Freedom versus Slavery
Freedom is choice; slavery is no choice but to do what you are told. Through out history people were enslaved to increase the freedoms of the privileged. Slavery is cheap labor and armies were found as the means to increase our slaves. We conquer a nation to steal its goods and enslave its people. This leads to gluttony and a weakening of the ruling class because with the leisure gained in their freedoms they fall to gambling, wine imbibing, and sex. Their armies become indulgent and weak. Eventually they are overcome by a slave revolt or marauding barbarians.
The ready solution to this problem was religion. We make it a sin to gamble, commit adultery, or drink to excess and most important a God given right to rule by the royalty. Thus comes the era of feudalism. Gogal gives an excellent example of this in Dead Souls. Dostoyevsky addresses this in Brothers Karamazov and The Devils. The serf must serve the landed gentry with a promise of paradise in the after life.
This system served well till came the time of the industrial revolution where organized monies aka ‘banks’ gained power with their capital and overcame the aristocracy. The serfs could gain independence by becoming workers but soon discovered they were enslaved by debt. Dickens shows the abuses of the Capitalist in this era as well Steinbeck in works like Cannery Row.
This society of capital and industrialization brought about our modern forms of governance. No longer could we rule as a God given right – Capital could buy the government it wanted and capital needed police to keep its labor under wraps. The solution to gain ‘freedom’ from organized money was organized labor – the union. Woody Guthrie sings about this period and Joe Hill becomes a martyr.
Today America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, has two political parties. The Republican offers solutions to capital known as the ‘free market’ with low taxes and deregulation. Cheap labor is created with these tools. The Democratic Party regulates the market forcing ‘fair practice’ labor laws and through taxation creates a safety net of Medicaid, free schools, and retirement benefits. This makes labor expensive and reduces the excess of wealth.
In the best of times these two parties keep each other in check. Through taxation we can so weaken Capital that it can no longer create jobs. Incentive is the key word. The labor must be given the incentive to work and spend known as a fair wage, but the capital must be given equal incentive to profit. When I lived in England during the early seventies the Labor Party (English equivalent of American Democratic Party) had become so powerful and entrenched that the “Rich’ were taxed up to eighty per cent of their earnings. These monies were used to support a free health care system and welfare for the unemployed that were so Liberal there was no incentive to work. Buildings were boarded-up and the Capital fled to tax havens – there was massive unemployment. Then came Margaret Thatcher to reverse the situation and bring England out of the slump. She broke unions and privatized national industry but her excess in the opposite direction brought her down.
In America came Ronald Reagan AKA the great beast 666. These two set about de-funding the left by running up deficits that lead to the Recession of 1986 -7 as well as breaking the power of organized labor by out sourcing and opening borders to illegal immigrants who would work cheap. “Hey look they made the choice to work for that amount – nobody made them - it’s a free market. We hold the right to organize money but deplore the right to organize the labor!” Goodbye fruit picker union undercut by the flood of their fellow migrant workers.
They argue that this is a system that benefits everyone, yet where is the evidence? In Chili? In Argentina? What is called the incentive of self-interest always seems to escalate into all for me greed. Under Thatcher the rich got richer and the poor poorer. When she began her reign the poorest fifth of the country got 10% of the wealth and the wealthiest fifth got 37%. After ten years the poor only had 7% and the wealthy 43%.
Most important on their assault of the left was deregulation. Let the banks create asset default loans and charge interest rates that in any sane period was denounced as usury. This takes unfair advantage of the uneducated and weak.
Under Communism, which represents a total regulation of Capital by the state the entrepreneurial spirit lost incentive to innovate and could only grow through expansion. The state made one product and there was no competition and without competition the product could be sub-standard and still succeed. The workers had no incentive because they could never improve their standard.
It is said that my freedom begins where yours ends but if I step on your toes then I interfere. The two parties then negotiate a balance somewhat like a chess game but if you force labor to play with only pawns and capital assaults with a double queen then it is slavery.