02 Sep 2021

My Appearance on the Jordan Peterson Podcast

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We talk Mises for 2 and 1/2 hours.

53 Responses to “My Appearance on the Jordan Peterson Podcast”

  1. guest says:

    This was awesome.

    I actually think it should have been titled “Austrian Economics from the ground up”.

    I like that you were careful with the question about the Minimum Wage causing unemployment, and I liked that you guys went over so-called systeic racism..

    I also liked that you went ahead and resolved the diamond-water paradox. The first time I got that point, it was mind-blowing. Makes perfect sense now that Marginal Utility would explain all prices, from barter to money prices and to interest rates.

    A long aside (heads up):

    One thing that seemed to hang Jordan up throughout was an unnecessary concession, at the beginning, where he got the impression that the Labor Theory of Value – even if imperfect or incomplete or having a limited application – was, in fact, at all relevant to the source of value.

    I like to think of the Labor Theory of Value’s relevance like a propasition that goes “Since two plus two equals four and also two *times* two equals four, then as long as the inputs are both two then multiplying numbers gives the same results as addiition”.

    It would be wrong to conclude that multiplication is sometimes the same operation as addition, even though you can get the same result sometimes with the same input.

    Or how about a word problem that goes, “Five eggs plus five eggs plus zero unicorns equals ten eggs”? If you remove unicorns from the problem, you get the same answer, but, even so, non-existent unicorns aren’t relevant to the problem.

    That’s how I think of the Labor Theory of Value: Labor plays no part in value. Rather, it’s the importance, to the individual, of satisfying a given end that determines whether or not it’s worth foregoing any number of opportunities (the cost) to realize that end.

    It’s because you value the end more than the Labor expended to get it, that you are willing to labor. The relationship of labor to value is your own subjective ranking of ends compared to the leisure you would enjoy by not laboring.

    Not everyone is willing to expend the same amount of labor to acquire the same goods, and so that will bear on the prices that businesses can get away with setting for their goods.

    And since there’s no value in working harder than you need to, there’s nothing wrong with that. Businesses are offering goods for sale *so that* they can get as much as people are willing to pay. There’s nothing nefarious about that.

    That was going to bug me if I didn’t talk about that.

    So, you’ll notice that when you guys talk about the “labor” involved in the plans of an entrepreneur using his capital for making profits, I think that’s a category error. There’s no production going on in the planning stages, and I think you’d have to end up justifying the value of a plan that was never implemented, if planning, itself is a valuable labor.

    Rather, there’s no need to appeal to labor at all, since the worker is made more productive by the capital supplied by the entrepreneur. The worker doesn’t come into the picture with the capacity to produce the goods that are sold – if he did, he should be a competitor of the business owner.

    No, the capital owned by the owner is what *maikes* the worker more productive. Supply and demand handles the rest: If I *can* find people who want to work for below minimum wage, then there’s no reason to pay more than I have to to those who need a higher wage to fund a particular standard of living. There’s nothing nevarious about *that* either.

    If *you* as a worker don’t want to work that hard for a low wage, then don’t take the job. If that low wage is higher than you’ll get by not taking a job, then that low wage is providing you your currently best alternative.

    • guest says:

      Just found what looks to be a very helpful resource page for this video:

      Study Guide to the Jordan Peterson – Robert Murphy Podcast
      [www]https://ashnavabi.com/2021/09/01/study-guide-to-the-jordan-peterson-robert-murphy-podcast/

      “As he [Mises] was Jewish, he fled his home in Vienna just before the Nazis embarked on the Anschluss—which proved to be wise, as the Nazis searched his home and stole his papers, perhaps looking to see if he secretly had worked out a solution to the economic calculation problem.”

      Heh.

      (I only made it through the “Mises” section, and it looks really good.)

  2. Skylien says:

    Hey Bob,

    Absolutely great Podcast. I really feel like this is history in the making. Perterson discussing this will ripple really far out. I can’t say how happy I am that those discussions are getting out.

    The first video I was just as happy to see was this one from Peterson:
    https://youtu.be/iVym9wtopqs

    I am sure we will see you on Rogan as well one day! 😉

    Cheers,
    Josef

  3. skylien says:

    Also I really would like to see you discuss Peter Schiff on BitCoin! 😉

    Full disclosure, I largely side with Schiff on this one in the very long run. However as long as governments push people for an alternative to their fiat money, I don’t think BitCoin will really collapse, and even then it might take a while…

    • skylien says:

      Well with the exception that BitCoin becomes a real threat for governments, and they attack it hard. Because I do also think, if governments want to destroy BitCoin then I think they can, at least make it preety much unusable for most people.

    • Tel says:

      A debate on the topic of insurance between Peter Schiff (who regularly touts term life insurance) and Bob Murphy (who advocates IBC and Whole Life insurance) would be kind of interesting.

      Might be hard to find the right moderator, where most people already have an opinion.

      I support the third option: never get life insurance under any circumstance. That said, I discovered that my retirement fund has been quietly siphoning off my money to pay for life insurance that I never wanted and they have designed a fiendish system with extra paperwork if you want to opt out. I totally did not need one more example of why not to have faith in humanity … but there you go. I should have got onto this much earlier, but I kind of trusted the system and always seemed to have better things to do … being locked in my house with police circling outside and helicopters flying overhead has given me additional time and perspective to start rummaging through that retirement fund and insurance paperwork that I never was even slightly interested in.

      • guest says:

        “being locked in my house with police circling outside and helicopters flying overhead”

        I was wondering about you, but I didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up.

        I’m glad you can still bounce ideas off of people, here.

        If you can, download lectures from YouTube users @MisesMedia and @LibertyInOurTime and share them.

        There’s an audio book for the relatively new “Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism”.

        Play games, establish trade and communication routes.

        Check out some videos on “prison tech” to help you think outside of the box.

        No doubt the lefties would like to see America turned into a prison, as well.

        • Tel says:

          All things considered, it’s unlikely that you will accidentally make me feel more uncomfortable at this juncture.

          It is, I admit, kind of annoying that my boss insists on spending the first ten minutes of every online team meeting asking people how they are going and all that … but he’s one of those “people person” type of empathy managers who might even mean well. Personally I am a professional, I do a job for money and I’m good at it, but that doesn’t make any of us best friends … if you know what I mean.

          Check out some videos on “prison tech” to help you think outside of the box.

          Lol, thanks for the suggestion … I am not quite yet down to the stage where I’m willing to fillet another human being using a toothbrush, and I don’t have the stomach to study correct technique. If you tell me it’s all on YouTube then I would not be surprised in the least … let’s just hope it never comes to that hey?

          I sent some money to these guys.

          https://www.covidmedicalnetwork.com/

          Hopefully it helps, I dunno but at least they seem to be in a position to do something … see what happens I guess. There’s some sensible articles on their page. No doubt you have seen similar elsewhere.

          • guest says:

            “I am not quite yet down to the stage where I’m willing to fillet another human being using a toothbrush …”

            Heh. No, no. I mean people have learned how to make tools and products that they can sell/trade.

            Think more along the lines of the TV show, Macgyver. The older version, though; The new one is woke and pro-Fouci.

            (Although, the old one was “woke” for its day, too, come to think of it. It just seemed to have a lot more Macgyerisms in the older, rather than the newer, show.)

      • skylien says:

        Well, although it might be interesting, I think that Schiff and Bob are not really disagreeing outright as both have a completely different goal. Schiff only recommends life insurance as safety net for your family if you die. And Bob recommends it as special setup to be your own banker. A normal person having a normal whole life insurance doesn’t use it as Bob would recommend it. So I would guess Bob has no issues with Schiff not recommending whole life insurance if it is used like that.

        Yeah agree, in Austria it is a running joke, that you need to be extra careful what you sign for, because it might include unwanted life insurance policies… even if it is far removed like signing a petition for some humanitarian cause…

  4. random person says:

    Alright, so, at the beginning, of the video, there’s a discussion of “the commons” versus “private property”.

    There’s both false dichotomy and strawmanning here, and that should be obvious if you just spend 5 minutes thinking about American Indians. Many American Indian tribes had no concept of “private property” at least as the term is typically defined by Europeans. That’s not to say they didn’t have similar concepts, and I wouldn’t pretend to speak for every single tribe, because I don’t have that level of knowledge… but the similar concepts of which I speak weren’t exactly the same as private property.

    To break this down…

    So about 41 seconds in, Jordan Peterson describes the commons as a “free for all”. This is a false dichotomy, because there are many more options than just “private property” versus “free for all”. Namely, various forms of stewardship are also options. And it’s a strawman in so far as many forms of “commons” were not in fact “free for alls” and were actually various conceptions of stewardship.

    To quote one native Canadian writer, Patricia Makokis,

    In the Indigenous worldview, we do not own the land. We are stewards of the land, our Mother Earth. How can we own our Mother? Rather, we respect and protect our Mother. That same respect is offered to our four-legged relative, the moose. If we kill a moose for food, we offer tobacco to its spirit because we believe it gave up its life so we have life, in the cycle of life. My husband and I are teaching our grandson about this spiritual connection and responsibility so he will have the same respect for the land, the animals, the fish, the insects and the waters, just as our ancestors taught us to respect the land and our other relatives.

    https://troymedia.com/in-the-news/understanding-treaty-rights-is-essential-to-reconciliation/

    To try to define stewardship in a broad way that (hopefully) would include a lot of cultural variations, think of it as property rights MINUS all the stuff that the locals (or at any rate, the “locals in power”) believe is against natural law. So, for example, when a feminist argues against domestic violence, the feminist is basically saying that men don’t own houses; they have stewardship rights, which are similar, but do not include the right to commit domestic violence. Admittedly, the feminist might not think of it in those terms, but that is at least one way of putting it. If you look at the history of capitalism, many cultures have, to varying degrees, believed that domestic violence was acceptable. Roman law, for example, although complicated, allowed domestic violence by men against women, including murder, under many circumstances. So, when feminists campaign against domestic violence, we are campaigning against this ancient capitalist tradition, which admittedly is much less popular than it used to be, at least in some countries. To the extent that there are probably fewer pro domestic violence people, percentagewise, in 2021 than there were in, say, 1850, at least in the United States, it could be said that this particular aspect of capitalism is a lot less popular than it used to be.

    Approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds in, Jordan Peterson is saying that without private property, you get instantaneous despoiling of the environment, which is just grossly historically inaccurate. If you look at American Indian history, they did a much better job of protecting the environment than the invading Europeans did, and yet, many of American Indian tribes did not believe in private property. And I believe this error flows out of the false dichotomy / strawman — generally speaking, although these tribes didn’t believe in private property, they didn’t believe in a “free for all” either. (I say “generally speaking”, because, although I am not aware of any counterexamples, it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to have a comprehensive knowledge on the subject of American Indian custom.)

    Going back to the quote from the native Canadian writer, Patricia Makokis,

    In the Indigenous worldview, we do not own the land. We are stewards of the land, our Mother Earth. How can we own our Mother? Rather, we respect and protect our Mother. That same respect is offered to our four-legged relative, the moose. If we kill a moose for food, we offer tobacco to its spirit because we believe it gave up its life so we have life, in the cycle of life. My husband and I are teaching our grandson about this spiritual connection and responsibility so he will have the same respect for the land, the animals, the fish, the insects and the waters, just as our ancestors taught us to respect the land and our other relatives.

    What Patricia is describing isn’t property rights, but it isn’t a free for all either.

    According to John G. Sprankling in the abstract for the article “The International Law of Property”,

    The right to destroy is an inherent component of the right to property. It has traditionally been called the jus abutendi: the right to consume, transform, and abuse. Today major legal systems implicitly recognize that an owner is entitled to consume or transform the thing that is the object of property rights, and the same theme is evident in international law. Yet the extension of this right to include irrational destruction is controversial because it permits wasting valuable resources. International law is beginning to craft exceptions to the right to destroy in certain situations. For example, the creator’s right of integrity can be used to prevent the mutilation or destruction of art or other artistic works. International law may also be moving toward a norm that bars owners from intentionally destroying cultural heritage property. Finally, the emerging principle of sustainable land use would restrict owners’ rights to abuse their lands.

    So, he’s saying that the right to destroy is an inherent component of the right of property. Many indigenous people, including Patricia Makokis, do not believe in an unrestricted right to destroy. (Please note that restrictions don’t have to mean government restrictions. A lot of indigenous peoples are generally classified as non-state peoples, but they can still have cultural and traditional restrictions, even without government restrictions.) And this makes sense… an unrestricted right to destroy would mean it was perfectly okay for a man to dump poison in his well, knowing perfectly well that said poison would spread through the underground aquifer to the wells of his neighbors. That’s assault and battery by poison, and, in some cases, could be murder. It’s good to consider such a thing immoral.

    (I say “unrestricted” because, for example, killing and eating a buffalo is a very different thing from killing a whole herds of buffalos and leaving their corpses to rot, thus denying other people the opportunity to kill and eat buffalos. A person might oppose the latter while supporting the former.)

    But a “free for all” also implies an unrestricted right to destroy. And it doesn’t make sense to argue that the only two options are a) to believe that only specific people have an unrestricted right to destroy, or b) that everyone has an unrestricted right to destroy. There’s a third option, c) that no one has an unrestricted right to destroy. And if you look at various cultural implementations of the commons, they often had believed in C, not B. (In fact, I am not aware of any indigenous culture that supported B.)

    I’m not the first to have noticed this. Garret Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” was already debunked before it was ever even written, by people who actually studied how the commons worked, from the anthropological perspective, rather than just sitting down with a pen and paper and imagining how they worked.

    Even before Hardin’s ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ was published, however, the young political scientist Elinor Ostrom had proven him wrong. While Hardin speculated that the tragedy of the commons could be avoided only through total privatisation or total government control, Ostrom had witnessed groundwater users near her native Los Angeles hammer out a system for sharing their coveted resource. Over the next several decades, as a professor at Indiana University Bloomington, she studied collaborative management systems developed by cattle herders in Switzerland, forest dwellers in Japan, and irrigators in the Philippines. These communities had found ways of both preserving a shared resource – pasture, trees, water – and providing their members with a living. Some had been deftly avoiding the tragedy of the commons for centuries; Ostrom was simply one of the first scientists to pay close attention to their traditions, and analyse how and why they worked.

    The features of successful systems, Ostrom and her colleagues found, include clear boundaries (the ‘community’ doing the managing must be well-defined); reliable monitoring of the shared resource; a reasonable balance of costs and benefits for participants; a predictable process for the fast and fair resolution of conflicts; an escalating series of punishments for cheaters; and good relationships between the community and other layers of authority, from household heads to international institutions.

    When it came to humans and their appetites, Hardin assumed that all was predestined. Ostrom showed that all was possible, but nothing was guaranteed. ‘We are neither trapped in inexorable tragedies nor free of moral responsibility,’ she told an audience of fellow political scientists in 1997.

    aeon [dot] co/essays/the-tragedy-of-the-commons-is-a-false-and-dangerous-myth

    • guest says:

      “In the Indigenous worldview, we do not own the land. We are stewards of the land, our Mother Earth. How can we own our Mother?”

      How can we eat our mother? How can we walk all over our mother?

      “If we kill a moose for food, we offer tobacco to its spirit because we believe it gave up its life so we have life, in the cycle of life.”

      How can we kill our mother? Oh, you can just offer tobacco to its spirit.

      OK, well, free-market folks like to offer our enjoyment of the dead mouse and the cleared rainforests to their spirits because it gave up its life so we have life, in the cycle of life.

      At any rate, stewardship is either some form of religious obligation to a higher power who actually ownes the earth, in which case, go ahead and make that case because, in theory, you might be on to something.

      Or stewardship is a self-imposed belief system that wouldn’t apply to others since you don’t have a right over what they do with property you refuse to claim as your own.

      “(I say “unrestricted” because, for example, killing and eating a buffalo is a very different thing from killing a whole herds of buffalos and leaving their corpses to rot, thus denying other people the opportunity to kill and eat buffalos. A person might oppose the latter while supporting the former.)”

      The practice of killing herds of buffalo and leaving thier corpses to rot ended when property rights – with its accompanying right to destroy – were established over the remaining buffalo.

      If you don’t own something, you have no incentive to use it as capital in the production of more goods.

      The buffalo came back from near extinction precisely because of the profit motive.

      (Also, no one is strawmanning you.)

      • Tel says:

        On that particular issue of the buffalo, I believe that a bunch of additional factors were involved.

        There was long standing enmity between the semi-nomadic culture of the North American Indian tribes and the colonial culture of the settlers from European background, going back to the French and Indian Wars of the 1750’s and 1760’s. This push and shove had simmered away for 100 years, and it was perfectly well understood that large scale killing of buffalo would starve out some of the more warlike tribes, where previous attempts to fight them directly had failed. Although there was a technological advantage, the North American Indians had been able to regularly procure rifles and ammunition by trade, despite being unable to make those things themselves. They were adept at hunting, and wilderness survival … and they had been victorious on a significant number of occasions, sufficient to make direct attack a dangerous proposition.

        I think therefore a reasonable case can be made that mass killing buffalo was an act of war, rather than an economic activity, and therefore completely different incentives applied. There is of course some wiggle room, and it’s always possible that multiple incentives and multiple parties can all be involved … but I think that “thus denying other people the opportunity to kill and eat buffaloes” was the primary objective, rather than an incidental outcome. It was not a “Tragedy of the Commons” … that was merely the cover story.

        Should people make war on one another? Probably not, violence is typically a destructive force. Do people make war on each other? Certainly yes, right from the start of history and even before that if you believe in the Theory of Evolution. Should we blame the winner for being a winner? I dunno … it has always bothered me a bit that such a lowlife tactic was used to defeat a warrior people who were otherwise capable of defending themselves, but then again it worked and, wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last for that matter. The British concentration camps during the Boer War also bother me, in as much as they attacked women and children when they could not defeat the menfolk. I can’t put a rational explanation to that ,,, but seems like something a dirtbag would do … have to admit it was successful at the time though, but important never to forget what was done either.

        At any rate, I strongly doubt that economic analysis is the suitable tool to understand these kind of things. War is highly nonlinear, ofter surprising and shocking, possibly irrational too.

        • random person says:

          To: Tel

          I think therefore a reasonable case can be made that mass killing buffalo was an act of war, rather than an economic activity, and therefore completely different incentives applied. There is of course some wiggle room, and it’s always possible that multiple incentives and multiple parties can all be involved … but I think that “thus denying other people the opportunity to kill and eat buffaloes” was the primary objective, rather than an incidental outcome. It was not a “Tragedy of the Commons” … that was merely the cover story.

          Yes, except for this: that war is conducted in economic terms. The mass slaughter of a buffalo was both an act of war *and* an economic activity. However, it still was not a “tragedy of the commons” because “commons” implies some sot of peaceful agreement on land use, which hopefully (but not necessarily) corresponds to natural law. The colonizers did not have any peaceful agreement with the indigenous occupants regarding land use, and were engaged in an act of war. (Also, note that part of the argument here is that the “tragedy of the commons” is, in general, a myth perpetrated by conquerors, not what actually happens in a more or less peaceful society that has some sort of agreement with each other about how to share land. “Tragedy of the battlefield” might be a more accurate label.)

          It is said that “an army marches on its stomach”. That quote is attributed to both Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the “Great” of Russia. In any case, the quote is plausible coming from either. Any noteworthy general and/or military strategist, and many non-noteworthy ones, in history could likely have said something similar: that armies cannot fight without food. How armies acquire food and other supplies is both an economic and a military question. We might call the overlap “military economics” or “the economics of violence”.

          Indeed, Sun Tzu, that noteworthy military strategist, wrote a great deal about military economics,

          1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

          2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

          3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

          4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

          5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

          6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

          7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

          8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

          9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

          10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

          11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away.

          12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.

          13,14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.

          15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one’s own store.

          16. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.

          17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.

          18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one’s own strength.

          19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

          20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.

          http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html

          I think, a major point of contention between Sun Tzu and socialists (or at least, that subset of socialists with whom I find I have much in common), is that while socialists (or at least some socialists) see and acknowledge that there’s a lot of “leaders of armies” arbitering the fate of the people, rather than seek to advise these leaders about how to most effectively carry on their acts of oppression, we seek to criticize them. Many of these leaders of armies arbitering people’s fate are extremely immoral people.

          For example, consider these statements from Sun Tzu,

          10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

          11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away.

          12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.

          Sun Tzu is essentially saying that armies exploit people… except he’s using the more neutral phrasing such as “causes the people to be impoverished”.

          I guess where we really see the difference between Sun Tzu and a socialist is here:

          9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

          “Forage on the enemy”. So, Sun Tzu is not against exploitation. He views it as a necessity of war; he is merely suggesting that an army exploits the enemy rather than the people they are (allegedly) fighting for.

          One way to view sl*very is that it’s sort of a prolonged state of war been victor and captives, where the victor is constantly foraging off the captives. (Note, however, that Sun Tzu is actually something of a moderate, compared to many military leaders, and advises against prolonged warfare.)

          A socialist argument could be roughly summarized as follows: that the fact that history is full of military leaders who thought more or less like Sun Tzu (and in some cases, far worse than he did) explains a lot about capitalism, except, rather than see the all the violent exploitation as just a necessity of war, we see it as immoral.

          On the other hand, I think Ludwig von Mises (as summarized by Bob Murphy, at any rate) had a fundamentally different view of history. Socialists and military strategists see an economy that is deeply linked with warfare, but disagree as to whether this is an atrocity, or a military necessity. However, I think Bob Murphy said somewhere in that video that Mises believed that people banded together cooperatively. About 37 minutes in? It was a bit confusing. Maybe I misunderstood that part. But again and again, I kept hearing Jordan Peterson dismiss socialist critiques of the violence of capitalism as “aberrations”. As in, Jordan Peterson seems to acknowledge at least a few of these atrocities, but doesn’t believe they are representative of the “general trend”.

          The socialist view is entirely different… that these are not aberrations, but the consequence of a world in which military victories are almost always won by the side willing to engage in the highest levels of evil. The Boer War is a great example… the British won because they were more evil than the people they fought against, and they used their evil to give them a tactical advantage.

          Which raises another question: how can this trend of the most evil people winning most of the wars be reversed? Machiavellian pacifism is an attempt to answer that question… see, for example, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, a documentary about a bunch of pacifist women who won a brutal war in Liberia against two other sides who were both engaged in being really really evil.

          • guest says:

            To Tel:

            “(Also, note that part of the argument here is that the “tragedy of the commons” is, in general, a myth perpetrated by conquerors, not what actually happens in a more or less peaceful society that has some sort of agreement with each other about how to share land. “Tragedy of the battlefield” might be a more accurate label.)”

            That’s BS: The evil, racist, warmongering, capitalist colonizers actually started out as socialists – and this applies to multiple sets of British colonists – and nearly starved to death.

            Until they respected private property.

            That’s economic law, not “an excuse to push white supremacy”. No race or culture escapes economic law:

            From “Bradford’s History of ‘Plimoth Plantation”:

            “It may be thought strang that these people should fall to these extremities in so short a time, being left competently provided when ye ship left them, and had an addition by that moyetie of corn that was got by trade, besids much they gott of ye Indans wher they lived, by one means & other. …”

            “… And after they begane to come into wants, many sould away their cloathes and bed coverings; others (so base were they) became servants to ye Indeans, and would cutt them woode & fetch them water, for a cap full of corne; others fell to plaine stealing, both night & day, from ye Indeans, of which they greevosly complained. In ye end, they came to that misery, that some starved & dyed with could & hunger. One in geathering shell-fish was so weake as he stuck fast in ye mudd, and was found dead in ye place. At last most of them left their dwellings & scatered up & downe in ye [94] woods, & by ye water sids, wher they could find ground nuts & clames, hear 6. and ther ten. …”

            “… Yea, in ye end they were faine to hange one of their men, whom they could not reclaime from stealing, to give ye Indeans contente. …”

            “… So they begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length, after much debate of things, the Govr (with ye advise of ye cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set corne every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to them selves; in all other things to goe on in ye generall way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no devission for inheritance), and ranged all boys & youth under some familie. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means ye Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into ye feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.

            The experience that was had in this com̅one course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in com̅unitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much imploymēt that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour & service did repine that they should spend their time & streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails & cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter ye other could; this was thought injuestice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and [97] equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, &c., with ye meaner & yonger sorte, thought it some indignite & disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. …”

            “… Let none objecte this is men’s corruption, and nothing to ye course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them.

          • guest says:

            To Tel:

            “Yes, except for this: that war is conducted in economic terms.”

            *Facepalm*

            This is why socialists can’t be reasoned with – they’re incapable of compartmentalizing.

            All wars are conducted also in human terms of breathing, eating, seeing, traveling, etc.

            Economics is neither good nor bad – it just is; like chemistry.

            *How* economics is used is a different issue.

            Until socialists can grasp this point, they will always commit mass murder, mass starvation, and mass slavery. Those are the *logical* ends of socialist ideology, whether or not they mean them to be (See? Compartmentalization. Ta-dah!).

          • Tel says:

            Sun Tzu believed in quick, decisive, well planned battles which depend greatly on the individual genius of the leadership. This became the established wisdom of the Han Chinese … although those same Han ultimately lost against the Mongolians, and then later lost against the British, and then lost against the Japanese.

            If you want to compare with the Roman Empire and their method of war, it was quite another style … for the Romans logistics was everything, war was purely a numbers game and they defeated many opponents simply by wearing them down systematically. The Punic Wars were slow but victory ultimately went to the Romans.

            Rome also had their share of failures: Teutoburg Forest was an ambush planned in advance on ground carefully chosen to put the Roman style of warfare at a severe disadvantage. Sun Tsu would be nodding along sagely if he had been there to see that.

            While the ambush in the forest demonstrated the danger of tight spaces and limited mobility, the opposite problem happened at the Battle of Carrhae where the Romans found themselves in large open spaces and the winner was the side with superior mobility.

            Getting back to the general question of deciding the difference between war and economics … I think it’s measurable. In a war both sides expect to lose materially (at least in the short term) and no win/win solution can be found. In contrast, economics is about looking for ways that both sides can gain, which may not always be possible but at least when it is possible then economics should be the right approach. That said, it requires some global concept of gain and loss that applies to collective groups of people … which is not a well defined concept. There’s at least someone who loses even in economic situations, at the very least every trade results in some other guy missing out on making that trade … which is where we get commercial rivalry.

            You have probably heard the phrase “When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will” and it is of course rubbish, when checked against history to any measure. Rome happily traded with Gaul for much loved cured ham, until they figured “Heck, just invade Gaul and get all the ham we want!”

            Rome also traded for tin, and knew there was excellent supplies of tin coming out of England … so they invaded England and took the tin. This approach worked because Rome was confident of generally winning these things … and maintaining continuous war was part of their political structure. It did not always work for them, but even when they lost legions on the far flung edge of the Empire, then could find more legions. Well … they kept doing that for a while at least, it eventually fell apart as these things do.

    • Anonymous says:

      “generally speaking, although these tribes didn’t believe in private property, they didn’t believe in a “free for all” either.”

      Are you sure? What if you as Tribe A step foot into Tribe B’s “publicly stewarded” territory and say hunt some buffalo? You’d probably end up scalped. That sounds like private property to me.

      “These communities had found ways of both preserving a shared resource – pasture, trees, water – and providing their members with a living.”

      Isn’t this just jointly owned private property?

  5. random person says:

    Listening further into the video, I feel like we aren’t even speaking the same language.

    About 34 minutes in, you (Bob Murphy) say,

    most people earn more than the minimum wage so the very crude notion of power bargaining and the employer has all the bargaining power and that’s why we have to if that world view were true just about everyone would earn the minimum wage and yet most people earn more

    Alright, so when you say, “most people”, I’m inclined to take you literally and assume that you actually mean “most people”. And this assumption would probably be in error, but bear with me for a moment. If I took you literally, then I would check Branko Milanovic’s “The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idosyncratic History of Global Inequality”, where he goes over the global income distribution.

    There, in Vignette 3.1 “Where in the Global Income Distribution are YOU?”, I read,

    If your income is greater than $PPP 1,225 you belong to the upper half of global income distribution. Let us aim higher. To be in the top 40 percent, your income needs to be about $PPP 1,770 per capita; to be in the top 30 percent, you need $PPP 2,720.

    After a certain level, the necessary threshold to jump a few additional percentage points ahead rises fast: to be in the top global quintile (the richest 20 percent of people in the world), you need $PPP 5,000 per year, and for the richest decile, your income ought to be at least $PPP 12,000. For the top 5 percent, the requirement is $PPP 18,500. And for the top world percentile, the threshold is $PPP 34,000.

    Who are these people, the richest 1 percent of the world (60 million people), who make more than $PPP 34,00 per person annually? Where do the live? Not surprisingly, almost one half of them are Americans: 29 million to be exact. Next follow about 4 million Germans; about 3 million French, Italians, and Britons each; 2 million Canadians, Koreans, Japanese, and Brazilians each; around 1 million of Swiss, Spaniards, Australians, Dutch, Taiwanese, Chileans, and Singaporeans. There is nobody from Africa, China, India, or from East Europe or Russia (in statistically significant numbers, of course).

    You didn’t specify which minimum wage you were talking about, so I am going to assume you mean United States minimum wage. Converting wages into $PPP takes some doing (you have to take into account purchasing power, taxes, household size, household ownership status, etc), but when I search for a minimum wage to $PPP conversion online, Wikipedia tells me that US minimum wage is worth $PPP 15,080.

    Anyone with an income greater than $PPP 12,000 is apparently in the world’s richest 10%, so apparently, over 90% of the world’s population is earning less than the US minimum wage. (Including some people in the United States, since minimum wage has a lot of loopholes and isn’t really enforced that much anyway.)

    Now, what you probably meant was that most *US citizens who are currently employed* earn over US minimum wage. And this is part of why I feel like we aren’t speaking the same language. To me, most people means most people, regardless of their nationality. Now, to be fair to you, a lot of minimum wage advocates are also speaking in nationalist terms. If I’m concerned about exploitation in Africa, it doesn’t make sense for me to express that concern by advocating either for or against minimum wage increases in the United States. The question of whether US minimum wage hurts, helps, or both hurts and helps US workers is a national question, with no obvious impact on workers in Africa. (There could be an impact on workers in Africa, but it’s not obvious, so it would take some explanation.)

    However, for someone thinking in national terms, only considering how to help or avoid harming US workers, then debating minimum wage makes a lot more sense.

    It’s not only with you that I have this confusion. A lot of times, someone will rattle off some statistic, I’ll look up the global statistics and disagree with their statistic based on that, and they’ll be all like, “I WAS TALKING ABOUT AMERICA!!!” and look at me like I’m crazy for considering people around the world.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      random person wrote, “Alright, so when you say, “most people”, I’m inclined to take you literally and assume that you actually mean “most people”.”

      You can extend it to Earth, just do the same thing with the relevant minimum wage level. E.g. I think most people in France earn more than the French minimum wage, most people in Zimbabwe earn more than the Zimbabwe minimum wage, etc. And right, by “most people” I mean “most people who are working at a regular job.”

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Incidentally, do you get what my point is? If you do, then you’ll see why it’s clear the relevant issue is, the % of workers who earn above the minimum wage applicable in that jurisdiction.

        • random person says:

          No, I don’t think I do get why you see that as the relevant issue.

          I guess this lack of understanding is what I just explained in the comment I left below:
          https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/09/my-appearance-on-the-jordan-peterson-podcast.html#comment-2050714

          • random person says:

            I think this difference in opinion, about whether it’s more relevant to compare “most people’s” wages or other incomes to some sort of national standard, or to some sort of worldwide standard, is a fundamental difference in perspective that goes far beyond just this minimum wage thing.

            So to quote the transcript of this interview, where Jordan Peterson is speaking:

            it also enabled ford to pay his
            45:36
            workers much more than workers had been
            45:38
            paid previously and he was on board with
            45:40
            that for all his other flaws
            45:43
            he wanted to pay his workers enough so
            45:44
            they could buy what they were producing

            Alright, the idea that Henry Ford paid his workers so well (at least relative to other capitalists of the time) is a very nationalist perspective. Jordan Peterson is probably only thinking of Henry Ford’s United States workers, not all of the people working for Henry Ford around the planet.

            This is very different from a socialist perspective, which would also take into account Henry Ford’s Congolese and Latin American workers.

            For example, Edmund Dene Morel, a socialist, spent a good deal of his life campaigning against a particularly brutal form of sl*very in the Congo, perpetrated by the Belgian King Leopold II and his accomplices. A significant part of that forced labor regime was for rubber. A good deal of that rubber would have ended up in the cars built in Henry Ford’s factories. And as John Tully points out in The Devils Milk: A Social History of Rubber, King Leopold II wasn’t the only one using forced labor to acquire rubber. Vast areas of Central and South America also suffered brutal forced labor regimes for the purpose of acquiring rubber.

            These people, in the Congo, other parts of Africa, Central and South America, who were being forced to gather rubber, were still effectively working for Henry Ford and other industrialists who purchased rubber. Henry Ford might not have had direct oversight over what went on in the Congo, but they were still working for him. Thus, a discussion of Henry Ford’s workers is not complete, from a socialist perspective, without discussion of his Congolese, African, Central American, and South American workers.

            For example, John Tully writes,

            The most infamous example of mass killing by the rubber men occurred along the Putumayo River on the remote and disputed borders of Peru and Colombia. A British House of Commons report published in 1912 estimated that some 32,000 mainly Huitoto tribesmen, women, and children had been murdered or worked to death within a five-year period, leaving a scant 8,000 survivors4 to wander in the ruins of their world. In 1910, David Cazes, the English consul at Iquitos, told Roger Casement, the British consul general at Rio de Janeiro, that “The entire Indian population is enslaved in the montaña and whereon the devil plant, the rubber tree, grows and can be tapped. The wilder the Indian, the wickeder the slavery.”5 The ultimate cause of their suffering was the industrialized world’s appetite for rubber.

            So, whereas Jordan Peterson takes a nationalist perspective, and sings Henry Ford’s praises based on that, John Tully takes an international perspective and considers the ultimate cause of the suffering of the Huitoto and others to be the industrialized world’s appetite for rubber.

            For all that John Tully condemns the *results* of the actions of Henry Ford and other rubber-consuming industrialists, this does not, so far as I can tell, extend to Henry Ford’s *intent*.

            At one point, Henry Ford tried to establish his own rubber plantations. These failed, because Henry Ford unfortunately picked rubber trees that were susceptible to some kind of leaf blight, but I don’t see any evidence of forced labor on the plantations run by Henry Ford.

            John Tully writes,

            In 1927, [Ford] bought one million acres of land in the Tapajós valley in Brazil, extended an existing estate, and set up the Belterra and Fordlandia rubber plantations. In 1928, the steamer Lake Ormuc left Dearborn, Michigan, towing the heavily laden barge Lake LaFarge. Some months later, the craft dropped anchor in the Tapajós and unloaded a cargo of bulldozers, a steam shovel, locomotives, prefabricated buildings, an ice plant, and other equipment. He built an American-style town in the jungle, Boa Vista, and constructed roads, railways, schools, hospitals, sawmills, a power station, machine shops, a hotel, churches, a floating dock, and other costly infrastructure.

            Building schools, hospitals, churches, etc, is unlikely to be the actions of someone who intends to perpetrate a forced labor regime. So far as I can tell, Henry Ford intended to treat the Brazillian workers with the same level of respect that he treated US workers.

            This makes we wonder whether Henry Ford was aware that much of the rubber he was buying for his industrial operations was produced by means of forced labor. Maybe he was genuinely oblivious. Maybe not. I don’t know. But, if Henry Ford were alive today to be brought to justice for what he did, my recommendation would be that he be tried in civil court, not criminal court. Just as many traffic accidents are tried in civil rather than criminal court, on the basis that it can’t be proven that they were more than accidents, so to should the accidental aiding and abetting of genocide be tried in civil court, so long as it can’t be proven that it was more than accidental.

            • Tel says:

              During the era of the Model T and then Model A Ford (i.e. 1920’s and 1930’s) most of the world’s rubber supply was coming from British Malaya and typically the British did pay their workers, although they also imported Chinese and Indian workers in order to keep wages down and productivity up. This could be seen as free movement of people, or it could be seen by the native Malays as “they took are jerbs!” but those ethnic tensions continue up until today. If you search on “Malay Privileges” you can decide for yourself.

              The Malaysian rubber industry has been world dominant for more than 100 years, and survived both two world wars and the invention of synthetic substitutes … meaning they must have been managed reasonably well … better organized than King Leopold II at any rate.

              I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect the Henry Ford’s (ultimately failed) attempt to create a plantation in Brazil was motivated by a desire to avoid dependence on a single monopoly supplier … especially when you consider the economic rivalry between the British and the Americans.

              The government of Brazil was supportive of Ford at the time … because from their perspective the British Malay production was out-competing Brazilian rubber. Indeed the way the British were able to be so successful, even starting from the weaker position, might make a great case study in why smarter management will make the capitalist class wealthier than simply whipping the workers harder, which was the approach in Brazil at the time. For a very long time Socialist writers refused to acknowledge that the managerial class had any purpose whatsoever, mostly because they had no idea what those people did. Nowadays the Socialists have infiltrated the managerial class, and one hopes they learned something in the process, although looking at where we are today I’m pessimistic.

              Henry Ford was great at solving engineering problems, turns out he wasn’t much chop when it came to agriculture … apparently there’s no such thing as a generic all round manager. He should have stuck with engineering.

      • random person says:

        Bob Murphy wrote,

        You can extend it to Earth, just do the same thing with the relevant minimum wage level. E.g. I think most people in France earn more than the French minimum wage, most people in Zimbabwe earn more than the Zimbabwe minimum wage, etc. And right, by “most people” I mean “most people who are working at a regular job.”

        Okay, so say we do that. But then, why? Why would we do that? What is minimum wage anyway? Something a bunch of politicians decided was the minimum “living wage”? (Or, if we want to be more cynical, the minimum wage a person would need to earn to be a good taxpayer.)

        When people argue in favor of increasing or decreasing minimum wage (but not abolishing it entirely — I realize you and others who wish to abolish it entirely are making a different type of argument), they tend to be arguing in terms of what they believe is the correct “living wage”, which allegedly is either greater than or less than the current minimum wage.

        But also, even if you, personally, believe minimum wage should be abolished, you might still agree that there is such a thing as a “living wage”, and that it is useful to collect statistics about how people are doing relative to that living wage. I could be mistaken, but I think that was what you were trying to do with that statement about most people allegedly earning over minimum wage.

        Alright, so the people who calculate stuff in terms of PPP have put a great deal of effort into taking into account purchasing power, taxes, housing, etc., so that at least in theory, $PPP 1 in the Congo is equivalent to $PPP 1 in the USA. I realize that these calculations are imperfect (e.g. they don’t take into account domestic violence). In any; case, even though these calculations are imperfect, they did a better job than I could’ve done.

        And, if you convert the minimum wages of various countries into $PPP, for that purpose let us use Wikipedia since people there either already did the math, or found a reference where someone did the math:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_minimum_wage

        You can sort Wikipedia’s chart by annual $PPP. At the top of that list, once sorted by annual $PPP, is Argentina, with an annual minimum wage equivalent to $PPP 40,683.

        Near the bottom of the list — out of countries that actually have minimum wages — is Liberia, with an annual minimum wage equivalent to $PPP 10.

        And then as I mentioned earlier, US minimum wage converted into $PPP comes out to 15,080.

        Incidentally, Zimbabwe doesn’t have a nationwide minimum wage, at least according to Wikipedia (and other websites seem to confirm). Specific industries are regulated by means of minimum wage; however, this only applies to those specific industries.

        Alright, so, even considering that $PPP is an imperfect estimate, $PPP 10 is clearly drastically different from $PPP 40,683, far outside of rounding errors. So, if minimum wage is allegedly supposed to be based on living wage, why is it so drastically different in different countries? Is it seriously to be believed, that, when converted to $PPP, a living wage in the United States is less than half what it is in Argentina, and yet one thousand five hundred and 8 times as much as it is in Liberia?

        If we’re going to consider whether “most people” in the world have a “living wage” (or “living income”, since they might have a non-wage form of income), I would ask that a “living wage/living income” be defined in some international way, such that it means the same thing in Liberia as it does in Argentina and the United States (at least as closely as imperfect calculations make it possible to do).

        But again, I feel like I’m looking at this from a completely different angle than you are. Like, to you it makes sense to compare the incomes of people in each country to their countries minimum wage. To me, as explained above, it’s confusing why this would be a desirable comparison to make. So, somewhere in this whole mess of numbers, what you see as significant and what I see as significant, is not the same.

        • guest says:

          “When people argue in favor of increasing or decreasing minimum wage (but not abolishing it entirely — I realize you and others who wish to abolish it entirely are making a different type of argument), they tend to be arguing in terms of what they believe is the correct “living wage”, which allegedly is either greater than or less than the current minimum wage.”

          Maybe today people have that motive, but when it was first implemented, the goal (and effect) was to *cause* unemployment. Further, the phrase “living wage” didn’t mean what people today mean, but rather a mandated standard of living, the failure to achieve would result in compulsory unemployment.

          [PDF]
          Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era
          [www]https://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/papers/retrospectives.pdf

          “The unemployable were thus those workers who earned less than some measure of an adequate standard of living, a standard the British called a “decent maintenance” and Americans referred to as a “living wage.” For labor reformers, firms that paid workers less than the living wage to which they were entitled were deemed parasitic, as were the workers who accepted such wages— on grounds that someone (charity, state, other members of the household) would need to make up the difference.

          For progressives, a legal minimum wage had the useful property of sorting the unfit, who would lose their jobs, from the deserving workers, who would retain their jobs. …”

          “… But how should a living wage be determined? Were workers with more dependents, and thus higher living expenses, thereby entitled to higher wages? Arguing that wages should be a matter of an appropriate standard of living opened the door, in this era of eugenics, to theories of wage determination that were grounded in biology, in particular to the idea that “low-wage races” were biologically predisposed to low wages, or “under-living.”7 <Edward A. Ross (1936, p. 70), the proponent of race-suicide theory, argued that “the Coolie cannot outdo the American, but he can underlive him.” “Native” workers have higher productivity, claimed Ross, but because Chinese immigrants are racially disposed to work for lower wages, they displace the native workers.

          “In his Races and Immigrants, the University of Wisconsin economist and social reformer John R. Commons argued that wage competition not only lowers wages, it also selects for the unfit races. “The competition has no respect for the superior races,” said Commons (1907, p. 151), “the race with lowest necessities displaces others.” Because race rather than productivity determined living standards, Commons could populate his low-wage-races category with the industrious and lazy alike. African Americans were, for Commons (p. 136), “indolent and fickle,” which explained why, Commons argued, slavery was required: “The negro could not possibly have found a place in American industry had he come as a free man . . . [I]f such races are to adopt that industrious life which is second nature to races of the temperate zones, it is only through some form of compulsion.” Similarly, Wharton School reformer Scott Nearing (1915, p. 22), volunteered that if “an employer has a Scotchman working for him at $3 a day [and] an equally efficient Lithuanian offers to the same work for $2 . . . the work is given to the low bidder.””

          The Eugenics Plot of the Minimum Wage
          [www]https://fee.org/articles/the-eugenics-plot-of-the-minimum-wage

          “Speeches in support of the law were explicit about the fear that black workers were undercutting the demands of white-only unions. The minimum wage was a fix: it made it impossible to work for less. The sordid history of the minimum wage law is harrowing in its intent but, at least, realistic about what wage floors actually do. They stop upward mobility. …”

          “… Whatever the intentions, the effects are still the same. On that the eugenicists were right. The eugenics movement, however evil its motive, understood an economic truth: the minimum wage excludes people from the job market. It takes away from marginal populations their most important power in the job market: the power to work for less. It cartelizes the labor market by allowing higher-wage groups access while excluding lower-wage groups.

          Race and Economics
          [www]https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/08/walter-e-williams/race-and-economics/

          “During the 1930s, there were a number of federal government interventions that changed the black employment picture. The first was the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which mandated minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects. During the bill’s legislative debate, the racial objectives were clear. Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., said he had “received numerous complaints … about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South.” Rep. Clayton Allgood, D-Ala., complained: “Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. … That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.” Rep. William Upshaw, D-Ga., spoke of the “superabundance or large aggregation of Negro labor.” American Federation of Labor President William Green said, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.”

          And if you can still believe that a Minimum Wage is just after learning that white racists used it to price “undesirables” out of the market – because you have better motives for doing so – then you can filter out any racism among America’s founders to examine concepts like free markets, Meritocracy, and math (yes, math, apparently) on their own merits.

          It will no longer suffice to say we don’t have to listen to what America’s founders said because some of them were racist and owned slaves.

        • Harold says:

          “Like, to you it makes sense to compare the incomes of people in each country to their countries minimum wage. To me, as explained above, it’s confusing why this would be a desirable comparison to make. ”

          If we are discussing government policy it does make some sense.

          • random person says:

            Harold wrote,

            If we are discussing government policy it does make some sense.

            In what way does it make sense to you?

            To me (as explained above), it does not make sense when these government have such a wide range of minimum wages when coverted into PPP, by a factor of over a thousand. What is you perspective?

            • Harold says:

              My perspective is that any Government policy only applies in the jurisdiction of that Government.

              If a Govt applies a minimum wage, it only applies in their territory.

              It would make no sense at all for USA to look at the world, and apply a minimum wage based on that. The minimum wage so determined would be way lower than a “living wage” in USA.

              I did read through the discussion, but it is possible I have missed the point.

              You said ” if minimum wage is allegedly supposed to be based on living wage, why is it so drastically different in different countries?”
              One answer is the cost of living is vastly different in different countries, when converted to dollars.

              Another is the cultural idea of what constitutes a minimum standard. In USA, it is considered a standard that people have access to good healthcare, food, water, housing that meets USA standards, electricity, phones, TV, internet access. OK, maybe in USA the healthcare bit is not accepted, but in most “developed” countries it is.

              It is not possible to participate fully in USA society without these. But in some less developed countries these may be considered more as luxuries rather than necessities.

              We should (in my opinion) be looking towards everyone sharing in these boons. Or having them wealthy enough to decide on their own boons. I think it is reasonable to view this as a goal to which we should aspire, but is different from ensuring that people in your own country are not reduced to a sub-class. If only because having a large sub-class is likely to be very problematical to the “haves”.

              So for policy, it makes sense to look at your own populations diversity and expectations, rather than the whole world.

              • random person says:

                Harold wrote,

                My perspective is that any Government policy only applies in the jurisdiction of that Government.

                In so far as the United States is an empire oppressing a significant percentage of the world, overthrowing democratically elected leaders (e.g. Lumumba), imposing dictators on people (e.g. Mobutu), sponsoring genocides (e.g. the Guatemalan genocide), demanding tribute money (under the guise of “debt… I believe a lot of this is technically funneled through the IMF), etc., a good deal of the world is under effectively under US jurisdiction.

                The tribute money demanded by the US and other powerful governments has a real impact on human rights and wages in many other countries.

                In Ending Sl*very: How We Free Today’s Sl*ves, Kevin Bales writes,

                For example, the United Nations has classified thirty-eight countries of the world as being “high-debt countries,” which means that these countries are carrying a crippling load of debt owed to international lenders. A high-debt country has to use what little income or taxes it can gather to service debt rather than to invest in its own people. This is often called a debt overhang. Debt from the past bears down on a country, paralyzing it and preventing any growth in the future. 9 The types of investments a high-debt country is not able to make—schools, law enforcement, economic growth, and so on—are exactly the ones that are most likely to reduce the amount of sl*very. If you look across all the countries in the world, those with the largest amount of debt overhang also have some of the highest levels of sl*very.

                If anything, I think Kevin Bales understates the case. It should be noted that many international debts are odious debts — deeply and obviously immoral debts, extracted by military force — essentially, tribute payments. One classic example is the “debt” imposed on Haiti by the French. The French, by military force, demanded reverse reparations for sl*very: they demanded that Haiti pay the French for liberating themselves from sl*very. Furthermore, in order to pay off this debt, Haiti had to resort to a forced labor regime — effectively, trading chattel sl*very for another kind of sl*very in order to make tribute payments to a foreign power. If anything, the French should have payed the Haitians!

                Another example of an odious debt is when the Irish had to pay the English to get their land back, after the Irish genocide. If anything, the English should have payed the Irish!

                Some philosophers have argued that all international debts are odious. I think there is a strong case to be made for that. In any case, countries that are forced to pay off odious debts cannot truly be considered independent jurisdictions — they are more like vassals under the control of whichever foreign power or powers are making them pay.

                Harold wrote,

                You said ” if minimum wage is allegedly supposed to be based on living wage, why is it so drastically different in different countries?”
                One answer is the cost of living is vastly different in different countries, when converted to dollars.

                That’s why I looked for the numbers in $PPP. PPP stands for purchasing power parity, and the folks who calculate it take into account cost of living adjustments, taxes, household size, etc. There are some approximations, but rounding errors aren’t enough to explain multi-thousand-factor differences in minimum wages when converted to $PPP.

                One *US dollar* might not purchase as much in one country as other, but one *PPP dollar* should purchase approximately the same in one country as another, barring rounding errors.

                Harold wote,

                Another is the cultural idea of what constitutes a minimum standard. In USA, it is considered a standard that people have access to good healthcare, food, water, housing that meets USA standards, electricity, phones, TV, internet access. OK, maybe in USA the healthcare bit is not accepted, but in most “developed” countries it is.

                The “cultural idea of what constitutes a minimum standard” in the USA is responsible for many atrocities around the world. US citizens (not all, of course, but some) committed genocide against American Indians to steal their land. US citizens (not all of course, but some) bought kidnapped Africans to force them to work on tobacco planations, cotton farms, coal mines, etc, and other US citizens bought the goods those people of African origin were forced to make. King Leopold II ran a forced labor regime of genocidal proportions in the Congo in order to sell ivory and rubber to US citizens (and other first world residents). The Guatemalan genocide was sponsored — including by means of providing training to genocidaires — to protect a banana corporation. The democratically elected leader of the Congo, Lumumba, was overthrown, and replaced with a dictator, Mobutu, by the CIA, in large part because of uranium and cobalt.

                US citizens are not entitled to cotton, to tobacco, to coal, to bananas, to ivory, to rubber, to uranium, to cobalt, nor to many other things that many American citizens seem to believe they are entitled to. Perhaps if US citizens stepped back and compared their standard of living to global norms, it might help cure at least some — those who actually have consciences, at least — of their atrocity-inducing senses of entitlement. (However, three cheers to the Amish for having far lower senses of entitlement compared to the US standard.)

                Incidentally, healthcare would probably be improved by considering things in global terms. Yellow fever was spread by transatlantic sl*ve trade. HIV/AIDS went global due to forced labor in the Congo. So the sense of entitlement that many US citizens have for things like rubber is actually incredibly self destructive, and bordering on suicidal.

                For information about yellow fever and the transatlantic sl*ve trade, see “The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History”
                google [dot] com/books/edition/The_American_Plague/2knJfNafoZQC?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=trade

                For information about HIV/AIDs and forced labor in the Congo, see:
                mediadiversified [dot] org/2015/04/20/the-ghost-of-king-leopold-ii-still-haunts-us-belgium-colonization-the-ignition-of-the-hiv-global-pandemic/

                Harold wrote,

                It is not possible to participate fully in USA society without these. But in some less developed countries these may be considered more as luxuries rather than necessities.

                Pretending that luxuries are necessities is merely an expression of entitlement. If US citizens didn’t pretend that luxuries were necessities, this would go a long way towards promoting world peace… specifically, the rest of the world, especially the global south, could have more peace and less US aggression.

                Harold wrote,

                We should (in my opinion) be looking towards everyone sharing in these boons. Or having them wealthy enough to decide on their own boons. I think it is reasonable to view this as a goal to which we should aspire, but is different from ensuring that people in your own country are not reduced to a sub-class. If only because having a large sub-class is likely to be very problematical to the “haves”.

                Food is something everyone should have. Forced labor regimes, and other types of mass theft, are a major cause of famines. Therefore, the best way for everyone to have enough food is to spare them from atrocities. E.g. the British caused famines in India, Bengal, and Ireland by means of mass theft regimes. Jules Marchal goes on at some length in his books (e.g. Lord Leverhulmes Ghosts and Forced Labor in the Gold and Copper Mines) about how forced labor in the Congo caused famines. The Holodomor was caused by a mass theft regime. People are generally inclined to produce enough food for themselves and their families when left more or less alone and allowed to do so — it is mass theft, or denial of access to land, that prevents them from being able to do so.

                Cell phones, on the other hand, are something far fewer people should have — basically, there should only be as many cell phones in the world as it is possible to produce without forced labor, land theft, murder, or other atrocities.

                Harold wrote,

                So for policy, it makes sense to look at your own populations diversity and expectations, rather than the whole world.

                For a tiny tribe in the Amazon basin, sure, that would make sense. For a world-dominating empire, it does not make sense.

              • random person says:

                It should be noted that American entitlement (or other brands of first world entitlement) is not inevitable. On days when I am feeling more optimistic, I hope that it is rooted in ignorance, rather than malice, at least in the majority of cases. If people don’t know how much of what they buy in the markets is made with forced labor or other atrocities, how can they object to what they don’t know about?

                For example, during the US Civil War, Lincoln ordered the blockading of Southern ports, blocking about 95% of cotton exports.

                This threw many, many British workers out of work. In spite of the hardships and oppression they endured, British workers chose to prioritize the cause of ending sl*very, rather than clinging to their material interests.

                See, “How the British workers’ movement helped end slavery in America” by Joe Mount.
                https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/05/linc-j05.html

              • random person says:

                It should be noted that American entitlement (or other brands of first world entitlement) is not inevitable. On days when I am feeling more optimistic, I hope that it is rooted in ignorance, rather than malice, at least in the majority of cases. If people don’t know how much of what they buy in the markets is made with forced labor or other atrocities, how can they object to what they don’t know about?

                For example, during the US Civil War, Lincoln ordered the blockading of Southern ports, blocking about 95% of cotton exports.

                This threw many, many British workers out of work. In spite of the hardships and oppression they endured, British workers chose to prioritize the cause of ending sl*very, rather than clinging to their material interests.

                See, “How the British workers’ movement helped end sl*very in America” by Joe Mount.
                https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/05/linc-j05.html

              • random person says:

                (Although the title is technically inaccurate. Technically, it should be, ““How the British workers’ movement helped end legalized chattel sl*very in America”, considering that modern sl*very still persists illegally, and also that the 13th Amendment has very large loophole, which allowed convict leasing to take over as a new form of sl*very after the Civil War.)

              • guest says:

                “In so far as the United States is an empire oppressing a significant percentage of the world …”

                By adopting left-wing policies.

                There, I fixed it for you.

                George Washington, from his Farewell Address:

                “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.”

              • random person says:

                Note to other readers: Guest has been KNOWINGLY, DELIBERATELY, and PERSISTENTLY STRAWMANNING ME. I therefore ask that you not believe anything he says or implies about my beliefs, unless you hear it from me directly.

                Thus, I am no longer interested in debating Guest, for the same reason I wouldn’t want to continue to play chess with someone who repeatedly insisted on making my moves for me, falsely claimed to be countering my actual moves, and claimed I was the one being misleading when I tried to correct that person and say I hadn’t actually made the moves he said I did.

                However, I am aware that the purpose of strawmanning is to effectively silence a person from getting their views across to an audience, by convincing the audience that the person actually has the views that the strawmanner says they do, rather than the person’s real views.

                Therefore, I am leaving this standardized response to Guest’s comments from now on, so as to warn readers that Guest is not a reliable source of information about my views. However, it is not a specific response to anything he has written above, which I don’t consider worth my time to read or respond to, based on his past dishonest behavior.

                For further details, see:
                https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045761
                as well as the comment right after it.

                Because Guest is continuing to reply to my comments even though I have made it repeatedly clear I am no longer interested in debating a REMORSELESS STRAWMANNER like him, I am updating my standardized response to list five times when GUEST BLATANTLY STRAWMANNED ME.

                STRAWMAN EXAMPLE NUMBER 1

                I gave an example from the book “Blood and Earth” by Kevin Bales, a real example (Kevin Bales travelled around the planet, to multiple continents, to find real examples) in which a farmer homesteaded a piece of land, planting crops on it, and then a thieving capitalist came along, claimed to own the land that the farmer had homesteaded, and said the farmer could work as a wage laborer for the thieving capitalist. I explained how this form of exploitation was not itself sl*very, but it made the farmer more vulnerable to sl*very, and he did indeed end up in sl*very later in the story.

                It was in this comment:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040606

                Guest then blatantly strawmanned me.

                Since, as an employee, you’re not producing something on your own, and since you’ve obviously decided that you don’t want to plant a garden and make your own clothes when it costs you less in terms of opportunities foregone to go work for a business owner, then that means you have *voluntarily* chosen to work for a wage. That is not exploitation.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040702

                I was not able to read the strawman initially, since there was a delay before the comment was approved to be viewed publicly.

                When I did finally read it, after it was approved so I could actually read it, I replied:

                The fact that you’re writing this tells me that you didn’t bother reading the example I provided. In the example I provided, the employee is producing something on his own without any assistance from the employer, and he DID IN FACT PLANT A GARDEN. 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.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2041639

                And I drew Guest’s attention to said reply here:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042671

                Even after I caught Guest’s strawman and managed to point out to him that I caught it, he displayed extreme entitlement, claiming that his point, even though he had built his argument on a strawman, was the one that mattered, as if strawman arguments ought to take precedent over real ones.

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

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042703

                Guest explained the blatant strawmanning in this case by admitting that he didn’t bother reading many of my comments properly,

                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.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042775

                This is one of the reasons I do not consider it worth it to read and write specific replies to Guest’s comments anymore: it’s a COMPLETE AND UTTER WASTE OF MY TIME TO TRY TO EXPLAIN MY VIEWS TO SOMEONE WHO CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO READ THEM BEFORE WRITING A REPLY. Instead of taking the time to actually read what I write, Guest would rather imagine what he thinks I wrote, and reply to that instead. By not spending time reading my replies, and instead taking the shortcut of imagining what he thinks I wrote, GUEST IS ABLE TO SPEW OUT LIES FAR FASTER THAN I CAN HOPE TO CORRECT THEM.

                STRAWMAN EXAMPLE NUMBER TWO

                Guest made the following strawman argument, demonstrating that he doesn’t know what socialism even is,

                There is no possible version of a “new socialist man” where humans do not have unique preferences and aptitudes.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040576

                I assumed this was a misunderstanding, probably caused by a load of propaganda that misrepresents what socialism is, and attempted to correct it,

                The goal is not to stop humans from having unique preferences and aptitudes. The goal… or at least my main goal, and I suspect a lot of other people would at least partially agree with me … is to stop maniacs like King Leopold II from enforcing their preferences on others by means of extreme brutality. (Not that I hope to single-handedly accomplish such a thing. But at least, that is an optimistic future I am capable of vaguely envisioning, and if it happens to come even partially true, that will make me happy.)

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040606

                However, rather than accepting that he had simply misunderstood, like a normal human being at least attempting to understand the person he is debating, Guest deliberately and blatantly continued to strawman me, going so far as to accuse me of “misleading” him about my own views, acting as if he is some kind of telepath who knows what I think even better than I do.

                Guest quoted me and wrote,

                “The goal is not to stop humans from having unique preferences and aptitudes. The goal… or at least my main goal, and I suspect a lot of other people would at least partially agree with me … is to stop maniacs like King Leopold II from enforcing their preferences on others by means of extreme brutality.”

                First of all, as a socialist your use of clear moral atrocities to make a point is misleading, since you *don’t* believe that it’s necessary to commit these kinds of atrocities – you actually believe that non-equitable outcomes are evil in and of themselves.

                Second, if you try to prevent people from expressing their unique preferences and aptitudes, then you are fighting what it means to be human; Yet, if you permit the expression of unique preferences and aptitudes, then you logically allow unequitable outcomes, because differences create arbitrage opportunities that are logically available to some and not to others.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040702

                Thus, even when Guest does actually bother reading my attempts to reply to his strawmans, it’s pointless. He has no qualms about pretending to be a telepath and accusing me of misleading him about my own views. It’s not like I’m even a powerful person like King Leopold II, and there is any example of my using power for hypocritical ends, since again, I’m not a powerful person: Guest is simply pretending like he is a telepath. IT IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER WASTE OF MY TIME TO TRY TO EXPLAIN MY VIEWS TO SOMEONE WHO JUST ACCUSES ME OF “MISLEADING” HIM ABOUT MY OWN VIEWS. I believe this extreme level of strawmanning overlaps with gaslighting.

                STRAWMAN EXAMPLE NUMBER 3

                Since Guest clearly didn’t have a clue what socialism was, I tried to explain,

                A socialist is simply a person who believes that workers deserve human rights. If you agree with the statement, “Employers should not hit their employees,” then you are probably at least a little bit of a socialist. Now, since different people have different ideas of what human rights are, and about what should be done to fight for human rights, there are many different kinds of socialists.

                However, since even a minimal definition of human rights should include the right to not be murdered without at least a trial by jury (or similiar procedure), committing mass murder is, by definition, not socialist, just as ens***ing millions of Africans is, by definition, not abolitionist. I have no doubt that there are mass murderers who have claimed to be socialists, just as King Leopold II claimed to be an abolitionist, but that does not mean they were actually socialists, it just means either they were liars or other liars had them so confused that they didn’t know what the term meant.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040606

                Guest refused to be enlightened by this.

                BS. A socialist is someone who believes that workers are logically exploited by employers because socialists believe that labor is the foundation of value – in effect, socialists believe they have rights to other people’s stuff.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/05/bob-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2040702

                Note that, if Guest really believed that his definition of socialism was the correct one, and mine was wrong, he should have, at a bare minimum, accepted that my definition of socialism was at least valid for my self-identity, and subsequently concluded that, although I self-identify as a socialist using my own definition, I do not meet his definition of a socialist. However, as is apparently from the other strawmanning examples, this is not what he did: instead, he tried to pretend that his definition of socialism was an accurate description of my beliefs, and that’s what makes raises this to the level of a strawman, rather than a simple disagreement over definitions.

                STRAWMAN EXAMPLE NUMBER 4

                In a way, this was a continuation of strawman example number one. Even after I caught him not reading the example I gave, and subsequently writing a strawman response as if I’d given a completely different response, and even after he admitted to not bothering to read much of what I write, Guest continued to insist his strawman argument was accurate.

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

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042775

                To which I replied,

                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.

                Note the difference between the real argument:
                So far the empirical observations of myself and certain other socialists extend, wage labor is always preceded by mass theft from peasant proprietors. A social relation that only occurs in such unfree conditions is exploitation, and, so far as our empirical observations observe, wage labor only occurs under such unfree conditions. Therefore, wage labor can empirically be considered exploitative. Potential counter evidence would be if someone presented an example of wage labor occuring under genuinely free conditions, not preceded by mass theft.

                And the strawman argument:
                Socialist consider wage labor exploitative even if no one steals from a homesteader.

                There is a difference between believing that wage labor is exploitative even if no one steals from a homesteader, and believing that wage labor never occurs in the first place without theft from homesteaders.

                Rather than accept my explanation, Guest continued strawmanning me, repeatedly attacking me with a quote-mining strawman, in spite of being corrected repeatedly.

                Quote mining is when you quote someone out of context, in order to change the meaning of the quote.

                Quote mining attack here:
                consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042797

                I corrected Guest here:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042802

                Here, in spite of repeatedly demonstrating THAT HE HAS NO INTENTION OF ACCURATELY REPRESENTING WHAT MY VIEWS EVEN ARE, Guest accused my world view of murdering tends and hundreds of thousands of people,

                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.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042807

                I believe that, before you accuse someone of having a view that murders “tens and hundreds of thousands of people”, you should make sure that you accurately describe what a person’s view even is. However, Guest clearly has no intention of even trying to do that. However, this makes it apparent what Guest’s motive is for repeatedly STRAWMANNING me: he wishes to scapegoat me for tens of thousands of murders I had nothing to do with. Guest is engaged in a witch hunt, not a legitimate debate. He has no respect whatsoever for truth or justice.

                Here, guest continued to quote me out of context, and even blatantly lied and claimed that he wasn’t doing so. It’s not like he didn’t read my correction. Having read it, he simply continued strawmanming me, showing that he is addicted to lying.
                consultingbyrpm. [dot] om/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042838

                And here I corrected him again here, and explained why deleting some of my words as he did served his strawman.
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042847

                Here guest blatantly lied and said that he wasn’t strawmanning me, even though he was and I had just caught him.
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042853

                And I explained yet again why is argument was a strawman:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2042927

                Guest’s repeated insistance that he wasn’t strawmanning me, even when I repeatedly explained to him that he was, shows that IT IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER WASTE OF MY TIME TO CONTINUE DEBATING HIM. HIS EXTREME, REPEATED, PREMEDIDATED STRAWMANS RISE TO THE LEVEL OF GASLIGHTING. HE IS TRYING TO LIE TO ME REPEATEDLY ABOUT MY OWN OPINIONS.

                STRAWMAN EXAMPLE NUMBER 5:

                Here, I wrote about how conqueror-landlords caused the Irish famine:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045597

                Note that my comment says nothing at all about free markets. It’s about theft, and how mass theft caused a famine, not about free markets. If you click the link I provided, the link says nothing about free markets either.

                Guest replied,

                Once again, it was government intervention, not free markets, that was responsible for poverty and famine.

                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045620

                I never claimed that free markets caused the poverty and famine. I said that mass theft caused the poverty and famine, and went into detail on the form of mass theft in question. I didn’t say anything at all, one way or the other, about free markets.

                Guest then proceeded to quote something that even seemed to agree with me a little bit, in so far as it referred to the Irish peasants as “landless serfs”, which I interpet to mean the author agreed with me that the Irish were being robbed, but which for the most part was not an actual reply to what I had written — although the author appeared to agree with me that the Irish were being robbed, at least in the quote given, he was primarily interested in discussing other aspects of the famine — namely, the Corn Laws and their repeal.

                I think the most likely explanation is that Guest didn’t bother reading the comment he was replying to. Consider above when Guest wrote, “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” as an explanation for a previous strawman. However, on the off-chance that he did actually bother reading what I had written, an even darker explanation emerges. Perhaps Guest views “the freedom to run around robbing people to death” as one of the “freedoms” essential to “free markets”, but rather than simply make the specific accusation that I don’t believe that “capitalists should have the freedom to run around robbing people to death”, he made the more vague accusation that I was simply against the “free market”, in order act as if I had some opinion about the Corn Laws, even though in fact I said nothing about the Corn Laws. I believe this would be equivocation, in addition to being a strawman, since my opinion on whether capitalists should be allowed to run around robbing people to death has nothing to do with my opinion or lack thereof on the Corn Laws. However, I think it is more generous to assume that Guest simply failed to read what he was replying to.

                Regardless of whether the strawman was caused by failure to read, or something more sinsister, note the difference between the real argument, and the strawman argument:

                Real argument:
                The Irish people had the right to not be robbed to death by their thieving landlords, who had obtained the land by conquest, and not by any morally legitimate means.

                Strawman argument:
                Something about the Corn laws. (It’s honestly not even that clear what Guest thought my views about the Corn Laws were, but whatever it was, it was a strawman, since I didn’t say anything about them.)

                I explained here that Guest’s accusation that I was blaming the famine on free markets was a strawman:
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html?replytocom=2045622#respond

                And I explained here that this was the sort of strawman that Guest likes to make repeatedly,
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045626

                Essentially, it seems Guest really appears to argue with me over “free markets” or “free trade”. I didn’t want to argue on this topic, even before I got tired of reading his comments, because I consider the terms ambiguous, meaning too many different things to too many different people. Since I haven’t really expressed an opinion on “free markets” or “free trade” other than that the terms mean very different things to different people, but Guest really wants to debate me on them anyway, he simply fabricates a strawman position – namely, he claims I am against them, even when I am talking about something completely different, like mass theft. Essentially, he’s using a strawman argument to try to argue with me about a topic I don’t want to argue about, because I have little opinion about it, other than that it’s too ambiguous to be a good topic for debate.

                One time, I did briefly assume that maybe Guest was using Edmund Dene Morel’s definition of a free market, but he quoted mined that disclaimer out of my quote when replying to me.
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045690
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045694

                Guest continued to reply with a strawman on the same theme,

                You, yourself, literally believe that it’s a good thing for there to be central planning over an economy because you think that markets, left to themselves, cause poverty.

                I explained here that this was a strawman, considering that “central planning” was a term that Guest and I could not even agree on a definiton for.
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045699

                And after thinking about that for a little bit, I decided I was tired of reading Guest’s comments anymore.
                consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/07/catching-up-on-the-podcast-murphy-triple-play.html#comment-2045761

                I am tired of debating with someone who writes things like, “You, yourself, literally believe” following by a completely fabricated strawman. I am tired of debating with someone who can’t be bothered to read much of what I write before replying to it, and would rather imagine what I wrote than read what I wrote. I am tired of debating with someone who strawmans me to the point of gaslighting, pretending to be a telapath and accusing me of misleading him about my own beliefs. I am tired of debating with someone who quotes me out of context on purpose and refuses to be corrected even when I repeatedly point out that he quoted me out of context. I am tired of debating someone’s whose strawman arguments arise not from simple misunderstanding, but from a deliberate effort to gaslight me about my own beliefs. I do not have the time or the energy to continue to waste on this nonsense.

              • Harold says:

                “Note to other readers:…”
                Yes, I get that. I take your comments as your comments, not filtered through Guest.

                The idea of a “living wage” is clearly no just that will support life. It is that which will support a reasonable life in your environment. We can aspire to everyone in the world sharing “first world” standards, but sadly we are far from that at present.

                The fact is, everyone in the developed world has massive privilege compared to the less developed world. We could talk intersectionality here. Black people in US have great privilege compared to black people in less developed countries. They have less privilege than white folks in US. This is not a reason for black people in USA to shrug their shoulders and say “I have some privilege”

                Taking a pragmatic approach, we are not going to even out these privileges overnight.
                I think you take the view that we should look at the vast differences that exist, and perhaps worry less about the fine distinctions between privilege amongst the already privileged.

                I can see that from a philosophical view, that is very reasonable. But from a practical view, it is not.

                So I promote a gentler view. Please let us recognise that everyone in the “West” has inherited great privilege. Just by being born into an extremely wealthy society, we have that privilege.

                We “should” recognise that some of this has come at the expense of other cultures and societies. Our wealth was gotten on the labour of others. We should at the very least recognise this. The very existence of many countries that exist today are a reflection of Colonial interests, rather than a reflection of local interests. We “should” accept this, and work towards making things better.

                But again from a pragmatic view, nobody is going to make themselves worse off to even things up. It might contribute a lot to the general good if US jobs are displaced to other countries, but that is not going to placate US individuals who are less well off than they used to be, even if it makes the world as a whole better off.

                Arguments for the world simply do not work. My view is to do what you can that will actually work. It is incremental, but it might succeed. Going for all in one step will not succeed.

              • guest says:

                “It might contribute a lot to the general good if US jobs are displaced to other countries …”

                What you *think* you’re saying is, “American jobs need to be redistributed equitably across the world so that the wealth from those jobs gets redistributed.”

                But your position, as far as foreigners being allowed to “take American jobs” is entirely a right-wing position.

                Right-wingers, nowadays, only favor keeping foreign competition out because they’ve adopted left-wing protectionist positions.

                Jonesin’ for a Soda
                [www]https://mises.org/library/jonesin-soda

                “American soda is sweetened with artificial-tasting high-fructose corn syrup, while foreign sodas are made with natural cane sugar. Why would the American public accept such a mediocre substitute?

                “Those who have drunk foreign sodas know that American soda is awful. Why? On the free market, consumers drive production, whereas under a system of protectionist corporatism, politicians and bureaucrats guide the market. With free competition, companies best able to satisfy consumer demand are the ones that expand production and stay in business; the consumer is king. …”

                “… In the absence of tariffs, importation quotas, and subsidies, the natural tendency of the market would be to produce cheap foreign sugar, which soda manufacturers would then import to sweeten their product. Domestic farmers are naturally opposed to this system because they cannot compete with more-efficient foreign firms.”

                Think about this: One of the greatest harms you could do to people of color is to make sure that *only* people of color would get the “protections” of the Minimum Wage law.

                I dare lefties to reduce the Minimum Wage of whites to $0.

                You believe the Minimum Wage helps people? Prove it.

                What would happen is you would destroy people of color in short order.

  6. Tel says:

    I sentimentally feel kinship with Jordan Peterson, in as much as he supports free markets an opposes Communism … unfortunately his mannerisms and examples drive me nuts.

    To throw one thing out there, if Peterson is going to invite someone on his show then at least now and then the guest should get the chance to explain a fulsome idea without constant interruption. Peterson might consider taking a deep breath, relaxing, and letting the thing flow a bit … in order to make it intelligible, if for no other reason.

    As for his examples, I mean I get it that he is trying hard to get his head around this, but how does this make sense? Peterson once knew a bunch of people who got ripped off and paid way too much for a private island, then they ran into financial difficulty trying to be self sufficient … ergo no one can be self sufficient?!? Perhaps some better examples can be found … I mean, at one stage nearly every family or village (i.e. extended family) around the world was self sufficient, but those were not the days of huge real estate loans either.

    OK, personal grumbles aside, let’s hope more people read the book “Choice” because it’s a great book and I have a feeling there’s a lot of fairly high profile people (like Jordan Peterson, and not doubt many others) who will benefit from reading “Choice” but who would never be bothered reading “Human Action” because it’s too cumbersome.

    • Harold says:

      I read quite a bit of “Human Action” on Mises.com. I can see why it might have looked good in the 1940’s. As a philosophical work, it looks sadly lacking today. It was not that it was cumbersome, but that it was full of flaws, assumptions and things that contradict modern understanding.

      Mises had some good points, but it really makes no sense to base a whole philosophy bottom up from his speculations. The idea of human action is useful, but if it means there is no such thing as irrational behaviour, then it is being stretched beyond its usefulness.

      • Tel says:

        Who gets to define what is rational?

        Is there a certificate for that?

      • guest says:

        “The idea of human action is useful, but if it means there is no such thing as irrational behaviour, then it is being stretched beyond its usefulness.”

        Your perspective usually comes from a misunderstanding of how the word “irrational” is being used.

        It’s not that Mises denies that people make irrational decisions, but rather that in making the irrational decision, the acting man *believes* he is doing something that will result in his desired end.

        His actions conform to his beliefs. That’s all that is meant by the word “rational”.

        The point in saying this is that all (deliberate) human action conforms to a means-end framework. The larger points being that 1) the value of goods comes from the ends of the individual, and 2) that since all deliberate actions involve the employment of goods toward some ends vs. others, all actions bear on supply and prices and therefore have economic relevance.

        Some more resources on this topic of “rationality”:

        [Duration: 2:16]
        Praxeology 101 – Lesson 5 – The Rationality of Action
        [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx_Rz0jDo80

        [Duration: 13:52]
        Critics Say, “You Libertarians Are Soulless Materialists”
        [www]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZGtcNcyyTI

        • guest says:

          Also this:

          What Do Austrians Mean by “Rational”?
          [www]https://mises.org/library/what-do-austrians-mean-rational

        • Harold says:

          “His actions conform to his beliefs. That’s all that is meant by the word “rational”.”
          yes, exactly.
          If the belief is not rational, then we mostly consider the action irrational.
          But not by Mises.
          The action is always rational, because it is based on the motivations of the individual.

          The “bird phobic” person is behaving rationally by never leaving their house in case a bird attacks them. From their perspective it is rational. But most of us can see that this is actually irrational behaviour.

          Mises was clear to differentiate action from psychology. The reason for the motivation was not to be considered, whether it was instinct or psychosis or delusion.

          This renders “action” as always rational as an empty concept. It is not really possible to separate action from psychology. The attempt is empty, as tautologies often are.

          • guest says:

            “This renders “action” as always rational as an empty concept. It is not really possible to separate action from psychology. The attempt is empty, as tautologies often are.”

            It’s not empty, it bears on economics.

            The *reason* you buy goods to protect you from birds is irrelevant to the fact that your purchase creates incentives to produce more of such goods, and that in so producint, the materials used have not been used to produce something else that other people may want.

            And that, in turn, affects the price of those materials.

            Conversely, all of the intense psychological feelings in the world accompanying one’s desire to do something they feel is important has absolutely zero economic relevance if those feelings are not acted upon.

            Your feelings don’t affect the economy at all, only action does.

  7. random person says:

    Reply to Harold, resetting indentation, continuing from up here:
    consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/09/my-appearance-on-the-jordan-peterson-podcast.html#comment-2051213

    Harold wrote,

    I can see that from a philosophical view, that is very reasonable. But from a practical view, it is not.

    But again from a pragmatic view, nobody is going to make themselves worse off to even things up.

    I think you are using two different definitions of “reasonable”… a “philosophical” definition and a “practical/pragmatic” definition.

    So far as your idea of a “practical/pragmatic” definition goes (so far as I understand it….)

    “Let us be reasonable, and only demand things that our opponents will agree to,” said no conqueror, military general, or revolutionary ever (so far as I know).

    In “Maxims for Revolutionists”, George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
    gutenberg [dot] org/cache/epub/26107/pg26107.html

    Allen Nelson spends about 15 minutes expanding on George Bernard Shaw’s point (or at least, Allen Nelson’s interpretation of George Bernard Shaw’s point) in a TedX talk:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cuLRMz5yh0

    “Be unreasonable” is advice you will hear from motivational speakers from all across the political spectrum, as well as from outside the political spectrum, because there is a truth in it: that the people who tend to have the biggest impacts on the world, whether for good or for evil, tend to be most unreasonable. If you check google, there’s like a ton of coaching websites, for many different kinds of coaching, that contain some form of the advice, “be unreasonable”.

    google [dot] com/search?q=%22be+unreasonable%22+coaching

    On the flip side, “be reasonable” is a common message that victims of domestic violence get from their domestic abusers. For example, in “How He Gets Into Her Head: The Mind of the Male Intimate Abuser”, Don Hennessy wrote,

    The skilled offender can set it up so that the target’s sensitivities come to be seen as weaknesses and her ability to introduce them into any discussion is limited by her growing belief that they are not reasonable. She is constantly being told that the abuse is not a problem but that her unreasonableness is making the relationship tense.

    Harold wrote,

    The fact is, everyone in the developed world has massive privilege compared to the less developed world. We could talk intersectionality here. Black people in US have great privilege compared to black people in less developed countries. They have less privilege than white folks in US. This is not a reason for black people in USA to shrug their shoulders and say “I have some privilege”

    Taking a pragmatic approach, we are not going to even out these privileges overnight.
    I think you take the view that we should look at the vast differences that exist, and perhaps worry less about the fine distinctions between privilege amongst the already privileged.

    Privilege isn’t the exact word I’m looking for. It lacks specificity, since some privileges may be just, and should be extended to everyone, and some may be unjust, and should be given to no one. (And, I suppose, some may be “situationally just” and “situationally unjust”, but at least, the same terms and conditions should apply to all.)

    Picture if you will, Caesar, who, according to Plutarch, ensl*ved one million Gauls, and killed another million. Picture the Romans debating over how these one million Gallic sl*ves (or the money from their sales) should be distributed. Some say that Caesar should receive the lion’s share, because it was Caesar’s ingenuity that lead to the successful conquest of Gaul. Another says that the sl*ves (or money from their sales) should be distributed equally among the soldiers who helped with the conquest of Gaul. Another, claiming to be more moderate, says that while Caesar should receive more than an average soldier, each soldier should receive at least some minimum payment. Yet another says the previous suggestion would hurt soldiers, by causing Julius Caesar to fire those who hadn’t contributed enough to the campaign, leading to their unemployment. Yet another says that the money from the sale of the sl*ves should be distributed among all Roman citizens. Yet another says that just allowing all Roman citizens to benefit from the conquest regardless of whether they contributed in any way, shape, or form, would be counterproductive to Roman military greatness, since it would discourage Roman citizens from signing up to join the legions.

    And then, another says that the ensl*ved Gauls should be freed to return home to Gaul, given whatever from Caesar’s estate wish to carry back with them as reparations, and given Caesar himself to try as a war criminal in accordance with their customs. And also, that all forced military recruitment should end, and that land should be taken away from Roman sl*veholders, the sl*ves freed, and said land redistributed to the freed sl*ves and the dispossessed Roman peasantry.

    Incidentally, Cato the Younger actually did accuse Julius Caesar of war crimes against Germania (which I believe included Gaul). This reference unfortunately does not go into much detail, but I believe I recall reading or hearing elsewhere that Cato wished for Julius Caesar to be handed over to the Gauls as a war criminal.
    livius [dot] org/articles/person/caesar/caesar-06/

    According to Plutarch, when he was 14, having seen that Sulla was murdering people from opposing political parties, Cata the Younger once said, “Why do you not give me a sword, that I may kill him, and rid my country of the tyrant?”
    en [dot] wikisource [dot] org/wiki/The_Children%27s_Plutarch:_Tales_of_the_Romans/The_Man_Who_Seldom_Laughed

    Unfortunately, Cato was not an abolitonist. Although it is said that he trudged on foot while his servants rode on horseback, this still does not clear him of the crime of being an ensl*ver.

    When I hear US citizens arguing over minimum wage, it sounds to me like so many Romans arguing over how to distribute war booty. The more worthwhile voices, I believe, are the ones arguing for a) reparations, b) a transition to some economy not based on war, and c) pointing out other injustices, e.g. the tendency of US police officers to be more likely to kill black people for no good reason.

    I think one of Marx’s great contributions was how he pointed out that the main problem with capitalism was the expropriation of the peasant from the land. This applies to the British enclosures, as well as to the kidnapping of the Africans from Africa, as well as to the genocide of American Indians and the theft of their land). If people had proper access to land, and were free to earn their own livings from the soil, there would be no need for wages to go out and buy war booty. Of course, we shouldn’t give Marx too much credit. He wasn’t the first to notice, but he did explain it in a way that resonated with a lot of people.

    And it was this perspective that allowed Marx to be in solidarity both with oppressed English wage workers during the cotton famine (when Lincoln blockaded southern ports) and with the ensl*ved black people in the United States. If the real reason for the suffering of the English poor was not Lincoln’s blockade of sl*ve grown cotton, but actually the theft of land from English peasants during the enclosures, then it is easier to make the case that the interests of the English poor actually align with morality (at least in the endgame, even if not always in the immediate future).

    I believe I already gave you this link, but I would strongly encourage you to look at it. It is titled, “How the British workers’ movement helped end sl*very in America”, although a more accurate title would be “How the British workers’ movement helped attempt to end sl*very in America” (considering that the Civil War was ultimately unsuccessful, that sl*very evolved into “convict leasing” shortly after the Civil War, and that sl*very persist in the United States to this day, although these days it is often called “human trafficking”.)
    wsws [dot] org/en/articles/2015/01/05/linc-j05.html

    A key paragraph, if you don’t wish to read the whole thing,

    The Confederacy wagered that British workers would rise up against the “cotton famine” caused by the Union blockade of Southern ports, and that this, combined with British ruling class sympathy for the South, would compel a British and French intervention against the Union. Instead, the overwhelming opposition of British workers to sl*very proved a critical factor in preventing British recognition of the Confederacy.

    There’s also a book titled, “British Workers & the US Civil War: How Karl Marx and the Lancashire Weavers Joined Abraham Lincoln’s Fight Against Sl*very” by James Heartfield, and you can find a 4 paragraph review of it on Amazon.
    amazon [dot] com/British-Workers-Civil-War-Lancashire/dp/0956806120

    Also see:
    banmarchive [dot] org [dot] uk/collections/shs/pdf/cotton.pdf

    Essentially, the British elite (not unanimously, but by and large) favored British intervention on the side of the Confederacy in order that they might resume shipments of sl*ve-grown cotton. The expected the working class — particularly, those in the textile industry — to support them, because the cotton famine was throwing wage workers into unemployment and other bad circumstances. However, the British working class — including those most severely affected by the cotton famine — chose to side with the Emancipation Proclamation instead. The pro-sl*very elites attempted to use propaganda to influence the working class to support British intervention in favor of the Confederacy, but failed. Marx was quite happy about this and apparently played some role in the matter.

    If people never agreed to things that made them materially worse off, at least in the short run, the British workers would not have sided with morality. But apparently, sometimes people put moral principles over short term material benefits, so it did happen.

    I think maybe terms like “intersectionality”, although they have some truth in them, don’t smell quite right. The ruling classes have a long history of using divide and conquer tactics, and part of that is trying to erase the history of solidarity been various oppressed peoples who aren’t oppressed in exactly the same ways. E.g. the history of solidarity been black people and American Indians (discussed in “Black Indians” by William Loren Katz), the history of solidary between indentured servants (many of whom were forced into indentured servitude without any agreement on their part) and black people in chattel sl*very, the history of solidarity between the Irish and the Choctaw and Cherokee Nation, and the history of the solidarity between the textile mill workers of Manchester and the ensl*ved black people. People who talk about intersectionality… like, they are right not not all oppressed people are oppressed in the same ways, however, I feel like the long history of solidarity between various peoples who are oppressed in different ways doesn’t quite fit into their framework, and this smells wrong to me. Like the theory of “intersectionality” is something that originated from a ruling class either seeking to erase, or perhaps having forgotten, this history, and not something from grassroots organizers with an interest in building solidarity. On the other hand, it could be that everyone I have listened to simply explained intersectionality to me poorly.

    That said, when I look at the Chocktaw Nation website, in the section where they commemorate their solidarity with the Irish people, I read,

    Two ancient peoples. A modern-day connection. Nothing divides the Choctaw people from the Irish except for the ocean.

    Both the Choctaw Nation and Ireland were, in effect, colonized by outside powers. Their ancient tongues almost became extinct, and have been rescued from oblivion and made into working languages again through concerted effort and sophisticated approaches. Both peoples have successfully preserved their cultures and traditions.

    Their relationship began in 1847, when the Choctaws—who had only recently arrived over the ruinous “trail of tears and death” to what is now Oklahoma—took up a donation and collected over $5,000 (in today’s money) to support the Irish during the Potato Famine. The famine ravaged Ireland during the 1840s.

    The Choctaws’ donation was sent to the town of Midleton in County Cork, south of Dublin. There, many decades later, the townspeople realized their aid had come from a people who were themselves in a very unique set of circumstances—reestablishing their society and their government after the long and painful migration.

    Irish President Mary Robinson visited the Choctaw Nation in 1995 to rekindle and reestablish the friendship, and thank Choctaws for their aid to Midleton. Some years later, in 2017, a sculpture commemorating the Choctaws and their gift, known as “Kindred Spirits,” was dedicated in a beautiful park in Midleton.

    choctawnation [dot] com/history-culture/history/choctaw-and-ireland-history

    The page goes on, but says nothing about intersectionality. And I really don’t feel like a discussion on intersectionality would do anything to improve it.

    Harold wrote,

    The idea of a “living wage” is clearly no just that will support life. It is that which will support a reasonable life in your environment. We can aspire to everyone in the world sharing “first world” standards, but sadly we are far from that at present.

    Maybe it’s not just about supporting life, but it should still be defined in a global way. If we have some set of criteria to use to judge if someone is earning a “living wage” (or “living income”, if they aren’t a wage earner), that should be same same set of criteria, regardless of whether they are living in the United States, Argentina, or the Congo. A person is a person is a person, regardless of where he or she lives.

    And, while I do think there’s a strong case to be made for establishing standards that are higher than merely supporting life, I don’t think “first world” standards are the right ones to use. “First world” standards are the standards of thieves. Sure, it’s easy to support a high standard of living (at least by some measurements) when you simply rob other people to support your standard of living. (I say some measurements, because it’s really quite debatable when you think of the suffering of targets of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual harassment, psychiatric prisoners, etc.) But, stopping short of either designing robots to do all the undesirable work, or else finding an alien species to ensl*ve (both of which would raise other ethnical problems), it’s not possible to extend a lifestyle based on enjoying pillaging and plundering and looting to all of humanity.

    A better standard might be based on the study cultures who achieved reasonable standard of living *without* resorting to rape, pillage, plunder, and forced labor. (Or, if we find it difficult to find examples that would meet those criteria in purist terms, then at least, cultures who did far less of those things.)

    To that end, consider hunter-gatherer societies. Although recent research suggests that may be a bit of a misnomer, and that so-called hunter-gatherer societies actually engaged in more agriculture that they are often given credit for.

    Anyway, misnomer or not, according to Marshall Sahlins and a number of other historians and anthropologists, hunter gatherer societies were far more affluent, and the people had far more time, than the typical propaganda would suggest. Apparently, the only spent an estimated three to five hours per day working — far less than the US standard of 40 hours per week — and had a lot more free time. (And I have noticed that 40 hours per week really isn’t much of a standard even in the US. Many people I know work a lot more hours than the alleged standard.)
    appropriate-economics [dot] org/materials/Sahlins.pdf

    In “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States”, James C. Scott carries this idea to the conclusion that hunter gatherers and other stateless peoples were forcibly recruited into civilization, by means such as raiding, ensl*vement, and forced relocation (to places where the tax collectors could easily find them), and gives historical examples to support his argument.

    So I think, the “standard of living” of a people who shop at markets filled with war loot should not be the standard of living that we count as a “living wage” or “living income”. Instead, we should compare people’s standards of living to that of hunter gatherers and other stateless peoples. Apparently, this is in some ways a higher standard of living, and in other ways a lower standard of living — more free time, less food insecurity, but also no electronics. (Not that you need to immediately stop using your electronics, since unfortunately, you live in this world, not a more perfect one, but you should accept the possibility that in a better world, there might not be any electronics for you to use.)

    Harold wrote,

    The fact is, everyone in the developed world has massive privilege compared to the less developed world.

    I don’t know about “everyone”. Statistically, almost everyone, but not literally “everyone”. Even the United States still has forced labor, on US soil (not just goods made with forced labor being imported, though that also happens). It’s illegal now, except for prison labor, and sometimes even gets prosecuted, but unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped. A lot of people called it “human trafficking” now, but what they’re generally discussing is contemporary sl*very. Plus the United States also has other forms of torture, not necessarily linked to forced labor. Consider, for example, the way psychiatrists treat people who are locked in mental institutions.

    I’ve also read that 0.11 % (0 point 11 percent) of Americans meet the global definition of extreme poverty, which is trying to live under approximately $PPP 2 per day. Domestic violence is not taken into account when calculating $PPP, or else the number might be higher, but still: the general point is that extreme poverty, defined in global terms, is very rare in the United States, but still not completely non-existent.

    vox [dot] com/future-perfect/2019/6/5/18650492/2019-poverty-2-dollar-a-day-edin-shaefer-meyer

    Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter wrote an excellent book on the subject of contemporary forced labor on US soil, “The Sl*ve Next Door: Human Trafficking and Sl*very in America Today”.

    If you don’t want to read the whole book, you can find an online review here to confirm the book exists and at least get the gist of it:
    google [dot] com/search?q=Next+Door+review+site%3Aips-dc.org+kevin+bales+ron+soodalter

    I remember seeing in a documentary somewhere, that some criminals were switching from trading in illegal drugs to trafficking women, because the enforcement against human trafficking was so tiny compared to the enforcement against trading in illegal drugs, that trafficking women was actually a far lower risk for these criminals than trading in illegal drugs. I think that’s a huge problem. *If* the US government actually cared about human rights, a good step to take would be to convert the DEA into ACSA (Anti Contemporary Sl*very Agency) instead, to just take all those existing resources and expertise and repurpose them towards fighting forced labor. Note that this wouldn’t be enough to transform the world into a utopia… I am merely suggesting it would be an improvement, relative to the status quo.

    Harold wrote,

    It might contribute a lot to the general good if US jobs are displaced to other countries, but that is not going to placate US individuals who are less well off than they used to be, even if it makes the world as a whole better off.

    I think this is the wrong goal.

    The following is a quote from “eSCAPE: The 4 Stages of Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur” by Anik Singal. Overall, it’s a very pro-capitalist book, but I think this particular passage is rather socialist. I guess that’s because, people don’t always fit neatly into ideological categories. Anyway, from Chapter 5 of that book,

    My theory is that we’re actually all born Entrepreneurs at heart, but the system beats it out of us. Let me explain…

    Babies are incredible learners. Have you ever watched a toddler? Their ability to learn and adapt to new environments is amazing. Their ability to build creative solutions is equally as impressive.

    Just think about the first year of life. Babies learn to sit up, eat, crawl, walk, run, talk, build with blocks and so much more. The best part is that they fail repeatedly during this time, but it never seems to hold them back.

    For example, imagine a child trying to walk. They fall over and over and over, yet it never phases them. They don’t stop trying until they’re finally walking. Basically, all they know is that they can do it. They look around and see everyone else around them walking, so they keep trying until they succeed. They have no other outcome in their mind.

    Just consider it for a moment – this very way of thinking and being is incredibly Entrepreneurial in its own right. They see that their method of movement, crawling, si slower than everyone else’s. So they take ownership of solving their problem no matter how many times they fail.

    The problem is that this Entrepreneurial spirit begins to crumble, piece by piece, once we start being told what to do by those around us. The first time we hear the word ‘no’ or the first time we’re stopped from exploring our curiousity, it begins a process that lasts for decades.

    We’re surrounded by authoritative figures who start to shape what we believe we can and cannot do.

    As we get older and progress through grade school, life becomes defined by the expectations set by other people. Our parents begin to make decisions for us. They decide what after-school activities we enroll in, what time we sleep, what food we eat and so much more. When we’re not with our parents, we have teachers and coaches who make a living telling us what to do.

    It isn’t long before we start prioritizing pleasing others over our own wishes and dreams. We start valuing ourselves by the praise we receive from others. Essentially, we focus on their goals for us, not our own.

    It actually gets worse from there.

    As we go through grade school, we start studying for exams and trying to perfect our grades. Why? Well, because we need to get into college. Everything about us will be summarized on a few pages and suddenly strangers we’ve never met will read these few pages to determine whether we’re worhty enough to gain admission to their university.

    So now we’re working years and year to impress someone we’ll never even meet!

    Then we actually make it into college and right away begin building a resume so that we can impress a recruiter someday in the hopes of getting a job.

    Again, we’re working hard to impress others, studying and doing the things they deem important.

    Let’s assume that all goes well and we finally get a job. Our days of needing to impress other people are finished, right? Not even close. We’ve actually paced ourselves in this cycle for the rest of our lives.

    We’ll get up every morning and go to sleep every night working to impress our boss, praying for a promotion, and hoping to get wealthy through our salary raises.

    The worst part is that through all these experiences, never once are we learning to think about our own dreams or prioritize our own wishes. It’s literally not in our upbringing or in our educational system.

    Alright, so, as I said, in spite of this rather socialist-sounding passage, Anik Singal seems to be pro-capitalism overall, and the book is mainly about learning to work within capitalism to achieve your dreams.

    Then again, some strategies for dismantling capitalism may involve working within the system. For example, in Chapter 8 of “Ending Sl*very: How We Free Today’s Sl*ves”, Kevin Bales gives an example of 12 children freed from sl*very who used the reparations money provided to them by the Indian government to buy a bunch of cows. The cows improved the wealth of the village, and the boys also organized a Community Vigilance Committee to prevent future kidnappings in their village. They didn’t need “jobs”, they just needed cows, apparently.

    A world where peasants aren’t expropriated from the land would probably be a world where 100% of the working population were entrepreneurs, with no jobs to be found anywhere. And perhaps no one would want to make electronics, and that’s okay, because no one should be forced to.

    Harold wrote,

    Yes, I get that. I take your comments as your comments, not filtered through Guest.

    Thanks for that.

    • random person says:

      They didn’t need “jobs”, they just needed cows, apparently.

      Correction: I should have said that they just needed cows, freedom, and a bit of confidence.

    • guest says:

      “If people had proper access to land, and were free to earn their own livings from the soil, there would be no need for wages to go out and buy war booty.”

      Then why do laborers working for capitalists make more than laborers that work the land?

      Apparently, Marx could never answer this question.

      If people had proper access to land and were free to earn their own livings from the soil, they would sell their land and voluntarily go work in factories that pay more.

      Why do you think the government pays farmers to *not* grow crops? It’s because the more of any good there is, the less it trades for on the market.

      Paying farmers to not work artificially raises crop prices, which farmers like.

    • random person says:

      Anyway, misnomer or not, according to Marshall Sahlins and a number of other historians and anthropologists, hunter gatherer societies were far more affluent, and the people had far more time, than the typical propaganda would suggest. Apparently, the only spent an estimated three to five hours per day working — far less than the US standard of 40 hours per week — and had a lot more free time. (And I have noticed that 40 hours per week really isn’t much of a standard even in the US. Many people I know work a lot more hours than the alleged standard.)
      appropriate-economics [dot] org/materials/Sahlins.pdf

      It occurs to me that I should back up my suspicion that the US standard is actually longer than 40 hours with more than just personal observation, so I found this article, which says that for full-time workers in the United States, the average is actually 47 hours per week, with 18% of US workers working 50+ hours per week, and another 21% working 50 to 59 hours per week.

      https://news.gallup.com/poll/175286/hour-workweek-actually-longer-seven-hours.aspx

      • random person says:

        with 18% of US workers working 50+ hours per week, and another 21% working 50 to 59 hours per week.

        Typo correction: with 18% of US workers working 60+ hours per week, and another 21% working 50 to 59 hours per week.

    • guest says:

      “When I hear US citizens arguing over minimum wage, it sounds to me like so many Romans arguing over how to distribute war booty.”

      You mean like that time when Lefties could look at that Covington Catholic School kid smiling at that indian, and they knew the kid was being racist because they’d seen that racist face a million times before?

      Funny how racist smiles look exactly like standing your ground in the face of harassment, huh?

      Cuz it “sounds to me like” Lefties aren’t very good at reading people.

      (Again, probably due to an inability to compartmentalize.)

  8. random person says:

    To: Tel

    Continuing from up here:
    consultingbyrpm [dot] com/blog/2021/09/my-appearance-on-the-jordan-peterson-podcast.html#comment-2051494

    Tel wrote,

    During the era of the Model T and then Model A Ford (i.e. 1920’s and 1930’s

    I think you might have mistyped. The Model A Ford began production in 1903.

    https://www.thehenryford.org/collections-and-research/digital-collections/artifact/48168/

    During that time, wild rubber, typically gathered by means of brutal forced labor in both central Africa and South and Central America, was still dominant.

    Tel wrote,

    The Malaysian rubber industry has been world dominant for more than 100 years, and survived both two world wars and the invention of synthetic substitutes … meaning they must have been managed reasonably well … better organized than King Leopold II at any rate.

    Unfortunately, sustainability was never one of King Leopold II’s goals. King Leopold II apparently wished to die a billionaire, but to disinherit his daughters.

    From King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild,

    Not long before his death, it turned out, Leopold had surreptitiously ordered the establishment of a foundation, based in Germany, to which he transferred some twenty-five million francs’ worth of paintings, silverware, crystal, jewelry, furniture and the like, plus another twenty million francs in securities. Some of the foundation’s income was to be reinvested, its charter said, and the remainder was to be spent—”according to the directions left by the Founder”—on the grand, showy projects he loved: palaces, monuments, and public buildings. He was afraid that future small-minded Belgian governments would not spend money in such ways, and he was also trying, as always, to keep his wealth from going to Louise, Stephanie, and Clementine. “The king has but two dreams,” a former Cabinet minister reportedly said during Leopold’s last years; “to die a billionaire, and to disinherit his daughters.”

    The German foundation was not the only place Leopold had tried to hide his fortune. Fifty-eight pieces of real estate in Brussels, purchased for the king by his faithful aide Baron Auguste Goffinet, turned out to belong to another secret company. A third shadowy entity, the Residential and Garden Real Estate Corporation of the Côte d’Azur, held possession of Leopold’s panoply of Riviera properties. Some of these villas were earmarked as permanent vacation homes for future Belgian kings; others were to be part of a huge health resort, with parks, gardens, sports facilities, and cottages, providing free holidays for white officials returning from their labors in the Congo. Furthermore, these several corporate hiding places held more than twenty-five million francs’ worth of Leopold’s Congo bonds.

    Even today, researchers are not completely sure which of Leopold’s baubles were paid for out of which hidden pockets. Nor is it possible to answer fully a larger question: how much profit altogether did the king draw from the Congo in his lifetime? In answer to this question, the Belgian scholar Jules Marchal, the leading historian of this period, makes a “conservative” estimate, not including some smaller or hard-to-trace sources of money, of 220 million francs of the time, or $1.1 billion in today’s dollars.

    Furthermore, based on reading King Leopold’s correspondence, Adam Hochschild believes that King Leopold II was aware of the impending competition from plantation rubber, and was set on maximizing short term profits before the rubber trees managed to reach maturity.

    Reading the king’s correspondence is like reading the letters of the CEO of a corporation that has just developed a profitable new product and is racing to take advantage of it before competitors can get their assembly lines going.

    The competition Leopold worried about was from cultivated rubber, which comes not from a vine but a tree. Rubber trees, however, require much care and some years before they grow large enough to be tapped. The king voraciously demanded ever greater quantities of wild rubber from the Congo, because he knew that the price would drop once plantations of rubber trees in Latin America and Asia reached maturity. This did indeed happen, but by then the Congo had had a wild-rubber boom nearly two decades long. During that time the search knew no bounds.

    If King Leopold had actually cared about building a sustainable business, he might have killed and tortured fewer people. Committed fewer atrocities. Apparently, he did not care about sustainability. He wanted to extract a maximum profit for a minimal investment during his lifetime. You could say he had a high time preference. The result was the he gained enormous wealth by means of genocide.

    If you study the Belgian Congo after Leopold II, the brutality of the regime gradually decreases over time (albeit increasing again during the World Wars). This was because if they continued to ensl*ve the people with the same level of brutality as King Leopold II, they would eventually run out of people to ensl*ve, and also because of the international scrutiny from people like Edmund Dene Morel and Émile Vandervelde.

    Tel wrote,

    (i.e. 1920’s and 1930’s) most of the world’s rubber supply was coming from British Malaya and typically the British did pay their workers, although they also imported Chinese and Indian workers in order to keep wages down and productivity up.

    This could be seen as free movement of people, or it could be seen by the native Malays as “they took are jerbs!” but those ethnic tensions continue up until today.

    John Tully’s section on the plantations on Malaya is not as detailed as I might hope, probably because he’s trying to cover so many subtopics within the overall topic of rubber.

    According to Encyclopedia Brittanica,

    Many Malayan and Bornean villagers, however, were affected by colonial taxes and consequently were forced to shift from subsistence to cash-crop farming; their economic well-being became subject to fluctuations in world commodity prices.

    Basically, things like land taxes and head taxes are typical capitalist strategies to force people to enter the world of money-making. In colonial situations, these taxes are frequently more extreme than in places where the people have more democratic control over the government. Encylopedia Brittanica does not specify whether these were land taxes or head taxes, or the level of brutality used to enforce them, but it does confirm at least that the Malayans and Borneans did not voluntarily enter the world of capitalist money making.

    britannica [dot] com/place/Malaysia/Malaysia-from-independence-to-c-2000

    As for the people from India, at least until 1912, most of them were apparently recruited under indenture, and it’s worth noting that given the conditions in British India at the time, many people were being taxed literally to death (that is, the taxes were causing famines), so they weren’t exactly agreeing to these indentures under free conditions: they were refugees fleeing genocide. Also, historically, in these sorts of situations, it’s not uncommon for employers to lie about the work conditions that the worker will receive when they reach their destination, so there might not have been informed consent, even overlooking the “fleeing from genocide” issue.

    See “The British and rubber in Malaya, c1890-1940” by James Hagan
    and Andrew Wells.

    ro [dot] uow [dot] edu [dot] au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2648&context=artspapers

    Also there’s a timeline of major famines in India under British rule here:
    jagranjosh [dot] com/general-knowledge/timeline-of-major-famines-in-india-during-british-rule-1535543808-1

    Romesh Chunder Dutt wrote extensively about how the famines were being caused by land taxes:
    indianculture [dot] gov [dot] in/open-letters-lord-curzon-famines-and-land-assessments-india

    Tel wrote,

    For a very long time Socialist writers refused to acknowledge that the managerial class had any purpose whatsoever, mostly because they had no idea what those people did.

    Marx acknowledges that the managerial class does work in Das Kapital Volume 1 Chapter 13.

    An industrial army of workmen, under the command of a capitalist, requires, like a real army, officers (managers), and sergeants (foremen, overlookers), who, while the work is being done, command in the name of the capitalist. The work of supervision becomes their established and exclusive function.

    But this social relation is not necessarily 100% voluntary. Consider land taxes on people’s homes, which are present in the United States and in Australia. The state is essentially saying: pay us to not evict you from your home, so land taxes are a form of expropriating the peasant from the land. If you rent, the land tax will be included in your rent. In the United States at least, if you find some unused piece of land and try to build your own home, it will be torn down. And so, because of this violence against people who try to build their own homes, and violence against people who fail to pay land tax, people are forced to earn monetary incomes, on threat of homelessness, and there is strong societal pressure to earn this monetary income by “getting a job”, and a lot of regulatory hoops to jump through if you want to try to earn a legal income in a different way. (In situations where people are not allowed to be homeless even, we may be looking at cases of sl*very, since if a society does not even allow people to be homeless if they are truly so discontent with the jobs that they would rather be homeless than get a job, this leads to “control tantamount to possession” over the workers, which is sl*very under international law.)

    And so, people who likely wouldn’t want jobs under freeer circumstances are forced, on threat of homelesses, to get jobs where they are likely to come into contact with managers, whom they might not get along with. (Or else jump through all the hoops necessary to start their own businesses, or else find illegal methods of income-earning.) Now, the managers may be in a somewhat similar position. They, too, may be in fear of homelessness if they do not pay their property taxes and other money required under the present system for not being homeless. But it is still very very unfortunate that people who might not like each other are forced to enter into this sort of relation for the purpose of getting money to not be homeless, when people shouldn’t need to pay money to not be homeless. Birds do not have to pay taxes for permission to build and stay in their nests; nor should humans pay taxes for permission to build and stay in their homes. Also, in this unfortunate social relation, managers do tend to have the upper hand, and some of them abuse their power.

    In some cases, particularly in the agricultural industry in the United States, there are managers who abuse their power by raping or otherwise sexually assaulting the workers.

    See PBS’s “Rape in the Fields” documentary. The transcript is here:
    pbs [dot] org/wgbh/frontline/film/rape-in-the-fields/transcript/

    To give an example of one of the incidents:

    DENNIS MCBRIDE: [reading from police report] “He told her she was not the first one, and he has wanted to abuse her for a long time. She said she wanted to get out, but he had closed the door. She told us they had started fighting and he raped her.”

    Now a lot of times, the workers who are being raped have additional vulnerabilities besides just having to pay land taxes. A lot of them are undocumented immigrants, so they are constantly afraid of being deported. Deportation and the threat thereof is another way of expropriating the peasant from the land. So the rapist managers exploit this fear of deportation.

    Tel wrote,

    Nowadays the Socialists have infiltrated the managerial class, and one hopes they learned something in the process, although looking at where we are today I’m pessimistic.

    I think socialists have infiltrated the managerial and entrepreneurial classes for a very long time. William Morris is one example of a 19th century business owner who also happened to be a socialist. Entrepreneurs with more or less socialist goals are common enough these days that the term “social entrepreneurship” has a page on the US Chamber of Commerce.

    uschamber [dot] com/co/start/startup/what-is-social-entrepreneurship

    This makes a certain degree of sense. Both socialists and entrepreneurs are likely to be motivated, at least in part, by dissatisfaction with the role of being an employee. In some cases, this dissatisfaction may arise from realizing that their job is unethical, as when Edmund Dene Morel, while working as a shipping clerk, uncovered evidence that his company was shipping the products of forced labor. In some cases, this dissatisfaction may arise from trauma, e.g. in my case, at the first two jobs I ever worked, I was sexually assaulted and quit soon thereafter. At the third job, I was threatened with physical assault, and found the threat sufficiently terrifying that I never again applied for another job. I’ve done a number of other things since then, including busking and t-shirt design, but no more jobs. And the dissatisfaction might arise from any number of other complaints, big or small. On entrepreneur [dot] com, in an article titled, “6 Genuine Reasons Why People Become Entrepreneurs”, one of the things listed is, “They want a lifestyle that isn’t bound to nine to five”. If you listen to socialist speakers, you’ll hear a lot about struggle over the length of the working day, so there’s an overlap of concerns there. Another thing listed in that article of reasons why people become entrepreneurs is, “They want to change the world”. A lot of socialists want to change the world. So again, you have overlap. Because of all this overlap between socialists and entrepreneurs, it is not suprising that some people are both socialists and entrepreneurs. But this is only overlap… it does not mean that all socialists are entreprenerus, or that all entrepreneurs are socialsits. Only that it is possible to be both. King Leopold II was obviously an ensl*ver entrepreneur, not a socialist entrepreneur. But maybe Edmund Dene Morel could be considered a socialist entrepreneur, in so far as he started the Congo Reform Association and made himself into a journalist, and he opposed King Leopold II. And thus, capitalism is a sort of battlefield where people like King Leopold II are fighting people like Edmund Dene Morel, and the reason capitalism sucks is because people like King Leopold II win too often.

    In any case, whatever the source of the dissatisfaction with the role of employee, it is a potential motivator to go out and find something to do with one’s life other than working as an employee, whether that’s founding an NGO like the Congo Reform Association, or starting a business, even if it’s just a busking business. Starting a busking business is as simple as getting a guitar, finding some street corner where the police aren’t likely to bother you too much, and striking a tune in hope of tips. Or if you can’t play guitar, you can try any number of other instruments. I don’t know how it is in Australia, but in the United States, busking receives a high degree of legal protection compared to other low investment business options (or would-be low investment, if it weren’t for all the laws), because the ACLU has gone to court in multiple jurisdictions arguing that it is constitutionally protected free speech.

    And also, someone with a high degree of dissatisfaction with the role of employee (even if they have escaped and become a busker or whatever instead) is likely end up reading or at least hearing about Marx’s Das Kapital sooner or later. Sometimes, the people around the dissatisfied individual can notice that person is a socialist even before the individual realizes it. For example, the reason I went and read Das Kapital is because I was confused why people kept calling me a socialist, so I figured I had better go and find out what socialism actually was so I could better respond to said accusations. Having read it, I conclude that although I may not agree with 100% of what Marx wrote, I agree with enough that the accusations were apparently accurate, at least so far as the charge that I am a socialist. Also, socialism is apparently a fairly broad word… Marx never claimed that people had to agree with him 100% to be socialists, and indeed the movement seems to pre-date him in any case.

    Tel wrote,

    Henry Ford was great at solving engineering problems, turns out he wasn’t much chop when it came to agriculture … apparently there’s no such thing as a generic all round manager. He should have stuck with engineering.

    Henry Ford should have been more aware of the ethical problems in his supply chain. (That is, giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he was oblivious to the crimes being committed in the Congo, Central America, and South America.) A business leader has a duty of care to at least try to be aware of these things, and take appropriate disciplinary action against extremely unethical suppliers, e.g. boycotting them. It is possible this might mean he could not find any rubber to buy, but then it is on him to figure out how to produce rubber-free cars, or to actually start a successful atrocity-free rubber plantation, or to produce something else that does not require rubber, or to go out of business. In so far as this is perhaps an excessive amount of moral responsibility to place on one person, we have a case for democratizing the workplace.

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