Friday, December 7, 2012

Capitalism Critiqued More

Here is a follow up on the article below...

Here is a bit of history:

In 1879, journalist Henry George published the immensely popular Progress and Poverty, in which he argued that private ownership of land is the cause of many of the world’s evils. “To extirpate poverty,” he wrote, “to make wages what justice commands they should be, the full earnings of the laborer, we must therefore substitute for the individual ownership of land a common ownership.”

***Error #1, the labor theory of value.***

 George arrived at this conclusion by declaring that “Land is the source of all wealth.”

***Error #2, that land is wealth.  Land is an asset, that can be property if worked by the owner.***

Consequently, a man who is denied land is denied the right to earn a living.

***No, a man denied his property (means of production) is denied the right to earn a living.***

A man has a natural right to the products of his labor, George argued, and therefore should not be forced to pay rent to a landowner, who contributed nothing to production. To George, the capitalist was an exploiter, who got rich on the backs of the workers.

**** I could not agree more.  If you can actually work the property you rent out, horses, hotel rooms, cars, then they are your property.  If you must hire people to work them, then they are homesteadable, in a free market.  Sell before they are homesteaded.***

To ensure that people would be rewarded for their efforts, George devised a system in which an individual would be guaranteed the right to use a specified parcel of land. However, rather than owning that land, the individual would be little more than a rent-paying tenant. This, George assured his readers, would provide opportunities for all and bring a quick end to poverty.

***Hong Kong is proof of this today. It is possible to have your premises dead wrong and your conclusion to be correct.***

But, if George’s system were fully implemented, such assurances would amount to idle promises. If all land were publicly owned, the public would have the power to determine its use. A man would have no guarantee that the factory he built this year would be allowed to stand the next year, if the public should decide on another use for that land. 

***In practice, that is not the case.  In capitalistic USA, no one has any idea if they will be evicted tomorrow, as we see in recent Supreme Court decisions.  If Costco wants your lands, Costco gets those lands.***

In 1894, a Chicago journalist named Henry Demarest Lloyd published Wealth Against Commonwealth, an attack on the Standard Oil Trust. Lloyd believed that Standard Oil and its founder, John D. Rockefeller, represented everything wrong with society in general, and capitalism in particular.


To Lloyd, the capitalists were as evil and tyrannical as King George III had been prior to the American Revolution. They were individualists, he declared, who placed their own self-interests above the public interests. Individualism, he believed, had served its purpose. “The laissez-faire of social self-interest,” Lloyd wrote, “if true, cannot conflict with the individual self-interest, if true, but it must outrank it always.”[4] In other words, the individual is to be subservient to society.

***Yes, he is right, but then he goes left, he goes off the rails.  The individual is beholden to the customer, that is the free market, and the solution to these bad policies and philosophies.***

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