Archive mensuelle de mai 2017

I have a dream…

I dream that money could actually belong to the people who earn it.

I dream that wealth would not depend on previous wealth.

I dream that no one, not even those in power, could set the rules for owning it.

 

I dream of a world in which surviving would not be at the loss of freedom.

I dream of a free trade not controlled by the interests of a one percent.

I dream of an open world in which capitalism would be a platform for democracy.

 

I dream of a revolution in the way we think about ownership.

About the world we live in

TRUISMS

Capitalism is a good idea: the private ownership of the means of production is the most secure way of guaranteeing that everyone will do the utmost to make whatever he owns as efficient as possible, hence creating wealth for the benefit of all. All other systems have failed dramatically and History shows that any control or ownership of the economy by the state, often referred to as communism or dictatorship, has resulted in total failure; to the extent that the very same people who made the experience of it, such as Russia, China or Germany, to name but a few, are often the ones to now indulge in the most conspicuous forms of capitalism.

Capitalism relies on free trade: if and as soon as ownership of the means of production is attributed to those who should never have been deprived of it, the people, it is essential that they may trade freely between them in the most efficient manner, relying on fair deals more than on legal barricades, on mutual trust more than on protective regulations. The « mutual sentiment » described by Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiment is the foundation of free trade, and indeed of capitalism. It may well be that the « Invisible Hand » described by Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations solely results from the mutual sentiment described in his former work.

Free trade implies freedom: a free market economy, by definition, cannot be controlled by a few, especially if the few in question have a private interest in controlling it in a way that may produce advantages for themselves, or their tribe. No new regulation should therefore be issued by those who could take a private interest in the passing of said new regulation. The 2008 financial collapse is a perfect example of decisions taken for the benefit of some against the interests of the very same people they had deprived of everything.

Money gives power: whether we like it or not, it is better to be rich if you want to make the wind blow in the direction you wish it would blow. The mechanism is called « corruption », and it is a very efficient mechanism indeed: it works very well in capitalism, but just as well in the case of communism or dictatorship. Lobbies need money to provide it to their supports, including heads of states, or to finance their coming to power, and capitalism is therefore an ideal tool to create the platform on which private interests may lead the economy; hence contradicting the very same precept that we have exposed on our second paragraph;

Money has become virtual: created as a tool for trading, and then based on the actual value that anyone would attribute to a given good, it has now become mere figures that are exchanged on the Internet at a rate of a few million operations per second. Those who control said operations are the very same people who own the highest percentage of the volumes of the cash at stake. This may sound like a moral and logical approach, were it not for the fact that they now also control the wealth of millions of people with no control over the system.

Material resources are limited: we most probably live in a world in which tipping points have been reached on many of our most fundamental resources. Though it is more than likely that we shall find handy solutions to compensate for our past excesses, it remains that most of the riches of today have been built on stuff we are running out of. It may well be that the « people in power », who are no fools, are starting to understand that their wealth is built on dying supplies and based on virtual reality. They control the latter, but can only set back the former, and only for a limited amount of time, by expanding their empire through control of those that possess what they need. A control that one can indeed call theft.

PROPOSITIONS

Free trade comes in conflict with capitalism, and vice versa: capitalism as it stands puts the control of wealth in the hands of people who already own the power of their wealth. Trade is not free, therefore, as it-is subdued by the interests of a very few. Any defence of « free trade » that does not immediately suggest the idea of « fair trade » should therefore be opposed and fought against with the most virulent hostility. A good deal is a deal that fits both parties, all other deals forming the causes of wars, a fundamental of diplomacy that Winston Churchill understood to the last word.

No infinitely free trade can be based on limited resources: as soon as private interests are involved, and if the pie is limited, some will want to get a bigger share of the pie. This is strictly logical, arises from the fact that your son or daughter is more important than your neighbour, and that your neighbour is more important than an unknown foreigner; a fact that cannot be disclaimed by the most enthusiastic defender of globalisation; a fact probably at the source of our very own survival as a human species for hundreds of thousands of years. Free trade promotes the interests of an ever fewer number of individuals against everyone else whenever the supplies are limited and therefore kills the very idea of capitalism as soon as capitalism is owned by just a very few.

Virtual resources may be part of the solution: the advent of virtual resources such as those available on the Internet, be it on the matter of cultural resources or indeed of services or financial resources, with the appearance of virtual currencies, among others, may well form a platform from which everyone will become a direct stakeholder of his own wealth. The Bitcoin experience is a good example of what may be happening in the future: a total control of one’s own money, without consideration for the interest of the « one percent », and without it having any control over it.

CONCLUSION

Capitalism needs to remain free. It cannot remain free if it is « owned ». Deregulation is necessary, but cannot, and should not, be « regulated » by the interests of a very few. Democracy can only survive if the rules of the game are defined by the many. The mission of the next generation is to become Greek.

Good luck !




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