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America Faces a Mindless Assault on an Essential Virtue — Productiveness

In November 2018, the Poetic Justice Warrior series of articles was launched by recognizing the classical economist who coined the term ‘entrepreneur.’ That was Jean-Baptiste Say, the father of Say’s Law of Markets, as published in his 1821 A Treatise on Political Economy.

Say’s Treatise is arguably the root of all other economic law and the precursor to the Austrian school of economic theory. Its eminent scholar was Ludwig von Mises, and his signature achievement, Human Action, gives testament to free will as the distinguishing feature of human consciousness.

The opposite of free will is determinism — your behavior is set by genetic or cultural forces. In similar fashion, the opposite of free market capitalism is the force of government. In fact, the classical economist who coined the term ‘capitalism’ was Karl Marx, yet he dismissed the very free will at the core of capitalism.

Because Marx’ thinking was rooted in the labor theory of value, capitalism’s inherent social mobility was not integrated into his analysis. To Marxists, the fate of every individual was determined by the social class into which they were born, “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production.”

Marx labeled those who owned the means of production as ‘capitalists’, while attributing production to animal instinct. In addition, capitalists had mystical control over the will of his ‘proletariat’, at least until their violent revolution (deterministically) took over.

In today’s supply-side economic disaster, it takes a Poetic Justice Warrior to clear the muck of this Marxist political insanity. Stepping up to the challenge is economist George Reisman. As Reisman states in Chapter 1, Volume 1 of his 1996 book, Capitalism, A Treatise on Economics, productiveness is under assault,

The profit motive is attacked as the cause of starvation wages, sweatshops, monopolies, inflation, depressions, wars, imperialism, and racism. It is also blamed for poisoned foods, dangerous drugs, unsafe buildings, obsolescence, alcoholism, narcotics abuse, and crime.

Paradoxically, in 2020 over 30 million people had filed for unemployment, millions of businesses have been crippled or destroyed, yet household income and savings rates increased,

Saving is condemned as hoarding; competition, as the law of the jungle; and economic inequality, as the basis of class warfare. The price system’s harmony of interests is almost completely unheard of, while economic progress is held to be ravaging the planet.

Solving contradictions is the stuff of philosophers, scientists and economists. Explaining the false premises, in layman’s terms, behind the contradictions is the stuff of Poetic Justice,

Every participant in the economy is aware of the effect of things on his own specialization. Yet he does not stop to consider their effect on other specializations. The failure to look beyond one’s specialization is the confusion between money and wealth.

Here, Reisman has given us a basis for understanding, one that is relatable to people who are, or have been, employed in productive work, and he uses it to introduce the more abstract concepts of money and wealth,

In a division of labor economy, everyone is interested in earning money, and measures well-being by the money he earns. Thus, it’s easy to conclude more money is desirable, while anything that results in the average person’s earning less money is undesirable.

However, one of the fallacies inherent to Marxist ideology is “government science,” or as Reisman explains,

Scientific analysis shows that while each individual is always economically best-off earning as much money as the freedom of competition allows him to earn, people are not better off when earnings increase as the result of government policies of creating money.

This brings us back to the political insanity of the Wuhan virus economic lockdowns and government money creation. If free will is an attribute of human nature, and it is, and production is caused by reason and our will to survive, and it is, then government forced ‘stay at home orders’ destroy wealth creation and are a death sentence, which they are.

Reisman concludes that production, meaning wealth creation, is necessary for human flourishing. This is impossible to match with government money creation and immoral to try,

Lower monetary earnings without money creation represent a higher standard of living than do higher monetary earnings with them. Even in the absence of money creation, lower national income signifies a more rapid rate of increase in wealth and improvement in human well-being than does a higher national income.

Unfortunately, when violent mobs link arms with cowardly corporate donors, a major political party and state media, submission becomes disguised as income redistribution. Fortunately, Reisman understands the pathology, and as it related to Chile becoming the second satellite of Soviet power in the Western Hemisphere, he wrote about the death of General Pinochet in 2006,

People have an absolute right to rise up and defend their lives, liberty, and property against a Communist takeover. In the process, they cannot be expected to make the distinctions present in a judicial process.

For Reisman, objective law in support of laissez-faire capitalism is the socioeconomic system that must be taught, promoted, and defended to the teeth. Not only did he earn his PhD in Economics from New York University under the direction of Ludwig von Mises; he is also an exponent of the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand.

With his wife, psychologist Edith Packer, they created the Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology. Together, they organized conferences featuring Objectivist and Austrian speakers including philosopher Leonard Peikoff, physicist Edward Teller, economists Hans Sennholz and Walter Williams, and libertarian attorney Bernard Siegan.

Also featured was psychology professor and author Dr. Edwin Locke, whose goal setting theory is a testament to free will as the essential ingredient for wealth creation and a civilized society.

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Mark Shupe

Mark Shupe

Mark Shupe writes about economic and political freedom.