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Economic Things I "Learned" From Twitter Marxists

Things got hot and heavy last night between myself and three or four trolls. This is, in and of itself, is not unusual but the level of stupidity and educational shortcomings was astounding. Not that they weren't educated, but what they were apparently taught. I'm not sure what cryptic tome they were spoon fed from, but what follows are a couple of the economic arguments made. These people vote. They think they're smart. They think they are the scion of the brightest among the intelligensia, and they vote. Frightening, really. Read on...


And just to get some terminology straight, "Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. Politically, it is the system of laissez-faire (freedom). Legally it is a system of objective laws (rule of law as opposed to rule of man). Economically, when such freedom is applied to the sphere of production its’ result is the free-market." -Capitalism.org. And the Free Market is the free exchange of goods and services. Often, although it's lazy of me, I sometimes use Capitalism and Free Market interchangeably. Also, in my own parlance, an "investor" can either be someone who fronts money to a business, or a slightly larger definition where anyone is an investor who provides money, time, skill or material for an enterprise. And indeed I define "capital" as monies, time, skill and/or material as each is convertable to the others.

1) Before the 15th Century, most economies weren't capitalist, and didn't use money.

Wow, what a statement. I guess that Rome didn't use Aureas, Dinaris and Sestertius. Now I believe it's true that barter was more often used then than in modern times, regional and continental trade most certainly existed as mediums of exchange (currency) was a lot easier to handle than to pack a herd of goats on a trireme. Same goes for Greece, Babylon, and most other advanced societies of the time. Apparently the thirty pieces of silver that were scattered under Judas was because he liked shiny things of no value or purpose. The Knights Templar was the richest Christian order- presumably for their collection of, I don't know- pez dispensers.

2) Before the 15th Century, economies were based in gift exchange processes where you gave whatever you had to anyone that needed it. If you needed a pig, you'd go up to someone and say, "nice pig" and they would be obliged to give it to you.

As William Bradford discovered at the communally chartered Plymouth Plantation, "a people who had formerly been known for their virtue and hard work became lazy and unproductive. Resources were squandered, vegetables were allowed to rot on the ground and mass starvation was the result." (Forbes, Link). There are so many assumptions made here it's hard to know where to start. Firstly, in only exceptionally small groups of people can this work, where everyone has a personal connection to everyone else and mutual sustenance was a concern.

Outside of, say, a family sized unit, if someone came up to me and and expected me to just give them a pig, I'd tell them to pound sand. An economy built on the mandatory redistribution of goods and services- especially on such a low level- without regard to the receiving individual's contribution or recompense, is at best a recipe for bad blood. On a larger scale, this is how wars happen. You see, it is my observation that people not only want to survive, they want to thrive. That means bettering their existence and circumstances in living arrangements, labor, free time, finding a good mate and providing for children. Often this involves the acquisition of material goods and money helps. Sustenance living should be a baseline, not a goal.

The counter argument I was parried from one Twitter Marxist: "you would go to your neihgbour [sic] and compliment his pig and he would give you his pig both of you knowing that you have to return this gift in some type, wheter [sic] labour, food, or maybe even complimenting him in front of an important person, for which he would have to return a gift to you, and so on."

This is all well and good but the remuneration is then one sided, and decided upon after the receiver of the pig had taken delivery. What if the pig farmer didn't think that the favor or bartered item wasn't worth the value of a pig? He's already out a pig and has no recourse. Without the ability to properly barter beforehand on the terms of the deal, one party or both could easily be slighted and the system breaks down again. The social commune model has broken down every place it's tried. On paper it's all rainbows and skittle-shitting unicorns. In practice, shortages, bad blood and lack of motivation to produce anything (as it's likely to be taken away from you) is the result.

3) Investors are a parasite on labor, stripping profit off the backs of the workers.

What seems to be missing from the argument is that the involvement of an investor is a voluntary one on both sides. A business is not obliged to allow someone to give them money. When a very large business goes public, they are giving permission to be traded by the general public, but they had the choice in that. So, back to private business concerns-

counter argument: "But the investors own the means to production!"

Certainly. But what they are again missing is that a business, and indeed an individual -all individuals- are at liberty to acquire and possess their own means of production. There seems to be a mindset in the minds of Statists that the means to production, like wealth, is a limited, static pool of resources and that a very few cronies conspire to limit access to them under their own terms. On the contrary, wealth is constantly being created and destroyed, and one person can acquire their own facility, tools, material and labor force to produce what he or she wishes. For those not wishing to provide their own capital, investors exist. But just as there is a cost to utilizing it in the form of interest or company shares, they are assuming a risk that you will produce and succeed like the investee plans. They could lose some or all of that invested capital.