Exploring social fundamentals.

     Some years ago I posted a piece about a fundamental social question:  Who actually pays the bill I claimed there were only two ways to survive - either produce something to exchange for food, raiment, and shelter OR live off someone who does.

        Well!  That didn't please anyone whose political views were fixed firmly to the left.  I saved some of the scorching emails.  "...as for the axiom you posted, I cannot disagree more.  The idea that everybody in America should be reduced to producer and consumer is repugnant to me.  Democracy is not for sale.  This country is not based on one dollar = one vote."

          He continued on to complain about the "evils of big business and profits."  He was obviously sold on the Socialist dislike of Capitalism. 

           Having posited the axiom for years, and having heard plenty of thunder against it, I have never heard a rebuttal that showed there was a THIRD way to survive except for the erroneous notion that government will provide.  Five minutes of concentrated thought should make clear that government entities cannot provide a dime to anyone it has not first collected in taxes or borrowed  - against the expectation of an inflow of more taxes.  Government provides nothing in the way of handouts it has not first taken from the productive classes. 

           Franz Oppenheimer explained all this more than a century ago in his
book Der Staat. He also understood the ancient axiom that goods-and-services exchange for goods-and-services and that the complication of money became necessary because barter is so inefficient.  Think about it.  Instead of bartering your time and talent in the marketplace for food, clothing, etc., you exchange your time and talent at your workplace for currency.  With that currency you may acquire food, clothing, etc., whenever you wish. 

           What about people who aren't able to trade their time and effort for things they need?  Babies, for instance.  The physically disabled, such as the frail old.  It's true that children must live out of the pockets of their caretakers.  Old folks who were unable or chose not to accumulate assets to sustain them in their advanced years also must rely on the charity of others for food and shelter.  But it's a fundamental law of nature that one must have the means of feeding and clothing oneself or live off the effort of someone else. 

             With government playing the gatekeeper into the pockets of the productive classes it's easy to forget the basic facts of the transaction.  The general public comes to think of access to "government money" as a right - particularly if one falls on hard times.  Rarely is credit given to those who are payimg the expenses of keeping charitable subsidies flowing.  In fact, the matter isn't given much thought at all.  Government expenses outstripping income?  No to worry.  We'll just print the dollars necessary to close the gap and send the bill to future generations. 

             It's not mean-spirited to understand the fact there are only two ways to sustain oneself; If one does not have the means or will to provide for one's self he or she must live out of the pockets of someone who does.  Thus it has always been.

              Fourth or fifth graders could absorb this fact in one forty-minute class.  It's doubtful, however,  the subject will ever come up in a public school classroom.

August 15th, 2017

...from the Curmudgeon's Archives.

Posterity's Debt To Me
The Battle for Honest Money
Coping with Deflation
From Riches to Rags
Fiddler's Broken Wrist
Jack-lantern Wealth
Chances of Gold Confiscatio
Poobahs of Positivism

Blood In the Streets

America Descending
Just Plain Stealing?
A thing to fear
Heavenly Sex
What Fools, We Mortals
Unvarnished Truth
Hucksterism Gone Wild
Religious Violence