About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Economic Freedom For "An Apartment And Some Groceries"

According to Jesse A. Myerson, America is an "economic hellhole." As much as I agree with Myerson, I disagree with his prescriptions for climbing out.

Myerson prescribes five means which will, supposedly, allow Americans to climb out of their economic hellhole: a government-mandated "guaranteed job;" a government-mandated "guaranteed income;" government-mandated community-owned "land trusts;" government-ownership of the "private sector;" and government-ownership of the "banking game."

Of course, in order to do all this, the government would have to own you and whatever "private" property you now think you own. Moreover, the politicians and bureaucrats that make up government would have to be smarter than you, more efficient than you, more ambitious than you and more honest than you. All doubtful propositions.

Jonah Goldberg wrote a followup piece reminding Myerson that his "concrete proposals" for creating a "just, fair society" are hardly new. Rather, they are well-worn and tried prescriptions of Marx and Lenin. Goldberg offers an opinion as to why the "failure of communism didn't put the debate [between capitalism and communism] to rest." He chalks it up to youthful ignorance of economics and history.

In a rebuttal to Goldberg's followup, hard to imagine squeezing in the Continental Congress in a world where Thomas Jefferson had to run across town to his minimum-wage night job." He suggests Jefferson might have achieved more if his pals in the Continental Congress had voted to provide him with an "apartment and some groceries."

What kind of moral outlook must a fellow have who could even imagine a man like Thomas Jefferson working for and being satisfied with a "minimum wage night job?" Or a man like Jefferson being demoralized and economically defeated by the lack of an apartment and three squares a day?

Rensin describes his "moral outlook" as follows: "Freedom, in the most prosperous nation on Earth, must entail the freedom to act without the constant specter of homelessness, hunger and preventable illness." He grounds his endorsement of Myerson and Myerson's communist prescriptions in this moral outlook. I contend Rensin's moral outlook is both unrealistic and illogical. Therefore, it is nothing less than 21st century snake oil.

It is obvious that Rensin's moral outlook can be realistic and logical only in the context of a nation that is already "prosperous." To deny this is to endorse the absurd. How could there be freedom from the "constant specter of homelessness, hunger and preventable illness" in a nation which is already beset by homelessness, hunger and preventable illness?

What Rensin, Myerson and their fellow "lefty millennial activists" don't seem to comprehend is that individuals like Thomas Jefferson create prosperous nations because they are haunted by "the constant specter of homelessness, hunger and preventable illness." This specter is the incentive that motivates their individual creativity and industriousness, that causes them to earn themselves out of poverty, that creates a nation of prosperous individuals.

Poverty, not prosperity, is the natural state of mankind. So the proper question for lefty millennials to consider is not how should the spoils of prosperity be divvied up, but how was this prosperity created in the first place?

And how will this prosperity continue to be created if individual Americans come to believe they must no longer create it themselves?

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