Sunday, February 5, 2012

Contrast: Lew Rockwell on RT

In contrast to Mike's appearance on RT, below we have the Libertarian Lew Rockwell discussing some of the same issues with RT such as the two Economic Forums that were held a couple of weeks ago.

Rockwell does not find much agreement with the ideas behind either Forum.  Although it is interesting that there are some similarities between at least some of Mike's observations and Rockwell's observations about these events.

Rockwell rejects many of the ideological aspects of the Davos Forum and rejects the notion that there is true "capitalism" being practiced today in a similar fashion to Mike.  From the Libertarian side, Rockwell suggests that the solution to many economic challenges today is to paraphrase "more freedom".

This is naive.

Many of the elites at Davos would lobby for such "freedom" as well, in the form of further "deregulation", "free markets", open borders, "free trade" policies and so forth.  Meanwhile over many years now we have witnessed many elites take advantage of such a lawless environment to continue to benefit economically from  policy while at the same time, these same policies have specifically prevented many others from enjoying access to (what should be) their rightful share of the economy in the form of being allowed a continuous and robust means of subsistence for themselves and their families.

I look at Rockwell in this regard as a bit of a tool.

I believe Rockwell basically doesn't understand how our Treasury and related monetary system operates, he is out of the MMT paradigm for sure and flying blind.  This has him in effect "grasping for straws" and leaves him to believe that somehow "doing less is doing more" in what I have come to view as classic Libertarian ignorance really.  This overall Libertarian policy of  "I can't understand things so let's do nothing" is truly the policy of a moron.

This ignorance we can see here leads him right into recommending a "do nothing" policy that would largely benefit the same elites he purports to oppose.

Time to study up Lew, and come up with a positive policy.


dave said...

they want more freedom to squeeze more from the commoners.

TomatoBasil said...

Corporations and other groupings of interested people appropriate what doesn't belong to them constantly by ensuring the regulators aren't watching. These old school anti-government libertarians refuse to acknowledge that the government regulators and justice system have been eviscerated by corruption to such an extent they can't even perform basic regulatory functions that ensure our most basic rights to life and property.

Tom Hickey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Hickey said...

Matt: Rockwell suggests that the solution to many economic challenges today is to paraphrase "more freedom". This is naive.

Exactly. Libertarians like LR and RP are opposed to entrenched elites that control the system. They want to get rid of the entrenched elites, who they think are chiefly politicians or supported by politicians, so getting rid of government is the solution. Then everyone could get busy playing king of the mountain.

This is naive for many reasons, not the least of which being that once someone or some group becomes king of the mountain, they entrench themselves, doing whatever it takes to do so as a use of their "freedom."

The basis of this entrenchment is private property, the basis of which in turn is inheritability. It is therefore inevitable that a ruling class of economic elites will be come entrenched and capture the political system.

Moreover, as long as labor is commodified, the Hegelian master-slave relationshippersists, with in Hegel's words, "only one free." And, of course, masters do what it takes to keep it that way by keeping the slaves in line with carrots and sticks. Commodified labor is just an variation on this relationship, as Marx explained in criticism of the classical economics of Smith and Ricardo.

When only one is free, then only one is recognized as fully human. Labor, being commodified, is regarded as a resource along with other resources, even though dignified with the title "human resources."

One has be rather naive not to see where such a POV leads.

Social and political philosophy deal with resolving the trifecta of liberty, equality, and community, recognizing that all three are very difficult to reconcile, especially liberty and community. Just as extreme emphasis on community leads to collectivism, so too, emphasis on extreme liberty results in social disintegration and a dysfunctional society in which right is might. In contemporary times, might is economic power, resulting in oligarchic plutonomy.

Matt Franko said...

"One has be rather naive not to see where such a POV leads."

Right Tom, you know I'm trying to not be too hard on this guy, he sees a lot of the current injustice and he knows this is wrong (he is really tough on Merkel/bankers here).

But then he comes up with this "more freedom" type of solution... whaaaaat?!?!?!

This is like he views government as a "taboo" or Libertarianism as a "superstition" or something. It like when you read of primitive cultures who didnt understand new things that explorers brought or demonstrated. Muskets became "firesticks" and the primitives thought the explorers were "gods" and had "magic", and the primitive leaders would ban access to these things; or when religious leaders would say "that's the tool of the devil" and make it a taboo; burn "witches" etc...

It's like these Rockwell types dont understand these processes so they make regulation of them "taboo", and instead advocate for "freedom" because they cannot understand the processes and systems that others advocate for the regulation of.

Its like he's a "witch doctor" or something if you can see what I mean; a primitive leader of primitives who cannot begin to understand something so they make it "taboo".

Education may be the best way to counter this but the Rockwells of the world have to be willing to really bear down intellectually and learn something new...


Calgacus said...

Tom, one Hegelian way of looking at current economic systems is that it is a very low stage of a slave economy. The problem is not that labor is commodified, but that the masters refuse to commodify it, through full employment, through a JG, a labor standard.

Sure, we are beyond chattel slavery, but history rhymes. Now we are at wage-slavery. The masters now prefer to practice human sacrifice, Aztec economics as Warren says, instead of using the slaves for labor to enrich the masters and uh-oh, the slaves too. In more recent history, our economies with unemployment are more like West Indian, concentration camp "work 'em to death and import more" slavery, than Southern USA - "a slave is a valuable resource" type slavery.

Paul Davidson initially criticized the JG as slavery, and MMTers tend not to like this. :-) But it's as good a metaphor, a comparison as any. My point is that then to be consistent one must consider any paid employment as slavery too. So a JG is a system with a relatively sane, Southern slavemaster, that allows his slaves to work, rather than simply forcing them to die to scare the others, or sacrificing them atop pyramids for occult reasons. If a monetary economy with a JG is slavery, then one without a JG is slavery to insane masters.