A Realistic Economic Bill of Rights Is Not Possible
Is an economic bill of rights possible? Ellen Brown thinks so. And her newest article, "Now Is the Time for an Economic Bill of Rights," is the lead story of the new Occupy Wall Street news feed at OWSnews.org.
As with everything written by Ms. Brown, it is lucid, passionate and even convincing. That doesn't stop me from having problems with it! But I'll get to Ms. Brown's Bill of Rights in a moment. First let me put it into context.
Start with the Daily Bell itself. We stand for something as best we can at the DB: Freedom. Freedom from government regulation. Freedom from high taxes. Freedom from government manipulation of money.
We believe in free markets, what we call private justice and letting the Invisible Hand provide the discipline government now fails to give. Government doesn't work. It can't work. Some may make a case that at unobtrusive levels it is necessary. But the bottom line is that every government regulation and law FIXES A PRICE.
And a price fix ALWAYS transfers wealth from producers to those who haven't created it and don't know what to do with it. That's why lottery winners so often lose their funds. And why governments are ordinarily so spendthrift and wasteful.
But there's more. Government is a kind of "promotion" in this day and age. Democratic governments around the world have been set up to give people the idea that they have a voice and can "make a difference." But unfortunately, this seems to be inaccurate.
If we look at the arc of government over the past 50 years, we can see that governments around the world – democratic or not – have in many ways become more intrusive, more demanding and more authoritarian.
Governments have also become bigger – that is, at the top level they have tended to expand their sway in places like Europe, where the leaders of a single Union run out of Brussels are now attempting to build a "United States of Europe." It would seem that such a union is a stepping-stone to an even more extreme centralization of power via global governance.
All the elements of global governance are in place: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the World Health Organization, the Bank for International Settlements. And NATO, of course – global government's military arm.
We're supposed to be believe that all of this happened by accident, that this entire infrastructure "evolved" naturally. But it didn't. Over and over when one looks into how this happened, one finds the same names, the same organizations, the same strategies employed.
Step by step, "they" are building what some have called a "new world order." And who are "they?" We know that, too.
Governments, in fact, in this modern age, are run behind the scenes by very powerful people. We've identified these people many times – as have many others – as being part of a handful of great families that control central banks along with their religious, corporate and military associates and enablers. In aggregate, we call this group the Anglosphere power elite.
This is the group that seeks world government, and in this age of the Internet -- as they are being increasingly exposed -- they have seemingly gotten more aggressive about achieving it. The more the alternative 'Net media "outs" them the more forceful their activities become.
What are they doing? They are using every resource at their disposal to move ahead with their evident and obvious plans. They use Western intelligence agencies, military establishments and civilian private and public mechanisms to promote their end game.
Our self-imposed "brief" here at DB has been to analyze the WAY that the power elite "promotes" its agenda. It does this via what we call dominant social themes, fear-based promotions that frighten the middle class into giving up wealth and power to the global instrumentalities that have been constructed as waiting receptacles.
One way to confront the coming world order is to try to have nothing to do with it. One can "drop out" of the current system. One can also refuse to participate in movements that aggrandize governments and propose that governments in this day and age can be made to "work better" and to "take the people's side."
To combat this growing realization, the power elite is launching many false flag events. Each one of these seeks to frighten people in order to make the point that government IS important. The power elite NEEDS government because that is how it manipulates society -- through mercantilism, the strategy of using government to create laws and regulations that seem to benefit "the people."
Seeking to use government to solve modern problems is likely a dead end. Governments at this point – especially Western governments – are at least partially controlled by the power elite. When one petitions government for "solutions" to current economic, military and regulatory problems, one is essentially trapping oneself in a cul-de-sac.
Modern government at the top (federal) level does not offer anyone a way out ... It cannot because basically all those who work in government at any level are probably controlled to one degree or another by the elite's Money Power.
This is the other key point. The elite's ability to put dominant social themes into play is supported by the ability to print money-from-nothing using modern central banks. They have virtually unlimited wealth at their disposal. Central banks are the engine of one-world government.
But central banks are immensely destructive. No one running them EVER knows how much money to print to feed an economy. Inevitably, central banks print TOO MUCH money and this leads to tremendous booms and horrible busts. Today, we are in the midst of a growing depression because of the activities of central banks and their bankers. Behind the banks, of course, stands the power elite itself.
In order to confuse and distract people about these basic facts, the elites regularly start wars and encourage economic chaos. But lately, as the Internet has continually exposed these manipulations, the elites are going a step further and trying to create false flag events that seem to endorse the alternative media's perspective regarding the one-world order but are in fact working to further consolidate elite control.
Additionally, such movements seek to blame the private sector for the deceitful mechanisms of central banking. One such movement may be Occupy Wall Street.
The people involved in Occupy Wall Street are sincere about their frustration. But there is plenty of evidence (already available on the Internet) that at the very top of the movement, there are people associated with US Intel agencies and with the State Department. These are the people who seem to be driving Occupy Wall Street in a certain, pro-government direction.
These are likely the same people that helped organize the "Arab Spring" youth rebellions via such groups as AYM. If you analyze these movements, the powers-that-be behind them are actually setting up an Islamic crescent that is intended to serve as a further "enemy of the West." Almost every "springtime" will eventually result in some sort of Islamic state. This is what the elite wants. It seeks enemies.
We are supposed to believe that OWS is a movement of "all the people." But we've regularly charted the positions that those involved with OWS seem to take – and many of them seem quite "progressive." That is, they call for more federal government action in order to address the many problems of society.
This is the hallmark of a controlled movement. It is reminiscent of the populism of the 1930s and the 1960s, when the elites used the same strategies to undermine legitimate grievances. Create or penetrate movements and then call for MORE government intervention to "solve" the problems of the protestors. This is EXACTLY what's going on today with Occupy Wall Street – or so it seems.
We've been charting the government solutions that Occupy Wall Street is proposing (even if those involved claim that there are no agreed-upon proposals.) Over time a pattern builds up.
You see? Is this simply a coincidence? No matter the problem, those involved at Occupy Wall Street seem to want government – domestic and worldwide – to do something about it. They want elite-controlled entities to solve the very problems the same elites have created!
Ellen Brown, it seems to me, is proposing more of the same. She is a fine writer with an elegant voice and is increasingly influential, which is something we have predicted. And even though her former husband was apparently involved with American intelligence, Ms. Brown has claimed emphatically that she is not, and we certainly believe her. [Ed Note: Clifford Brown has written to us (see thread, below) to state emphatically that he did not work for the CIA but for USAID, an agency that had nothing to do with the CIA.]
But by standing so emphatically for further government involvement in the economy, she is only giving the powers-that-be MORE tools. In fact in this latest article she endorses the American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt whose misguided policies kept the Depression running a good five to seven years long than it needed to run. Here's something from her article:
In his first inaugural address in 1933, Roosevelt criticized the sort of near-sighted Wall Street greed that precipitated the Great Depression. He said, "They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and where there is no vision the people perish." Roosevelt's own vision reached its sharpest focus in 1944, when he called for a Second Bill of Rights.
He said: This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights.... They were our rights to life and liberty. As our nation has grown in size and stature, however - as our industrial economy expanded - these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
He then enumerated the economic rights he thought needed to be added to the Bill of Rights. They included: The right to a job; The right to earn enough to pay for food and clothing; The right of businessmen to be free of unfair competition and domination by monopolies; The right to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; The right to a good education ...
What was sufficient for a simple agrarian economy does not provide an adequate framework for freedom and democracy today. We need an Economic Bill of Rights, and we need to end the privatization of the national currency. Only when the privilege of creating the national money supply is returned to the people can we have a government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.
At their most extreme, FDR's polices were actually seeking to regulate how much money individuals could charge for their services. Fortunately, he was stopped by the Supreme Court of the day – a court he promptly "packed."
Unfortunately, Ms. Brown and others are calling for a return to the worst and most repressive of FDR's policies. This is increasingly a kind of dominant social theme in my view. Barack Obama has often invoked FDR and now, with the economic situation worsening, other pro-FDR spokespeople are emerging. We wrote about it here:
It is not possible for government to provide the rights that Ms. Brown speaks of any more than it is possible for government officials to know how much money to print if they come to run a national central bank. It is impossible to know. Only the free-market can tell you via money competition and the circulation of gold and silver.
Ms. Brown's article appeared on the new OWS website and is the lead article this morning. No doubt Ms. Brown is both dedicated and sincere about her solutions. And perhaps a nationalized central bank would be a marginal improvement over what we have now.
But it seems to me the elites would take over that bank even more easily than they took over the Federal Reserve. The elites WANT government involvement. They SEEK it. That's how they run things, via mercantilism. Anything that makes government grow only increases the hold that a handful of people have over Western economies.
Want to make a real change? Reduce the power of government, don't enhance it.
Posted by Saintpaulia on 01/20/12 09:33 PM
This should have an average rating of 6!
Posted by Bischoff on 11/15/11 06:04 PM
This "basic instinct" versus "free will" discussion can be fascinating.
Human beings have the power to move "up" in the level of "enlightenment" by thinking and behaving a certain way, and they can move "down" toward the stable "carbon configuration" by thinking and behaving another way. It's the E = mc^2 business.
Posted by Bischoff on 11/15/11 05:55 PM
I take our tete-a-tete as an excercise and test of my believes and understanding. I am confident that the paradigm which I have constructed for myself does work... at least so far. I am always testing it. I believe there can be an infinite number of parallel universes, all which "work". I am mindful that I can perceive only a smidgen of the overall "truth".
I do appreciate your interactions. They help me to confirm the way I look at things.
I also appreciate your concern about my well being. I have strong opinions, and I don't mind stating them. At the same time, I am totally prepared to be challenged, and I will never take umbrage.
Posted by lewfalo on 11/15/11 06:58 AM
"To those who firmly believe in it, I try to be tolerant, as in granting that they may speak for themselves, and submit themselves to whatever punishment they think they deserve. It's fine with me, but it doesn't apply to me, and I will not submit to their desire to have me treated the same way. Usually they want gangs with guns running my life. "
So true. "Do as I say, or else" just doesn't cut it in terms of logic, reason or any kind of discoverable truth. It's just bullying, plain and simple.
Posted by Hoss on 11/15/11 06:20 AM
I always enjoy pondering your viewpoint and I always enjoy our battles whenever we clash.
I hope you know I wish the best for you.
Posted by Hoss on 11/15/11 06:18 AM
I believe humans are beings of self-made mind, that all our voluntary behavior is learned, and all behavior besides automatic physical organic processes are voluntary.
Every moment, every day, we decide what kind of person we want to be, we decide what we will do.
Typically the argument that man acts according to some instinct is put forth to buttress an argument in favor of treating him as if he has already done something wrong, because he can't prevent himself from doing wrong. It is used to justify preemptive force. It is a variation of the original sin premise, an attempt to lend it some 'scientific' respectability. To those who firmly believe in it, I try to be tolerant, as in granting that they may speak for themselves, and submit themselves to whatever punishment they think they deserve. It's fine with me, but it doesn't apply to me, and I will not submit to their desire to have me treated the same way. Usually they want gangs with guns running my life.
Thanks for the back-and-forth. I'm off to work again now, I've set myself a punishing schedule. (I can't help it, my cave-dwelling, er, tree-dwelling ancestors must have all been workaholics.)
Posted by Hoss on 11/15/11 06:04 AM
Thanks for filling in while I was busy working, NAPpy.
From the theoretical standpoint, it seems to me that;
1. If it is material, and someone wants it and can exercise exclusive use and disposal of it, it is or will be owned. One way or another.
2. See (1) above.
Disagreements about the peripheral issues have historically been resolved through force.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 11/15/11 01:08 AM
Many of us on the lower end are "hunkering down". I live on just over an acre of land yet have grown a sizable portion of the food we three have eaten this year. We have plenty of wood harvested from this acre to heat with for at least two years, and may not end up burning any of it, and half of the property is still covered with trees. Yet even in this hunkering many are severly hampered by laws.
Keeping the deer out was my biggest gardening challenge this year. In this area it is legal to take two dear/year with firearms but six/year if all are taken with a bow. So far this year I have seen many deer that I could have shot with a gun, while hunting with my bow. I have not taken any.
Just at a guess the deer in this county outnumber the people by at least a hundred to one. I was an over the road truck driver and have driven about two million miles and have been in nearly every state. I never hit a deer with a truck but I hit one with my car less than a hundred feet from where I am sitting. The repair bill was far more than the meat would have been worth.
I have bartered for many things over the last few months, mostly I have paid with pumpkins. They are, most assuredly, NOT, a convenient medium of exchange.
Posted by Bischoff on 11/15/11 12:31 AM
Let me say this to you Bluebird, please do not take my strong views as an attitude on my part as wanting to be "right" or to have the "only truth". I believe there is an infinite number of "truths".
I am very much a believer in the sovereignty and uniqueness of the average person, and in the god given ability of an individual to be whatever he wants to be.
I am a student of the American Revolution and the founders of the United States. I am a fan of the U.S. Constitution. The paradigm I have built for myself, based largely on the thinking of the founders, seems to work for me in reality, and as long as it does, it is a "truth".
I have been reassured in this "truth" by actual events and situations in life which have given me confidence in what I believe, and in how I see the world. I express this confidence when I write here. But, at no time do I think that I have the only "truth" or the whole "truth". (I understand the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).
I will always be open to reasoned and logical argument, and I will bow to facts.
Posted by Bischoff on 11/15/11 12:09 AM
"Hard Assets - usefull durable material goods or resources." I can totally accept this definition. Gold certain qualifies. However, I don't think your odd, nor do I want drag you into a duscussion about "Hard Assets".
Posted by NAPpy on 11/14/11 07:53 PM
"When my concern was, why allow an elite to inevitably own all the land."
What's inevitable about elite ownership of land? Right now, the elite do own all the land, through their control of central banking, corporations and government. The problem you fear exists now. So, the solution is to take away the tools the elite use to monopolize land. Those tools are fractional reserve banking, legal tender laws, central banking, mercantilsim, coercive government, and the belief in these things by the mob.
What is the false premise in the axiomatic, synthetic a priori conclusion that I own myself?
Posted by NAPpy on 11/14/11 07:44 PM
"The idea that land (the earth) can constitute property breaks down when considering that there had to be an original owner, who prepared it, and sold the rights to it. Herein lies the flaw that I can not reconcile without considering that we do not own land. All we can do is pay each other for the exclusive right to use it."
The Georgians assert this. How do you make an argument for it? How do you move from an axiom to the conclusion that land can't be owned?
Here are some positive arguments for why land can be owned:
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By all means reach your own conclusions about property theory. If you're going to try to negotiate with others, then sooner or later someone will ask you why I can't own my land. To convince them, you'll have to provide an argument. I can't find a property theory underlying the Georgian assertion that you can't own land. If there is no theory, then the assertion is just a preference, like "I like ice cream". So, the Georgian assertion that you can't own land is intellectually equivalent to "I like ice cream". In other words, so what? Get off my land!
Ownership is just a convention, used to solve the problem of scarcity. Land is scarce. So, what alternatives are there for solving the land scarcity problem? You can:
1. Assign ownership to one person based on first come first serve
2. Everybody owns an equal share of all land
3. Some group owns the land in trust for everyone else
Rothbard walks through these alternatives. Number 2 is impractical--you'd have to get permission from everyone else in the world before you did something on the land you happen to occupy. Then, you'd have to give permission for everyone else's land use. Number 3 is what we have now. Rulers and ruled. This is immoral, and obviously the wrong choice. In short, the only commonsense approach is number 1. And that is property theory. Simple.
"The bigger concern is how do we deal with the collective? Who are the collective? How do they collect? If we believe that value is in the land and in the resource, then we discount the value of human effort in refinement and delivery to the market. We discount the real source of value. We believe that wealth can be derived from "ownership"."
The collective is just a concept used to describe a bunch of individuals. Individuals are the necessary ingredient, and the only thing that matters morally. Wealth is derived from first saving, then successfully producing, or investing in production, something that others are willing to voluntarily pay for. The derivation of wealth comes from self-ownership, and consuming less than you produce. Wealth can be produced by one person on an island.
Ayn Rand's property theory is faulty. See the links I provided for ways to supplement her thought.
Posted by NAPpy on 11/14/11 07:11 PM
Just think of the bridge as a company with 10000 shareholders. Your product is "access to the other side". You charge for that access, and compete against the possibility that others might also build bridges across the same river. This is often thought of as an "externality", but in reality, the free market does a great job of incorporating the costs of externalities into the cost of production. In this case, simply set up a toll or a toll reader. You don't limit access at all because you want as many customers as you can get. The guy that didn't want to contribute just made a business decision not to invest, and so won't receive any profit.
I found the following links that discuss free market handling of externalities:
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Posted by NAPpy on 11/14/11 06:09 PM
IMHO,the requirements for what constitutes "homesteading" is something that can easily be worked out through experiment, negotiation, and common law discovery. If you're interested, I believe Stefan Kinsella has some works that cover homesteading.
Posted by Dave Jr on 11/14/11 05:29 PM
Thanks for spending your time here Ingo, I am not learned in economics, my degree is in engineering. I appreciate your willingness to educate. Although I have reached a point where I am comfotable in knowing how to operate or conduct myself, I know that I am more than odd to most.
Hard Assets - usefull durable material goods or resources.
Posted by Bluebird on 11/14/11 05:19 PM
Thank you again. I always read your comments and of course the interviews. I have no idea whether you are correct on all your views, but still learn from them. When I first came to the Daily Bell I found myself scratching my head wondering what they meant by "fiat" money. I am thankful to have come here myself. Great bunch of staff and the best feedbacks anywhere!
I did not mean to imply you were paid by tax money. I was teasing again, referring to the strong personality. I do not actually think that is a bad thing. The strong willed will surive, even if we have different ideas of how to do it. And you are right about the family. It is the best thing we have!
I will check back here to follow the ownership thing. I have these two 60 foot spruce trees hanging over the state road route. If I don't own them, then... . ha. Have a good day, friends.
Posted by Dave Jr on 11/14/11 05:16 PM
Well, prehistoric ancestors is a non discussion for me because it relates too much to religion. I'm tired of that can of worms.
Life teaches morality, and around the age of 16 to 20, kids either catch on or they don't. Of course family examples have the largest influence. Religion does squat.
Posted by Dave Jr on 11/14/11 04:57 PM
I know it is difficult to keep each others positions straight in a flurry of posts. But to review, I have been advocating that land is not a product of human effort and so, can not be property, and that property rights pertain to exclusive use, and I don't even find Ayn Rands philosophy to dispute that. I suggested that maybe belief in land ownership benefits the elite who use big government to their advantage. I personally can tolerate local limited government with citizen participation.
The morality of land taxation is up in the air for me because I can see both benefit and violation to individual rights in either direction.
I believe that taxing labor is a violation of a persons right to exist on this earth, and that includes taxing improvements to land. I have given it some thought, and don't know how generations of improvements can be seperated out of the base assessment. For example, what is the value of tile trenched in, clearing, leveling, stumping, rock picking 100 years ago?
If the tax was uniform for each use (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc) per sq ft or acre, voted on by the citizens assessed, and only used only for infrastruture, I could be on board with that.
Posted by Bischoff on 11/14/11 04:36 PM
"I am just an OLD farm "girl" from rural West Virginia." Yes, but you have more common sense and judgement then many of the "educated" elites from Harbard, Yale or Princeton.
"I might make the honest mistake of thinking you are just one step down from the "gubbermint" boys."
You are making an honest mistake. I have never been paid with tax payers' money except for the time I served in the U.S. military. The SF School of Economics at which I teach, I founded after my retirement from business in 2006. All monies this scchool obtains is strictly through student fees, sales of books and receipt of donations. I want to say here that the Foundation which publishes the Daily Bell was kind enough to support the SF School of Economics with a generous donation.
You see also that I disagree with the DB Staff more often than not. My opinions are not influenced by their donations. I think the Daily Bell has devolved into a widely read e-newsletter that is an open forum for the expression of all sorts of opinion to the benefit of myself and many of the readers.
I am glad you found the Daily Bell, Bluebird... ..Lots of luck to you... !!!
Posted by Bischoff on 11/14/11 04:23 PM
That's the way to be. Of the three things you mentioned, family for me comes first.