Category Archives: Socialism

Review: The Production of Security – Part 1

The seminal work of free-market anarchism is commonly held to be Gustave di Molinari’s The Production of Security. This document was one of the many great analyses of free-market economics to come out of France during the first half of the 19th century, and questioned the truth of the fundamental belief that

… to secure [their rights], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed (1)

The essay is broken into the following segments:

I – The Natural Order of Society
II – Competition in Security
III – Security an Exception?
IV – The Alternatives
V – Monopoly and Communism
VI – The Monopolization and Collectivization of the Security Industry
VII – Government and Society
VIII – The Divine Right of Kings and Majorities
IX – The Regime of Terror
X The Free Market for Security

This is a fairly long essay, written in a different era, in a different language. Thus even the best translations can require a great deal of effort to read. However, I think it is a useful essay to walk through. Since it is so long and so radical, I thought I would break the document into little chunks and provide commentaries on one chunk at a time. This post will be a commentary on the first two sections, “The Natural Order of Society” and “Competition in Security” » Read more

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Chavez To Begin Indoctrination Socialist Formation Classes

You know, ever since I started working from home, I’ve found myself to be much more productive. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I no longer spend time in meetings. Does Hugo Chavez realize the damage he’ll do to productivity by sending people to socialism classes for four hours a week?

Venezuela’s government will require workers to spend four hours a week in “socialist formation” classes, and is mandating employers form “Bolivarian Work Councils” to run courses on the job, El Universal reported, citing Labor and Social Security Minister Jose Ramon Rivero.

The classes will first be held only in public sector jobs, beginning with a pilot program at the nation’s Labor Ministry, and will later spread to private businesses, after President Hugo Chavez decrees a law outlining re-education guidelines and rules, the newspaper said.

Topics to be addressed in the four-hour classes include Venezuelan history and “basic tools for analyzing reality, the environment, the role of the state and socialist scheme,” to speed the transition from capitalism to socialism, Rivero said, according to the newspaper.

Chavez has asked that socialist education, the so-called “Third Motor” of his Bolivarian revolution, be carried out beyond schools, in factories, workshops, offices and fields, the newspaper reported.

Notably missing from his list of things to teach are logical fallacies and economics, but then, those two things would make his citizens subjects realize that Chavez was trying to dupe them and that socialism won’t work. Incentives matter, Hugo.

But alas, as much as those of us anti-socialists argue, nobody is listening. So we’ll just have to wait for the inevitable Venezuelan collapse to make our point for us. At which time the socialists will just say “Well, Chavez didn’t do it right…” Same story, different day.

Hat Tip: Lance @ A Second Hand Conjecture (also see his interview with Manny Lopez, a reporter who regularly visits Venezuela)

People Who Enjoy Paying Taxes?!

Really? Really?! I mean really, are you kidding me?

I just paid my taxes, and I have to say, I always take pride when I do so. I don’t like having less money to spend, of course, and the complexity of the process is really upsetting. But I am proud to pay for democracy, and I feel when I do send money to the DC Treasurer and the US Treasury that that is what I am doing. The right-wing likes to pretend as if taxes are a burden instead of the price of democracy. And I suppose, if you hate democracy, as the right-wing does, then taxes are the price for paying for something you really don’t want. Personally, I find banking fees, high cable and internet charges, health care costs, and credit card hidden charges much more abrasive than taxes, because with those I’m just being ripped off to pay for someone’s summer home.

You like it that much, huh? Want to pay mine? If you love democracy that much, you should certainly give it extra voluntary contributions, to offset those of us who don’t love democracy.

Yep… You heard me. I don’t love democracy. Democracy is a horrible form of government. Democracy has its place, but unless you restrain its scope, you’re looking for trouble. Of course, I don’t expect Mr. Stoller to understand that. After all, he’s interested in socialism, not liberty. And if you’re interested in socialism, democracy is a wonderful tool to chain those above you on the economic ladder into the machine. Democracy is an incredibly effective tool of authoritarians, and socialism cannot exist without authoritarianism.

But I’m not interested in socialism, I’m interested in liberty. I like democracy when compared to, say, monarchy or oligarchy, as a method to decide who will control a tightly constitutionally-limited government. But the key isn’t democracy, the key is limited government. Because when government grows, liberty shrinks. I don’t ask much from government, only to leave me the hell alone. And when they’re taking 50% of my income, that’s not leaving me alone.

But I have another question for Mr. Stoller… Are you getting your money’s worth?

I am proud to pay taxes because I take pride in America, and paying some tiny burden to keep our society running is an extremely small price to pay for being able to call myself an American citizen. The old expression ‘you get what you pay for’ is apt for all sorts of situations.

Now, if you’re paying a “tiny burden”, you’re poor and probably getting a pretty good deal. Government is probably giving you a good deal of “stuff” in order for your “tiny” burden. But, as we pointed out here, many of us aren’t getting what we pay for. After all, my burden isn’t “tiny”. I’m getting screwed, and you’re telling me to lie back with a smile and enjoy it. The only way I could be getting what I pay for from “our” government is if I were a masochist, but I’m not one to willingly pay for pain.

When the penalty for not paying is a stint in a jail cell, government doesn’t have to give you services commensurate with your contribution. They don’t have to give you what you pay for. Because if you don’t pay, they put the screws to you. It’s called extortion and theft, and the only reason I still pay taxes is because I’d rather be a slave for 50% of my time than in a cage for 100%.

Hat Tip: QandO

Equador: Another Socialist Domino Falls

I’ve been watching for this one, and now it’s official.

Ecuador heads for socialist reform of constitution

Ecuadorans overwhelmingly voted Sunday in favor of forming an assembly to rewrite the constitution, a project sought by leftist President Rafael Correa, according to initial, unofficial results.

Correa, who had staked his post on the outcome, was handed 78.1 percent of the votes, a Cedatos-Gallup exit poll showed. The private company’s results were broadcast by the television network Ecuavisa.

Correa, who took office three months ago, has set out a sweeping reform program for his five-year mandate that would include reversing free-market measures, renegotiating foreign oil contracts and cutting ties with the International Monetary Fund.

What is it with socialists and 5-year plans?

Anyway, Ecuador and Venezuela will play out in different ways. First of all, Ecuador currently has adopted the dollar as their official currency. If they don’t reverse that, they won’t have the ability to inflate the way that Chavez has done. In addition, while oil is a decent portion of their economy, they don’t have quite the resources that Chavez has been able to dole out.

With a per-capita GDP much smaller than Venezuela, without the inflation problem, and without the incredible oil boom that Chavez has, they’ll have to be much more circumspect about how aggressive they get with their socialism. Thus, they could hold a semblance of stability when Venezuela eventually crumbles. But I think the end result is the same as always, socialism won’t be the panacea they’re looking for.

Free Trade Reduces Taxes

So many of our protectionist brethren focus on the negative side of free trade. The negative side is that when there is competition, jobs tend to go to the nations which provide the best environment for business. They seem to think that America qualifies, but that’s simply not true. America hasn’t had to compete on a global scale until recently, because we had an enormous internal market, and the cost and time of shipping goods worldwide made it unfeasible to outsource all but the most low-skill jobs.

But you add in a little competition, as Cato@Liberty points out, and we find ourselves getting upstaged by the French:

It is always easy to make fun of the French for their hopeless infatuation with redistribution, intervention, and other statist policies. So it is rather embarrassing that France (33 percent) currently has a significantly lower corporate tax rate than the United States (about 40 percent, if state taxes are included). Imagine, then, how humiliating it will be if Nicolas Sarkozy wins the French presidency and follows through on his proposal to lower France’s corporate rate to 25 percent. To be sure, the impetus for a lower corporate rate is tax competition rather than a new-found appreciation for market forces.

You see, global competition can force us to get the government out of our lives. While that’s a bad thing to the leftist protectionists, pointing it out to the right-wing protectionists might just make a point. With America surrounded by two oceans, for most of our history we could only conveniently outsource to Canada and Mexico, and thus we found ourselves with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. France, a country known for its propensity to tax it’s way out of (and then into) all sorts of problems, is finding that they have to reduce taxes to compete. Could not we do the same? Or businesses should think about forming a company in countries like Andorra that has the lowest corporate tax in western Europe. With reliable relocation agencies (like this service company), setting up a business in Andorra isn’t impossible.

American taxation, and our regulatory burden, have only been made possible by the fact that we were insulated from competition. We’re no longer insulated from competition, and that may force us to reduce the impact that government has on our lives in order to compete. If even France! can learn their lesson, I’m sure we can too.

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