“By their fruits ye shall know them. Do [men] gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” — Matthew 7:16-18
Whenever people talk about anarchy, the two straw men arguments that people present are: “What about the roads?” and “What about the poor?” Generally, liberals use a number of logical fallacies when talking about free markets. They love to use arguments that appeal to emotions such as: appeal to pity, appeal to spite and wishful thinking. On one hand, they assume that they are correct, because they view themselves as the most virtuous people. On the other hand, they think that free market proponents are evil and selfish, but they don’t present any proof for these assumptions.
Hence, we end up with the popular tactic called the false dilemma, which essentially boils down to some argument “what about the …” and using that appeal to excuse the violence. In these state religions there is no real contemplation; rather any argument or appeal is used to excuse or initiate violence against those who do not agree.
As anarcho-capitalists (ancaps) we reason that the initiation of violence is morally wrong. Furthermore, if a system is created and enforced with violence, it is necessarily evil, no matter what its stated ideals. Social safety nets and charity that rely on violence, theft, laziness and dishonesty are evil. If such systems are evil, how much good can you create with evil?
Stop Aid And Institutionalized Charity
Most of what passes for aid and charity is a state-run con job that steals money and gives it to the people administering the system. In many cases, the results are extremely negative; it destroys the lives of the people that it is trying to help.
The most egregious example of this scam is international aid. Or, as Doug Casey so eminently said, “Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”
To further define, first the money is stolen from taxpayers in a “richer” country and then is “given” to a “poor” country. They cannot actually use this money, and the money almost never enters the country (usually siphoned off by that government that people keep saying we need). Rather, they are forced to buy services and equipment from the donor country that they do not need or cannot use — usually further distorting the economy of that country. A few years ago, I worked on a project involving European foreign aid and a few African countries. The money came from European taxpayers, but most of it ended up at an American University and at the private consulting company of a lecturer at said American university.
For a while, it looked like most of the money would end up there and with a few multinational IT companies. I know someone who pointed out these facts to some of the donors; it caused a minor diplomatic incident. In other cases, foreign aid is used to dump grains in poor countries. When that happens, it pushes the price of grains to below their production cost. This forces more farmers to stop farming. Usually, the grains rot or are used to produce cheap alcohol. So International aid is a scam deliberately created to make the sheeple feel virtuous, steal money and funnel it into politically connected businesses.
All of the stolen money being forced into charity has become profitable for narcissistic do-gooders as it prolongs the problems they are claiming to solve. In the worst cases, NGOs are either fronts for intelligence agencies or lobbyists. In the late 90s in South Africa, a lot of foreign NGOs arrived and set up shop. The problem was that they were lobbyists. At a critical time, they were able to influence a lot of laws or, more importantly, the interpretation of them.
Government Involvement In The Economy Never Helps
Johannesburg still has a big problem with murder, and most murders are done with unlicensed guns that were dumped by foreign governments during the various wars.
Due to the action of the magical-minded anti-gun brigade, it is now almost impossible to own a gun; and if you use one and kill in self-defense, you go to jail for murder. Another big scandal during the early 90s involved money donated by the Swedes to anti-apartheid campaigners; most of the “aid” helped a small-time politician live the life of a rock star. In the worst cases, the aid money was donated to violent criminals who loved killing people and putting bombs in public places. In more benign cases, NGO money is used to give spoiled rich kids time to slum it in Third World countries, giving all of their valuable life experience to the poor. Those are the lucky ones. Most people who work for charities are in fact slave laborers, doing all the hard work while the directors and managers live the life of ease.
End Welfare…To Help People
Another social safety scam is welfare, known colloquially in the United Kingdom as “the dole.” Besides the moral issue, where money is stolen from hard-working people and is given to lazy f**kwits who have never tried to find a job; the system does not work. The state is essentially incentivizing and paying people to become poor. Due to the bureaucratic incentives, it actually pays more to be more in debt and have more children and never get a job. The net result has been a massive increase in poverty within the U.K. Yes, everyone can afford to eat and watch reality television for the moment, but there are large parts of the country functioning like the dystopian future of Idiocracy. It is the one of many major failings of the anti-individual and anti-freedom concept of democracy, that those who live off welfare and have never earned an honest cent in their lives, are actually encouraged to vote. It is no surprise that nothing actually changes, particularly when the parasites outnumber the productive (as they currently do in 11 of the 50 States in the U.S. where there are more on welfare than who have jobs).
When anarcho-capitalists mention the problems of the state enforced monopoly of welfare, they are accused of being heartless; those who accuse us of being greedy have not even spent five minutes contemplating ethics. They just want to feel secure and self-righteous without the discomfort of self-examination. How can it even be called charity when the money is stolen under the threat of violence?
So are there any free-market, voluntary alternatives that encourage capital formation and help the poor?
Of course. There are actually several: Some are not known; others get more bad publicity.
One of my favorites is called a stokvel; it has a long history in the place of my birth, South Africa, and was very popular during the apartheid era, as many people could not open bank accounts. It is a type of informal, invitation-only investment club or rotating credit union. It generally needs more than 12 members to function. In its simplest form, members contribute on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. At each meeting and on a rotating basis, a different member receives all of the contributions. They are free to use the money for whatever they want. Besides the financial aspect, the stokvel operates like a support group or a home church. The members are friends and family; the meetings have a social aspect where they eat drink, dance and sing together. It is almost like a church, but not like this kind of church in the United States (You won’t believe what you see in the video below.)
Thankfully, things like that don’t exist outside of the United States (or on a much smaller level).
But with stovkels, few people steal from the members. The best part of this system is that it works without banks, and the members are able to leverage much greater amounts of capital.
Another free-market alternative is grouped under the umbrella term “microfinance.” Essentially, these are relationship-based banking and financial services for those who do not have access to banks. Through the financiers, poor or nearly poor people have access to loans, savings, insurance and fund transfers. By using these services, a “community” is able to leverage greater amounts of its own capital. By using the capital to expand their business, everyone becomes richer. The lender earns money by lending his savings to responsible people, and the borrower is able to expand his business and earn more money. Everyone gets richer, which puts more money in the community that can be used for further expansion.
People are poor because of a variety of reasons. One reason that is rarely mentioned is that without capital, it is extremely difficult to start new businesses, which are used to leverage the local resources (and why TDV often features tremendous business opportunities in foreign, developing countries). By pooling local capital together and keeping the free-market incentive of profit, even poor communities can bootstrap themselves to greater wealth. Unfortunately, a lot of these hero financiers are depicted as loan sharks in popular culture (run by the financial elites).
Thanks to the Internet, most people are familiar with similar business models. Thanks to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowd funding model has become a very popular method to create start-ups. People with ideas can use a site’s platform to create a campaign to find funding. If they meet or exceed their funding requirements, they receive the money. Those who contribute will receive various rewards based on how much they donated. Unfortunately, due to the success of this model, the state and patent trolls have gotten involved. They will eventually legislate it and litigate it out of existence (or herd it into the Bitcoin economy).
Keynes: Destroy Savings For Prosperity!
One of the fallacies promoted by the Keynesian consumerists is that savings are harmful to the economy, because the money sits in the banks and does nothing and, therefore, the gross domestic product (another macro-economic fallacy) does not grow. Anyone with a little knowledge of fractional reserve banking will know that this is patently untrue. With more free market models, previously mentioned, poor or nearly poor communities can concentrate and leverage what sparse capital that is available to them. By following profit incentives and providing a useful good or service, these entrepreneurs will enrich their own lives, the lives of their customers and the community. Forced charity has the opposite effect; no one grows wealthy, except the people prolonging the problem. The time preferences of the recipients shortens and capital within the community is misallocated, resulting in greater impoverishment and poverty. Besides, stealing money at gunpoint and giving it to others is, to any thinking individual, just wrong.
(As part of Darth Monti’s save Italy plan, a lot of stolen money was forced into a start-up fund in the south of Italy. They are now having trouble finding where all of the funds were sent; only the state can turn a winning business model into a vehicle of theft and corruption.)
The Dollar Vigilante