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No, Capitalism Isn’t Making Us All Richer and Richer

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No, Capitalism Isn’t Making Us All Richer and Richer

If you frequent mainstream right-libertarian publications on anything like a regular basis, you’ve probably seen more than one of those breathless articles about how capitalism is making the ordinary poor person richer than a medieval king. For example Calvin Beisner: “No matter how rich you might have been” 150 years ago, “You could not have enjoyed air conditioning or iced drinks during a hot summer…. You could not have taken or viewed photographs, listened to recorded music, or viewed… motion pictures.” (“Material Progress Over the Past Millennium,” FEE, Nov. 1, 1999). I’ve long been infuriated by the way such puff pieces ignore both the inflation in the cost of necessities like housing, and — perhaps more important — the increasing precarity of a growing portion of the working class. Finally someone in the mainstream press — the Washington Post, no less — is pointing out the same thing (C, “The stuff we really need is getting expensive. Other stuff is getting cheaper,” Aug. 17).

Yes, computers, smart phones and big screen TVs are getting a lot cheaper. But a lot of much more fundamental stuff is not. “ The prices of textbooks and higher education nearly tripled. Over the past several decades they’ve all been increasing in price at several times the rate of inflation.”

And for a rapidly growing segment of the working class, job security is becoming a thing of the past. The fastest growing sectors of the job market are precarious jobs with “independent contractor” status where there’s little assurance of being employed next year, next month or even next week. And precarity overlaps with financial fragility. As Neal Gabler points out at the Atlantic (May 2016), “Many Middle-Class Americans are Living Paycheck to Paycheck.” Most Americans lack the savings to deal with a car repair or other unexpected expense of even a few hundred dollars.

Precarity includes not just short-term uncertainty about even minimal basic income needs, but growing indebtedness as a way of life. Stagnant working class incomes have worsened capitalism’s already troubling crisis tendencies towards underconsumption and idle capacity, and rising consumer debt has been the system’s way of generating demand.

The things which are most essential to life and basic material security also happen to be the things which capitalists, in alliance with the state, have been most successful at enclosing with artificial property rights and extracting rents from. The landlord monopoly — by which vacant land is engrossed and enclosed and then either held out of use altogether, or opened to use only in exchange for tribute — is the obvious example.

But the healthcare industry is riddled with things like drug patents, licensing monopolies that restrict the number of practitioners, and corporate hospital chains protected by all kinds of government entry barriers and accreditation rackets that drive up overhead with enormously wasteful and irrational capital spending outlays and bloated senior management salaries. The health insurance industry is a racket in its own right. But the main source of cost inflation is on the provision of service side, with all the interlocking monopolies and cartels that make any procedure in America cost several times what it does elsewhere in the world.

College education has become a necessity mainly because of cooperative efforts by the state, employers and the higher education industry itself to inflate credentialing requirements for employment. And given this artificially created necessity, and the willingness of the student loan industry to ensnare new victims, higher education takes advantage of the ever higher tributes flowing in from its captive clientele to pour billions into wasteful building projects and grow the numbers and salaries of administrators at several times those of faculty and support staff. Students, meanwhile, incur a lifetime of debt peonage to pay this inflated tuition, with the likelihood of years of unpaid internships before they can finally get into a bottom-rung paid white collar position.

Even in the case of stuff that really is getting cheaper, of course, the falling price doesn’t dispense with questions of justice. Most of the price of those electronic goods comes not from the actual labor and material inputs required to make them, but from the embedded rents on patent and copyright monopolies. And Internet access on those computers comes through data pipelines controlled by robber baron telecom monopolies that operate fist-in-glove with the state. So the stuff is becoming cheaper — but not nearly as cheap as it should be. And the difference is going into the pockets of parasitic rentiers.

No, Henry VIII could never have obtained an air conditioner or computer. But Henry VIII didn’t spend half his month’s income on rent, or live a single paycheck away from eviction.

It’s time for libertarians to stop putting a positive spin on how wonderful things are under capitalists’ and landlords’ unholy alliance with the state, and start attacking that collusive power relationship. It’s time to abolish all monopolies and artificial property rights that make the necessities of life expensive, and turn the productivity of our collective intellect into a source of rents.

P2P Foundation blog



44 Comments on "No, Capitalism Isn’t Making Us All Richer and Richer"

  1. makati1 on Mon, 26th Sep 2016 9:13 pm 

    Capitalism is still moving the wealth to the top. Nothing more.

  2. rockman on Mon, 26th Sep 2016 11:42 pm 

    “…you’ve probably seen more than one of those breathless articles about how capitalism is making the ordinary poor person richer than a medieval king.” Oddly enough this is the only time I’ve seen such a statement. Maybe from the left of which I admittedly ready very little. The right seems to offer just the opposite: if capitalism is functioning properly and you aren’t contributing sufficiently you don’t get sh*t. LOL.

    Mak – I understand where you’re coming from but a lot of the fgfgolks I personally know who haven’t gotten their “fair share” of the pie did little or nothing to earn it. And by personally I mean most of my family. Seriously. Which doesn’t mean some don’t get compensated fairly. But the great majority do from what I’ve seen. Which means the great majority aren’t anywhere close to the top of the pyramid.

    No: we should let folks go hungry or lack medical if the can’t afford it. OTOH do we owe someone a middle class income doesn’t have the skill set or work ethic to justify it?

  3. HARM on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 4:13 am 

    Nice op-ed (after my own heart). However, completely misses the diminishing returns/depletion/overshoot angle. One thing at a time I suppose.

  4. brough on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 5:17 am 

    I did’nt start the use of medieval comparisons. But now the unthinkable is now happening.

    The middle classes (someone please give me a definition) of USA, Japan and most of Europe are being slowly squeezed back to serfdom where their ancestors came from. We’re going back to a feudal society and being manipulated by those who hold land and capital. Call them kings if you like.

    Is this due to thermodynamic decay caused by resource depletion ??

  5. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 5:55 am 

    Capitalism, a system where an individual can decide to set up a company of his own, is the most effective economic system invented. The oppposite, central planned economy has been tried and failed miserably.

    Where capitalism goes wrong is ever more concentration and corporate giants becoming more powerful than politics (“representing the people”) and next completely corrupts politics.

    Way out: break up large corporations, like happened to AT&T. Introduce a rule that corporations can’t be bigger than, say, 5000 people.

    Capitalism works fine, hands off. But we need a political system that controls corporations and sets rules that apply to everybody, like limiting CO2 emissions, standardizing wall outlets, battery chargers, energy conservation, combatting polution, minimum wage, etc., etc.

    But control should reside in politics, representing the populace, not in the corporate board rooms. Entrepreneurs should produce products and for the rest shut up.

  6. Davy on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 6:45 am 

    Capitalism with its markets and fiat currency works well during growth when everyone is being lifted and there are avenues for advancement of those at the bottom. Capitalism is now in decay and dysfunction. It is not working and in destructive change. Combine a decaying capitalism with the ill effects of technology and the capitalistic drive for efficiency and you get a monster of social ills. Further combine that with overpopulation and overconsumption and you get a dysfunctional system within the threshold of overshoot.

    We have pseudo liberal democracy further complicating the dysfunction by allowing an uneducated majority to be manipulated by a few connected corrupt power centers. This is a recipe for disaster. It is a slow motion train wreck. There are no solutions to something like this. There is only adaptation and mitigation of its decay and deflation. This adaptation and mitigation is mostly at the individual level because the greater social reality is in a growth trap. This system must be perpetuated or we will starve. This is the inconvenient reality of being in a catch 22 trap that are existential predicaments. You can complain all you want about a bad heart but that does not change the risk of a heart attack. You lived wrong and you have bad DNA now you pay the price. Many ignore the warning and live as before and die. Others play the medical game and survive for longer and die. People with bad hearts usually die sooner rather than later with acceptance or not. Those accepting tend to live longer. That is reality and reality is a good measure.

    What are we to do with a system that is a trap but that provides for us? There is no reforming this system except around the edges. So any of these articles are a waste of time. What we need are articles that come out directly and say we are screwed and we better start making arrangements to deal with pain, suffering, and death. I say this with a bit tongue. The reality is confidence is providing the liquidity that keeps the system functioning that provides for us. If too many people like me tell people how it is confidence will be lost and we will starve. So we are in yet another catch22 of reality and that is honesty and dishonesty.

    Reality is going to kill us honestly or dishonestly. Treating this trap honestly is being true to our higher spiritual principals. Treating the trap dishonesty will gives us more life by continuing on the mechanization of a dying system. I have no answers other than to say your salvation can be found individually or in small communities of likeminded individuals. This salvation is only within the greater destructive change meaning there is no transcendence. There is only acceptance and adaptation. Acceptance and adaptation in my book is piece of mind.

    I don’t believe in a hell but hell for me is the point where you lose control into insanity. The point where you are still cognitive but just about insane. A point where you are staring into the abyss and demons are howling from the abyss. It is that last moment of knowing you are going to lose all control. Salvation is accepting this and allowing the demons to become angles so to speak. Demons and angles are the tools of the ego to make sense of the senseless. Do not look to organization greater than yourself and your local because corruption is complete with a dying system. Corruption is complete with ideology of one sort or another of false hope and promise. You can only find reality at home and with your neighbor. If you can’t find it there then all is lost.

  7. vegeholic on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 11:20 am 

    The triumph of capitalism was its ability to distribute surpluses with a minimum of guidance from central authorities. Wealth disparities could be brushed aside by the not unrealistic prospect of future growth. Now that we are transitioning into a prolonged period of contraction, these same wealth disparities are locked in with no hope of reversal. Capitalism has no mechanisms for clawing back the maldistributed wealth and distributing it to those with better ideas for the future. Sadly this leads inevitably to authoritarian, command economies which ultimately only serve another set of oligarchs.

    Capitalism was great for the yeast in the grape juice. Now that the population is exploding, resources are dwindling and we are drowning in our own waste products, we need a new economic system which unfortunately does not exist.

  8. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:00 pm 

    FAQs: Global Poverty Line Update
    September 30, 2015

    “As differences in the cost of living across the world evolve, the global poverty line has to be periodically updated to reflect these changes. Since 2008, the last update, we have used $1.25 as the global line. As of October 2015, the new global line will be updated to $1.90.”

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/brief/global-poverty-line-faq

    $1.90 a day. WoW! I guess it all depends on where you were born if you’re a cheerleader of Capitalism or not. Myself and 4 generations of my people have done quite well under it. Billions of others, not so much. Of course it’s the exploitation of those others that makes it possible. Most are incapable of holding those two conflicting realities in their head, thus they cling to the myths and ideology like a child to it’s mamas tit. Personally I would never change places with any third worlder, but that don’t mean I’ll be going through life bullshitting myself or others (online). Once one comes to an understanding of what humans are they no longer need to lie to themselves or cling to the made up cultural fairy tales. Probably not the best idea to speak too much about in one’s work and social circles. The humans feel very threatened when their cultural stories are challenged.

  9. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:06 pm 

    iPersonally I would never change places with any third worlder

    Nobody would notice the difference.

  10. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:07 pm 

    Personally I would never change places with any third worlder

    Nobody would notice the difference.

  11. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:29 pm 

    ape,

    “Of course it’s the exploitation of those others that makes it possible.”

    1st world. A string of concrete trucks and a pump truck. Fast and efficient.
    Third world. 200 guys with 5 gal. buckets. Pulling them up by hand. No 401k, no health insurnce, starvation wages.

  12. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:29 pm 

    ape,

    “Of course it’s the exploitation of those others that makes it possible.”

    1st world. A string of concrete trucks and a pump truck. Fast and efficient.
    Third world. 200 guys with 5 gal. buckets. Pulling them up by hand. No 401k, no health insurnce, starvation wages.

  13. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:29 pm 

    ape,

    “Of course it’s the exploitation of those others that makes it possible.”

    1st world. A string of concrete trucks and a pump truck. Fast and efficient.
    Third world. 200 guys with 5 gal. buckets. Pulling them up by hand. No 401k, no health insurnce, starvation wages.

  14. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:32 pm 

    ape,

    “Of course it’s the exploitation of those others that makes it possible.”

    1st world. A string of concrete trucks and a pump truck. Fast and efficient.
    Third world. 200 guys with 5 gal. buckets. Pulling them up by hand. No 401k, no health insurance, starvation wages.
    They are not exploited. They are stupid.

  15. drwater on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 2:44 pm 

    What’s with all these “let’s bash capitalism” articles lately here? This article had nothing to do with oil or resource depletion.

  16. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 3:04 pm 

    Boat, again, tell yourself whatever story you need to so your emotions don’t get a boo boo. I actually do not care about anyone other than my own people and I’ve already accepted their horrible future. If I really cared about third worlders then I imagine I would have done something like volunteer to go overseas and dig wells or teach them how to read or some shit. I didn’t. All the charity work I have done was helping out my women, wife, mom, aunt sister do their feel good stuff. The only thing I have ever done on my own was council my buddies drug addicted son and give the homeless spare change and pull over on the side of the road to help a stranded motorist.

    The disappearance of the American middle class is written into capitalism. Accumulating capital is what it’s all about. It’s not about people and the think tanks and econOpriests feeding the gullible like you bullshit stories about it’s righteous is no different than what every priestly class has done since civilization started. Legitimizers of the system and the ruling class. Go ahead keep cheering as we all watch your country come apart. It’s a shadow of what it was 40 years ago. We all going, but methinks you are further along that road than most western countries. Your resiliency is being put to the test and only time will tell. We will all have our day, but in the meantime I will continue to document the decline…just for you boat, because you are an exceptional from the land of exceptionals.

    A disaster is looming for American men

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/26/larry-summers-a-disaster-is-looming-for-american-men/

  17. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 4:02 pm 

    ape,

    Lot’s of humans say lot’s of things. I for one don’t worry about the middle class. Most Americans have it much better today than previous generations. Most of the world has it better also.
    Is that continued increase in tech and population going to kill off billions?
    Maybe/probably. Who has the best chance for survival? Give me tech/skills and education. Not the guys mixing concrete in buckets.
    We all like to throw insults but for me Americans are not exceptional, nobody is, has been, or ever will be. We just live out our life and that’s it. Who really gives a shyt about 200 yrs ago or 200 years from now.
    I have nieces and nephews but none of us can have an impact except in small ways. I enjoy guessing about our world future like the rest of you, the main difference being I don’t blame anybody for anything. What is the point.
    If the US or any other country had never existed, would that have changed the destructive behavior of humans? It’s all worthless speculation but I doubt it. I don’t find fault with race, gender, nationalism, religion. Blame is useless exercise. It is what it is.

  18. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 5:54 pm 

    I actually do not care about anyone other than my own people

    At last the constant attacks begin to bear fruit and the reeducation of a seemingly hopeless case of cultural Marxism is now irreversibly underway. Apey is so to speak “in transition” towards tribalism. Chapeau.

  19. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 6:21 pm 

    Boat, why do you keep insisting on bringing up blame with me? I’m a determinist and consistently point out the ridiculous nature of the humans and how they have gotten into a trap. The other stuff is just for fun like exposing your bullshit that people are better off. Your consistent and relentless defense of capitalism proves my point that the humans need to cling to their cultural myths. What is the definition of “better off” and who gets to decide on it? Was there a vote and I missed it or did these memes come from another econ 101 think tank? So smart phones and flat screens and other goodies equate to better off even though you have a country with 50 million on food stamps, increasing drug addiction, single parents, withdrawal from society, tens of millions on prescription drugs (80% of all prescription drugs in the world) including anti -depressants/anxiety/psychotic, all which are prescribed to children at a younger age every year, obesity through the roof, but simultaneously malnourished in many cases, mass shooting a weekly feature (normalized), permanent war, young people graduating from college indebted (ask rockman what he owed for his degree – a fucking free ride compared to today) and many can only find menial jobs, concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few and a political clown show that is the very definition of the theater of the absurd. Do you expect me or anyone to believe this all happened independently of the capitalist system? No these are consequences of the capitalist system along with AGW, ocean acidafication and the destruction of much of the biosphere/mass extinction. I have pointed this out before and you just can’t handle the fact that the humans are where they are today because global neoliberal capitalism promotes human greed and desire – it’s a pedal to the metal dopamine stock car. Humans destroying everything they come in contact with, intentional or otherwise, is a product of our evolutionary programming and goes back 100,000 – 70,000 years to when our brains made a great cognitive leap and we instantly started hunting species to extinction and changing the land and even climate. Capitalism plus industrialization puts the humans on mega doses of steroids and viagra. Cling little boaty cling. Cling to your made up myths and fantasies of superiority. OMG, what would happen if you did not have those stories? Lose your meaning and self esteem? It gets worse by the day and you still defend the very system that is helping to speed the humans to their doom. Humans – the bullshitting ape.

    Terror management theory

    “Because cultural values determine that which is meaningful, they are also the foundation for all self-esteem. TMT describes self-esteem as being the personal, subjective measure of how well an individual is living up to their cultural values.”

    “On large scales, societies build symbols: laws, religious meaning systems, cultures, and belief systems to explain the significance of life, define what makes certain characteristics, skills, and talents extraordinary, reward others whom they find exemplify certain attributes, and punish or kill others who do not adhere to their cultural worldview. On an individual level, self-esteem provides a buffer against death-related anxiety.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terror_management_theory

    System justification

    “It proposes that people have several underlying needs, which vary from individual to individual, that can be satisfied by the defense and justification of the status quo, even when the system may be disadvantageous to certain people.”

    ” People have epistemic, existential, and relational needs that are met by and manifest as ideological support for the prevailing structure of social, economic, and political norms. Need for order and stability, and thus resistance to change or alternatives, for example, can be a motivator for individuals to see the status quo as good, legitimate, and even desirable.

    According to system justification theory, people desire not only to hold favorable attitudes about themselves (ego-justification) and the groups to which they belong (group-justification), but also to hold positive attitudes about the overarching social structure in which they are entwined and find themselves obligated to (system-justification). This system-justifying motive sometimes produces the phenomenon known as out-group favoritism, an acceptance of inferiority among low-status groups and a positive image of relatively higher status groups.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_justification

    Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQYkRmQZ6jY

  20. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 6:53 pm 

    Clogged you keep using labels like marxist. I don’t think you know what they mean. Do you have like a list or a roulette wheel and just throw them at people indiscriminately? I’m like Tony Montana, I eat communists for breakfast. You ain’t got an accurate label for someone like me. You lack the intellectual chops to think on my level and you are too emotionally invested in human progress and other future fantasy outcomes to see clearly. Look how wound up you are, at 72 years old ffs, about the meaningless American political clown show. You worship Trump like a 13 year old girl worships the latest teen idol. Trump is your Justin Bieber. Sad old fool.

  21. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 7:31 pm 

    What is the definition of “better off” and who gets to decide on it?

    Easy answer and let math decide.

    Life expectancy has increased rapidly since the Enlightenment. Estimates suggest that in a pre-modern, poor world, life expectancy was around 30 years in all regions of the world. In the early 19th century, life expectancy started to increase in the early industrialized countries while it stayed low in the rest of the world. This led to a very high inequality in how health was distributed across the world. Good health in the rich countries and persistently bad health in those countries that remained poor. Over the last decades this global inequality decreased. Countries that not long ago were suffering from bad health are catching up rapidly. Since 1900 the global average life expectancy has more than doubled and is now approaching 70 years. No country in the world has a lower life expectancy than the the countries with the highest life expectancy in 1800.

    https://ourworldindata.org/life-expectancy/

  22. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 8:22 pm 

    College education has become a necessity mainly because of cooperative efforts by the state, employers and the higher education industry itself to inflate credentialing requirements for employment.

    By requiring college degrees for simple tasks drastically reduces productivity and has driven high cost. Health care in developed countries is probably the most wasteful system ever. A better system would train an employee for a specific set of tasks with the least amount training. We don’t need a 2-4 yr degree to distribute drugs any idiot off the street could do. 12 yr schooled dr’s prescribe drugs at $50 a pop every 5 months during a 10 min visit. Why? I bet we could get by with 1/2 the number of doc’s if their job was to diagnose. We invent ways waste education.

  23. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 8:35 pm 

    Math? Get real. Your one way econ 101 math don’t mean shit. Does it count externalities? No never has and never will. It’s a one way street and only a fucking full grown man with a child’s brain like you clings to it like a security blanket. As the externalities mount in frequency and severity, the boater clings all the more. The level of effort you need to put in ignoring and avoiding them is truly herculean.

    I have neither the time nor willingness to list the many new ones popping up every damn day. Some of these externalities go on for years and the sheeple are none the wiser.

    Bet none of this factors into your math eh?

    DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL CAUSED WIDESPREAD MARSH EROSION, STUDY SHOWS

    “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago caused widespread marsh erosion that may be permanent in some places, according to a new Duke University-led analysis of 270 miles of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts.”

    “The April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig killed 11 workers and pumped more than 100 million gallons of crude oil into the northern Gulf of Mexico, making it the worst environmental disaster of its kind in U.S. history.

    “Marshes that experienced elevated erosion due to high levels of oiling didn’t recover; they’re now gone, having been converted to mudflats in the shallow underwater environment of the Gulf,” said Brian R. Silliman, Rachel Carson Associate Professor of Marine Conservation Biology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the new large-scale analysis. ”

    https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/news/deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-caused-widespread-marsh-erosion-study-shows

    Boat how come your capitalist utopia that makes up 5% of world population need to gobble down 80% of the world’s prescription narcotics? Whats your econ 101 math say about that? Looks like a low quality life to me.

    Why do Americans consume 80% of world’s painkiller drugs

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17963222

    Percentage of Americans on Antidepressants Nearly Doubles

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/percentage-of-americans-on-antidepressants-nearly-doubles/

    Physical pain & emotional pain jacked up system wide. Must be just a case of mass personal irresponsibility and not systemic otherwise the myth of “better than ever” falls apart.

    Yeah fat, stupid, debt slaves in pain and depressed, but no worries we have the drugs to keep you in the labour pool and producing until you drop in your 80’s (walmart greeter). Even got a hard on pill for all the men whose bodies are so polluted and degraded that they can no longer get or maintain an erection. Boat, I can tell what a success capitalism has been by observing the country, USA, that adheres to its dictates the most. My how happy and united the American people are with their 21st century QUALITY of life. O happy day!

  24. makati1 on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 8:54 pm 

    Ap, sarcasm goes over the boater’s head as well as any facts. But you are spot on, as usual. The US consumes about 70% of the world’s drugs these days. Sure sounds like a happy, healthy place to live. NOT!

  25. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 10:06 pm 

    mak,

    Those drugs are consumed by choice. Nobody forces them. Bacon is also bad for ya but I take pills for clogged arteries. Three greasy pork chops, three pork chops and fried taters is a fav meal. Then you bitch about pills. Are you Putin or XI. I do what I want.

  26. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 10:17 pm 

    Boat, you miss the obvious again. Higher education is just one more money/capital making racket. Capitalism is about the accumulation of capital and any benefits to the sheep are purely coincidental. Capalistists want your money and do not give a shit about the quality or length of your life and have never claimed such. What the econ 101 high priests claim is that because humans are “rational players” (Bahaha fucking hahah) and have complex mathematical computers in their heads they will always make the most rational choice and everything will work out and be awesome. That shit came from the same part of the brain that claimed Zeus throws lightning bolts at the misbehaving villagers. There is ZERO proof for either. Want to study economics? Give behavioural economics a try and get back to me. BTW, if you pay federal taxes you are on the hook for the growing number of defaults on student loan debts, but most of the loaners and diploma mills are raking it in and will continue to for as long as they can. Another major externality courtesy of capitalism. Privatize the profits and socialize the costs. Lets not forget that automation will only keep growing as long as the system is running. Hell I bet there is already a CEO algorithm that can do as good a job or better than Rex Tillerson et al – buy low, sell high. Pass as many cost on to the public as we can get away with. Continue to corrupt the regulators with the revolving door scheme. Don’t need no degree from Wharton school of business MBA to do that. Hell, my old pentium 1 could handle that algorithm. Better watch out boat, I hear they might start automating retards – bad news for you buddy.

  27. Boat on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 10:45 pm 

    ape,

    I retired 3 years ago, made my money. But dammit I can’t seem to escape work. Been helping a buddy that’s a mechanic. Turning wrenches, construction, leveling houses or plumbing, I do it all. I do it mainly to keep my mind and body active. Everybody pays, most are apprecative and polite. Why is it I don’t see what what you do?

  28. makati1 on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 10:48 pm 

    Boat, alcoholics are not forced to consume alcohol, but they have a need. THAT is my point about Americans slurping down all the drugs their insurance can afford. Prescription drugs are a bigger profit than illegal drugs these days, but the US consumes the larger percentage of both. A sick culture both physically and mentally. You are a perfect example by your own admission. lol

  29. makati1 on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 10:56 pm 

    College education is a huge ripoff as Ap says. For the stupid who believe all the bullshit they have been fed.

    Unless you are going to be an engineer, or in the medical profession, higher education is a waste of money. I made over $1M in my 50 years of employment. (Actual dollars, not inflated ones.) One year of college where I saw it was a waste of time and money and then, eventually, a long career in construction after I tried several other kinds of employment and found the one I enjoyed the most.

    I had a very happy and fulfilling life, and still do. I retired and downsized my life to the level I can afford. I recommend that you do the same.

  30. Apneaman on Tue, 27th Sep 2016 11:23 pm 

    Boat, what choice do you have when you’re being lied to? You been suckered again. Dietary fat does not clog your arteries. That myth is known as the lipid hypothesis and was debunked decades ago, yet the ignorant such as yourself still believe it because your doctor, another authority figure, said so.

    The fallacies of the lipid hypothesis.

    “Abstract

    Most researchers to-day consider that a high intake of saturated fat and elevated LDL cholesterol are the most important causes of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The lipid hypothesis has dominated cardiovascular research and prevention for almost half a century although the number of contradictory studies may exceed those that are supportive. The harmful influence of a campaign that ignores much of the science extends to medical research, health care, food production and human life. There is an urgent need to draw attention to the most striking contradictions, many of which may be unknown to most doctors and researchers.”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18615352

    Dr got you Statins? Another capitalist big pharma scam.

    How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don’t Really Work.

    https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/why_statins_dont_really_work.html

    Boat don’t you know that the editor, Dr. Richard Horton, of the most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, has claimed half of all medical research is bunk?

    “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”
    -Dr. Richard Horton

    http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)60696-1.pdf

  31. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 12:18 am 

    Boat, I haven’t worked full time steady since 2009. I’m semi retired like you except I’m 50 years old and I do the car thing but am much lighter on the renovation stuff and I do some computer stuff. A big slice of the people I do the work for are boomers – retired or semi retired. I’ll change out a starter or alternator or serpentine belt or brake pads or whatever for single moms on the discount, but only because I want to fuck them care.

    Boat it’s called cognitive dissonance and I have suffered it myself. All humans have. It causes great anxiety holding two conflicting thoughts/ideas in ones head and evolution came up with a number of strategies to get rid of that anxiety, such as willful ignorance, motivated reasoning, peer pressure, group think and many more. We all do it to some degree. Me and you both won the genetic lottery by being born white in N America after WWII. No commoners before have had such advantages in many ways and none ever will. It was a rare period of history. Benefiting from capitalism as we do while at the same time knowing it is a heartless cruel exploitative system including towards some in our own countries is about the best example of cognitive dissonance I can think of. I’m living large while others are suffering and I only got here by chance. What are your options to square that circle in your head? 1) Cling to the cultural myths for dear life and incessantly repeat the propaganda myths? 2) Accept the fact that randomness plays a bigger role in the world and every individuals life and you got lucky? 3) Admit that there is really nothing you can do to change the larger picture and there is no need to cling to cultural propaganda? 4) Accept that the humans are greatly flawed and tragic and have screwed things up royally? 5) Accept that the humans are following their biological programming and their overshoot is written in their DNA, but capitalism made it happen about as fast as is humanly possible. The MPP loves capitalism.

    Clinging is fine for a short term strategy, but as the great global unraveling continues on all fronts it will only lead to disappointment and it’s also very limiting – like religion. All cultural myths a limiting by design. They don’t want too many critical thinkers asking questions and pointing out contradictions. Keep it simple and emotionally soothing. Make the sheeple think they are special and they will believe and do almost anything. Manifest destiny, exceptionalisim and all that – tell yourself.

  32. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 12:29 am 

    All good Capitalists do whatever they can to cut costs.

    Smokey and the Algorithm?

    Robots could replace 1.7 million American truckers in the next decade

    ”At risk is one of the most common jobs in many states, and one of the last remaining careers that offer middle-class pay to those without a college degree.”

    http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-fi-automated-trucks-labor-20160924/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAhFtSc70BA

  33. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 12:42 am 

    Tons of info & links

    Automation and the Future of Work: It’s Already Happened

    http://hipcrime.blogspot.ca/2016/04/automation-and-future-of-work-its.html

  34. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 1:26 am 

    “Primitive” Ancients

    “For a long time I’ve been suspicious of the narrative that ancient science and technology were so “primitive,” and that knowledge only began with the Industrial Revolution. I further question the idea that “science” was an invention of the seventeenth century and beyond. Institutionalized science in the service of profit and empire maybe, but humans have been observing the natural world and acting on that knowledge for our entire history as a species. It is key to our survival; it didn’t suddenly begin in the 1600’s with Francis Bacon.

    Cave-dwelling humans put the needles of sedges in their bedding. These needles were known to ward off insect pests. This was over 70,000 years ago!

    Nubians drank medicinal beer laced with antibiotics in the Ancient Egyptian period.

    The antimicrobial properties of metals have been known since ancient times.

    The Romans had concrete stronger and more durable (and more environmentally friendly) than that of today. They also used nanotechnology. There is evidence of mass production of weapons, and complexes like Barbegal harnessed the motive power of water.

    The Iron Pillar of Asoka has managed to not rust for several thousand years. Compare that to railroad bridges only a hundred years old in the Midwest today.

    The Arsenal of Venice was doing mass production long before Henry Ford, churning out a warship every few days at its peak.

    Of course there is the Antikythera mechanism. (see here)

    I’m sure there are many, many more examples of ancient knowledge and technology that we know of, and many others that have been lost permanently or are still waiting to be discovered like the Anglo-Saxon remedy.

    Anglo-Saxon antibiotics are just the start – it’s time to start bioprospecting in the past (Guradian). I didn’t know that the penicillin was discovered back in the 1870’s

    But why the demonization of the past, especially the European Middle Ages?

    [BOAT, PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH]

    I suspect it is part of the concerted effort to demonize the past and inflate the present era. By lumping all of humanity’s past into an undifferentiated quagmire of suffering and misery, it allows the apostles of progress to shut down any criticism of the modern industrial era. By downplaying the technical achievements, folk knowledge and living standards of the past, you can more easily elevate the present social arrangement and argue that our era is “the best time to be alive in all of history, ever!!!”. How often, when the conversation turns to earlier periods in history, does some wag insist that everyone before the Industrial Revolution lived in abject poverty, misery, and ignorance, irrespective of time or place? This is always used to shout down anyone who criticizes our era where most people are institutionalized from birth, and spend every waking moment living and dying by the clock and scrambling for dollars, with all the freedom and agency of feedlot cattle.”

    http://hipcrime.blogspot.ca/2015/04/primitive-ancients.html

  35. makati1 on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 1:51 am 

    Ap, I would like him to explain the moving and placements of the stones of Baalbek, each weighing 800 tons. These were quarried, shaped, transported, and accurately placed ovr two thousand years ago.

    “‘… in spite of their immense size, they [the Trilithon stones] are so accurately placed in position and so carefully joined, that it is almost impossible to insert a needle between them. No description will give an exact idea of the bewildering and stupefying effect of these tremendous blocks on the spectator’.”

    http://www.eridu.co.uk/Author/Mysteries_of_the_World/Baalbek/Baalbek6/baalbek6.html

    “Although it is sometimes claimed that modern cranes cannot lift stones as heavy as 800-tons,[9] this is actually incorrect. Bob MacGrain, the Technical Director of Baldwins, confirmed that there were several mobile cranes that could lift and place the 1,000-ton stone on a support structure 20 feet high. Baldwins themselves operate a 1,200 ton capacity Gottwald AK912 strut jib crane,[10] whilst other companies operate cranes which can lift 2,000 tons. Unfortunately, however, these cranes do NOT have the capability to actually move whilst carrying such heavy loads.”

  36. Cloggie on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 4:46 am 

    makati says: I would like him to explain the moving and placements of the stones of Baalbek, each weighing 800 tons. These were quarried, shaped, transported, and accurately placed ovr two thousand years ago.

    Yes, fascinating ain’t it. Makes you want to grab for the books of Graham Hancock, Robert Duval or the Canadian librarians Rose and Rand Flem-Ath, who claim that Atlantis is burried under the ice of Antarctica:

    http://www.flem-ath.com

    These Baalbek stones prove that there are huge lacunes in our knowledge of history. We all think that we know the big picture: apeman, Neanderthaler, Cro-Magnon, ice ages, stone age, agriculture in Anatolia, Harappa civilization in India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages, European discoveries, colonialism, WW1, WW2, cold war and that’s it.

    Is that so?

    In my home town, 15 minutes walk from where I live, they build a prehistoric village, depicting life shortly before the Romans entered the scene:

    http://tinyurl.com/gu79dlb
    http://www.prehistorischdorp.nl/en

    If you walk over the terrain, through the leaves of the trees, you can see the ASML buildings, where the most complex machines on the planet are being build with which you can produce microchips. The point is that between the goat dung of the prehistoric village and these wafer stepper machines are merely 2000 years development. Humans are around for hundreds of thousands of years. Who can tell for certain that somewhere in the thicket of history there were no other civilizations around that perhaps destroyed itself or were whiped out by some catastrophe, like the Harappa civilization was wiped out, not by “Aryans” but by drought:

    http://www.nature.com/news/two-hundred-year-drought-doomed-indus-valley-civilization-1.14800

    Perhaps an Atlantis super civilization, first described by Plato, did exist, able to displace these Baalbek stones. The Flem-Ath couple are building on the theory, popularized by the movie 2012…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFXGrTng0gQ

    … that there never were ice ages, but that the earth crust has the ability to shift over the fluid mantle. If there is enough assymetric ice buildup at the poles, the entire earth crust can shift over the mantle and find a new equilibrium. The result would be that 13,000 years ago, territories like present day Holland, would get rid of the “ice age”, not because of some inexplicable “climate change”, but simply because Holland moved away from the Pole. Even Albert Einstein was fascinated by the theory as promoted by Charles Hapgood:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hapgood
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pole_shift_hypothesis

    I find the theory outright fascinating: it explains the “ice ages” (there were none), the reports about a catastrophic event in pre-biblical times (Great Flood, see movie 2012). It also explains why agriculture invariably sprang up at high altitudes, like Anatolia. Explanation: human civilization was wiped out on a global scale everywhere else because of enormous flood waves devastating life on entire continents, due to a rapidly shifting earth crust. Civilization would be reset and the people able to transport 800 ton stones (“Atlantis”) no longer existed.

  37. Dredd on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 7:34 am 

    Sheep in wolves’s clothing is the metaphor (The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy – 3).

  38. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 11:50 am 

    Clogged, Graham Hancock is a bullshit artist. Figures a dupe like you would bring him up. What about leprechauns, fairies, loch ness monster and sasquatch? They all real too and being hidden/covered up by “them”? Wooooo, so many conspiracies, so little time.

  39. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 11:55 am 

    Old Dutch, watch Graham Hancock squirm when being questioned by someone other than a glassy eyed “believer”. When his so called evidence is put to the test he squirms like a rat in a glue trap.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFVX8OuNGoo

  40. Cloggie on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 12:08 pm 

    I never said I “embraced” Hancock, or Hapgood or “Flem-Ath”… but I did like to read about these wild hypothesis in a distant past, like others like to read a detective. There are many unanswered question, like with the Baalbek stone:

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/imagenes_misterios/baalbek_3.jpg

    Unlikely the Romans did this.

    Today I have no time for that, reality is more interesting.

  41. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 2:03 pm 

    Capitalism is making Almond growers richer and what could be more important than almonds? Almonds covered in high fructose corn syrup & chocolate bring me happy dopamine hits – sometimes I feel like a nut….

    California’s almond boom has ramped up water use, consumed wetlands and stressed pollinators

    “A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands — despite the state’s historic drought. The expansion of almonds has also consumed 16,000 acres of wetlands and will likely put additional pressure on already stressed honeybee populations.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160927135017.htm

  42. Apneaman on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 2:07 pm 

    Global Container Volume on Track for Worst Year Since 2009

    Flat growth in the beleaguered shipping industry could set off further bankruptcies and possible acquisitions

    “Global container volumes are on track for zero growth this year, which would mark the sector’s worst performance since the 2009 economic crisis and a sure catalyst for further bankruptcies and possible acquisitions in the beleaguered shipping industry, shipping executives said.

    Freight rates, the predominant source of income for shipping companies, fell 20% in the benchmark Asia to Europe trade route this week compared with last week to $767 per container.

    Rates have mostly stayed well below $1,000 since the start of the year and operators say anything below $1,400 is unsustainable.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/global-container-volume-on-track-for-worst-year-since-2009-1474994587

  43. makati1 on Wed, 28th Sep 2016 8:23 pm 

    Ap, I would not discount some of the alt-history claimed by people like Hancock. There are a number of things that cannot be explained by today’s “history”. I do not believe in aliens, but there may have been advanced civilizations that existed and then died out or got diluted over time.

    We like to think we know all about the past but all we know are our own interpretations of what fragments we can see and touch. All else is conjecture. Even our recent history is just lies written by the winners, obvious if you read accounts from many sources.

  44. Kai Neumann on Thu, 29th Sep 2016 9:55 am 

    three remarks:
    1. isn’t also relevant how relatively poor the majority is?
    2. isn’t the whole system to include increased debt also by governmnets (owed to the rich) and the externalization of costs to the environment (incl. climate change) that will soon let the poor less resilient?
    3. isn’t it also important to communicate the dependence of the rich of the wealth of the poor, like hsown with this and other cause and effect models from know-why.net: https://www.know-why.net/model/A35eyxvj73-mr0MzCUrU8DA

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