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Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Class War For Idiots / March 22, 2012
By Mark Ames

This article was first published in

A little over a year ago, while researching the Confederacy’s economy, I stumbled across this unnerving graph charting the value of America’s “stock of slaves” in the last decades before the Civil War.

This graph tells the real story behind the South’s secession: the value of the South’s “slave stock”—the property of the ruling class — soared as secession approached, reaching an almost 90-degree angle in those final years before Harper’s Ferry. The South’s ruling class seceded to protect their riches, period:

From afar, if you didn’t know that human “slave stock” was the asset being charted, you could easily mistake this graph, and its parabolic trajectory, for one of the many destructive asset bubbles this country has suffered right up through our own time.

Up close, this graph drips greed, mass murder and shame — it strips away the historical revisionism that falsely ascribed the South’s “cause” to an almost selfless, tragically romantic attachment to “tradition” and “culture”; it gives lie to the myth that slave owners kept their slaves to the detriment of their own bottom line.

Like the worst wars and the worst of history’s villains, the Confederacy’s one percenters seceded and fought in order to continue profiting from their most valuable investment properties — their human slave stock.

The graph comes from a grim working paper, “Capitalists Without Capital”, written in the late 1980s by a UC Berkeley economist, Richard Sutch, and a UC Riverside historian, Robert Ransom.

As they showed, slavery produced huge profits for southerners who invested in slave capital — to the detriment of all other portfolio investments, as the value of slaves soared in the mid-19th century. By that time, by far the largest cotton-growing states’ wealth was in slave stock, not in real estate or other investments.

The slave trade was outlawed in 1808; but the slave population quadrupled from 1 million in 1800 to 4 million in 1860 — encouraged by slaveowners who “bred” their human stock, thereby multiplying their profits as the value of each slave rose.

Slavery is often portrayed by revisionist historians as somehow antithetical to market capitalism; in reality, slavery was a winning portfolio investment, the very incarnation of just how evil “free-market” capitalism can be. As the authors write:

“If slaves … were an investment included in the asset portfolio of the planter/entrepreneur, they helped satisfy the owner’s demand for wealth. But unlike most other forms of capital, which depreciate with time, the stock of slaves appreciated. Thus, the growth of the slave population continuously increased the stock of wealth.”

What makes this graph so disturbing for us in 2012 is what it suggests about today’s “1 percent” — and how they view the rest of us. It gives form to the brutal crackdown on the Occupy protests — and suggests darker things to come as we try to free ourselves from their vision of civilization, and our place in it.

Contrast that with this McKinsey report put out a few years ago by the director of the consulting group’s New York office. Titled “The New Metrics of Corporate Performance: Profit Per Employee”, the report argues that the best performing firms in our increasingly financialized era are those companies that have learned to squeeze ever-larger profits out of each employee — and not by the more traditional “return on investment” metric.

The McKinsey report looked at the world’s 30 largest companies between 1995 and 2005, and found that their return on human capital more than doubled, from an average of $35,000 profit per employee to $83,000, leading to this rather frank and nauseating conclusion:

“If a company’s capital intensity doesn’t increase, profit per employee is a pretty good proxy for the return on intangibles. The hallmark of financial performance in today’s digital age is an expanded ability to earn ‘rents’ from intangibles. Profit per employee is one measure of those rents. If a company boosts its profit per employee without increasing its capital intensity, management will increase its rents.”

Extracting rent from “employees” as a business strategy: This is supposed to be the language of feudalism, not modern advanced capitalism — and yet this is the cutting edge in 21st century capitalist thinking, unashamed and unvarnished:

“One way to improve a company’s profit per employee is simply to shed low-profit employees. But if they generate profit greater than the cost of the capital used to support their work, shedding them actually reduces the creation of wealth.”

As with slave stock in a Southern investor’s portfolio, the McKinsey report argues that as a corporation learns to successfully extract rent from its employees, the more employees it extracts rent from, the greater its aggregate profits.

The new metrics: How much “rent” can be extracted from employees, not investments

To compare “the 99 percent” to African slaves would be crude; but the mindset of “the 1 percent” then, as now, is eerily consistent. They view the rest of us not as human beings with rights, but as livestock whose meat is “rent” to be extracted.

This is the language of plutocratic capitalism, a brutal system totally incompatible with democracy and antithetical to republican government and civilization. It is the language of misery, and misery is what “the 1 percent” is promising “the 99 percent” for years to come, in ever-greater doses.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

Click the cover & buy the book!




Add your own

  • 1. maynard  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Isn’t it interesting how this perspective on labor rents is essentially the direct inverse of Marxist doctrine of theft of labor’s surplus value from capital? It’s as if these plutocrats had read Marx and Engles and saw insight in open class warfare to their own benefit. For what the plutocrats have wrought in the United States cannot be termed market capitalism in its original sense. It is based not on free exchange of commodities, value added goods, or labor, but rent extraction by force through state sanctioned and protected monopolies.

    Communism? Capitalism? The terms may change but the game stays the same.

  • 2. Zhu Bajie  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Don’t forget that lots of people enjoy degrading their “inferiors”. Not everyone can be part of 1%, but if you are part of the 20% who serve the 1% as Janissaries, court eunuchs, serf overseers, etc., and you are already an authoritarian personality, the trade-off can be attractive. Hence Tea Baggers, lower class Republicans, etc.

  • 3. vortexgods  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 4:10 am

    The reason why this is unsustainable, is because the ruling class is double dipping on those same employees. Michael Hudson has pointed out that the goal of the creditor class, that is the people who issue various forms of debts(houses, cars, student loans, credit cards, etc.) is to extract the entire surplus of the society for themselves. What that means is that what they want to do is measure how much they can take from you leaving you just the barest amount for simple survival and they want everything beyond that turned over to them!

    Well, the problem with that is that your employer wants to continue to cut your wages by as much as possible, and in fact lay you off and replace you with a Chinese, Indian, or Southeast Asian worker if you are costing them too much and they can get away with it.

    How much is the credit card debt of a worker who can no longer afford to pay it worth? Very little. Even if they bring back debtors prison and have you in prison working for peanuts and they collect everything you make, they still aren’t going to collect their principal, much less the obscene interest they are charging.

    Basically, you can’t have two groups of people, call them creditors and employers, trying to extract the maximum surplus value from the workers. You can only extract the maximum surplus once!

  • 4. mijj  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 5:28 am

    any minute now there will be a technical profit/cost assessment of of shedding staff v. dissolving excess staff in vats of acid.

  • 5. Eric  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Gives one something to think about before you laugh at a civil war reenactor claiming, “the South will rise again!”
    It has.

  • 6. John Figler  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Slaves were a finite quantity.

    To “breed” them you had to provide them with better diet, that’s more capital for the cornbread.

    Besides the biological factors remained the same before and after 1808 (except for some higienical improvements were they were adopted), so the slave population growth by biological means followed just the predictable trends of populations under their special conditions.

    The largest increase came not through breeding, but through smuggling from the Caribbean European possesions as they went for forced emancipation thanks to the UK. Emancipation, usually, included an “adaptation” period were owners could not buy new slaves, but still could dispose of their properties as they saw fit. If they saw fit to find a daring captain ready to brave the RN patrols and send them to the US… Large numbers of Africans were thus transferred from the Caribbean to the South at relatively good prices (European owners, of course, managed to get from their corrupt elites reasonable compensation for each freed slave in those forced emancipations, most of the time).

    With the Spanish clinging to Cuba and Puerto Rico and keeping slavery well up into the 1870s the potential for slave smuggling would have been OK war or no war, given the biological limits in play.

    Neo-serfs, on the other hand are not. There are something like 7 billion right now and a few thousands more get added every what? minute? hour? second?

    You could hire them not by the minimum amount of boiled rice required to keep them alive. You would be able to hire them by half that amount and, when they are nearly dead by overworking and malnutrition, fire them under low productivity clauses in fair-firing laws and hire a new still able to work bunch.

    There is room for plenty of profit squeezing yet!

  • 7. SN  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 7:20 am

    In productive sectors what is happening is absolute-surplus value extraction, increasing the duration and intensity of labor processes. In non value-adding sectors, like FIRE and marketing, what is happening in an intensification of the rent capturing that has always characterized these sectors. Also, note that the report suggests that increasing capitalization isn’t successful – which is exactly the problem of “rising organic composition of capital” Forget about the bright future of communism – we are fucked. But, vols 1-3 of Marx’s Capital is more accurate today than when it was first scribbled out in the British museum during the late 1850s. Mature capitalism is cannibal capitalism.

  • 8. gwern  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Paper fulltext:

  • 9. franc black  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 10:29 am


    -small, family-run businesses
    -co-op housing
    -credit unions
    -locally produced goods and services
    -barter systems

    We sanction the “1%” by using their banks, working for their companies, buying their products, etc.

    Now’s the time to make changes.

    (Protest song, verse I, melody being composed)

    “Got a biscuit in my belly
    And a bunk that’s dry and high,

    But there’s something mighty smelly
    Spreadin’ clever little lies.

    Gotta risk my brainy jelly
    If the shitstorms’ gettin’ nigh

    Cause we’ve only got
    One more shot
    Before we fuckin’ die.”

    (by franc black)

  • 10. Zirb  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 10:35 am

    “very incarnation of just how evil
    ‘free-market’ capitalism can be”

    The root cause was obviously the government enforcing the fugitive slave clause. This is crap-italism at its finest, not free markets. Because in a free-market system, no government would ever enforce a single law or property contract. Yabba dabba doo.

  • 11. HueyLewis  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 10:47 am

  • 12. Cornbholio  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I hope this hints at the topic for the Wiley book, hb.

  • 13. Josephus P. Franks  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Mark, go to The Coup’s show tonight at Brooklyn Bowl. Excellent article, of course – reminded me of their “Piss on Your Grave”:

    ‘That bitch ass on the front of a buck
    never gave a fuck
    he forced his black women slaves to give him dick sucks
    and when he bust a nut
    he’d laugh and cackle
    let the leather whip crackle
    send ’em back to pick tobacco
    wouldn’t give ’em nil
    so his homies stacked bills
    fought on flatland and hill to keep the british out the till
    kept Washington dumpin’ ’em in ditches
    so slave owning son of a bitches
    could keep their riches
    which is how the war got funded
    with two centuries of juice
    from Black slaves bodies
    and the profits they produced
    you could deduce
    that these men might win
    fit right in
    and make rights then
    just for rich white men
    so they quit fightin’
    and wrote up a declaration
    protective decoration
    for their business operations
    a gorilla pimpin’ nation, no freedom – just savage
    now the whole world’s ravaged
    from their hunger for the cabbage
    Your fifth period history teacher
    tellin’ lies like a tweeker
    bump this song through the speaker
    watch they face get weaker
    ‘less they righteous and they kickin’ the facts
    they gon’ smile ’cause this shit is on wax
    one thing I gots to ask
    George Washington down in hell can you see me?
    I’m standin’ on your grave and I’m finsta take a pee-pee!


    Knock knock muthafucka, yes once again
    I’ll make you pay for your sins
    in the trunk o’ your Benz
    see youse an always fitted
    always acquitted
    parasitic leech
    cain’t be burned off my back
    wit’ no fiery speech
    your hands is soft as a peach
    ’cause you ain’t never did work
    been rich ever since your daddy’s dick went squirt
    have you ever hurt from your back?
    ducked from rat-a-tat-tats?
    seen your mama on crack?
    lived in a pontiac?
    drank baby similac
    so you could have protein?
    (just for enough energy to hustle up some mo’ green?)
    I could paint some mo’ scenes
    vergin’ on the obscene
    but I’d rather show up at your palace with a mob scene
    I spoke to my accountant
    who spoke to my attorney
    who counseled my financial advisor
    on a gurney
    it’s about fifty dollars and that’s almost like a sale
    ’cause it costs too damn much to let your rich ass inhale
    true liberation ain’t no word in the head
    I’m yellin’ murder ’em dead
    for some fish, steak and bread
    you pay me 10 g’s a year,
    I pay you fifteen million hun’ed???
    Sorry, you just ain’t in the budget…’

  • 14. 69 Anytime 88 On a Date  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Interesting, but I find Morris Berman’s analysis on the North/South divide to be better researched and more persuasive in his recent publication, “Why America Failed” (Wiley 2012).

  • 15. John Drinkwater  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 12:53 pm


    “For what the plutocrats have wrought in the United States cannot be termed market capitalism in its original sense. It is based not on free exchange of commodities, value added goods, or labor, but rent extraction by force through state sanctioned and protected monopolies.”

    That’s what ‘market capitalism’ has always been about. The ‘original sense’ only existed in theory, never in reality. Marx described the process of state-subsizied ‘capitalism’ quite well. Check out Capital, Part 8, “So-called Primitive Accumulation”.

    For recent histories of capitalism, Henry Heller has a great book that came out last year, “The Birth of Capitalism” and also check out Ellen Wood’s The Origin of Capitalism.

    “Corporatism” *is* capitalism. There’s no difference. Never has been. Never will be.

  • 16. Cernunnos  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 1:24 pm


    For the utopian right-libertarians that harp about the free market correcting all the excesses of corporation/government collusion, how do you guys intend for your free market contracts to be enforced, if not by some government body or some “private” body that fulfills the function of government force? I see Tea Party kool-aid drinkers whine endlessly about the extreme injustice that the government uses “DEADLY FORCE” to force them to pay for shit they don’t like, but a libertarian capitalist society would also require some kind of deadly force, at the very least, to protect your hallowed private property and make sure your contracts are carried out.

    Which leads to the more troubling realization that this society without a nominally “neutral” government for the people (yes, I understand current governments have all been co-opted to gross extents, but in theory and sometimes in practice they attempt to serve all the people) – without this, that means this libertarian capitalist society will be little more than feudalism with a powerful few exacting full control over weaker dependents by use of private security forces.

    Naked Capitalism had a great piece exploring this idea by using quotes from that homophobic turd and Austrian school theorist Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and taking those ideas to their logical conclusion:

  • 17. HamsterFist  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I know you preach against violence and will probably mock me, but I’m at wits end to as what the answer is. Of course unleashing ‘our monsters’ is not the solution either. How do you harness ‘violence’ in a productive method? (Violence can mean many different things. Including disrupting their wealth accumulation, via blocking capital movements. Not necessarily murder and mayhem.) How will people wake up to the facts in the U.S. or should I just boom my place in the cattle car now?

  • 18. Mason C  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Re-Discovering the South Dept: yeah, that graph is powerful, and so is the tunnel vision that produced it. In Andrew F. Smith’s “Starving the South” he gives stark detail about Southern food shortages but also the refusal of their 1% to pause the weakening, clearly dead-end slaves-and-cotton gravy train and just grow some pigs and corn to feed the starving and barefoot army. (And I’d always wondered about the counterfeit food coupons in that Stonewall Jackson museum, which lacked a certain Southern pride that the rest of us have been gagging on for 150 years.)

    The author’s a foodie, so the politics sometimes have to be sifted out, but the facts are unavoidable: even unto self-destruction, Dixie greedheads wanted no part of cooperation or common sense, even with their peers, let alone the poor fucks who fought and died for them.

    The odds seem long, but the 1% will go over the cliff they’ve constructed. We need Dolan’s take on the American Spring – strategy and tactics for when push comes to shove and escalates from there.

  • 19. Dammerung  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The increase is less from squeezing employees directly and more from monetary expansion making the higher numbers mean less. Inflation in all it’s forms is the most direct attack the banking class wages on the workers, but liberals seem to completely ignore it as a destructive factor.

  • 20. Rynn Jacobs  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    @17 – Q: “How do you harness ‘violence’ in a productive method?”

    A: Give the wrong time, stop a traffic line?

  • 21. Heywood Jablowme  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I agree with #15. Anyone who says, “man, this crony/corporate/madcap capitalism is just another way to pick a man’s pocket!” must realize that exploiting the work of others is EXACTLY what capitalism is and will always be.
    The capitalist controls the product of someone’s labor and pays that worker less than that product sells for. Profits grow by paying workers less and less or making them work more and more.

    @10: The “state” is not a Platonic ideal that moves through the ages, always the same, settling upon us in every era like a haunting alien mothership. It is a historically created steering committee of the ruling classes in any era. The state under capitalism is a capitalist state and does the bidding of capital. Class is relative: one is superior, more powerful than the others. How do you propose that the ruling class be denied ruling without their abolition?

    And please, everyone read this short but fantastic piece of reporting on the US Civil War by Karl Marx, who wrote articles on it for newspapers in Europe and London:
    The whole movement was and is based, as one sees, on the slave question. Not in the sense of whether the slaves within the existing slave states should be emancipated outright or not, but whether the twenty million free men of the North should submit any longer to an oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders[i.e. underpopulated Southern states having veto power in the US Senate]; whether the vast Territories of the republic should be nurseries for free states or for slavery; finally, whether the national policy of the Union should take armed spreading of slavery in Mexico, Central and South America as its device[one reason for the Mexican-US war was to ensure the continued expansion of the slave business].

  • 22. crypted  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:03 pm


    This isn’t an inverse of Marx, it’s just Marx plain and simple. McKinsey’s “profit per employee” is Marx’s “rate of exploitation”, only expressed in absolute dollar terms, not as an actual rate.

  • 23. A. Furtiv Russell  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 6:47 pm



    2) //

  • 24. Vas  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Early Spring

  • 25. Sly Cooder  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the painfully obvious reality of corporations and modern government. Too bad just about everyone and everything in power thinks that any transparency on this matter would also lead to bad profits. You guys are one of the few warriors of light in a world of exponential dark, dark, dark–if you don’t do it, everybody will be watching a new episode of “Lost” instead. Or maybe two seasons of it. Or maybe …

  • 26. super390  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    The trick is to make debt inheritable. That’s what kept serfdom the most common way of life for human beings for the last 4000+ years. Look for ALEC to be introducing legislation to prepare for the legislation to prepare for the legislation to sneak us all into this nightmare.

    There is no wage inflation! The supposed evils of inflation for the poor didn’t exist before 1980 because wages were going up faster than prices. The best time in history to be a worker was from 1940 to 1980, because there was no deflation and it’s deflation that destroys debtors and makes creditors into gods. The rich want deflation because it drives up the value of the money you owe them. Why do people have so much trouble seeing this?

    What Reagan and Company masterminded was an economy that holds down wages to supposedly cure price inflation, but gives tax cuts to the rich. The rich don’t spend most of their income on consumer goods because they’ve got more than they need, so they pour the bounty into assets like stocks and real estate. So you get asset inflation, which forces home buyers to go ever deeper into debt to get in the game, but once they’re in they support the process. They become workers who think like wealthy asset-holders.

    Until, of course, the assets crash. But we’ve seen now that the rich have the game so rigged that their wealth grows even during a crash. They make money in both booms and busts, just like they did in the laissez-faire era, which is why they worship deregulated boom-bust cycles and are slowly reintroducing them to our lives at a terrible destructive cost.

  • 27. super390  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    The Southern colonies were often started as English joint-stock corporations which had to turn a profit as a governing principle. Any neo-Confederate bullshit that Yankee capitalism was worse than slavery miss the point – it was all capitalism. The reason Southerners thus get away with attacking capitalism from the Far Right, while Libertarians get away with denying that Southern capitalism created slavery, is that a more logical fuck-both-your-houses argument would mean attacking private property. Blasphemy!

    In fact, in the 1850s some Southerners were already looking to introduce slaves to light manufacturing, the road that one day Hitler and Stalin would pave into death camps. Who says slavery was about to become obsolete – or even is obsolete now?

    Now what strikes me about the graph is how it resembles recent oil prices. There was a French writer who argued that before the coal/petroleum revolution, slavery was the only way to get broad affluence. He referred to fossil fuels as “energy slaves” because they enable the vast extension of convenience via manufactured, self-powered devices that only servants previously provided.

    Now the energy slaves are revolting. Like the South of 1859, we’ve expanded our peculiar institutions – the exurb, industrial agriculture, consumer debt, into marginal lands with illusory returns, absolutely dependent on getting more energy cheaply.

  • 28. Ash  |  March 22nd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    couldn’t agree more.

    The ‘inflation hurts the poor because it erodes their savings’ “argument” is so patently absurd it defies belief.

    Broad, demand driven inflation, which is natural in a high employment economy that is pushing up against capacity constraints doesn’t hurt debtors or low wage earners because at all because you’re in a situation where the biding for scarce factors of production(including labor) drives up their value (some of which then flows through to prices).

    What hurts is where you have constrained demand of goods/services and high unemployment because more and more national income is in the hands of people who aren’t spending it on goods and services, rather pouring it into asset markets or (indirectly) lending it to the poor to finance consumption spending.

    Marx was dead on right about capitalism being inherently self destructive. The experience of the 20th century though does seem to suggest that it can be ‘tamed’ through deliberate and continuous re-distribution of wealth though.

  • 29. Yogurt Economy  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 12:44 am

    The comments here are pathetic for the most part. This is sad sack shit I’m reading here from you commenters. Try to see if you can talk about this without mentioning fucking Karl Marx, you losers!

  • 30. Nazidethpig  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I keep saying it’s high time we started up starvation camps for the believers of this system. We could call them re-education camps or agricultural reformation program or whatever and no one would be the smarter.

  • 31. Cum  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 6:53 am

    It’s more evidence to support the main thesis of Going Postal: that America never really escaped its slave culture roots. A modern dummy’s guide to management will read like an old slave-owner’s manual. And when you see the next news story about some dude that went postal on his fellow wage slaves (it happens like every day but the next big news story about an incident will probably come out in another week or two, right on schedule) think of it as a misguided wage-slave rebellion.

  • 32. Cum  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 7:22 am

    @27: That French author’s thesis sounds persuasive. Looking back at this article from Low Tech Magazine, it makes sense:

    “The history of energy use in human civilisation is generally summarised as follows: from Antiquity until the start of the Industrial Revolution, people made use of the manual labour of both animals and humans, as well as biomass, sun, water and wind.

    Next, all these renewable energy sources were replaced by fossil fuels: first coal, and later oil and gas. Uranium completed the picture in the second half of the twentieth century.

    While this historical summary is basically correct, there were some – rather important – exceptions. Almost all of the leading economies in Western Europe during the last millenium relied on a large-scale use of fossil fuels such as peat and coal. ”

  • 33. super390  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 5:18 pm


    It turns out that though I can’t recall the author’s name, the concept has become sort of a meme:

    Most of the commenters appear to say that the average American is now the beneficiary of about 70-100 energy slaves’ worth of technological devices. Quite a spread there, massah.

    What’s so alarming about it, though, is that the early American slaveowners justified their institution on the grounds that, like the citizens of Greek city-states, Americans could only have the leisure time to govern themselves if they owned slaves. In other words, zero sum game, you must be a slave in order for me to be free. Consider how that early Southern doctrine hides under a lot of modern talk from “Good Americans” about how their own natural, legitimate freedom is threatened by having to share any power with anyone else different from themselves in any way whatsoever.

    If we’re headed towards a long energy crisis, the option of devolving from “energy slaves” to the real deal is back on the table. At that point I vote for the Rickover option, nuke everybody and let the cockroaches evolve and try to do better.

  • 34. super390  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    If you’re wondering about the Rickover Option, back in the ’60s some dumbass Congressional committee had Admiral Hiram “Father of the SSBM” Rickover over to testify. Doubtless hoping for some feel-good crap to pass on to their constituents, they asked him how humanity could surive the threat of (his) nuclear weapons. I’m paraphrasing what he said:

    “I do believe humanity will be destroyed.

    However, life will continue. New species will evolve.”

    Beautiful. Classic. Best Testimony to a Congressional Committe Ever. Fit that into your budget cycle and smoke it ’til it glows.

    Give the roaches their chance, already!

  • 35. Margo Adler  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Holy shit!

    This graph is FANTASTIC. Jaw-dropping.

    Mr. Ames, you are doing a public service with this piece of journalism. Seriously. Bookmarked and I’m going to link to it on my blog (with citations and everything–don’t worry, I’m not sleazy). I only have 8 readers, but they deserve to see this.

    I can’t stop staring at that graph. Thanks for reproducing it for us. Wow.

  • 36. Davrus  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I doubt it was just the bottom line. I mean lets face it, it’s a lot harder to rape someone’s wife and daughter in front of him in a free society than in one which slaves are legal.

    I think the same holds true for the current elite, I’ve got to figure that at least some of them understand that if they keep, squeezing and squeezing there customer base eventually have no one to sell to, thus lower profits. They just realise that they’ve got enough profits already, they just want to drive that bottom rungs of society into such brutal despair that when they tell their employee’s to bow whenever they pass them in the halls, they’ll do it, knowing that if they get fired they’ll ending having to turn to prostitution.

  • 37. Petkov  |  March 23rd, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    So it turns out Marx WAS correct after all.

  • 38. super390  |  March 24th, 2012 at 7:58 am


    I think the elite corporate execs know things are getting impossible, but the lack of a future simply makes them try to steal everything right now and get the money they need to retire to private fortresses or move to some well-guarded sheikhdom, and stick the mess on their replacements. It’s like Daniel Ellsberg’s opinion on the history of US involvement in Vietnam; each president after WW2 did what little he had to in order to maintain approval from fellow elites, even if that made the situation worse, and stuck his successor with a bigger mess.

    The problem is, the successors believe they are entitled to just as big a prize as their predecessors, thus are perfectly happy to start carpet-bombing us with B-52 to offset our growing resistance.

    The people you should really be scared of are the ones who are willing to do the elites’ killing for them because they know the elites will flee one day and leave them in charge of a collapsed civilization. They like this idea.

  • 39. LuisMaraceFrance  |  March 24th, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Maybe Marx was not 100% correct but he is far more actual than 99,999% of the so called “mainstream economists”

    I’m not a marxist but I believe capitalism has the tendency to become day after day more obsolete and corrupt

  • 40. A. Roggant Pricke  |  March 24th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Hey yogurt-douche #29 grow the eff up and if you are any better than the rest of these lazy “I skimmed Marx in my early 20’s and spout like I know eff-all ever since then” commenters, at least edjumacate yourself about the salient advances in economic theory since 1890:

    “Existing theories of political economy, liberal as well as Marxist, see capital as a dual entity. According to these theories, the “real” essence of capital consists of material/productive commodities, while the “financial” appearance of capital either accurately mirrors or fictitiously distorts this underlying reality. We reject this duality. Capital, we argue, is finance, and only finance.”

    Again, that’s




    or at least refer to comment #1 for the short form of the argument.


  • 41. Anarchy Pony  |  March 24th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    @33-super390, the cockroaches are already doing better, they don’t need to evolve. They’ve got it all figured out.

  • 42. maynard  |  March 24th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    @15; @21; @22

    You’re all correct. My comment was muddled and poorly thought out. My was referring to Stalin’s state monopoly on production and the squeezing of the ‘proletariat class’ at his hands. Though it is true that Marx did not promote that. After the initial Bolshevik Revolution, worker collectives were locally owned by the workers directly, prior to Stalin’s consolidation of power. This is what I was driving at, though conflating Marxism and Stalinism did not help make my point.

  • 43. Ash  |  March 24th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    >39. LuisMaraceFrance
    Pretty much, any mature, intellectually honest person with a background in economics who actually bothers to so much as read *about* the Marxian critique of capitalism is going to notice that there’s something there that the economic mainstream is willfully ignoring.

    History may well have proved Marx the revolutionary wrong, but Marx the economist is still worth paying attention too.

  • 44. R. Coogan  |  March 25th, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Oops! Very misleading point here:

    … slavery produced huge profits for southerners who invested in slave capital …

    Slavery actually did and does produce huge profits for anyone who invests in slave capital.

    Here’s a great article, I think I found through The Exile.

    You seem to be saying that all southerners are racist, hence they profit from slave ownership, yet you’d laugh with glee and derison if someone claimed all Soviet citizens were fat cat nomenklatura. C’mon, you don’t write for the New Yorker… yet.

  • 45. CensusLouie  |  March 25th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    super390 is one of the best commentators on this site. I still remember the “inflation devalues the poor’s savings!” argument here many articles ago.

    It got me thinking about how ONE core belief unites all reactionaries from top to bottom: the absolute and total belief that life is a zero sum game. It’s why the rich who already have more wealth than they could ever use go all Noah Cross and continue to ruin lives for profit. It’s why underclass Republicans fear improving the lives of the oppressed. It’s why geriatric boomers violently oppose extending government healthcare to everyone else.

  • 46. super390  |  March 25th, 2012 at 4:09 pm


    I think the argument is that the richest Southerners knew they would profit from slave ownership 350 years ago, so they had to make it seem sacred and essential to the well-being of the poorer Southerners. Or as I like to call my poor Tenneessee ancestors, suckers.

    The slavery is gone, so the poorer Southerners run around screaming that they feel cheated but can’t articulate why. Under white supremacy, poor whites were actually underpaid in cash for their labor because the racial divide suppressed labor markets for both races. But the whites felt they were amply paid by the privilege of holding the power of life and death over even the blacks they didn’t own.

    That’s the only thing that could ever make the Teabaggers happy today, and most of them are too stupid to be consciously aware of it. That’s why I have more respect for the Aryan Brotherhood than the Teabaggers. That mass-murdering sergeant in Afghanistan (and accomplices?) knew what that ancient buzz felt like, and so do cops who beat Occupy protestors without even thinking, and so do prison guards.

    So does War Nerd, but he has the intellect to stand back and make fun of his own urges and then analyze their perpetuation across humanity.

  • 47. R. Coogan  |  March 25th, 2012 at 7:12 pm


    Please show your work. Some exemplar family names of the rich southerners you mention are Jefferson and Washington, but the country was a totally integrated ownership economy, north and south-wise, which is part of the point of the piece  in Bloomberg.

    As for those suckers who traditionally see and saw zero benefit from the vast wealth generated by slave labor, it’s pure Laphamism to generalize based on ‘southerner’ or ‘northerner,’ while at the same time completely avoiding the class issue, since that is what we’re looking at.

    I hate to sound Marxist — well actually I’m starting to like it — but our purpose seems suspect if we spend our breath on locating racsim, when the topic is really capitalism (slavery and racism being two big, built-in components) and class.

    I remember years ago, within the space of about two months, during some unpleasantness or other in Crown Heights, both the NY Times and the Village Voice dispatched some big-name writers and photographers to cover unrepentant loonie racists in — wait for it — The South. Great photos, extra deep red hues, leathery, glinting, pig-eyed kooks. It was the “Evil is bad!” marketing schtick, a big seller in the 90s.

    But I thought of this again recently when I read in Zizek’s Living in the End Times his spiel that when we locate racism, we are basically saying, “See? There it is! Everybody feel good about yourself, we’re not like that, and neither are the institutions of enslavement we’ve allowed to co-opt our brains and skins!” (I’m paraphrasing.)

    Locating racism is almost always a slagging of poor white working class people, in other words, and this is where I take umbrage with the implications about southerners or poor people in the above piece. (But, evil is bad, and I want to go on record here as saying that.)

    Such Remnickian dogwhistle xenophobia is a default position, supplying the prime grist for the copy-mills of liberal self-delusion. “Blame the Rednecks/Chavs/Palestinians, for they are inherently racist, and we are not.”

    Speaking of institutions of enslavement, another reason you might respect the Aryan Brotherhood is that you can’t easily locate them in that tired north-south scheme. (They seem to have formed in prison, in California.)

    The Teabag thing comes from K Street.

  • 48. AA+ Bonds  |  March 25th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Profit per employee doesn’t even make any goddamn sense in terms of marginal product. More finance freaks thinking they’re economists.

  • 49. CensusLouie  |  March 25th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Yeah I don’t understand the profit per employee measure either. By that standard, a $200k revenue company of one employee earning $100k is superior to a 3 employee company with $400k in revenue and $150k in payroll.

    I’m the first to admit my understanding of economics ends halfway through my Econ 101 textbook, but how does that even begin to make sense?

  • 50. CensusLouie  |  March 25th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Personal anecdote: I was dismissed from an assignment after getting into an argument with the rich fuck client on the scene. He imagined himself some Friedman style economic genius and constantly goaded me with his “knowledge” saying how lower minimum wages help everyone, especially the poor.

    Some rich fuck born into an upper class family, inheriting his education, connections, and capital all from his family, was trying to tell me that lowering the minimum wage helps the poor, from inside the confides of his $30 million mansion.

    “Every time they raise minimum wage, it forces businesses to raise prices in order to keep up! Everyone loses!”

    I asked him what he thought happened to sales for those businesses once minimum wage workers had more cash to spend, and he got all dour and mumbly about inflation.

    The next day my boss called and said the client didn’t want me back. Fucker.

  • 51. Myrmecodon  |  March 25th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    This message is brought to you by the Dixieland Preservation Society:

    “The slavery is gone, so the poorer Southerners run around screaming that they feel cheated but can’t articulate why.”

    I figure it was because black people have all the legal privilege, organization, connections, and power nowadays even if they don’t work, whereas whites have to jump through ever-more stringent meritocratic hoops just to get and keep a job. Capitalism for the white working majority, socialism for the layabout minority who brings up slavery as the excuse for crime, welfare, and general social destruction. Not a bad system, but as whites become a minority and Mexicans move in, it’s going to run pretty thin.

    “Under white supremacy, poor whites were actually underpaid in cash for their labor because the racial divide suppressed labor markets for both races. But the whites felt they were amply paid by the privilege of holding the power of life and death over even the blacks they didn’t own.”

    No, they were paid by having a well-ordered though ultimately unsustainable society that made plenty of money for everyone in on it, and enough again to go hunting, fishing, and Walter Scott LARPing on one’s off times, but destroyed any drive to make factories, unsubsidized stores, or anything that wasn’t the dominant cash crop. The value of the slave was only as good as the power of the white society to keep his baser urges checked, and as white supremacist society fell and black crime rose, so too did the value of the slaves fall. Such is the fate of a one-crop economy, even in an absurdly bountiful environment where nearly everyone could live off the land whenever they felt like it. Got lazy, didn’t plan for the future, same old story.

    CRUSHING DEM NIGGERS wasn’t really the overarching aim, though it definitely did happen. The Old Southerners were certainly “free trade” and “open borders” enthusiasts, very akin to our current international managerialist elite, but for the fact that many had class, humanitarian concerns, appreciation for beauty, and a good classical education.

  • 52. Davrus  |  March 25th, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    #38 My point was that even if the Kochs and there ilks idealogy of screwing the peasantry over drops the world into another great depression, the Kochs will probably still be rich afterwards, maybe less rich on the balance sheet, but probably also more rich in terms of being able to more easily exploit there fellow man. I.E. It could be that some of the super rich have actively decided to trade in some of their high profits, which they were never going to use anyway, in order to retake the right to effectively enslave the lower classes. That is unless the go to far and cause a revolution, or more specifically a successful revolution.

  • 53. John Figler  |  March 26th, 2012 at 5:47 am

    “If we’re headed towards a long energy crisis, the option of devolving from “energy slaves” to the real deal is back on the table. At that point I vote for the Rickover option, nuke everybody and let the cockroaches evolve and try to do better”.

    Trouble is all that people thinking they would be able to acquit themselves moderately well against the cockros…

    They are miserable half-cooked morons unable to have a decent life in this the most humane and benign system yet to be seen, and they pretend to be successful in a true-style new Middle Age?

    That’s what you get with egoism saturated pop culture. Nobody thinking about real fixes to keep the system working at bearable levels. Let alone improvements! Just Ok, let me alone, I’ll be a postapocaliptic King in no time, just watch me ma…

  • 54. Jack Boot  |  March 26th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Defenders of the South point out that the great majority of Confederate soldiers owned no slaves.

    True enough; but they sure hoped to. Every Southern peckerwood dreamed of owning a plantation; and thus being able to devote himself to huntin’, gamblin’, drinkin’, whorin’ & duellin’.

    Likewise, every Teabagger masturbates to the fantasy of joining the 1%.

    Useful fantasies to encourage, to be sure; but fantasies have a way of collapsing…

  • 55. Anarchy Pony  |  March 26th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    @53, humane and benign? What fucking planet are you living on?

  • 56. Zirb  |  March 26th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    @16 “For the utopian right-libertarians… how do you guys intend for your free market contracts to be enforced?”

    I, Zirb, Bagtard of the 4th Degree, have been selected to respond to your critique of the Holy Order of Bagitarian-Knights, who have been fighting against the evil forces of the Fed since the First Holy Crusades. Here is my response for all ye unbelievers:

    A contract would say how it would be enforced — for example, there may be a list of 10 judges we agree to before hand that we agree will judge any problems. The harder issue which is what I think you’re getting at, is how would property be defended — and that’s with insurance/police.

    “a libertarian capitalist society would also require some kind of deadly force, at the very least, to protect your hallowed private property and make sure your contracts are carried out.”

    Of course. There will be law and police, the question is whether making this a monopoly (government) is good. Everywhere else, we accept that monopolies are bad, but for law and police, we give all the power and guns to a few people and assume it’s the best way.

    “that means this libertarian capitalist society will be little more than feudalism with a powerful few exacting full control over weaker dependents by use of private security forces.”

    This is the key question: how do you decentralize power? We can agree that today power is terribly concentrated in government-corporation cooperatives. The classic argument against anarcho-capitalism is that the rich people will take control like the robber barrons, and I think the evidence shows that the robber barrons, faced with extreme competition at the end of the 19th century, were the ones that pushed government to regulate to kill off their competition (see Dominick T. Armentano’s book on Antitrust and Monopoly). I think that voluntary competition is the best way to avoid your worst case scenario (which by the way, exists already).

    “that homophobic turd”

    I agree Hoppe’s homophobia is offensive, but his logic makes a lot of sense. I didn’t agree with everything in the naked capitalism articles, particularly his douchiness (“Stop interrupting – you might learn something”), and the fact that communities will always self-segregate — I’d hope not (although there are already stories today of how communities are self-segregating), and his talk about his native american “solution” is horrible and it didn’t need to be that way (why couldn’t we just coexist?). But overall, I agree with his outline. What did you actually disagree with other than his homophobia (which I agree with you is bad)?

  • 57. Davrus  |  March 26th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    #56 What you fail to realise is that what distinguishes the earlier feudal society from the later nation states which rose up afterwards was exactly what you described. Feudalism was distinguished by a form of decentralisation of power, wherein each of the local lords had dictatorial powers over his own domain, or property. In addition each of these feudal lords had access to his own private military. The end of feudalism is marked by the central government centralising power within the state, this can either takes the form of a dictatorship where the state where this power is used exclusively for the ends of the central government, or democracy where voting rights at the very least attempt to more evenly distribute these powers amongst the people.

    It is easy to see why many compare the anarcho-capitalists emphasis on having dictatorial powers over their own property, couple with their desire for private armies which will ultimately be answerable only to those with the money to pay, I.E. rich people with property. Is compared with the feudal system of the dark ages.

  • 58. Anarchy Pony  |  March 26th, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Wanna see an in depth analysis of “Anarcho” Capitalism/Rightist “Libertarianism”? Go here:

  • 59. LuisMaraceFrance  |  March 27th, 2012 at 5:49 am

    fror my experience right-libertarianism attracts people(expecially young white boys born into relative privilege) because it appears internally consistent

    What is better of “live and let’s live?” “freedom,life,property!!” “capitalism created my IPOD and my XBOX!!”

    Hovewer ,when you growth up and learn more about history,philosophy,biology,psychology,anthropology etc it become clear that right-wing libertarians make up a lot of explicit and implicit assumptions(property are natural,people are selfish and rational ,resources are infinite,people have the same level of power,only government can coerce people but not private actors,before-tax distribution of wealth is the only fair distribution of wealth so taxes are theft and welfare rewards the leechers etc etc,the private sector is always more efficient,rich people work hard,capitalism is natural etc etc ) that are simple NOT true or historically specific

    It is not a coincidence that the vast majority of right-wing libertarians I know are into computer science,engineering,economics

    These people never had to learn how complex not-rules based real-world system work and the proper methodoly and epistomology to deal with them (unlike people into hard-science and philosophy) or how markets are social constructs and not some natural eternal things created by GOD

  • 60. CensusLouie  |  March 27th, 2012 at 3:21 pm


    Jesus like EVERY libertarian I know is a comp sci major. They can’t view socio-economics as anything but strict, exact rule based systems just like C++ programming language!

    One actually tried to argue to me that a sales tax isn’t regressive because “everyone pays the same amount! Rich people are going to spend that money buying consumer goods eventually!” This from a kid whose parents paid for his entire schooling and has never lived in a poor neighborhood without a tax free grocery store within 5 minutes driving (oops! sales tax just bumped that out of my range!) distance.

  • 61. Davrus  |  March 27th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Really? I don’t know anybody in the Comp Sci department who is libertarian, or particularly sympathises with that position, assuming they are not out right against it. That said I’m doing post graduate studies.

  • 62. Davrus  |  March 27th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    #59 I think part of it is that in the modern age the market has come to either replace, or, alternatively represent God. I remember once seeing an article which stated that something like 90% of fundamentalists thought that the government should but out and let God’s invisible hand guide the economy. It certainly seems to have taken over the old function of God, namely, “Why do you live in a big fancy house with plenty of food while doing no work, while I slave out in the field for next to nothing?”, was once answered with “Because God said so, who are you to question God”, has been replaced with “Market forces have said so, Who are you to question the market”. Personally I think the rise of right wing libertarianism is due to people realising that they don’t trust flesh and blood humans ruling over them, but haven’t managed to work out that markets are run by flesh and blood humans. That and billions of Koch dollars used on propaganda.

  • 63. Anarchy Pony  |  March 27th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    @Davrus, I’ve noticed something similar about the whole God=The Market thing, it’s really quite odd, among the higher echelons, it’s as if the market has become a God surrogate, and they for some reason have come to believe that markets are some sort of immutable natural force like gravity. They seem to be completely disconnected from the fact that the market is an artificial construct. There’s really no evidence that supports this view, just faith, it’s really like a sort of religion.

  • 64. super390  |  March 27th, 2012 at 10:08 pm


    If the economic ownership was completely integrated, then Yankee elites would have taken exactly the same position on secession as Southern elites, and they would have settled matters peacefully via their oligarchic control, wouldn’t they? Obviously, it was a partnership between two regional elites, but also a competition. Secession could not have occurred if the Southern rich thought they could withstand the increasing majority of free-state congressmen; the rich controlled the Southern churches and media as much then as now. I’ve seen the Southern newspapers from 1860; they were more full of shit than the New York Post after 9/11.

    More to the point, I’m talking about the Southern rich having made slavery “sacred and essential” back when the institution started. Do you know the story of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676? The Virginia elites faced a rebellion by indentured servants, and they faced it alone because there was so little integration of the colonies. They had to make the devil’s deal, freeing the white servants and then making them the henchmen needed as slaves from the Caribbean were brought in as replacements. The enforcement of this deal by ideology is what I’m talking about, an ideology that has outlived its specific economic origin but still deifies the 3-tier caste system as America’s “natural” order when it was in fact a conscious construct. This is the greatest barrier to American class consciousness.

    That is why I’m singling out the Southern farmers and laborers as a problem. Yankee workers were a hell of a lot more militant a hell of a lot sooner because racist culture was not so pervasive as to obscure class issues. To the extent that European immigrants were used as a surrogate scapegoat in the north, it gave Yankee capitalists some of the same advantages that racism gave plantation owners, but the immigrants kept assimilating and having to be replaced by new scapegoats. The permanance of blacks as untouchables was established in the South, and since the overwhelming number of blacks were in the South, its opinion prevailed nationwide. That gave prejudice against blacks an absolute, sacred foundation; it seems almost a mark of pride for European immigrants when they could be recognized by WASPS as being better than blacks, and made their own status less rigid.

    But the broader baggage of using the threat of blacks to ensure working whites’ harmful obedience to white elites defines every area of Southern culture. If whites elsewhere chose to embrace that culture or if it spread via internal immigration, that’s not me being a regional bigot, that’s me denouncing my ancestors’ culture for now making life unlivable for me in more and more parts of what was once one of the world’s most progressive countries. Just the difference between what Texas was like when I moved back here in 1991 and today feels like I’m trapped in a time machine stuck in reverse. None of that would exist if not for Bacon’s Rebellion; we would be a normal capitalist country like those of western Europe, with a history of a unified working class winning those reforms that characterize the civilized world and of industrialization and rational thinking being obviously more profitable than semi-feudalism.

    As War Nerd has pointed out, the Southern vote has pulled America way to the right most of its history, and as Naomi Klein has showed, that has allowed America to pull the world way to the right, such that we’re all still in danger of falling back into the 19th century.

  • 65. Davrus  |  March 28th, 2012 at 4:50 am

    @Anarchy Pony

    I believe it is because the market which grants legitimacy to there property. If the market is infallible then they are rich because they deserve to be rich, and as such it they should be able to use their riches/power however they please. If however the market is fallible all of this is called into question, they lose their legitimacy, they may not deserve the power which has been bestowed upon them. I don’t think this mentality is restricted just to the elite of course. It seems to me that the middle classes were quite happy to accept the market’s verdict that they were worthy, but that those who were stuck in inner city slums were deserving of there lot. It’s only now that the market is giving them the thumbs down that people in general are beginning to question it.

  • 66. LuisMaraceFrance  |  March 28th, 2012 at 5:29 pm


    I agree,and this is another reason why I consider both austrian economics and the chicago-school version of neoclassical economics religions, the modern equivalent of middle age scholasticism

  • 67. Anarchy Pony  |  March 28th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Excerpts from the church of libertardianism:
    (Economist/preacher in reverent tone) All Hail the Glorious Market. Through It’s divine Providence and the word of It’s glorious Prophets; Rand, Friedman, Hayek, Mises and Koch, we will reach the fabled land of Prosperityyyyy.
    May you receive a generous return on investment.

    (Congregation in unison) And may your investment be returned generously!

  • 68. Buddy  |  March 29th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Anarchy Pony,

    The Typical Libertarian is hated by conservatives because he wants the freedom to snort coke off a teenaged hookers ass while smoking pot and watching a movie full of boobies and cuss words in preparation for sodomizing his illegal immigrant housekeeper, Carlos. The Typical Libertarian also wants criminals, terrorists and Mexicans to roam freely about causing all manner of social chaos, and has no interest in forcing people to love Jesus Christ. The Typical Libertarian is a traitor to the GOP and America because he failed to support the war in Iraq, the PATRIOT Act, the Stimulus, and both Bush and McCain, despite the fact that both men once said something at a cocktail party about maybe possibly lowering taxes on some people some day.

    The Typical Libertarian is hated by liberals because he is a crypto-archconservative who wants poor people to go without education, medical care, police protection, food, shelter, and oxygen. The Typical Libertarian spends his weekends running down endangered species in his monstrous, gas-guzzling SUV before stopping off to smoke a pack of cigarettes in a daycare. The Typical Libertarian wants the world to be run by unaccountable multinational conglomerates instead of unaccountable governments. The Typical Libertarian is a racist, sexist, profit-driven nihilist who failed to mark the ascendance of the Chosen One, and has never protested for Union rights nor worn a T-shirt with the word Darfur on it.

    Despite clinging to a hopelessly unworkable, idealistic and marginal political philosophy, the Typical Libertarian has recently been discovered as the cause for the downfall of Western Civilization.

  • 69. Zirb  |  March 30th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I, Zirb, Bagtard of the 4th Degree, am a new breed of Bagarcho-Capitalists, able to display self-deprecating humor.

    @Manipulating_Censor – I’m innnnnnnvincible!

    [@Manipulating_Censor inserts, “You’re a loony”]

  • 70. Zirb  |  March 30th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    @59 “Hovewer ,when you growth up and learn more about…”

    I, Zirb, Bagtard of the 4th Degree, have been called on again to defend the honor of the Holy Order of Capitalist Bagarcho-Knights:

    “property are natural” – I agree that property is just a convention, but it seems to be one that increases the average wealth of people. I also see no problem in anarcho-socialists living in peace with anarcho-capitalists (Well, and people can continue to live in states, just not ruling over the anarcho-capitalist geographical area).

    “people are selfish and rational” – I think people are both selfish and selfless. Mutual aid was a huge movement in the late 19th century; see From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967, David T. Beito. If it had continued without interference and growed along with the growth of the economy, I think mutual aid would be much better than modern welfare.

    “resources are infinite” – The whole point of economics is to deal with scarcity. The whole point of property and capitalism is to solve the problems of scarcity in the fairest way for the average person.

    “people have the same level of power” – I agree there will always be power disparity, but I think the ultimate power disparity is to give a small group of people all the power and hope they control themselves. The book by Dominick T. Armentano goes over why more competition reduces power disparity.

    “only government can coerce people but not private actors” – What do you mean by coerce? Private actors in an anarcho-capitalist world would be able to, for example, use force to get back stolen goods. But government is the only one that can coerce people to do something involuntarily.

    “before-tax distribution of wealth is the only fair distribution of wealth” – I don’t think it’s about fairness, but it’s about what’s moral. It’s immoral to kill people or steal from people unless in self-defense — I think we can both agree to that. Anarcho-capitalists just say that putting on a government costume doesn’t make it moral.

    “rich people work hard” – I think in an anarcho-capitalist world, wealth disparity would be lower and there would be a lot more entrepreneurs and small businesses.

    “capitalism is natural” – Ideally, there would be no scarcity and we wouldn’t need capitalism (well, actually, we still wouldn’t want to allow rape).

  • 71. Davrus  |  March 30th, 2012 at 6:08 pm


    “I agree there will always be power disparity, but I think the ultimate power disparity is to give a small group of people all the power and hope they control themselves. The book by Dominick T. Armentano goes over why more competition reduces power disparity.”

    Were people more free back in the dark ages when instead of investing power in the hands of the central state, it was instead more evenly distributed amongst the landowners, i.e. feudal lords. That said back then the concentration of wealth was held by the tiniest fraction of the population, like, well, today.

    “What do you mean by coerce? Private actors in an anarcho-capitalist world would be able to, for example, use force to get back stolen goods. But government is the only one that can coerce people to do something involuntarily.”

    Today the government uses force, amongst other methods to accept it’s property rights over the nation, this is why it can tax and such. In your anarcho-capitalist future the new states will use force to make people accept their tyrany over their own private demesne. Sure if the guy who own’s your apartment chooses to charge exorbitantly and your local source of work short changes you, you can choose to move, that said you choose to move country now.

    “I don’t think it’s about fairness, but it’s about what’s moral. It’s immoral to kill people or steal from people unless in self-defense — I think we can both agree to that. Anarcho-capitalists just say that putting on a government costume doesn’t make it moral.”

    What is fair and what is moral are chained at the wrists. Furthermore from an anarcho-socialist point of view, all land and resources are held in common amongst everyone, therefore all current property has essentially already been stolen by force. I know anarcho-capitalists believe that once you hammer a stake into the ground of unowned land it magically becomes their’s for all eternity, but I don’t remember agreeing to the convention, nor do I believe did the majority of people on the planet.

    “I think in an anarcho-capitalist world, wealth disparity would be lower and there would be a lot more entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

    I think your delusional.

    ““capitalism is natural” – Ideally, there would be no scarcity and we wouldn’t need capitalism (well, actually, we still wouldn’t want to allow rape).”

    Yes there is scarcity, The question is, is capitalism the best way to tackle it which gets the best deal for the majority of people.

    Final thought. Koch industries, despite it’s fervent espousal of libertarian doctrines, is quite happy to use the governments force monopoly in order to help it make profits, Most egrigiously through it’s getting the government to use emminent domain to force people to sell them land for pipelines. That’s of course when they aren’t out and out stealing oil using “cheating measurements”. The question is when the government isn’t there as a force monopoly, and they are allowed to hire their own private army, why wouldn’t they realize that their private defense services could be used to lean on people to make profit, to tax people, to acquire land. Sure they would have to make certain they didn’t step on the toes of other people who could afford a private army, but governments have always had to do that throughout history, and that’s what they would be the government.

  • 72. Anarchy Pony  |  March 30th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    @Davrus, that’s the Anarcho capitalist homesteading theory of property, and it is largely a crock of steaming shit. There hasn’t been empty uninhabited land on earth (unless it is really harsh, say the Sahara, Gobi or Antarctic) for tens of thousands of years, the vast majority of property that exists today was stolen, generally through the killing of previous inhabitants. To speak of the legality or morality of private property is at best a cruel joke.

  • 73. TB  |  March 31st, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Big ups to Professor G. William Domhoff for his 1960’s book, Who Rules America?. In it he shows that most Americans have no idea just how concentrated the wealth distribution actually is. See more here…

    America’s top 1 percent or ‘power elite’ use their boatload of cash as a tool to promote an environment of ruthless profit making. In other words, everyone is trying make a profit off your monkey ass, until your left hobbled and broken.

    Domhoff’s article on corporate interlocking is also worth a look over…

  • 74. Davrus  |  March 31st, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    #72 Buh, buh, buh, but they didn’t transform the land, only someone who transforms the land in a manner which justifies white europeans being able to take land which was used by indigenous people for generations counts as transformation by the homesteading theory of property.

  • 75. Anarchy Pony  |  March 31st, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Well, there is actually much contemporary evidence that they did indeed transform the land, just not to the degree that the “civilized” europeans would. But whatever. Most libertardians can’t actually be reasoned with, despite all their pretense of reason and rationality.

  • 76. LuisMaraceFrance  |  April 1st, 2012 at 10:26 am

    anarcho-capitalism is a oxymoron,capitalism couldn’t survive five seconds without a State

    the right word here is neo-feudalism

  • 77. Michael McFaul  |  April 2nd, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    more ames and glazov pluhleez

  • 78. Cum  |  April 2nd, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Well, just look at the most recent story in the Exiled news feed:”BREAKING: “Going Postal” Shooting At California Religious School For Nurses, At Least 2 Dead, 6 Wounded…Gunman Still Loose… ”

    Two weeks ago right here I said to expect the next big workplace shooting story in two weeks, but my bad it ended up being a school shooting. Either way, there were a couple of other minor stories about thwarted attempts at BOTH school and workplaces since then. As pointed out in Going Postal, both workplace and school shootings have the same cause: American society has turned mean, and embraced a culture of bullying that in many ways reflects the cultural attitudes of slavery-era America. You see it in our foreign policy, you see it in our popular culture, you see it in the way that bosses treat their employees, you see it on every talking head political show, you see it in the way we raise our kids to treat each other.

    April is the month of rage murders, expect to see a lot more people going postal.

  • 79. Sean  |  April 6th, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    So many proof-read and well-argued comments! Don’t you people have jobs?

  • 80. R. Coogan  |  April 11th, 2012 at 11:46 pm


    Chomsky on slavery etc.

  • 81. nosuchthingasshould  |  April 12th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    @78 Cum. made me wonder, in light of this discussion, if there is any record of slave-on-slaves violence in the south, similar to the ‘postal’ incidents. i gueess lower body counts with axes/knives instead of automatics. would they bother recording?

  • 82. John S. James  |  June 1st, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Should we change the phrase “going postal” to “going presidential”?

  • 83. someofparts  |  February 2nd, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    You are the bravest journalist working in English Mr. Ames.

  • 84. fut coins  |  March 17th, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    I think what you published was very reasonable.

    However, what about this? what if you added a little content?
    I ain’t saying your information is not good., but what if you added a title that makes people desire more?

    I mean The One-Percents Doctrine For The Rest Of Us:
    We Are Not Human Beings, But Livestock Whose Meat They Extract As Rent – By Mark Ames
    – The eXiled is kinda vanilla. You should peek at
    Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create article headlines to get people to open the links.
    You might try adding a video or a pic or two to get
    people interested about what you’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it would make your posts a little livelier.

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