Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Slavery is Inevitable: the Commons of Individual Revenue

They've proven themselves largely incapable of responsibly engaging with the market economy. Citizen earnings consist of a commons that need to be enclosed. I was skeptical of the 'owned markets' idea, though I've largely argued myself into it; the caveat being that the units should be owned, not a market as a whole.

Unsophisticated individuals can take on debt. The result is a mad rush to seize all their future earnings by selling them whatever useless crap can be frantically pushed onto them. Hence present household debt numbers.

You can't ban debt entirely. Sophisticated individuals will always flout those rules. Such a ban makes it harder for your jurisdiction to be rich, and it will either collapse into legalized debt or simply collapse.

Most states can't partially ban debt either. A debt license scheme will end up like the driver's license scheme: everyone gets one. Corporations will lobby until they can exploit consumers again, because present earnings are more valuable than future earnings. Second, having a debt license scheme is to acknowledge that some people are better than others.

Only feudalism and ancap can handle individual debt properly. A local lord can give a serf some minimal debt allowance. If they spend it on kitsch and nondurable goods, then it's revoked. Ancap can do it because the debt licensing scheme would have to be self-funded, and thus would be responsible. Equivalently: without FDIC loan suppliers, facing the actual default risk, will refuse to lend.

Wage slavery really is slavery. The average citizen cannot be free. At best they can be upgraded from slave to serf.


Lucky Lothario said...

I've long thought this with socialised healthcare. Since the end user gains no benefit from NOT using the system (apart from the potential lower mortality rates associated with staying out of hospital), the government needs to step in to prevent abuse of the system.

Now they get to ban things that would put a higher cost on the system because "my house my rules".

Clearly, not having socialised healthcare isn't the only way to prevent Government over-stepping it's bounds of control as tobacco, alcohol and sugar taxes still exist in many countries without it.

I can't really see the way out of the bind though. People are irresponsible and, even personal debt, does have externalities.

If everyone starts taking steroids, non-steroid users can't compete athletically even though steroid users are fucked 20 years later but that's after the competition is over anyway. Likewise, if everyone takes on unreasonable debt, they drive up the cost of education, house prices, cars etc. Regular people will find it difficult to compete and by the time the debt takes out the idiots, it may well have cost the non-debted quite a lot.

The obvious answer as you've implied lies with the lender. Government-insured debt let's the government make indentured servants of all of us. If the majority are idiots...that might even be for the best...

AMK said...

This ties into what I have said about the price of good police enforcement being potentially higher than the tax revenue to support in among populations with high levels of violence. It also ties into the issue of how democracy is a marketplace for the purchasing of laws. See


Anonymous said...

There was a documentary several years ago about people getting into debt, living on the dole and all of the usual victim-of-capitalism stuff. One particularly degenerate family unit was given 20k to help them. IIRC, it was all spent within a few weeks. Nothing saved, nothing invested. I doubt slavery or serfdom would help people like this - most of them are functionally useless and unemployable anyway and are likely to become more so as technology advances.

I think the red pill that needs to be swallowed here is that some just aren't fit for civilization and need to be removed. The hunter-gatherer hand-to-mouth mentality just isn't compatible.