The legal process of buying a house has been made so complicated that you have to hire a licensed professional who has taken a course on real estate laws to help you buy your home. During the process of buying a house your real estate agent will introduce you to a long line of fees that you won’t understand, don’t agree with, and in many cases, are completely unnecessary. You’ll be forced to lock in an interest rate that changes daily for no other reason than it can. By the time you close the deal on your house you’ll have signed so many papers your hand will hurt.
The justification for all of this is to protect you, but after all the charges have been tallied up, your 30 year mortgage will cost you twice the price your house was advertised at, but you won’t know that until after your charismatic real estate agent has made your head spin with 300 pages of legal jargon and schmoozed you into signing your future away so they can get their cut of the closing costs.
The justification for charging you twice what your house is worth is because the bank takes a risk. That excuse is overdramatized to the point of being a lie. In fact, the more your bank overcharges you and the less upfront it is about those charges the more likely you are to default on your loan. Your lending institution will also deflect the blame by saying a lot of the cost is taxes, which only proves the government is complicit in overcharging you for your house. The government doesn’t have to tax you to death on your home. It doesn’t have to make it hard for your family to own your own house. They just do it because that’s the way it’s always been done, and the reason it’s always been done like that it because there’s money to be made in it.
The immediate consequences of this system are obvious: home buyers get screwed out of their money and are set up to default on their loans, but the problem is worse than that. Since there’s so much money to be made selling overpriced houses to suckers, the rich (who can build houses cheaply or buy existing ones with cash so they don’t get screwed on a 30 year mortgage) have a lot of incentive to buy up as much land as they can and build houses as cheaply as possible. This results in cities full of dilapidated houses that require constant repairs being sold at astronomical prices.
If it weren’t so easy to screw over the little guy, property values wouldn’t be so inflated. If property values weren’t so inflated people could afford to pay off their houses and wouldn’t default on their loans. Then lending institutions would not go bankrupt, and governments wouldn’t have to “bail out” lending institutions.
But the system is designed to screw over the little guy, and that causes housing bubbles, which result in millions of people losing their homes and even more never being able to buy one in the first place. And even after the American taxpayers bailed out the lending institutions that screwed them in the first place…the process of buying a house is still exactly the same as it was before. The little guy is still getting systematically ripped off in the exact same ways, and the consequences will continue to remain the same until the fundamentals of the housing market are changed.
If the government was the sole lending institution through which all property purchases were financed it could set low, stable interest rates and eliminate all the predatory fees banks throw into the process just because they can. If the government collected the interest on housing loans it wouldn’t need to impose such oppressive property taxes on homeowners. Those taxes could be slashed or eliminated, increasing the working class’s ability to pay off their mortgages. Real estate agents could still assist home buyers, but they should have a fixed wage set, say $1000 per house. Period. This is a generous sum of money for what’s often less than a week’s worth of work, and it doesn’t incentivize overpricing houses to pump up the realtor’s commission. Building codes should have higher standards. This won’t lower the cost to buy a house, but it will lower the cost to maintain a house, which will increase the likelihood that a home buyer will be able to pay off their mortgage in the long run.
Finally, how much land does one person need? Why does one person need to own 10,000 acres? The more land one person owns the less land there is for everyone else. You can argue that everyone has a right to own as much land as they want, but when there’s no land left for the poor, the effect is the same as denying the poor the right to own land. If a law were put in place limiting the amount of land someone can own or the frequency with which they could flip their property it would prevent housing bubbles. This would kill the big business surrounding the housing market, but that business needs to be killed. It doesn’t benefit society in any way. It’s a drain on society, and when you consider that every dollar a home buyer spends on their mortgage is equal to time spent at work, you ultimately pay for your house with your life. As it stands, the exploitative nature of the housing market steals people’s short, irreplaceable lives. I won’t hesitate to say that it’s a crime against humanity. If all of this money weren’t tied up in the fake fees business it could be released into the economy to stimulate actual businesses that have a real-world benefit to humanity.
But your dearly beloved politicians aren’t talking about that, and they’re not going to, and you should be asking why.
Everything costs as much as possible. When you see a sign in a store that says, “50% off,” what it really means is “Fuck you 50% less than normal.” Extortion is the norm. It’s half the reason the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poor. It maximizes profits for the rich and minimizes what the poor can afford. High prices are cruel. High prices kill people. High prices create misery. Yet, most of the world’s business owners have decided independently to set prices as high as possible so they can live opulently. Business owners wouldn’t do that if people were more important to them than paper.
2: Low wages
Business owners know how big their paycheck is, and they know how small their workers’ paychecks are. Business owners know they couldn’t get their big paycheck without all their employees working their asses off day in and day out for barely enough money to survive. That’s cruel, but it’s the norm.
Businesses spend a lot of time and money trying to manipulate customers into buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have for reasons that aren’t important. Advertisements warp people’s perception of reality and make them act in their own disinterest. That’s cruel, but that’s the norm.
4: Subjugation of customer service workers
When an advertisement convinces you to go to a business and spend money on a product or service, you’re going to be greeted by a customer service representative who will be wearing a monkey uniform. You can yell at that person. You can treat that person like shit, and they’ll have to stand there and take it and smile and act like this is the best day of their life and you’re the best person in the world. Their boss will fire them if they stand up for themselves, and they have to take abuse from their boss too. And their boss will yell at them if they don’t work as hard as possible for longer than is healthy. So their lives just suck on every level every day they go to work. That’s the norm. That’s insane. Our society really doesn’t value people.
5: Acceptance of sweatshop workers
Most of the stuff you own was made by slaves in sweatshops. Most of the food you eat passed through a slave’s hands at some point between the fields and your kitchen. We know this. We know our iPods were made by people who live in dormitories with suicide nets outside the windows. If you knew that one of our family members had been kidnapped and was being forced to live in those conditions you’d make it your life’s mission to free them, but we don’t feel more than a slight twinge of guilt over it happening to the people it’s actually happening to. If all people are equal then we should be equally concerned for everyone.
6: Unequal rights
We take it for granted that women don’t have the right to take their shirts off where men can. We accept that gays can’t get married where straights can. We get offended at the idea of people from another part of the world moving to the part of the world we live in because we take it for granted that they don’t have the right to move. We accept that soldiers and prisoners have had almost all of their rights stripped away. We make excuses to justify these lapses of equality.
War is hell on earth. It’s the worst thing that can happen, and it’s never necessary, but there are lots of wars going on right now, and they’re going to keep going on, and after they end new wars will take their place. Hell is here to stay, and we don’t care. We don’t even care enough to pay attention to which wars are going on or why. We go further out of our way to find out about the latest blockbuster movie coming out, and we’re more emotionally involved in Hollywood stories than stories of people living in war zones. Where do we draw the line?
How bad of an atrocity has to happen before the world puts its foot down if we won’t draw the line at unjust wars? Based on the precedents we’ve set, we clearly don’t value our fellow-man enough to ever draw the line. If we don’t value our fellow-man then we must not understand why our fellow-man is important.
People are important. Every one of us is an animate, sentient, autonomous cosmic supercomputer. We’re the rarest, valuable and most powerful thing in the universe. Any one of us is worth all the money in the universe.
Being the rarest thing in the universe, we have the rarest opportunity to explore and experience the majesty of the inanimate, unconscious and yet uncannily elegant universe we’ve found ourselves in. There are wonders to behold, and we could have them all. We’ve got about seven billion animate, sentient, autonomous cosmic supercomputers we could use to design and create an interstellar chain of utopian planets. But we’re not doing that. We’re forcing them to assemble cheap junk in sweatshops that customers are going to be manipulated into paying too much for.
Not only are we throwing away the future’s potential but we’re throwing away the present as well. When you’re on your death bed the thing you’re going to remember fondest in life is your friends. Everyone you meet is a potential friend whose wonder you can bask in right now. Everyone is has a beautiful universe in their mind, and even if you don’t like someone, there’s someone who loves them because beneath their faults they’re worth loving. Everyone brings beauty into this world, but that beauty is minimized when you’re worked to death at a job that treats you like crap. That takes a diamond and turns it into coal.
It might seem like a lot to ask everyone to value everyone regardless of how different we are, but you shouldn’t have to be guilt-tripped into doing it, because we’re all family, and you don’t have to be guilt tripped into helping your family. No matter how different we are, we’re still human; we’re not just on the same team, we’re on the only team. We’re all we’ve got.
Every one of us count. We should value each other and treat each other accordingly. When we treat people badly we should be reminded how important we are so we don’t waste the opportunity to live, grow and experience the majesty of existence to the fullest extent possible, together.
The big argument against raising taxes on the rich is that the fewer taxes the rich pay, the more incentive they’ll have to work hard and create jobs, but if we tax the rich heavily, then they won’t be motivated to grow their businesses. This theory ignores a fundamental truth about capitalist economies: You become a millionaire by working hard, but there isn’t enough time, energy or opportunity in one person’s life to become a billionaire through hard work. The only way is by underpaying your workers and overcharging for your products or owning stock in companies that underpay their workers and overcharge their customers. So the only way to become a billionaire is to steal. The way you do that may be legal, but it’s still stealing.
One way to fix the economy is to put a 100% tax on individual’s income over $1billion. No human being needs more than $1billion, and if you made it impossible to make more than $1billion then you will eliminate the incentive for anyone to try. This won’t stop people from working harder. It will just stop people from exploiting their workers and their customers or cutting jobs to maximize profit.
Plus, you could use those billions of tax dollars you’ve liberated from the greedy to stimulate the economy by creating new businesses. If you want to create jobs and stimulate the economy… then create jobs. The government could sell on of every product. If the government used the money it requisitioned from the rich to start businesses, it could regulate those businesses and make sure its employees got paid a fair percentage of the profit their work generates. The government could guarantee its workers are treated with more dignity than McDonald’s. Plus, it could guarantee the quality and safety of its products, which this would stimulate competition with the rest of the private companies.
Best of all, if the government sold one of every product, then the extra profit those businesses generate could go directly to paying for public programs instead of paying for a CEO’s new yacht. If the government made enough money off the goods and products it sold, we could eliminate the need for many of the taxes and fees we pay. If nothing else, we could subsidize healthcare, give our teachers raises, or invest in free education.
If you believe America is a welfare state, then instead of giving money away to the poor, clear out every other floor of the projects and replace those apartments with offices and pay for it with the money the government takes back from the ultra-wealthy. Give everyone in the projects jobs right there. That will eliminate the excuse of not being able to find a job as well as the need for the poor to buy cars and gas to travel across town to demeaning jobs that pay demeaning wages.
Americans are raised on the idea that working like a slave without complaining and hoarding money are hallmarks of virtue, but some people don’t want to work like slaves nor do they want a lot of money. If the government opened businesses that didn’t set Asian sweatshop work quotas and paid their workers good wages with lifetime job security, a lot of individuals who would have otherwise turned to a life of crime to support their unambitious lifestyle would gravitate to part-time jobs where they would be happy and not bother anyone.
Billionaires could just pay and treat their workers humanely, but they’re not going to. Poverty and crime aren’t their problems. If they won’t treat workers with respect and foresight, then the government needs to step in and do it.
1: Americans can’t vote directly on what their taxes are spent on.
Few, if any, of the problems listed below would exist if Americans were able to vote directly on what they want their taxes spent on, but there are only a few minor times and places where Americans are allowed to do that. Despite the fact that Americans have no say in how their taxes are spent, they’ll be sent to jail at gunpoint if they don’t pay whatever amount the government demands of them. This is the definition of extortion, and it’s the opposite of freedom. If your political representatives don’t spend your taxes on what you want them to, then that constitutes taxation without representation.
2: Americans aren’t allowed to know what a lot of their taxes are spent on.
The White House, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI, each branch of the military operate top secret facilities the average American isn’t allowed to know anything about. There are other agencies taxpayers don’t know exist. Taxpayers aren’t even allowed to know how much they’re spending on these programs, but if you don’t pay for them, you’ll go to jail.
3: Billions are spent spying on Americans, controlling them, and destroying their lives.
In 2013 Edward Snowden leaked information detailing how the U.S. government is using the NSA, in cooperation with the military, to spy on American citizens. The government responded to this by labeling him an enemy of the state and reminding the rest of America that whistle-blowing is punishable by death or life in prison.
Since September 11, 2001, the average police department is militarizing, but they’re not using their expensive resources to protect the people who pay them. They’re using their power to hunt civilians and dole out enough fines to fill their quotas to pay for more militarized gear. At the same time, the police are filling private, for-profit prisons with non-violent offenders.
The entire world knows America’s “War on Drugs” is a failure that creates more problems than it solves. Every expert and most laymen agree on this, but America won’t change its laws because there are too many industries with lobbyists that are making too much money off of it.
Americans not only have to put up with this constant intrusion into their lives, but they have to pay for it all, and they have no way to opt out.
4: Billions are spent funding industries that rely on selling their product to the government and are allowed to lobby the government for more funding.
Industries like the prison system, standardized testing companies, weapons manufacturers, military contract staffing agencies and mercenary groups are funded almost completely by taxpayer money. Those industries then take that money and use it to lobby politicians to buy more of their products and services. The healthcare industry’s lobbyists were able to go as far as to strong-arm the government into forcing every taxpayer to buy nearly-useless health insurance and be fined if they don’t, and law enforcement is complicit in fining and jailing anyone who doesn’t obey the insurance companies’ demands. The cost/benefit analysis of funding these industries doesn’t add up to the taxpayer. They’re not getting a positive return on their investment.
5: Billions are lost on subsidies for the rich.
Private businesses that sell their products and services directly to the public can also lobby politicians to give them taxpayer money. When the government gives away subsidies to big businesses, the taxpayer doesn’t get anything in return. In theory, they should get cheaper products, but the rich don’t get rich charging as little as possible. They get rich by selling the cheapest product for the highest price they can get away with.
When a government-funded industry becomes big enough to lobby politicians, they’re almost guaranteed to be able to fleece taxpayers indefinitely. For every business that relies solely on the government, there are hundreds more that will successfully lobby politicians to give them one-off payouts that benefit the business owners more than they benefit taxpayers.
8: Other countries can lobby the government to give them taxpayer money and representation in government.
America gives away at least $70 billion to foreign interests annually. Foreign governments and businesses can use this money to lobby American politicians to give them more money or vote on policies that benefit them regardless of whether or not it’s in the best interest of the American public.
9: The tax code is literally impossible to understand.
The federal tax code is so big, the IRS doesn’t even know how big it is, but it estimates it to be about 7,400 pages long. This doesn’t include state and county taxes. It’s so difficult to calculate how much you owe in taxes, people spend $7 billion annually to hire tax experts to calculate how much they owe. Even those experts are only trained in niche sectors of the tax code. Nobody understands it completely.
10: Small businesses are choked by convoluted taxes.
Working class citizens are frustrated by the fact that they don’t know how much taxes they have to pay or why, but as long as they cough up enough money to stay out of jail, their lives can go on as normal. Small business owners’ livelihood depends on their ability to navigate the labyrinth of tax codes that apply to them. If your business is small enough, it’s possible to file your taxes yourself, but if you’re not good at math, you won’t be able to open a lemonade stand. This is a huge part of why half of all small businesses fail. However, if you were born rich, you can pay someone to manage all of that for you.
11: Regressive taxes oppress the poor.
Some people would say America has a progressive tax system, because the more money you make, the more you have to pay in taxes. But consider that if you make $1,000 per month, the government will take a little over $100 out of each paycheck. If you only make $1,000 per month, you almost certainly don’t have any savings. So you’re paying 10% of your total net worth in taxes every month.
Millionaires who pay 40% of their income to taxes annually will complain that they’re taxed too high, but they can still afford to eat steak and lobster dinners, buy their own home and pay for their kids to go to college. The consequence of poor people paying 10% of their net worth to taxes every month is the difference between eating fresh food or boxed food, fixing your car or walking, seeing a dentist or buying Ibuprofen.
The 10% the poor pay in federal taxes don’t include sales taxes, property taxes, auto taxes, county taxes and state taxes. When you add it all up, taxes cripple the poor more than they help them. Once they run out of money, they may be able to qualify for some kind of welfare, but it’s not enough for them to have a decent quality of life. With or without government assistance, the poor still live in constant fear of starvation and homelessness. This regressive tax code amounts to institutionalized economic oppression.
12: Billions are wasted on corrupt, ineffective social programs that treat the symptoms of poverty, not the causes.
America spends over $1,066 billion on Medicare, welfare, and other social services each year, but poverty, fear, and misery still exist. Doubling the money spent on these programs wouldn’t solve the problem because this money is spent addressing the symptoms of poverty, not the cause.
No matter what you do, you’ll still have to pay for taxes, food, clothing, utilities, and housing. There is no finish line in the rat race. There’s no point where you can stop working and live your life free from the bill collector. You’ll always be forced to pay landlords, banks, grocers, utility companies and the IRS, and everyone is charging their customers as much as possible. Giving the poor handouts to pay banks and big businesses ultimately amounts to redistributing the nation’s wealth to the rich.
Taxes keep citizens mildly safe from criminals and terrorists. Taxes also build roads, schools and other services that help people fulfill their potential, but we all live in a predatory economy that is designed to bankrupt the poor, and there’s no safety net. Once the rich succeed at taking all your money, you have to sleep on the streets, which is illegal in many cities. Until you reach rock bottom, you have to live in fear of running out of money. That fear drives the poor to work as much as possible without complaining, and they’ll never be free to stop working long enough to join a successful protest. Even if they could, the police will beat them and send them to jail.
Given the choice, no rational person would agree to this social contract. This raises the question, what’s the alternative? The answer to that question is deceptively simple. In order for a person to be secure, free and happy, they need the basic necessities of life: food, water, shelter, and education.
If it costs $86,100 to build an apartment unit, the government could build an apartment for all 318 million taxpayers for $274 billion, which is well within America’s budget. This would eliminate homelessness and the gut-wrenching fear that comes from barely being able to afford rent.
It would only cost $30 billion to feed the entire world. If the American military spent 5.4% of its $664 billion budget, it could feed everyone on the planet. At the very least, it could feed every American very well. Then no American would ever have to live in fear of starvation again.
For another $100-$200 billion, every American could have free utilities and education, especially if the government isn’t paying inflated prices to private utility companies and schools.
For about $500 billion per year, every American could be housed, fed and cared for. This would eliminate the need for social security and welfare, which Americans currently pay more than twice that amount for. It would also eliminate the desperation that drives so many people to use drugs and commit violent crimes.
You don’t need to raise taxes to accomplish this, you just need to stop spending taxes on things that don’t benefit taxpayers. Instead, use the money people already pay to help them directly. If that sounds radical, then that just proves how dystopian America’s tax system has become. We’ve strayed so far from reality that sanity looks crazy.
A friend sent me a Youtube video and asked for my opinion on it. I had so much to say about it that I wrote a blog about it. The video argues that America’s progressive tax system rewards the lazy and punishes the rich. If you don’t want to watch the five-minute video, I’ve summarized it in a one-page comic below.
In case the message in the video isn’t clear, the producers at PragerU.com made at least two more, Do The Rich Pay Their Fair Share? and The War on Work, reiterating the point: Poor people just aren’t trying hard enough, and rich people are hard workers who have to feed the leeches. PragerU probably isn’t run by capitalist conspirators who are knowingly creating misleading propaganda to placate the masses into accepting a life of indignity, fear, and toil. There are millions of other Americans who have the same perception of reality and want to spread the truth as they see it.
Recently a story went viral after a twenty-six-year-old woman lost her job for writing a blog called, “An Open Letter To My CEO” about how little money she made and how hard it was/is to survive. Then a twenty-nine-year-old wrote a response that went viral. She basically told the first girl to suck it up, work harder and stop expecting handouts. She’d probably tell me the same thing if she read the open letter to my CEO I wrote five years ago.
Nobody wants to give handouts to lazy people who don’t want to work. Saying that poor people are just poor because they’re not working hard enough is a warped perception of reality at best and a straw man argument at worst. Below is a comic that more accurately reflects America’s class and tax system:
The poor are not America’s enemy, they’re its victims. The ultra-rich aren’t heroes. They’re the creators and sustainers of economic oppression. They’re going to continue to make economic inequality worse as long as they have all the money and thus all the power, and they’re going to hold onto their money and power as long as Americans justify and glorify their own slavery.
The economic revolution America needs has to happen in the minds of Americans. They need to understand how the economy is stacked against them and start pointing fingers at the real source of the problem.
The economy is bad, and every politician running for office these days gets hard pressed to explain how they’re going to create jobs and raise wages. The problem with looking to campaigning politicians for answers to the world’s problems is they’re only going to tell you the answers that win them votes. So you can only expect to get the “Sunday school answers” from them that gloss over the hard, embarrassing roots of economic crises.
They’re never going to tell you the economy is bad because it’s fundamentally broken, and it’s not that the economy just all of a sudden broke after working properly for some time; it’s designed to eat its own tail. So, technically, it was successful at doing what it was designed to do.
If you don’t know how America’s economy works, here’s a quick introduction. Companies try to sell as much stuff as possible. They try to spend as little money as possible for the things they buy and charge as much money as possible for the things they sell.
On the surface, this formula may seem reasonable. Lots of companies have gone bankrupt because they made products that lasted forever, and once everyone bought one, the business couldn’t sell anymore. So companies have learned not to make things that last. They make products as cheap as possible not only because it guarantees them more sales after those things break, but cheap junk is also cheap to produce. So companies make a higher profit at both ends of their business model. Then they can make even more money if they constantly raise the price of everything for any reason that sounds remotely justifiable.
There’s no giant conspiracy behind this. The state of the economy was probably inevitable. Businesses that minimize expenses and maximize profit make more money than businesses that sell high-quality products at reasonable prices, and once a business has more money than their competitors they can buy all the advantages they need to put their competitors out of business. In a free (or even not so free) market only the most profitable businesses survive, but when the majority of businesses sell the cheapest products at the highest price you cross a tipping point where the economy just eats itself alive.
Mass consumerism is burning through all the world’s natural resources at a mind-boggling rate. This destroys the environment and raises the cost of goods as resources become more scarce. Instead of those resources being used to build a permanent world, they’re used to fill garbage dumps and pollute the eco-system. Then we have to divert more resources to managing these problems we’re creating. All the while the businesses we rely on to sell us the products to manage the problems we’re creating keep raising keep selling us cheaper and cheaper tools while their cost keeps going up for any reason that sounds remotely justifiable. So for every two steps, we take towards a stable economy and a clean environment we take one step back.
But that’s a best-case scenario. In the real world, we’re running as fast as we can towards an economic collapse by making everything as expensive as it can be. The more expensive everything gets, and the more often people have to repair the things they’ve already bought, the less people can buy, which means the less demand there will be for new products, which means unemployment will go up, which means people will have even less money to buy more products to justify more jobs. This is a straight-forward domino effect straight towards collapse.
But the cure sounds as bad as the disease. If everyone made products that lasted and sold them for reasonable prices then many businesses would go bankrupt, and the ones that survived would never make enough capital to expand significantly. This is a recipe for unemployment and ultimately… starvation.
However, unemployment is only a bad thing if the only reason people need jobs is to make as much money as possible because everything is expensive as possible and everything breaks. If people could survive for free (or next to free), then they wouldn’t need to work 40+ hours a week. We have the technology and skills to allow people to live for free if we would only use them.
Consider what you need to survive. You need a house, food, clothes, water, and electricity. How expensive is it to get those things? As it stands rent costs at least one-third of your wages. Food is grown in foreign countries, covered in toxic preservatives and shipped to foreign supermarkets that charge such high prices they can afford to have regular sales and still make money off of deeply discounted sale items. Your clothes are made in sweatshops in foreign countries and shipped to stores around the globe where their price tag is marked up thousands of times higher than they cost to produce. Utilities are largely run by private companies that charge as much money as they can while their executives live more luxuriously than any medieval king could ever dream of. When you lay it out like that, there’s obvious room for improvement in this system.
There are ways we can make housing, clothing, food, and utilities drastically cheaper. If we do that, the economy won’t make as much profit, but people won’t need to work for (or save) as much money to survive. Plus, if they don’t have to spend money on housing, food, clothing, and utilities then they’ll have more money to spend on job-creating products.
I’ll make a few suggestions how to lower costs on these expenses, but I’m not trying to convince you those are the right ideas as much as I’m trying to convince you that everyone (especially politicians) should be thinking and talking about lowering the cost of survival to improve our quality of living and our chances of survival.
Here are a few suggestions to stabilize our economy and our lives:
Taxpayers pay a lot of money to the government through the course of their lives under the assumed condition that their government will use that money to improve their quality of life. Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and similar social services are all swamped by people who are too poor and sick to survive. Half the problems those social services address could be solved if people had free housing, even if that “house” was nothing more than a cramped efficiency apartment. If it was free and guaranteed then everyone will have a better chance of building a secure, healthy life…and career.
Governments can claim eminent domain over property, and we can build extremely cheap, strong, eco-friendly buildings with sandbags. America certainly has enough prisoners to put to work filling sandbags. Once these are built, there’s no need to charge citizens extortionate fees or taxes to live there. If poor people can live there freely and securely then the cost/benefit analysis of doing drugs and committing crime will plummet with their stress level.
This isn’t giving the poor a handout. The poor pay more in taxes in their lifetime than it would cost to build sustainable sandbag houses for every person in the world three times over in sin taxes alone. Even if that’s not precisely true, the point the remains. Poor people pay taxes with the understanding that the government will use it to raise their quality of life. You can pay for houses for the poor with poor people’s own money if governments would just stop spending poor people’s taxes on such aggressive police and militaries who prey on civilians. And stop having the poor subsidies tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy.
I really want to beat this horse to death, because this is such a simple and obvious concept that it’s easy to take for granted, but it’s profoundly important. Governments exist to help the taxpayers who fund it. Nothing…nothing…nothing…nothing… in the world will help first-world taxpayers more today than having a free house. Setting up a system to provide everyone with a free house should have been one of the first things any government ever did. And with the technology we have today this is more possible than ever.
There’s no need to get rid of super farms altogether or ban international food shipments. They serve a purpose, but there’s no need for the world to rely solely on them for its food supply. You can grow food anywhere. You just need a place to grow it and someone who knows how to make it grow. If you grow it right next to you then you don’t have to ship it anywhere but your kitchen before you consume it. If governments build free housing complexes they could incorporate gardens and small strips of farm/ranch land into the layout. It would be inefficient to try to grow all your food there, but any amount you could grow onsite you don’t have to pay to import. If you can grow 30% of your food onsite then you can reduce your living expenses by 30% while creating local agriculture jobs for skilled and unskilled workers. That’ll also reduce food-shipping-related pollution and resource-consumption by 30%.
But this method wouldn’t work in suburbia because suburbia is so inefficiently designed. That’s not a reason to disregard urban agriculture. That’s a reason to abandon the suburban city model.
If we can’t clothe ourselves without forcing children to work in sweatshops then we should just walk around naked. But we don’t have to rely on sweatshops, and we don’t have to pay $90 for a shirt. There should be a global ban on importing sweatshop clothing. That doesn’t mean sweatshop workers should lose their jobs. That means factory workers should get paid a living wage and get to work under inhumane conditions. But that’s not going to happen as long as CEOs reserve the right to exploit their workers and have the incentive of being able to pocket as much of the company’s profits as they want. Cap executive pay and put a limit on how high the cost of products can be marked up. Make profit sharing mandatory. And finally, let an impartial, international health organization set health and safety standards for commercial merchandise. The only “negative” consequence these changes have to cause is stopping executives from being able to afford to live in utter, shameful luxury. As long as business executives can’t pass their costs off onto their workers or customers then everyone else will enjoy a higher quality of living while still being able to afford clothes, shoes, and all the other products we buy.
Technology exists for buildings to collect their own rainwater, process their own waste and generate their own electricity. If building standards required every building to be environmentally sustainable then there would be little need to pay for public utilities or their upkeep. Cities could still keep public utilities in a backup fashion instead of being the single point of failure that they are now. I’m not saying it’ll be easy to convert the world to using sustainable architecture/technology. I’m just saying, as long as we keep doing what we’re doing we should expect the same results.
The American populace has become infamous for how divided it is on how it expects its government to operate. However, the country is united almost unanimously on the position that political change is needed. As the country devolves into near civil war over the fringe issues its politicians feed the people to squabble amongst each other over, it’s becoming more and more imperative to understand that practically any political change is unlikely to have any significant long-term effect on the quality of life in America until the standard economic model is revamped.
In order to understand why this is you have to first understand that America’s economic model is more accurately described as “predatory capitalism” as opposed to simply “capitalism.” Predatory capitalism is based on 2 fundamental operating principles:
1. Pay workers as little as possible within the limits of supply and demand.
2. Charge customers as much as possible for goods and services within the limits of supply and demand.
These two simple principles will cause ripple effects that will multiply themselves over time. The first and most obvious effect is the nation’s wealth will trickle upwards, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Once the rich become rich, they’ll be able to reinvest that wealth making them richer and allowing them to expand their control over the economy. Once the poor become poor, it will take longer for them to work their way out of poverty or compete with the rich to establish competitive businesses. The long-term effect of this is exactly what you see in America: major chains, owned by the rich, worked by the poor. It will be almost impossible for all those minimum wage workers to open their own “mom and pop” business much less competitive retail chains. This problem becomes even worse the more land the wealthy own as the poor will not be able to afford their own land to build their businesses on.
Once the rich become rich enough to have millions or billions of dollars of disposable income they will be able to use that money to influence politics through financing the careers of pro-monopoly politicians either directly, through campaign contributions, bribery, lobbying, campaigning against anti-monopoly politicians and funding anti-monopoly, anti-worker propaganda. Again, this is exactly what has happened in America.
Now that America has passed this tipping point where a few wealthy individuals control the majority of the wealth in America, there is little point in political reform. What if a third political party was elected to office? What if abortion were legalized? What if marijuana prohibition was ended? What if net neutrality was secured? What if stricter environmental protection laws were passed? What if the privatization of education was ended? The reality of life for the average American would remain unchanged. As long as the economic model that robs the poor and gives to the rich stays in place, poor people will still spend their lives working 3 jobs just to stay alive. They’ll still be crippled by mortgage and student loan debt for the majority of their lives and pass debt on to their children. And they’ll still be dependent on the major corporations for most of their food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.
As long as the poor have no wealth to leverage their interests, the rich will still retain the economic power to shape the political landscape according to their predatory agenda. The solution to this problem isn’t legislation guaranteeing profit sharing or fair prices. The rich could still simply purchase legislation to rewind progress.
The only way the poor will have the access to a fair share of the nation’s wealth is for business owners to willingly give their workers profit sharing, fair prices and, preferably, on-site housing at their place of work. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that this will happen in a predatory economy as business owners will be inclined to try to extort as much money as they can from their workers and customers in order to remain competitive against other ruthless companies.
Existing business owners need to be encouraged to treat the people within their sphere of influence with the dignity and respect due to every human being. Barring that, the poor need to pool their mental and physical resources to open and support businesses that don’t practice predatory capitalism. Barring that, the poor can always exercise the leverage of boycotting and striking, but this is unlikely to happen since the wealthy have already shaped the economic and political landscape so that it’s extremely difficult to unionize or avoid buying from corporations.
So the most productive course of action for the poor at this point is to start and support their own egalitarian businesses. Once they do that, they can begin accumulating their own wealth and thus leverage, reduce dependency on predatory businesses and enjoy a decent quality of life without being treated like slaves.
I keep seeing politicians come on the television and say they’re going to fix the economy, create jobs and raise wages. I’ve been listening to the same promises my entire adulthood while simultaneously staring at a fundamental flaw in the economy that no politician is talking about. If they do talk about it, it’s just long enough to acknowledge a problem exists before changing the conversation back to meaningless talking points.
The problem is that it’s really, really, really, really hard to start a small business. Over half of all small businesses fail within their first year. Politicians have said that much, but they never sink their teeth into why. People don’t fail at businesses because it’s so hard to provide someone else a product or service and then take their money from them. The hardest part about running a small business, the part that trips so many people up, is that the government will send you to jail and fine you into poverty if you can’t flawlessly navigate 10,000 miles of legal bureaucracy.
If you want to succeed in business, you basically need an associate’s degree in economics. If you don’t believe me, go get a tax number, file your small business name, write a business plan, and pick a piece of accounting software to help you organize your taxes. Most people won’t make it that far.
You may be shouting, ” But that’s how business works! If you can’t do that much, then you’re too stupid to be in business!” The thing about that is, it doesn’t have to be so hard to start a business. Our predecessors just went out of their way to make it that hard. I’m sure they had good intentions and reasons that sounded reasonable on paper, but the end result is they’ve created a very narrow bottleneck to owning/operating a small, private business that excludes the poor and uneducated.
I don’t know or care if there’s a conspiracy theory behind this or if it’s just the cumulative effect of millions of stupid decisions. I just care that the deck has been stacked against the poor and uneducated. If all humans are equal then all humans should have an equal chance at an education and owning their own business. Even if a human is stupid…why would we punish them for that? And if all they’re trying to do is sell oranges on the side of the road, why do we need to bring mind-bending bureaucracy into their life at all?
The reason why is because the American tax code assumes every transaction that can possibly be taxed must be tracked and taxed. I believe the I.R.S.’s philosophy does more harm than good, and I base that opinion on the fact that every night the news says the economy is terrible. The reason it’s terrible is because we’re doing something terribly wrong. Obviously, the economy has more problems than just this, but I suspect that as long as we keep assuming that every transaction which could possibly be taxed must be tracked and taxed then the economy will continue to be terrible, especially for the poorest, most uneducated human beings living on earth.
Other than “Tiger Mom,” I’ve never heard of a book on success or leadership that advocates micromanaging. In fact, everything I’ve ever read said it’s the most stifling, soul-destroying approach you can take to accomplish anything. So… if we apply that same principle to the tax code, it points to the conclusion that maybe we should lighten up there.
If people can make money, they’re going to spend it. It’s going to get caught in the tax net somewhere. If people just didn’t have to file anything or pay any taxes for small businesses that make less than $10,000 per year, then people will have the breathing room to establish their small businesses before leaping into the realm of completely retarded bureaucracy. That wouldn’t threaten big businesses’ effective monopolies. It would just give human beings some breathing room.
If the I.R.S. ever wanted to help the nation out a little more they could automatically assign everyone with a business tax id number and generic business license so nobody has to apply for anything when they start operating their small business. They just operate under the codes they were born with.
If the I.R.S. ever wanted to help the nation out a little more they could automate their personal income tax system a little better. Maybe the smart folks at N.A.S.A. can help them. If N.A.S.A. can figure out how to land a cyborg on Mars remotely they can probably figure out a way to automate everyone’s yearly income taxes so we don’t all get sent calculus riddles by snail mail that we have to pay a seasonal accountant $300 to solve just so they can tell us a random amount we have to pay on top of that.
It’s not uncommon in any country to hear people blame the miserable state of their economy on welfare recipients freeloading off the hard work of the middle and upper classes. While it’s true that welfare queens do exist, they’re not the fundamental problem with the economy. The fundamental problem with the economy is that business owners underpay their workers and overcharge their customers.
That one-two punch is enough to force middle-class workers to have to count their pennies to survive, and it bleeds blue-collar workers straight into nearly inescapable poverty. Surviving, much less saving, is made even more difficult by the fact that landlords have to overcharge for rent because banks (and government taxes) extort everyone who takes out a 30-year mortgage. The only way to get a job that pays enough to afford all the meaningless fees you have to pay to buy a house is to buy a degree from a university, but the cost of a degree is inflated so high that poor people can’t afford it. So they’re stuck working degrading, underpaying jobs for the rest of their lives. Those who can afford a degree are crippled with debt for half a lifetime.
These two factors are enough to force middle-class workers have to count their pennies to survive, and it bleeds the lowest class into nearly inescapable poverty. Surviving, much less saving, is made even more difficult by the fact that landlords have to overcharge for rent because banks and government taxes extort everyone who takes out a 30-year mortgage. The only way to get a job that pays enough to afford all the meaningless fees you have to pay to buy a house, is to buy a degree from a university, but the cost of a degree is inflated so high that poor people can’t afford it. So they’re stuck working degrading, underpaying jobs for the rest of their lives. Those who can afford a degree are crippled with debt for half a lifetime.
The only reason wages are so low and the cost of goods, loans, and education are so high is because the rich get rich by taking as much of everyone else’s money as they can while giving as little back as possible. This hurts everyone, but it hurts the poor the worst. The reason poverty exists in the first place isn’t because poor people are lazy. They’re poor because business owners took all their money.
It is true that a small minority of poor people scam the taxpayers and don’t want to work, but look at the alternative. Their only option in life is to work themselves to death in degrading jobs that don’t pay a living wage to begin with. Why wouldn’t they scam the system? Because it’s irresponsible? They can’t get ahead in life because the rich are scamming them out of all their money. They’re just doing to the system what the system did to them. I’m not saying that’s right, just that it’s inevitable.
Slashing welfare isn’t going to make the middle class richer or help the economy. It’s just going to create more misery and poverty. Increasing welfare isn’t going to help anyone either because business owners are just going to take the poor’s money anyway, and the poor still won’t be able to afford an education. Business owners and investors are going to continue getting richer, and everyone else is going to continue getting poorer (or at least working themselves to death treading water) as long as business owners and investors refuse to share their profits with their employees or charge reasonable prices for their goods and services. Raging against poor people for being lazy, greedy scum bags adds insult their injury and makes undeserving scapegoats out of them while the real robbers continue business as usual.
The world’s problems are your problems. Even if you live in a safe, middle-class suburb, there are still forces creeping into your house that are slowly killing you and threatening the survival of your descendants. If you’re not teaching yourself about the world’s problems and trying to figure out your own solutions, then you’re just waiting to die.
This is serious. There’s a herd of metaphorical bears running straight towards you and your village. Making excuses for why it’s not your responsibility to give your impending demise your full attention is justifying suicide. If you’re not qualified to deal with bears, you need to become qualified, network with someone who is or find a workaround within your abilities.
The world’s problems are so big and complex, it’s dizzying to figure out where to even begin listing them. So I’ll give you some advice that will get you started and save some steps putting everything in perspective. The world’s problems have many seeds, but most of them wouldn’t have grown into towering banyan trees without being thoroughly watered with poverty. If you can fix poverty, then the other evils it creates and exacerbates will wither away.
The root cause of poverty is predatory capitalism. I say “predatory capitalism,” because “capitalism” is just private ownership of a business, which isn’t the issue. The problem is that America’s standard business model takes this concept to its most ruthless extreme. The economy is based on the premise that the purpose of businesses is to make as much profit as possible for the owner/s, which is accomplished primarily by paying workers as little, and charging customers as much, as supply and demand will allow.
This isn’t just a formula for poverty. It’s the formula for poverty. On paper, it looks deceptively innocuous, but it’s tearing the world apart. Below is a list of 14 apocalyptic problems that can be reduced from mountains to molehills by using an economic system that isn’t based on creating, sustaining and increasing economic inequality.
In a predatory economy, farms can’t give food away for free because they’d go bankrupt. Most farmers can’t even afford to sell their products at reasonable prices, because everything they have to buy to run their company and take care of their family, costs as much as possible. The largest corporations could lower their prices, but they beat their competition and established themselves as market leaders by caring more about profit than human life or happiness to begin with. If they ever stopped exploiting their customers and workers, they’d lose their market share to a competitor who will.
Corporations improve their competitiveness by growing food in third world countries using slave labor and then shipping their harvests back to first world markets where they can charge the highest price. This causes a false food shortage in third world countries, which raises the price higher than the local slaves can afford.
However, obesity isn’t an epidemic in first world countries like America because their citizens are living as extravagantly as French aristocracy, but because food companies further lower their operating costs and maximize profits by mixing their products with preservatives, flavoring, coloring, and filler. So instead of first world consumers getting the best nutrition from around the world at the cheapest price, they get the most unhealthy, processed junk food at the highest price.
Americans who make minimum wage can’t afford healthy, unmolested food. So they grow up eating boxes, bags, and cans of chemical mulch saturated in sugar, growth hormones and carcinogens, which sets them up for health problems later in life. There’s no conspiracy to commit chemical warfare on the civilian population. Businesses are just designed to make the most profit, and you make the most profit by selling the cheapest product at the highest price, regardless of the cost to human life.
2: High health care costs
The law of supply and demand says the more people need something, the more they’re willing to pay for it, and predatory capitalism says to match your prices to your customer’s desperation level. So going to the hospital to fix the inevitable health problems caused by stress and poison is as expensive as possible because medical schools and medical supply companies charge doctors and hospitals extortionate prices. Doctors then pass the exploitative costs onto their customers while also increasing the final price even higher to further take advantage of their customers’ vulnerability.
At the same time, the rich are buying up more land than they need, creating false scarcity that further drives up prices and fuels a never-ending cycle of housing bubbles/bursts that teeter back and forth between excluding the poor from being able to afford homes and then decimating the equity of those who could.
Since landlords and businesses have to pay the same extortionate mortgages, they pass on the cost of extortion to their renters and customers. That’s why rent is so damn high. This isn’t just “how life is.” This is a predatory business model invented to take money from the poor and give it to the rich in exchange for nothing.
4: Lack of basic utilities
If everyone who works was guaranteed food, water, shelter, electricity, telecommunications, and transportation, then most of the fear and pain in the world would be eliminated. Then everyone could get on with their lives and only have to worry about the most important issues.
The reason utilities are scarce isn’t that we lack the resources. It’s because the people who own the world’s resources make them as prohibitively expensive as possible. Even when governments build and operate their own utilities, they have to buy the materials at inflated prices, limiting the services they can provide.
Public utilities are becoming a thing of the past anyway since private (and often foreign) companies have been bribing politicians into privatizing those services for decades. The companies taking over utilities claim they can provide a better product at a cheaper price, but the ultimate goal of business is to make profits, which is why you can always expect the cost of utilities to go up, and you’ll keep finding more meaningless fees on your bills.
The definition of stress is, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
Nothing is more stressful than fearing for your life, and everything you need to survive costs money. So your safety is directly dependent on how much money you have, but almost every business overcharges as much as possible. You’ll even be charged for things you didn’t ask for, don’t want and disagree with. Your entire life will be spent fighting for survival against everyone you have to pay. This is a formula for perpetual stress. The solution isn’t to read more motivational books. Life isn’t stressful because you’re weak. It’s because the economy is designed to keep you trapped in perpetual danger.
6: Mental health issues
The human brain can only take so much stress before it cracks. Anyone living in permanent anxiety will experience mental health issues eventually. The more traumatic your childhood is, the quicker you’ll succumb to all the internal and external consequences of poverty, and the poorer you are, the more damaging your childhood will be.
Seeing a cheap mental health expert for one hour costs more than a minimum wage employee makes in an entire day, and that money is already earmarked for food, rent, utilities, transportation, repairs and government fees. So the people most at risk for mental health problems are least able to afford it.
If you become too mentally broken to work, then you’ll have to live on the streets and beg for food. The size of America’s mentally ill homeless population isn’t a regrettable byproduct of an otherwise great system. The system is designed to create that problem by keeping help as far out of reach as possible and then funneling anyone who can’t function without it onto the streets to beg, steal and die.
7: Drug abuse
It’s also not an accidental byproduct of an otherwise great system, that at least 87% of Americans have drunk alcohol, 10% have smoked marijuana, 16% have smoked cigarettes, and 13% are on antidepressants. The system is designed to make earning more money, and being able to afford a better life, as hard as possible. For the least academically inclined, it’s virtually impossible.
Paying high prices to consume poison so you can feel better in the moment is irresponsible because it limits your immediate potential and kills you prematurely. But if you know you’re going to earn slave wages for the rest of your life, and you’ll never be able to afford your dreams anyway, the cost/benefit analysis of ending your miserable existence in a blaze of euphoria starts to add up. America doesn’t have a drug abuse epidemic because so many people are weak. It’s a proportional response to how stressful and hopeless life is in a predatory capitalist economy.
8: Domestic violence
Financial problems are one of the most common causes of divorce, but worrying and fighting about money is a long, painful process. Normal people are anxious and angry because the economy turns life into a grueling, unrewarding rat race. It’s only a matter of time before that frustration comes out somewhere, and the people you’re most likely to take it out on are the ones you see most, which are the people you live with.
You’d think the divorce rate would be higher when everyone is constantly worrying about bankruptcy, compromising on spending, working beyond their physical and mental endurance, suffering from suburban sensory deprivation, and wrestling with the constant source of unfulfillment that comes from not being able to afford your dreams. Actually, the divorce rate would be higher, but poverty often traps dysfunctional couples together because they can’t afford to live on their own.
9: Violent crime
America’s violent crime stats are directly proportional to the stress and desperation created by the false scarcity of food, housing, and wages. African-American ghettos don’t have third-world-level violent crime rates and are prone to riots because African-Americans are genetically predisposed to act like wild, desperate animals. Their problem is they live in a third world economy surrounded by first world neighborhoods they can’t afford to escape to.
Predatory capitalism traps them in an environment in which there are more people competing for resources than there are to go around. When everyone has to fight to survive, it becomes responsible to learn how to fight, and your best chance of succeeding is to join a group of fighters. That’s life for anyone who lives in a ghetto, regardless of their skin color.
No matter what country you live in, you’re surrounded by idiots. You know this. They stress you out every day at work, and at night you see them on the news fighting tooth and nail to destroy everything good in your country. If you’re not grabbing your head and screaming, “Why is everyone so stupid!?” then you’re not paying attention.
Why do you have to be surrounded by idiots? Poverty. That’s why. We could have already built the ultimate, free, global online school that could provide unrestricted access to all the world’s knowledge and skills. The internet is slowly providing free online education, but since everything is as expensive as possible, and there’s no profit in charity, humanity can’t afford to create the ultimate educational tool.
Even in affluent America, students can’t afford to attend universities because predatory capitalism dictates the more your customer needs your product, the more you should charge. Universities are copying the housing and healthcare industries and taking this philosophy farther than the market can bear. They’re charging students beyond their means, which is creating an education bubble, which is making college so expensive the cost/benefit analysis of enrolling doesn’t necessarily add up anymore. Predatory capitalism has created a system where it doesn’t pay to get a college education. This is putting a glass ceiling on the intelligence level of the entire world.
Going to school isn’t the only way to learn about the world though. There are media companies in every city producing information for mass consumption, but they can’t give content away for free without selling advertisements, which is a form of misinformation.
The price media outlets can charge advertisers is directly proportional to the size of their audience. In order to attract the widest audience possible, businesses have to deliver the most popular content. Thanks to the oppressive nature of the economy, most people are uneducated, scared, stressed-out slaves with cabin fever, who are longing for escape. This sets them up to want to consume media that satisfies their base instinctual desires for excitement, hope, love, popularity, wealth, and power.
Even news agencies, which supposedly follow a code of integrity, drown out useful information with content that’s more entertaining than educational. The six most successful media companies have bought out most of the world’s independent news agencies and syndicated the same distracting brain candy to every city.
The reason you’re surrounded by idiots is because 90% of the world population are victims of economic oppression. I doubt there’s secret conspiracy to dumb down the population to make them easier to control. It was just a convenient and inevitable byproduct of every business’s single-minded pursuit of money.
11: Religious extremism
There’s a well-established correlation between poverty and religious belief. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be uneducated and feel stressed, hopeless, alone, unfulfilled and meaningless. Religion offers a solution to all the problems created by poverty. It promises if you believe a story and follow some rules, you’ll be rewarded after death.
Religion is the perfect consumer product. It costs nothing to produce, and your customers will pay you for years without getting anything in return. They’ll do your advertising for you and defend your brand to the death even in the face of overwhelming proof your product is a sham. If your religion teaches hard work and sacrifice are virtuous, and idleness and self-interest are evil, then your followers will make the perfect employees for you or any business lucky enough to hire them.
Not everyone who believes in religion becomes a terrorist, but there’s a well-documented correlation between poverty and religious extremism. If you want to start a death cult that will kill people and steal their resources for you, believing they’re serving the greater good, then all you need to do is promise them that joining your organization will solve all the problems in their lives created by predatory capitalism. Then, indoctrinate them with time-tested brainwashing techniques to base their identity and self-worth on their status in your pyramid-shaped organization. Finally, criminalize dissent and make it as hard as possible to leave. This is what ISIS and the U.S. military do, and if you copy their model, you can achieve the same success.
12: Corruption and systemic political failure
Corruption was inevitable the moment money was created. Since money is power, those with the most money have the most power regardless of who sits on the throne of government. Business owners don’t need to sit on the throne themselves or rely on the judgment of others to pass laws that allow them to exploit their workers and customers to death. Modern democracy has created a streamlined path to corruption. Since politicians have to accept donations to fund their election campaigns, they’re beholden to their investors. When the majority of politician’s careers are funded by the same businesses, lone-wolf politicians can’t stand up to all the corporate representatives. That’s why you can’t expect to see hope and change from young, charismatic politicians: because the investors they represent value profits more than human life.
13: Perpetual war
Once you have enough representatives to control how a nation’s wealth is used, you can use its tax revenue to bribe foreign politicians into letting you pillage their resources. If they won’t play ball, you can depose them with military force, guaranteeing you won’t have to compete for global market share with worker-friendly politicians or foreign businesses.
Predatory capitalism also guarantees perpetual war simply because war is profitable. The military-industrial complex needs taxpayers to buy its weapons in order to remain profitable. So it behooves them to invest in campaign financing so they can lobby politicians to stay in perpetual war.
Even without a secret conspiracy by corporations to manipulate militaries into fighting for them, our economic system is still a recipe for conflict. As a general truth, survival requires resources, and when resources are scarce in a local community, they become as valuable as life itself, and people will kill their neighbors to keep what they’ve got and take from the weak. When a country’s resources become scarce, it will act the same way, and the goal of predatory capitalism is to consume resources as fast as possible.
Since the world’s wealth is being funneled to a few families instead of being distributed to everyone, the nations with the least infrastructure are left in abject poverty and thus chaos, which creates a power vacuum to be filled by the strongest local warlord, which is convenient for big corporations, because warlords prevent small businesses from growing into global competitors, and warlords are happy to sell their nation’s resources to foreign companies for pennies on the dollar.
14: Environmental apocalypse
As apocalyptic as all these problems are, the worst consequence of predatory capitalism is the destruction of the very eco-system keeping the entire human species alive. In order for companies to make profits, they need to make as many products as quickly as possible, which means they need to consume raw resources as quickly, and spend as little money on health and safety, as possible. It would be an understatement to call this a recipe for environmental destruction. Predatory capitalism makes pollution a moral imperative, which is why big businesses are so desperate to convince the population global warming is a hoax. Saving the planet would negatively affect their profit margin.
The solution to this problem isn’t to guilt-trip consumers into buying eco-friendly products. That’s like forcing people to become cannibals and then convincing them to fight cannibalism by only eating each other’s legs. The problem isn’t the victim. The problem is predatory capitalism’s addiction to economic growth. That’s the herd of bears coming to eat you and your tribe. Solve that problem or you’re effectively committing suicide while being complicit in genocide.
I’m less interested in convincing you to accept my theories than I am in inspiring you to do your own research and come up with your own. If you want to know my theory, the simplest solution is to require governments to spend tax revenue on feeding and sheltering all of its citizens before they’re allowed to spend taxes on anything else. This will solve people’s immediate problems, give them the freedom not to have to work/consume, and eliminate the leverage businesses use to exploit everyone at every corner. If governments won’t do that, citizens need to organize to create private sustainable communities to shelter themselves from poverty.