Friday, 7 January 2011

Robin Hood Theory

"The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom."

"Louis XIV was very frank and sincere when he said: I am the State. The modern etatist is modest. He says: I am the servant of the State; but, he implies, the State is God"

"A new type of superstition has got hold of peoples minds, the worship of the state. People demand the exercise of the methods of coercion and compulsion, of violence and threat. Woe to anybody who does not bend his knee to the fashionable idols!"
All quotes from Ludwig Von Mises

Social structures seem to come and go throughout history. Absolutist Monarchies, Religious sects, Communist central planners, Feudalism, human history is littered with a constant evolution of selecting what is seen at the time as the next logical progression for the organisation of society. Many of us currently live under a democratic system. Such a system gives us choice between various political parties who stand for certain principles that are supposed to represent the wishes of the public. The problem is that democracy never works. You can never please everyone all with a single unified action. Many people use Apple or Linux Operating Systems rather than the dominate Windows system. Yet under democracy we would all heed to the majority. The biggest irony being that the majority actually would choose the weakest one. Individual freedom allows people to try new things under their own will and thus improve societies well being.

Governments prey on peoples belief that they can offer something for nothing. Notions of "Free" health services, "Free" education are popular sound-bites used by politicians and to give the sayings credit they tell us the minority pay for such services. Ever think why the political system now targets middle income families? So long as people think they are not paying for such services they are sucked into the mirage that is state planning. Someone has to pay for all these projects and it isn't the rich. They can cope with inflation or the Government waste as they can afford to use the additional high quality private services. Its you and me, the majority that pay for the states wasteful use of societies resources.

Anarchism generally conjures up images of chaos, lawless society with no rule or order. The opposite is in fact true when seen through a free market Anarchism viewpoint or Anarcho-Capitalism. Sure we could all go round killing one another, but the majority of people wouldn't. We don't kill one another not because of the implications of going to jail but for a simple human factor, it wouldn't be right or make sense. The majority of people want to get on, increase their living standards and quality of life, ensuring the next generation has access to a lifestyle better than their own. That's peoples nature. 

People also when left to their own devices, do what they want. Why do people want to become Doctors? Because either they want to help people, notice that it is a specialised profession with job security and good pay or they just enjoy that field of work. When individuals have the freedom to do as they please, human needs are met. The only limit is our current knowledge base. As time passes knowledge from generation to generation is passed down, the next problem is solved but then 10 other new problems are created from its solution. A free market has infinite amounts of work for us all to do. 

In a classic example of how Government destroy wealth, think of jobs. Governments on a frequent basis state they want to 'protect' jobs. The free market however creates new opportunities. Under the state we would still be working underground mining coal or whatever our ancestors did as the state would 'protect' such jobs. Meanwhile the free market sent these jobs overseas, people across the world can make products we used to make for a fraction of the cost, thus increasing peoples wealth. How many people 10 years ago could afford a 40 inch Flatscreen TV? Now it doesn't even cost a months minimum wage here in the UK. Meanwhile despite the loss of jobs, new ones have been created. One day Chinese people won't have low paid jobs. We will have sophisticated machines to do the jobs they carry out today. The global pool of intellectual labour increases. Current developing nations workers now join the West to help solve the next 10 problems we have created, while our ever advancing capital structure does the jobs we don't want or need to do. This process happens spontaneously under the action of individuals and free markets. Governments want us to work as we did in the past, all to appeal popular aiding their short term election campaigns. Despite it being a detriment to societies progress.

We don't require a state to co ordinate our lives. Who runs the schools, hospitals, police or fire services? People do. But under the states stewardship there is no consumer demand in order to direct these resources. These monolithic entities are enforced on us all, through the use of taxation, regardless of utility to the individual or society as a whole. I would personally like to use private health insurance, however I feel it is a matter of principle that I don't and instead use the NHS as I already pay a wedge of money every month in which I have no idea what it goes towards. I may as well get my moneys worth despite private care being better.

If we rationally think of taxation we see the reality of its stupidity. Every month I have to hand over a certain part of my pay packet. I don't know where this money goes, or even if it goes to services I use. On most products and services I buy I also have to pay 20% to the government. Again I have no idea where this money goes. By law I have to pay this, similar as to the Kings taxes hundreds of years ago. Theres no mutual exchange, just expropriation. This is another of the states great illusions, a "progressive" society, a Robin Hood childhood make belief, take from the rich to give to the poor. All taxation is regressive. There is no such thing as a progressive taxation.

If it was that simple why don't we just hit all entrepreneurs with huge taxes - simple, poverty solved. Why don't we just create ever more rigid labour laws? Got a new business idea, not sure if there is consumer demand, risky venture? Well if you need to recruit someone the state will impose a minimum redundancy notice of a year and an annual salary payout. Not many Googles or Facebooks would have got started in such an environment. Taxes are always regressive because what if we had not taxed the wealthy entrepreneur that money. Wouldn't they have used it more effectively than the state? In new ventures to create further wealth? Heaven forbid that they would try and create charitable organisations such as what Bill Gates is doing, giving back to society run by the stewardship of someone who has proved himself to have a sharp brain at directing economic resources. The invention of electricity, the refinement of the motor car, the rapid advancement of electronics have all improved our lives and some people have got rich along the way. But the state wants us to just see this side. The reality and the side that they conveniently ignore is that with these innovations, products and services - we all got richer along the way! When was the last time the state made us all richer? I'm typing this article, for free, and I'm able to access a global audience. It's not provided by the government but a company set up by individuals. 

The quotes provided above from Ludwig Von Mises provide an excellent historical perspective of the current state system. It's not the final step that society will take. Just like we abolished Feudalism, or Absolute Monarchism or transitioned towards a secular state, we will one day abolish the state. Just as in the past people could not imagine a world without the absolute rule of a King, the majority of people today can not see a world without the state. Just because we do things a certain way does not make it right. For years the world practised slavery. We didn't allow free speech. We were dictated by a privileged few. We used to accept lower living conditions to be ruled by a tyrant in the vain belief that we would go to heaven in our after life. Now people are told the Robin Hood theory from the state and without our current socio-political system the majority of people's lives would be substantially worse. The opposite is true. The sooner people relinquish the oppression of the state, the better all our lives will be. Maybe not in my lifetime, but as a student of history this type of event would definitely be up there as one of the most historically important events for humanity. I just hope its within my lifetime so I can witness such a momentous event. 

"Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism."
Ludwig Von Mises