Home > income inequality, Plutonomy > ‘Just desert’ and neoclassical income distribution theory

‘Just desert’ and neoclassical income distribution theory

from Lars Syll

Walked-out Harvard economist Greg Mankiw has more than once tried to defend the 0.1 % by invoking Adam Smith’s invisible hand:

[B]y delivering extraordinary performances in hit films, top stars may do more than entertain millions of moviegoers and make themselves rich in the process. They may also contribute many millions in federal taxes, and other millions in state taxes. And those millions help fund schools, police departments and national defense for the rest of us …

[T]he richest 1 percent aren’t motivated by an altruistic desire to advance the public good. But, in most cases, that is precisely their effect.

negotiation1When reading Mankiw’s articles on the “just desert” of the 0.1 % one gets a strong feeling that Mankiw is really trying to argue that a market economy is some kind of moral free zone where, if left undisturbed, people get what they “deserve.”

Where does this view come from? Most neoclassical economists actually have a more or less Panglossian view on unfettered markets, but maybe Mankiw has also read neoliberal philosophers like Robert Nozick or David Gauthier. The latter writes in his Morals by Agreement:

The rich man may feast on caviar and champagne, while the poor woman starves at his gate. And she may not even take the crumbs from his table, if that would deprive him of his pleasure in feeding them to his birds.

Now, compare that unashamed neoliberal apologetics with what three truly great economists and liberals — John Maynard Keynes, Amartya Sen and Robert Solow — have to say on the issue:

The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes … I believe that there is social and psychological justification for significant inequalities of income and wealth, but not for such large disparities as exist to-day.

John Maynard Keynes General Theory (1936)


FOTOGRAFATRIBUNAAMARTYASENThe personal production view is difficult to sustain in cases of interdependent production … i.e., in almost all the usual cases … A common method of attribution is according to “marginal product” … This method of accounting is internally consistent only under some special assumptions, and the actual earning rates of resource owners will equal the corresponding marginal products”only under some further special assumptions. But even when all these assumptions have been made … marginal product accounting, when consistent, is useful for deciding how to use additional resources … but it does not “show” which resource has “produced” how much … The alleged fact is, thus, a fiction, and while it might appear to be a convenient fiction, it is more convenient for some than for others….

The personal production view … confounds the marginal impact with total contribution, glosses over the issues of relative prices, and equates “being more productive” with “owning more productive resources” … An Indian barber or circus performer may not be producing any less than a British barber or circus performer — just the opposite if I am any judge — but will certainly earn a great deal less …

Amartya Sen Just Deserts (1982)

4703325Who could be against allowing people their ‘just deserts?’ But there is that matter of what is ‘just.’ Most serious ethical thinkers distinguish between deservingness and happenstance. Deservingness has to be rigorously earned. You do not ‘deserve’ that part of your income that comes from your parents’ wealth or connections or, for that matter, their DNA. You may be born just plain gorgeous or smart or tall, and those characteristics add to the market value of your marginal product, but not to your deserts. It may be impractical to separate effort from happenstance numerically, but that is no reason to confound them, especially when you are thinking about taxation and redistribution. That is why we want to temper the wind to the shorn lamb, and let it blow on the sable coat.

Robert Solow Journal of Economic Perspectives (2014)

A society where we allow the inequality of incomes and wealth to increase without bounds, sooner or later implodes. The cement that keeps us together erodes and in the end we are only left with people dipped in the ice cold water of egoism and greed.

  1. Ken Zimmerman
    June 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

    In the end “just deserts” economies are beneficial for societies and individuals, and practical only to the extent they are shown to be beneficial and practical in these ways. Otherwise such economies rest on mere conjecture, speculation, and in too many cases propaganda about what just deserts is, how it works, and how we know it is successful. Since we can never have such certain understanding and knowledge, all claims that we’re all just getting our just deserts are just that, claims resting on one ideology or another, one propaganda or another. one political doctrine or another. In economics, as in all other aspects of life such “positive” claims that we know precisely how things work and are merely following what “must be” are not sustainable except as unquestioned and unquestionable doctrines of faith. And this is contrary to the scientific attitude, so anyone professing it cannot be acting scientifically, One of the basic principles of this attitude is that certainty is not possible. Any economist who claims to be acting scientifically in professing the certainty that just deserts explains wealth/income in a society is mistaken. Or worse still may be acting to promote or defend one ideology or another.

  2. June 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    “A society where we allow the inequality of incomes and wealth to increase without bounds, sooner or later implodes.”

    This is saying, very clearly, that our economic policies are not sustainable. For those who believe in equilibrium as a reality, it means that no long term equilibrium can exist under these circumstances.

    The problem as I see it stems from policies which created a widening divergence of productivity and wages. A graph of productivity showing long term trends before and after this divergence is pretty much a straight line. There is no kink to indicate that the gap is caused by an increase in productivity. On the other hand, there is a very noticeable kink in the graph of real wages. Where they used to parallel the productivity curve, they skewered directly to the right with policy changes.

    I think the issue should be framed in terms of this divergence, and how it is clearly due to workers not getting their share of productivity gains. Framing the issue in these terms will help to neutralize many of the arguments supporting the 0.1%. Saying that the workers are being cheated out of what is theirs, and being able to show it to be true, is a more powerful argument than using language like “income inequality” and “wealth inequality”. The reality is the same; these inequalities indicate what needs to be fixed. But the language of “inequality” is too easily countered by language such as “class warfare”, “jealousy”, “redistribution”, and “structural unemployment” – while contrasting changes in wages with changes in productivity instead of simply talking about inequality cannot be dismissed so easily. I think the most important economic statistic in the long run is the labor share of national income, and that stat is rarely talked about. I’m not even sure what a sustainable share would be, because nobody seems to be talking about it or showing how it relates to policy. But when neither wages nor employment keep up with productivity, the situation is not going to be sustainable. If people want to scream “structural unemployment!” to justify lower employment, they should back it up with higher wages to compensate for higher productivity. Otherwise, we are creating one gigantic economic bubble on the backs of the vast majority.

  3. June 30, 2014 at 3:56 am

    If it is a free and fair market that distributes income, then may be it is possible to consider “just desert”. But the markets are rigged, controlled and regulated by special interest groups, banks and governments.

    Income distribution is less determined by markets than by governments. Failed banks are propped up by governments with massive amounts of the taxpayer’s money.

    It is largely the government which has shaped a “society where we allow the inequality of incomes and wealth to increase without bounds”. Certainly at least post-crisis, it is Keynesian economics, not neoclassical economics, which has accelerated income inequality.

    • F. Beard
      July 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Certainly at least post-crisis, it is Keynesian economics, not neoclassical economics, which has accelerated income inequality.

      Disagree. Of course government should never have subsidized the banks which would have greatly limited their ability to blow a bubble but once a major bubble has been blown, popping it is akin to pulling out a barbed arrow; it causes even worse damage. Rather, the monetary sovereign should equitably distribute enough new fiat to the population and spend enough for new infrastructure and repairs, if needed, to turn the bubble into a plateau and greatly limit the ability of banks to blow new bubbles.

  4. Ack Nice
    June 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    We do not create ourselves, the level of giftedness each receives in the birth lottery is decided for us. Winning greater giftedness required no sacrifice, nobody chooses lesser-giftedness to have to use to make their way through the difficult thing we call life. Those who won greater gifts were better-paid by their creator from the get-go. It is not a fair race when the greyhound beats the dachshund by a mile. Using the greater gifts one got to do a job takes no more from the better-gifted than using his gifts takes from the lesser-gifted to do his job. If the janitor were working less responsibly than the surgeon, everyone operated on would die. The CEO is not working more responsibly than the others in the company, only working as responsibly higher up – the company would collapse if ‘lower-down’ workers were irresponsible. If the CEO could do it all himself he wouldn’t hire workers.

    Work is one of only 2 things: it’s either mother nature’s work or it’s sacrifice of a human’s time – and only work creates wealth/workproducts. No human deserves pay for mama nature’s work.

    The pool of wealth is FINITE – number of workers is a finite number and nature has limited the amount of work it is possible for each to contribute.

    Finite pool of wealth means overpay has nowhere to come from but from underpay.

    Rationalizations for overpay are easily invented but are not REASON.

    The big secret is that NO justification exists for forcing underpay on one working person in order to fund overpay for another.

    Division of labor is a community project, only possible by everyone participating so rewards belong to everyone in proportion to sacrifice made to working. Each person owns a bit of all the specialized jobs being done.

    Division of labor begat necessity to trade – trade shouldn’t rob anyone of the time they sacrificed to working, trade shouldn’t leave us worse off for having specialized – trade should rightly give each the full value of their work/sacrifice, just in different workproducts.

    Money is a license to take workproducts from the pooled workproducts.

    Nobody can work more than twice the amount average humans working average hard do over a lifetime – we eat and sleep or die.

    Equal rights derive from humans having equal needs for food shelter water medicine education etc. – being born with unequal gifts has nothing to say about our having equal rights derived from equal needs.

    Injustice drives violence. Violence is egalitarian, it gets to everyone.

    Injustice in pay is inequality is THEFT, legal theft – every theft comes with an angry person attached – injustice is reliably retaliated by human beings.

    Money is power and giga-overwealth is giga-overpower. Overpayoverpower – underpayunderpower is tyranny-slavery.

    If I am enough more powerful than you to beat you up and take your lawnmower then I am enough more powerful than you to beat you up and take everything you ever worked to have.

    Humans have climbed “the ladder of success” and found all evils: vertical society is hell from top to bottom: lay the ladder flat and have a picnic already, Humanity.

    Equal pay for equal sacrifice to working is Justice. Nothing else is Justice.

    Humanity will not survive the ever-exponentially-escalating violence of allowing free grabs on wealth. To seek limitless wealth from what is limited work is disgraceful, disgusting, self-harming.

    Justice is glorious: investment in switching to fairpay justice will reap the greatest-ever dividends for all humans.

    Justice is not a cost – it is an enormous cost savings, fairpay justice offers the greatest riches for everyone…

  5. Ack Nice
    August 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Chapter 8

    The unanimous opinion of wisdom through the ages.

    Note: I have lightly edited some of the quotes we’re about to examine, only to increase ease of reading. That is, I have not followed the academic custom of slavish, pedantic, exact reproduction, with all its distracting cloud of ellipses and brackets and so on. I have fiddled a bit with the grammar sometimes, too, and I have sometimes changed ‘man’ to ‘people’.

    This chapter is hopeful in that it shows the amount of support through history for equality. It is useful in eroding some incorrect accepted ideas that are dug in very deep in our psyches. It is a buttress for confidence and clarity, for those who accept the challenge of saving our species and every other species by changing the human mind, two by two.

    We are going to find fault with some of these quotes. Some we are going to like.

    We must extrapolate the point of the quotes to the global situation. That is, take the quotes as indicative of the global reality, not just of a particular and local reality.

    • The rich have given to the poor a little food, a little drink, a little shelter and a few clothes. The poor have given to the rich palaces and yachts and an almost infinite freedom to indulge their doubtful taste for display, and bonuses and excess profits, under which have been hidden the excess labour and extravagant misery of the poor. Gilbert Seldes.

    And now this strange, infinite over-generosity is tickling human extinction. Masochism can be taken too far.

    • Each century was the same. History was the same record played over and over. War was war and peace was preparation for war. It was as if man were crazy, had always been, would always be, and the people on the street were man in his daily and abiding craziness. Ella Leffland.

    • Now it needs no Christ to convince anybody today that our system of distribution is wildly and monstrously wrong. We have million-dollar babies side by side with paupers worn out by a long life of unremitted drudgery. Naturally so outrageous a distribution has to be effected by violence pure and simple, the process being euphemistically called the maintenance of law and order. Inequity can go no further. George Bernard Shaw.

    • Neither patriotism nor religion are justifications for the suppression of reason. Sarah McCarthy.

    What is irrational patriotism or religion but selfdestruction? We come close to God through reason, unless God is irrational. The thought: My country, my religion, right or wrong, is madness when safety and happiness depends totally on being right.

    • How long soever it has continued, if it be against reason, it is of no force in law. Reason is the life of the law, nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason. Edward Coke.

    • Restrained by custom, and the ridiculous prejudices of the world, we go with the crowd, and it is late in life before we dare to think. Frances Brooke.

    . Man must not check reason with tradition, but contrariwise, must check tradition with reason. Leo Tolstoy.

    • He who will not reason is a bigot, he who cannot is a fool, and he who dares not is a slave. William Drummond.

    He who dares not reason is *merely* a slave, he who cannot is *merely* a fool, and he who will not is *merely* a bigot. Consider what you haven’t previously heard: that neither slave nor fool nor bigot is to blame. Folly and bigotry are ‘gifts’ of nature – guaranteed to us because we humans were granted limited wits, not unlimited intelligence. No bigot sits down and decides to be a bigot. Nobody sets out to be getting it wrong. None of us is to blame for anything, but we can and must take responsibility for our happiness and survival, and fight the bigotry and limited intelligence we have been given.

    It is one of the great mysteries: Why people are ashamed of being what they are when not one person believes they created themselves. How did we get this shame and hatred of being imperfect? Somewhere along the line, somehow, we have been taught selfhatred. We can be skyscrapers, but only by building on the solid ground of who we are. To do this, the nonsensical selfhatred will have to go. Drummond in his quote is supporting the selfblame and selfhatred. He seems to cast it, not only on the bigot, but on the fool and slave too. I prefer Mark Twain’s point of view, that god, mother nature, existence, makes us and then has the cheek to blame us for the way we are. It seems we gullible innocents have totally swallowed this misplacement of blame.

    • Only reason can convince us of those three fundamental truths, without a recognition of which there can be no effective liberty: that what we believe is not necessarily true, that what we like is not necessarily good, and that all questions are open. Clive Bell.

    • A book must be an ice-axe for the frozen sea inside us. Franz Kafka.

    • When I began to write, publishers were gentlemen in tweed jackets puffing pipes. Now publishing houses are owned by oil companies and their interest is in the big strike, the gusher. I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everyone’s heads. John Updike.

    • Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient and sterile. Sinclair Lewis.

    • Governments have always been careful to hold a high hand over the education of the people. They know, better than anyone else, that their power is based almost entirely on the school. Hence, they monopolise it more and more. The school imprisons children physically, intellectually and morally, in order to direct the development of their faculties in the paths desired. Fransisco Ferrer.

    • I took the repeal of the Corn Laws [early 19th century English laws] as light amusement compared with the difficult task of inducing the priests of all denominations to agree to suffer the people to be educated. Richard Cobden.

    • To think is to live. Cicero.

    • A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry. Henry Thoreau.

    • Maturity of mind is best shown in slow belief. Baltasar Gracian y Morales.

    That is, take time and care in coming to belief. There is no virtue in belief without reason. Belief without reason is just nonsense. Believing without sound reasoning can only be pretending to know, which can only be extremely dangerous to happiness.

    • i have noticed that when chickens quit quarrelling over their food they often find that there is enough for all of them i wonder if it might not be the same with the human race. Don Marquis.

    Don Marquis pretends the author of his words is a cockroach who can’t do punctuation. This quotation sums up the good sense that can save us a vast heap of misery.

    • No person will ever be safe who stands up boldly against you, or any other government, and forbids the many sins and crimes that are committed in the state. The person who fights for justice, if he is to keep his life at all, must work in private, not in public. Socrates.

    Socrates was put to death for asking questions and thus getting people thinking about justice.

    It is lucky for us that 4 billion adults can be reached in just 31 times the time it takes to reach two people, just by word of mouth, because the media are controlled by the ruling groups. Word of mouth stays under the radar longest.

    But will people pick up the responsibility and mindfulness that has been stolen with their democratic powers? People held as slaves lose the habit of selfdetermination. See Paolo Friere’s book The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The longer the movement is kept grassroots, the larger the majority will be, and the more peaceful and easy the change will be. With a very great majority, there will be no conflict. With a very great majority, even the state muscle will become part of that majority.

    The idea in this book really is very, very beneficial to all, so elucidation can do all. Force can in any case do nothing to make real change. Ideas are the root of actions, and force does not affect ideas. Use of force is a confession that you don’t believe you have reason on your side.

    If the communist leaders had really believed that communism was good for people, it would have been inconceivable for them to force people to stay in communism. Forcing people to stay contributed to convincing people in communist lands that communism was tyranny and slavery, not freedom. The same applies to Catholic Europe in the time of the Inquisition.

    By spreading the word by word of mouth, we can avoid conflict with the establishment. We can pass the message from friend to friend until everyone sees the point and wants the change. It is actually very good for everyone, like the law against murder. It only needs clarification of ideas people already have. There is no need for protest marches, conflict with the police. Why use force when you have everyone’s good sense on your side? We just have to cultivate people’s good sense, and separate it from the nonsense we have got used to.

    • The working people have been exploited all the way up and down the line by employers, landlords, everybody. Henry Ford.

    • No person should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered, not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by people of smaller means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate. Theodore Roosevelt.

    If only Teddy or Jefferson had thought of public inheritance, the just sharing of deceased estates among everyone. If they had, they would have turned around the downward slide of America from democracy to decline and fall. The force of erroneous tradition was still bending Teddy’s reform thinking away from sense. And when people saw how much money and political power they were getting from public inheritance, Teddy would have got more presidential terms, and been the greatest President. And he would have given a practical demonstration to the world, and saved millions of lives, and saved billions from unnecessary sufferings. Saved the entire infinite future of the human race from an infinity of giant unnecessary sufferings. If only he had seen that all inheritance is other-earned, that any other-earned money is a license to create violence and destroy happiness.

    There would be minor exceptions where work was done by heirs without compensation in anticipation of inheritance, but when public inheritance came in, of course no one would any longer work without compensation in anticipation of inheritance, so that wouldn’t be a problem.

    A note on the graduated income tax. People think: Good, we are stiffing it to those rich people. Boy, I’m glad I’m not having to pay such high tax rates. But in fact the graduated income tax is another legal theft. If a person getting out 100 times what he or she puts in, pays only a 75% tax rate, they still get out 25 times as much as they put in. A person being underpaid and paying a 25% taxrate is still being robbed, by the underpay. A person being underpaid should be getting a negative taxrate that brings their pretax income up to equality with what they contribute by their work. If both people are producing $1000 of work products, the person pulling out 100 times as much as he put in, and paying a 75% taxrate, would be getting $25,000, and the person being underpaid 20%, and taxed 25%, would be getting $600. The one putting in $1000 and taking out $25,000 in money and power, the other putting in $1000 and getting out $600 in money and power.

    And there is the further point that, with unlimited-fortunes systems, with the corruption of ever-expanding bureaucracy and tyranny, you don’t know that money going to the government is getting back fully to the people who earned it.

    • When we resist concentration of power, we are resisting the powers of death, because concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberties. The truth is, we are all caught up in a great economic system which is heartless. American industry is not free, as once it was free. American enterprise is not free. The person with only a little capital is finding it harder to get into the field, finding it more and more impossible to compete with the big fellow. Why? Because the laws of this country do not prevent the strong from crushing the weak. Woodrow Wilson.

    And the laws never can protect the weak and small against the big and strong, because the big and strong are too much all over the lawmaking and law-enforcing processes. A US Senate committee concluded that big business was bigger than government in the 1950s, so what is it like now? You can tell how it is now from the fact that now no Senate committees are saying such things as Wilson did against big business. Now Senate committees are run by big business. Society has a duty to prevent anyone from being bigger and stronger than the government. Fortunately it is not necessary to be unjust to do this. The largest just, self-earned fortune cannot be more than twice the size of the average fortune, because no one can work more than twice as hard as the average person, and because, after paying students, none of the reasons for higher-than-average hourly pay is sound, is real.

    • I am not for a return of that definition of liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few. Franklin Roosevelt.

    • The true conservative seeks to protect the system of private property and free enterprise by correcting such injustices and inequalities as arise from it. Franklin Roosevelt.

    But did Franklin get a team of professors working on finding exactly where pay justice lay?

    • Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the state itself. That in essence is fascism, ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. Franklin Roosevelt.

    • The methods of the priest and the parson have been very curious. Their history is very entertaining. In all the ages, the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorised and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves, the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative on the earth and sole authorised and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts. There was no mistaking their meaning. She was right, she was doing all this thing that the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position, that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trade is wrong, and see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The text remains, it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it, and also never fails to drop in at the end of the procession, and take the credit for the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries, and imprisoned, tortured, hanged and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch. The priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. At Salem, the parson clung pathetically to his witch text after the laity had abandoned it in remorse and tears for the cruelties it had persuaded them to do. The parson wanted more blood, more shame, more brutalities. It was the unconsecrated laity that stayed his hand. There are no witches. The witch text remains. Only the practice has changed. Hell fire has gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than 200 death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorised them remain! Mark Twain.

    Therefore the church is no infallible guide to what is right and good. We must use our own fallible wits, as hard as we can.

    • God delivers everyone to disobedience. Bible.

    Everyone, including the church, as we see in the biblical portrayal of the church in Jesus’s day.

    • I acknowledge no civil power. I am subject to no prince. I claim more than this. I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the conscience of men, of the peasant that tills the field, and of the prince that sits upon the throne, of the household of privacy and of the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms. I am the last, supreme judge of what is right or wrong. Cardinal Manning.

    What can we say to this, except that there is no lack of people who issue themselves a license to be moral police, and no lack of people who take their license as legitimate? We can advise, we can recommend, we can remind, we can inform, our fellow humans, but the conscience of every person is sacred and inalienable. We are doomed to make mistakes, for we have only finite wits, but his claim to be in a superior position with a right to judge is megalomania and sociopathology. It is the root of sadism.

    • Hell is paved with priest’s skulls. St Chrysostom.

    • God delivers everyone to disobedience, so that he can have mercy on all. Bible.

    I take this to mean that it is in the nature of life that we shall all make mistakes, but that life is forgiving. That we are indeed free. That there is no punishment except the natural consequences of error. That life no more judges us, and punishes us, than a parent judges and condemns the child for falling over in learning to walk. By replacing the activity of the conscience to determine as best we can the best course, by replacing activity of conscience with the fear of hell, churches have destroyed the activity of conscience, the exciting and challenging pursuit of happiness, the foundation of ethics. Life is a game to maximise happiness with limited wits. It is a fun, exciting, dangerous game. And we are not supposed to be chained by fear in venturing to play it. God is the I AM, that is, existence, life, reality. It is God that delivers to disobedience. And it is everyone that God delivers. Certainty is a mental disease. The person who is most right is the person who most knows he or she can be wrong at any time, in anything. Moral superiority, happiness, lies in always being eager to test, doubt, prove, examine, check our opinions. To plunge our opinions in the purifying fires of reality again and again, forever. We are never perfect. That is the fun, the game, the alivening, of life.

    • The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious discussions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate the truth. But when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error. Thomas Macaulay.

    In other words, there are sick people who are incapable of grasping that they could be wrong, like anybody. And the rest of us too easily fall for that sick person’s estimate of his superiority. It is a trick that has taken humanity in for 1000s of years: Instead of saying: I am right, which wouldn’t go down so well, these self-elected moral police say: God says this, and God is right, and I agree with God.

    • Religion is not a hearsay, a presumption, a supposition. It is not a customary pretension and profession, is not an affectation of any mode, is not a piety or particular fancy, consisting of some pathetic devotions, vehement expressions, bodily severities, affected anomalies, and aversion from the innocent usages of others, but consists in a profound humility and a universal charity. Benjamin Whichcote.

    Humility is the remembrance that life has given us the great loving gift of limited wits, so that we can ever have the joy of learning. Charity is remembering that to every injury there is an equal and opposite injury, that what you give is what you get.

    • All belief that does not render us more happy, more free, more loving, more active and more calm is an erroneous and superstitious belief. Johann Lavater.

    • The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top, there is no limit to oppression. H.L. Mencken.

    • When morality is up, goodness is in decline. Lao-tzu.

    • For many years I have exhorted you in vain, with gentleness, preaching, praying and weeping. But according to the proverb of my country, where blessings can accomplish nothing, blows may avail. We shall rouse against you princes and prelates, who, alas, will arm nations and kingdoms against this land, and thus blows will avail where blessings and gentleness have been powerless. St Dominic. Father of the Inquisition.

    That is, we can’t make you pretend to agree with us by words, so we will get you to pretend to agree with us by swords. How mad is it to care whether people pretend to agree with you or not? Every animal is mature, that is, takes full responsibility for its life and happiness. There are no tyrants, nor adult babies, in the animal kingdom. There is not one animal that is not down-to-earth, practical, realistic. There is not one animal that for one second flirts with unreality. There is not one animal that is not in perfect charity with itself. There is not one animal that can be persuaded to give up pursuit of its happiness.

    • Once love was used in the church, now fear. Giordano Bruno.

    So you cannot be sure the church is right. If you don’t think, and you make yourself a robot of another’s ideas, you can’t know whether you are getting a St Francis or a St Dominic, a Jefferson or a Hitler, if you are aiding good or evil, sanity or madness, love or selfdestruction. If you don’t trust your own intelligence in the pursuit of your happiness, how can you trust your decision to trust someone else’s intelligence in determining your life path? And if you trust your decision to trust someone else with your pursuit of happiness, how can you not trust yourself in your own intelligence to decide what is best for you? To let someone else decide what is right for you is like getting someone else to drive your car from their car when you are sitting in the driver’s seat of your own car. Tyranny is caused by the abdication of freedom and responsibility, which is abdication from living, alive life, which is the game of pursuing happiness with our limited wits.

    • If there were but one person in the world, it is manifest that he could have no more wealth than he was able to make and to save. This is the natural order. Henry George.

    In job-specialisation society, no one can rightly have more than he or she would make and save in nature, plus an equal share of the benefits and disadvantages of job specialisation.

    • Lenin’s method leads to this: the party organisation at first substitutes itself for the party as a whole. Then the central committee substitutes itself for the party organisation, and finally a single dictator substitutes himself for the central committee. Leon Trotsky.

    • The Russian dictatorship of the proletariat has made a farce of the Marxist vision, developing a powerful, privileged ruling class to prepare for a classless society, setting up the most despotic state in history so that the state may wither away, establishing by force a colonial empire to combat imperialism and to unite the workers of the world. Herbert Muller.

    When a ruling class gets soft and is replaced by another ruling class, that replacement is always the next biggest group of thugs, never the meek people, who are last in line. Think of Robespierre. But in time the yin people have always washed away the yang, arrogant, brutal, greedy rulers.

    • Anacharsis laughed at Solon for imagining that the dishonesty and covetousness of his countrymen could be restrained by written laws, which were like spiders’ webs and would catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but be easily broken by the mighty and the rich. Plutarch.

    • The very rich are not good. Plato.

    The very rich make an error in pursuit of their happiness and so do the people, in allowing the very rich.

    To allow overfortunes is to be responsible for all the extreme excesses, brutalities and evils that those you allow to be above the law commit. And, with some people, what limit on viciousness will there be where there is no law to hold them back? Some of those above the law will kidnap, rape, torture and kill anyone at will and whim, for financial and sexual gain, and be able to pay, by bribery, blackmail and killing, to cover up, in the rare cases in which their deeds are revealed. One Pope was tried for piracy, rape, incest and murder. There will always be sociopaths in any sample of society, and there will always be a far higher percentage of sociopaths in any sample of the extremely power-greedy and power-mad. How many of the missing persons are victims of sociopathic over-wealth? Certainly some. But we keep painting respectability onto our leaders. The exposures of people in high places and the evidence of history of the Neros and Borgias, Hitlers and Mussolinis, do not pop our self-delusion that there cannot be sociopaths among those we have put above the law in our own country. When a criminal is successful enough to get above the law, will he stop being a criminal? Because we hear only of the unsuccessful criminals, we cannot imagine the successful ones. We are victims of our idolatry of over-wealth. Idolatry of over-wealth is complicity in the greatest evils. Rockefeller had miners’ families burned alive in their strike hovels. Why did the miners put themselves in a situation like this? Because they could not imagine how arrogant and vicious those above the law are.

    • Why shouldn’t the people take half my money from me? I took it all from them. Edward Filene.

    The people should take from him all that they have earned, and leave him with all that he has earned. Nothing else is justice.

    • Either virtue is an empty name, or honor and recompense are due to the person who nobly enterprises. Horace.

    It sounds stirring and wonderful, but it is just egotism and confusion. Sense tainted by emotionalism. The enterprise is for his gain, a sprat for a mackerel. We don’t need to get carried away and throw money at him in return for nothing. It is like being moved to give money to a fisherman for risking his bait. We don’t get sentimental like this about the workman’s risk, or the prospector’s risk. The credit for the fact that some people are more energetic, enterprising and active, aggressive and greedy, is due to nature, not the individual. The individual who enterprises only when there is recompense is not naturally enterprising. The natural range of energy is sufficient. It hardly helps us to impoverish ourselves to create artificial enterprisers surplus to requirements. Natural human energies are plenty sufficient to provide. We are not animals that need to hunt and eat all day.

    • Men must have profits proportionable to their expense and hazard. David Hume.

    Emotionally, it sounds so reasonable. The man is suffering, let him have profits proportionate. But the sentence is selfcontradictory. If he makes profits, where is his expense? And if he must be compensated, where is his risk? And what rational argument can justify taxing others to fund this pursuit of wealth? The gorilla beats his chest magnificently, and the others feel impelled to give him a banana. Instead of the modesty of the worker who risks and asks nothing, this one demands gifts when he comes home tired from the hunt. If a person opens a restaurant, and fails, as so many do, no one feels emotionally driven to compensate him. The pirate goes out and returns with plenty of Inca gold taken from Spanish pirates. Look at his fine house. Yes, he deserves it. He could have been killed. You are poor? Ah, but you didn’t risk, you see.
    A thief robs a house. You got a good haul? The owner had a gun? You could have got killed. You deserve it. If the owner hadn’t had a gun, I would have said you should give some of your haul back.

    We have this inexplicable and quite mad generosity towards the rich. We swallow all their false arguments for the right to unlimited pay. You worked 60 hours a week? My goodness, that is working almost as long as the person who grew this apple. You singlehandedly invented, designed, built, packaged, marketed, and distributed these millions of PCs? You singlehandedly created the demand for these things and thus created jobs for thousands of people? You risked US$5 million your parents gave you? You actually risked all that money? My hero! Here, take this US$50 billion. You worked 60 hours a week writing songs and performing them? Please accept this half billion with our sincerest thanks and our deep love. You swing a mean golfclub? Please, take this $100 million a year. You work 60 hours a week heading a talk show? Please, I must insist on you taking this half billion a year. You must be tired. You must keep your strength up for your wonderful work. You must have a very rare talent, because you are so wellpaid. Don’t worry. There’s plenty where that came from. I economised on protein for millions of children’s brains in Africa. I save 4c a person by not spending on vitamin A to prevent 2 million people a year going blind. I’ve got a million new girls every year pulling in big money from sex slavery. I’ve got up to US$200,000 donations coming in from 99% of families in the world.

    • The matter I allude to is the exorbitant price exacted by the merchants and vendors of goods for every necessary they dispose of. I am sensible the trouble and risk in importing gives the adventurers a right to a generous price, and that such, from the motives of policy, should be paid, but yet I cannot conceive that they, in direct violation of every principle of generosity, of reason and of justice, should be allowed, if it is possible to restrain them, to avail themselves of the difficulties of the times, and to amass fortunes upon the public ruin. George Washington.

    • Is the paltry consideration of a little dirty pelf to individuals to be placed in competition with the essential rights and liberties of the present generation and of millions yet unborn? Shall a few designing men, for their own aggrandisement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset the goodly fabric we have been rearing at the expense of so much time, blood and treasure? And shall we at last become the victims of our own abominable lust for gain? George Washington.

    Washington failed, and everyone failed, to distinguish what should and what shouldn’t be paid for. If anyone should have been paid for risk, it was the ones at the bottom of the sea who didn’t make it through the British blockade of imports, not the ones who did make it through, since they didn’t lose. And they shouldn’t have been paid for the scarcity, which again was no sacrifice on their part. Paying for scarcity is paying them for the things they didn’t import, is paying them for absence. America was well-enough established that it was not dependent on imports for food and shelter. The imports had to be more at the luxury end of the spectrum of necessities and luxuries. Insofar as the imports were necessities, America would have done better to put the money into guns and ships to defend their necessary imports, than to throw it away so that a few could play lords and ladies, and America could be weakened by wealth-poverty differential. Giving the money away to a few did nothing to protect shipping. If the merchants got rich, they therefore didn’t spend it on guns to protect their ships. And the payment was in inverse proportion to risk, as the bigger players could afford more defenses for their ships, and could spread their risk over more ships.

    It is sad to see Washington’s agony of confusion. He says they should be paid for their risk, and then that paying them for risk is going to kill the nation, which is true. And it is a pity that there is not more such egalitarian sentiment in the world. How many people are as passionate and caring and real as Washington was in those quotes?

    • In the progress of time, and through our own base carelessness and ignorance, we have permitted the money-industry, by the virtue of its business, to attain a political and economic influence so powerful that it has actually underminded the authority of the state and usurped the power of democratic government. Vincent Vickers.

    • I needed the good will of the legislature of four states. I formed the legislature bodies with my own money. I found it was cheaper that way. Jay Gould.

    Where are these quotes in schools, so that the people can be aware of the dangers to be vigilant about? By what subtle, unconscious propaganda instinct are these vital warning quotes kept out of schools without anyone issuing a command?

    • After eleven years of research, I have come to see that food production and food distribution are in the midst of a revolution, a revolution that puts people’s needs for food last. And the revolution is led by the largest corporations on earth and elite-based governments. It isn’t fought in the name of liberty or equality or fraternity, but in the name of profit. Frances Lappe.

    • Much land which might be growing food is being used instead to grow money, in the form of coffee etc. Frances Lappe.

    The World Bank forces third world countries to stick to cash crops, instead of being free to diversify and thus reap the benefit of selling rarer tropical products, and being free to reduce the supply and cheapness of cash crops.

    • Land can be healthy or sick, fertile or barren, rich or poor, lovingly nurtured or bled white. Our present attitudes and laws governing the ownership and use of land represent an abuse of the concept of private property. You can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops. Paul Brooks.

    • Every dictator uses religion as a prop to keep himself in power. Benazir Bhutto.

    • The oldest and greatest monopolist of all, Holy church herself, the monopolist in god, had to be assailed if the new middleman, the soldiers of the market, were to grow and prosper. John Strachey.

    • Rouse up, O young people of the new age! Set your foreheads against the ignorant hirelings, for we have hirelings in the [military] camp, the court and the universities who would, if they could, forever repress mental, and prolong corporeal, war. William Blake.

    Higher and lower hourly pay is the glue of the monolithic, unlimited-fortunes, totalitarian state. Everyone is bribed by higher pay, threatened by lower pay. Bribery sounds good, you get money, but it is slavery. You get money for sacrificing freedom of speech and thought. What is not said is soon not thought. You sacrifice mind and honour. The soldiers of bureaucracy, military, and politics sacrifice their lives and their honour the second they agree not to think and speak freely. To think is to live. To agree not to think is to commit suicide. Happiness is everyone’s everything, happiness depends on truth, truth depends on freedom of speech and thought, therefore we sacrifice everything in sacrificing free speech. Where are the guardians of the constitution who rush in to punish anyone who attempts to hinder free speech in politics, bureaucracy and business? The suppression of free speech in the military, the bureaucracy, politics, business, the media and even the universities, is the norm. Higher and lower pay is the death of happiness. With equal hourly pay, there are many other places to go if you speak out. With very unequal hourly pay, there are the strongest motives to stay in the monolith of lies, untruth and unhappiness. The higher in the monolith you are, the more you lose financially in leaving it for integrity. Equal hourly pay is freedom, unequal hourly pay is slavery. Good people, sensing the nature of things in unlimited-fortunes systems, tend to stay out of politics etc, or to leave it sooner, and thus leave the field to the worst, those who least know the importance of truth in happiness. So concentration of money is concentration of evil, that is, of ignorance, denial, unrealism, disinformation, flattery, immaturity and all other forms of poverty of sense.

    • Neither the lords nor the shogun can be depended upon [to save the country], and so our only hope lies in grassroot heroes. Yoshida Shoin.

    Present governments have very little need to reflect the people. And perfect governments can at best only reflect the people. Government can only be as good as the people’s awareness and insight. Change from driving on Catastrophe Street towards Extinction Corner can only be made by a sufficient number of people heroically determining to seek better opinions and understandings. Discipline is learning. Closemindedness is lack of discipline. There is no happiness without learning. Governments can only be a shadow of the people. What if the people are just shadows of the government?

    • You can say that this administration will have the first, complete, far-reaching attack on the problem of hunger in history. Use all the rhetoric, so long as it doesn’t cost money. Richard Nixon.

    Can we fully grasp how evil this is? This is the normal soul of leadership in unlimited-fortunes systems. How much ground have we lost from pursuit of happiness when we have such high tolerance of this level of cynicism? Do we deceive ourselves that his utter lovelessness is reserved for the hungry alone?

    • The tragedy in the lives of most of us is that we go through life walking down a high-walled land with people of our own kind, the same economic situation, the same national background and education and religious outlook. And beyond those walls, all humanity lies, unknown and unseen, and untouched by our restricted and impoverished lives. Florence Luscomb.

    The human tribe is the greatest fun in life. And unlimited-fortunes systems have cut us off from it. We know in our hearts that there is widespread injury, because we are careful who we mix with. We are not free to mix freely with our own kind. We are anxious about mixing with people with lower incomes, we are forced to be careful with people with higher incomes, and we may be mistreated by people beside us who use us to get higher. The number of people in the same socio-economic stratum declines with higher income. The more overpaid, the smaller the tribe.

    • Plenty overwhelms us and we do not know how to distribute the wealth we can now produce. H.G. Wells.

    • Practically everyone now bemoans Western man’s sense of alienation, lack of community, and inability to find ways of organising society for human ends. We have reached the end of the road that was built on the set of traits held out for male identity: advance at any cost, pay any price, drive out all competitors, and kill them if necessary. Jean Miller.

    • Let the revolting distinction of rich and poor disappear once for all, the distinction of great and small, of masters and slaves, of governors and governed. Let there be no artifical differences between human beings. Since all have the same needs and the same faculties, let there be one education for all, one food for all. Francois Babeuf.

    Against this is the human vice of loving to be king of the castle, and others to be the dirty rascals. But it is a vice, because it produces unhappiness, not the happiness people expect of it. It is a vice born of gross lack of imagination, inability to imagine that people are unlikely to enjoy being dirty rascal. This sentiment of equality would save the world if it were common. Babeuf was in a position, between the robber and robbed classes, to see the lack of superior merit of the robber class. If anything, the merit lay on the side of the working classes rather than of the leisure classes. The main difference between nature and society is that in nature humanity is largely wrestling with nature. In society everyone is largely wrestling with each other to grab from each other.

    • I am talking about myself as the type of the idle, rich young man, not myself the individual. I have an income between US$10,000-20,000 a year. [In 2000 dollars, around one million a year.] I spend all of it. I produce nothing. My income doesn’t descend upon me like manna from heaven. It can be traced. Some of it comes from the profits of a daily newspaper, some of it from Chicago real estate, some from the profits made by the Pennsylvania and other railroads, some from the profits of the US Steel Corporation, some from the profits of the American Tobacco Company. It takes to support me about 20 times as much as it takes to support an average working man or farmer. And the funny thing about it is that these working men and farmers work hard all year round, while I don’t work at all. The work of the working people, and nothing else, produces wealth, which, by some hocuspocus arrangement, is transferred to me, leaving them bare. While they support me in splendid style, what do I do for them? Let the candid upholder of the present order answer, for I am not aware of doing anything for them. Joseph Patterson.

    First, we can ruminate on the fact that quotes like this are vanishingly rare.
    Second, we can wonder why people are so comfortable with this state of affairs. Justice produces happiness. Injustice produces unhappiness. Justice is equal pay for equal work. The state built on injustice cannot stand. Never has. Never will. Therefore this state of affairs, this present order, that is, this present dystem or dystopia, produces unhappiness and decline and fall. Is anarchic. Therefore this state of things is incompatible with pursuit of happiness and patriotism, love of country. Everyone who is comfortable with this state of affairs is an enemy of the state, is anti-state, anti-happiness. Therefore it must be either that people’s will is to the destruction of happiness and order, or that they are ignorant, unaware. I am guessing that it is the latter, but it is hard to see how people can be unaware.

    Perhaps they think unlimited wealth is bad, but they don’t feel powerful enough to do anything about it. Or they just assume that everything in society is good, the same way that animals ‘assume’ that everything is good. Or they think that the rich don’t take that much of the pie. For millenia, people have joined armies for plunder, or because they thought they were defending their country from bad people. For millenia, ordinary folk have murdered billions of other ordinary folk, manipulated by the super-rich. For millenia, ordinary folk have been willing to take orders to plunder and to defend against plunder, and to watch the generals take the profits. For millenia, they have bought the myth of the evil of the ordinary person on the other side of the battle. They have been easy to convince that the enemy rank and file is the enemy, that the generals and kings on both sides who order the wars are not the enemy. The people have been unable to doubt the virtue of their own generals. It ought to have always been obvious that as no one can work more than twice as hard as the average person, anyone with far more than twice the average fortune has more money than they deserve, has somehow got ownership of wealth not theirs, is a plain thief. People have been willing for millenia to be robbed, to be killed, to be forced to murder.

    Will they now be willing to become extinct for this dysfunctional system, this dystem? Or will they now part company with their strange love affair with unjust and unnecessary, deep and vast poverty, suffering, pain, disease, horrors and terrors? Or not? Will it be left to some other intelligent universe species to wonder why, why, why, we pursued accelerating danger and suffering unblinkingly to extinction? Is it that people have never absorbed the fact that pay injustice will ever-grow if left unattended? If it is just that people do not know that the super-overpaid take 90% of people’s earnings, they will do something as soon as they know it. But somehow I do not think that they will do anything if they learn this fact. It seems that there is something, I cannot begin to imagine what, makes people not want to acknowledge that fact, makes people hide from that fact. Is it that people simply do not see big things, as Plato, Heraclitus, Jesus, Thoreau and proverb say? Can’t see the forest. Is it that most people would really rather suffer and die than think? Is it that most people simply can’t think? The goddess Isis is supposed to have said: If they knew they were blind, they wouldn’t be blind. That is, it is far worse not to know you are blind than merely to be blind. It is 1000 times worse. People who know they are blind take precautions. But the humblest creature pursues its happiness 100%. What has happened to us that we don’t or can’t pursue our own happiness? Has evolution in us reached a point of self-defeating over-complexity? How hard is it to know that if someone runs off with the money, it is bad news? Something tells me that, when you tell people that 1% of people get 90% of world earnings, it has no impact at all. All extremes are vices. The leading vice, destroyer of happiness, for most people seems to be unlimited over-generosity. Are people sucked in by a circular argument? Do they think: He is rich, so he must be respectable, and I know he is respectable, because he is rich?

    • The lawcourts are open to all people, like the doors of the Ritz hotel. Lord Darling.

    • The law, as manipulated by clever and highly respected rascals, still remains the best avenue for a career in honourable and leisurely plunder. Gabriel Chevalier.

    The impartiality of the law will always be bent from the vertical by the partiality of the overpaid. Judges are corrupted from justice by belonging to the ruling class. Shoplifters get proportionately far harder sentences than embezzlers, and serve in worse prisons. This is another element in relative slavery of the so-called lower classes. White-collar crime is 500 times the size of welfare fraud. Police vigilance against white collar crime is far less.

    • The great nations have always acted like gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes. Stanley Kubrick.

    Prostitution is mostly economic, rarely promiscuous.

    • When a white man in Africa by accident looks into the eyes of a native and sees the human being, which it is his chief occupation to avoid, his sense of guilt, which he denies, fumes up in resentment and he brings down the whip. Doris Lessing.

    This is not happiness for the white man.

    • An unjust society causes and defines crime. An aggressive social structure, which is unjust, and must create aggressive social disruption, receives the moral sanction of being law and order. Law and order is one of the steps taken to maintain injustice. Edward Bond.

    • The continuance of the inheritance idea, the idea of living on through things, property, children, subtracts any possibility of the communal society proceeding. For people to live communally [constructively] instead of competitively [destructively], the bonds of inheritance must be completely broken. Ti-Grace Atkinson.

    • Wealth? Poverty? Seek neither. One causes swollen heads, the other swollen bellies. Kassia.

    • It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty and wealth have both failed. Frank Hubbard.

    • Wealth begets insolence. Theognis.

    • The meek shall inherit the earth but not the mineral rights. Paul Getty.

    The meek, the less rapacious and aggressive, do not inherit even the earth. And why don’t they inherit the mineral rights also? Natural birthright means that every living person has a right to an equal share of the land and the mineral rights, to an equal share of all of nature’s gifts. Society must be judged against nature. Society should add rights to people, not subtract any natural rights. 90% of people earn far less in society than their work would earn in nature. Unlimited-fortunes society has failed most people financially and failed everyone happiness-wise. Private ownership of everything of nature means that every new generation must buy its rights in nature from the preceding generation. Whereas animals automatically have an equal share in nature’s gifts of food and place to live, animals automatically distribute their share when they die. Private ownership of land is useful, but there should be a social mechanism of restoring lost natural gifts caused by private ownership. State ownership of nature’s bounty causes fascism, is intrinsically unjust. Ownership of nature and all her gifts should be invested equally in every living person.

    Those without land have a natural right from birth to landrent from those who do own the land. This is another major legal theft. Just limitation of maximum fortune and distribution of overfortune will automatically compensate for these stolen ownerships in diamonds, gold, oil, minerals, the economic value of tourist attractions, natural food supplies, etc. Society takes nature’s bounty and converts it to ownership by the older generation, leaving the younger generation to buy their share of nature’s bounty, with their underpay. That this is wrong is simple rational justice, but people have never been strong on rationality or justice, although rationality and justice are friends, and the ruling classes are biassed against practising it and against teaching it. Most people are unaware of their rights to nature’s bounty, as obvious as it is. This is the negative power of custom and convention, of assuming that society is not wrong. This is the extremely high cost of not thinking. Loss of 99%, soon 100%, of happiness and survival.

    • The agricultural population produces the bravest people, the most valiant soldiers, and a class of citizens the least given to evil designs. Cato.

    • Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates, and men decay. A bold peasantry, their country’s pride, when once destroyed, can never be supplied. Oliver Goldsmith.

    Ownership of land or landrents is the best national defense. If most do not have a share in the country, most will not defend it firmly. And they will sometimes betray it. The spies who betrayed Britain to Russia, because they believed that Russia was more just. Another example of the state-weakening effect of injustice.

    • The more princes abstain from touching the wealth of the people, the greater will be their resources in the wants of the state. Aelia Pulcheria.

    • He represented to her that the greatest glory of a monarch was the liberty of the people, his most valuable treasure in their crowded coffers, and his securest guard in their sincere affection. Eliza Haywood.

    But plundering nations are forced to rob the people to pay for the defense costs of being under attack from plundered nations. National pay justice will make a country internally strong, and international pay justice will make nations externally strong. $1000 on justice saves $1,000,000,000 on defense.

    • The greatest nations, like the greatest individuals, have often been poor, and with wealth comes often, what is more terrible than poverty, corruption. Olive Shreiner.

    What has been great about great nations is not poverty so much as equality, pay justice. The corruption and decay comes not exactly from wealth but from pay injustice, extreme range of wealth and poverty. Nations can be greater by being both wealthy and just. Injustice will impoverish and endanger a nation far more than overwealth will enrich and strengthen it. It is not the poverty that has made nations great, but the equality attendant on poverty. Equality is the equal right of all to equal reward for equal sacrifice. The World Happiness Index has found Bangladesh, Nigeria, Columbia, Mexico the happiest countries, but they would be far happier with the same equality they have with poverty, plus the wealth they deserve.

    It takes only two halftruths to make a lie. Poverty is not a virtue. Frustration of needs and desires does not lead to happiness. We are ethically bound by selflove to avoid underpay as much as to avoid other-earned wealth.

    Overpower corrupts. What are we doing about it? Far too little. Corruption etymologically means thorough breaking. Therefore overpower is incompatible with patriotism.

    • Now we have discovered war to be derived from the unlimited accumulation of wealth which is also the cause of almost all the evils in states. Plato.

    • Injustice creates divisions and hatreds and fighting, and justice imparts harmony and friendship. Plato.

    Plato has a myth in which love is the offspring from the marriage of wealth and poverty.

    • The beginning of reform is to train the noble sort of natures not to desire more, and to prevent the lower from getting more. Aristotle.

    • The love of money is the root of all evils. Bible.

    This Biblical statement is at best an inaccurate statement of a truth. At worst, an error. The love of self-earned money is the root of all good. It is the love of other-earned money that is the root of virtually all evils. Nowhere in the dialogue through history has the vital distinction been made between self-earned and other-earned money. Nowhere in economics or philosophy or theology have the true and false meanings of this famous statement ever been clarified. To work twice as hard and thus create twice as much wealth and then to take out twice as much from the social pool of products of work is entirely good and harmless.

    And why is it that after realising that wealth, that is, other-earned money or overpay, is the root of virtually all problems and troubles in society, did Plato and the Bible and Christianity not make this the central subject of ethics and philosophy? What is more important than the diminishment of the root of all evils? How did they manage to overlook the subject that would have paid the highest dividends to clearly understand? Christianity has strained at the gnats of faith versus works, homosexuality, masturbation, adultery, is Jesus the same or only similar to God, etc, etc, and swallowed the camel of not fighting the root of all evils. False religion has made false evils to hide real evils. Christianity has been from early times usurped and hoodwinked by the greedy, the overpaid and overpowerful. Just as communism, the dream of justice, was hijacked five months after the revolution. So education against the root of all evils has been suppressed, except by occasional genuine reformers like St Francis. Who have often been looked on with suspicion by the church. Of course it was the church of the time that put Jesus to death. The usurping of Christianity and other religions has prevented humanity from reaping the huge benefits from conquering the root of all evils. I cannot recall one book that explains in detail what ought to be understood by love of money is the root of all evils, and why and how it is true, and why and how it is false. 2000 years’ opportunity to avoid the pitfall of money has been wasted. 99% of human happiness destroyed.

    The inaccuracy of the statement, the obvious untruth of the statement, has made humanity miss the truth in the statement. Love of self-earned money is wholly good, wholly natural, wholly proper and innocent and noble. Love of self-earned money is the root of virtually all good. Love of self-earned money is exactly as good as growing vegetables and eating them. Since money is a universal good, good for virtually all good things. The arguments against overpay are simple, and yet the ethical leaders have never taught them. The ethical leaders have often been false ethical leaders. They have been the greatest victims of the root of all evil, they have been those who have fallen worst for the apparent goodness of unlimited fortune. It is they who have conspired to prevent the teaching against overfortune, so that they might attain unlimited fortune, mistakenly thinking that unlimited fortune would be unlimited happiness.

    • When our fathers [the American founding fathers] prevented entail [and primogeniture, and fixed clergy salaries], when they thus provided for the distribution of estates, they thought they had erected a bulwark against the money power that had killed Britain [and every other state]. They forgot that money could combine, that a moneyed corporation was like the Papacy, a succession of persons with a unity of purpose, that it never died, that it never became imbecile. Wendell Phillips.

    Lincoln warned against the corporations. Even Jefferson, at the beginning of the 19th century, warned against the corporations, which did not really get away till the end of the 19th century. It is not only the corporations that have brought America and the world from the American dream of freedom from tyranny, to tyranny in 200 years. It is the general belief that unlimited fortunes are innocent, are harmless, are even good.

    • Lycurgus’s second political enterprise was a new division of the lands, for he found a prodigious inequality, wealth being centred in the hands of the few, and by this reform Sparta become like an estate newly divided among many brothers. Each plot of land was sufficient to maintain a family in health. Plutarch.

    This quotation shows 1. that wealth concentrates, 2. that re-equalising can be done, and 3. that poverty is illhealth.

    • By abolishing covetousness, Lycurgus removed all motive for civil broil and contest. Polybius.

    Covetousness is the love of other-earned money. Covetousness, otherwise known as greed, avarice, pleonexia, theft, injustice, taking out more than you put in.

  6. Ack Nice
    August 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    • Inequalities between rich and poor had come to a head, Athens stood on the brink of revolution. Equality breeds no strife, was widely repeated. Plutarch.

    Where are these quotes in schools? The first duty, the prime duty of education is to teach the existence of overpay, and how overpay destroys 99% of happiness of 100% of people. If education taught only this, it would teach something of far more value to humans than all it teaches now. If people were as convinced of the evil of overpay as they are of the ‘evil’ of genital exposure, they would be 100 times happier, safer and less self-destructive than they now are. False education teaches things. True education teaches the most important and valuable things for happiness.

    • Slavery always has, and always will, produce insurrections wherever it exists, because it is a violation of the natural order of things, and no human power can perpetuate it for long. Angelina Grimke.

    • Human beings are not so constituted, that they can live without expansion, and, if they do not get it one way, must another, or perish. Margaret Fuller.

    • Life can be viewed as a perpetual battle between the rich and the poor. The former have dug themselves in behind walls, and their stronghold is well stocked with guns and ammunition. The latter go round and round it, wheel this way and that, attack, and, despite the gates, the ditches, the artillery of defense, it is rare that those who lay siege fail to carry off some advantage. Honore de Balzac.

    • The history of power shows us that the victims of unfathomable oppression have arisen to claim their rights, that power is persistently being broken down and overturned. Every new insight into its workings provides a new road to its overthrow. Nancy Henley.

    Overwealth is precarious, is never safe. This is one reason that CEOs are scrabbling to rake in as much as they can while they can. They know that at any time, they can be tipped out of office by someone more cunning, ruthless or tricky than they are.

    • No person can profit except by the loss of others, and, by this reasoning, all manner of profit must be condemned. Michel de Montaigne.

    Once again, the sense of this has been lost to the general understanding in the untruth of this. Lacking here is the all-important distinction between 1. profit in the sense of what is left over in a business after paying the bills, and out of which the owners pay themselves a reasonable sum for their work, and 2. profit in the sense of that left over after the owners have been paid fairpay for their services, sacrifice and work. Profit in the second sense is legal theft. Such profit, by definition, cannot belong to owners because they have been fully compensated for their contribution out of costs. Such profit must belong to overcharged customers and underpaid workers.

    Montaigne does not make clear exactly where the condemnable profit begins. Nor does he see that such legal theft must ever-grow, and be ever-growing injustice and injury, and cause all the violence, almost all evils, all destruction of happiness in society. And Montaigne does not make clear that profit in the second sense must be tolerated, because business must have a safety margin against accidental undercharging and thus going broke. The accidents of business mean that if businesses aimed at nonprofit in the second sense, they would more often fail, by underestimating costs. It is sufficient if individuals are prevented from profiting limitlessly from the legal theft by profits. By seeing that profit is legal theft, we can with justice and reason prevent the legal theft by profit from destroying society and happiness, by setting the maximum fortune at the lifetime maximum one person can earn and contribute to society by their own work. In this way people can still commit legal theft up to the maximum fortune, but not beyond this. And this allows the margin of safety needed in business. And it saves the enormous cost and waste of lives and money in monitoring every business. It also means that popular businesses can grow, by reinvesting profits in their growth. We could try to make every business nonprofit in the second sense, but the labour would be enormous and maximum fortune is sufficient to destroy most evils.

    But, on further thinking, how true is it that companies need the safety margin of profit? Do nonprofit organisations without volunteers fail more often than profitdriven companies? Perhaps not. It is possible that driving for profits actually increases the likelihood of failure. Research is needed on this point. Can companies aim at being nonprofit, and make a loss some years, and get by with loans until they have increased charges and prices in order to break even, after paying all costs, including fairpay to all?

    • All riches come from inequity, and unless one has lost, another cannot gain. Hence that common opinion seems to be very true, the rich man is unjust, or the heir to an unjust one. Opulence is always the result of theft, if not committed by the possessor, then by his predecessor. St Jerome.

    The private heir commits theft also, by getting money without working, which has to mean working without money for others. If the heir has been underpaid, then part or whole of the inheritance may rightfully belong to him. Public inheritance gives everyone their fairshare.

    It seems that in Jerome’s day, it was obvious to more people that wealth is unjust. Also, it was commonly understood before 1500 that payment for scarcity was unjust. Attachment to injustice seems to have grown with the steady growth of inequality ever since the effective egalitarianism of the so-called Dark Ages, caused by the collapse of the unjust Roman Empire.

    • Where there is profit, there is loss nearby. Japanese proverb.

    But this fails to see half the truth. Where there is profit, there is loss, not just nearby, but in the same place also. Saying that loss is only nearby allows people to feel that the loss doesn’t matter, that it only happens to others, and that loss to others doesn’t affect the profiter.

    • I affirm that gain is precisely that which comes oftener to the bad man than to the good, for illegitimate gains never come to the good at all, because they reject them. And lawful gains rarely come to the good, because, since much anxious care is needful thereto, and the anxious care of the good man is directed to weightier matters, rarely does the good man give sufficient attention thereto. Wherefore it is clear that in every way the advent of these riches is iniquitous. Dante Alighieri.

    Part of the argument is weak. I take it that by lawful Dante means righteous, just. Just gains come only by work. There is not necessarily anxious care involved. And if there was always anxious care involved, that would not be a reason not to pursue just gains. And what is weightier than making just earnings to keep yourself? There seems to be a little snobbery here. A distaste for humble honest work, a personal aversion from the trivialities of trade, a pride in doing ‘higher’ things. And Dante contradicts himself by starting with a soft statement, oftener, rarely, and ending with a hard statement, in every way. If he had been able to define overwealth, by knowing the maximum that a person can earn by his work, Dante would have been able to make a truer statement. If we take riches to mean overwealth, then he is right that they are iniquitous. But gain can be just and good and proper.

    • And what else, day by day, imperils and slays cities, countries and persons so much as the amassing of wealth? Dante Alighieri.

    • Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose is the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Wars are bred by poverty and oppression. Peace is possible only in a relatively free and prosperous world. George Marshall.

    Wars are bred by poverty and oppression. Oppression goes with poverty, that is, underpay. Underpay is underpower is oppression. Since wars are caused by underpay, we can get rid of war by getting rid of underpay. We can get rid of underpay by getting rid of overpay. Only 500th of 1% have more than US$30 million. That is, 99.998% of people will get higher pay by limiting fortunes to US$30 million, 2007 dollars. Unfair underpay will be minimalised, and war will be minimalised, if fortunes are brought right down to the maximum self-earnable fortune.

    America invested 2% of GNP in the Marshall Plan to revive Europe after WW2 because they realised that it was a good investment, that the cost of another global depression and WW3 would be far greater than 2% of GNP. There are at present calls for similar good sense to be applied to the third world, a Marshall Plan for the third world. Because it is a good investment, because the costs of poverty and oppression are far, far greater than a Marshall Plan for the third world. But America is not now in the hands of people as wise as the Marshall Plan. The security costs, in lives, time, money and labour, of defending the plunder against the plundered will wear away, are wearing away, all the plunder. A global 1% tax on incomes would raise US$750 billion a year, which would pour much water on the fires of poverty and extreme underpay, and would destroy terrorism. 90% of this money would come from the super-overpaid, since the super-overpaid get 90% of world income. But a just maximum self-earned fortune, and the return of earnings to everyone, would go far further, would go virtually all the way to destroying virtually all violence and misery. There would still be crimes of passion, but those crimes would not be exacerbated by wealth-poverty stress.

    • We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic [the American nation] will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of the few. A Republic cannot stand against bayonets, and when the day comes, when the wealth of the nation will be concentrated in the hands of the few, then we must rely on the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation to the changed condition. James Madison.

    Once again, a failure of seriousness, a suicidal casualness. It is not enough to say that, when the nation has fallen into misery, it will be up to the best elements to resurrect it. Where is the commitment to preventing its fall? 1% get 90% of world income. The only way this can be changed peacefully for the colossal benefit of all is by the great majority being clear that unlimited fortune is the root of all evils, that unlimited fortune is fascism and tyranny, leading to global extinction, whether in capitalism or in communism. Fortunately it is true that everyone benefits enormously, so there is no need for coercion, except for the 0.01% who may be incorrigibly unthinking, immoveably attached to the mirage of happiness via overfortune. Fortunately it is true that everyone in the world can learn this easily and quickly, just by everyone who learns it passing it on to just two people. It is now or never. It is in the interests of everyone who can think to think, think, think on this with the greatest sincerity, seriousness and sobriety. Unfortunately, it sometimes looks as though humanity is at present committing suicide by entertainment, by a suicidal aversion to seriousness, by a manic triviality. And nature has not equipped us to think globally. But there is no global democracy if everyone is not thinking globally.

    • One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding among those who have the same interest. Niccolo Macchiavelli.

    A confusion of principles. Christianity could not have been more emphatic regarding the evil of wealth concentration. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Mammon means wealth. Why was the word Mammon not translated? Easier for a camel unblended to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven, that is, to get happiness. Do not get money by deceit. Do not attempt to get more money than the right amount.

    But the clearing up of the confusion has never been made in the general mind. The good reasoning behind these views has not been laid bare. Wealth is associated with abundance, plenty. So the general opinion has never said a genuine aye to the Christian view. Instead of wealth, the Bible should have said other-earned money. But in order to have been able to say this, they would have had to have had an idea of legal theft. It needed to be made crystal clear that legal theft existed. So people have inwardly quietly disagreed with the Bible and so have never got the point. Wealth continues to be thought a friend when other-earned wealth has been the root of all troubles and terrors. There should have been enough respect for the Bible in Christians to ferret out the wisdom of the sayings instead of just quietly disbelieving them.

    What is the right amount? The right amount is total costs including fairpay for personal sacrifice, service and work contribution. In order to know the border between self-earned and other-earned profit, it is necessary to know what is the fairpay for one hour’s work at world-average hardness of working per unit of time. For which it is necessary to know the world annual income and the number of hours worked in the world. Then and only then do we know where to correctly draw the line between fairpay and legal theft. The lack of this data has made it easy for people to cross that line with abandon. It is the lack of knowing the world-average fairpay for an hour’s work that has prevented people seeing pay injustice even when it is super-extreme, when overpay and underpay are revolution-causing. We can prevent the tiresome and pain-filled cycle of revolution and regrowing injustice, of pulling down overpay and letting it grow up again, by knowing the fairpay for a unit of work. It is also necessary for everyone to see clearly that, provided tertiary students are paid, all the reasons for higher-than-average pay per unit of time are wrong, full of holes, specious, false, mere rationalisations of greed, which in fact hurt everyone enormously.

    Again, the concept of private property needs to be divided into private property by self-earning, and private property by other-earning, before we can say private property is good or bad. The failure to make this distinction is the reason that communism destroyed private property. They saw something was wrong about private property and thought private property was all wrong. And they, very naively, thought giving private property to the state would not be giving it to individuals. Capitalism erred the other way, saying that there was nothing wrong with private property.

    The answer is seeing the tremendous, wide-open legal thefts in the system, seeing that there is such a thing as other-earned fortune, seeing the mechanisms by which money shifts automatically from earners to non-earners.

    It is easy to see the maximum lifetime number of hours a person can work, so the crux of seeing legal theft is seeing that, provided tertiary students are paid for studying, none of the reasons for higher-than-world-average hourly pay stands up to examination by common good sense. It certainly helps if people realise that higher-than-average hourly pay has to be funded by 99% of people getting underpay, and by seeing that higher-than-average hourly pay causes 100% of people being embroiled in ever-escalating violence. It is also important for people not to fall for the false argument that we have always paid individuals for nature’s gifts, so it cannot be wrong. There are plenty of examples where people have been wrong about things for millenia.

    Imagine if governments tried to introduce a system of colored cards, so that individuals paid anything from a millionth the price to 1000 times the price of things depending on what color card one got. Everyone would say the system was mega-insane, super-unjust. And yet the present system is effectively identical to this. Obviously, for a person to be able to buy 10 US$1 million houses, or other items of equal value, in return for one hour’s work, it is irrelevant whether this is because they get paid fairpay but have a card allowing them to buy anything at one millionth the ticket price, which is uncustomary and is instantly seen by all to be mega-insane, or because they get paid a million times the fairpay, which is the present accepted custom, thought to be normal and sane. It is only the enormous power of custom and convention that prevents us seeing that pay from a million times to a thousandth of fairpay per hour is in practical effect as unjust, as insane as the insane card idea. We just cannot see that they are identical, although our reason can see it. The 1% cortical brain hears, but the 99% reptile-mammal-herd brain does not, unless we put in the hard, hard work of driving it to hear it. Custom and convention casts such a thick layer of varnish over the customary, that the mega-insane seems not insane. All the animus that we would feel against such a system of cards evaporates against the mega-insane universally accepted custom. Can people brush away with reason the befogging varnish of custom and traditional error? Can they work that hard to save themselves from misery and oblivion? Can our 1% reason conquer, control and dominate our 99% reptile-mammalian herdbrains that follow custom unthinkingly?

    • That armament firms have been active in fomenting war scares and in persuading their own countries to increase their armaments. That armament firms have attempted to bribe government officials at home and abroad. That armament firms have disseminated false reports concerning the military and naval programs of various countries in order to stimulate armament expenditure in others. That armament firms have sought to influence public opinion through the control of newspapers in their own and foreign countries. That armament firms have organised international armament rings through which the armament race has been accentuated by playing off one country against another. League of Nations.

    • You believe you are dying for the fatherland. You die for some industrialists. Anatole France.

    This great evil is still going on, but the concealment is better. Any reporters or whistleblowers who get close to these facts are stopped, with money or bullets. People have difficulty believing that people with unlimited power are up to no good, are up to great evil. Unfortunately, ordinary people project their own relative decency on to the super-powerful. It is very hard for them to imagine the enormous depths that corruption of humanity by enormous power goes to. In fact, people often enough project onto their leaders their idealistic longing to be better. They fondly imagine that their leaders, because they have been given such great power, relent from their human natures towards nobility and love. Alas, it is the most aggressive and heartless who are most impelled to power. Like the Mafias. With whom the politicians make their peace and get cozy. The Mafias are above the law, buy the politicians. Why else are the Mafias still about? The most powerful are Mafias, not patriotic angels. Lord Acton’s famous dictum, that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, was formed in historical study of the church. Yet look at the idealisation of the church even now. Idealism must be balanced with realism, just as skyscrapers must have deep foundations, and roses must have dung.

    • If we ask nature, who are the fittest, those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support each other, we at once see that those animals which have habits of mutual aid are the fittest for survival. Peter Kropotkin.

    • Nature’s stern discipline enjoins mutual help at least as often as warfare. The fittest are also the gentlest. Theodosius Dobzhansky.

    Where would we have been without the gentleness of parents? Love is the most hardnosed realpolitik. Non-injury is survival. That is, the core of sanity is the grasp of the simple truth that injury is generally retaliated. You spit on someone, they knock you flat. I see figures for slavery in the present times put at 200 million. That is a fifth of one billion. About 4% of humanity. But the reality is 100%. Everyone is enslaved relative to those with more wealth and power, with higher pay per unit of work. Everyone with higher pay per unit of work than others is enslaved by the danger from those below.

    Like people in a heap, everyone in that heap is enslaved by the attacks from above and from below. And they could all stand on the ground. And be free. The truth will set you free. Happiness depends totally on truth, on the reality principle. Where is the greed for, the unbridled lust for, truth? Where is the unlimited energy for pursuit of truth?

    Imagine a country fair, with everyone having fun. And imagine everyone becomes infected with a desire to be physically just somewhat higher than others. You will soon have everyone trying to climb the flagpole, standing on others, and being pulled down by those below. The fair is transformed from happiness to tragedy. That is history, and it is madness.

    • Most of the simplest things in economics have never been put in such a way as to carry conviction to the mind of the sort of person who is in a great majority of every public, and the blame is to be put in large measure on the unnecessarily complicated expositions offered by economists. Edwin Cannan.

    Did this author put these simplest things in economics in a simple way? If he did, was his exposition rejected by the establishment erroneous instinct for selfpreservation? That is, by the people at the top of the heap trying to stop people below from getting strength from clarity?

    The academic who puts anything simply would be accused by his peers of being simplistic. So the academic is forced to wrap his statements up in so many qualifications and details that he cannot say anything to ordinary people. And it is far safer for the academic to concentrate on little corners of knowledge than to survey the whole scene. So the academic is bribed and coerced to fail to see the forest for the trees, to fail to see the tree for the leaves. The journalist-economists George and Bastiat who made powerful, simple, broad points are largely ignored by the professional economists.

    • Professors in every branch of the sciences prefer their own theories to truth. The reason is that their theories are private property, and the truth is common stock. Charles Colton.

    The force of egotism, making people not wish to recognize truths coming from others. And another force, making people not wish to think. And yet happiness depends entirely on reality. And we will not accept thought from others nor produce it ourselves. So of course we are unhappy. How did we become so sure that not accepting thoughts from others and not thinking were good things? The delight in useful information is a rarity. The thinker is a stranger.

    • There is nothing which requires more to be illustrated by philosophy than trade does. Samuel Johnson.

    Neither Johnson nor Einstein was up to the challenge. Einstein certainly would have done so if he had seen anything, because he was a man who wished humanity well.

    • A Vanderbilt may sit in his office and manipulate stocks or declare dividends by which in a few years he amasses fifty million dollars from the industries of the country, and he is one of the remarkable men of the age. But if a poor, half-starved child should take a loaf of bread from his cupboard to appease her hunger, she is sent to prison. Victoria Woodhull.

    This is the mega-mystery, the utter cretinism of humanity in regard to the super-overpaid. The total tolerance of the obviously super-overpaid. A million dollars gives an income of $100,000 a year forever. One billion dollars gives an income of $100,000,000 a year forever. Even Thomas Paine, the friend of mankind, could not see anything wrong in unlimited fortunes. Apparently, there is not the ghost of a suspicion in the human head that super-overpay may cause super-underpay. Or that super-overpay is super-overpower. Or that anyone has to fund this license to take vast amounts of work from the social pool of work products. And to fund this license to have vast amounts of political power relative to others’ power. And apparently there is not a ghost of a suspicion that super-overpay and super-underpay may cause war and other violence. Although money buys all needs and satisfies almost all desires. Although everyone gets angry at theft. It is a black hole in human intelligence. Well worth the study of the psychologists. This age-long tolerance of unlimited wealth and poverty and the consequent ever-escalating violence.

    • All great events have been distorted, most of the important causes concealed, some of the principal characters never appear, and all who figure are so misunderstood and misrepresented that the result is a complete mystification. If the history of England ever be written by one who has the knowledge and the courage, the world would be astonished. Benjamin Disraeli.

    Any corruption and evil you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Concealment is the homage evil pays to good. As long as we do not understand legal theft and overpay, history remains essentially the same. So any history of any place will give us an idea of what is happening behind the concealment now. The skullduggeries of the Byzantine emperors are the skullduggeries of the leaders of our own time. Different names, same patterns, same evils.

    • Let me control a nation’s money and I care not who writes its laws. Mayer Amschel. Who changed his name to Rothschild.

    This is another very big legal theft. Banks lend on credit. Credit means belief, faith, confidence. It refers to the confidence people have in the bank’s cheques, and the confidence people have in the cheques written based on the bank’s cheques. But confidence in money is based on the health of the work force. All the money equals all the products of work. It is the nation’s work that is the basis for national confidence in money. The confidence is also based on the infrastructure, all the systems in place for the operation of the economy. But the infrastructure is products of work. If all the workers do no work, there are no work products, and the money is worthless. So the credit, the faith and confidence in money belongs to the nation as a whole, which does the work, maintains the systems, comprehends and uses the infrastructure. But the banks steal this credit. They adopt this credit, and take credit for it. And take interest for lending it. And the interest repayments are often several times the size of the loan.

    So the banks borrow the national credit at no interest, and lend that credit out at interest. It doesn’t matter if the money supply is in the hands of public bankers or private bankers. What counts is if individuals profit from credit and confidence in the nation that doesn’t belong to them. American money supply has been in private hands since 1913, and Americans are only now waking up to its meaning! The situation is not essentially different in many other countries. And there is no guarantee that people will stay awake to the reality. It is hard to credit that nations can remain unaware of this vital reality, and can fall asleep so easily after it is explained. But Henry George explained the legal theft in capital gains, and people fell asleep again. Consciousness must be very tiring.

    The banks increase the money supply, by say 10%, thus diluting the value of all the previous dollars by 10%, thus robbing the nation of 10% of its wealth, and then lend this 10% back to the nation, taking several times this 10% as reward for stealing the national credit. The national inability or unwillingness to understand this vital matter costs all nations everything. This is the major reason that 1% have 90%. Everyone has seen figures for the concentration of wealth. A quarter of 1% owns half the world. Why is there so little opposition to this colossal theft? Of course this theft is the cause of all the violence, but why isn’t everyone enraged, and adamant about having it fixed? People are more likely to regard any move to reform as dangerous, borderline criminal, antisocial. The people have a blind faith in the bankers. The people adopt the bankers. People are in awe of the bankers’ seeming mastery of seemingly arcane matters. As easy as taking candy from a child is the bankers’ ease in taking the national wealth. Is it that the people generally simply cannot be bothered to recover their property? How easy is it to understand that no one can work more than twice as hard as the average per week, so no one can justly be paid more than double the average per week? But then people think: Oh, if we put limits on pay like that, I won’t be able to be rich, it will restrict me. People don’t think that it also means they won’t be able to be poor, able to be robbed of earnings and political power, able to be robbed of democracy and freedom, safety and peace, leisure and life. The glittering vision of a 1% chance of being unjustly overpaid wipes out the vision of the 99% chance of being unjustly underpaid. And it wipes out the vision of the 100% chance of being embroiled in ever-increasing worry, chaos, disorder, injustice, violence, cruelty, terror.

    People say: But I am only one, what can I do? But if one person teaches just two people, so that those two each tell two, everyone in the world will know in just 31 times the time to teach two. That is just by word of mouth, without internet, books, tv, films, magazines, newspapers, telephone, lectures, radio. What is it that stops this very, very, very, very, very good news spreading like wildfire? That is the giga-question. The superich have taken 90% of the benefits of machines and computers and people are content because their lives are 10% financially improved, and despite the fact that people’s lives are 99% disimproved. This seeming improvement is only because of denial of the ever-increasing downside. The great decline of our safety since we were somewhat defenseless against the tiger. The great decline of our freedom from violence. The great increase in our exposure to warmongering and theft from the super-overpowerful. It is mostly in the 20th century that there have been enormous civilian casualties in war. The more energetic are also the more rapacious. The very rich are rarely good. They are the best at self-destruction and other-destruction. They are the biggest fools. People like Hitler, Ceausescu, Shakespeare’s Richard the Third. People who, against all the evidence of common sense, experience and history, rely on people being doormats when people are not doormats. People who try to be strong by killing everyone around them. How foolish was it of Hitler to think that America would stay out of the war, that the Allies would let Hitler take Europe and Russia for the German industrialists?

    • Humanity is still far from that stage of maturity needed for the realisation of its aspirations, for the construction of a harmonious and peaceful society and the elimination of wars. People are not yet ready to shape their own destinies, to control and direct world events, of which instead they are its victims. Maria Montessori.

    Perhaps not so very far. Perhaps on the brink. If I can begin to see it with the help of my great teachers, perhaps most others can begin to see it with the help of this book, which is really written by my many teachers.

    • All intelligent thoughts have already been thought, it is only necessary to think them again. Goethe.

    Not just to read them, but to realise them.

    • The very essence of all life is growth, which means change. Some societies, particularly ours, attempt to divert the need for change by entertainment and rapid succession of fads. All of these circuses may convey the illusion of change, but in fact they accomplish the opposite. They do not meet the need for growth and enlargement of the mind [the self]. Instead, they often confuse us so much that we overlook the terrible frustration of this need. They thwart rather than fulfil it. Jean Miller.

    • Social reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting, by complaints and determinations, by the formation of parties or the making of revolutions, but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Henry George.

    • If you have a fresh view or an original idea you will surprise the reader. And the reader doesn’t like being surprised. He never looks into history for anything but the stupidities he knows already. If you try to instruct him, you only humiliate him and make him angry. Do not try to enlighten him. He will only cry out that you insult his beliefs. Anatole France.

    • There is no necessary connection between the desire to lead and the ability to lead, and there is even less connection between the desire to lead and the ability to lead somewhere to the advantage of the led. Leadership is more likely to be assumed by the aggressive than the able, and those who scramble to the top are more often motivated by their own inner torment than by any demand for their guidance. Legislators who are of even average intelligence stand out among their colleagues. Many governors and senators have to be seen to be believed. A cultured college professor has become as much a rarity as a literate newspaper publisher. A financier interested in economics is as exceptional as a labour leader interested in the labour movement. Bergan Evans.

    The aggressive elbow out the able and goodwilled wherever there is higher-than-average pay per hour. Bishops, doctors, lawyers, politicians, the myth of their goodness is kept alive by concealment and by the people’s passion to have something good to look up to. You might call it Smashem’s Law: With overpay, bad people force out good people. Plato was wrong to suggest paying good people more to take on the job of ruling. He was thinking that good people, being ungreedy and unegotistical, would not naturally be tempted to rule, and would need some encouragement. Plato overlooked the fact that the greedy and aggressive would be far more eager to take the reins where there was more money in it.

    • I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a highclass muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for [unlimited-fortunes] capitalism. I helped Tampico purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. I had a swell racket. I was rewarded with honours, medals, promotions. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents. Smedley Butler.

    • War, like any other racket, pays high dividends to the very few. But what does it profit the masses? The cost of operations is always transferred to the people who do not profit. But there is a way to stop this racket. It cannot be smashed by disarmament conferences, by peace parleys at Geneva, by resolutions of well-meaning but impractical groups. It can be effectively smashed only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to stop it is by conscription of capital before conscription of the nation’s manhood. Let the officers and directors of our armament factories, our gun builders and munition makers and shipbuilders, all be conscripted, to get $30 a month, the same wage paid to the lads in the trenches. Give capital [unjust overfortunes] thirty days to think it over and you will learn by that time there will be no war. That will stop the racket, that, and nothing else. Smedley Butler.

    Understand that this reality is alive today, and alive every day that unlimited fortune, for what is necessarily limited work, continues.

    • The wicked have a solid interest that the good never seem to possess. The good are grand for one great rally. Then they go home and work at their business. The cohesive power of public plunder stays on the job. Nicholas Butler.

    The good produce wealth by their work. The super-rich produce misery for themselves and all others by theft legal and illegal. It is because people have no idea of legal theft, no idea that there is a point where more money becomes necessarily stolen money, money with violence attached, that people think that virtue or goodness is proportional to money. The money that people experience is mostly self-earned money, so they tend to think that all money is self-earned, and therefore good not bad, and that all fortunes are earned, and therefore that all fortunes are admirable.

    • The military problem, psychologically speaking, resolves itself into taking every advantage of the herd instinct to integrate the mass. Constant repetition of the item to be inculcated, unsupported by any reasons, will have an immense effect on the suggestible, herdminded human. An opinion, an idea, or a code acquired in this manner can become so firmly fixed that anyone who questions its essential rightness will be regarded as foolish, wicked or insane. John Barns.

    This from an American General, thinking of people like cattle. Rationality itself has been made so rare as to seem totally strange. The war of the rulers against reasoning.

    • The workers should be the first to suffer in an economic downturn, because they contribute nothing to the business. George Pullman.

    Only the top block is necessary to make the pyramid says Pullman. Why hire workers, then, and pay them?

    • Once I built a railroad, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Edgar Harburg.

    • We must rouse in our people the unanimous wish for power, together with the determination to sacrifice on the altar of patriotism, not only life and property, but also private views and preferences, in the interests of the common welfare. Friedrich von Bernhardi.

    A wish for power in the people seems not a bad thing, but then he talks of sacrificing everything, life, property and mind. This common welfare he talks of is a mystical entity lodged in the symbols of state and the few who control the state, not the real common welfare of the real people of the state. The selfishness of the German General inclines him to wish the self-interest of the people away. He slanders self-interest, pursuit of happiness, as selfishness, to try to get the people to sacrifice themselves for him. Everyone wants to be noble and good, so they are gulled into mental and physical suicide. One can imagine people, men especially, thinking: Yes, I will do it, I will empower myself by cutting off my life and mind.

    The General is really only saying: Gimme, gimme, I should have heaps. But what a noble way of saying it.

    The people project their strange willingness to sacrifice themselves totally for complete strangers, their leaders, onto their leaders, and imagine the general as making tremendous sacrifices, greater than theirs, although the general’s sacrifice is going to be far less, if he has anything to do with it. It is the ‘top of the pyramid is the pyramid’ fallacy, again. And the general projects his own selfishness onto the people, subtly telling them not to be selfish, but to sacrifice themselves. I don’t think the general does this consciously, I think his tunnel-vision nature does it for him automatically.

    As if the only important block is the block at the top of the pyramid, so you don’t need to worry about the lower blocks. Although the top block is identical to the other blocks, and sits so high, only because it sits on other blocks.

    People do not knowingly give their money away to complete strangers for no reason. Therefore it is only necessary to make it perfectly clear to people that they are giving away their money to complete strangers for no reason, for people to stop doing it.

    • When its existence is threatened, the church is free of moral edicts. Unity as an aim blesses all means: perfidy, treachery, tyranny, simony, prisons and death. For every holy order exists because of the aims of society, and personality must be sacrificed to the general good. Dietrich von Nieheim.

    That is, everyone in society must be sacrificed to society. Must be sacrificed to the good of generals and cardinals. Or rather to what generals think is their good, overwealth, overpower. Generals swallow their own arrogant selfdeception, and then the people swallow it.

    We see this error even in friends of humanity like J.S. Mill. He and many others talk of the individual’s debt to society. Society gives the individual many wonderful things like museums, art galleries, safety, law and order, so the individual is in debt to society. Wrong. We can see the error if we think of a canoe paddled by 50 people. Now the individual in that canoe is in debt to the community. Without the community, he couldn’t be in a great boat going along at speed. But wait. The society is made of nothing but individuals and their contributions. The individual’s debt is for a 50th share in the canoe ride. And his contribution is 50th.

    • Christianity has need of thought, that it may come to the consciousness of its real self. For centuries, it treasured the great commandment of love and mercy as traditional truth without recognising it as a reason for opposing slavery, witchburning, torture, and all the other ancient and medieval forms of inhumanity. It was only when it experienced the influence of the Age of Enlightenment that it was stirred into entering the struggle for humanity. The remembrance of this ought to preserve it forever from assuming any air of superiority in the area of thought. Albert Schweitzer.

    God delivers everyone to disobedience. New Testament. In other words, the way of life is that everyone makes mistakes. This is obvious. We all have finite minds in an infinite or very, very large world. The game of life is to ever open this limited awareness to better approximate to the infinity or very great largeness of reality. That is, to repeatedly die to whatever we have become, and to what we believe, and be reborn in a bigger self, closer to reality and happiness. To go beyond our actual and limited selves and ever-increasingly realise our infinite potential selves, our infinity, our divinity, our identity with the infinite energy and consciousness of existence. So the church should be the first to know that we all make mistakes. The churches should be the first to know that our best happiness is in constantly growing out of our actual selves and into new, larger selves, nearer to perfect understanding and pleasure. The essence of pride is attachment to our finite actual selves, to our selves as we are so far, to the image of our finite selves. Unless a seed die. The churches, instead of being the leaders in dying to limited selves and being born into larger selves, are attached to the way they are. They try to preserve themselves rigidly, through claims of infallibility and by persecution of other opinions. This is the chicken that refuses to break out of its shell. Resists the natural way, of egg to chicken to egg to chicken, the immortal life rhythm through life and death, the bliss of energy’s play in eternal formation and deformation, materialisation and dematerialisation. The timeless joy of life is learning and growing and expanding. The churches have often been bastions of ungrowth, of unlife. The churches have often assumed superiority in the area of thought. Despite the fact that they have repeatedly taken on board the wisdom of new teachers. The churches have often acted more like rocks than like seeds. Humility is willingness to learn, openness to growing out of mistakes. We grow up the first time we have a good laugh at ourselves, that is, admit our fallibility. The churches have rarely, or never, laughed at themselves. Jesus was perhaps warning us not to idolise the church, not to expect perfection from it, when he, with a joke, founded the church on the man who lived by the sword, by cutting off the ear of an arresting officer, and who betrayed Christ three times before breakfast.

    Some other points.
    Commanding is incompatible with love. No loving person commands the beloved. Except in a few cases where the beloved gets a great sexy thrill from being commanded, in which case there is mutual consent. A loving person suggests, advises, explains, gives reasons.

    It looks like Schweitzer is kidding himself that inhumanity has diminished in modern times. Inhumanity will diminish only with diminished pay injustice, diminished wealth and power disparity.

    Torture, people-burning and so on are branches of inequality, of pay injustice. They cannot be got rid of by talking against them. They are merely symptomatic, and they will always be used where they are felt to be necessary or good. Getting rid of the extreme power differential between people that generates them will get rid of them.

    Not giving reasons for the loving suggestion to love makes following the suggestion irrational even if there are reasons to love. Love seeks to strengthen the beloved by increasing understanding, not to increase dependence and weakness by withholding reasoning and fostering atrophy of mind by obedience. To in any way discourage the use of reason or fail to encourage the use of reason is total injury. There can be no pursuit of happiness, which is the whole of ethics, without reason, so failure to give reasons and encourage by example the use of reason is the essence of immorality. Reasons can be given even to toddlers who cannot understand language, in order to get them used to reasoning as normality. A parent, and a ruler, are good and loving and constructive in proportion to the number of times they reveal reasons.

    • What is generally called the religious world is so engrossed by its struggles for power and money, or by its sectarian disputes and enmities, and so narrowed and circumscribed by dogmatic orthodoxies, that it has neither inclination nor liberty to turn back or look around, and to endeavour to gather up, from past records and present observation, such hints as are now and again dropped in our path, to give us an intimation of what the truth may be. Catherine Crowe.

    • A strong suspicion prevails that the human intellect has been kept in fetters by people who have boldly assumed superior wisdom, that their dictates might pass without enquiry, men who deal in concealment, darkness and mystery, and who fatten upon human ignorance. Thomas Cooper.

    • Every politician, and every member of the clerical profession who becomes angry at opposition, and endeavours to cast an odium on free enquiry, ought to incur the suspicion of being an interested supporter of false doctrines. Only fraud and falsehood dread examination. Truth invites it. Thomas Cooper.

    • Great minds are to make others great. Their superiority is to be used, not to break the multitude to intellectual vassalage, not to establish over them a spiritual tyranny, but to rouse them from ignorance, and to aid them to judge for themselves. William Channing.

    • The one real object of education is to leave a person in the condition of continually asking questions. Bishop Creighton.

    The wise person knows that much of his happiness is dependent on his environment, and that much of his environment is other people. How much would it affect you, if you woke up one day and found everyone very lighthearted and happy? Greatly. The wise person strengthens others in order to strengthen himself. The intimate interconnection of everyone’s destinies should be obvious to everyone, but isn’t.

    • The money-power preys upon the nations in times of peace and conspires against them in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. William Bryan.

    • We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both. The greatest factors making for communism, socialism and anarchy among a free people are the excesses of capital. Louis Brandeis.

    • Long ago he had decided never to be afraid of the deafeningly obvious, it is always news to somebody. P.J. Kavanagh.

    • In the construction of a country, it is the idealists and planners that are difficult to find. Sun Yat-sen.

    Too many Indians, not enough Chiefs. The same is true of the maintenance of a country or planet. To have a global democracy, everyone needs to grasp the democratic plan and become a Chief. We got where we are because nobody thinks taking care of the whole can be their responsibility.

    • By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secret and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. John Keynes.

    • It is ideas that are dangerous. John Keynes.

    Governments can confiscate should read governments DO. It is only improvement of ideas that produces improvement in society. Physical revolutions are useless. After the physical revolution passes, the same wrong ideas remake the same old misery.

    • Not even god is wise enough. Yoruba proverb.

    But consciousness increases with every idea we test, increases every time we look freshly at reality.

    • The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it all back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits. Sir Josiah Stamp. President, Bank of England, 1920s.

    Banks are allowed to lend 10 or 20 times the amount of money they actually have as real, over-the-counter deposits. The government can do this safely because the money is backed by the credit of the nation. But this credit is the property of the people, and therefore neither banks nor governments should profit from it. If money seems mysterious, it is because money is a deliberate mystification. It is intended to seem impossible to understand by those who profit from it. Economics is loaded with nonsense with the intent of confusing the honest person, and driving him to leave economics to the professionals, the great thieves. The success of the bankers is the success of priests, who make mysteries and appoint themselves masters of it, and gull the people into supporting them without limit. Unjust overwealth is the great con, which engulfs the con-artists in the universal destruction.

    Why do people not take in the truth when it is told to them by people they can trust are in the know, like the president of the Bank of England? Because the truth is incredible. Because the wolf in sheep’s clothing looks like a sheep. Because bankers seem so respectable. Because bankers have so much money and the people believe money is always good. Because the truthtellers are so few, they are outside society, they are nonherd. Because anyone of social status has an investment in the error or lie or untruth. Because the person who digs out the truth has no social status. Because a person of social status telling the truth does not compute. Because people’s idea of a thief does not include anyone in expensive clothes. Because people’s idea of a thief is the idea of an unsuccessful thief, a poor person.

    The biggest lie in sheep’s clothing is the one that formed the basis of the science of economics in the 18th century, and is still going strong. The lie or error that the merchant’s self-interest is beneficial to all. That the merchant’s pursuit of profit makes him provide goods and services to people, and thus his self-interest serves the community. It is true that the merchant is forced to provide goods, so that he can have transactions out of which he can take unjust profits. But by definition, the goods and services are worth less than the price, else there are no unjust profits. If the merchant takes only his product costs and the cost of his personal sacrifice, there are no unjust profits. There is fair exchange no robbery. The merchant gives A, his time and products, and gets B, and B is larger. The argument is that because the merchant gives A, he gives to the community. But the net gift to the community is A minus B. The net gift is negative, he takes more than he gives, unless he is honest and he takes only enough to pay for his sacrifice of time and to pay his bills, and he returns any surplus to the overcharged customers and underpaid workers. The net gift from the people to the rich is positive. Despite the great simplicity of this error, it has been joyously bruited in economics for at least five centuries. Economics so far has mostly been the propaganda ministry for overwealth. The greater giving by the customer is hard for all to see, even when it is pointed out.

    In a nonprofit organisation without volunteers, everyone gets fairpay, so what are profits? Clearly they cannot be fairpay. It is the easiest thing in the world to charge $11 for $10 worth of goods and service. It is the same as begging $1 for nothing, but it seems better, because the customer leaves with $10 worth of something he wants.

    The point is seen in the story of a prisoner of war making a small fortune in cigarettes by trading in Red Cross items. Who can tell how many cigarettes a can of sardines is worth?

    The point is seen in the stories of people trading up from a $2 coin to a house in 50 trades. The legal theft that is hard to see in one trade is clearly seen after 50 trades. And yet most people hearing of this story will go, Whoopee, I can do that. Wars are caused by buying a can of spaghetti. By the tiny imp in every transaction, who grows to the monster of global violence, like a dripping tap rotting the house in time.

    Again, the point is seen in the Woolworth story. If you can sell $10 million worth of 5c and 10c items, that cost 4.5c and 9c for you to buy, transport, display, advertise, sell, manage, etc, you legally steal $1 million.

    The magician of trade makes these huge piles of money appear, and everyone is happy, although the magician hands this money out only to 1%. And no one makes the connection between the appearance of these huge piles of money and the severe depletion of our own pockets, and the battles in the streets.

    A very popular modern error or lie is the one that the social pool of wealth is infinite, so that there is no injustice in taking unlimited money out of the social pool. This is taught in economics classes. People easily believe what they want to believe. It is easily exploded. How many things are infinite? The number of workers is finite, the hours of work are finite, the pool of work products is finite. The great power of the computer revolution to steal money legally has led to the euphoric feeling that the social pool is infinite, that knowledge is being turned into money, that knowledge is infinite, and that the money doesn’t come out of the social pool of work. Knowledge is infinite, but knowledge that we know is finite. And the right to be paid for knowledge is limited to the amount of work we put into having it. And the unself-earned profits are used to buy products from the social pool of wealth made by work.

    This great power to steal legally is due instead to the new-technology factor, scarcity, huge demand and low supply, and the fact that competition has not yet geared up to reduce the scarcity prices. As competition gears up and prices fall towards costs, the fabulous returns dry up, and the dot.com bubble bursts. New technology can argue that the development costs explain the price. But there would be no unjust fabulous profits, no billionaires, if the development costs were absorbing the cash from the prices. The very euphoria tells you that the profits are not being earned. Self-earned, just profits or fairpay do not induce euphoria.

    The euphoric talk of the knowledge revolution. As if the plough and fire-making were not knowledge.

    Another untruth widely propagated. Trickledown theory. A trickle?! If you let the big boys get a gusher, you’ll get a trickle. Isn’t that nice? Just shower me with money and some will be sure to splash on you. Let me empty your wallet and I may drop a coin you can pick up. The trickledown theory is taught in all seriousness in economics.

    Another very common fallacy, I call the ‘ the top of the pyramid is the pyramid’ fallacy. People say: Bill Gates gave us the computer, wonderful, wonderful guy, give him 50 billion. Easy to explode: simply imagine Bill Gates without anyone else.

    We think: The businessman employs people, we should be grateful, we are dependent on him. But a business runs because of demand, which is the property of the customers. No demand, no customers, no business. It is hard, and boring, to imagine the reality, that ultimately the whole of society is responsible for computers, and employment. It is much more fun to fix all the gratitude on symbolic figures at the top of the pyramid. It is for no other reason that Sheiks and Sultans are rich on national oil, and are thus empowered to rob and oppress ‘their’ nations, and thus to put themselves in danger. It is the power of the image, of the more easily imagined. The president rules the nation. The general wins, or loses, the war. I am a success because I went to the Oprah show. We have a golden calf, so we are rich, though we give up our gold and jewelry, and imperil our very lives, to make the idol.

  7. Ack Nice
    August 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm
    • Man is simply the most formidable of the beasts of prey, and, indeed, the only one that preys systematically on its own species. William James. • Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours its own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. Thomas Jefferson. • Lords devour poor people’s goods in gluttony and waste and pride, and poor people perish for mischief and thirst and cold, and their children also, and so in a manner lords eat and drink poor people’s flesh and blood. John Wycliffe. But why do we shovel most of wealth to the biggest predators to make their job easier? All the rhetoric of liberty down the ages has been about liberty from the overpower of overwealth, but we still give wealth a good name. Liberty is always liberty from overpay. • Misery exercises such a paralysing effect over the nature of people, that no class is ever conscious of its own suffering. Leo Tolstoy. This applies to the overpaid as well as to the underpaid. • Poverty brings down the price of crime. Sebastien Chamfort. We want the price of crime to be as high as possible. A person with a billion dollars can employ a million soldiers for 1000 days at $1 a day. And they are doing so. With pay justice, one person will hardly be able to employ one soldier. • As wealth is power, so all power will infallibly draw wealth to itself. Edmund Burke. Wealth and power go together like ears on a rabbit. And power corrupts. Corporations, foundations, governments and churches are safe, constructive and patriotic as long as the individuals in them are not overpaid. • When most Americans read about the corruption and ruthlessness of the rich, they are inclined to grin. These malefactors are their dreamselves. The American does not aspire to overthrow the thieves and oppressors half as much as he aspires to become one of them. Ben Hecht. • The landlords oppress the peasants, may I become a landlord. A Pakistani. • The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people. E.B. White. • The trouble in America is not that the top 100 companies are violating the laws, though they are. The problem is they are writing the laws. Nicholas Johnson. • Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Mercantile morality is nothing but a refinement of piratical morality. Friedrich Nietzsche. Merchants, businesspeople, are pirates after a visit to the tailor. Why do we glamorise murderous thieves in pirate movies? Will we be glamorising muggers in 50 years? We glamorise Nazis, and Napolean, and Alexander. • Money destroys human roots wherever it is able to penetrate, by turning desire for gain into the sole motive. It easily manages to outweigh all other motives, because the effort it demands of the mind is so much less. Nothing is so clear and so simple as a row of figures. Simone Weil. The easy-to-imagine versus the harder-to-imagine. This is the root of the human catastrophe. We think: Money is very, very good, therefore more money is better. So much easier to imagine than: Money is very very good, but more money is global catastrophe, because satisfactions run out and self-earned money runs out. • It is easier for people to see little things than big things. Plato. • Straining at gnats, swallowing camels. Jesus. • The amount of time spent in committees on a subject is inversely proportional to the importance of the subject. Laurence Peters. • A person awake sees the common world, a sleeping person sees a private world. Heraclitus. That is, only the people who see the big picture are awake. People who see only part of the picture are asleep. • There are a thousand striking at the branches of the tree of problems for every one striking at the root. Henry Thoreau. • Can’t see the forest for the trees. Proverb. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels satirised this self-destructive human characteristic in his portrayal of the people fighting over whether one should open an egg at the big end or the little end. Swift also said that we have enough religion to hate one another, not enough religion to love one another. In other words, most Christianity is anti-Christian. This is the missing intelligence. The 360vision. The ethical consciousness, the whole awareness, which is love. • Desire and pursuit of the whole is love. Plato. • Economic truth emerges only when things are examined whole. John Galbraith. • Most of the serious errors in economic policy committed by governments through the ages, and most of the layman’s errors in thinking about economic affairs, flow from a failure to consider the second order or third order effects of policies over time. Irving Kristol. For instance, economists fiddle with the various economic elements, interest rates, etc. But it is very simply obvious, with the big picture, that the only thing that can really alter the national economy is more work, more work products. So all their focus should be on the things that increase national production, like pay justice, which uses many energies productively, and on health, which, again, is partially dependent on pay justice, and on unemployment, again partially dependent on pay justice. The economy is like a waterbed. Fiddling with the indicators can only raise or lower parts of the bed. Raise some parts and lower others. And make waves, which are again wasteful of energies. They cannot add more water to the bed. And endless fiddling with the indicators gives endless opportunities for legal theft by financiers buying and selling at the right time. Unemployment is another legal theft. Governments in unlimited-fortunes systems are biassed to employers, to the rich. And keeping unemployment holds a sword over people’s heads. The fear of unemployment keeps people working in underpaid, unsafe jobs. It allows employers to lean on workers, to enslave them. Unemployment can be destroyed at any time in any economy by floating the official work week, the point at which overtime kicks in, to encourage employers to hire more people rather than pay overtime. Lowering the official work week in downturns, raising it in upturns. Unemployment is a feature of usurped, oppressive governments. Unemployment is oppression. It works for the overpaid financially and against everyone happiness-wise. Everyone in nature has the freedom to work. Society must do better than nature or have no reason for being. Freedom to work is a right. Robbing people of work for the profits of few is tyranny and slavery, a divided and crumbling state. The unemployment benefit was never a nice thing governments did for the people. It was for the overpaid, so that after a downturn, the surplus workforce was not halfdead from starvation and illhealth, and unfit to go back to work in the upturn. Therefore unemployment is mostly dependent on pay injustice. • A friend is one who warns you. Proverb. A false friend flatters you, a true friend tells you the best guess at truth they have. • To find out the true state of facts, to report them with fidelity, to apply to them strict and fixed principles of justice, humanity and law, to inform as far as possible the conscience of nations, and to call down the judgement of the world on what is false, or base, or tyrannical, appear to me to be the first duties of those who write. Henry Reeve. 99.999% of writers fail in this first duty. That is, they promote ignorance, error and misery. • Now to what higher object, to what greater character, can any mortal aspire than to be possessed of all this knowledge, well digested and ready at command, to assist the feeble and friendless, to discountenance the haughty and lawless, to procure redress of wrongs, the advancement of right, to assert and maintain liberty and virtue, to discourage and abolish tyranny and vice? John Adams. • When you have convinced thinking people that it is right, and convinced humane people that it is just, you will gain your cause. People always lose half what is gained by violence. What is gained by argument is gained forever. Wendell Phillips. People always lose all that is gained by violence. The American and French revolutions put in place systems to ensure avoidance of unjust wealth concentration, but the failure to correct errors in thinking meant America and France, and humanity, lost all that was gained. The only means of gain is improvement of ideas, and that depends on the nobility of a majority of individuals to test our accepted ideas. • Every manufacturer ought to remember that his fortune was not achieved by himself alone, but by the cooperation of his [her] workers. He ought to acknowledge their rights to share in the benefits of that which would not exist without their faithful performance of duty. Not until the capitalist is just enough to recognise this truth can he ever join a group of workpeople and feel himself among friends. Peter Cooper. It is hard to get even the workers to realise this obvious truth. • The social progress, order, security and peace of each country is necessarily connected with the social progress, order, security and peace of all other countries. Pope John XXIII. • The Labour Movement means just this, it is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth. Wendell Phillips. Not the last, we hope. • When wealth and splendour, instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust, when, instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult upon wretchedness, when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves to call the right of it in question, then the case of property becomes critical, and it is clear that it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate security. Thomas Paine. The case of other-earned property. What does overwealth do? It robs 99% of people of between 0% and 99.9% of earnings, it robs 90% of humans of 90% to 99.9% of earnings, thereby causing 100 million deaths and a greater number of serious injuries, diseases and sufferings, it causes fascism, tyranny, terrorism, torture, genocide, Hiroshimas, concentration camps, refugee camps, it creates dangerous tyranny for 1% and dangerous slavery for 99%, it puts governance into the chaos of corruption, and it puts humanity on its rapid and accelerating course to extinction. What could be more evil? What could be a greater crime against humanity? The removal of what else could do more for human happiness? And yet we have not yet got the slightest antipathy or fear or abhorrence of overwealth. It is the hammer we smash ourselves to pulp with, year after year, century after century. And yet we have more care and caution in handling a pair of scissors. Limitless overpay is by far the greatest war criminal. It puts the Great Train Robbery in perspective, as infinitesimal by comparison. The theft of US$70 trillion every year, US$70,000 average per family, theft of over US$70,000 per year from 90% of humanity, as against a one-off of several million. It might be tempting to blame the super-overpaid, but the blame is due to a human error. The robbers are victims too. The accepted ideas of everyone are telling the super-overpaid that they are virtuous. The chopping off of ruling classes in revolutions and revolts has achieved nothing longterm. Even the whole of humanity is not to blame. We are not our own creators. Mother nature, life, or, if you prefer, god, is to blame. Blame god and pursue happiness. • I make peace and I make trouble. Bible. Life is like that. • Wherever possible, the wage-contract should be modified by a partnership contract, where the wage-earner is made to share in the ownership, the management and the profits. Pius XI. The more that trade unions encourage worker ownership of shares, the more the interests of employers and employees will agree, and the more that profits will be spread justly and democratically. But such a move will not be sufficient to create full justice and social safety. • This great labour question cannot be solved except by assuming as a principle that private property must be held sacred and inviolable. A small number of the very rich have been able to lay upon the teaming masses a yoke little better than slavery itself. If the working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over and respective classes will be brought nearer one another. Leo XIII. This is interesting. It contains an implicit admission of the existence of legal theft and of something wrong with private property, because it says that there is something unjust in the system. And this contradicts the first sentence. The Catholic church and unlimited-fortunes capitalism have come down on the side of private property, communism has come down on the side of public property, and the Catholic church has gone so far as to support Hitler because Hitler was fighting communism. Communism correctly saw that there was something wrong with private property, and chose public property, as though it were an alternative to private property, whereas it meant only that property concentrated in the hands of very few, with all the necessarily attendant state terrorism and leader paranoia, the whole bucket of opposition between rulers and ruled. Communism said: Private property no, unlimited-fortunes capitalism said: Private property yes, and the two sides have broken millions of heads in their disagreement. Whereas the answer lay in the middle, self-earned private property yes, other-earned private property no. And, although Leo comes down on the side of private property, his words contain an implicit admission of the existence of legal theft and of something wrong with private property. And the above words of Pius XI contain this same implicit double admission. His words imply that workers should be getting a bigger share of ownership, management and profits. That is, in blunter, more truthful language, that the workers have been robbed. Millions of heads have been broken because of a disagreement which is based on a failure to find the distinction which is implicit in the Popes’ words. But look at some other words of Leo XIII. • To despise legitimate authority, no matter in whom it is invested, is unlawful, it is rebellion against god’s will. The highest duty is to respect authority. It is in no way lawful to demand, to defend, or to grant, unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, of writing, or of religion. The toleration of all religions is the same thing as atheism. And then he contradicts himself by saying, • If the laws of the state are openly at variance with the laws of god then indeed it becomes a duty to resist them, a sin to render obedience. The question is, what is legitimate authority? Not merely legal authority, because the laws can be wrong, as Leo says. And not church authority, because the church is subject to human limitations, such as failing to distinguish self-earned and other-earned private property. And not god authority, because we can never be sure we are reading god’s word, and not the words of fallible humans, who may have written, or added their own beliefs to, or imposed their fallible interpretations on, the scriptures. There is no legitimate authority. The wisest of men have said erroneous and even silly things, and it is only our own judgement we have with which to discriminate. Our authority is not certain. But our own authority is, as far as anyone knows, as good as anyone else’s. And we have 100 times more information on our personal situation than others do. The argument to authority has been known to be fallacious at least since Aristotle, and common sense tells us that it is fallacious. That someone who has been raised up in reputation believes something is no guarantee that it is true. The only ground for belief is that it makes sense. Even good sense can be wrong. We have to test our opinions all the time. If we hug our opinions just because they are ours, we may hug a viper, a destroyer of our happiness. Another’s opinions can at best be suggestive to our own thinking. Even if some being calling himself god spoke directly to us from a 1000-foot-high body, it would be our decision whether to take this to be god or something else. Since god is infinite, any finite bodily thing might not be god. And if the giant being had a threatening attitude, we might fairly conclude that this was not love, and therefore was not god. Thoreau’s and Gandhi’s civil disobedience puts responsibility back on us, the only beings who are certainly here. All questions are open. The obedience of people towards churches that have burned 1000s of people alive is surely taking thoughtlessness and irresponsibility far, far too far. A healthy skepticism of authorities seems appropriate. • Godman says: Live in sky when you die. Maybe, maybe, but I don’t know. Aboriginal. The more certain you are that you are right, the more likely it is that you are wrong. The churches disagree with much of what is in the Bible, but they still appeal to the Bible as an authority. The Bible, and any book, can at best be suggestive of possible truths. The Bible disagrees with itself doctrinally over 200 times. Even over whether god is good, whether Jesus is good, and whether the world is good. God says that he himself commits evil, god says the world is good, Jesus says he himself is not good, and that only god is good. That is, that nothing else, including the world and Jesus, is good. Buddha says that only the blank scripture is true. Words are full of pitfalls. Ethical obedience is in fact logically impossible. To obey someone conscientiously, you would have to really know that they were better than you, and you cannot know that they are better than you if you are a worse judge of things than them, and of course you certainly can’t know that they are better than you if they are worse than you. If your judgement was good enough to know how good another was, your judgement would be good enough to trust itself and not another. Obedience is necessarily mindless, and mindlessness is blindness, not pursuit of your happiness, which is all of duty, all of ethics. Mindlessness is throwing yourself over a cliff, and obedience is necessarily mindless. Obedience is a survival strategy for infants who don’t know anything, to mindlessly rely on their parents till they themselves grow a mind and get knowledge of the world. Life is a game of trying to pursue truth, and hence happiness, with our desperately limited intelligence. There are no alternatives. The children’s film Antz, with Woody Allen as the voice of the hero, makes the point that it is a choice between thinking for yourself or fascism. Dictators take over when the people abdicate. The doctrinal contradictions in the Bible are possibly a deliberate invitation and incitement to think. For instance, the gross contradiction at the opening of the New Testament, that Jesus was and wasn’t the son of Joseph, is surely deliberate. A book that does not give reasons propagates unreason. A book that does not give reasons is unreasonable. And therefore is ungodly if god is rational. • Test everything and hold on to what is good. Bible. And keep testing it. Words are always loose, and the silver hammer of your acuity can grow. The Bible, and other books, use words ten different ways, besides the literal. • The letter that kills and the spirit which gives life. Bible. The letter and the spirit are two different things. • The Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writers denounce the exclusive privileges of the rich and the usurpation of the rights of the poor, and strenuously enforce their demands for righteous dealings among people. The Bible, like an unfailing arsenal, has supplied the ammunition for the age-long struggle for liberty. Charles Eldridge. Reasons instead of demands would be loving. • In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical. His religion has been so long identified with conservatism, often with conservatism of the obstinate and unyielding sort, that it is sometimes almost startling for us to remember that all of the conservatism of his own times was against him, that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him. Phillips Brooks. So-called conservatives are erroneously interested in conserving overwealth, which is the destroyer of everyone. • Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god, because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason that that of blindfolded fear. Thomas Jefferson. • Religion brought forth riches, and the daughter devoured the mother. St Bernard of Clairvaux. • I belong to the great church which holds the world within its starlit aisles, that claims the great and good of every race and clime, that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul. Robert Ingersoll. • Happiness is the only good, reason the only torch, justice the only worship, humanity the only religion, and love the only priest. Robert Ingersoll. • Injustice, suave, erect and unconfined, sweeps the wide earth, and tramples over mankind, while prayers to heal her wrongs move slow behind. Homer. What is this thing that can rob 99% of humanity financially, and rob 100% of humanity of peace and easy living? How can humanity, king of beasts, first of creatures, be robbed of so much for so long? In what cave lives this invisible supreme beast, injustice, that so cruelly robs and enslaves humanity? • What a piece of luck for leaders that people don’t think. Adolf Hitler. Not so lucky, Hitler, as it turns out. Hitler could have saved himself a lifetime of futile labour and hardship by thinking. • If we are right in holding that the most urgent business of our age is to devise better laws of conduct in the arts of human government, success depends upon stimulating, in as many spots as possible, the largest number and variety of independent thinkers. Those who in vague rhetoric dwell on education as the substitute for force and revolution often mean a doped, standardised and servile education. But such education affords no safety in this dangerous world. Free-thinking alone can furnish the energy and the direction to human government, helping to bridge the chasm between physical and moral progress. J.A. Hobson. The term free-thinker is a sad reflection on the others. • No person ever ruled others for their good, no person was ever rightly the master of the minds or bodies of his brothers, no person ever ruled others for anything except for their undoing and for his own brutalisation. The possession of power over others is inherently destructive, both to the possessor of the power and to those over whom it is exercised. The great person of the future is one who will seek to create power in the people, and not gain power over them. The great person of the future is one who will refuse to be great at all, in the historic sense, [she] is the one who will altogether diffuse [her]self in the life of humanity. George Herron. The god of the Old Testament is against kingship. Leaving things up to leaders has been disastrous. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Vigilance about pay justice. This section illustrates the biggest piece of nonsense in economics: • There can be no trade unprofitable to the public, for if any prove so, men leave it off, and whenever the traders thrive, the public, of which they are a part, thrives also. Dudley North. • The fable of the bees, or, Private vices, public benefits. Bernard Mandeville. • The public becomes powerful in proportion to the opulence and extensive commerce of private men. David Hume. • Commerce is no longer exploitation. It is human service, and no business concern can hope to prosper which does not meet a human need and add to human happiness. Elbert Hubbard. • What is the benefit done by a good King Alfred, or by a Howard, or Pestalozzi, or Elizabeth Fry, or Florence Nightingale, or any lover, less or larger, compared with the involuntary blessing wrought on nations by the selfish capitalist, who built the Illinois, Michigan and the network of the Mississippi valley roads, which have evoked not only the wealth of the soil, but the energy of millions of people? Ralph Emerson. The selfish capitalist built the railroads. Rolled up his sleeves, did he? Didn’t hire any workers, did it all himself. Peak-pyramid fallacy again. • No man ever manages a legitimate business in this life without doing indirectly far more for other people than he is trying to do for himself. Henry Beecher. • Inventions and mechanical arts are not working half so much for the rich, the strong and the wise, as they are for the poor, the weak and the ignorant. Henry Beecher. • Priests pray for blessings, merchants pour them down. Edward Young. • We advocate nothing but what is agreeable to the highest behests of Christianity, to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest. Richard Cobden. • Commerce is virtually a mode of cheapening production, and in all such cases the consumer is the person ultimately benefited. J.S. Mill. These quotes range over 500 years. I suppose the explosion of trade, transport, weaponry, conquest, plunder, piracy and enslavement from 1500 went to people’s heads, and they got quite emotional and swept away from sense by the explosion of wealth they saw around them. America was built on cotton, and cotton was built on slaves. Gold flooded into Europe from South America. The financial supremacy of the first world was donated involuntarily by the third world. With their technological, weaponry advantage, the first world simply robbed the third world. And then patronised it with the names, third world, and developing countries. Mandeville, a Dutchman, was being lighthearted and satirical, half tongue-in-cheek, but his words were read seriously and literally, by the English, as being cynical and wrong, or as being cynical and true. The truth in what he was saying, or mis-saying, was that self-interest is not necessarily bad, proper self-interest is regarded as a vice and is in reality part of virtue. Proper self-interest is indeed the root of virtue, but at the time people were convinced that virtue required complete lack of self-interest, which is absurd. Love others as [much as] you love yourself. Because what you do to others is done to you. Because there is an equal and opposite reaction to what you do. The love you get is equal to the love you give. The hurt you get is equal to the hurt you give. Self-interest as a vice, as a misery-maker, forgets this first law of ethics. Self-interest as a virtue, as a happiness-maker, remembers this first law of ethics. Obviously in an exchange, the work-input values of the two things have to be x and x+y. So that one person goes from x to x+y and the other goes from x+y to x. So that one gains y and the other loses y. One slips towards wealth and power, the other slips towards poverty and slavery. Necessarily. Unavoidably. The idea that transaction can produce gain on both sides is absurd, ought to be patently so. And yet even Emerson and J.S. Mill, great friends of humanity and freedom fell for it. Why are all these authors energetically arguing for the selfish capitalist? Obviously because it requires effort to try to justify. If inventions and mechanical arts were working half as much for the rich as for the poor, the poor would of course be twice as rich as the rich. Commerce is no longer exploitation? So commerce was exploitation. What happened to change commerce from exploitation? Commerce didn’t change. J.S. Mill is right in that the customer is benefited by the cheapening caused by competition. But he confuses together relative benefit and absolute benefit. The customer benefits relatively to higher prices, but not absolutely. The customer still comes out worse off, having most of the time given more than he got. To add a comic touch to the tragedy of self-deception and self-destruction, the heirs of the oldfashioned, outright conquest and plunder, sword-slaughter and peasant-slavery, looked down their noses at the slightly subtler conquest and plunder by trade. O humanity! For how long will you be your own dupe, your own crucifier, your own murderer? Injury ricochets as untiringly as atoms. People got high on the upside of trade, lost their sense, and only slowly noticed the slaves, the third world. And now they kid themselves that there are no slaves, or only 200 million slaves, when 90% of people are paid 10th to 1000th of world-average pay, when 0.25% legally own 50% of the world, and when the economically very thin third world is still being squeezed of US$200 billion every year. And the first world is quite unaware that 500 years of plunder is about to turn into 500 years of being plundered. Or rather, less than 500 years, because by 2100, the first world will be only 2% of human population. The third world has been getting hard, and the first world has been getting soft. Third-world Sicily has already conquered America. The first world is riddled with the criminal products of poverty. With the passing of Hong Kong back to the Chinese, the world is flooded with Triads, born of poverty. Poverty is a luxury we cannot afford. Deny blood to any part of the body, and the whole body is flooded with gangrene. To be conscious of part of the picture is to be unconscious. • If we had to point to one single notion which is calculated to damage our industrial performance, to prevent us from competing effectively in the world and ultimately to undermine the basis of a free and diverse society, it is the idea that profit is somehow wrong. Margaret Thatcher. A brilliant piece of demagoguery. All those people out there raising doubts about the benefits of making a profit, including Dante, Jerome and Montaigne, are against freedom, diversity, industry and economic power in the world. We people in here are standing up for freedom, diversity and national strength. Thatcher does not think to herself: There are people saying that profits are wrong, or that profits can in some cases be wrong. As a person interested in happiness, as a person in some degree responsible for the happiness of all the people in this nation, and also for the happiness of people outside this nation whom this nation affects, and knowing that happiness is totally dependent on the truth, I will investigate, examine and objectively judge the arguments against profit, in order that I may be equipped with the best knowledge and insight in my responsibilities. I will gather, examine and digest the rational arguments against profit, and extract all the good and truth they may have in them. She is conscious of voices raised against profit, that is why she addresses the matter. But she comfortably, arrogantly assumes that all the people arguing against profit are lesser beings, incapable of rational thought, who can be dismissed without argument. Whatever they say, it has to be nonsense. There is no possibility that the intelligence of those who are for profit is less than complete. Those utter rogues who are against profit! They are trying to restrict freedom, they are against diversity, they are trying to destroy the nation’s health and strength, whereas we are trying to save the nation from these enemies, these destroyers, by pulling in big heaps of lovely money for ourselves. We made heaps of money, we can’t be wrong. She is consolidating her position by pandering to the unthoughtful, unobjective prejudices and egotism of her audience. Wealth breeds insolence, arrogance, complacency that they are right. Without any basis in reason, she connects the profittakers to freedom, diversity and national strength, and throws mud at those who are against profit. Anyone who says anything against profit will feel a little more afraid, a little more marginalised, a little more of a traitor. She is supported by everyone thinking that profits are what employs people. It stands to reason, doesn’t it. No profits, means no people setting up companies, means no jobs for employees. The employers are doing all this for the nation. It is harder for people to see that it is demand for goods that employs people, it is everyone having fairpay that maximises the spending and therefore employment, like Henry Ford giving high wages so the workers could afford the cars. It is the bear’s desire for a fish that gives the bear the employment as a fisher. It is something like the magician’s misdirection. People, even employees, see the employer, not the employees. People’s desire for parent-figures is grafted on to the employers. People’s meekness says: What, us? It is us who are creating employment? Obviously employment would disappear if demand disappeared. It takes no effort to have needs and desires, so people attribute employment to the employer, who is making an effort in setting up and running the companies. People also forget that the employer is being overpaid for his effort. Being overpaid out of the people’s efforts. Most or all of the capital the employer uses belongs to the people, has been legally and unjustly extracted by the transaction imp. She is supported by everyone thinking that you have to have overpaid and underpaid in order to have capital, whereas capital formation is highest in egalitarian countries like Norway, where everyone gets a fairshare, everyone is and feels safe and secure, where internal defense costs and taxes are lowest, where most have money to save, and therefore everyone puts away spare money for a rainy day. Whereas super-overpaid and super-underpaid countries like Middle Eastern countries have near zero capital formation. See the writings of ‘the Dean of economists’, John Galbraith. She is supported by everyone thinking that more money is always better, and that therefore people with more money are always better. Thatcher’s remarks are irresponsible, unaware, and designed to flatter and solidify the ignorance of her party, and to slander and marginalise the voices of reason. She is a bully, and the voice of bullies. Without courage to leave prejudice, and to venture on the seas of thought towards truth and happiness. She is using the force of slander, not the sanity of selflove and otherlove. All the miseries of humanity, all the failures and disorders of human government, do not move her to doubt, to test, to examine, to search, to think. Arrogance is ignorance of our ignorance. There is nothing more certain than the limitation of our intelligence, so we ought at least to ridicule the absolutely confident. Children should at least be taught to recognise the wellknown false arguments. Thatcher here commits the fallacy of the argument without an argument. She gives no reasons for her views. It is so just because I say so. It is a gross, shameless, ludicrous and hateful slander. It is especially ludicrous to say that the people raising doubts about the goodness of profits are against diversity. She is just invoking buzzwords to pull votes. A head of government should be unimpeachably rational, and be a model of rationality to the world. One can be more savvy about reality by remembering that there is always a natural range in human characteristics, and many errors arise by thoughtlessly attributing one’s own character to others. There is a natural range in humility and arrogance. More modest people are inclined to attribute the same modesty to others, although some others are further along the humility-arrogance continuum. Thus modest people are inclined to assume that if a person speaks positively, that they have done their homework, their thinking and research, before speaking, because they themselves would not speak positively without having done their homework. Especially if the speaker is a head of state. Forgetting that leaders in unlimited-fortunes systems are not aristocrats, the best people, but plutocrats, the worst people, the pseudo-aristocrats, as Jefferson calls them. They are people who have the immodesty to speak positively without having done their thinking and research. So modest people are inclined to believe anyone who speaks positively. This is the power of the argument without an argument, an argument without any reasoning. • They hate us for our freedoms. George W. Bush. A simple sentence can be full of stuff. What are the chances of it being true? Oh, they have freedoms, I hate them! It makes much more sense that they hate us for our tyrants’ bullying, killing and robbing. The subtext, the subliminal messages. One, that we have freedoms. People might doubt that, if it was not in subtext. Subtext, subliminal messages slide under the radar of our critical intelligence. Especially as the subtext message is pleasant and flattering. We are a superior people, equipped with freedoms, unlike others. Two, we needn’t worry about hurting them, as they are envious and hateful, hating the good. A simple sentence, yet full of bigotry, dishonesty, selfdeception, hate and pride, assisting us and encouraging people to evil, that is, selfharming by hurting others. What sort of mind would come up with such an odd idea, that people would hate another people for their freedom? An envious, hating mind. A petty, mean mind. Someone who has hated being inferior, hated others having more gifts of nature, especially hated others having more kindness. Someone heartless enough to be blind to the suffering. Someone capable of avoiding the question of justice, of the pragmatic necessity of the golden rule. Someone desperate to prove that it is hate that makes the world go round. Someone desperate to find social acceptance for their hating soul. It takes modesty and selflove to ask: Have we hurt others? How much have we hurt others? Is hurting others good for us? Bush is saying: It is all their fault, it is none of our fault, we are right to carry on as we have been doing. It is brilliant, because it says: Every time they hurt us, it is one more proof of our rightness. 9/11, if you swallow the idea that it was caused by foreign terrorists, proves that we are better. It says: When they hurt us, don’t question your government’s behaviour, be confirmed in your rightness in supporting your government. Bush is singing the anthem of bigotry and pride: We are never wrong, we are perfect, we are always good. What is it like, to be gifted by nature with a paucity of talents and towering pride? So that every day has its hurts of humiliation? It is tough being proud, you get humiliated so often. Such a nature cries out for validation, for social acceptance, for triumph over and revenge on its ‘enemies’, those with less mean natures and more gifts. Such a nature is driven to get to the top, and have the revenge of getting ‘success’. And yet, at the top, you are the more exposed to the mocking. It is something good to be said for Bush that he allows the mockery, he does not enforce an absolute fascist risicide, laughter-killing, like Hitler and Stalin. He is happy to be the clown that distracts the crowd away from the serious thieves, the military-industrial complex that murders millions. The moral is that anything and everything that is good is grabbed by the wolves for concealing clothing. Unfortunately, it is the egotism and idealism of the many that drives them to believe in the sheep’s clothing. Our government, our church cannot be bad. It is this which makes it so easy for wolves to sit in the heart of our institutions. The people are for environmentalism, then environmentalism will serve to conceal us wolves. The people are for diversity, freedom, economic strength, then diversity, freedom and economic strength will conceal us wolves. The people are for good god, then good god will serve to conceal us wolves. The cover of the book of the church is good, decorated with good saints like St Francis, so the book of the church is good. People forget that Jesus advised people to be as cunning as serpents, and to learn from the children of this world, that is, from the worldly. Jesus is advising the people to be more Macchiavellian than Macchiavelli, and thus defeat the Macchiavellian, but they are not. The rapacious are more rapacious than the less rapacious. The people have continued to back unlimited wealth and power and to call it freedom. The human race may have missed the last bus when it failed to heed the opposition of the founding fathers of America to wealth concentration. The meek will inherit the earth when the 99.9% make the 0.1% behave. Can 999 make 1 behave for the happiness and survival of the 1000? Yes, they can. Most definitely. Easily. Peacefully. • The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principles but that of gain. Thomas Jefferson. • The poor man pays for all. Ambrose Bierce. • Those who have never seen the inhabitants of a 19th century London slum can have no idea of the state to which dirt, drink and economics can reduce human beings. Leonard Woolf. What percentage of humans live in slums today? 40%? 50%? Of course the dirt is caused by the economics. The drink is caused by the despair and pain caused by the economics. And the rich drink too. • I am a bad Englishmen, because I think the advantages of commerce are dearly bought for the lives of many more. Horace Walpole. But wait. Both participants in a trade go off happy, so they must both profit, mustn’t they? One goes off with x+y, the other goes off with something more useful to him than what he had. That is the purpose of trade, to part with something of value but no use to me. But I would be happier to trade and also not to lose work-input value in the trade. We can’t avoid gain and loss in each transaction individually, because we cannot know the exact work-input value of anything, but we can counter the stormy social ocean made from these trillions of drops of injustice and theft. With justly-limited-fortune systems, we can have trade and also greatly reduce the vast dangers, to both overpaid and underpaid, of ever-increasing injustice. Prevent the engine of society overheating, burning everyone, and revving itself to pieces. Job specialisation, division of labour, had advantages, but it required trade. Trade had the vicious side-effect of legal theft, the ceaseless automatic drift of wealth, products of work, from earners to non-earners, which has escalated for 1000s of years without us being able to analyse it correctly and see it, and so defuse it. To see it is to defuse it, and to undo 1000s of years of escalation of injustice, war and weaponry. Life is a race between catastrophe and education. Education in this key point now needs to play catch-up very quickly. The disadvantages of division of labour, aside from the great prime one of near-extinction, are worth considering. Whereas, before division of labour, everyone was doing the same set of jobs, and therefore had much in common, now everyone does very different jobs from one another. This is an enormous loss of unity and fellowship in society. We now can’t share talk about what we do most of the day. At parties, people try to get a conversation going by saying: What do you do? and after the answer, there is generally nothing more to say. Before, everyone was a farmer and a jack-of-all-trades. Now only housewives are jack-of-all-trades and can share worktalk and thus find fellowship. Social cohesion is proportional to the amount we have in common. Adding this point to the fact that division of labour and trade, with legal theft, have made about 95% of humans financially poorer, 90% of humans 10 times poorer than they would be in simple nature, robbed 100% of humans of 99%, soon 100%, of happiness, multiplied nature’s horrors and sufferings by 1000, we might well conclude that division of labour is not worth the advantages. Which explains communes. But we can have the enormous advantages of division of labour, as well as survival and happiness, if we remove legal theft. But do all the toys, that division of labour has added, add any happiness? Especially considering that so many of these toys are people-killing machines. Can we say that cultures without these toys are less happy than cultures with these toys, all other things being equal? That is, do the toys themselves make any happiness? Or is all the added happiness just the unreal happiness of pride in having them when others don’t? Do we think that the Romans, without so many of these toys, were significantly less happy? To produce these toys, we work far longer, and spend far less time with our children, than the bushmen do, who have a 12-hour workweek even in the harsh conditions of the Kalahari. Culture is after all ultimately how much time we spend with our children, how much time we spend passing ourselves on to the next generation. Will division of labour, with trade, and without legal theft and galloping injustice, cruelty, violence and extinction, add to or subtract from happiness? • Land. If the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B or C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist. Ambrose Bierce. • As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce. Adam Smith. • No one supposes that the owner of urban land performs, as owner, any function. He has the right of private taxation, that is all. It is foolish to maintain property rights for which no service is performed, for payment without service is waste. R.H. Tawney. And theft, and destruction. • The laws of property have never been conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests. They have made property of things which never ought to be property, and absolute property where only a qualified property ought to exist. The institution of property, when limited to its essential elements, consists in the recognition, in each person, of a right to the exclusive disposal of what he or she has produced by their own exertions, or received either by gifts or fair agreement, without force or fraud, from those who produced it. J.S. Mill. Gifts, also, are a license to take out without putting in, are a theft from those who put in. For survival and happiness, gifts will have to be limited to prevent estates moving to private heirs, to prevent huge fortunes and great individual power accumulating through gifting, as in the case of charity organisations and religions. Some will instantly react: Oh, don’t let’s take away gifts! They saw the upside, not the far greater downside. They shoot themselves in the foot and wonder who shot them. They probably look for someone to blame for their injury. Some minority, so that there is less seeming chance of a backlash. But the weakest can kill. • Property: a patent entitling one person to dispose of another person’s labour. Thomas Malthus. • Poverty deepens as wealth increases, and wages are forced down while productive power grows, because land, which is the source of all wealth and the field of all labour, is monopolised. It is not necessary to confiscate land, only to confiscate rent [landrent]. Henry George. Justly maximum fortunes with equal distribution of overfortunes automatically takes back landrent, all other legal thefts, and all illegal thefts, and conquest and plunder, devised by ingenuity, present and future. A just cap on personal fortunes beats all methods past, present, and future for preventing circumventure of justice. • There is boundless theft in limited professions. William Shakespeare. By limiting numbers of professionals, professions keep their price well above their costs and contribution by work. When America was flooded with highly trained and skilled European doctors during WW2, the number of doctors in America did not rise at all. See Naked empress, by Hans Ruesch. Chemists resist the sale of pharmaceuticals in supermarkets. Optometrists garner $100s, when many people can be fitted with $1 glasses. • I’ll give you my opinion of the human race in a nutshell. Their heart’s in the right place, but their head is a thoroughly inefficient organ. Somerset Maugham. • The wise person understands equity, the small person understands only profits. Confucius. • To be able to really listen, one should abandon or put aside all prejudices. When you are in a receptive state of mind, things can be easily understood. But unfortunately most of us listen through a screen of resistance. We are screened with prejudices, whether religious or spiritual, psychological or scientific, or with daily worries, desires or fears. And with these fears for a screen, we listen. Therefore we listen really to our own noise, our own sound, not to what is being said. Jiddu Krishnamurti. Suspension of premature disbelief is not credulity. Premature disbelief is not healthy skepticism, it is superstition, it is credulity. Even many scientists and doctors make the mistake of arguing that because something hasn’t been proved to be true, it is false, which is a false argument. Superstition is the customary force of undisproven working hypotheses. And human ignorance of the great big world is so great that we all have many undisproven working hypotheses, both inside and outside our areas of expertise. • People are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely. Thomas Macaulay. • It is only the truth that wounds. Saying. • Bitter truth is sweet in the aftertaste. Shakespeare. The popular name Mary means bitter. Truth is bitter to the pleasure principle, which is selfdestructive, sweet to the reality principle, which is selfconstructive. • Control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself. Hilaire Belloc. • The organisation of American society is an interlocking system of semi-monopolies notoriously venal, an electorate notoriously unenlightened, misled by mass media notoriously phony. Paul Goodman. • I wonder why an employee should have to be subservient to his employer, and should have to please and praise him. Joseph Ibn Pakuda. 1040AD. • Today the large organisation is lord and master, and most of its employees have been desensitised much as were the medieval peasants who never knew they were serfs. Ralph Nader. • In a society which prides itself on its democratic system of freedom for the individual and rejection of dictatorial rule, the workplace stands as an island of authoritarianism. Irving Bluestone. The workplace, where we spend most of our time. The slavery is achieved by threat of unemployment, and the threat of getting worse pay elsewhere. So just, equal pay per unit of work everywhere, and removal of unemployment, will free employees. It is always true that all can be employed. Work can always be shared around. It ought to be. Work is an unalienable right, since all have it in a state of nature. Proportionate work for pay is also a duty. The purpose of government is justice, because no state can survive without justice, and because no one can be happy without it. • During my tenure at Treasury I watched with incredulity as businessmen ran to the government in every crisis, whining for handouts or protection from the competition that has made this system so productive. And always, such gentlemen proclaimed their devotion to free enterprise and their opposition to the intervention into our economic life by the state. William Simon. • I am constantly intrigued by the idea that men who receive a salary of $250,000 a year need some extra incentive to do their job well. Irving Bluestone. • Merchants and manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages. They say nothing of the bad effects of high profits. Adam Smith. If only Adam Smith, the father of economics, had gone more deeply into this concept of high profits, and determined the point at which high profits become injustice, theft, danger, violence, misery, anarchy, death! • As we learn from our mistakes, our knowledge grows, even though we may never know, that is, know for certain. Since our knowledge can grow, there can be no reason for despair of reason. And since we can never know for certain, there can be no authority for any claim to authority, for conceit over our knowledge, or for smugness. Karl Popper. Still less for beating up, torturing or killing people for disagreeing. One meaning of god is existence, the world, life, everything, experience, reality, consciousness, creation and creativity, actual and potential. That is, the real. Another is, the knowledge, happiness, perfection and answers we don’t have. That is, the ideal. In this sense, god exists by not existing. The less the answers exist, the more this ideal god exists. Some sages say that you can find heaven is at hand on earth if you stop crying for the moon. That you can find heavenly bliss in the process of growing and learning, with roots firmly in the ground. An idealist may be a dropout from realism. A realist may be a dropout from idealism. Freedom from overwealth is the guarantee of all freedoms. • The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from those who live by profit ought always to be listened to with great caution. It comes from an order of people whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have upon many occasions both deceived and oppressed the public. Adam Smith. In other words, you can bet the rich thieve wherever they can. Which, because they make the laws and execute the laws, is very freely. They thieve legally because it is so much more lucrative and safe than illegal theft. • Egalitarian sentiment often consists of people who were born smart but not rich urging governments to eliminate all the advantages of being born rich, while preserving all the advantages of being born smart. Michael Kingsley. • Poverty programs put very little money into the hands of the poor because middleclass hands are so much more gifted at grasping money. They know better where it is, how to apply for it, how to divert it, how to concentrate it. Philip Slater. Legal theft again. Milton Friedman says that the middle class get 5/6th of government transfers. To say nothing of the far larger transfers to the rich in the forms of subsidies to businesses, etc. Milton Friedman says that the poor subsidise the rich in education, because the rich more often go to university, and they go to far more expensive universities. For instance, while most American universities have fewer than a million volumes in their libraries, Harvard has over 90 million. Another legal theft. • The relative stability of profits after taxes is evidence that the corporation-profits tax is in effect almost entirely shifted. The government simply uses the corporation as a tax collector. Kenneth Boulding. Another legal theft. The poor person pays for all. But justice is not just wresting the overpay from the overpaid. It is universally planting the lasting idea of the vital importance of justice for the happiness of all. • The illusion that by some means of progressive taxation the burden can be shifted substantially onto the shoulders of the wealthy [overpaid] has been the chief reason that taxation has increased as fast as it has done, and the chief reason that, under the influence of this illusion, the masses have come to accept a much heavier load than they would have done otherwise. Friedrich Hayek. Another legal theft. The people accepted the introduction of income tax around 1900 because the rich were getting taxed at a higher rate. But the overpay was still greater than the higher taxrate. And now the overpaid are taxed at a lower rate than the underpaid. • Economists, who are supposed to be a contentious [disagreeing] bunch, have agreed that the community at large stands to gain in material standard of living from specialisation and exchange according to the various nations’ comparative advantage. Paul Samuelson. In simple language, that it is cheaper to make things in places where it is cheaper to make them. Only vested interests, that is, firms in places where it is dearer to make things, have ever said otherwise. Another legal theft. Frederic Bastiat has made this abundantly clear in the simplest, most revealing, most readable language. Which is probably why so many agree with him. But it is the vested interests who are the great majority of voices and thinkers and actors on such matters. The rest of us are actually producing goods and services. The people need a loyal people’s advocate. And the vested interests are wrong about what they think is their own interest. Profit and loss is in no one’s interest in the long run. Business people often do not even know what is in their financial interest. Putting quotas on Japanese cars cost America US$7 billion. Fewer cars, with same demand, means higher prices. A gift to the Japanese. In America today, and perhaps in other places, perhaps less openly, companies are legally allowed to insert profits into tax-deductible salaries, that is, to add billions in non-salaries into statements of salaries for the purposes of tax-assessment. Why wouldn’t they, when they are free to? In short, there are, as well as the successful illegal thefts, and the conquests and plunders, many, many wideopen legal thefts in present society. And these are injuries, which ricochet everywhere, endlessly, or till justice, with as much energy as atoms. Both physically and psychologically. At all levels of human global society. Which you can see in the news, in all of past history, and in many stories of both overpaid and underpaid. Humanity believes in theft. It doesn’t yet know that it net hurts everyone enormously. Justice is not a cost. It is a colossal reward. I am guessing that even egalitarians will think my position extreme. Egalitarians are arguing only for a reduction of inequality. They are soft on injustice. They still think that injustice is not all bad. Also, inequality cannot but grow. It is a monster that grows rapidly in feeding on itself. You can have only, either equality, or relentlessly ever-growing murderous inequality. I have done my best to locate justice. That is, the place where violence will be minimised, and where the growth of inequality can be prevented. And done my best to show that this is very simple good sense, well within the range of understanding of almost all people. If they do a few evening’s unprejudging thinking. People can decide how much they want to pal up with violence, insanity, corruption, unfreedom, oppression, inequality, strikes, unfraternity, torture, undemocracy, grief, massacre, untruth, crisis, anarchy, hatred, terror, fascism, depressions, bullets, mafiaism, starvation, stress, problems, communism, paranoia, genocide, worries, propaganda, lawlessness, sadism, confusion, riots, persecution, traitors, spying, waste, destruction, assassination, kidnapping, uncontrol, danger, unreality, bombs, fear, powerlessness, war, underpay, wageslavery, non-sense, revolutions, disinformation, abuse of human rights, environmental degradation, loss of hope, loss of faith in humanity, and progress towards extinction. Limitation of overfortune to US$30 million would reduce the overfortunes of only 500th of 1%, and yet would have an immense effect on reducing violence and misery. Reducing overpay to US$3 million would still reduce the overfortunes of less than 10th of 1%, and yet would bring every family in the world up to millionaire status, and would even more greatly increase democracy, freedom, peace, wisdom, truth, knowledge, understanding, capitalism, goodness, pleasure, kindness, order, social quietness, technological and medical progress, happiness. We would experience how very nice human nature is, comparatively, when it is free from the ceaseless savage beating of injustice.
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