Why do wages tend to decrease to subsistence level, even as productive power increases?
In plain English, current theory incorrectly claims that wages cannot rise faster than the population among which capital must be divided. Only low wages will slow the population growth of workers. This doctrine, though false, is virtually undisputed; it is endorsed by noted economists and taught in great universities.
—Henry George (1839–1897), U.S. economist
This is part 7, “The Freedom of Discipline,” of the essay “Proving Morality.” In this installment, I will examine morality as it relates to and may be constrained by mortal freedom, society, and government. Freedom is a maligned abstract concept that exists concretely only with adaptive multifariousness. I will consider its forms relative to distinct economic factors of production, distinct role preferences, and the variability of schemes rationing, vis-à-vis common role preferences, scarce role privileges better known as political power.
Economic Factors of Production
Salient is a point made by long dead economist Henry George with his book Progress and Poverty. He identified three factors of production: (1) purchased labor is paid a wage, (2) borrowed capital is paid interest, and (3) borrowed land is paid rent. Land is more durable than capital, so rent is fundamental. “Nothing freely supplied by nature can be properly classed as capital,” he cautioned us. As I wrote in part 6, “Strategy [of ecological behavior] is a formulation of exactly three abstract ingredients or ingredient types: self-reliance, cooperation, and competition.” Juxtapose the three factors of production with ‘cooperation’, and what are the results? Without violent wise men in the rank and file—did someone say Second Amendment?—the result will be factor specialization to the point of societally subversive elite political privilege: a class hierarchy of centralized power antithetical to democracy and the prolific empowerment of natural rights. History shows fluid, ecological democracy is more evolutionarily advanced in both implementation and potency than rigid hierarchy.
Now juxtapose morality with land ownership. Does land ownership dictate morality, or does morality dictate land ownership? Answering the question directly is impossible, leading to a case of paralysis by analysis. The question’s framework suffers from exclusion of natural causality. Property rights begin with might makes right, and so does any morality respecting property rights. Correlation is not causality, though an evolutionarily stable state order of political power has a self-reinforcing feedback loop in which property rights and a behavioral code are adopted then sanctioned by the same establishment authority. The consumptive excesses of the feedback loop signify corruption whittling away at the order’s finite foundation, prolific employment of natural rights. Ecologies are naturally selected toward 100% recycling in the long run ’til the universe becomes inert.
Ultimately, land ownership is an amoral privilege from nature based on might making right. Maintaining that privilege depends on the longevity and form of the political power structure, dependent upon ecological competitiveness, being dependent upon the cooperation of societal members, which is increasingly dependent upon the strength of morality due to the evolutionary advance of societal sophistication and power expressed by culture and law. Morality is progressive in a natural sense. Land ownership that is not progressive risks becoming a natural vice. You have every moral right by natural law to compete for land; and possession of sovereignty requires control of land, capital, and labor, in that order.
Distinct Role Preferences
Freedom like love means different things to different people and moreover different things to the same person as is expedient with his or her uncivilized purposes. Form determines function. A fish cannot live well by emulating outstanding deer. A fish has a proper function and environment by it’s design antithetical to that of deer. We have the maxim: Use the right tool for the job. People as fellow citizens and other societal associates are no different, except that people are the superlative in tools. The economic utility of people combined with their political utility makes morality possible, within the commensurate functional scope of breadth and elevation. Therefore, discrimination between the civilized and the uncivilized is critical to the success of the civilized (producers) and critically at odds with the success of the uncivilized (parasites and blockers).
There is inherent conflict in fellowship between those who meet a threshold of civilized adequacy and those who fall short. The threshold of adequacy is in political stewardship proper for the social environment, and as technology advances that threshold rises. Evolution requires the elimination of the inferior according to might makes right, a natural good. The inherent conflict is neither a surprise nor in conflict with morality because morality is not universal among individuals precisely to exclude insufferable flaws of inclusive diversity. Life is process and function follows form. Culture has evolved ever since the advent of mere society, when hominids adopted agriculture and property rights. Quintessential now is the distinction between civilized and uncivilized freedom because social structure and process, critical to the natural viability and competitiveness of any society, has become that competitive with Western excellence stymied. Cultural and moral decline is fostering a technologically maturing rival elitist governmental control grid, and with the worldwide transparency of Western excellence from longstanding analysis of formulaic principles and procedures, is providing foreigners an opportunity to rival Westerners at their own proven game.
Society is an uplifting structure of roles and procedures. The elevation above living like feral animals comes at the expense of lateral mobility. Respect for the integrity of shared social constructs by behavioral restraint is called discipline. Civilized people have it; uncivilized people do not. Yes, people can have the required discipline in parts and degrees, but the threshold of adequacy is about the floating maintenance minimum not an unrealistic absolute perfection. Societal progress has not organizationally or culturally maxed out by a long shot. The obligatory race is still on.
It is not enough for individuals of free civilization to be economically self-sufficient. They must be politically self-sufficient or the decline has begun. Political sufficiency is the maintenance of political aspects of the elevating constructs of society. There are always conflicts between members of society, especially under the duress of evolution. As I stated from part 6, “Within an establishment and without are various cliques animated by extraordinary cohesiveness ranging from coincidental circumstance to congenital congruity.” Patriotism, culture, and morality are defined advantageously by and for the politically empowered, the heartfelt professions of obsequious idiots notwithstanding. Remember, jeopardy creates distinction between virtue and vice. Social virtue requires the correct evaluation of the relationship worthiness of others, or sheer luck which happens. Either the societal system will harmonize with natural selection, or it will degrade itself, allowing elites to have their cake and eat it too, for a time.
Put concisely, some role preferences are so anathema to the well-being of members of society that members of society must choose between themselves and the anathematic role preferences. Natural rights unleash human potential by the victory of superior self-interest, and free civilization with its productively competitive democratic culture is the most uplifting cooperative arrangement known to mankind.
Preferences cast as role specialization can be a good thing, as is often tacitly assumed with the term. Role specialization in pure democracy, in a theoretical state of no legal specialization, is only an economic consideration, and an important one it is for any real society. Adam Smith’s invisible hand is the hand of evolution running the show in one of its facets. Free markets are an ecology of goods and services, and economic specialization is occupation of an economic niche.
It is very possible for a citizen to be very economically productive yet uncivilized due to political ineptitude. Therefore, role specialization in terms of political empowerment is very worthy of consideration. There are shades of vested political interest and responsibility between full citizenship and no standing whatsoever. Shades are necessary because inevitably in a group of societal proportions there will be a wide distribution of ability, including ability to steward popular sovereignty. Demographic groups demonstrate with stereotypical justification differing levels of political and civic sophistication.
Two distinct modes of mentality go a long way in determining whether a person is civilized or uncivilized. I will expound generously upon that idea in part 8.
The Rationing of Role Privileges
Role privileges that must be rationed are decision-making powers. If someone exercising authority over you tells you what to eat and when, you don’t control your own diet. Decision-making control over the perhaps infinite dietary choices of a finite number of people is quite finite. That is the essence of politics: meting out the power of choice in a society to its members. Natural rights defer to the natural distribution of choice by individual endowment free from human coercion.
It is a fact that not all kings were created equal, and neither are people irrespective of how political rights are distributed. Not all would-be popular sovereigns are equally qualified for the role of shared stewardship of free civilization. We can look at the differing abilities for self-determination, from the most retarded of churls to the most wise of Western philosophers, and jigger the distribution of responsibilities and privileges until we are blue in the face, but if the population lacks the critical mass and purity of cultural excellence necessary for democracy in any form, they are just not suited to it. Such a population, if large enough, could be culled into adequate purity of cultural character without loosing adequate numbers. Even with a loss of numbers sufficient to exact sovereignty from the competitive environment, the existent purity of a naturally superior culture is the determinant of its potency. With adequate gestation for size and purity, subcultures superior to their contextual culture will grow to fortify or to replace the reigning culture. It’s evolution either way.
Democracy is not suitable for everyone because everyone is not suitable for the responsibilities of democracy. Just wait until I spell things out in part 8. For now, let’s consider the question of voter qualifications. If we let everyone vote, we will have input from foreigners with a conflict of interest, from children who don’t have matured brains much less accurately calibrated minds reflective of reality, and others who will only be detrimental to the success of democratic rule and cooperation.
Obviously qualification of voters is needed, but by what criteria? If voters are tested as individuals, then the testing must be administered and controlled by some special group of people. That group would be vested with unilateral systemic discretionary power (unlike in an ecology or free market) and effectively become a Self-serving Committee for Oligarch Selection leading headlong to the last-ditch expediency of dictator selection by the haves or the have-nots. Therefore, it is critical that voters can qualify each other on sight (or other sense) without difficulty. Thus, outwardly manifest characteristics such as age, sex, skin color, eye color, hair color, height, weight, or language proficiency are the pool of ideally evident criteria that might be useful if not optimal.
Conflict of interest is not evident from outward appearance, but the breach in popular sovereignty that is the avenue of corruption paved by self-appointed government privilege is a danger too fundamental to permit. Individuals such as bureaucrats, government contractors, military personal, government funds recipients and borrowers, all those who derive their livelihoods from institutional government should not have a say in the voice of consent by the governed. They are economically incapable of giving consent, and so unqualified politically. It might be advisable to not only disqualify beneficiaries of institutionalized political power but to go further and disqualify all those who lack a sizable personal stake in the private economy as evidence of a lack of social engagement in the private sector betraying a lack of political insight and as evidence of a lack of productive contribution betraying a lack of motive to defend popular sovereignty of, by, and for the civilized, who by definition within ecological constraints produce best but only with self-determinism. To the extreme, one might require successful people of the private sector to vote.
Land ownership has been historically used and most commonly suggested as the measure of success. However, it is flawed for being too vulnerable to a Self-serving Committee for Oligarch Selection. Land ownership is easily rigged with institutional government force, and medieval rule by nobility is a stark example from history. If a success criterion is to be used, it ought to be measured by LIABILITY to institutional government NOT by DISPENSATION from institutional government. This same abstract distinction is expressed in the analogous incompatibility of health insurance and car insurance.
A success criterion makes sense if producers at large are in league to develop and secure that success without prejudice to any additional discrimination made on entirely different grounds. The only success criterion that makes sense to me is being a net economic provider of government means through recently assessed and paid taxes. The governed who provide for institutional government are the ones who ought to have the privilege of governing institutional government by the definition of democracy, popular sovereignty, etc. Let me judiciously bastardize my opinion on voter qualification to be more practical: It is critical that voters can qualify each other
on sight (or other sense) in person without too much difficulty for democratic enforcement as balanced against the difficulties of preventing unworthy individuals the franchise and yet preventing institutionalized disenfranchisement of worthy individuals.
Popular misconceptions regarding the (abstract) nature and goodness of democracy vis-a-vis the nature of (concrete) structural forms of government abound. With an army of bright thinkers employed by establishment-controlled academia, it is understandable that distrustful members of the remaining rank and file, stripped of intellectual peers and lacking means for research, would be prone to profound conceptual errors. It makes sense to examine merits and faults in the abstract before considering the complication of implementation. Therefore, clarification on the matter is sought by analysis of democracy the abstraction for its merits and faults followed by analysis of forms of government for their merits and faults both intrinsically and with respect to endowment received through concrete implementation of democracy the abstraction.
Democracy the abstraction is both an ideal examinable only by philosophy the study method, and it is a particular philosophy the doctrine with regard to being a complex of ideas. Only a philosopher can appreciate democracy, which is why democracy is only suitable for philosopher-kings. That is a weakness given that a host of philosopher-kings has never assembled. The merit of democracy is the decentralized distribution of power. The more distributed the political power, the more individuals are required to effect anything, including totalitarian authority. There is no one-size-fits-all threshold, such as the majority threshold. The philosophical merit of democracy is the division of sovereign power into such individually tiny shares that interests of a subgroup may not be furthered without cooperative support to the extent the subgroup is exclusive and thereby lacks effectual power, to wit, the members of the group at large are individually vested with privilege and responsibility interlocking into a political structure governing group cooperation and resistant to centralizing reorganization commensurate with the character of the group also know as culture.
Western history both recent and ancient shows the importance of group stewardship. Once the respected Roman plebs, landed farmer-soldiers and their families, had conquered their last serious military rival Carthage once and for all, the Roman elites expanded their rapacious tax farming base to include the native plebs transformed into landless beggars of government wheat and popular dictatorship by the marriage of government force and banking credit that had propelled their recent forebears to shortsighted glory. He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Philosopher-kings reserve allegiance for themselves.
Since the British Empire was bequeathed to the Imperial States of America, American citizens have dutifully paid their taxes, used fiat money, and transitioned from landed stewards of the American Dream to begging subjects of the empire increasingly indistinguishable from the subjects far away. The delusions of national security dance in star-spangled eyes: food stamps spray from the smiles of militarized police, government welfare checks signifying crass human reproduction and alimony payments signifying weekend stints of fatherhood interleave in a kicking chorus line, toxic humanitarian aid is waived through airport checkpoints, so salute the flag.
One popular idea is the supposedly black-and-white distinction between a democracy said to be mob rule and a representative republic inferred to be the gold standard of government forms. A mob is a pejorative term for a large group. If rule is not by a large group, it is by a small group. Therefore, being opposed to mob rule on the basis of inclusivity of the governed in self-government is antithetical to the merit of democracy in the first place. These hokey geniuses muckraking democracy as mob rule would cure democratic deficiency by stylizing consensus in a fashionable straitjacket made from worsted assertions. Democracy is not for everyone; let people fail and make way for real success.
A representative republic requires a plurality if not a majority of constituents to agree on who should be entrusted with the powers of institutional political office. If the democratic distribution of political power among voters is not a merit, a representative republic has no merit to claim that a plainly centralized form of government would not claim better for its integrity of efficiency, directness, and transparency.
Pure democracy requires everyone vote on everything, but to do that there cannot be up or down votes. The ability to frame the decisions to be made is part of the political power to be shared by everyone. Life is an ongoing essay question, and so is pure democracy, which is why pure democracy cannot coexist in real life with life.
A representative republic is a strategically compromised form of democracy to permit scaling in numbers past a small band or tribe, but the name is superficial distinction from democracy in practice. The distinction of plain meaning between a ‘representative republic’, a ‘republic’, and a ‘representative democracy’ is absolutely nothing, but representative republic sounds uniquely different to soothe those who wish it so and fondle definitions for endless hours of fun. Voter qualifications and the division of powers among elected and unelected bureaucrats can be tweaked until the cows come home, but it’s still real-world democracy with the same inherent design weaknesses in the abstract that transmogrification cannot eliminate.
Enters the nostrum of (inalienable) individual rights. Methinks thou doth protest too much. If individual rights were inalienable, we would not consider them. If natural rights were inalienable, they would not be natural: they would be supernatural. Morality itself is not inalienable, as this essay has detailed in the previous two installments, parts 5 and 6. Individuals rights are a matter of culture, which is a matter of who members of society are and how political power is distributed among them, so choose fellows in patriotism and in mere presence very carefully.
There is no such thing as a nation of laws. Laws don’t need to do or be anything, so get the subjects of your expressions correct. A nation is of people, some of them or all of them, but people nonetheless. The causal direction of life requires it.
The constitution that matters is the constitution of the people themselves, and it must be pruned well to evolve pleasantly. The idea of no bounds, of no cutoff in societal belonging is sick. Libertarianism without boundaries is just repackaged communism. Feminism is the removal of boundaries on the collectivist sex, the subject of scrutiny in the next installment.
Role specialization in society can increase or decrease productivity, the strength of society, the general welfare of those in societal fellowship, etc. Exploitive role specialization fosters and leverages a scarcity of economic and politically fundamental role privileges to exploit producers. I call it slavery economics. Any financial engineering with government protection is slavery economics. The coming Obama healthscare exchanges are in effect no different than a carbon credit exchange, a paper commodities exchange, paper mortgage backed securities brokering, a stock exchange: they are financial killing fields of totalitarian taxation.
In our natural reality, failure is the cure. If parasitic and productively inferior producers are not allowed to fail in favor of their civilized betters, constructive specialization that would make society naturally competitive and well off is penalized and lost. The root of all evil is not money: it’s fiat money. Honest economic score-keeping is critical to an economy. Natural virtue is producing more than is consumed, whatever it takes. Individuals rights are not enforceable without individual assessment of natural virtue. Domestication and slavery are all too natural for economic and individual reasons. It reprieves individuals of natural vice from penalty of death, but viable free citizens are better if available. Philosopher-kings have yet to assemble and cooperate with due jealously and zealotry. It is the social evolutionary milestone immediately before us, immovable and inevasible.
Democracy and the freedom of self-government are not suitable for everyone, which leads into the next installment concerning the evolutionary anachronism of women baneful to modern freedom and welfare. (Note: Part 8 may be completed and made available several weeks hence at the earliest if at all.) As I said in part 6, “Inferiority is a fact of life.” The record of history shows mixed results that scream uneven distribution of self-discipline and political acumen. Some people are absolutely politically inept and undeserving. Others are relatively inferior and due to lack of resources (particularly political resources) ought to fail, perhaps die. Mother nature in her evolutionary law requires leaving inferior children and adults behind so anyone can advance and even just maintain as permitted the quality of human character and life. Organic things not growing are stagnating. Stagnation is eventually punished by evolution as a mortal sin, as it should be. Progress is mandatory. We all want to be on the best team possible. Corruption is wanting a free pass at the expense of the capacity to redeem it. For everything there is a seasoning, burn, burn, burn.
—‘Reality’ Doug, 10 June 2013