On “” by Lew Rockwell
I disproved most of the statements in “” by Lew Rockwell in my rather long book at and in the ancillary essays linked to my website. In , I began the study of the huge portion of our energy budget that is consumed by the free market. The adjective free refers to unfettered activity by those adept at accumulating material wealth and slavery for nearly everyone else. I do not mean chattel slavery but a much more insidious form of slavery whereby the slave imagines he is still free because he can quit one job to look for another under practically the same conditions. This is just as arbitrary as permitting those who are physically stronger or who have mastered the use of the sword to impose upon everyone else. No reasonable person imagines that the rich do not impose upon everyone of limited means. This is discussed in the book. It is interesting that the "unintended consequences" of utopian economic schemes always amount to the very evils that characterize every capitalist society and always will. Thus, anti-communist propaganda describes our utopian society in terms that best describe the society we live in now.
But, as I began to say before I decided to dispose of the fallacy "free" in the catch phrase "free market", capitalist economies require growth as shown by David Delaney in the second addendum of my essay; therefore, they can be shown to be unsustainable as I have done in , which was summarized in . In , I showed that even steady-state market economies, which would require the sort of radical change of which most conservatives disapprove, consume more energy than can be provided by sustainable technologies.
We know that the circumstances of the poor will not improve by permitting the rich to get richer and that every kilowatt-hour consumed by a rich man is one kilowatt-hour that the poor man who needs it to stay alive will not have. We know that, if we share the social dividend that Nature bequeathed to all in common and abandon the energy intense activities of commerce and finance and take the necessary steps to reduce our population, we might be able to avoid Dieoff in the wake of Peak Oil. We also know that sharing the social dividend in the form of true wealth measured in eMergy units is a path to liberty for all, which is possible if and only if there is true economic equality; and, we know that permitting inequalities in material wealth is a certain path back to every evil extant in the world today including the mass migration of people from their natural homes into alien and unfamiliar cultures, which my friend Virginia Abernethy correctly deplores.
What is left to learn? It is merely that anti-communist propaganda, which is anti-egalitarian/pro-authoritarian propaganda and is generally endorsed by religious fundamentalists and other personal salvationists, is precisely what is keeping us from initiating the very strategies we need to prevent Dieoff and save the world. It doesn't matter if the form it takes is the cloaking of an incorrect analysis of human nature in pseudo-scientific terms or as dire warnings about aspects of state capitalism that are shared by corporate capitalism in the societies in which we live and could not arise in a libertarian communist society whatever it is called by others. Dematerialism is a gradual path from present-day fascism to democratic libertarian communism, the only true democracy. Libertarian capitalism is a contradiction in terms.
I am ready to amplify and explain the above remarks in future posts and to amend anything that is misleading or unclear. I wonder what I said in my essaywhich I wrote many years ago. Also, the essay is an easy way to get at some of the ideas in POS.html
I found the best proof of the unsustainability of capitalism after I completed the current version of. It follows from David Delaney’s nice proof that capitalism requires economic growth in Addendum 2 of “ ” that follows my own feeble efforts along that line in this early essay. The rest of the argument follows from the absurdity of infinite growth in a finite world and the immorality and infeasibility of expansion into space; but, in “ ”, which was summarized in “ ”, I placed this contention on a quantitative basis.
It remains only to note that conservation is bounded by Carnot efficiency in many cases and one-hundred percent efficiency in every case whereas as the production of sustainable energy is bounded ultimately by the total land area of the earth. Technology cannot possibly harvest more energy than that which reaches the earth from the Sun in real time, the gravitational energy imparted to the tides by a moon that moves slowly away from the earth, and the nuclear energy from radioactive substances in the earth’s core. Although this is an enormous amount, it must be consumed principally by the weather and geological movements without which life on the planet must cease.
Anti-egalitarian and pro-authoritarian propagandists are not likely to bring up the unsustainability of capitalism. On the other hand, they generally accuse previous attempts to distribute wealth equitably with the very faults that invariably accompany every instance of materialism in the world, the principal instantiation of which is capitalism itself. The common indictment is that communism has been proved unworkable. People who make this wild claim generally have no idea what exactly constitutes a proof. Let’s examine what they mean by “unworkable”.
First, they say that every attempt to equilibrate wealth must end in a dictatorship. Provided, of course, that wealth is distributed equally and a democratic constitution is in place, there is no way for power to become concentrated into the hands of the wealthy as has occurred in the United States and the United kingdom and in other Western nations. If the recommendations offered by dematerialism to prevent the ascent to dictatorial power of so-called natural leaders are adopted, power is guaranteed to be distributed perfectly, that is, no one will have any power over anyone else other than the power of persuasion, which can be based only upon genuine political wisdom. This is discussed in ., especially in the section of Chapter 11 entitled
Second, they say that people will become dissatisfied if they cannot improve their economic well-being essentially without limit. Earlier I used the thought experiment involving a Mark I Economy to show that, in a resource limited world such as our world, unlimited accumulation of wealth amounts to the murder of those who go without. Under the circumstances that obtain in our world today, inequality of wealth amounts to murder. But, moral considerations aside, the discoveries of psychologists regarding the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation show that the exact opposite is true; namely, that if people are concerned with resource dominance are guaranteed to be unhappy while people who are actually happy are concerned only with what is interesting to do. This echoes dramatically the advice of the hero of the biblical New Testament and the advice of Bertrand Russell on happiness in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell. (Unfortunately, at the present time, I have not re-discovered the exact chapter, section, and pages.)
If neither of these objections to sharing wealth is valid, we begin to suspect that anti-communist propaganda, which is anti-egalitarian / pro-authoritarian propaganda and is generally endorsed by religious fundamentalists and other personal salvationists, is precisely what is keeping us from initiating the very strategies we need to prevent Dieoff and save the world. It doesn't matter if the form it takes is the cloaking of an incorrect analysis of human nature in pseudo-scientific terms or as dire warnings about aspects of state capitalism that are shared by corporate capitalism in the societies in which we live and could not arise in a libertarian communist society or whatever one calls it to avoid inflammatory terms. Dematerialism is a gradual path from present-day fascism to democratic libertarian communism, the only true democracy. Libertarian capitalism is a contradiction in terms.
Men can compete for anything they want so long as it is not the very things we need to live. That's unnecessarily savage.
January 29, 2007