Where is all the Gold? The Germans are concerned.

As well they should be.  The majority of their gold has been kept in the United States and there has never been an audit of the quantity or the fitness of the German gold located in the NY Fed.  GATA has been concerned about the U.S. gold stockpile for a long time and they have a lot of evidence that the Federal Reserve in collusion with some of the big Wall St banks have been secretly dumping gold on the market to suppress its price.  Long story short, the Germans might not have any gold left. Here is Mark Keiser’s take.

 

Hyperinflation by 2014?

John Williams is from Shadowstats.com.  These economic observers have been keeping track of inflation the old way before the Federal Reserve started changing their calculation around so that inflation seemed less severe to the public public.  The Federal Reserve does not calculate food or fuel prices when calculating inflation as it did in the past because of “large fluctuations” in those markets. Conveniently, these are some of the major purchases by poor and middle class families from month to month. In addition, the Federal Reserve today uses owner “equivalent rent” for housing, a system where they ignore the list price and instead give their own price.  For example, during the housing boom, home value was calculated by what kind of rent the home could receive, not the rising retail price of the house.  Therefore, the housing boom was likely able to continue for a much longer period because the price inflation in the economy was not picked up by the statistics the were published by the government. 

Needless to say, the people from Shadowstats have been studying Federal Reserve monetary policy and it real affects on the economy for a long time.  I would take them seriously.

 

Social Security Administration Buys 174 Thousand Rounds of Hollow Point Bullets

Thanks to Gary North for picking this up.  This editorial was written by a retired Lt. General.  It was posted on the Daily Caller.  It is worth the read.  You will not here either of the two major presidential candidates touch this topic. Too bad, I would really like to hear some kind of explanation for these kind of purchases.

 

China is no Longer Going to Sell Oil in Dollars

This is very big news.  Ever since crazy Dick unlinked the dollar from gold in 1971, oil has served as an unofficial price support for the dollar ever since.  This is because all oil that is traded in the world is traded in dollars.  There were a few countries that did not trade oil in dollars like Iraq and potentially Libya but luckily they were ruled by very bad men and had to be taken out by the peace loving civilized societies of the West.  This of course issued an new golden age that allowed the poor oppressed people of Iraq and Libya to enjoy the fruits of democracy that is working so well here, but I digress. 

China is now the newest country in the world to attempt get out from under the Federal Reserve’s massive monetary devauluation. They want to trade oil in something else besides dollars.  This is very logical for them, they are getting killed economically by continuing to buy so many dollars because dollars are dropping in value so quickly and will continue to drop in value as far as the eye can see.  It is likely obvious to the leaders of China and many other national leaders from around the world for that matter, that the dollar is on its last legs.  No one wants to get stuck holding the bag of trillions of dollars when the run against the dollar finally takes place.  For this reason, China is already taking measures to insulate themselves when this inevitably happens.  The problem for the U.S. is that the more steps that China takes to protect themselves, the more weak the dollar eventually becomes.  Unfortunately for the U.S., China will be much harder to persuade than Iraq or Libya.

When the actual run on the dollar actually happens is still unknown but things continue to move in that direction.  There is no end to the debt or the money printing that comes out of the Federal Reserve.  The U.S. will default either out right by reneging on its obligations like social security, medicare, and bonds or through massive inflation which the usual tool of governments.  Either one will be devastating to the U.S. economy but massive monetary inflation will be much worse.  It is best to prepare now.

 

 

 

Anti-trust laws

Here Murry Rothbard explains some of the false ideas how cartels or monopolies are thought to arise on the free-market.


 

Here is a paper that I wrote back in 2008 about anti-trust laws.  This paper is largely based on Chicago School economics and Randian ideas because it was before I discovered the Austrian School of economics.  That being said, this paper still largely fits into my understanding of anti-trust laws today except that it is likely not radical enough (I would also cite much better economists).  It seems to me that Anti-trust laws are more often used by industry with government insiders to squash competition.  High minded misguided government bureucrats are much less dangerous than the lobbyists and the influence that big industry has within the government.   Paid off bureaucrats are much more dangerous than idealistic bureaucrats. 

A brief summery if you do not feel like reading the whole thing: Strike all anti-trust laws from the books, they are both immoral and economically destructive.

Antitrust

 A Tale of Government Economic Destruction

With the rise of the industrial revolution, many people started observing new economic trends.  Businesses were beginning to consolidate through “trusts” that allowed them to grow to unprecedented size.  Whole industries started to come under control of a single company.  Many people believed that the free market, originally thought to protect free competition, was now destroying it through monopolistic practices.  The Standard Oil Company is the most famous example of this.  The Standard Oil Company eventually acquired almost ninety percent of the oil market in the United States.  The company was so massive that it was able to own every stage of production, from when it was pumped from the ground, to refining, to packaging and shipping.  This massive company was able to cut its operating costs so much that no other company could compete..  The rise of industry and large national companies like Standard Oil in the late 19th century coincided with the rise of different social movements as well. 

Emmanuel Kant started a new school in philosophy in response to the Age of Enlightenment.  His philosophy primarily rested on the idea that “reason” was unreliable in the goal of saving the traditional form of morality of altruism (Peikoff, 75).  By the middle of the 19th century Kantian philosophic principles were becoming the dominating ideas in European Universities. These rival schools of thought rose in the Germanic states in Europe in opposition to the British Enlightenment philosophers (Peikoff, 117).   More philosophers, continuing Kant’s moral philosophic principles of duty, sacrifice, and social benefit, became the primary thinkers of the main schools of thought in Europe.  Karl Marx was one of the leading thinkers on “social morality”(Peikoff, 64).  He was the first person to coin the term “capitalist” and described it as a person that benefits from someone else’s labor (Lorenzo, 1).  The laborer themselves do not draw any benefit or profit, just mere subsistence in the Marxist view.  This social philosophy spread very quickly because of the philosophic foundations laid by Emmanuel Kant and his philosophic heirs.         

As Socialist and Communist ideas started to dominate the European intellectual establishment, they began to spread to America as well.  The idea that man was an individual working in a free society for his own happiness was undercut by ideas that man was merely an exploited tool for use by the capitalists.  These ideas gave eventually rise to a larger social movements that aimed to “stop the common man from being exploited.” The political response to placate this new populist movement was antitrust laws.   

 Antitrust laws have been the corner stone of American economic policy for over a hundred years.  Though the lax antitrust enforcement over the last thirty years has been enormously beneficial for the economy, the recent economic crisis has brought panic to the people and politicians of the United States, which will likely lead to many interventionist and strong antitrust policies by the Federal Government.   These panic driven moves to manipulate the market with antitrust laws are destined to end in failure and must be avoided.  The only ethical course of action is to repeal antitrust laws because they are not practical, they hurt the consumer, and they make the economy less productive.   

 First there is no practical economic or legal definition of a monopoly. Under antitrust laws, any business can be a monopoly and any businessman is a potential criminal.  Ayn Rand, political philosopher and commentator describes antitrust laws.  

 “Under the Antitrust laws, a man becomes a criminal from the moment he goes into business, no matter what he does. For instance, if he charges prices which some bureaucrats judge as too high, he can be prosecuted for monopoly or for a successful “intent to monopolize”; if he charges prices lower than those of his competitors, he can be prosecuted for “unfair competition” or “restraint of trade”; and if he charges the same prices as his competitors, he can be prosecuted for “collusion” or “conspiracy””(Rand, The Objective News Letter, 1)

  The fact that antitrust laws can be so easily be interpreted to mean almost anything is unethical in itself and is one of the strongest reasons why antitrust laws should be repealed.

            Alan Greenspan also describes antitrust laws:

  “The world of antitrust laws is reminiscent of Alice’s Wonderland:  everything seemingly is, yet apparently isn’t, simultaneously.  It is a world in which competition is lauded as the basic axiom and guiding principle, yet “too much” competition is condemned as “cutthroat.”  It is a world in which actions designed to limit competition are branded as criminal when taken by businessmen, yet praised as “enlightened” when initiated by the government.  It is a world in which the law is so vague that businessmen have no way of knowing whether specific actions will be declared illegal until they hear the judge’s verdict- after the fact”(Greenpan, Antitrust, Capitalism:  The Unknown Ideal).

 

Historian Wyatt Wells wrote an interesting work titled Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World where he puts forward the idea that antitrust laws are an effective tool against trusts.  His work focuses on antitrust on a global scale, especially how the U.S. pushed its economic view of antitrust on post World War II Europe and Japan.  Wells’ main focus is on how Cartels were considered a “social good” by many Europeans, while Americans were largely apprehensive about such concentrations of private power in industry.  Wells, throughout his book, works on the assumption that Cartels reduce competition, raise prices, and are largely negative.  This largely assumed proposition lacks some critical arguments that much of his concluding ideas rests.  One area of critical importance is how European “Cartels” and American “Monopolies” differ.  Wells makes the statement that there was a large drive in Europe to have the national state direct the economy after World War I.  It was considered as much of moral question as the practical allocation of resources (because of Kantian and Marxist philosophic dominance).   This meant that for many of the thinkers in Europe, Adam Smith’s free market economics was out.(Wells, 5)   This is a critical area that Wells does not address, European Cartels were largely state sponsored for the “social good” while American monopolies were much more likely to come about naturally in the free market. The question that Wells fails to ask is whether all large “monopolies” restrict competition or whether it takes government policies and state sponsorship to restrict competition.  The truth that Wells does not mention is government interference and power is the only way to create a true monopoly that really does harm the consumer for others benefit.  Examples of this can be seen throughout history from government control of phone companies, to public utilities, and even railroad companies in the 19th century.  As historian Dominick Armentano puts it:

 “Antitrust policy in Americas’ a misleading myth that has served to draw public attention away from the actual process of monopolization that has been occurring throughout the economy.  The general public has been deluded into believing that monopoly is a free-market problem, and that the government, through antitrust enforcement, is on the side of the “angles.”  The facts are exactly the opposite.  Antitrust… served as a convenient cover for an insidious process of monopolization in the market place”(qtd. In Dilorenzo, 154 )

The way that Wells glosses over state monopolies for the “social good” as being negative but antitrust laws for the “social good” as positive is a messy contradiction.  In both situations, the government chooses “winners and losers” in the business world.  This makes interpretation of antitrust laws still more confusing and impractical. 

Wells himself seems to state how confusing antitrust laws are but seems to blame that confusion on the public while still holding his benevolent attitude towards the impractical laws, “Americans are too often ignorant of how and why their institutions work.  Antitrust has improved the performance of the U.S.economy, largely by suppressing cartels”(Wells, 216).  This vague statement about the importance of antitrust laws is soon modified by Wells when he asserts that Americans “huge market, stable government, and strong currency made the risks of competition manageable”(Wells, 216). This is an outright contradiction by stating that competition is usually bad and needs to be managed while asserting at the same time that antitrust laws encourage competition and help the economy.  Such a contradiction seems to be an admission that antitrust laws have no practical objective interpretation.   Wells seems aware of his contradiction but surprisingly does not try to remedy it by openly stating that “antitrust statutes rest on a paradox” in his concluding paragraph (Wells, 216).  An argument that contains a contradiction or “rests on a paradox” is not an argument and should be rejected because is violates the laws of reason.  Wells continues down the same irrational thought experiment without hesitation.  He tries to make a compromise that firms have to have the capital to compete for antitrust laws to be effective.  This opens up another flaw in his argument by plainly stating that antitrust laws destroy available capital.  In an era when huge amounts of capital are needed to make things like computer software, large companies are needed for such huge investments.  Antitrust laws seek to break up companies to increase competition but these smaller companies might not be able to raise the needed capital because of their reduced size.  Thus capital is a requirement for business and therefore large trusts must be allowed to exist to raise the needed resources.  None of Wells’ arguments for antitrust laws rest on any objective standard.  The confusion surrounding the interpretation, method, and use such laws is really that irrational but that is how their most ardent supporters defend antitrust laws.  Even those that are for antitrust laws can’t seem to come up with a practical way of defining them.   As Greenspan put it in his famous essay “Antitrust: “To sum up:  the entire structure of antitrust statutes in this country is a jumble of economic irrationality and ignorance.  It is the product: a) of gross misinterpretation of history, and b) of rather naïve, and certainly unrealistic, economic theories (Greenspan, 71).  Antitrust simply has no practical or objective interpretation.

The next area of importance is how antitrust laws are not only impractical but hurt the consumer as well. Standard Oil is the text book example that every social progressive and socialist uses to demonstrate the evils of “monopolistic power.” Edwin Rockefeller of the Cato institute puts forward that from the 1890s to today, Standard Oil is the example of the destructive power of monopolies.  “Belief in antitrust begins with the Standard Oil legend.  Antitrust believers are opposed to what the Standard Oil trust is believed to have done.  Antiturst is anti Standard Oil trust”( Rockefeller, 48).   The Standard Oil example, when examined completely, does not support any of the principles that a “monopoly” harms the consumer.   Rockefeller writes about how antitrust laws are unneeded and unjust. Rockefeller makes a strong argument that anti-trust laws were used politically to placate the voting public, though they have no clear intention or practical interpretation (Rockefeller, 47).   

Rockefeller points to the beginning of anti-trust laws, The Sherman Antitrust act, and how it was used to target Standard Oil.  To understand why “monopolies” do not hurt the consumer it is critical to understand the Standard Oil case.      

Standard Oil is a good example of the anti-business sentiment of the time.    People worried that the lack of competition, created a monopoly in the oil industry.  This massive amount of private power was considered a problem by the social progressives.  Though there might be little evidence that Standard Oil, or similar large companies, used this massive amount of private power malevolently, that fact that they potentially could was enough for the social progressives.  Thus, the social progressives and socialists alike believed that antitrust laws were the only way to protect fair competition and curb what they considered as “too much private power” that they thought hurt the consumer.  Finally Standard Oil was broken up by antitrust laws by the social progressives of the time. 

 It is common assumption among social progressives, as well as most common people, that one company controlling an entire economic sector is a very negative for society and the consumer.  Intuitively, this makes sense. When only one company is supplying a certain product, they can charge what ever price they want for it because there is no competition. At the turn of the 20th century, it was a widely held belief among progressives that as companies became larger, peoples’ freedom’s become less (qtd. in Lloyd, 182).  It was believed that every product needed for daily life had to be bought from huge corporations that the consumer did not have a say in (qtd. in Lloyd, 182).  A social progressive at the time wrote, “There is no longer the fact of competition.  The protection of the public as laborers, producers, consumers by competition has come to an end.  We go to the market but no longer as free men”(183).  The same writer describes how coal producers charge an average of one dollar more per ton that fair competitive market price.  “You pay it under compulsion: you must have the coal” (Lloyed, 183). The social progressives of that period and the majority of American people have believed for over a hundred years that the people have to be protected from such “monopolistic power.”  The political solution to such monopolistic power was antirust laws. These assumptions about the nature of monopolistic power are in fact false; large corporations actually benefit the consumer. 

To gain full appreciation of consumer benefit, the Standard Oil case it must be examined in its entirety.  Standard Oil rose to prominence at a time when oil pumped from the earth could be used as an energy source for kerosene lamps (cars were not invented yet).  Before this people burned whale oil, which was extremely expensive and only the rich could afford.  Standard Oil literally brought light to the world by giving the common man access to cheap oil.  This in itself is benefit but many still think that Standard Oil pushed out the “little guy” but this too is exaggerated by antitrust proponents. 

Standard Oil was gradually able to gain control the industry by buying up other rival companies.  The people of these companies more often than not were kept on by Standard Oil, especially if they were seen as talented.  It was a mutual benefit for both. The rival companies no longer had to compete against the much more efficient Standard Oil and Standard Oil was able to use these rival companies capital, resources, and talent to make their production of oil even more efficient.  For social progressives to label Standard Oil’s rise to power as “mean spirited” and “evil” is utterly false.  It happened to everyone’s benefit, including the consumer.

  Though some competitors may have lost out, the big winners were the consumer.  Rockefeller makes the point that “at the peak of Standard’s supposed dominance of the industry, the costs and prices for refined oil reached their lowest levels in the history of the petroleum industry”(49).  Economic historian Thomas DiLorenzo is also of similar agreement, “there never was any evidence that the trusts and combinations of the late nineteenth century actually harmed consumers in the way that restrict production to drive up prices”(DiLorenzo qtd in Rockefeller, 49).  DiLorenzo also stated in his book How Capitalism Saved America that, “the charge that the trusts “victimized consumers by raising prices” is sheer nonsense.  The trusts’ efficiencies and economies of scales enabled them to lower prices for consumers.” Dilorenzo goes on to say:  “even if the charge is that the trusts practiced predatory pricing first cutting prices below costs to drive out all rivals and then raising prices once the competition is eliminated- that is still nonsense… it is illogical and foolish as a business practice; moreover, it has never been established that a real-life monopoly has ever been formed in this way” (Dilorenzo, 138).    Though Dilorenzo and Rockefeller demonstrate strong evidence that price gouging by trusts is a historic myth, there is still a large following that the consumer was “taken advantage of”, even in the academic world of today

A good modern example of the need for massive corporations to raise capital to make products that benefit the consumer is Microsoft.  The growth of the personal computer industry and the access to it by almost every American is a direct result of Microsoft’s innovations.  Alan Greenspan, economist and retired Fed Chairmen, describes “natural monopolies”, antitrust laws, and the need for capital in his autobiography The Age of Turbulence.   “The high cost of developing software and the negligible production and, if online, distribution costs tend to suggest a natural monopoly- a good or service that is supplied most efficiently by one firm” (493).  Thus, if one company can bring a product to the market that nobody else can match, this does not hurt the consumer but help.  Antitrust break up of that company can only lead to higher prices.   Greenspan also discusses Microsoft’s natural monopoly, “Windows operating system has been eroded by competition from Apple and open-source Linux.  Natural monopolies, in the end, are displaced by technological breakthroughs and new paradigms”(494).  Not only is it impossible to maintain a monopoly when better consumer goods are brought to the market but monopolies themselves are short lived in a free market as well.   Greenspan finishes by discussing monopolies in the 20th and 21st century.  Greenspan goes on to describe how anti-trust laws have never been effective at promoting competition and will be totally out of date in the 21st century.  In the end, the consumer needs large industries to produce products at affordable prices. Antitrust laws can only hurt consumers when used.   

Unfortunately, even though prominent economists like Alan Greenspan describe the benefit of natural monopolies and free market economics, most politicians seem to ignore them.  Throughout the 20th century governments have interfered in economic activities for the greater good and general health of the economy.  Theodore Roosevelt’s “trust busting”, FDR’s “New Deal”, Nixon’s price controls, and the breakup of “monopolies” throughout the century are pointed too by progressives on how government intervention has worked.  This view of government intervention is totally false and has actually hurt economic progress.

 The examples of the destructive power of antitrust laws are so numerous it is irrational to ignore them.  John Steele Gordon, of Forbes Magazine, wrote a response to the justice departments targeting of Microsoft with antitrust laws in the 1990s.  He goes over case after case on how antitrust has destroyed companies and have hurt the economy in the progress.  IBM was the dominate computer company in 1969, controlling over 65% of the computer market.  The Department of Justice targeted IBM to have it dismantled because to was pushing out its competitors.  The legal battle lasted for thirteen years that almost destroyed the company.  Apple and Intel began to dominate the processor market and by 1982 and IBM had to lay off thousands of employees because of the massive amount of legal fees (Gordon 1).  The justice department finally dropped its case because it was obvious that IBM no longer had control of the computer market.  The horror stories of antitrust laws continue when the Department of Justice forced Schwinn Bicycle Co. “to lessen its grip on bicycle dealers” that eventually that eventually led to bankruptcy in 1992 from rising foreign competition. (Gordon, 1).  He goes on to talk about the mere threat of antitrust can do disastrous harm to an industry.   GM, for example, never suffered an antitrust attack but it feared it so much that its official company policy was to never raise its market share above 45% (Gordon, 1).  As a result GM never attempted to reduce costs or improve technology to raise its market share.  The Japanese entrance into the auto market in the 1980s was a death blow to the automotive giant that could only be saved by government intervention.  Gordon continues with case after case in Forbes about the destructive results of antitrust suits.  Such a history should make it obvious to any observer that antitrust laws are a completely destructive force in theU.S.economy.     

Fortunately, the rise of the Chicago School of Economics has changed many people’s views, including politicians, on the value of the free market.  Since Carter through Clinton, there was a large push to deregulate businesses and allow them to grow without the threat of antitrust laws generally. Chicagoschool became the dominant school of economics by the 1980’s, displacing the Harvard school of economics according to an article written by Kenneth Jost.  Jost explains how Bork and Richard Posner became the dominate thinkers of the Chicago school.  Posner wrote a books that stressed that “competition was a means to an end—efficiency—rather than an end in itself”( Jost, p2).  In other words, lack of competition in a certain sector is not a negative thing as long production in that sector is more efficient than if there were multiple competitors.  This increased efficiency benefits the overall economy.    

Though progressives and government interventions often concede that government involvement in economics is complex system, they firmly stand by government economic involvement as a modern necessity to promote economic health.  Many have pointed too the latest economic crises as an example for the need of government regulation, especially “trust busting”.  Many believe that these massive companies could have been broken up into smaller companies with antitrust laws.  They believe that because these companies grew so large that they had to be bailed out with U.S.taxes dollars.  Many government interventionists believe, if the size of any one company becomes so great and its bankruptcy or mismanagement becomes a threat to the entire economic system, it must be broken up for the social good.  Now they claim the government has to useU.S.tax dollars to remedy a situation that should have never happened in the first place if antitrust laws were used effectively.  Although this is a strong point it rests on some false assumptions. 

The biggest false assumption is that it was out of control greed by business that led to economic collapse.  It was government intervention in the first place that led to such devastation.  The Federal Government has been forcing banks to issue loans to risky borrowers. An example of this was President Bush’s campaign to have every American become a home owner (Stossel). This policy has led to the housing crisis because of the large number of unqualified buyers defaulting on such loans.  The fact that these businesses are on the verge of failure is the direct result of government intervention, not unrestrained business.  The next misnomer is that a company is “too big too fail.”  Failure is the only way an economy can correct itself. A government bailout merely shifts money from a productive side of the economy to support the unproductive, only prolonging the rescission (Stossel, video).  Using antitrust laws to fix the economy is misguided; it only uses the same government intervention that helped harm the economy in the first place.    

Google is the best concluding example of how antitrust laws are wrong in so many different ways.  Google has created a persona through its entire history as “being the good guys” by giving people access to information.  Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived their company as a kind of public trust: “We believe a well-functioning society should have abundant, free, and unbiased access to high-quality information…. a company that is trustworthy and interested in the public good” (Vogelstein, 1). This has also been the view that most techies share as well.    Fred Vogelstein, writer for Wired Magazine describes Google historic success: “after all, the company’s rise to prominence—on the back of search algorithms so powerful and elegant they changed the Internet forever—is a case study in heroic entrepreneurialism. It routinely creates and distributes great products for free, even when there is no obvious benefit to the company(Vogelstein, 1)”.  He goes on to say: “Its spirit of openness and collaboration laid the groundwork for the mash-upable, user-generated modern Web”(Vogelstein, 1) This vision of Google unfortunately is not held by the United States Justice Department. They have targeted Google with a number of antitrust laws.

The worst part of Google’s antitrust case (and most other antitrust cases), is that they are providing a service that people desire.  For example, the Department of Justice is looking into Google’s book scanning project, which seeks to make searchable every published book on Google.  Depending on copyright laws, some of these books will be able to read in full or in part for free and others books users will be able to read for a fee. (Vogelstein 1)  This is one of the greatest projects in history. The ability for people to access all of human civilization’s knowledge from a single computer is an amazing prospect.  Unfortunately, the DOJ does not think so.

  It gets worse from there when considering what Google wants to do with wireless Internet.  Google wants to bring free broadband to San Francisco and eventually every U.S.city. The only thing standing in Google’s way is government regulation and antitrust laws.  Hannibal Travis of Florida International School of Law, describes the issue, “Cheap, ubiquitous high-speed Internet access promises to accelerate economic growth, create new jobs and industries, advance education and lifelong learning, inform and improve health care decision-making, and raise living standards. Conversely, foregone broadband access by low income and other under served Americans is imposing high economic and social costs. As much as $1 trillion in economic growth may be delayed due to structural and legal limitations on U.S.broadband access”(Travis,1).  Google’s business plan would be an obvious huge advantage for the public and the economy in general but once again the U.S.government, with its antitrust regulations, stand in the way. 

Antitrust laws are unethical political tools that have no practical objective interpretation, harm consumers with high prices and inferior products, and reduce economic efficiency.  The only ethical solution to such unjust laws is to completely repeal them.  The only moral economic system that protects individual rights is complete laissez-faire capitalism.  The repeal of antitrust laws would set American course to have a new economic Renaissance.   

Works Cited 

DiLorenzo, Thomas.  How Capitalism Saved America. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2004. Print.

Greenspan, Alan.  “Antitrust” Barrons, February 5th1962 Rpt. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Ed. Ayn Rand. New York: Penguin Group, 1969.  Print

Greenspan, Alan.  The Age of Turbulence, Adventures in a New World. New York: Penguin Group, 2007.  Print.

Gordon, John Steele.  “Read Your History Janet”. Forbes. Febuary 23, 1998.  Accessed 9/28/09.  Web

Jost, Kenneth.  “Antitrust Policy, Should more be done to Promote Competition: Chicago School” CQ Researcher (12 June 1998): 505-528 . CQ Researcher Online. Criss Lib., U of Nebraska-Omaha. Web.  http://library.cqpress.com.leo.lib.unomaha.edu

Peikoff, Leonard.  The Ominous Parallels.  New York: Meridian, 1982.  Print

Rand, Ayn. “Choose Your Issues,” The Objective Newsletter, Jan. 1962, p 1.  Accessed 7/31/09. Web http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/antitrust_laws.html

Rockefeller, Edwin S.  The Antitrust Religion.WashingtonDC: Cato Institute, 2007.  Print

Stossel, John.  “Bailouts and Bull” 20/20 Episode 112.  ABC: aired Febuary 13, 2009.  Accessed 7/26/2009.  http://vp2.abc.go.com/watch/2020/166626/188472/2020-the-big-bad-bailout.  Web. 

Travis, Hannibal. “Wi-Fi Everywhere: Universal Broadband Access as Antitrust and Telecommunications Policy” AmericanUniversityLaw Review, Vol. 55 pp. 1697-1800, August 2006. Accessed July 28, 2009. Web

“Uses and Abuses of Corporations.” Liberal Club, BuffaloN.Y.1894. Rpt. In Lords of Industry. Ed. Lauda Furman. Lloyd, Henry Demarest. New York:Arno Press, 1973. Print

 Vogelstein, Fred.  “Why is Obama’s Top Antitrust Cop Gunning For Google”, Wired Magazine 7/20/09 accessed 9/27/09

 

 

Darwinism in Politics; Where Charles really belongs

I understand that this question really doesn’t concern most people as they go about their everyday routine of work, school, family, friends etc.  Most people simply do not stop and think about how a long deceased biologist affects their lives other than the fact that you have to learn about macro-evolution in freshman year biology class.  What people need to realize is that just because a theory is categorized into some discipline (like Darwinian evolution would be under biology) doesn’t mean that leading thinkers in other fields do not consider these ideas and their implications concerning the discipline they are in.  Darwinism is a great example of this borrowing and sharing of ideas across the intellectual spectrum.  Darwinism is an attempt to propose a mechanism explaining the causality of change in the organic sphere, namely, that organisms transform and change structures over long periods of time.  The deciding factor in this supposed change is the environment the organism finds itself in and its ability to adapt to it for self-preservation purposes.  This is called “natural selection”, that nature selects the fittest organisms in each specific environment to survive and sometimes even thrive. 

What some people don’t know is that Darwin picked up the idea of natural selection from a priest who proposed that humans have an innate predisposition to over breed while simultaneously not increasing the food supply to match the rate of breeding.  This was thought to lead to mass starvation and famine, wiping out those who don’t have the access or the technological means to grow the required amount of food to sustain their population and leaving only those who do with food to survive.  So as one can easily see Darwin just extrapolated this theory of “survival of those with the means to” to the biological world where only those organisms with the means or ability to, survive, while those not as efficient at either perish.  This is what is meant by the term, “survival of the fittest”; that only those with the superior means or abilities survive while those won’t lack them are quickly weeded out of the struggle for existence.  Just to cover all the bases we will mention, like so many fanatical apologists of Darwin constantly do, that Darwin himself did not coin the term “survival of the fittest” but a mid-nineteenth century thinker named Herbert Spencer did, even before Darwin ever published his Origins of Species, but that doesn’t mean Darwin rejected the term.  He added it in to the later editions of his book, presumably because he thought it explained some aspect of this theory more efficiently.  What I’m getting at is this; Darwin himself got his idea for attempting to explain the causality in a systematic manner of the organic realm from an idea explaining causality concerning human population movements, or in the social realm. Unfortunately, this process wasn’t to end there.        

Philosophers and political theorists began studying Darwinian evolution, its natural selection mechanism, and the “survival of the fittest” picture it painted.  They took the idea that organisms are locked in a deadly struggle over the limited resources that sustain life literally and applied it to the social realm, the place where Darwin originally got his idea of natural selection.  They read Darwinism into society like this; in society there are people who are naturally suited to survive and secure life’s essentials for themselves by either superior abilities or means (technology), and then there are those who can’t.  The people who are capable are the ones who naturally flourish and those who aren’t naturally perish or at least dwell in habitual poverty.  These academics and social theorists concluded that a faithful application of Darwinism to the social sphere told them that those who are the most “fit” to survive are the wealthy and powerful and those who aren’t are the poor and weak.  Since Darwinism basically posits that the world is a war of all against all for nature’s natural resources (survival of the fittest), this is necessarily true concerning humans, because, after all, we are biological entities with mammalian needs to satisfy just like other organisms.  They deduced that in this war of all against all the rich are winning because of their superior standard of living while the poor were losing because of their inability to “adapt”.  This spawned the monstrosity that is constantly leveled at the political Right as an indicator of their lack of empathy towards the poor and un-privileged, Social Darwinism.

Progressives, Fascists, statists, and totalitarians of all stripes interrupted this social theory of the survival of the fittest and concluded that the only way to “save” mankind is to be the one in control of the “natural selection” process (the irony that an omnipotent artificial institution should take on the role of the “natural selector” seemed lost on them).  If humans are going to habitually over breed we might as well try to get the ones we really want and “weed out” the undesirables.  This was important for these statists for two reasons; one was since they were all necessarily socialists, they wanted all the prospective offspring being born to be “socially productive” and to not be a “drain” on society so they could “do their part” for the collective, governed by these enlightened totalitarians of course.  To them this was a license to engage in eugenics, otherwise known as using the power of the state to “improve” the racial, genetic, or biological health of the community.  Now who would decide what “improving” meant and what constituted a “healthy” community? Only the sociopaths in the government bureaucracy writing and implementing these social programs according to their Utopian ideological agenda.  If this all sounds vaguely familiar that’s because it is, you’ve heard of it happening in Germany during the 1930’s and 40’s when the German state decided the “cancer” of the Jews was actively undermining the German community’s “health”. 

As for a closer to home example, the Progressives, then and now (more commonly called liberals today) engaged in this behavior, even before the Nazis had their infamous concentration camps.  The mentally retarded, chronically ill, and blacks were targeted by these arrogantly confident reformers in an effort to minimize the amount of offspring they had in order to build their precious socialist Utopia.  Blacks in particular were seen as “unfit” and not “selected” (by nature) to efficiently contribute to society.  Margret Sanger, a liberal icon for advocating women’s frequent use of birth control, hatched a plan called the Negro Project in which she enlisted black ministers and leaders to encourage lower reproduction rates in black communities, ultimately leading to their extinction in America (as she hoped).  Her project eventually lowered its ambitious aims but its impulse (population control of the undesirable blacks) went into an organization called Planned Parenthood, who receives federal funding and in which 85% of its locations are in or within close proximity to minority neighborhoods.             

Social Darwinism nowadays is a superfluous way for the Left to accuse the proponents of economic liberty of irrational animus towards the poor.  Their rationale goes something like this; since you don’t believe that people who make X amount of money should have their property confiscated against their will and “given” to those who do not have as much property in order to “give” them  a higher standard of living, you must hate the poor and don’t care if they die from lack of assistance.  This worldview stems from one, a complete ignorance of economics, and two, an application of Darwinian Theory to society, which can cause the former.  What is interesting is to see the change in the definition of Social Darwinism to the Left; it used to mean selection of the most “fit” by the all-powerful state through semi-violent means, now it means running roughshod over private property rights in order to transfer money from those who have more of it on average to those who do not.  It is a backdoor attack to implement Social Justice, a talking point to justify the welfare state, usually for political gain.   There are two major fallacies in Social Darwinism and the Left placing it on the side of the Right. The Conservative and Libertarian answer to this uninformed accusation would track closely along this line of reasoning.

People who believe in economic liberty and its modern manifestation, Capitalism, believe that the only means of achieving widespread prosperity for all who choose to engage in this economic system is the further pursuit of economic liberty in a peaceful, moral manner.  They disagree that forcefully taking property from someone or a group of people and transferring it to another group of people will benefit society in the long run. Here is why.  In order to increase one’s standard of living people apply labor to their surroundings to produce consumer goods, goods they can use in their lives like food, clothing, energy, housing etc.  It is a fact of nature that the more consumer goods one has at their disposal, the higher the standard of living they will enjoy, and the less hours of labor they will have to expend in the production process (at your job).  What defines the free market is that the only things that people spend time producing are the very same things demanded by other people on the market, the consumer is sovereign in the market.  People will engage in some productive activity (like selling your labor for a certain wage) and using the money they gained in purchasing consumer goods.  The money they then spent at a store goes back to the capitalists and the land owners of production, since the capitalist has already taken the personal risk of advancing everyone their paychecks with previously saved money.  If the capitalist didn’t do this, the workers, managers, and landowners would have to wait until the product was sold to collect their earnings, essentially working for “free” or no wage. 

What raises everyone’s standard of living is expanding this exchange and production process as far as it can go with the limited resources and labor available.  When more things are produced, the price of the good goes down because it is less scarce, making it available for a wider range of people to purchase.  If the division of labor is constantly expanded, we have access to more of people’s labor and goods they produce, adding more to the social product and lowering the price of goods.  This is in direct conflict with Social Darwinism because it implies that the smaller amount of people the better because they will be able to enjoy a higher living standard due to limited natural resources.  We say that the more productive people the merrier because we will be able to produce more goods and services that were previously unattainable for us to produce.  The thing that interrupts the division of labor and loosens what it is dependents upon, social cooperation, is violent activity.  Violent activity is the application of force or coercion against another individual against their will, usually for some material gain, this can range from inter-family feuds to national war.  When a war breaks out people have to forego their normal productive activities and focus on self-preservation and the destruction of the opponent through violent means.  Some examples would be the “scorched earth” policy opposing armies practiced against each other or rationing at the home front during a total war such as WWII.  This obviously lowers everyone’s standard of living and hurts the poor worse than anyone else.  Social cooperation though peaceful, free exchanges by an increasing amount of productive people is what raises society’s standard of living, not by euthanasia or discouraging the least among us to stop breeding.  Society is conscious peaceful cooperation, not a war of all against all.

The second main error of Social Darwinism is its materialism. It explicitly ignores that fact that humans have wills of their own and that man cannot, with any sort of conclusive certainty, “plan”, through the coercive actions of the all-powerful state, a perfectly ordered society.  Just because a human is presented with a certain situation in a given environment, does not necessarily mean he is predestined to act a certain way.  Humans alone have the ability to reason, and allow thoughts to influence their actions instead of helplessly giving themselves over to fluctuating primitive impulses like the animals do.  Humans and animals are indeed organic creatures and have similar physiological needs because they exist in the same realm of reality, but that doesn’t mean they are identical.  It is fallacious to believe so like the animal fanatics would have us do.  Humans have minds that think thoughts and house ideas, these ideas then dictate what the human will do in reality.  But the important thing to remember is that the mind is immaterial while Darwinism is strictly a theory that tries to explain the material, one cannot cross-pollinate the two methodologies. 

Social Darwinism is, and always has been, predominately a phenomena of the Left used to justify deep state interfere into private social life for the purposes of engineering a new man that fits their definition of perfect to construct a society that will bring them meaning in their droll lives.  When we start realizing this and start accepting that we are all actually made in the image of God (we have a spirit/immaterial side) we can finally place these theories where they correctly belong, reject all the Utopian schemes that are rationalized by them, and begin living as a free people.                 

Simeon Burns

Army sprayed St. Louis with Radioactive Matieral for Years

Back in the bad old days of the Cold War the world was such a dangerous place that the U.S. Army sprayed the people of St. Louis with radioactive material.  It only makes sense that before we use chemical warfare on or enemies that we test it on our own citizens first. Luckily for most middle class and wealthy people, the majority of the radioactive spraying was targeted at the poor.

 

Here and here are a couple articles about it.

 

 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A48gLEksj2A

Some people think we are still being sprayed today.