08 Dec 2021

Debating Jon Schwarz on Whether Inflation Is Good for the Average Worker

All Posts 58 Comments

Scott Horton moderates. JS says yes, I say no.

58 Responses to “Debating Jon Schwarz on Whether Inflation Is Good for the Average Worker”

  1. guest says:

    Jon Schwarz [49:33]: “There is no solid foundation on which you can base the value of money. It doesn’t exist. It’s impossible for human beings to create that.”

    Just before this, he brings up the fact that humans can’t control the supply of gold and silver circulating, and he offers this as the reason why he believes there is no solid foundation on which to base the value of money.

    Which shows that he believes it’s the *supply* of money in relation to the amount of goods that determines the value of money.

    The reason this is wrong is because it comes from a belief that the money unit is somehow a measure of the value of one good in relation to another. But since nothing has intrinsic value, this is false.

    You could try to say that the money unit is a measure of satisfaction or of utility (a “util”), but then everything that costs the same would be equal substitutes for each other (consider a $10 meal vs. a $10 tool).

    So, both a measure of intrinsic value and a measure of satisfaction are off the table.

    It turns out that subjective value theory provides the solid foundation *IF* the money unit is, itself, a good with its own non-monetary use-value, so that the value of the commodity comes from the arbitrage opportunities created by those who happen to want the commodity for non-monetary uses.

    I’m pretty sure Bob disagrees with me, here, but the use-value of gold and silver is so high that it creates arbitrage opportunities for many people to hold it as a medium of exchange.

    That gold and silver are (were) used far more as a medium of exchange than for their use-value is not because they are “more valueable” as money, but because their use-value creates arbitrage opportunities to use them as a money.

    The money-values of gold and silver are ultimately based on their use-value, and so the supply of a commodity-money is irrelevant: People acquire the commodity-money when they perceive that the benefit of doing so is worth the cost of acquiring it, and they will spend the money or substitute that money with a different commodity when its purchasing power goes down.

    The supply automatically adjusts to demand, and there’s nothing to regulate.

    The solid foundation of the value of money is people’s subjective ends, and the values they impute to the goods that help them realize those ends.

    • guest says:

      Scott Horton brings up farmers and the Free Silver movement.

      Basically, there’s no reason to protect farmers by providing them a more reliable source of income (which is what Free Silver was intended to do).

      The law of supply and demand shows that whenever farmers do such things, it’s because there are too many farmers, and the larger farms are outproducing the smaller farms, and the smaller farms need to just find something else to do to earn money (rather than having the government steal resources from others to give to them) because there are already other people in the economy doing their job better than them, as evidenced by their customers wanting to buy food where its cheaper.

      The same thing happend during the Great Depression, except they raised farm prices by destroying food supplies.

      Tom Woods talks about farmers and Free Silver in this video:

      [Timestamped at 26:09]
      The Great Depression, WWII, and American Prosperity – Part 1
      youtube [dot] com/watch?v=vW5yvuyhVyI#t=26m09s

      • Tel says:

        It’s arguable … in the USA farmers had traditionally used Silver as their standard mechanism of exchange for 100 years or more, before Gold was imposed on them as a government edict.

        Seems to me that if Silver worked for them, they should have simply kept using it … but problem was that they ended up doing business through the banks, and many of them owed money to the banks, and once that happens, the bank gets to decide the standard.

        It’s the problem with contracts though … you can never write a contract that includes every possible eventuality, so for example if you write a contract for a loan and the contract specifies “dollars” then this at the time would have implied a Silver dollar, like it always had done previously. Then government says, “Dollars from now on are based on a Gold standard” and then the meaning of the existing contract suddenly changes. Who is to blame? Maybe they should have been more specific in the first place, but arguably it’s simply a problem with borrowing money under any conditions.

        • guest says:

          “… but problem was that they ended up doing business through the banks, and many of them owed money to the banks, and once that happens, the bank gets to decide the standard.”

          The banks can’t decide anything under a sound money system (commodity), because people would just make runs on banks.

          Bank runs kept banks honest, and that’s why the government has to force people at gun point to use a money that they print so they can prevent bank runs.

          Murray Rothbard explains:

          Anatomy of the Bank Run
          mises [dot] org/library/anatomy-bank-run

          “It was a scene familiar to any nostalgia buff: all-night lines waiting for the banks (first in Ohio, then in Maryland) to open; pompous but mendacious assurances by the bankers that all is well and that the people should go home; a stubborn insistence by depositors to get their money out; and the consequent closing of the banks by government, while at the same time the banks were permitted to stay in existence and collect the debts due them by their borrowers.

          “In other words, instead of government protecting private property and enforcing voluntary contracts, it deliberately violated the property of the depositors by barring them from retrieving their own money from the banks. …”

          “… What, then, is the magic potion of the federal government? Why does everyone trust the FDIC and FSLIC even though their reserve ratios are lower than private agencies, and though they too have only a very small fraction of total insured deposits in cash to stem any bank run? The answer is really quite simple: because everyone realizes, and realizes correctly, that only the federal government–and not the states or private firms–can print legal tender dollars. Everyone knows that, in case of a bank run, the U.S. Treasury would simply order the Fed to print enough cash to bail out any depositors who want it. The Fed has the unlimited power to print dollars, and it is this unlimited power to inflate that stands behind the current fractional reserve banking system.

          “Yes, the FDIC and FSLIC “work,” but only because the unlimited monopoly power to print money can “work” to bail out any firm or person on earth. For it was precisely bank runs, as severe as they were that, before 1933, kept the banking system under check, and prevented any substantial amount of inflation.”

          Also, the US was founded on a silver and a gold standard, the word “dollar” coming from a then-circulating spanish milled dollar made of silver and on which the US dollar was based:

          [TXT document]
          The Coinage Act of April 2, 1792
          constitution [dot] org/1-Law/uslaw/coinage1792.txt

          “Section 9. And be it further enacted, That there shall be from time to time struck and coined at the said mint, coins of gold, silver, and copper, of the following denominations, values and descriptions, viz.

          “EAGLES–each to be of he value of ten dollars or units, and to contain two hundred and forty-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold. …”

          “… DOLLARS OR UNITS–each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver.”

          (Aside: As Edwin Vieira has explained, the government tried to legislate the gold/silver convertability ratio to be at 15:1 [“And be it further enacted, That the proportional value of gold and silver … shall be fifteen to one …”], but that’s not how prices work, so it caused problems.

          (I suspect that’s the reason farmers called for free silver, rather than the banks. The government, although close to a sound money system, still managed to corrupt it to some extent with central planning.)

  2. guest says:

    Also, Tom Woods addresses the myths of the dangers of deflation head on in this video:

    [Timestamped at 18:59]
    Answering the Same Old Arguments Against Sound Money | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

    And he also dedicated a resource page to the topic:

    Should We Fear Deflation?

  3. guest says:

    [I knew there was a reason I make sure that links don’t appear as links …]

    Also, Tom Woods addresses the myths of the dangers of deflation head on in this video:

    [Timestamped at 18:59]
    Answering the Same Old Arguments Against Sound Money | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
    youtube [dot] com/watch?v=h-PxMzSyujw#t=18m59s

    And he also dedicated a resource page to the topic:

    Should We Fear Deflation?
    libertyclassroom [dot] com/prices/

  4. Benjamin Cole aka The Tin-Foil Hat Economist says:

    I would like to see a couple generations of “tight labor markets” in the US, and trade and immigration policies should accommodate that.

    Tight labor markets for a long, long time will do more for the social fabric of America than all the social welfare programs put together, or any amount of rhapsodizing about free markets.

    If domestic labor markets are flooded by low-cost immigrant labor…yeah, great. But sez who?

    If the ground rules are subsidized imports are great….then why would anyone finance a factory in the US?

    What is the long-run effect of such policies (cheap labor and imports)?

    So, the question becomes, can we keep inflation moderate without decreasing labor shares of income, or wages?

    I think so, but it involves unzoning property, all sorts of regulatory reforms, legalizing sidewalk vendors, and so on. Lower taxes on wages, and higher taxes on property, fuels and imports.

    And yes, a reasonable monetary policy that shoots for about 3% inflation. The rate of inflation is not that important, as long as it runs under 3-4%. Prosperity is important.

  5. Jocko says:

    How about debating if inflation is good for the elderly on fixed incomes, the working poor, the under employed, the part time employed and the gig worker. Those are the real people hurt by inflation. While wages lag, they go up. Fixed incomes do not.

    • random person says:

      I like your line of inquiry!

      Also, it would be interesting to know what effect Federal Reserve inflationary policies have on people in Africa, Latin America, etc, particularly in those countries under the thumb of World Bank, IMF, or other international loans. The average worker, after all, doesn’t actually live in the United States.

      • Jocko says:

        What is good for all workers and fixed income people is mild deflation, and mild deflation should be the norm as technology and and manufacturing advances produce more for less.
        Remember that Win95 computer/ About $2-3000 dollars. Now you can buy a computer more than 10 times more powerful for $500.

    • Tel says:

      In the USA most of the “fixed income” type pensions are inflation adjusted.

      They call it cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and the calculation is done by the same government that is on the hook for paying, meaning the incentive is to lowball the inflation calculation.

      • random person says:

        This article says the calculations are indeed lowballed. Which basically confirms what you’re saying.


        • guest says:

          Also this:

          And Just Like That, Inflation Is About To Disappear?
          zerohedge [dot] com/markets/and-just-inflation-about-disappear

          “Earlier this year, when inflation was still “transitory” two Fed chairs, Powell and Bernanke, made comments which we joked only make sense if the definition of inflation is changed: …”

          “… Sadly, our feeble attempts at humor were not unjustified, and as any economic history buff knows the US dramatically changed how it calculates consumer inflation back in the 1980s, an event extensively covered by AllianceBernstein former chief economist Joseph Carson on this website in the past (see “Consumer Price Inflation: Facts vs. Fiction”) …”

          “… In any case, what we though this summer was just a joke appears to be coming true, because as the BLS has reported, starting next month it will adjust the weights for its Consumer Price Index basket, which will be calculated “based on consumer expenditure data from 2019-2020.” Alas, there is no further detail on this critical topic, although we will take any bet that post-revision reported inflation will drop because, well, “adjustments.””

          Peter Schiff has also briefly touched on how the Boskin Commission rigged the CPI in the 70s (It was in response to a question, so you’ll have to listen to the question, first).

          [Timestamped at 1:20:12]
          Peter Schiff – The Fed Unspun: The Other Side of the Story
          youtube [dot] com/watch?v=zdB9I79BQRI#t=1h20m12s

          The whole video is pretty good.

          (Aside: He slipped a little bit explaining the volatility of gold prices under our partial gold standard, but that’s covered in Tom Woods’ video “Answering the Same Old Arguments Against Sound Money”; It was deviations from the gold standard that caused the volatility – but, to answer one of the challenges brought up in this Schiff video, that volatility is still preferable because 1) that was the market fighting against the central planning and 2) you always want prices to reflect demand, regardless of how volatile the demand is, because legitimately successful businesses make money off of satisfying consumer demand, and a business that makes profits without satisfying their customers is obviously making money through a sugar daddy (cronyism)).

  6. Tel says:

    November data is available for the Producer Price Index (which is really a commodity price index).


    Not looking like turning around any time soon! Using “Percent change from a year ago” the latest PPI is 22.8% per annum. If you prefer the more volatile numerical derivative formula “Compounded annual rate of change” then you get 18.0% per annum instead. I understand there’s a difference between commodity prices and consumer prices, but ultimately those consumer goods do need to be made out of something.

  7. random person says:

    Alright, so somewhere in this discussion, one of you mentions something about “false price signals”. (I think it was you, Bob, but perhaps I mixed up the voices. In any case, someone mentioned it.)

    This reminded me of a book I read recently, “The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins. In that book, Perkins discusses how many of these “false price signals” are deliberate and premeditated. Apparently, it’s a sort of con game. “Economic hitmen” like John Perkins (before he quit that job) would deliberately come up with unrealistically optimistic economic forecasts that hinged on foreign governments accepting huge loans, which would be used to pay US companies to come in and build infrastructure. So, if things went according to plan, the foreign government would accept the loan, and then US companies would profit off of the contracts they got to build infrastructure, paid for by the loan. But the economic forecasts used to convince the foreign government to accept the loan were deliberately falsified, the glowing predictions would fail to come true, and the foreign government would be forced into default. When they went into default, they would be forced to implement policies that were not the will of their people, and in many cases were harmful to their people (e.g. stealing land from indigenous people and giving it to oil companies).

    The con job didn’t always work; sometimes foreign leaders saw through it and didn’t want to sell out their people (even if bribes were offered). So apparently, if the con didn’t work, then the next part of the plan was to send in the people John Perkins calls the “jackals” — basically, the CIA, and the CIA would try to assassinate or otherwise overthrow the leaders of the foreign governments in order to replace them with someone who would accept US foreign policy. Apparently, there was at least one case where a foreign leader, previously considered someone who couldn’t be corrupted, ended up getting corrupted after an assassination attempt against him failed (probably because then he realized that the CIA was very serious about their assassinations).

    And apparently if the CIA fails, then the US military gets sent in.

    Much of what Perkins says can be corroborated from other sources — it’s fairly well known that the CIA and the US military act to preserve the interests of American imperial capitalism.

    John Perkins that an US banker confessed that similar strategies are used in the United States against US citizens/residents — at least, the con part (not necessarily the CIA assassinations or the US military). Apparently, it’s become common practice for bankers to try to talk families into home loans they really can’t afford, with the intent of foreclosing later.

    Perkins recommends avoiding debt as much as possible since it’s so often a tool used to entrap people and countries.

    I don’t recall Perkins specifically mentioning inflation, but I imagine an economic hitman could figure out ways to somehow include that in their fake forecasts.

    • guest says:

      “In that book, Perkins discusses how many of these “false price signals” are deliberate and premeditated. …”

      “… Apparently, it’s a sort of con game. “Economic hitmen” like John Perkins (before he quit that job) would deliberately come up with unrealistically optimistic economic forecast …”

      First of all, false price signals are typically not deliberate and premeditated, they are baked into Keynesian-esque worldviews and are imposed with the best of intentions (which is why it doesn’t matter how much you care about people, if you’ve got the wrong economics).

      I feel like I have to harp on this point because there are well-meaning people on the right, such as that Brandon Smith guy whose articles get posted to Zerohedge who will end up destroying the economy and liberty because he thinks that whenever central banks hike interest rates (thereby guaranteeing a crash/correction) it’s intentional because the rich come out on top.

      What he fails to understand is that no matter how well the rich do as a result of a crash/correction, the rate hikes are *required* in order for the economy to recover from the interventions that caused the unsustainable bubbles in the first place. Again: compartmentalization – economic laws don’t change due to someone having good or bad motives.

      That guy is *notorious* for holding this misunderstood view, but good luck getting past his censor-happy hubris. (He has every right to censor comments on his own pages).

      Second, “deliberately … unrealistically optimistic economic forecasts” are not false price signals – false price signals only come from the use of money that doesn’t correctly reflect the use-values of the money and the goods traded.

      If you had sound money (a commodity money), then “deliberate, unrealistic forecasts” would end up penalizing the forecaster by people withholding their business from them – because when you use an actual good for one purpose – including a money that is also a good – it becomes unavailable to use for another purpose at the same time. So supply constraints of real goods would prevent such fraudulent forecasts from gaining large traction if the money, itself, was a good.

      (And, no, bitcoins don’t count as a good. And neither do FRNs, for that matter.)

      To your point about the CIA, Ron Paul has tried to expose them:

      Ron Paul calls out the CIA 1988-2010
      youtube [dot] com/watch?v=x04FuFj6wm8

      “Apparently, it’s become common practice for bankers to try to talk families into home loans they really can’t afford, with the intent of foreclosing later.”

      Here, again, it’s not the goal of these interventions to harm poor families. The banks were told *by the government* to make loans to “previously underserved” people (blacks), and because Fannie and Freddie were Government Sponsored Enterprises, it was reasonably assumed that if banks went ahead and made these loans that were known to be bad, they could then safely sell them to Fannie and Freddie because it wasn’t likely that an entity that the government was sponsoring for the purpose of putting people with bad credit risks into homes.

      (Because banks had come to the quite reasonable conclusion that blacks, as socialists, had such a high representation of bad credit risks, that it became more cost-effective to generally deny home loans to blacks. That’s not racist – there’s a reason California allows robberies of up to around $900 with almost no consequences, and it’s because the robberies are considered to be reparations to blacks, even though it was their ancestors, and not them, who were robbed.)

      Here’s two very good Tom Woods episodes that are basically him just reading from his book Rollback (unless he reused sections of his book Meltdown in his book Rollback – I remember everything he’s narrating is in Rollback), *which has the receipts* to back up all of his claims. If you look up the footnotes you will be astonished. Anyway, the episodes are back-to-back episodes.

      The 2007 housing crisis was entirely the government’s fault:

      Ep. 1907 Another Fake Narrative Smashed: Government, the Fed, and 2008
      tomwoods [dot] com/ep-1907-another-fake-narrative-smashed-government-the-fed-and-2008/

      Ep. 1908 “Regulation” Wouldn’t Have Saved Us in 2008
      tomwoods [dot] com/ep-1908-regulation-wouldnt-have-saved-us-in-2008/

      And if you watch The Bubble Film by Jimmy Morrison (not the musician), there’s a video of some government official basically saying that it is guaranteed that these loans that the government was forcing (yes, forcing) the banks to make were going to result in some losses. I can’t remember the official’s name, it’s been awhile.

      (And, yes, I understood it wasn’t just blacks, or people with bad credit risks that took out bad loans.)

  8. guest says:

    Oh, and by the way, the currency crisis in Turkey mentioned in the following article could have been avoided [wait for it] …:

    As Lira Implodes, Turkey Proposes Huge Fines For “Hoarding”
    zerohedge [dot] com/political/lira-implodes-turkey-proposes-huge-fines-hoarding

    “On one hand Turkey’s currency is crashing because the country’s ruthless despot refuses to allow higher interest rates …”

    “… And sure enough, the TRY fell another 2.75% today to a fresh all time low ahead of tomorrow’s insane rate cut by the Turkish central bank which will send the lira plunging even more in the coming days and spark even more hyperinflation. …”

    “… On the other, the local population – barred from exchanging their worthless lira into cryptos and effectively blocked from converting the local fiat into dollars and foreign currencies – is desperate to at least convert their rapidly depreciating pieces of paper into something tangible, like food. Which, of course, leads to even higher prices and so on, in your typical hyperinflationary spiral. …”

    “… According to T24, lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presented to Parliament a proposal for a new bill calling for increased fines against hoarding of food and other goods …”

    “… The bill refers to “practices by the producers, suppliers and retailers that lead to bottlenecks, disequilibrium in the market,’’ as well as “activities that alter free competition,’’ T24 said, calling for increased penalties that will serve as a greater deterrent to such moves.”

    [Resume] … could have been avoided by reading the following book:

    Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls: How Not to Fight Inflation
    mises [dot] org/library/forty-centuries-wage-and-price-controls-how-not-fight-inflation

    “… In modern terminology, he could either continue to “inflate” or he could begin the process of “deflating” the economy.

    “Diocletian decided that deflation, reducing the costs of civil and military government, was impossible. On the other hand:

    “”To inflate would be equally disastrous in the long run. It was inflation that had brought the Empire to the verge of complete collapse. The reform of the currency had been aimed at checking the evil, and it was becoming painfully evident that it could not succeed in its task.10

    “It was in this seemingly desperate circumstance that Diocletian determined to continue to inflate, but to do so in a way that would, he thought, prevent the inflation from occurring. He sought to do this by simultaneously fixing the prices of goods and services and suspending the freedom of people to decide what the official currency was worth. The famous Edict of A.D. 301 was designed to accomplish this end. Its framers were very much aware of the fact that unless they could enforce a universal value for the denarius in terms of goods and services — a value that was wholly out of keeping with its actual value — the system that they had devised would collapse. Thus, the Edict was all pervasive in its coverage and the penalties prescribed, severe. …”

    “… The results were not surprising and from the wording of the Edict, as we have seen, not unexpected by the Emperor himself. According to a contemporary account:

    “… then he set himself to regulate the prices of all vendible things. There was much blood shed upon very slight and trifling accounts; and the people brought provisions no more to markets, since they could not get a reasonable price for them and this increased the dearth so much, that at last after many had died by it, the law itself was set aside.17″

    “… It is not known exactly how long the Edict remained in force; it is known, however, that Diocletian, citing the strain and cares of government, resulting in his poor health, abdicated four years after the statute on wages and prices was promulgated. It certainly became a dead letter after the abdication of its author.”

    And there are more stories like this in the book.

    Socialists need to get it through their thick skulls that economics is not about equality or equity, but about the individual economizing resources for hiw own ends.

  9. Transformer says:

    With a free market for money people could choose the type of money that best meets their needs -with regards to stable purchasing power, greater transaction anonymity, smaller risk of default etc,

    Of all the bad things that states have done I think the nationalization of money has been the greatest cause of utility loss outside of war I can think of (except perhaps for the regulation of healthcare provision).

  10. Jocko says:

    Tel – BS, I have to pension from major companies, one GE, they do not adjust for inflation. Talk to a teamster their pension was underfunded and pension were CUT, not inflation adjusted, along with many government pensions. But even that is not the real problem, inflation destroys savings, IRA’s,401K’s and 403B”s. Even Social Security inflation adjustments are a joke, and your Medicare increase equals your SS increase. You really need to get real.

  11. Tel says:

    December PPI data recently turned up.


    It’s down a tiny fraction, if the Fed does actually go ahead with the 2022 rate rises that they promised, then I expect some of these commodity prices to level out and stabilize at a new and higher equilibrium … over the period of a year or more. I notice the Gold has been gradually working its way up again, but here in Australia most of the mining sector kind of bottomed out Nov last year when people believed in “transitory” and now it’s all surging back up. It’s not just Gold, it’s lots of metals going up: Copper, Iron, Uranium. Heck, even the much maligned coal is making a great comeback.

    That would suggest there’s about 20% price hikes in the pipeline for consumer prices, some of which has been seen already but not all of it.

    • guest says:

      “I notice the Gold has been gradually working its way up again …”

      For what it’s worth, Peter Schiff is wrong when he says that gold isn’t being manipulated. And if you go back to his video where he talks about the GameStop Short Squeeze, he says something true about it that he is somehow unable to see about gold prices.

      In his GameStop Short Squeeze video, he correctly explains, in effect, that the squeezes were not based on fundamentals but on all the money-printing used to help those who the government forced out of work due to lockdowns and regulations on businesses, and the government helped those people by allowing them to syphon purchasing power (the Cantillon Effect) from those who were actually productive and had savings.

      And he also noted that as soon as the stimmy checks stopped coming, those receiving them wouldn’t be able to maintain their short squeezes – the money-printing was enabling people to squeeze an otherwise sound* short position on a brick-and-mortar store when people seem to want everything to happen online.

      (* I say “sound”, but only in the sense that what people were actually doing with their money is buying digital, rather than disc, versions of games. Enough people were doing this that it made sense to short GameStop.

      (* Having said that, I think that it’s dangerous to have all of your entertainment *only* in a form that can be shut down by the government, so I still think there’s a place for GameStop, and I think if people were more circumspect, GameStop wouldn’t find themselves being shorted.

      (* So, whether it’s ultimately wise or not, the fundamentals support a short position of GameStop.)

      Anyway, my point is that Peter Schiff recognized that the short squeezes would stop when the money-printing-enabled stimmy checks stopped, and that the money-printing had to stop at some point.

      But somehow Peter Schiff cannot see that paper gold is doing the same thing to the price of physical gold. He has said in defense of his position that the gold market is not being manipulated that gold has a large market.

      Well, if he means paper gold, then sure. But just like with the manipulation of the GameStop stock price, the same thing is happening with the paper gold market, which is what the spot price of physical gold is based on.

      Enough people are not taking possession of physical gold that paper gold can be created out of thin air.

      It doesn’t matter if there’s a large market in paper gold if no one ever takes possession of the physical gold. Paper gold is basically fractional-reserve gold, which Peter Schiff would be against if he recognized it as such.

      • Tel says:

        When any kind of “Short Squeeze” is possible then that proves at least some of those shorts were naked and therefore the total pool of stocks were oversold. If you believe that it is fraud to sell something that you do not own, then somewhere fraud must have taken place.

        Of course, those shenanigans have nothing to do with the fundamental price, but they help clean out the price discovery mechanism. When a handful of fraudsters get caught, the remainder start being careful … and yes to some extent the stimulus cheques were also fraud (of a different type) but not perpetrated by the individuals who got those cheques. If anything, the individual stimulus cheques were the tip of the iceburg, when it comes to looting the treasury. A good chunk of the money was tipped into the medical industry (even though poor and overcrowded countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia had better medical outcomes than the USA w.r.t. COVID) and then another chunk of the money went into PPP loans (which mostly were not loans at all) given to business and by design very difficult to trace who was the real beneficiary.

        As for manipulation … one of Schiff’s sayings is that in the short run the market works as a voting machine, but in the long run a weighing machine. You can have a lot of emotional exuberance for a while, and such people are easy to manipulate in either the positive or negative direction. For a brief time back in 2020 the price of Gold went nuts, because people were nervous and flooded in looking for shelter from uncertainty. Some of those people lost out when the inevitable pullback happened. Then on 2021 perhaps the price was manipulated down … or else it just got stuck around the $1800 USD per ounce psychological barrier.

        I don’t believe it’s possible to out-manipulate the long run weighing machine though. That said, this also applies to a lot of other commodities like Copper, Zinc, Iron, and various food supplies. Each can be manupulated for a while, but eventually the weighing machine wins, and it really does come down to physical delivery. All of Schiff’s argument regarding inflation can be applied outside of Gold and into anything with intrinsic value … and that’s a way too much for any manipulator to control. Schiff himself says don’t put everything into Gold … use a spread to avoid any single point of weakness.

        • random person says:

          Note: The following is not financial advice. I am not a financial adviser. It is provided for entertainment purposes only, if you like gambling.

          Tel wrote,

          Schiff himself says don’t put everything into Gold … use a spread to avoid any single point of weakness.

          You might consider an autobalance portfolio. And autobalance portfolio is a way to diversify your investment portfolio strategically, and use an automated tool to strategically sell high and buy low as the value of your various assets changes relative to each other. Automation helps take the emotion out of trading, which is good, because emotion (panic selling and whatnot) can make you lose a lot.

          The theory behind an autobalance portfolio is to set percentages for how much of various assets you want your portfolio to be composed of. So, let’s say 50% bitcoin and 50% ethereum, as a simple example, though it’s not uncommon for an autobalance portfolio to have 10 assets or more. So, let’s say ethereum goes up relative to bitcoin, then ethereum will now comprise a larger percentage of your portfolio. If it goes up past a certain percentage you configure, then the portfolio will automatically sell some etherum for bitcoin, essentially selling the ethereum high and buying the bitcoin low, to restore you to the 50% 50% ratio. (Alternatively, instead of using percentage threshholds, you could configure the portfolio to rebalance at specific time intervals.)

          There’s an article here that talks about various autobalance strategies with respect to crypto.

          Autobalance portfolios exist in traditional finance, but I’ve only ever used them in crypto. How to put it… with traditional finance, you need to be kinda rich to even get your foot in the door, and even then, you have a lot less options for customizing. With crypto, you can open an account on kucoin and throw like $40 (or whatever you can spare) in it. And if you don’t have $40, but you at least have internet, then you can probably earn the $40 on websites like that let you take surveys to earn crypto, and then put that in kucoin.

          Kucoin offers free autobalance portfolio bots. (Free in the sense that you aren’t paying for the bot, beyond the exchange fees kucoin charges, and the exchange fees are rather reasonable in any case. However, you still need to supply your own funds to put in the bot.)

          The free kucoin one doesn’t offer the 15% threshhold rebalance the article I linked says is optimal, but it does ofter 5%, which still performs well according to that article. (According to the article, the 5% threshhold rebalance outperforms simple hodling in 93.6% of the backtests they performed.)

          HODL is a term for crypto that can be thought of as the acronym “hold on for dear life”, although it’s origin is a misspelling of the world hold that somehow became popular. It’s a strategy for coping with the volatility and frequent dips that occur in the crypto world. So, rather than panic selling when the crypto dips, the idea is to hold on until it eventually goes up again. Which is a good reason to never put money in crypto that you can afford to lose. Even if crypto is likely to win in the long term, 1 year plus time span, so long as you invest in relatively strong cryptos (rather than the newer, higher risk ones), in the short term, you can definitely lose a lot, so putting money in there that you need for next month’s rent is a bad idea, unless you just want to earn interest on a stablecoin (something tethered to the USD or other fiat currency) in DeFi (decentralized finance) or something like that.

          • random person says:

            Typo correction:

            “Which is a good reason to never put money in crypto that you can afford to lose.”

            should be

            “Which is a good reason to never put money in crypto that you can NOT afford to lose.”

          • Tel says:

            Although I do keep in mind some kind of general balancing system, I don’t do it automatically. There are certain risks in that strategy which might not be obvious at first glance.

            Suppose you have a portfolio of 10 stocks, and 9 turn out to be very good, but one of those stocks has fundamental business problems and ends up being complete junk … and the starting position is 10% each stock.

            From that point, if all you do is sit and touch nothing then you end up doing OK, because 9/10 of your stocks were good picks. However if you autobalance then as the bad stock goes down into a death spiral, you end up buying more and more of that to fill up the 10% allocated slot and you sell all the good stuff. That means when you have a autobalance strategy, it only takes ONE piece of rotten garbage in your portfolio to bleed you out. The autobalance will work only when all 10/10 stocks end up coming good in the longer term.

            But I know that I’m holding some speculative high risk stocks … hoping to do well on some of them, with very low chance that all of them will work out.

            A similar type of risk involves large scale rotations, which do happen from time to time. Peter Schiff has been predicting a rotation out of “momentum stocks” and into “value stocks” … which is at least a plausible story. If such a large rotation does happen then you can only win by getting ahead of it, certain not by betting against the massive trend and buying up the momentum stocks that others are throwing away. I’m not saying that’s necessarily going to happen, but the fact that it could happen demonstrates a weakness in the autobalancing strategy.

            The other problem with autobalance is transaction fees, which do add up … therefore you ideally want to sit on your hands as much as possible and make the minimum number of moves. Try to make every move as effective as possible, preferably with multiple different paths to profit. I think it’s great to have a strong understanding of all the different strategies, but that doesn’t mean use them all. Generally I imagine the scenario of how a certain strategy might work in a given situation, and then I imagine what other approaches might work.

            • random person says:

              On kucoin, you have the option to manually rebalance your autobalance bot at any time. So if you have a bad coin in there and no longer wish to risk investing it it, you can simply remove it and adjust the percentages accordingly. You can also add more coins at any time too. Obviously, there are still risks if you put high-risk coins in there and then don’t pay attention to what’s happening. But you do have much more control that you would probably have in traditional. finance.

              Regarding transaction fees, if you look at the article I linked, I believe part of the reason they though the 15% autobalance threshold worked well was to minimize transaction fees. On the exchange where they did the tests, the trading fee was apparently 0.25%.

              One of the things kucoin offers is very low trading fees — starting at 0.1% per transaction, with discounts available for high-volume traders and/or people who hold KCS (kucoin’s token) in their accounts. So, because the transaction fees are lower on kucoin, it’s entirely possible that kucoin might perform better at lower autobalance threshhold’s than the exchange where the authors did their tests.

              The low transaction fees on kucoin make the exchange suitable for high frequency trading. Specifically, look up the strategy known as “grid trading”. Important disclaimer: Think of grid trading as being a bit like blackjack. In blackjack, if you know how to count cards (and the casino doesn’t have security measures in place to prevent you from doing so), you can stack the odds in your favor. It’s still gambling, but, with card counting, you can stack the odds such that you win more than you lose. However, if you don’t know how to card count, or you implement the strategy improperly, there’s the potential to lose a lot of money. It’s still gambling. Grid trading is sort of like that. If you know what you’re doing, you can stack the odds in your favor, win more than you lose, and potentially earn a lot of money. If you don’t know what you’re doing or implement your strategy improperly, you can also lose a lot. So it’s a sort of gambling with the potential to stack the odds in your favor, but only if you know what you’re doing.

              Anyway, the low transaction fees, the open availability to everyone with internet access, and so on make kucoin a viable platform for high frequency trading / grid trading. And they even provide bots to help you do this. My understanding is that although high frequency trading / grid trading exists in traditional finance, it’s only available to major financial institutions, not people like you or me. Anyway, it’s a thing people do, some people, if they know what they are doing or just get lucky, make good money on it. Others, who don’t know what they’re doing and don’t get lucky, lose a lot.

            • random person says:

              Also, as risky as some of these strategies we’re discussing might be, I still consider them less risky than traditional finance. Now, that’s a personal perspective, and not a universal truth or anything, but traditional finance has let me down time and time again. For example, the first time I ever opened a bank account, the bank closed my account and didn’t return my money, so, essentially, they robbed me. However, they actually did give the money to a person who was abusing me. I was like 19 or so at the time, I was trying to save up money to leave an abusive situation, and the thieving, patriarchal, domestic-violence-enabling bank closed my account and gave my money to my abuser (but never actually returned it to me).

              It turns out that financial abuse is extremely common in domestic violence. I mean… it’s a pretty vaguely defined term, but so far as it goes, it’s estimated that approximately 99% of domestic violence cases involve financial abuse.

              If you look on the internet, recommendations on how to get out of a domestic violence situation involve the idea of saving up money to move out. Because of financial abuse, that has never ever worked for me. I have found that it is easier to save up money while being a homeless busker than to save up money while still in a domestic violence situation, and for that reason, I’ve been homeless three times in my life. (A busker is a street performer… so like a guitarist playing on the sidewalk and people like that. One of the few professions available to homeless people, and with very low startup costs.)

              However, I think that cryptocurrency and decentralized finance really have the potential to help solve this problem. With crypto and decentralized finance, it is now possible to hide funds away somewhere where a domestic abuser can’t find them or even know that you have them. (If they don’t even know that you have the funds, then they can’t like, hit you until you give the funds to them.) I think that really has the potential to help change the balance of power between abusers and abusees. Unfortunately, using crypto and decentralized finance still requires a relatively high level of technical expertise that a lot of abusees probably don’t have. Also, there are still difficulties in terms of moving money out of traditional finance and into crypto, so in order for this type of plan to work, the abusee would really have to find a way to earn money within the realm of decentralized finance to begin with, rather than getting paid in traditional finance, where the abuser can still see their funds, and trying to move that over to decentralized finance.

              • random person says:

                (Also note that kucoin is not technically decentralized finance. However, it’s still like, decentralized enough it might be possible for an abusee to hide funds there.)

              • random person says:

                Related: there’s a podcast here that discusses the evils of KYC (Know Your Customer), which is something all the banks do. I think KYC really enables a lot of domestic violence, especially since abusers often control the KYC documents of the abusees.


                I don’t think KYC is the most evil thing about capitalism, there’s clearly worse things, like outright forced labor, but I do think it’s in the top 10 worst things about capitalism. Also, KYC is one of the things that enables forced labor, since employers who used forced labor will often steal documents from their involuntary employees, so that even if said involuntary employees manage to escape, they won’t be able to do anything that requires KYC.

              • guest says:

                “I don’t think KYC is the most evil thing about capitalism, there’s clearly worse things, like outright forced labor, but I do think it’s in the top 10 worst things about capitalism.”

                Forced labor doesn’t come from capitalism any more than it comes from drinking water – after all, if there weren’t any drinking water, people wouldn’t have the strength to force others to labor for them.

                Capitalism is when you use tools to reduce the amount of physical labor involved in production, or to reduce the costs of production through alternative materials and processes.

                Forced labor is not a logically necessary way to reduce costs and physical labor – any more than forced labor is a necessary consequence of supplying drinking water that, yes, the enforcers must drink in order to violate others’ rights.

                “Also, KYC is one of the things that enables forced labor, since employers who used forced labor will often steal documents from their involuntary employees, so that even if said involuntary employees manage to escape, they won’t be able to do anything that requires KYC.””

                I keep telling you that violations of people’s rights is a logical result of your socialist beliefs, but you can’t see it even when you’re criticizing so-called capitalism for doing what socialists have been doing forever.

                So, let me get this straight: KYC allows evil capitalists to steal documents from people, and that’s wrong, but socialists see no problem with car and gun licences, or other types of licencing to be imposed at gunpoint?

                You lunatic. I’ll say it again, your socialist ideology is morally bankrupt.

                And yes, the types of licencing I speak of *are* 100% a logically necessary part of socialism, because if socialists didn’t attempt to do that, everyone would tell them to go poind sand, and then we’d have a free market.

      • guest says:

        It is now 2022 …

        @guest said:

        “”For what it’s worth, Peter Schiff is wrong when he says that gold isn’t being manipulated. …

        “… Enough people are not taking possession of physical gold that paper gold can be created out of thin air.””

        Here is yet more confirmation that this is what’s happening.

        Peter Schiff should read the following article:

        Peter Hambro: BIS, Central Banks Are Rigging Gold Market Using Bullion Banks’ Paper Gold
        zerohedge [dot] com/markets/peter-hambro-bis-central-banks-are-rigging-gold-market-using-bullion-banks-paper-gold

        “But since the central banks ‘need cover’ and ‘cannot be seen’ to be rigging the gold price, Hambro continues:

        ” “The only way to achieve the cover is by smashing the price of physical gold by the alchemical production of ‘paper gold’.” …”

        “… The gold credit which Hambro is referring to here is the LBMA’s infamous ‘unallocated gold’, with ‘the futures markets’ being the COMEX. You might at this stage even think that Hambro has been reading the BullionStar website, since we have for years, been explaining the very same thing. For example, see here and here.”

  12. Tel says:

    I haven’t heard much from Bob lately … I hope everything is OK. It’s almost getting to the point where I feel guilty for not donating anything recently.

    They told me the US Dollar would collapse but lately the Australian Dollar is collapsing a lot worse … hey I have an excuse for not donating … any minute things will turn around, right?

  13. Tel says:

    Following down from above.

    I don’t think KYC is the most evil thing about capitalism, there’s clearly worse things, like outright forced labor, but I do think it’s in the top 10 worst things about capitalism.

    Peter Schiff has complained long and loud (many times) about the level of top-down regulation that he is subject to, for simple things like doing banking or being a broker. I’m fairly sure that KYC was one of many things that upset him.

    It’s probably only reasonable to point out that KYC was forced upon business by government, and generally speaking would not be something that any capitalist business would do voluntarily. The theoretical logic behind it was that perhaps some guy might be a “terrorist” and somehow raise money anonymously. The whole push behind crypto-currency is at least in part designed to avoid regulations, such as KYC, as well as avoiding the “War on Drugs” and also simply dodging taxation.

    Now getting to the concept of forced labour … one could easily argue that this is in fact much older than capitalism, and certainly older than the word “capitalism”. There have been tribes raiding other tribes, and taking humans (mostly women) as booty, going back to the stone age. I’m not sure who is to blame.

    What exactly does a rabies virus do? Well it takes control of a living creature much larger than itself and forces this organism to spread the virus in a way which the organism did not consent to voluntarily. Is capitalism to blame for this? I think not. Is anyone to blame? It’s hard to come up with a culprit besides the virus itself, and frankly that guy doesn’t care what you think.

    That said, in capitalism you do need to have rules, and the rules need to be enforced, otherwise you cannot have property rights at all. Typically it is the strong who enforce those ules … because you don’t exactly go asking the village idiot (who is dressed in rags and sleeps in the town fountain) for advice on how to get restitution for your stolen chickens. Is that unfair? Probably yes … but the world was already unfair long, long before anyone started talking about capitalism. Fairness is a concept invented by humans, for social purposes, and which only exists to the extent that we are willing and able to exert our will on a universe which would otherwise be indifferent. That’s not to say that fairness does not exist at all … in similar ways to language, or morality (or many human constructs) it exists because a group of people create it and maintain it.

    • random person says:

      Tel wrote,

      Peter Schiff has complained long and loud (many times) about the level of top-down regulation that he is subject to, for simple things like doing banking or being a broker. I’m fairly sure that KYC was one of many things that upset him.

      I don’t really know Peter Schiff very well. I think I saw a video of him saying something rather idiotic once, and sort of tuned him out after that, but I realize that all 7 billion plus people in the world make idiotic statements from time to time, excepting small babies and others who don’t talk at all, so maybe I was wrong to rush to judgement based on a first impression. In any case, I do agree with him that KYC is a big problem.

      (For the record, the idiotic statement was something along the lines of “the only thing a corporation can do is offer you a contract.” My study of history has shown me that corporations are as capable as the people who comprise them of murdering, raping, capturing people and making them work as forced laborers, making bombs and selling them to murderers, committing mass theft and calling it taxation, and so on and so forth, as any other group of people with any other label.)

      Tel wrote,

      It’s probably only reasonable to point out that KYC was forced upon business by government, and generally speaking would not be something that any capitalist business would do voluntarily.

      I think some businesses advocate for these regulations to keep their would-be competitors out, or obtain some other advantage from having said competitors have to follow these sort of regulations, or simply because they have strong loyalty to a particular government. However, I do appreciate that some businesses are run by people who more free-spirited than all that. E.g., I believe Binance resisted KYC implementation for a long time, but eventually couldn’t afford the legal hassle.

      Nonetheless, governments, especially powerful governments like the US government or the UK government or the Australian government, are major players in shaping capitalism. Such governments own large amounts of capital (disclaimer: I am speaking of owning in pragmatic, not moral terms: that is to say, the governments own capital in the sense of having control over it, not in terms of necessarily having moral claims), exercise limited ownership over other people’s capital by limiting what said other people are allowed to do with said capital, control movements of people around the planet, condemn people to forced labor, aid and abet (or, rarely, fight against) other people who condemn still other people to forced labor, and so on and so forth.

      Speaking of which, I heard some rumors about some people on Tiktok who got rich by simply copying the stock picks of US congresspeople? (US congresspeople are apparently allowed to trade based on insider information, and are probably likely to receive such information as bribes, so, this is basically a way of getting rich off the US Congress’s corruption.)

      In fact, here’s the NPR article, although I originally heard it on Redacted Tonight.

      npr [dot] org/2021/09/21/1039313011/tiktokers-are-trading-stocks-by-watching-what-members-of-congress-do

      Or, if you want the funnier, more satirical version, you can watch it on Redacted Tonight… except I can’t quite remember which Redacted Tonight episode it was in.

      But anyway, it illustrates one way in which US congresspeople are major players in capitalism.

      Another, arguably more significant way is the the military-industrial complex. Although I’m not entirely clear how these things are calculated, a quick Google search suggests that 3.7% of the US economy is dedicated to the military, and worldwide, the average is 2.4%. And a lot of people get hurt because of that spending. Military leaders call it “collateral damage”, but basically, a lot of the people killed or injured by militaries are civilians. (Although, apparently, not spending on militaries can also cause significant problems, particularly if said militaries choose to seek alternative methods of funding, such as raping, looting, and pillaging.)

      Tel wrote,

      Now getting to the concept of forced labour … one could easily argue that this is in fact much older than capitalism, and certainly older than the word “capitalism”. There have been tribes raiding other tribes, and taking humans (mostly women) as booty, going back to the stone age. I’m not sure who is to blame.

      I did look into that at one point. I mean, I could not really find much data about what all was happening in the stone age, but there is some recorded data about what happened to which people captured by various American Indian tribes. I concluded that although it was evil, like any form of captivity, the amount of human suffering generated was significantly less than the amount of suffering generated by the transatlantic sl*ve trade. (Not only because fewer people were affected, but also because the captives of the American Indians were far better treated, in relative terms.)

      E.g., this example is fairly telling.

      “Faced with the difficulties of arduous travel, many women failed to recognize the Indians’ genuine regard for the wellbeing of their captives. The Indians treated even disobedient captives with remarkable toleration. Feeling “weary of life” on the trail, Massy Harbison mustered “the full determination” to make her captors’ kill her, “thinking death would be exceedingly welcome.” Mrs. Harbison was walking in a train of Indians with a powderhorn on her shoulder when she decided to free herself from the “cruelties and misery” she had the prospect of enduring in captivity. She threw the powderhorn on the ground, closed her eyes, and “expected every moment to feel the deadly tomahawk.” To her surprise, the Indians picked up the discarded powderhorn, cursed her carelessness, and put it on her shoulder again. She removed her burden a second time and threw it on the ground; the Indians again returned it to her “with an indignant and frightful countenance.” Undaunted, the rebellious captive threw the powderhorn a third time, making sure to aim it well away from the path and over some nearby rocks. Instead of killing her, the Indians retrieved the lost powderhorn and congratulated their captive on a job “well done.” In the opinion of her captors, Mrs. Harbison had shown courage and, as a result, would make a good Indian. The warrior who had forced her to carry the powderhorn, on the other hand, was a lazy son of a bitch” and “might carry it himself.” Harbison attributed the Indian’s leniency not to kindness but to “the indulgent care of a gracious God” who’, despite her recklessness, continued to preserve her “from the tomahawk and the scalping knife.”


      Okay, so what happened to Mrs. Harbison was kidnapping, and kidnapping is a great crime, and it clearly caused her great emotional distress. However, I think if a black captive had behaved in such a manner towards a white kidnapper, particularly during the time of the transatlantic sl*ve trade, the white kidnapper would have whipped or otherwise severely tortured the black captive, not congratulated him or her on his or her courage.

      Another remarkable thing about narratives from white people captured by American Indians is the lack of rape (relative to what we know about black women held captive by white captors during the pre-Civil War time period, or other relevant time period in other countries).

      (from the same document on scholarworks dot md dot edu cited above)

      Captive testimony largely contradicted the widespread belief that the Indians raped women and forced them into marriage. Although many captives feared that they would be compelled to service their “swarthy companions” sexually, few seem to have detected any “insult or indecency” in the actions of their captors. The “base motives” to which women initially attributed their capture were, however, instrumental in constructing a wildly inaccurate perception of Indian behavior. Contrary to popular belief, capture did not reduce females to a “dreadful state of misery and wretchedness.” Instead of chronicling the lurid details of “the fulsome embraces” they received at the hands of the Indians, redeemed captives consistently defended both their captor’s innocence and their own. “Not one of them, wrote the generally uncharitable Mary Rowlandson, “ever offered the least abuse of unchastity to me, in word or action.” Anticipating public skepticism, Rowlandson added that she spoke the truth, not for her own credit, but “in the presence of God, and to his Glory.” Elizabeth Hanson likewise assured her readers that the Indians were “very civil toward their captive women, not offering any incivility by an indecent carriage (unless they be much overgone in liquor).” Hanson’s narrative strongly implied that no Indian, sober or intoxicated, had ever molested her.

      Some captive women undoubtedly “became the partners of Indian husbands” willingly. After being adopted into Indian society, these women married members of the tribe, gave birth to “hybrid offspring,” and frequently were returned to white society against their wishes by well-meaning family members and government officials.

      One would hope that, in an enlightened society, not having to worry about being raped would be something that women could take for granted. However, US culture is not such an enlightened society. And, particularly in the pre-Civil War south, it was very common for white kidnappers to rape black captives.

      For example, there was a case where a black captive named Celia was given the death penalty for resisting years of repeated rape by her kidnapper, by means of killing said kidnapper. Try searching the Washington Post for “Missouri v. Celia, a Sl*ve: She killed the white master raping her, then claimed self-defense.” A lot of white kidnappers from that time period were basically addicted to rape, and they set up the legal system to aid and abet their raping ways.

      Also see “Incidents in the Life of a Sl*ve Girl” by Harriet Jacobs, which describes how incredibly common rape was on southern plantations during that time period.

      Basically, yes, kidnapping and forced labor are crimes which predate capitalism. However, based on what information I have been able to find on the such things as they occur outside of capitalism, it seems that kidnappers who existed outside of capitalism did not have the attitude / belief system that they “owned” their captives and could therefore do anything they wanted to their captives. Thus, although kidnapping and forced labor did still occur, it would seem that there was a lot less rape and torture. I think that particular attitude (the belief that one “owns” captives and can therefore do whatever one wants to said captives) is unique to capitalist ideology. Indeed, if there were a case of a hunter gatherer tribe who believed that they “owned” their captives and could therefore do whatever they wanted to them, it would probably be appropriate to label such a tribe as a capitalist tribe.

      Tel wrote,

      I’m not sure who is to blame.

      Guilt exists on a spectrum. There are people who directly commit crimes. There are people who order that crimes be done: this can be considered a form of command responsibility. There are people who are in command of the criminals, seem to be aware of the fact that the people under their command are committing crimes, and don’t take any disciplinary action to stop them: this is a lesser form of command responsibility. There are people who knowingly aid and abet crimes. There are people who accidentally aid and abet crimes, but really ought to have known better, and are basically guilty of willful ignorance, of essentially sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “LALALA!” so they don’t have to hear about the crime they are aiding and abetting. There are people who accidentally aid and abet crimes who genuinely had no idea. Like, there’s a whole spectrum.

      KYC is one of the things that aids and abets the crime of forced labor, and at least some of the people involved probably know exactly what they’re doing, and some maybe don’t know, but ought to know, but have chosen to stick their fingers in their ears and sing “LALALA!” (metaphorically, of course), and perhaps some who genuinely have no idea.

      E.g. this is from a book titled “Disposable People” by Kevin Bales, which I believe was originally published in 1999, so the people in power have had plenty of time to become of the findings it reveals.

      When the workers begin their trip, the gatos ask them for two documents: their state identity card and their “labor” card. These are crucial to life in Brazil. The identity card is essential for any dealings with the police or government and is proof of citizenship; the labor card is the key to legal employment. By signing the back of a person’s labor card, an employer creates a binding contract and brings the job under government employment laws such as the minimum wage rules. Without a labor card, workers have difficulty obtaining their rights. The gatos say that they need the documents to update their records, but in fact this may be the last time the workers ever see them. By keeping these cards the gatos gain a powerful hold over the workers. However bad their situation, the workers are loath to leave without their documents. Meanwhile, since the labor cards have not been signed, there is no proof of employment and little legal protection. As one Brazilian researcher put it, “From this moment the worker is dead as a citizen, and born as a sl*ve.”

      For the gatos, their method of long-distance recruiting has great advantages. Taken far from their homes the workers are ignorant of the surrounding countryside and cut off from friends or family who could help them. Even if they are able to escape, they are penniless and in debt. They have no way to pay for the trip back to their own state. They will often keep working in the most horrific conditions in the hope of getting some cash that they can use to get home. And if they do flee from the charcoal camps, the local people often resent and fear them as outsiders. Without identity cards they can be locked up by the police as vagrants or suspected criminals. “Without their labor cards they cannot work; moreover, they remain unregistered in their new workplace and the government labor inspectors and the trade union organizers will have no idea they exist.

      Okay, so the kidnappers steal these cards from their kidnapees, and then even if the kidnapees manage to escape, their lack of identity and labor cards means they risk being locked up by police as “vagrants or suspected criminals” and are locked out of the formal economy. Locking up an escaped kidnappee is definitely a way of aiding and abbetting kidnapping. So is locking the escaped kidnapee out of the formal economy. So, because of KYC, depraved kidnappers are able to persuade significant portions of society, including the police, to aid and abet their kidnapping ways, just by stealing said documents from their kidnapees.

      Domestic abusers sometimes use similar tactics, and I think this is one reason a lot of people fleeing domestic abuse end up homeless.

      KYC is a crime against humanity.

      • random person says:

        Another remarkable thing about narratives from white people captured by American Indians is the lack of rape (relative to what we know about black women held captive by white captors during the pre-Civil War time period, or other relevant time period in other countries).

        In case my earlier wording wasn’t clear, I should clarify: rape and sexual abuse did happen to some white captives of American Indian kidnappers. But statistically, it seems to have been less common than rape by white kidnappers against black captives in the pre-Civil War United States. There may have been tribal variations, e.g. some tribes where such conduct was considered totally unacceptable, and some tribes that did accept such conduct.

        • random person says:

          As an example of one who was raped by American Indian captors, see Caroline Harris. The author of the article I cited unfortunately erroneously considers the incidents not rape, because apparently he doesn’t think it counts as rape if the victim is married first, even if it’s a forced marriage.

          Also, interestingly, Caroline Harris was also raped by her white husband after returning to white society. The article reads, “Once returned to white society, Caroline complained that for ‘almost every day in the space of two
          years’ she had been the object of her husband’s “revengeful, as well as jealous and lustful passions.”” That’s essentially a description of marital rape.

          So, basically, both white society at the time and the American Indian tribe which captured her did not believe that marital rape was indeed rape, and Caroline suffered repeated marital rape in both cultures.


    • random person says:

      I just searched for Peter Schiff KYC on Google, and came up with this.

      “Peter Schiff Calls For Bitcoin’s Doom Again With New KYC Regulations”


      I think Peter Schiff isn’t taking DeFi (decentralized finance) into account. Sure, the US government can go after the centralized exchanges and force them to implement KYC (although this is a bit of a whack-a-mole game… e.g., you can still use kucoin without KYC), but they don’t have any way to force KYC in DeFi. And there are a number of project to reduce transaction fees in DeFi and various crypto projects. Admittedly, some of these don’t involve actual bitcoin. E.g., if someone was going trying to send remittances back to a poor country, and low transaction fees were a priority, I probably wouldn’t recommend bitcoin, but I might recommend Dash or Stellar Lumens or NANO. (With the disclaimer that this is not financial advice, just a personal opinion about what I might do if I were in their shoes.)

      Or like, anything on this list, really.
      makeuseof [dot] com/cryptocurrencies-with-almost-zero-transaction-fees/

      • Tel says:

        I searched also … I’ve been listening to his podcast for years but although I have a good memory for concepts and logic, it’s very difficult to remember precise times and dates. Schiff does not make himself easily searchable.

        I came up with this, which is not the best example but at least it’s recent and probably still topical. Schiff predicted the fall of Bitcoin (which he has been predicting every week for the past decade). One of the factors leading to that fall was the sweep of government regulation over the crypto world.

        @32:45 – Start of discussion on Bitcoin.
        @38:10 – Moves to regulations (incluing KYC, AML and others) increases costs on both banking and crypto.
        @43:00 – Mostly talking about (lack of) scarcity in crypto.
        @46:00 – Talking about Gold, comparison to Bitcoin … talks about the concept of use value.
        @51:45 – Consideration of speculative value, vs use value.

        That’s not the only example, nor even the best example, but it does cover the general idea.

        if someone was going trying to send remittances back to a poor country, and low transaction fees were a priority, I probably wouldn’t recommend bitcoin, but I might recommend Dash or Stellar Lumens or NANO.

        Sure, but now there are laws coming in that the remittances need to be reported, with full government-approved ID, tax checks, capital gains, anti-terrorist, and so forth. That’s going to substantially INCREASE those transaction fees by putting a whole lot of extra paperwork into the process. They will also come after the people accepting crypto as payments … and give all the same excuses.

        • random person says:

          Tel wrote,

          Sure, but now there are laws coming in that the remittances need to be reported, with full government-approved ID, tax checks, capital gains, anti-terrorist, and so forth. That’s going to substantially INCREASE those transaction fees by putting a whole lot of extra paperwork into the process. They will also come after the people accepting crypto as payments … and give all the same excuses.

          But these reporting requirements, ID checks, tax check, etc etc are on the financial institutions. Avoid the financial institutions, avoid the reporting requirements, KYC, etc.

          Some people send remittances by sending cash in the mail. This is hard for the FBI/IRS to regulate, especially with laws protecting mail privacy, but in theory, the mail could be lost or stolen, and it takes some time to send.

          With crypto, the people sending and receiving the remittances both need to open crypto wallets, and the sender needs to find a way to buy or obtain crypto. Anyone internet access can get a crypto wallet just by generating some crypto keys with an appropriate software program. As for getting crypto to put in the crypto wallets, for someone without KYC documents, one way to do that would be to find someone willing to sell crypto for cash. Another way would be to offer goods or services in exchange for crypto. Once both the sender and receiver have crypto wallets, and the sender has some crypto to send, the receiver simply generates a receive address, gives that info to the sender, and the sender sends the crypto to that receive address. No banks or other major institutions required, no kyc.

      • Tel says:

        … but they don’t have any way to force KYC in DeFi

        The can force large, institutional players to knuckle under. Consider the guys Schiff enjoys bagging out: the “Grayscale Bitcoin Trust” … it’s a fund underneath Grayscale Investments LLC operating from Stamford, Connecticut. Everything those guys do is regulated and if any buy or sell they make looks a little strange in the slightest way then the IRS or the FBI can knock the door and ask for any information they like.

        That means any entity (call them “B Company” for want of a better name) that transfers any Bitcoin in or out of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust must fully disclose everything about themselves and demonstrate compliance with whatever ID collection is required.

        Then “B Company” needs to also screen the people they deal with, and given as how each crypto transaction is on the ledger in an undeletable and non-refutable format, this will apply to “C Company” and “D Company” and so on down the chain.

        • random person says:

          Alright, so, in practice, people sometimes use the term “DeFi” loosely to include almost everything that is outside traditional finance, including, I suppose, transactions that have nothing to do with crypto or blockchains, as long as they occur outside traditional finance. However, strictly speaking, DeFi is a more narrow term than that, and anything that has a single point of failure, such as a centralized exchange like Binance, is not considered DeFi, in the more strict sense of the word.

          Here, investopedia has a decent explanation:

          Decentralized finance eliminates intermediaries by allowing people, merchants, and businesses to conduct financial transactions through emerging technology. This is accomplished through peer-to-peer financial networks that use security protocols, connectivity, software, and hardware advancements.

          From anywhere you have an internet connection, you can lend, trade, and borrow using software that records and verifies financial actions in distributed financial databases. A distributed database is accessible across various locations; it collects and aggregates data from all users and uses a consensus mechanism to verify it.

          Decentralized finance uses this technology to eliminate centralized finance models by enabling anyone to use financial services anywhere regardless of who or where they are.

          In a peer to peer system, there simply are no large, institutional players who are running the show. (That’s not to say large, institutional players can’t participate, but they can’t run the show in a way that them being targeted by the IRS or FBI would wreck the whole system.)

          Now, if a company is being watch as closely as you say Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is, then I’m guessing that company simply won’t do DeFi stuff. But also, if the IRS and FBI watch LLCs engaging in crypto trading that closely, it will probably incentivize people to not use LLCs for their crypto trading and instead enter the market in quieter ways.

          One of the goals of DeFi is that anyone (or at least, anyone with internet access) be able to use it, even if they don’t even have a government ID card. (If I recall correctly, 1.7 billion people in the world do not have government IDs.)

          And farmers in Nigeria do appear to be successfully making use of DeFi, and I really don’t think there’s anything the FBI or IRS can do about it.


          And according to that article, negative interest loans are a real thing now. Cool.

          Tired, will write more later.

          • random person says:

            More on these negative interest loans, which do not require KYC:

            • random person says:

              Clarification: apparently, the negative interest loans do require KYC if you want fiat currency. But if you just want a crypto loan, then apparently they don’t.

              • random person says:
              • random person says:

                So, if I understand correctly, the way the negative interest loans work is you invest in Cardano, and put the Cardano up as collateral for a loan using smart contracts. You don’t need a lot of money to get started, so even farmers in Nigeria can do this. Anyway, I think after that, the smart contract puts the Cardano to work somehow so that you end up with a negative interest loan. And you only have to do KYC if you want to borrow fiat, not if you want to borrow crypto.

            • Tel says:

              I’m not an expert on this particular technology … but based on my knowledge of economic fundamentals I would be expecting someone offering “negative interest fiat money loans” to be probably running some sort of scam.

              The standard rule is beware of anything that seems too good to be true … and the specific rule is be very wary of finance schemes that seem too good to be true!

              • random person says:

                Okay, ignore the crypto for a moment.

                Suppose you invest in a watermill. The watermill is capable of earning income for you. You put the watermill up as collateral for a loan. But because the watermill is earning income, the watermill is sort of paying the loan off so you don’t have to. Even if you do nothing to pay back the loan other than just let the watermill sit there, doing it’s thing, it will pay it off, eventually. But it’s very slow, so maybe you want to send some money to pay back to loan so you can get the watermill back faster.

                I could be wrong, but I think that’s the basic concept. Except with Cardano instead of a watermill.

              • Tel says:

                The watermill is the productive capital asset … we are happy to agree on that. That is to say, any overall benefits that exist in the system come out of some particular physical device, and what we do with money, finance, contracts, etc is all part of the decision making process to figure out which productive capital asset we should be building.

                If I already have my own money (or resources, whatever) to invest in the watermill then I don’t need a loan to begin with … I simply buy the asset and enjoy the productive benefits of that.

                If I don’t have sufficient money to invest, but perhaps I have some fraction (let’s say half) then I need to find a partner who is willing to also put something in. There are of course many approaches to the agreement that I might make with my partner, but one way or another the other guy is going to want some fraction of the returns (possibly half). The partner might want some power to influence my decision of the type of watermill that we purchase together, and this could change the overall productivity (but it can’t be negative productivity).

                That implies positive interest on the loan.

                It gets more complex when someone in the picture is printing fiat money … then you can have positive nominal rates of interest but negative real rates. The reason is that although you do have to pay interest on the loan, the market price of the capital asset goes up faster than the interest. This generally means that government is tipping fiat money into certain sectors of the economy for political reasons, to generate a distortion, and benefit certain classes of people (for example, during the housing boom mortgage holders were beneficiaries of government bubble-blowing via the banking system) … what this means is that someone else ended up paying your loan, because price-inflation eventually comes through and raises the cost of living.

                Since the exact flow of money through an economy is difficult to track, it’s hard to measure who benefits and who loses … and that’s by design for political reasons we don’t want the losers to know they are losers until it’s way too late for them to do anything.

              • random person says:

                Tel wrote,

                If I already have my own money (or resources, whatever) to invest in the watermill then I don’t need a loan to begin with … I simply buy the asset and enjoy the productive benefits of that.

                I think people are taking the loans with the Cardano collateral when they have enough resources that they can afford to buy the Cardano, but after they buy it, this leaves them cash-poor, so they want to get a loan so they can continue doing the things in their lives that require cash. I think the idea is that investing in Cardano, but putting it up as collateral for a loan, increases their long-term financial health more than just keeping their cash to begin with and not investing in Cardano (or only investing less in Cardano). Also, I believe that the loan is limited to half the value of the Cardano, which is intended to protect against having to liquidate the Cardano in case the value of Cardano dips, which is likely to happen from time to time due to volatility. So if they invest $50 in Cardano, then they can only borrow $25, but as the Cardano goes up in value and does whatever stuff Cardano does, the idea is that it will work out to their benefit in the long run, as compared to, say, only investing $25 in Cardano and keeping $25 in cash.

                Tel wrote,

                positive nominal rates of interest but negative real rates

                I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here, but I can guess. Going back to the scenario of putting up a watermill as collateral for a loan, and letting the watermill itself pay off the loan, slowly, over time, are you suggesting that this has positive nominal interest (in so far as the borrower does not enjoy the full benefits of having the watermill while it is being used as collateral) but negative real interest (in so far as the borrower doesn’t have to pay any money to pay off the loan, just, allow the lender to make use of the watermill for awhile)? Or did I completely misunderstand?

                Tel wrote,

                This generally means that government is tipping fiat money into certain sectors of the economy for political reasons, to generate a distortion, and benefit certain classes of people

                Crypto is very popular in countries that have particularly high rates of inflation. Note that I don’t believe that the governments deliberately cause inflation to help crypto investors, I merely think that people invest in crypto to protect themselves against inflation.

                See for example, this article titled, “Bitcoin’s (BTC) popularity explodes in inflation-hit countries”.

                The article notes that the government printing money is not the only thing that causes inflation. While that is certainly one possible cause, economic warfare waged against other countries by the United States is another possible cause.

                Take the exchange rate of Russia’s currency, for example. The ruble’s value has been slashed by a third due to American economic sanctions and speculative attacks. This can happen even despite Russia’s money supply being proportionally backed up by the largest gold reserves in the world and the country’s debt representing just 14% of GDP.

                Turkey is also being hit hard. The lira’s value fell 50% during the summer of 2018 under fire from J.P. Morgan and City Bank. Istanbul felt the full force of America’s wrath after refusing to fall in line with NATO’s strategy in Syria. Today, the inflation rate hovers around 17%, and even the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is now trying to recover the bitcoins found on cryptocurrency exchanges to bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserves…

                Hopping across the border to Iran, we find a prime example when it comes to economic sanctions. The United States shut the country off from the SWIFT network in 2012 to isolate it from the rest of the world. SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is an international payment network dominated by the same Anglo-Saxon banks that dictate nearly all international financial transactions. It is used by more than 11,000 banks in 215 countries, handling approximately 20 million transfers a day.

                The network has become a mechanism for global domination that facilitates regime change by suffocating a country’s economy. Incidentally, SWIFT, a Belgian company, was actually forced to disconnect Iran by European directive No. 267/2012 from the European Council. Of course, it was under the orders of Washington, but it sounds better when the EU says it.

                As if by magic, Iran now pays for its imports using bitcoins…


              • random person says:

                Also, I remember reading that their may be some tax advantages to putting up crypto as collateral for a loan rather than selling the crypto in order to get cash. However, as a disclaimer, I am not a tax adviser, that’s just, what I heard.

  14. random person says:

    Interestingly, Ted Cruz has apparently decided to be a socialist with respect to the topic of Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates. (To clarify, I am *NOT* saying that Ted Cruz is a socialist generally speaking, just, apparently, on this particular topic.)


    The article tells us that the truckers apparently took issue with a “recent mandate requiring truckers entering Canada to either be fully vaccinated or submit to COVID testing and quarantine measure”. (So some of these Canadian truckers might be Canadian in the sense that they do business in Canada, not necessarily in the sense of being Canadian citizens.) Some truckers then apparently decided to go on strike, block some traffic, and hold a protest. To fund their strike/protest, they apparently ran a GoFundMe campaign.

    In the GoFundMe campaign, the striking truckers apparently raised over $10 million dollars, which GoFundMe, with government encouragement, then decided to steal, in the sense that they did not give the money to the truckers and decided to give it to other charities instead.

    In other news on the topic (not the article linked), I read that lawyers eventually persuaded GoFundMe to refund the donors instead of just stealing their money. (The linked article note that GoFundMe eventually changed their mind, but, unless I missed it, fails to note the role of lawyers in persuading them to do so.)

    Anyway, Ted Cruz apparently made the following socialist statements with respect to the striking truckers,

    Listen, it is theft on the part of GoFundMe. Let me say — the Canadian truckers are heroes. They are patriots marching for your freedom and for my freedom

    ‘Those truck drivers that — God blessed them — they’re defending Canada, but they are defending America as well.

    ‘That is courage on display, that the government doesn’t have the right to force you to comply to their arbitrary mandates. And they’re standing up for freedom, and of course, big government hates it and is trying to crush them,’

    • guest says:

      How is Ted Cruz’s statement a socialist one? Because he’s championing every individual’s right to self-ownership, and you think because the concept of individual-self-interest is meaningful to all humans, there’s somehow a “social good” argument to be made for individual rights?

      The group of protesters have a common interest, but only because basic human rights are being violated . But this is not the normal condition of humanity, nor would it be desirable for it to be so.

      We are all unuque individuals with different preferences and abilities. That fact guarantees that opportunities will be available to some people and not others, and that results in income and wealth inequality quite apart from any bad intentions.

      So even if we were capable of ending all theft and fraud, the world would still have the possibility for exytremely hight wealth and income inequality, and all because we are unique human beings

      • Tel says:

        These people calling themselves socialists are quite clear that they hate individual freedom and love governments imposing mandates for an mRNA treatment that does not stop the spread anyhow.


        Anyone following the Canadian corporate media’s news coverage in recent days will have been bombarded by reports about a relatively small protest initiated and led by far-right, owner-operator truckers against a federal government-imposed vaccine mandate.

        Those nasty “far right” owner-operators … imagine the concept of someone who works and also owns the means of production! What’s the world coming to when such people can make decisions about their own health?

        • random person says:

          To: Tel

          Tel wrote,

          These people calling themselves socialists are quite clear that they hate individual freedom and love governments imposing mandates for an mRNA treatment that does not stop the spread anyhow.

          Setting aside labels (for a moment), what I don’t get (at least at first glance) is why some people support workers going on strike because they are afraid of possible adverse health effects from vaccines, but not (so far as I know) workers going on strike because they are afraid the building of the workplace will collapse on them. And, conversely, why there are some people who support workers going on strike because they are afraid the building of the workplace will collapse on them, but not workers going on strike because they are afraid of possible adverse health effects from vaccines.

          However, if I think about it for 10+ minutes, rather than simply making an “at first glance” assessment, I believe it boils down to paternalism in both cases, at least as one significant factor. (Note: I don’t really like the word “paternalism”, but I cannot think of an alternate word to describe the concept of which I speak: basically, that some people believe they know what’s best for other people, better than those other people know what’s best for themselves.) In addition to paternalism, some people may feel entitled to other people’s labor, or take issue with specific strategies used by strikers. However, while I acknowledge that paternalism is not the only factor, that’s what I’m going to focus on for the moment.

          For example, in the article you link, the author does not appear to acknowledge that some people may be fearful that vaccines may have adverse side effects. There is no discussion of how rational such fears might be, because the possibility that people might even have such fears to begin with is not even acknowledged.

          For example, the author of the article you linked writes,

          In truth, no individual has the “right“ or “freedom” to go around infecting others with a potentially deadly virus. To the extent that vaccines are freely available, there is no legitimate reason for workers to refuse them.

          You see, there is not even an acknowledgement that some people may fear vaccine adverse reactions, and that this fear may be based on a wide variety of factors, including a) knowledge of cases of people who have reacted badly to a vaccine or to the vaccine in question in particular, b) having themselves had an adverse reaction to a previous vaccine or a previous dose of this vaccine, c) other negative encounters with the healthcare system in the past, including adverse reactions to other stuff prescribed by doctors, d) knowledge of current or past racism and other problems in the healthcare system, including the Tuskagee experiment. (That list of possible reasons for reluctance to take a vaccine is not intended to be exhaustive, merely to include some common reasons for reluctance that I have heard people express.) All those potential reasons for concern are completely disregarded with the statement “no legitimate reason for workers to refuse them”. The closest the article comes to acknowledging the possible concerns I listed is to use the phrase “unscientific nonsense”, which is still very dismissive.

          In summary, the author is being paternalistic, and believes that he or she knows what is best for the workers in question better than they do. While he may be socialist in other areas of his life, he is not being socialist on this particular topic (in my view, at least, for whatever that counts for), in so far as I don’t consider this sort of paternalism to be consistent with socialist values. (Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe socialist is a broad enough term to include paternalism, and what I should say is simply that they are a different type of socialist than I am. However, I am wary of allowing “paternalism” as an excuse, considering people who advocate forced labor often use paternalistic arguments. It seems to be, that even if socialism is a broad term, there should be some minimal standards, and violating worker rights, even with paternalistic intent, should not qualify as socialism.)

          Now, unsafe working conditions are a real problem for a lot of workers. Consider, for example, the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse. If I search Google, I can find a number of articles talking about Bangledeshi garment workers striking or rioting because of safety concerns, including those exemplified by the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse. (They also have other concerns, but, for the moment, I am focusing on safety concerns.)

          Now if I look at an article on mises dot org, about unions, just picking one of the ones that came up on Google, I find “How Unions Reduce Real Wages” by Henry Hazlitt. Unless I missed it somehow, nowhere does the article discuss safety concerns that workers might have. Just as the article you linked completely disregards the possibility that some workers may be afraid of adverse reactions to vaccines, the article by Henry Hazlitt completely disregards the possibility that some workers may be afraid of unsafe working conditions. While not even acknowledging that safety concerns may exist, he makes the paternalistic argument that unions actually hurt workers’ interests by reducing productivity and thus real wages.

          So, in both cases, what I see is someone who believes that they are advocating for what is best for workers, but, due to paternalism, disregard what certain workers themselves believe is best for said workers. So, the person doing this may self-identify as a socialist, or they may self-identify as an Austrian economist, or they may self-identify in any number of other ways, and we can debate whether their self-identification is accurate, but, at least in the two examples I just looked at, the underlying psychology appears to be pretty similar.

          • guest says:

            “… what I don’t get (at least at first glance) is why some people support workers going on strike because they are afraid of possible adverse health effects from vaccines, but not (so far as I know) workers going on strike because they are afraid the building of the workplace will collapse on them. …”

            First, it’s because the Freedom Trucker strikers are striking as individuals, and they aren’t trying to stop the business owners from replacing them with “scabs”.

            Strikes for “workplace safety” are only “successful” because the government is threatening business owners at gunpoint if they replace strikers with “scabs”.

            Nobody owns their job, you don’t have a right to work somewhere. What you have is a right to offer a trade with a business owner.

            You also have a right to band together with your co-workers and attempt to strike without pointing a gun at the business owner. Conversely, the business owner has the right to fire someone if he attempts to organize a strike.

            Second, they are not on strike because they afraid of adverse effects from vaccines – they would just not take it.

            They are on strike because the government is mandating the vaccines.

            Regarding workplace safety, if you’re willing to accept a lower wage, you can usually go to another employer who is willing to invest his profits in safer buildings.

            If you think the building is going to collapse and you still stay, then you have decided that X amount of pay is worth Y amount of risk. That’s partly on you.

            Now, if the government is preventing businesses from importing cheaper raw materials from foreigners, so it’s cheaper to build safer buildings, then government-imposed protectionism is responsible for the worker having to choose between food and safety. Stop blaming the greedy business man – other business owners’ greed is competing for your labor with cheaper and safer building/products.

            @”random person” wrote:

            “For example, the author of the article you linked writes,

            ” In truth, no individual has the “right“ or “freedom” to go around infecting others with a potentially deadly virus. To the extent that vaccines are freely available, there is no legitimate reason for workers to refuse them. ”

            This author incorrectly claims that individuals are going around infecting people with a deadly virus. That’s not what’s happening.

            What’s happening is – and let’s accept, for argument’s sake, that these individuals are carrying a deadly virus – individuals are going around to places they are being invited to by the owners, and those people who don’t want to catch the virus (but do not own the businesses they want to go to) want to socialize the costs of their risk to feed and entertain themselves onto others.

            If you’re afraid to catch the virus, no one is forcing you to come out of your house. So when you choose to go to the store where infected people are being allowed by the store’s owners. IT IS YOU who is choosing to accept some risk when you go.

            It’s not the infected or the store owners who say something like “for the economy’s sake, we must force these scaredy cats out of their homes to work and shop”. The infected are quite happy to leave you alone.

            But not so with those who think they’re entitled to impose upon the business owner the restriction of who he can or can not allow into his store, infected or not.

            “However, if I think about it for 10+ minutes, rather than simply making an “at first glance” assessment, I believe it boils down to paternalism in both cases, at least as one significant factor.”

            Nice try.

            Replace paternalism with “brotherhood”, and you have the exact same thing.

            Socialists view humanity as a collective, and that’s why they have top-down “solutions”.

            You can *say* you’re doing it for “your fellow man” all you want, but government-imposed mandates of any kind (for vaccines *or* for OSHA-like compliance) is both paternalistic in that it’s top-down and also brotherly in that you’re “just looking out for your fellow man”.

            Same thing. Socialists don’t get a pass on “paternalism” in this broader sense of the word.

            And I’ll remind you that it was socialist paternalism/brotherhood-of-man-ism that was responsible for around a hundred million deaths in the past century and a half, or so.

            And finally, regarding socialists’ obsession with “paternalism” in the more narrow sense (of society being male-driven), men do most of the work, in general, and in particular the harder work, when the government isn’t trying to impose nonsense socialist policy pursuits like gender-equality.

            “Paternalism” (in this narrow sense) is *chosen* by normal people because it conforms to the reality of gener identities (and yes, there’s only two genders).

            Sports involving trans- (“pretend-“?) -gendered people are proving this left-and right.

            Men and women are just different.

            Socialists have to attempt to destroy the nuclear family because the nuclear family proves that humans are not equal with each other, and that merit, and therefore wealth, is naturally (and desirably) not equally distributed.

  15. random person says:

    Note to other readers:
    Although Guest persists in replying to my comments, I have repeatedly made it clear that I am no longer reading or making specific responses to his comments due to his KNOWING, DELIBERATE, and REPEATED STRAWMANNING behavior in the past. His extreme level of dishonesty, going to the extreme of accusing me, without evidence, of lying about my own beliefs, rises to the level of gaslighting. Since he has continued to reply despite the fact that I have repeatedly made it clear that I have no interest in listening to him anymore, I can only assume he is trying to effectively silence me by lying to others about my beliefs. As such, I ask that other readers disregard anything Guest says about my beliefs or opinions, unless you hear them from me directly.

    Further details, including multiple examples of Guest repeatedly and deliberately lying to me about my own beliefs, can be found here:

    • guest says:

      “As such, I ask that other readers disregard anything Guest says about my beliefs or opinions, unless you hear them from me directly.”

      But if @”random person” labels *himself* a socialist, you can just ignore any logically necessary effects or conclusions that stem from socialism, because @”random person” doesn’t mean *that* part of socialism.

      “Brotherhood of man” and “Workers unite” may *require* you to view humanity and/or workers as a collective group which must be managed by a governing body, but that’s not paternalism because socialists didn’t *intend* it to be that way.

  16. random person says:

    To: Tel

    Continuing from up here, where I mentioned the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse.


    Anyway, a good deal of socialist thinking (Marx, Morel, others) suggests that in seeking to understand the backstory behind worker oppression, we look for variations of the expropriation of the peasant from the land (or whatever words one wants to use to describe the general concept).

    And it does seem to be the case in the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse that the “owner” of the building that collapsed (in the sense of the person who had control), Mohammad Sohel Rana, did not have a valid moral title to that building, nor even, arguably, a valid legal title.

    Apparently, Rana had become wealthy by controlling a gang that did various activities including extortion, running drugs, and providing muscle to politicians. Also, according to one Mr. Khan, Rana was involved in illegal, forcible land-grabbing in the 1990s, with the help of various corrupt politicians. And it appears that the land where the building that collapsed was built was among the forcibly seized land.

    “Profile: Rana Plaza owner Mohammad Sohel Rana”
    bbc [dot] com/news/world-asia-22366454

    Alright, so the BBC article isn’t terribly detailed, and I’m no expert on the history of land rights and distribution in Bangladesh, but at least, based on the rather minimal information provided, it would seem to confirm that Bangladesh has the kind of messed up land system that would probably expropriate peasants from the land and leave them at the mercy of land thieves like Mr. Rana.

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