated form “I don’t know.”

          It’s true that “I don’t know” is a difficult statement to prove false. (What are you going to do? Read someone mind telepathically and say, “NO, YOU DO KNOW, YOU ARE 100% CERTAIN!”???) But it’s not much of an axiom. It’s more a statement of humility.

  3. Major_Freedom says:

    Von Mises also correctly saw Marx’s entire system as axiomatic, not empirical:

    “We may summarize the Marxian doctrine in this way: In the beginning there are the ‘material productive forces’, i.e., the technological equipment of human productive efforts, the tools and machines. No question concerning their origin is permitted; they are, that is all; we must assume that they are dropped from heaven.”

    Marx himself wrote on numerous occasions that politics, religion, production relations, wage labor, law, even the contents of the human mind were all ‘superstructure’ phenomena, all being driven by ‘material productive forces’ (which Marx never made clear what exactly he meant by it, but inferring into it we could say he meant technology) in a monocausal logic.

    If you don’t want to accept ‘wage labor is exploitation’ as an axiom in Marx’s system, fine, but there is absolutely no denying that ‘material productive forces’ is an axiom in Marx’s system, and since everything else, including wage labor, are all driven by the supposed reality of that axiom, this is yet another proof that Marx’s system is axiomatic plus rules of inference.

    • random person says:

      Von Mises also correctly saw Marx’s entire system as axiomatic, not empirical:

      “We may summarize the Marxian doctrine in this way: In the beginning there are the ‘material productive forces’, i.e., the technological equipment of human productive efforts, the tools and machines. No question concerning their origin is permitted; they are, that is all; we must assume that they are dropped from heaven.”

      If that’s what von Mises wrote, then he attacked a giant strawman — his characterization of Marx’s position is about as incorrect as I can imagine.

      Marx spent chapters writing about the origin of technological equipment and other capital. To quote a brief sample from Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 31,

      Colonial system, public debts, heavy taxes, protection, commercial wars, &c., these children of the true manufacturing period, increase gigantically during the infancy of Modem Industry. The birth of the latter is heralded by a great slaughter of the innocents. Like the royal navy, the factories were recruited by means of the press-gang. Blasé as Sir F. M. Eden is as to the horrors of the expropriation of the agricultural population from the soil, from the last third of the 15th century to his own time; with all the self-satisfaction with which he rejoices in this process, “essential” for establishing capitalistic agriculture and “the due proportion between arable and pasture land” — he does not show, however, the same economic insight in respect to the necessity of child-stealing and child-sl***ry for the transformation of manufacturing exploitation into factory exploitation, and the establishment of the “true relation” between capital and labour-power. He says:

      “It may, perhaps, be worthy the attention of the public to consider, whether any manufacture, which, in order to be carried on successfully, requires that cottages and workhouses should be ransacked for poor children; that they should be employed by turns during the greater part of the night and robbed of that rest which, though indispensable to all, is most required by the young; and that numbers of both sexes, of different ages and dispositions, should be collected together in such a manner that the contagion of example cannot but lead to profligacy and debauchery; will add to the sum of individual or national felicity?” [10]

      “In the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and more particularly in Lancashire,” says Fielden, “the newly-invented machinery was used in large factories built on the sides of streams capable of turning the water-wheel. Thousands of hands were suddenly required in these places, remote from towns; and Lancashire, in particular, being, till then, comparatively thinly populated and barren, a population was all that she now wanted. The small and nimble fingers of little children being by very far the most in request, the custom instantly sprang up of procuring apprentices from the different parish workhouses of London, Birmingham, and elsewhere. Many, many thousands of these little, hapless creatures were sent down into the north, being from the age of 7 to the age of 13 or 14 years old. The custom was for the master to clothe his apprentices and to feed and lodge them in an “apprentice house” near the factory; overseers were appointed to see to the works, whose interest it was to work the children to the utmost, because their pay was in proportion to the quantity of work that they could exact. Cruelty was, of course, the consequence. … In many of the manufacturing districts, but particularly, I am afraid, in the guilty county to which I belong [Lancashire], cruelties the most heart-rending were practised upon the unoffending and friendless creatures who were thus consigned to the charge of master-manufacturers; they were harassed to the brink of death by excess of labour … were flogged, fettered and tortured in the most exquisite refinement of cruelty; … they were in many cases starved to the bone while flogged to their work and … even in some instances … were driven to commit suicide…. The beautiful and romantic valleys of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, secluded from the public eye, became the dismal solitudes of torture, and of many a murder. The profits of manufacturers were enormous; but this only whetted the appetite that it should have satisfied, and therefore the manufacturers had recourse to an expedient that seemed to secure to them those profits without any possibility of limit; they began the practice of what is termed “night-working,” that is, having tired one set of hands, by working them throughout the day, they had another set ready to go on working throughout the night; the day-set getting into the beds that the night-set had just quitted, and in their turn again, the night-set getting into the beds that the day-set quitted in the morning. It is a common tradition in Lancashire, that the beds never get cold.”

      https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm

      If von Mises wished to engage in good faith debate with Marx’s work, he could have acknowledged that Marx did indeed look into the origins of technological equipment, and quibbled with Marx about either the reliability of the sources of his information, or his interpretation of those sources. Instead, if your quote is correct, he simply strawmanned Marx and pretended Marx had never made the argument at all.

      (I looked up your quote, and it appears to be from Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution by Ludwig von Mises.)

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Random Person:

        “If that’s what von Mises wrote, then he attacked a giant strawman — his characterization of Marx’s position is about as incorrect as I can imagine.”

        Serious question: Is using such extreme verbiage serving as a cover for an inability or unwillingness to engage what Mises was in fact describing in Marx’s system because it contradicts what you think you know about what Marx wrote?

        To just knee jerk and claim Mises, one of the greatest minds ever, was attacking a giant straw man, shows that your understanding of Marxism is so engrained that it’s almost betraying a sensitivity to being proved wrong about it, even if it means straw manning Mises claiming he straw manned Marx!

        A sort of “how dare he!” outrage?

        You’ve only quoted out of Das Kapital, which is unfortunate because Marx’s logic and methodological approach to observation was already established years before he started writing a single word in Kapital. It is Marx’s logic that Mises was addressing, not the observation of people making equipment.

        Take a deep breath.

        The passage you quoted from Das Kapital has zero bearing on the argument Mises made.

        You have to step back and think higher level. Mises was addressing Marx’s view of the ORIGINATION/SOURCE of that which makes possible the existence equipment being produced in the way it is the first place. Does that clarify?

        Marx DENIED that ‘material productive forces’ ORIGINATES with HUMAN THOUGHT.

        Individual human beings to Marx were just the carriers, a ‘means’ to the end of a historical process that has its own destiny, where the only space for ‘choice’ is the proletariat class acquiring ‘consciousness’ of its alleged historical ‘purpose’.

        Apologies for using all caps in some of the passages above but I wanted to put emphasis on the words that I hope will clue you in to what Mises was in fact talking about in describing Marx’s view on how it all becomes possible for there to even be ‘equipment’ in the first place.

        To Marx, real people are effectively ‘vassals’ who not by their own account physically ‘manifest’ all the production relations driven by the philosophical concept of ‘material productive forces’.

        There is a reason Marx used the (German equivalent) word ‘forces’, and NOT ‘human ingenuity’, or ‘human invention’, or ‘ideas’. Marx bitterly attacked his contemporaries, particularly in The German Ideology, for daring to suggest that human ideas are driving human actions. Oh no, to Marx. To Marx it was the other way around, that material productive forces determine human ideas.

        Marx ‘inverted’ Hegel all the way top to bottom. Anything to do with mind, ideas, spirit, these were all to Marx a ‘symptom’ of weak German philosophy. He went so far as to deny its existence even in human individuals! There was no room for ‘ideas’ as original motive force anywhere in Marx’s system because to Marx any admission of such would be, using Marx’s parlance, a ‘false consciousness’.

        That is why Mises wrote that to Marx, ‘it all begins with’ material productive forces.

        Mises’ position was that technology doesn’t just come out of nowhere like Marx’s system had it, but was driven by human intelligence.

        Marx believed the opposite, that it was the material productive forces that determine human ‘ideas’.

        Go back and read that passage you quoted from Kapital again and UNDERSTAND it as written by an author who is ‘seeing’ people creating equipment not because their minds are driving it, but because the datum of ‘material productive forces’ inherent in the fabric of reality as driving them to do it.

        The ‘greedy capitalists’ are doing what they’re doing because the ‘material productive forces’ are compelling them to do it.

        The ‘hapless proletariat’ are doing what they’re doing because the ‘material productive forces’ are compelling them to do it.

        The ‘dialectic’ is a mystic force that will allegedly drive all human society to the cusp of a bloody revolution, a dictatorial state that maximizes depravity and lust, after which communist utopia is supposed to just happen on its own.

        This is why Marx wrote ‘I’ll just use a little dialectic’ when making his predictions.

        Your response to that other post with “so is I don’t know”, certainly did not apply to Marx according to Marx. According to Marx, Marx knew where human history would lead and where it would end, in communism.

        You won’t be able to understand what Marx meant when he wrote Kapital unless you know his prior writings.

        Have you read anything from Marx other than Kapital which was Marx’s attempt to ‘critique’ capitalism USING his already established logic developed years prior?

        You wrote: “Marx spent chapters writing about the origin of technological equipment”

        The ENTIRE passage you quoted has exactly zero sentences that explain the ORIGIN of even the existence of technology, or the greedy capitalists and hapless proletariats.

        Remember, Marx was a God denying atheist. The ‘datum’ driving EVERYTHING HE SAW was this ‘material productive forces’. These ‘forces’ are allegedly responsible for the existence of ‘class conflict’, of ‘capital’, of ‘capitalists’, of ‘prolaterians’, and of the entire ‘super-structure’.

        THAT is why Mises wrote ‘We may summarize the Marxian doctrine in this way: In the beginning there are the ‘material productive forces’.

        It’s no straw man, Mises just knew Marx way better than a person who seems to have only read Kapital.

        Your response to the other post about axioms, poo pooing it and deflecting to ‘If that is an axiom then so is…’ wasn’t directly engaging the claim that Marx’s system was a formal system of axioms and rules of inference at all, it was a total deflection. Too bad.

        To understand Marx, you need to read the 1844 manuscripts, The German Ideology, Theses On Feuerbach, and The Poverty of Philosophy, at least. It is in these writings that ‘mature’ Marxism was fully developed, and it was using all the logical categories and philosophy there that he then ‘saw’ what he ‘saw’ when writing Kapital.

        • random person says:

          Major_Freedom wrote,

          To just knee jerk and claim Mises, one of the greatest minds ever,

          Mises was most certainly not one of the greatest minds ever. While he may have had useful insights on some topics, this unfortunately did not extend to the topic of colonialism.

          For example, in Liberalism in the Classical Tradition, Mises made the extremely ignorant claim that,

          The economy of Europe today is based, to a great extent, on the inclusion of Africa and large parts of Asia in the world economy as suppliers of raw materials of all kinds. These raw materials are not taken from the natives of these areas by force. They are not carried away as tribute, but handed over in voluntary exchange for the industrial products of Europe. Thus, relations are not founded on any one-sided advantage; they are, on the contrary, mutually beneficial, and the inhabitants of the colonies derive from them just as many advantages as the inhabitants of England or Switzerland. Any stoppage in these trade relations would involve serious economic losses for Europe as well as for the colonies and would sharply depress the standard of living of great masses of people.

          Google informs me that the book was published in 1927 (although maybe not in English at that time). In 1927, the Belgian Congo was suffering under a brutal, murderous forced labor regime, so it is blatantly incorrect to state that, without exception, raw materials were carried out of Africa after mutually beneficial voluntary exchange. (Also, the Congo was far from the only place where forced labor was imposed, but it is among the best documented.) Interestingly, Mises mentions the Belgian Congo, but doesn’t seem to grasp the implications,

          Mises wrote,

          But everyone knows how seriously all the colonial powers have sinned against this principle. It is hardly necessary to recall the horrors that trustworthy English correspondents have reported as having, been perpetrated in the Belgian Congo. Let us assume that these atrocities were not intended by the Belgian government and are only to be attributed to the excesses and evil characters of the functionaries sent out to the Congo.

          Now, perhaps Mises was probably the victim of a propaganda campaign. The Belgians put a good deal of effort into their propaganda.

          However, the books by Jules Marchal, for example, Forced Labor in the Gold and Copper Mines, and Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts, make it quite clear that the Belgians were systematically bringing forced labor, torture, rape, and death to the Congo, and, while there were a few dissidents (including, perhaps, the “trustworthy correspondents” Mises mentions), the horrors were not merely the excesses of a few specific functionaries acting against the overall plan. Forced labor was the overall plan.

          While I can acknowledge that Mises was a victim of propaganda, and not the sort of person likely to deliberately deny the forced labor regime in the Congo if he had had the benefit of being able to read the books that Jules Marchal published only decades after the fact, if he were “one of the greatest minds ever”, then he should have been much less susceptible to propaganda. And even though Jules Marchal had not yet written his books, still, Mises could have picked up Red Rubber by Edmund Dene Morel, which was published well before 1927. It would not have told him all of the information about the brutality of colonialism that is now published, but it would have told him enough that he should have at least qualified his statement to be something like, “These raw materials not always taken from the natives of these areas by force. They are not always carried away as tribute, but are sometimes handed over in voluntary exchange for the industrial products of Europe.” rather than “These raw materials are not taken from the natives of these areas by force. They are not carried away as tribute, but handed over in voluntary exchange for the industrial products of Europe.” Dispute might then be had over what exactly is meant by “not always” and “sometimes” and just how often these “voluntary” exchanges occurred relative to the involuntary ones. (In the Congo, the answer would be: not often. Not often at all.)

          Major_Freedom wrote,

          You’ve only quoted out of Das Kapital, which is unfortunate because Marx’s logic and methodological approach to observation was already established years before he started writing a single word in Kapital.

          That is blatantly false. I already quoted one of the 1844 manuscripts down here, when I previously addressed your ridiculous claim that “Marx enunciated his entire philosophical view of labor well before he wrote a single word of Kapital.”
          https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042999

          If you can’t be bothered to read it, the summary is, if Marx had “his entire philosophical view of labor” all worked out “well before” (well before, meaning, in 1844, if I understand you correctly?) he wrote a single word of Das Kapital, and thenceforth refused to change his mind about anything, then I shouldn’t find anything in these 1844 manuscripts that contradicts his views as expressed in Das Kapital. But I did find a contradiction between the 1844 manuscripts and Das Kapital. It didn’t even take that long. I’d probably find more contradictions if I spent more time on it. Marx had clearly changed his mind based on his study of history.

          If you continue to focus on his 1844 manuscripts, and neglect Das Kapital, and act as if his views were already set in stone in 1844, then you are doomed to continue strawmanning Marx.

          Mar

          The passage you quoted from Das Kapital has zero bearing on the argument Mises made.

          It has everything to do with it. Mises alleged that according to Marx, “No question concerning their origin [the origin of tools and machines] is permitted; they are, that is all; we must assume that they are dropped from heaven.”

          Marx does not assume they drop from heaven. He literally quotes Fielden saying “the newly-invented machinery”. Fielden, as quoted by Marx, then goes on to describe how this “newly-invented machinery” was, in this particular example, worked by ensl***d children:

          they were harassed to the brink of death by excess of labour … were flogged, fettered and tortured in the most exquisite refinement of cruelty; … they were in many cases starved to the bone while flogged to their work and … even in some instances … were driven to commit suicide”

          Marx doesn’t *focus* on the invention part, because it is of far less interest to him than the problem of ensl***d children being forced to work with the machines. But he doesn’t deny that there was an invention. There is a difference between not focusing on invention, but acknowledging that it happened, and simply assuming that the machines dropped from heaven.

          Major_Freedom wrote,

          It’s no straw man, Mises just knew Marx way better than a person who seems to have only read Kapital.

          Good god, you strawman me just as Mises strawmanned Marx. I ALREADY looked over the 1844 manuscripts, as per your earlier suggestions, and reached the conclusion that they did not hold up to your earlier claim.

          Here is the link again:
          consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042999

          Rather than address my argument, you just pretend I didn’t write it at all, just as, rather than address Marx’s discussion on the origins of machinery, Mises pretended that Marx didn’t discuss it at all.

          I even quoted you a relevant passage where Marx discussed the origins of machinery. Rather than acknowledge that I did so, you continued strawmanning Marx, and proceeded to describe Marx’s views in a way that was directly contradicted by the passage in question. You are an unrepentant strawmanner.

          Do you also intend to continue pretending as if I didn’t write this comment?
          consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042999

          • guest says:

            “Now, perhaps Mises was probably the victim of a propaganda campaign. The Belgians put a good deal of effort into their propaganda.”

            From that same chapter you quoted:

            Books / Digital Text
            [Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition; 3. Liberal Foreign Policy; 6. Colonial Policy]
            [www]https://mises.org/library/liberalism-classical-tradition/html/p/43

            “The considerations and objectives that have guided the colonial policy of the European powers since the age of the great discoveries stand in the sharpest contrast to all the principles of liberalism. The basic idea of colonial policy was to take advantage of the military superiority of the white race over the members of other races. The Europeans set out, equipped with all the weapons and contrivances that their civilization placed at their disposal, to subjugate weaker peoples, to rob them of their property, and to enslave them. Attempts have been made to extenuate and gloss over the true motive of colonial policy with the excuse that its sole object was to make it possible for primitive peoples to share in the blessings of European civilization. Even assuming that this was the real objective of the governments that sent out conquerors to distant parts of the world, the liberal could still not see any adequate basis for regarding this kind of colonization as useful or beneficial. If, as we believe, European civilization really is superior to that of the primitive tribes of Africa or to the civilizations of Asia—estimable though the latter may be in their own way—it should be able to prove its superiority by inspiring these peoples to adopt it of their own accord. Could there be a more doleful proof of the sterility of European civilization than that it can be spread by no other means than fire and sword?”

            Maybe Mises was being more nuanced in your quote than you realized.

            Let’s go back and read some context.

        • Harold says:

          “Remember, Marx was a God denying atheist.”
          Is this significant?

          • random person says:

            It’s a commonly held view, but it’s disputed.
            https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781119119302.ch3

            He wrote some rather negative things about religion, but I’ve known people who definitely believed in God and yet insisted to me that they were “spiritual, not religious”, and proceeded to explain that spirituality and religion aren’t the same thing (in their view).

            What I gather from this is that, since, from some perspectives, religion and spirituality aren’t the same thing, and a person can have a “spiritual” belief in God without believing in any religion, and a critique of religion, even a fairly negative critique, is not necessarily an allegation that God definitively does not exist.

            Also, Das Kapital reads more like what an independently-minded Christian might write, that is a Christian who has his or her own interpretation of the Bible and doesn’t rely on any particular church organization to tell him or her how to interpret the Bible. (Or what Catholics might call a “heretical Christian”.)

            There’s a footnote in Das Kapital Volume 1 where he cites a Children’s Employment Commission Report from 1866, and apparently some of the children hadn’t been taught properly about Jesus Christ.

            John Morris, age 14 —
            “Have heard say that God made the world, and that all the people was drownded but one, heard say that one was a little bird.” William Smith age 15 — “God made man, man made woman.” Edward Taylor, age 15 — “Do not know of London.” Henry Matthewman, age 17 — “Had been to chapel, but missed a good many times lately. One name that they preached about was Jesus Christ, but I cannot say any others, and I cannot tell anything about him. He was not killed, but died like other people. He was not the same as other people in some ways, because he was religious in some ways and others isn’t.” (l. c., p. xv.) “The devil is a good person. I don’t know where he lives.” ‘ Christ was a wicked man.” “This girl spelt God as dog, and did not know the name of the queen.” (“Ch. Employment Comm. V. Report, 1866 ” p. 55, n. 278.)

            • Harold says:

              Does it matter either way?

              • random person says:

                I think the important thing is that he had morals. Regardless of whether he believed in God and Christ or not, Marx’s morals seem to have been much closer to Christ’s teachings than those of certain self-professed Christians such as Gomes Eannes de Azurara (see below).

            • random person says:

              Looking at a variety of examples of how religion has been practiced historically, it’s not hard to see why a socialist might develop anti-religious views, or at least negative opinions about certain kinds of religion, regardless of whether said socialist believes in God.

              For example, this is from an account of a sl*** raid in the 15th century, as told by a Portuguese historian, Gomes Eannes de Azurara. The translated version I am quoting comes from “Children of God’s Fire” edited by Robert Edgar Conrad,

              And so these two captains [Martim Vicente and Gil Vasquez] made preparations, and they took five boats manned by thirty men, six in each boat, and set out at about sunset. Rowing the entire night, they arrived about daybreak at the island they were looking for. And when they recognized it by signs the Moors had mentioned, they rowed for awhile close to the shore until, as it was getting light, they reached a Moorish village near the beach where all the island’s inhabitants were gathered together. Seeing this, our men stopped for a time to discuss what they should do. . . . And after giving their opinions, they looked toward the village where they saw that the Moors, with their women and children, were leaving their houses as fast as they could, for they had seen their enemies. The latter, crying the names of St. James, St. George, and Portugal, attacked them, killing and seizing as many as they could. There you could have seen mothers forsaking their children, husbands abandoning their wives, each person trying to escape as best he could. And some drowned themsleves in the water; others tried to hide in their huts; others, hoping they would escape, hid their children among the sea grasses where they were later discovered. And in the end our Lord God, who rewards every good deed, decided that, for their labors undertaken in His service, they should gain a victory over their enemies on that day, and a reward and payment for all their efforts and expenses. For on that day they captured 165 [Moors], including men, women, and children, not counting those who died or were killed. When the battle was over, they praised God for the great favor He had shown them, in wishing to grant them such a victory, and with so little harm to themselves. After their captives had been put in the boats, with others securely tied up on land, since the boats were small and could not hold so many people, they ordered a man to go as far as he could along the coast to see if he could sight the caravels. He set out at once, and, going more than a league from where the others were waiting, he saw the caravels arriving, because, as he had promised, Lanqarote had sailed at dawn.

              And when Langarote, with those squires and highborn men who accompanied him, heard of the good fortune which God had granted to that handful of men who had gone to the island, and saw that they had accomplished such a great deal, it pleasing God to bring the affair to such a conclusion, they were all very happy, praising God for wishing to aid those few Christians in this manner. . . .

              Alright, so from the above, we can see that a number of Portugues sl***rs, along with their supporters like the historian de Azurara, believed that carrying villagers off to sl***ry, and killing some of them, was doing a “good deed” in God’s service.

              A socialist obviously isn’t going to agree with de Azurara’s view. (If they did, they wouldn’t be a socialist.) But a Christian or other monotheistic socialist might think that Azurara was slandering God.

              This is from Volume 1, Chapter 31 of Das Kapital,

              Of the Christian colonial system, W. Howitt, a man who makes a speciality of Christianity, says: “The barbarities and desperate outrages of the so-called Christian race, throughout every region of the world, and upon every people they have been able to subdue, are not to be paralleled by those of any other race, however fierce, however untaught, and however reckless of mercy and of shame, in any age of the earth.” [4] The history of the colonial administration of Holland — and Holland was the head capitalistic nation of the 17th century — “is one of the most extraordinary relations of treachery, bribery, massacre, and meanness” [5] Nothing is more characteristic than their system of stealing men, to get sl***s for Java. The men stealers were trained for this purpose. The thief, the interpreter, and the seller, were the chief agents in this trade, native princes the chief sellers. The young people stolen, were thrown into the secret dungeons of Celebes, until they were ready for sending to the sl***-ships. An official report says: “This one town of Macassar, e.g., is full of secret prisons, one more horrible than the other, crammed with unfortunates, victims of greed and tyranny fettered in chains, forcibly torn from their families.” To secure Malacca, the Dutch corrupted the Portuguese governor. He let them into the town in 1641. They hurried at once to his house and assassinated him, to “abstain” from the payment of £21,875, the price of his treason. Wherever they set foot, devastation and depopulation followed. Banjuwangi, a province of Java, in 1750 numbered over 80,000 inhabitants, in 1811 only 18,000. Sweet commerce!

              Alright, so, “so-called Christian race” was W. Howitt’s choice of wording, and Marx quoted Howitt. This choice of phrasing suggests that Howitt believes these colonizers are slandering Christ by calling themselves Christians. It’s not clear if Marx agrees with that choice of wording, or is merely sympathetic to it, but it does seem to fit a pattern where Marx tends to make fun of (alleged) Christians who don’t seem to be following the teachings of Christ / the Bible.

              For example, a footnote in Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 15 reads,

              Moses says: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads the corn.” The Christian philanthropists of Germany, on the contrary, fastened a wooden board round the necks of the serfs, whom they used as a motive power for grinding, in order to prevent them from putting flour into their mouths with their hands.

              So, here, Marx seems to agree with Moses, and seems to be making fun of Christian philathropists of Germany who don’t follow Moses’ teaching. Marx doesn’t explicitly include the words “so-called” before “Christian philanthropists of Germany”, but the context and tone at least imply that “so-called Christian philanthropists of Germany” is the appropriate interpretation.

              This is from a 2018 Time Magazine piece by Noel Rae, apparently reprinted from The Great Stain: Witnessing American Sl***ry by Noel Rae,

              Bishop Stephen Elliott, of Georgia, also knew how to look on the bright side. Critics of sl***ry should “consider whether, by their interference with this institution, they may not be checking and impeding a work which is manifestly Providential. For nearly a hundred years the English and American Churches have been striving to civilize and Christianize Western Africa, and with what result? Around Sierra Leone, and in the neighborhood of Cape Palmas, a few natives have been made Christians, and some nations have been partially civilized; but what a small number in comparison with the thousands, nay, I may say millions, who have learned the way to Heaven and who have been made to know their Savior through the means of African sl***ry! At this very moment there are from three to four millions of Africans, educating for earth and for Heaven in the so vilified Southern States—learning the very best lessons for a semi-barbarous people—lessons of self-control, of obedience, of perseverance, of adaptation of means to ends; learning, above all, where their weakness lies, and how they may acquire strength for the battle of life. These considerations satisfy me with their condition, and assure me that it is the best relation they can, for the present, be made to occupy.”

              Reviewing the work of the white churches, Frederick Douglass had this to say: “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ; I therefore hate the corrupt, sl***-holding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason but the most deceitful one for calling the religion of this land Christianity…”

              And according to William Dusinberre in “Them Dark Days: Sl***ry in the American Rice Swamps”,

              White preachers in the South told the sl***s that God wanted them to work hard and not to lie and steal from the masters, and the sl***s universally saw through the hypocrisy usually involved. Every black preacher was expected to preach the same gospel, and a white person was supposed always to be present to ensure that the black man’s message was a safe one.

  4. random person says:

    Major_Freedom wrote,

    Marx enunciated his entire philosophical view of labor well before he wrote a single word of Kapital.

    Go to Marx’s earlier writings, 1844 manuscripts, and where ‘mature’ Marxism took shape already with The German Ideology. All this was well before his ‘observations’ of factories in Britain.

    If Marx had “his entire philosophical view of labor” all worked out “well before” (well before, meaning, in 1844, if I understand you correctly?) he wrote a single word of Das Kapital, and thenceforth refused to change his mind about anything, then I shouldn’t find anything in these 1844 manuscripts that contradicts his views as expressed in Das Kapital?

    This is from one of his 1844 manuscripts:

    If the wealth of society declines the worker suffers most of all, and for the following reason: although the working class cannot gain so much as can the class of property owners in a prosperous state of society, no one suffers so cruelly from its decline as the working class.

    marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/wages.htm

    This is from Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter 25

    Finally Destutt de Tracy, the fish-blooded bourgeois doctrinaire, blurts out brutally: “In poor nations the people are
    comfortable, in rich nations they are generally poor.”

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch25.htm

    I suppose just quoting Destutt de Tracy doesn’t mean that Marx necessarily agreed with Destutt de Tracy. But whether he agreed or not, he apparently considered it a worthwhile enough quote to present to the reader for consideration.

    But this is from later in the same chapter of Das Kapital,

    The Irish famine of 1846 killed more than 1,000,000 people, but it killed poor devils only. To the wealth of the country it did not the slightest damage.

    This raises the question of what he means by “the wealth of the country”, but I think he means the “wealth” as measured by the ruling classes, in particular the people who didn’t care about murdering the Irish.

    And this this is from earlier in the same chapter of Das Kapital,

    The greater the social wealth, the functioning capital, the extent and energy of its growth, and, therefore, also the absolute mass of the proletariat and the productiveness of its labour, the greater is the industrial reserve army. The same causes which develop the expansive power of capital, develop also the labour-power at its disposal. The relative mass of the industrial reserve army increases therefore with the potential energy of wealth. But the greater this reserve army in proportion to the active labour-army, the greater is the mass of a consolidated surplus population, whose misery is in inverse ratio to its torment of labour. The more extensive, finally, the lazarus-layers of the working-class, and the industrial reserve army, the greater is official pauperism. This is the absolute general law of capitalist accumulation. Like all other laws it is modified in its working by many circumstances, the analysis of which does not concern us here.

    This seems to contradict his claim in the 1844 manuscripts that, “If the wealth of society declines the worker suffers most of all, and for the following reason: although the working class cannot gain so much as can the class of property owners in a prosperous state of society, no one suffers so cruelly from its decline as the working class.” I believe that, rather than making up his mind once and for all, and refusing to adapt his views to new evidence, he actually changed his views as he studied history.

    “Like all other laws it is modified in its working by many circumstances, the analysis of which does not concern us here,” is a pretty strong disclaimer. He may as well say, “This law is not 100% accurate, but like the laws of Newtonian physics, it is still useful.”

    I think a major “modification” in the case of the USA would be that, just as the US has “outsourced” much of it’s working class, so has it “outsourced” much what Marx calls the “industrial reserve army”. The USA is effectively a global or near-global empire, even if on maps it appears much smaller. I think they draw the maps wrong. See, for example, “How to Hide and Empire” by Daniel Immerwahr. From a New York Times review, “What the United States has now is a “pointillist empire”: specks of land scattered around the world that have served as military bases, staging grounds, detention facilities, torture sites. (The United States has 800 overseas bases, whereas Russia has nine; most countries have zero.)”
    nytimes [dot] com/2019/02/13/books/review-how-to-hide-empire-daniel-immerwahr.html

    If we accept that the USA is a pointillist empire ruling much of the world, to some extent, and we consider how much misery those overseas bases bring to the people who are effectively, at least to some extent, under US rule, I think Destutt de Tracy is right: the wealth of the USA means the poverty of much of the world. It is, after all, US wealth that allows the US to build bombs to drop on the poor of it’s worldwide (or nearly worldwide) pointillist empire.

    Regarding Marx’s disclaimer that “Like all other laws it is modified in its working by many circumstances, the analysis of which does not concern us here”, consider, for example, in response to a question on Quora where someone asked, “Why are we still teaching Newtonian physics if it’s “false”?”

    Classical mechanics are very important for everyday physics. For the energy scales, relative velocity differences, and mass scales that we experience is our everyday lives, Newtonian physics provide us with an extremely valuable tool of predicting outcomes of events. In other words Newtonian physics are an accurate enough approximation to the more precise theory, special relativity.

    Lets not forget that Newtonian physics is accurate enough to take us to the moon!

    physics [dot] stackexchange [dot] com/questions/154788/why-are-we-still-teaching-newtonian-physics-if-its-false

    So falsehoods can still be “close enough” to the truth to take astronauts to the moon!

  5. random person says:

    Major_Freedom wrote,

    Marx wrote that wage labor is self-alienated labor before he ever researched history and ‘observed’ wage labor.

    Marx believed wages are the primary income, and that profits came later.

    That’s why he ‘saw’ ‘peasants stripped of their land’ in Kapital and why he didn’t see homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily.

    The reason he saw peasants stripped off their land by the time he wrote Das Kapital rather than “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily” is because he wasn’t a raging genocide denier like Ayn Rand.
    https://www.salon.com/2015/10/14/libertarian_superstar_ayn_rand_defended_genocide_of_savage_native_americans/

    Of course, Karl Marx lived before Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide in 1943. But Karl Marx had the general idea of it:

    Colonial system, public debts, heavy taxes, protection, commercial wars, &c., these children of the true manufacturing period, increase gigantically during the infancy of Modem Industry. The birth of the latter is heralded by a great slaughter of the innocents. Like the royal navy, the factories were recruited by means of the press-gang. Blasé as Sir F. M. Eden is as to the horrors of the expropriation of the agricultural population from the soil, from the last third of the 15th century to his own time; with all the self-satisfaction with which he rejoices in this process, “essential” for establishing capitalistic agriculture and “the due proportion between arable and pasture land”

    marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm

    The genocide against the American Indians was an “expropriation” of an agricultural / hunting / gathering population from the soil, to make space for American capitalists, and involved a “great slaughter of innocents”. Likewise, the theft of Africans from Africa, and their forcible transportation to the United States (or the colonies that later became the United States) was another “expropriation” of often-agricultural populations from the soil (in Africa) so they could be sold to American capitalists, and involved a “great slaughter of innocents”, consider for example how many died during the transatlantic passage, or on their way to the boats while still in Africa. And consider how many more Africans had to abandon their farmland to move to more defensible positions to better be able to run away and hide from the ens****rs — more expropriation. Granted, that isn’t the specific example Marx used in that quote — I’m simply showing another example of the concept Marx is discussing.

    But looking at some of the specific examples Marx gives, what sane person could read these examples and see “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily”.

    From Das Kapital Volume 1 Chapter 27,

    The prelude of the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production, was played in the last third of the 15th, and the first decade of the 16th century. A mass of free proletarians was hurled on the labour market by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, who, as Sir James Steuart well says, “everywhere uselessly filled house and castle.” Although the royal power, itself a product of bourgeois development, in its strife after absolute sovereignty forcibly hastened on the dissolution of these bands of retainers, it was by no means the sole cause of it. In insolent conflict with king and parliament, the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proletariat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands. The rapid rise of the Flemish wool manufactures, and the corresponding rise in the price of wool in England, gave the direct impulse to these evictions. The old nobility had been devoured by the great feudal wars. The new nobility was the child of its time, for which money was the power of all powers. Transformation of arable land into sheep-walks was, therefore, its cry. Harrison, in his “Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed’s Chronicles,” describes how the expropriation of small peasants is ruining the country. “What care our great encroachers?” The dwellings of the peasants and the cottages of the labourers were razed to the ground or doomed to decay. “If,” says Harrison, “the old records of euerie manour be sought… it will soon appear that in some manour seventeene, eighteene, or twentie houses are shrunk… that England was neuer less furnished with people than at the present… Of cities and townes either utterly decaied or more than a quarter or half diminished, though some one be a little increased here or there; of townes pulled downe for sheepe-walks, and no more but the lordships now standing in them… I could saie somewhat.”

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch27.htm

    Razing people’s homes to the ground to drive them from the land is does not look like “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily” to me.

    And from Das Kapital Volume 1 Chapter 28,

    Henry VIII. 1530: Beggars old and unable to work receive a beggar’s licence. On the other hand, whipping and imprisonment for sturdy vagabonds. They are to be tied to the cart-tail and whipped until the blood streams from their bodies, then to swear an oath to go back to their birthplace or to where they have lived the last three years and to “put themselves to labour.” What grim irony! In 27 Henry VIII. the former statute is repeated, but strengthened with new clauses. For the second arrest for vagabondage the whipping is to be repeated and half the ear sliced off; but for the third relapse the offender is to be executed as a hardened criminal and enemy of the common weal.

    Edward VI.: A statute of the first year of his reign, 1547, ordains that if anyone refuses to work, he shall be condemned as a sl*ve to the person who has denounced him as an idler. The master shall feed his sl*ve on bread and water, weak broth and such refuse meat as he thinks fit. He has the right to force him to do any work, no matter how disgusting, with whip and chains. If the sl*ve is absent a fortnight, he is condemned to sl*very for life and is to be branded on forehead or back with the letter S; if he runs away thrice, he is to be executed as a felon. The master can sell him, bequeath him, let him out on hire as a sl*ve, just as any other personal chattel or cattle. If the sl*ves attempt anything against the masters, they are also to be executed. Justices of the peace, on information, are to hunt the rascals down. If it happens that a vagabond has been idling about for three days, he is to be taken to his birthplace, branded with a red-hot iron with the letter V on the breast and be set to work, in chains, in the streets or at some other labour. If the vagabond gives a false birthplace, he is then to become the sl*ve for life of this place, of its inhabitants, or its corporation, and to be branded with an S. All persons have the right to take away the children of the vagabonds and to keep them as apprentices, the young men until the 24th year, the girls until the 20th. If they run away, they are to become up to this age the sl*ves of their masters, who can put them in irons, whip them, &c., if they like. Every master may put an iron ring round the neck, arms or legs of his sl*ve, by which to know him more easily and to be more certain of him. [1] The last part of this statute provides, that certain poor people may be employed by a place or by persons, who are willing to give them food and drink and to find them work. This kind of parish sl*ves was kept up in England until far into the 19th century under the name of “roundsmen.”

    Elizabeth, 1572: Unlicensed beggars above 14 years of age are to be severely flogged and branded on the left ear unless some one will take them into service for two years; in case of a repetition of the offence, if they are over 18, they are to be executed, unless some one will take them into service for two years; but for the third offence they are to be executed without mercy as felons. Similar statutes: 18 Elizabeth, c. 13, and another of 1597. [2]

    James 1: Any one wandering about and begging is declared a rogue and a vagabond. Justices of the peace in petty sessions are authorised to have them publicly whipped and for the first offence to imprison them for 6 months, for the second for 2 years. Whilst in prison they are to be whipped as much and as often as the justices of the peace think fit… Incorrigible and dangerous rogues are to be branded with an R on the left shoulder and set to hard labour, and if they are caught begging again, to be executed without mercy. These statutes, legally binding until the beginning of the 18th century, were only repealed by 12 Anne, c. 23.

    Whipping, imprisonment, cutting off of half the ear, execution, branding, chaining, putting iron rings round people’s necks — when I read these things I do not see “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily”.

    There’s an article here complaining about how some variant of these vagrancy laws was exported to Malawi, a former British colony:
    https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/04_SALC-NoJustice-Report_A-Short-History-of-English-Vagrancy-Laws.pdf

    One thing is for sure, Marx had already long concluded wage labor is exploitative before he started Kapital.

    And Edmund Dene Morel concluded that there was sl***ry in the Congo before anyone sent him reports or photographs. So what? Edmund Dene Morel was smart enough to deduce the presence of sl***ry in the Congo based on shipping manifests, where he saw that there was nothing going to the Congo to pay for what was coming out of the Congo. I suppose there was a chance he could have been wrong. But he turned out to be right: further investigation turned up plenty of evidence that there was indeed a massive forced labor regime in the Congo. The modern historian Adam Hochschild estimated that approximately 10 million Congolese people were killed under King Leopold II and the immediate aftermath of his control, and part of the reason we have so much information about it is because Edmund Dene Morel made a deduction based on shipping manifests that turned out to be right, and proceeded to go get evidence.

    Likewise, so what if Marx had an intuition that wage labor is exploitative before he collected so much evidence? Following his intuition, he went out and collected evidence. He turned out to be right, at least generally speaking, even if he found out he had to modify his views on a lot of the details.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Random Person

      “The reason he saw peasants stripped off their land”

      Was because he was unable to see homesteading because his philosophical blinders prevented him, and seemingly you too, from seeing it.

      Of course there was theft, but this is not capitalism. A person isn’t acting as a capitalist by robbing people.

      A capitalist, as George Reisman defines it, is one who buys for the purposes of making subsequent sales.

      Buying and selling are voluntary activities.

      And before you try to knee jerk and simply deny by defining the terms differently, I will say that extortion, blackmail, threats, you know, actions often done by unions today (and free market denying zealots), these are NOT ‘buying’ and ‘selling’. Buying and selling are reciprocal negotiations of exchanging private property and labor voluntarily.

      Proletariats are guilty of the most evil crimes ever perpetrated in the history of humanity.

      See what I did there?

      Can’t deny it, but see how I totally ignored crimes by ‘capitalists’?

      I could write ‘chapters and chapters’ on the crimes committed by wage earners. But I won’t. But if I were a mirror of a Marxist, I would.

      That’s why all you write about is darkness in that part of human history.

      Marxism blinds to the realities of human life by casting everybody as one of two psychological personas from Marx’s own demented headspace: the God hating, Demon praising, Infinitely Selfish ‘capitalist persona’ on the one hand, and the pathetic, mortal, finite, corporeal body of the flesh ‘proletariat persona’, on the other.

      Marx projected his own self-alienated psychology and ‘saw’ a world in conflict with itself as two great ‘classes’ representing the two personas in his mind that he couldn’t reconcile given the God denying neurotic person he was.

      And millions died because of it.

      • guest says:

        ““The reason he saw peasants stripped off their land”

        Was because he was unable to see homesteading because his philosophical blinders prevented him, and seemingly you too, from seeing it.”

        That reminds me of these resources that seem relevant:

        The Terrible Industrial Revolution, and Other Economic Myths
        [by Tom Woods]
        [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNWuc_jDb38

        Propaganda, Meet Modern Research
        [www]https://tomwoods.com/anti-capitalist-propaganda-meet-modern-research/

        “Distributists have sometimes pointed to the enclosure movement as an important example of large landowners’ use of state power to dispossess others of their property and rights …”

        “… Whether the process of enclosure satisfies libertarian standards of justice is not the issue before us here …”

        “… The question, rather, is whether the process was responsible for systematic dispossession, the depopulation of the countryside, or rural poverty. It caused none of these outcomes.”

      • random person says:

        “The reason he saw peasants stripped off their land”

        Was because he was unable to see homesteading because his philosophical blinders prevented him, and seemingly you too, from seeing it.

        Are you so blind that you can’t see the self-contradiction in your own statement?

        Do you need me to spell it out for you in simpler terms?

        THE PEASANT PROPRIETORS WERE THE HOMESTEADERS!

        Then, in the examples in question, and in numerous other examples, THE CAPITALIST THIEVES ROBBED THE HOMESTEADERS.

        Even if you disagree with me that the capitalist thieves robbed the homesteaders in any given historical example, say, 15th or 16th century England, the fact that we might disagree on this topic doesn’t mean that either I, or Marx, are “unable to see homesteading”. Because there’s a difference between “not seeing homesteading” and “seeing homesteaders being robbed”.

        Major_Freedom wrote,

        Of course there was theft, but this is not capitalism. A person isn’t acting as a capitalist by robbing people.

        A capitalist, as George Reisman defines it, is one who buys for the purposes of making subsequent sales.

        Considering that we are discussing Karl Marx, Karl Marx’s definition of capitalism is much more relevant than George Reisman’s definition.

        I don’t recall Karl Marx ever writing a one-line, easily quotable definition of capitalism anywhere, but it’s clear from reading Das Kapital that Karl Marx considers thieves who accumulate wealth by robbing people to be capitalists, and a great deal of his critique of capitalism is a critique of this robbery.

        To cite one example to make this clear, in Volume 3 Chapter 23 of Das Kapital, Marx explicitly clarifies that a sl***-holder is a type of capitalist while translating something by Aristotle. And sl***holders are among the worst of thieves.

        And another example, in Volume 3 Chapter 20 of Das Kapital, Marx wrote,

        Merchant’s capital, when it holds a position of dominance, stands everywhere for a system of robbery,[4] so that its development among the trading nations of old and modern times is always directly connected with plundering, piracy, kidnapping sl***s, and colonial conquest; as in Carthage, Rome, and later among the Venetians, Portuguese, Dutch, etc.

        When Marx critiqued capitalism, this is the capitalism he was critiquing: a system of robbery, plundering, piracy, kidnapping people to make them forced laborers, and colonial conquest.

        How other people define capitalism is besides the point, since Marx was critiquing capitalism as he defined it, not how other people defined it.

        Major_Freedom

        Proletariats are guilty of the most evil crimes ever perpetrated in the history of humanity.

        If you want to define soldiers who happen to earn wages as proletariats, but this is a bit of a stretch of the term proletariat. I don’t think this is the sort of proletariat Marx was writing about. He condemns plunder pretty strongly, which at least implies condemnation of the plundering soldiers, regardless of whether they happened to be paid with wages. I suppose, if we wanted to engage in a more nuanced discussion of the topic of plundering soldiers, we might also ask whether they signed up voluntarily, or were conscripted, or were forced to become soldiers in some other way.

        Major_Freedom

        Marx projected his own self-alienated psychology and ‘saw’ a world in conflict with itself as two great ‘classes’ representing the two personas in his mind that he couldn’t reconcile given the God denying neurotic person he was.

        And millions died because of it.

        A) That’s a strawman, Marx’s arguments in Das Kapital are based on history, and B) Marx never lead any armies, killed anyone, or even ordered anyone’s death, so far as I am aware, so I don’t see any way in which he could be prosecuted for “millions of deaths” under the doctrine of command responsibility.

        King Leopold II is another story. King Leopold II could be prosecuted for an estimated 10 million deaths under the doctrine of command responsibility.

        Major_Freedom wrote,

        Buying and selling are voluntary activities.

        If a person is told, “Either sell or go to prison”, this is not a voluntary activity. And, if we study colonial history, the history of the Belgian Congo in particular, there was much selling that occurred under threat of prison or other violence. (See for example Lord Leverhulme’s Ghosts and Forced Labor in the Gold and Copper Mines by Jules Marchal.)

        Buying and selling may be voluntary or involuntary, depending on context.

        Also, a thief may proceed to sell stolen goods. (E.g. King Leopold II selling rubber stolen from the Congolese people by means of forced labor. See King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild for details.) King Leopold II may be acting voluntarily, and the customer may be acting voluntarily, but since the producers were not acting voluntarily, the entire transaction cannot be considered voluntary. To call the sale of stolen goods a “voluntary” transaction just because some of the parties in question agreed to it would be like saying that, in a situation where a rapist is raping a victim, that the rapist is experiencing voluntary sex at the same time as the victim is experiencing rape — in fact, they are both experiencing rape, just from different perspectives. All parties must agree of their own free will for a transaction to be legitimately voluntary.

      • random person says:

        Major_Freedom

        That’s why all you write about is darkness in that part of human history.

        What do you expect me to do? Celebrate the luxuries that the classes of peoples who got to enjoy sl***-made goods to enjoy at the expense of the rape, torture, and murder of other people?

        The pro-sl***ry writer George Fitzhugh thought that way (i.e. celebrating the sharing of the loot of sl***ry)… down that path lies madness.

        George Fitzhugh’s celebration of capitalism, which I fervently disagree with,

        Southern thought alone can justify European practices, and Southern practices alone save Western Europe from universal famine; for cotton, sugar, rice, molasses, and other s***e products are intolerably dear and intolerably scarce, and France and England must have sl***s to increase their production, or starve.

        Found in “The Ideology of Sl***ry: Prosl***ry Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830-1860”, edited by Drew Gilpin Faust

  6. random person says:

    In reply to:

    consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/06/beyond-the-fed-shadow-banking-and-the-global-market-for-dollars.html#comment-2042865

    and

    consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/06/beyond-the-fed-shadow-banking-and-the-global-market-for-dollars.html#comment-2042864

    Major_Freedom wrote,

    Marx wrote that wage labor is self-alienated labor before he ever researched history and ‘observed’ wage labor.

    Marx believed wages are the primary income, and that profits came later.

    That’s why he ‘saw’ ‘peasants stripped of their land’ in Kapital and why he didn’t see homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily.

    The reason he saw peasants stripped off their land by the time he wrote Das Kapital rather than “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily” is because he wasn’t a raging genocide denier like Ayn Rand.
    https://www.salon.com/2015/10/14/libertarian_superstar_ayn_rand_defended_genocide_of_savage_native_americans/

    Of course, Karl Marx lived before Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide in 1943. But Karl Marx had the general idea of it:

    Colonial system, public debts, heavy taxes, protection, commercial wars, &c., these children of the true manufacturing period, increase gigantically during the infancy of Modem Industry. The birth of the latter is heralded by a great slaughter of the innocents. Like the royal navy, the factories were recruited by means of the press-gang. Blasé as Sir F. M. Eden is as to the horrors of the expropriation of the agricultural population from the soil, from the last third of the 15th century to his own time; with all the self-satisfaction with which he rejoices in this process, “essential” for establishing capitalistic agriculture and “the due proportion between arable and pasture land”

    marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm

    The genocide against the American Indians was an “expropriation” of an agricultural / hunting / gathering population from the soil, to make space for American capitalists, and involved a “great slaughter of innocents”. Likewise, the theft of Africans from Africa, and their forcible transportation to the United States (or the colonies that later became the United States) was another “expropriation” of often-agricultural populations from the soil (in Africa) so they could be sold to American capitalists, and involved a “great slaughter of innocents”, consider for example how many died during the transatlantic passage, or on their way to the boats while still in Africa. And consider how many more Africans had to abandon their farmland to move to more defensible positions to better be able to run away and hide from the ens****rs — more expropriation. Granted, that isn’t the specific example Marx used in that quote — I’m simply showing another example of the concept Marx is discussing.

    But looking at some of the specific examples Marx gives, what sane person could read these examples and see “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily”.

    From Das Kapital Volume 1 Chapter 27,

    The prelude of the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production, was played in the last third of the 15th, and the first decade of the 16th century. A mass of free proletarians was hurled on the labour market by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, who, as Sir James Steuart well says, “everywhere uselessly filled house and castle.” Although the royal power, itself a product of bourgeois development, in its strife after absolute sovereignty forcibly hastened on the dissolution of these bands of retainers, it was by no means the sole cause of it. In insolent conflict with king and parliament, the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proletariat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands. The rapid rise of the Flemish wool manufactures, and the corresponding rise in the price of wool in England, gave the direct impulse to these evictions. The old nobility had been devoured by the great feudal wars. The new nobility was the child of its time, for which money was the power of all powers. Transformation of arable land into sheep-walks was, therefore, its cry. Harrison, in his “Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed’s Chronicles,” describes how the expropriation of small peasants is ruining the country. “What care our great encroachers?” The dwellings of the peasants and the cottages of the labourers were razed to the ground or doomed to decay. “If,” says Harrison, “the old records of euerie manour be sought… it will soon appear that in some manour seventeene, eighteene, or twentie houses are shrunk… that England was neuer less furnished with people than at the present… Of cities and townes either utterly decaied or more than a quarter or half diminished, though some one be a little increased here or there; of townes pulled downe for sheepe-walks, and no more but the lordships now standing in them… I could saie somewhat.”

    marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch27.htm

    Razing people’s homes to the ground to drive them from the land is does not look like “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily” to me.

    And from Das Kapital Volume 1 Chapter 28,

    Henry VIII. 1530: Beggars old and unable to work receive a beggar’s licence. On the other hand, whipping and imprisonment for sturdy vagabonds. They are to be tied to the cart-tail and whipped until the blood streams from their bodies, then to swear an oath to go back to their birthplace or to where they have lived the last three years and to “put themselves to labour.” What grim irony! In 27 Henry VIII. the former statute is repeated, but strengthened with new clauses. For the second arrest for vagabondage the whipping is to be repeated and half the ear sliced off; but for the third relapse the offender is to be executed as a hardened criminal and enemy of the common weal.

    Edward VI.: A statute of the first year of his reign, 1547, ordains that if anyone refuses to work, he shall be condemned as a sl*ve to the person who has denounced him as an idler. The master shall feed his sl*ve on bread and water, weak broth and such refuse meat as he thinks fit. He has the right to force him to do any work, no matter how disgusting, with whip and chains. If the sl*ve is absent a fortnight, he is condemned to sl*very for life and is to be branded on forehead or back with the letter S; if he runs away thrice, he is to be executed as a felon. The master can sell him, bequeath him, let him out on hire as a sl*ve, just as any other personal chattel or cattle. If the sl*ves attempt anything against the masters, they are also to be executed. Justices of the peace, on information, are to hunt the rascals down. If it happens that a vagabond has been idling about for three days, he is to be taken to his birthplace, branded with a red-hot iron with the letter V on the breast and be set to work, in chains, in the streets or at some other labour. If the vagabond gives a false birthplace, he is then to become the sl*ve for life of this place, of its inhabitants, or its corporation, and to be branded with an S. All persons have the right to take away the children of the vagabonds and to keep them as apprentices, the young men until the 24th year, the girls until the 20th. If they run away, they are to become up to this age the sl*ves of their masters, who can put them in irons, whip them, &c., if they like. Every master may put an iron ring round the neck, arms or legs of his sl*ve, by which to know him more easily and to be more certain of him. [1] The last part of this statute provides, that certain poor people may be employed by a place or by persons, who are willing to give them food and drink and to find them work. This kind of parish sl*ves was kept up in England until far into the 19th century under the name of “roundsmen.”

    Elizabeth, 1572: Unlicensed beggars above 14 years of age are to be severely flogged and branded on the left ear unless some one will take them into service for two years; in case of a repetition of the offence, if they are over 18, they are to be executed, unless some one will take them into service for two years; but for the third offence they are to be executed without mercy as felons. Similar statutes: 18 Elizabeth, c. 13, and another of 1597. [2]

    James 1: Any one wandering about and begging is declared a rogue and a vagabond. Justices of the peace in petty sessions are authorised to have them publicly whipped and for the first offence to imprison them for 6 months, for the second for 2 years. Whilst in prison they are to be whipped as much and as often as the justices of the peace think fit… Incorrigible and dangerous rogues are to be branded with an R on the left shoulder and set to hard labour, and if they are caught begging again, to be executed without mercy. These statutes, legally binding until the beginning of the 18th century, were only repealed by 12 Anne, c. 23.

    marxists [dot]

    org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch28.htm

    Whipping, imprisonment, cutting off of half the ear, execution, branding, chaining, putting iron rings round people’s necks — when I read these things I do not see “homesteading and homesteaders hiring labor voluntarily”.

    There’s an article here complaining about how some variant of these vagrancy laws was exported to Malawi, a former British colony:
    southernafricalitigationcentre [dot] org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/04_SALC-NoJustice-Report_A-Short-History-of-English-Vagrancy-Laws.pdf

    One thing is for sure, Marx had already long concluded wage labor is exploitative before he started Kapital.

    And Edmund Dene Morel concluded that there was sl***ry in the Congo before anyone sent him reports or photographs. So what? Edmund Dene Morel was smart enough to deduce the presence of sl***ry in the Congo based on shipping manifests, where he saw that there was nothing going to the Congo to pay for what was coming out of the Congo. I suppose there was a chance he could have been wrong. But he turned out to be right: further investigation turned up plenty of evidence that there was indeed a massive forced labor regime in the Congo. The modern historian Adam Hochschild estimated that approximately 10 million Congolese people were killed under King Leopold II and the immediate aftermath of his control, and part of the reason we have so much information about it is because Edmund Dene Morel made a deduction based on shipping manifests that turned out to be right, and proceeded to go get evidence.

    Likewise, so what if Marx had an intuition that wage labor is exploitative before he collected so much evidence? Following his intuition, he went out and collected evidence. He turned out to be right, at least generally speaking, even if he found out he had to modify his views on a lot of the details.

  7. Tel says:

    I looked up that legal quote from Marx (see above):

    Henry VIII. 1530: Beggars old and unable to work receive a beggar’s licence. On the other hand, whipping and imprisonment for sturdy vagabonds. They are to be tied to the cart-tail and whipped until the blood streams from their bodies, then to swear an oath to go back to their birthplace or to where they have lived the last three years and to “put themselves to labour.” What grim irony! In 27 Henry VIII. the former statute is repeated, but strengthened with new clauses. For the second arrest for vagabondage the whipping is to be repeated and half the ear sliced off; but for the third relapse the offender is to be executed as a hardened criminal and enemy of the common weal.

    The historical reference link is here.
    https://archive.org/details/statutesatlarge00raitgoog/page/n136/mode/2up

    The actual law is a bit different to what Marx claims:

    An Act directing how aged, poor, and impotent Persons compelled to live by Alms, shall be ordered; and bow Vagabonds and Beggars shall be punished.

    The Justices of Peace in every County, dividing themselves into several Limits, shall give Licence under their Seals to such poor, aged and impotent Persons to beg within a certain Precinct, as they shall think to have most Need: And if any do beg out of his Precinct he shall be set in the Stocks Two Days and Nights. And if any beg without such Licence, he shall be whipped, or else be set in the Stocks Three Days and Three Nights, with Bread and Water only. And Persons being whole and mighty in Body, and able to labour, who shall beg, or be Vagrants, and not able to account how they get their Living, shall be whipped, and sworn to return to the Place where they were born, or last dwelt by the Space of Three Years, and there to put themselves to Labour, &c.

    Important differences:
    * Significant discretionary judgement is given to local Justice of the Peace to decide who is needy and who is not.
    * Most of the law is to punish people pretending to be needy, who really are not (that would be fraud).
    * Marx made up the stuff about blood running, presumably for dramatic effect since it isn’t in the law.
    * The key phrase “and not able to account how they get their Living” is critical here … the assumption is this person probably makes a living illegally. Marx simply edits out this part of the law and ignores it.

    No person is expropriated from their own private land by this law … seeing as if you have a place of residence, and you live there, then by definition you are not a vagabond. People might be expropriated from public (common) lands, only if it is determined they are genuinely not needy, and should indeed be working, and cannot provide any explanation as to how they do make a living.

    It should be fairly evident that a town will not benefit from having strong men about the place, sleeping in the street, not working, and very likely doing a bit of thieving, mugging and extortion on the side. If you leave them alone to keep doing that, they will inevitably prey upon the townspeople and significantly reduce productivity … possibly leading to violent purges and the sort of tit for tat reprisals that rule of law is intended to deal with in the first place. Maybe H8’s law was a bit crude but in many ways simple laws that solve a problem are about the best you can get … even if not ideal in every circumstance. Having no law ends up with street justice as a substitute and have complex laws rapidly gets ridiculous.

    • Tel says:

      I found the followup law 5 years later which is more harsh … but interestingly for the Marxists we see King Henry VIII dabbling in a bit of central planning of the welfare state here. The context is somewhat important, it was the year 1535 and King Henry had executed first a bunch of senior churchmen and then executed his Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More and was facing excommunication by the Catholic Church.

      https://archive.org/details/statutesatlarge00raitgoog/page/n286/mode/2up

      An Act for Punishment of sturdy Vagabonds and Beggars.

      All Governors of Shires, Cities, Towns, Hundreds, Hamlets and Parishes shall find and keep every aged poor and impotent Person, which was born or dwelt three Years within the same Limit, by way of voluntary and charitable Alms in every of the same Cities and Parishes, etc. with such convenient Alms as shall be thought meet by their Direction so as none of them shall be compelled to go openly in begging. And also shall compel every sturdy Vagabond to be kept in continual Labour. Children under fourteen Years of Age, and above five, that live in Idleness, and be taken begging may be put to Service by the Governors of Cities, Town, etc. to Husbandry and other Crafts or Labours. A valiant Beggar, or sturdy Vagabond, shall at the first Time be whipped, and sent to the Place where he was born or last dwelled by the Space of Three Years, there to get his Living; and if he continue his roguish Life, he shall have the upper Part of the Gristle of his right Ear cut off; and if after that he be taken wandering in Idleness, or doth not apply to his Labour or is not in Service with any Master, he shall be adjudged and executed as a Felon. No Person shall make any open or common Dole, nor shall give any Money in Alms, but to the common Boxes, and common Gatherings in every Parish, upon Pain to forfeit Ten Times so much as shall be given. There shall be no playing at unlawful Games.

      Interesting that he has now completely outlawed all begging and forcibly centralized all charitable donations … in effect a totally different law to the previous licenced beggar system. He has combined this with dumping the responsibility to care for the poor onto local government … something you would think modern “Left Leaning” politicians would applaud.

      • random person says:

        Tel wrote,

        Interesting that he has now completely outlawed all begging and forcibly centralized all charitable donations … in effect a totally different law to the previous licenced beggar system. He has combined this with dumping the responsibility to care for the poor onto local government … something you would think modern “Left Leaning” politicians would applaud.

        I think one of the key words there is “politicians”. Couple things about that word:
        1. If a person was going to try to use non-political or at least non-governmental methods to achieve their goals, we would probably call them something other than a “politician”… like a “grassroots activist” or “historian” or “philosopher” or “journalist” or even “church lady”. Thus, regardless of what a typical modern left-leaning politician might applaud, left leaning people in general have a wide variety of opinions.
        2. Also, a lot of politicians are Machiavellian liars, so just because leftist words come out of their mouths sometimes doesn’t mean they genuinely have many of the traits generally associated with the left.

        One book you might like by a modern left leaning *historian* (not politician) is “Against the Grain” by James C. Scott. It seems to have a slightly Marxist influence (in so far as he uses the term “proletariat” a few times), and is a fairly damning condemnation of the world’s earliest states. Of course, as with most analyses of history that far back, he mixes evidence with guesswork, but, for example, he argues that the world’s first states would have targeted grain-growing communities (and later brought in coerced labor to grow more grains) due to the ease of appropriating grain.

        • random person says:

          A short one paragraph biography of James C. Scott from Dissent Magazine,

          James C. Scott, a political scientist and anthropologist at Yale, has pursued anarchist themes, mostly in Southeast Asian history, for more than three decades. Though not an anarchist himself (he has described himself as a “crude Marxist, emphasis on the ‘crude’”), his analysis of protest movements is ecumenical in an anarchist way, acknowledging all kinds of disruption as “political.” And though he discusses inequalities of economic distribution, the focus of his disapprobation is usually unchecked exercise of state power, attempts by states at social engineering, something that distances him from more traditional socialists. In Scott’s hands, anarchism isn’t so much a socio-political doctrine as an anti-authoritarianism practiced, unselfconsciously, in everyday life—a means of insubordination running across societies everywhere.

          https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cheerleaders-for-anarchism

      • random person says:

        At one point in Chapter 25, Marx condemns the demolition of homes in the (alleged) name of sanitation, pointing out that it has the opposite affect,

        It will be self-understood that every sanitary measure, which, as has been the case hitherto in London, hunts the labourers from one quarter, by demolishing uninhabitable houses, serves only to crowd them together yet more closely in another.

        https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch25.htm

        For comparison, consider more modern laws that prohibit people from building or (when enforced) continuing to live in housing that doesn’t meet certain standards, without regard to whether this causes people to be or become homeless, to remain in or return to domestic violence situations, or other problems associated with a housing shortage.

        Also in that chapter, he discusses how “poor-rates” (a type of tax, I believe, what you might call the “centralization of charitable donations”) motivates landlords (who he suggest probably have unjust legal title to begin with, although I don’t think he examines that in detail in this Chapter) to deliberately depopulate their lands.

        The short version…

        While great owners are thus escaping from poor-rates through the depopulation of lands over which they have control, the nearest town or open village receive the evicted labourers: the nearest, I say, but this “nearest” may mean three or four miles distant from the farm where the labourer has his daily toil. To that daily toil there will then have to be added, as though it were nothing, the daily need of walking six or eight miles for power of earning his bread. And whatever farmwork is done by his wife and children, is done at the same disadvantage.

    • random person says:

      Excellent work finding the original law! 🙂

      Tel wrote,

      No person is expropriated from their own private land by this law … seeing as if you have a place of residence, and you live there, then by definition you are not a vagabond.

      Marx’s argument is that they were first expropriated from the land where they were dwelling and working, (see one of the above quotes, or for the short version, “The dwellings of the peasants and the cottages of the labourers were razed to the ground or doomed to decay”), and then, after having been driven from their former homes, laws like this were passed to force them to accept wage labor.

      That is, people used to living in their own communities, farming and crafting, working for themselves, trading with their neighbors, and so on, might have been extremely reluctant to accept a new (new to them, at least) form of social relationship, where they had to do whatever someone else told them to do in exchange for whatever small payment they were offered. The level of violence used to persuade them to accept wage labor gives an indication of the degree to which they did not consent to it, and did not consider it adequate compensation for having had their dwellings and cottages razed to the ground or doomed to decay.

      Consider if, in Australia, the government first used eminent domain (or laws similar to eminent domain) to kick a bunch of people off their land (or, if not the government, maybe some billionaire came in and did it illegally, via command responsibility of course), and then, because there were a bunch of homeless people wandering around, having been uprooted from their communities, Australia passed a bunch of rather extreme laws criminalizing homelessness.

      Tel wrote,

      Important differences:
      Significant discretionary judgement is given to local Justice of the Peace to decide who is needy and who is not.

      Marx did acknowledge that, according to the law, “Beggars old and unable to work receive a beggar’s licence,” but anyway…

      In the modern USA, the ACLU has put a great deal of effort into making the argument that panhandling (i.e. begging) is protected free speech, provided it doesn’t cross certain boundaries of “aggressiveness”. That is, the panhandler doesn’t need to prove to any judge or Justice that he or she is legitimately needy; he or she is allowed to practice free speech, as long as he or she is not too aggressive about it. He or she could, I suppose, stand up holding a sign saying, “Help me raise $10,000 so I can go on vacation to Hawaii and have a great time, please. Thanks!” and it would be up to people passing by to decide if they want to help that person achieve their dream of a Hawaii vacation. Granted, I’ve never seen anyone try this. I did however meet someone who was panhandling and saving up they to buy a bit of land in a really cheap part of the country so he could build his own house.

      Is the ACLU right that begging should be protected free speech? Or should panhandlers be required to seek permissions from judges, and if they don’t get it, put to forced labor (or penalized in some other way)?

      And if panhandlers, who didn’t get approval from judges, were put to forced labor, would it make sense to say, “Well, they accepted the job voluntarily, so they must have seen some benefit in it to them, and it was a mutually beneficial transaction.” I don’t thinks so. That which is motivated by fear of whipping, the stocks, imprisonment, or other harsh penalties is not voluntary. Rather, we should say that other people decided for the would-be panhandler that it was better for them to have a job than to panhandle, and subsequently enforced that decision with violence.

      Note that relatively recently in US history, after the Civil War in the former Confederate states, the fact that a judge’s approval was required for the sentencing of an alleged vagrant didn’t do anything to protect them. In the post-Civil War former Confederate states, the judges often received a share of the profits when sentencing alleged vagrants (and others) to forced labor, which gave them an incentive to find people guilty regardless of the evidence.

      Specifically, in Alabama at least, as explained by Douglas Blackmon in “Sl***ry By Another Name”,

      The money derived from selling convicts was placed in the Fine and Forfeiture Fund, which was used to pay fees to judges, sheriffs, other low officials, and witnesses who helped convict defendants.

      • random person says:

        [To be continued]… but I have some work I have to get done today.

    • random person says:

      Tel wrote,

      * Marx made up the stuff about blood running, presumably for dramatic effect since it isn’t in the law.

      I was able to cross reference the blood running stuff, so it’s not made up, just poorly cited.

      “Curious Punishments of Bygone Days”
      by Alice Morse Earle

      Church and city records throughout England show how constantly these whipping-posts were made to perform their share of legal and restrictive duties. In the reign of Henry VIII a famous Whipping Act had been passed by which all vagrants were to be whipped severely at the cart-tail “till the body became bloody by reason of such whipping.” This enactment remained in force nearly through the reign of Elizabeth, when the whipping-post became the usual substitute for the cart, but the force of the blows was not lightened.

      https://www.gutenberg.org/files/34005/34005-h/34005-h.htm

      And here’s another cross-reference,
      “A Sociological Analysis of the Law of Vagrancy”
      by William J. Chambliss

      It is significant that in this statute the severity of punishment is increased so as to be greater not only than provided by the 1503 statute but the punishment is more severe than that which had been provided by any of the pre-1503 statutes as well. For someone who is merely idle and gives no reckoning of how he makes his living the offender shall be:
      “. . . had to the next market town, or other place where they [the constables]
      shall think most convenient, and there to be tied to the end of a cart naked, and to be beaten with whips throughout the same market town or other place, till his body be bloody by reason of such whipping.”

      www [dot[ jstor [dot] org/stable/798699?origin=JSTOR-pdf

      Chambliss’s article also gives some additional context. Serfdom (which, if we use the international legal defintion of sl***ry, is a form of sl***ry, even if it has some obvious differences from chattel sl***ry) had been in the process of gradual abolition since at least the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381.

      My interpretation is that, as serfdom was gradually abolished, the feudal lords decided to kick the former serf class off the land in revenge, and to organize the passage of these various “vagabond laws” as a way of re-instating forced labor in another form.

      We saw something similar, but not the same, far less gradual, in the former Confederate states after the US Civil War: sl***ry in its previous form having been abolished, vagrancy laws, and other laws, were passed as a way of re-instating sl***ry in new forms, such as convict leasing. In so far as “changing employers without permission” was one of the things punished with convict leasing, sharecropping became another new form of sl***ry. (See “Sl***ry by Another Name” by Douglas Blackmon for further details.) Since land reparations were never instituted, I don’t think the ensl***r class had incentive to kick people off in this case, but we still see that they were unwilling to give up control over labor.

      I believe there was another similar case in Nepal, but I need some time to try to remember where I read about that.

    • random person says:

      Tel wrote,

      Most of the law is to punish people pretending to be needy, who really are not (that would be fraud).

      And also,

      People might be expropriated from public (common) lands, only if it is determined they are genuinely not needy, and should indeed be working, and cannot provide any explanation as to how they do make a living.

      This is a protest poem from the 1700s, by an Anonymous author. There are a number of different versions of it, but anyway,

      The law locks up the man or woman
      Who steals the goose from off the common
      But leaves the greater villain loose
      Who steals the common from off the goose
      The law demands that we atone
      When we take things we do not own
      But leaves the lords and ladies fine
      Who take things that are yours and mine
      The poor and wretched don’t escape
      If they conspire the law to break
      This must be so but they endure
      Those who conspire to make the law
      The law locks up the man or woman
      Who steals the goose from off the common
      And geese will still a common lack
      Till they go and steal it back

      https://unionsong.com/u765.html

      The poem talks about the law locking up man or woman “who steals the goose from off the common”, which is hunting basically. Hunting is a form of work, but it’s not wage labor. This really shouldn’t be referred to as “stealing”, except possibly from an animal rights perspective, e.g. by a vegetarian who doesn’t believe that people have the right to eat animals. However, I think it is called “stealing” here, not from an animal rights perspective, but because the “lords and ladies” (i.e. the people whose ancestors used to force people to work as serfs) have stolen the commons, and now claim that it is their “property”. From a natural rights perspective, I would argue that the peasantry of that time and place had just as much right to hunt the geese as the American Indians had to hunt the buffalo, deer, and so on.

      Based on my understanding of James C Scott’s book “Against the Grain”, non-state cultures, and probably to a lesser extent peasantries attempting to avoid state control as best they can, will likely utilize at least two, and possibly all four, of the following methods of acquiring food: hunting, gathering, pastoralism (e.g. shepherding), and agriculture.

      Here’s a specific quote from that book,

      Whether we wish to call it niche construction, domestication of the environment, landscape modification, or the human management of ecosystems, it is clear on a long view that much of the world was shaped by human activity (anthropogenic) well before the first societies based on fully domesticated wheat, barley, goats, and sheep appear in Mesopotamia. This is why, finally, the conventional “subspecies” of subsistence modes—hunting, foraging, pastoralism, and farming—make so little historical sense. The same people have practiced all four, sometimes in a single lifetime; the activities can and have been combined for thousands of years, and each of them bleeds imperceptibly into the next along a vast continuum of human rearrangements of the natural world.

      So, I think it’s reasonable to guess, that if, at least pre-enclosures, the peasants of this time period were probably engaged in some combination of hunting, gathering, agriculture, and pastoralism. They would not strictly speaking have been non-state peoples, but they probably would have been doing their best to avoid state control (see, for example, the negative view of the lords and ladies in the above poem), and seem to have been involved in a gradual struggle to free themselves from serfdom, and process that overlapped with the so-called “enclosures” (massive land theft program). The commons would have been homesteaded by them and their ancestors, possibly in a disorderly way as James C. Scott describes many non-state peoples doing, and possibly in a more organized way, considering that they were not, strictly speaking, non-state peoples — probably some combination of both disorderly and more organized homesteading would have occured.

      So, their objection, as I understand it, was not to working. They were apparently fine with hunting, based on the poem, and likely with some combination of gathering, pastoralism, and agriculture as well. Their objection was, more specifically, to having these more traditional methods of working for a living ripped away from them, and being forced into wage labor instead. They, or their ancestors, so far as I can tell, hadn’t fought for emancipation from serfdom just to be wage laborers instead — they wanted to be their own bosses, and hunting/gathering/pastoralism/agriculture is a system suitable to everyone being their own bosses, or at any rate working together in family / kinship / community structures, rather than capitalist ones.

      James C. Scott, who has extensively studied, so far as it is possible, the world’s earliest states and their conflicts with non-state peoples, as well as more modern non-state peoples, makes a similiar argument in “The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia”

      These stateless peoples were not, by and large, easily drawn into the fiscally legible economy of wage labor and sedentary agriculture. On this definition, “civilization” held little attraction for them when they could have all the advantages of trade without the drudgery, subordination, and immobility of state subjects. The widespread resistance of stateless peoples led directly to what might be called the golden age of sl***ry along the littoral of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and in Southeast Asia.14 From the perspective adopted here, populations were forcibly removed en masse from settings where their production and labor were illegible and inappropriable and were relocated in colonies and plantations where they could be made to grow cash crops (tea, cotton, sugar, indigo, coffee) which might contribute to the profits of landowners and the fiscal power of the state.15 This first step of enclosure required forms of capture and bondage designed to relocate them from nonstate spaces where they were generally more autonomous (and healthy!) to places where their labor could be appropriated.

      Incidentally, James C. Scott’s “The Art of Not Being Governed” got a mostly positive review from Jeff Riggenbach on mises [dot] org, although Riggenbach either doesn’t mention in the review or perhaps didn’t even notice that James C. Scott self-identifies as a crude Marxist.
      mises [dot] org/library/art-not-being-governed

  8. random person says:

    In response to something from the first 5 minutes of “Ep. 207 “They Said What?!” John Lennon Edition”

    I wouldn’t refer to Marxists as “hateful and violent” (from somewhere in the first 5 minutes of Bob Murphy’s episode 207) any moreso than any other group calling for reparations.

    For comparison, it’s true that many sl**e revolts, and other revolts against oppression, throughout history have involved a certain amount of hate and violence, but it’s extremely one-sided to fail to mention the extreme levels of hate and violence they were revolting against. Spartacus’s rebellion against Roman sl***ry involved violence, and probably a number of those involved in the revolt experienced hate towards their oppressors, but this is a natural, albeit not perfectly enlightened, response to being captured and forced to fight, sometimes to the death, in gladiatorial arenas. We can say it was “not perfectly enlightened” in the sense that Jesus (or some other “perfectly enlightened being”, for those who don’t believe in Jesus) would have coped with the situation in a better way; however, in so far as most human beings are not perfectly enlightened beings, and torture is known to mess with people’s minds in serous ways, it was perfectly natural. Likewise, the Haitian Revolution involved a great deal of violence and hate, but it would be extremely one-sided to neglect to mention the extreme levels of hate and violence that the black people of Haiti suffered under sl***ry.

    Also consider the Stono Rebellion of 1739, the New York Conspiracy of 1741, Gabriel’s Conspiracy of 1800, the German Coast Uprising of 1811, and Nat Turner’s Rebellion of 1831. All these episodes involved violence and hate. But we should not forget what the were rebelling against — torture, rape, murder, and sl***ry.

    Jean-Jacques Dessalines was much more hateful and violent that Karl Marx ever was, and personally ordered the 1804 Haiti massacre, but is it really such a surprise, given what the French ensl***r class did to Dessalines and his people?

    I am reminded by this passage written by the pro-sl***ry author, James Henry Hammond

    Perhaps it often is; and sl***s too lightly dealt with sometimes grow daring. Occasionally, though rarely, and almost always in consequence of excessive indulgence, an individual rebels. This is the highest crime he can commit. It is treason. It strikes at the root of our whole system. His life is justly forfeited, though it is never intentionally taken, unless after trial in our public courts. Sometimes, however, in capturing, or in self-defence, he is unfortunately killed. A legal investigation always follows. But, terminate as it may, the abolitionists raise a hue and cry, and another “shocking case” is held up to the indignation of the world by tender-hearted male and female philanthropists, who would have thought all right had the master’s throat been cut, and would have triumphed in it.

    Alright, so, this is from a pro-sl***ry piece of propaganda he wrote, in which he tells many lies to make sl***ry seem not as bad as it really was, and also point out other evils of society in an attempt to make the evils he does admit about sl***ry seem not as bad by comparison. For example, it is shockingly incorrect to say that a “legal investigation” always followed every time an sl***holder killed an ensl***d person, or, if such things did occur, the investigators must have consistently been in league with the sl***holders.

    A brief quote from “The Half Has Never Been Told” by Edward Baptist:

    As sl***ry’s center of gravity lurched south and west, the number of ens***ed African Americans who lived in cotton districts grew from 1.6 million to 2.2 million. The re-acceleration of forced migration, the shift of the population into disease-friendly ecologies, and the increasing pace of labor brought hunger, alienation, and death. Life expectancy for African Americans, which had climbed in the less market-frenzied 1840s, now dropped again, as it had in the 1810s and 1830s

    Alright, so, the precise conditions of exploitation varied, but when the exploitation of ensl***d people increased, so too did death rates. Many sl***holders were therefore serial killers. James Henry Hammond charges that many abolitionists would have thought that all was right if an ensl***d person cut their tormentor’s throat. He is probably correct, though not necessarily of every individual abolitionist, some of whom might also be pacificists. But aren’t there a lot of people who believe that it is just to give the death penalty to serial killers? And aren’t there also some who argue that the death penalty is also appropriate for other crimes sl***holders commit, such as torture and rape? And aren’t there many who argue that, even if the death penalty is excessive after the threat has been neutralized, it is still appropriate if a person defending themselves happens to kill their tormentor in the process of defense?

    From the perspective of people who believe it appropriate to punish murder and/or rape and/or torture with death, or at least acceptable for someone defending themselves to kill their attacker in the process of self-defense, it makes perfect sense to rejoice if an ensl***d person kills their ensl***r.

    Are, abolitionists, excluding strict pacifist abolitionists, therefore hateful, violent people who rejoice at the killing of ensl***rs?

    Perhaps, but it is nonsensical to point this out without pointing out that pro-sl***ry lunatics like James Henry Hammond are far more hateful and violent than abolitionists are.

    Likewise, it may be that Marx’s philosophy contains a certain amount of hate and violence, he certainly wasn’t a strict pacifist, but it’s ridiculous to point this out without also pointing out that there’s a lot more hate and violence in defending capitalism, a system based on genocide (or, as Marx puts it, the “slaughter of innocents”), torture, rape, and forced labor.

    • random person says:

      I add this in part to soften the above criticism, so that you can understand that you too criticize capitalism, and should not count yourself among capitalism’s shameless defenders, but, what Marx said about old “public debt” systems in not that different from what you (Bob Murphy) have said about the Federal Reserve.

      I can’t recall exactly where you talked about it, but, you have talked about the Federal Reserve “creating” money just by buying things, and how this has the effect of robbing Americans, yes? Something like that, at least?

      I tried to find an exact quote, and, while I remember hearing you talk about the Federal Reserve in a podcast, this is what I found on Google,

      The general public’s distrust of big bankers and the Federal Reserve is grounded in fact. Inflation really does make most of us poorer. Although there are some nuances to the argument, it is valid to point to the drop in the dollar’s purchasing power since 1913 as an indication of the magnitude of the theft.

      — Robert Murphy, 2011
      https://mises.org/library/inflation-harmless-or-even-good

      Okay, so, in capitalism, the Federal Reserve is committing mass theft and making most of us poorer, yes?

      Anyway, it didn’t sound to me all that different from what Marx wrote here,

      The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation. As with the stroke of an enchanter’s wand, it endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital, without the necessity of its exposing itself to the troubles and risks inseparable from its employment in industry or even in usury. The state creditors actually give nothing away, for the sum lent is transformed into public bonds, easily negotiable, which go on functioning in their hands just as so much hard cash would. But further, apart from the class of lazy annuitants thus created, and from the improvised wealth of the financiers, middlemen between the government and the nation – as also apart from the tax-farmers, merchants, private manufacturers, to whom a good part of every national loan renders the service of a capital fallen from heaven – the national debt has given rise to joint-stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage, in a word to stock-exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy.

      At their birth the great banks, decorated with national titles, were only associations of private speculators, who placed themselves by the side of governments, and, thanks to the privileges they received, were in a position to advance money to the State. Hence the accumulation of the national debt has no more infallible measure than the successive rise in the stock of these banks, whose full development dates from the founding of the Bank of England in 1694. The Bank of England began with lending its money to the Government at 8%; at the same time it was empowered by Parliament to coin money out of the same capital, by lending it again to the public in the form of banknotes. It was allowed to use these notes for discounting bills, making advances on commodities, and for buying the precious metals. It was not long ere this credit-money, made by the bank itself, became. The coin in which the Bank of England made its loans to the State, and paid, on account of the State, the interest on the public debt. It was not enough that the bank gave with one hand and took back more with the other; it remained, even whilst receiving, the eternal creditor of the nation down to the last shilling advanced. Gradually it became inevitably the receptacle of the metallic hoard of the country, and the centre of gravity of all commercial credit. What effect was produced on their contemporaries by the sudden uprising of this brood of bankocrats, financiers, rentiers, brokers, stock-jobbers, &c., is proved by the writings of that time, e.g., by Bolingbroke’s. [8]

      With the national debt arose an international credit system, which often conceals one of the sources of primitive accumulation in this or that people. Thus the villainies of the Venetian thieving system formed one of the secret bases of the capital-wealth of Holland to whom Venice in her decadence lent large sums of money. So also was it with Holland and England. By the beginning of the 18th century the Dutch manufactures were far outstripped. Holland had ceased to be the nation preponderant in commerce and industry. One of its main lines of business, therefore, from 1701-1776, is the lending out of enormous amounts of capital, especially to its great rival England. The same thing is going on today between England and the United States. A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States without any certificate of birth, was yesterday, in England, the capitalised blood of children.

      As the national debt finds its support in the public revenue, which must cover the yearly payments for interest, &c., the modern system of taxation was the necessary complement of the system of national loans. The loans enable the government to meet extraordinary expenses, without the tax-payers feeling it immediately, but they necessitate, as a consequence, increased taxes. On the other hand, the raising of taxation caused by the accumulation of debts contracted one after another, compels the government always to have recourse to new loans for new extraordinary expenses. Modern fiscality, whose pivot is formed by taxes on the most necessary means of subsistence (thereby increasing their price), thus contains within itself the germ of automatic progression. Overtaxation is not an incident, but rather a principle. In Holland, therefore, where this system was first inaugurated, the great patriot, DeWitt, has in his “Maxims” extolled it as the best system for making the wage labourer submissive, frugal, industrious, and overburdened with labour. The destructive influence that it exercises on the condition of the wage labourer concerns us less however, here, than the forcible expropriation, resulting from it, of peasants, artisans, and in a word, all elements of the lower middle class. On this there are not two opinions, even among the bourgeois economists. Its expropriating efficacy is still further heightened by the system of protection, which forms one of its integral parts.

      — Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Volume 1, Chapter Thirty-One

      marxists [dot] org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm

      Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the Federal Reserve is exploiting people and extracting surplus value from people, and perhaps to extend that judgement to certain organizations, such as banks, that are in collusion with the Federal Reserve? Or, to put it in different words, that there is a great magnitude of theft that is making most of us poorer?

      And wouldn’t it be unfair if someone referred to your criticism of the Federal Reserve as “hateful and violent”, without at least qualifying that by pointing out that the Federal Reserve itself is much more hateful and violent?

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