Resisting Capitalism

resist-capitalim-resist-capitalism-iloescribio-sobre-un-iphone-22710086.jpg

I don’t want to sound mean… but I think you’re going about this be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-world thing all wrong. (Look at me getting my Gandhi on) But this has likely been pointed out many, many times before. Don’t worry, I was also young, dumb and full of… actually, I hope the last part of that axiom doesn’t necessarily apply to you. If I have any life advice (having now sired girl-children) be discerning about the boys that you allow access to your lady bits. We are extra-ordinarily single minded and some of us are very, very cunning.

I’m inclined to believe that people confuse consumerism, greed and excess with capitalism. Off the top of my head isn’t that a lot like blaming modern medicine for the opioid crisis? Which I suppose, some people might do. Oh, modern medicine and the fact that we don’t keel over and die (from pustulant, weeping lesions all over our body)… eh, direct result of capitalism, because while we want to believe that people do altruistic things for the good of humanity with no expectation of remuneration (and some of them do), capitalism blows these achievements out of the water in terms of sheer scale when we compare actual good done for humanity. Seriously its like comparing the sun to the moon and imagining them to be more or less equal… which for those of you who are not cosmologically minded… the difference is mind bendingly massive.

When you resist capitalism what you’re actually doing is denying humanism and obfuscating the only real (and proven) system available for people to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. You are the economic equivalent of an anti-vaxxer. Sure you can donate mosquito nets to poor people living in Africa (one of the effective altruisms goto projects for apparently getting the most ‘goodness’ bang for your buck). But really, in my opinion, poor people need free markets, liberalism, property rights and rule of law so they can pull themselves out of the pit of poverty and help themselves (and then buy their own mosquito nets). But all they (for the most part) get is fucked by their own authoritarian leadership, populist agendas and the vicious bureaucracy of their trade ‘partners’. But… I suppose with mosquito nets they will live long enough to die young from something else.

If you’re going #Resist something. Resist corruption. Or gerrymandering. Or fucken lobbyists. Or a jingoist foreign policy. Or tariffs. Or farming subsidies…  you know, all the things that are actual problems and lead to this perception that capitalism is the villain in the human success story.

Beggars can’t be choosers

I tend to oscillate wildly between waving my wooden pirate sword around and shouting ‘all content should be free’ from the yardarm. A yardarm is a nautical thing right? The rest of the time (when I’m not channeling Edward Teach) I’m thinking some content should be free, with the rest available, should you so desire it, through patronage (where if you enjoy someones content you can donate what you feel the content is worth). My position tends to fluctuate wildly between these two extremes throughout the day before resetting itself at nightfall, ready for tomorrows internal moot and aggressive discourse. Har har har.

Of course content creators need to eat. And buy MacBooks and Teslas. And fulfil all manner of other consumerist and probably Maslow-vian (I have no idea how to turn that into an adverb) needs. Why then do I begrudge giving them my money so much? I mean, they give me stuff in return. Rage… anxiety… hives. Although some of them also make me smile or give me something cognitive that I appreciate or even end up mulling over and considering for days…

ttz6nteaeb321

The above made me laugh. I was in Cape Town the other day and a beggar came up to me as I was getting my laptop out of my car and asked me for money. I almost never have cash on me, but I was driving a rental car and someone had left all their coinage in the center console cup-holder (which leads me to believe their cleaning service was somewhat cursory) In any event I explained that I didn’t have any money… but then I remembered the coins… and said ‘Wait a second’ and scooped the contents of the console into my hand and gave them to him. He looked at me disgusted and tossed the coins down onto the sidewalk and shuffled off, muttering to himself. ‘God, even the beggars are uppity fucks here’, I thought to myself before skipping across the street to order a skinny red chai latte and a vegan croissant.

In any event, apparently beggars can be choosers.

I have been thinking about this lately. Not the beggar so much (that was mostly an aside that suddenly occurred to me), but rather how one gets past this psychological imps arse (Terry Pratchett) of paying for content. I guess the options are free, fan-funded, advertising, product endorsement, data mining or selling your own consumerist claptrap. On the last item, seriously, there is nothing so lame as buying a podcasters coffee mug or ironic t-shirt. I don’t care how much you like them. In fact seeing you parading yourself in public with your virtue signalling attire makes me involuntarily scrunch my face up (which may incline those around me into thinking I’m having a stroke… it’s actually the acute pain of  embarrassment). You are actually hurting me, physically, with your sadness. Is this worse than having to listen to your favorite podcaster prostitute himself by reading advertising for mattresses, underwear or haemorrhoid cream?

z45rc0o0aer21.jpgWeirdly my reticence to part with my currency does not (broadly speaking) occur when someone has written a book or is hosting some sort of live event (like a debate or a comedy evening or… even I guess some sort of Ted-esque type talk). Then I’m totally happy to hand over my credit card details. But ask me to donate as a form of patronage so that instead of having a crappy office job you are free to create content that entertains me and chances are pretty good that I will be mortally offended. ‘You goddamn freeloader’.

I used to think maybe it was the anxiety of managing my inner turmoil that holds me back. If I support this one person I really like with $5 a month… what about this other person that I also kinda like, maybe he’s worth $2 a month. Doesn’t this start to add up? I mean none of us follow just five people anymore. Are we expected to patronage all of them? Some of them? One of them? Maybe ad-hoc donations as we go? Do they accept other forms of payment? Left over festive season fruit cake, Nguni cattle or blowjobs? Having actually never performed a blowjob I wouldn’t necessarily pick the latter as your go-to reward, since you are likely to be left feeling unfulfilled and/or horrified. And maybe even injured now that I think about it.

Why is this so complicated? Why do you even have to go pro? Can’t you just be an amateur? Have a day job and create content (for my pleasure) at night when you should be sleeping or spending time with your kids. Sacrifice yourself on the altar of having to express yourself. Just don’t have any expectation of being rewarded for it, that would make everyone happy… except you of course. But life is hard, and getting to tick those self esteem ticky-boxes is not necessarily a given, despite what you’ve been lead to believe by the self-help/entrepreneurship industrial complex.

I have (at the moment) largely automated my patronage. I budget $50 a month which gets chopped up into ten donations, more or less the equivalent of a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte, that then get distributed to various creators that I like. I have no idea if thats a good number… it actually brings me incredible consternation when I start thinking about it and breaking down my mental models around this. This also means that once I’ve hit my limit I’m done. These days I often find myself having to step over the prostrated form of a creator asking for support (while I peruse his wares), sorry guy, I don’t have anything on me right now I lie. Maybe next time?

I’m a lonely croc… sitting all day on my sunny rock.

This 100 year old crocodile died from over eating. Worshipers at the Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali Shrine in in south-western Bangladesh believed that feeding this particular hallowed croc would bring them good luck and economic fortune.

ad.jpeg

Apparently the occasional chicken became a slew of never ending poultry and the odd desultory goat when the word got out that this reptile had the power to change your reality.

I suppose its better than starving to death in your sacred pool because no one thought you had any special powers. And so when faced with a choice of two potential end games, I think this is likely the better one. (from a narrow philosophical viewpoint)

But then again I’m (generally) against keeping animals in captivity (especially for religious purposes). This crocodile should have been free to swim the streams and rivers of Bangladesh, occasionally snacking on some errant fisherman or laundry woman on the shoreline. God intended these to be hazardous occupations (which theoretically should have been remunerated with danger pay). Alas, we have stuffed up the carefully calculated economic cycle as set down by our creator.

Having now killed the… eh… croc that lays the golden egg, so to speak, everyone is now robbed of the opportunity to alter their destiny. Although maybe lucky crocs have an inherent Dalai Lama like ability to be reincarnated (hopefully in the general geographic area where the previous entity passed). I imagine the trick is find the new and correct crocodile (to nurture into obesity and eventual heart failure). They all look the same to me. Would be a terrible waste to feed all those chickens to a crocodile with no magical powers.

Odyssean mechanics

I have a note scrawled in my journal that I’m going to attribute to Deirdre McCloskey. Mostly because it’s on a page that contains other McCloskey-isms that I feel more certain are in fact attributable to her. Hmm. This is actually the first time I’ve had to pronoun a trans-person, it feels less strange than I thought it might… and while I admit there is a small part of me that wants to be fractious about this and argue semantics, most of me doesn’t really care enough to get all bent out of shape. Although, to be completely honest, at least some of me wonders if this is personal bias and if I’d be as kind to someone whose work I didn’t necessarily admire. I like to believe I would be. (but who knows)

In any event she said something along the lines of ‘Households are socialist enterprises’.

45926-1532336916

And also ‘this is smallest group at which this kind of regulation can really work’. Ie Authoritarian control over other peoples lives. I’m paraphrasing that last part from memory (which as we’ve established before in previous posts isn’t great)… so… if I’ve messed this up completely, apologies to Deirdre.

I think I mostly believe this to be true. (although I reserve the right to change my mind without prior notice about anything I’ve previously asserted to be certitude). In your typical nuclear family there is a set amount of income that is distributed by an authoritarian figure (or figures if your parents share the management role to some degree) to non-income earning dependents to satisfy their needs. It works because… well…

tenor.gif

…there are consequences for insurrectionist behaviour. Non income earning dependents have to take and accept what they are allocated (or face strangulation)

Once you start to add just one more family into the mix things start to get a little more challenging.

Flanders-Family-Non-Fat-Ice-Milk-Screenshot-1.jpg

Decisions are still made to distribute the shared income pool and allocated based on perceived need… only people perceive needs very differently and the human condition discerns slight and grievance very easily. That and you’re always going to try and favor your particular ménage first. It starts to get very complicated, very quickly.

I tend to believe human beings are extremely dichotomous. They can come together and co-operate to achieve amazing, truly awesome inspiring things. But group them together and have them decide how to divvy up money and things just go to hell in a hand basket.

Also socialism is bullshit.

c7dc0ak6ohn21

Cows (with guns)

Libertarian depreciation day…

Libertarianism.png

I’ve always been a fan of those (massively oversimplified) explanations of different economic theories using the ‘two cows’ analogy. This one made me laugh. Ha ha. Taxation is theft.

Also… since we are on the topic of bovines… I’ll just leave this here. (since it basically the most libertarian animation ever made) Ha ha.

You’re welcome.

‘We don’t need no water…’

I am fascinated by ideological hypocrisy. I’m also fascinated by the occasional ingrown leg hair and how wickedly infected they can get when left to their own devices… so really my benchmark for fascination is relatively low

3467992237.jpg

I have however recently (in moments of levity) been wondering why the Taliban and ISIS dynamited ancient statues, destroyed literature and generally took a dim view of anything Western … but hoarded US Dollars and paid the wages of their adherents in the much vaunted and hallowed USD, the currency of their most hated enemy.

Isn’t this ink saturated paper as Western Capitalist as it gets? I realize this is likely quite subjective but  I’m struggling to think of another more representative icon. In any event, surely this particular currency should have been accumulated and then bonfired en masse on the pyre-of -principle™, coupled (obviously) with the ubiquitous chant of ‘Death to America’ and people firing their Ak-Su’s into the air.

Nothing says fuck you, like burning another nations currency. Assuming that countries currency still has some perceived value. Burning Zimbabwean dollars or Venezuelan Bolívar (for any reason other than to keep warm) seems a little silly.

1uuy24.jpg

‘Its not about money, its about sending a message’ – The Joker

 

Dick move

Thomas sowel heirs

While I love Thomas Sowell. I want to edit this quote. ‘most of what they saved up’ and ‘rather than to their heirs?’. That seems more inclusive. Pretty sure girls can save as well (as far as I know).

In any event. No. I can’t explain why this is. It’s a total ‘Dick move’ in my opinion, double taxation and just… did I say ‘Dick move’ already? Well lets just underscore that for effect.

Its likely because the dead just lie there. And take it. Instead of rising up to feast on the living in a vengeful night of… well…  vengeance.

My strategies to counter this eventuality are two pronged (I mean taxation as opposed to the zombie apocalypse)

  1. Don’t ever die. Or
  2. Don’t have anything the government can take from me at the point of my demise.

Both of which are quite tricky.

Or we could you know… vote. And change (bad) laws. I have more faith in the not dying part of my strategy.

Of course you might (hopefully just initially) be inclined to argue that this is a ‘rich’ people problem and therefore doesn’t affect the majority of the population ergo, why should we care? Plus the rich people don’t care about poor people… so really ‘$%&# you’. There is also a school of thought that advocates total seizure of a dead persons assets and that there should be no inheritance of any kind ever… the idea being our society would be a lot more equal and that people should never get wealthier through luck of the draw (in terms of getting wealthy parents, good schooling etc) as opposed to having to (actually) work for it.

In my view it all depends on your view of freedom. And whether you believe in it or not.

Personally I believe that my stuff is my stuff.  Feel free to moralize over my hoarding tendencies… but taking half my stuff when I die is stealing. I should be able to decide what to do with my stuff. And if I want to distribute it to my heirs (being aware of the problems this might cause) that is MY decision. I can also give it to charity or burn it all on a giant bonfire should I so desire.

That’s freedom.