The American Productive Class Is Withering Away: What Is to Be Done?

AmericanProductive

We’re all seeing the stream of statistics concerning America’s productive “middle” class (i.e., people who work real jobs): their net worth is down 40 percent, barely half of Americans have $500 in savings, there are more Americans on welfare than have permanent, full-time jobs, more American businesses are failing than being created, and so on.

While all of these things may be true, and while they do help us to see the problem, they don’t help us move forward. Worrying and complaining, no matter how ardently we engage in them, leave us standing in the same mess where we started.

But let’s start by getting some bearings.

The American Economy Since World War II, in Large Strokes

World War II was a reset for the American economy. With the other industrial powerhouses (Germany, England, France, and Japan) in rubble, the US, Canada, and Australia were the least damaged modern economies, and of those, the US was by far the largest. So, the 1950s and ‘60s were great times for productive Americans, particularly in any field associated with manufacturing.

But those other economies didn’t remain in rubble for long. Soon enough, their factories were rebuilt, and by the 1970s, they were competing with the biggest American manufacturers (particularly automotive and steel), who had grown complacent and arrogant. The car companies, as some of us will recall, were so arrogant that they developed policies of “planned obsolescence.”

During the ‘70s, Nixon and Kissinger re-founded the dollar, moving its base from gold to the oil trade. But still, inflation raged and manufacturing declined badly. By 1980, interest rates had been pushed to 20 percent in an effort to kill inflation, and so many factories had closed that there was talk of a “rust belt” running from Chicago to New York.

Then came something new… something called the FIRE economy. (FIRE stands for Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate.) And this new economy worked quite well between 1980 and 2007. The problem was, it was based almost entirely upon the temporary advantage held by the US dollar.

For economic success to endure, it must ultimately be based on production. You must produce things that other people are willing to pay for.

The FIRE economy did produce some things worth paying for. For example, online investment technology had real value, but it was value that didn’t extend very far. The first few products were very attractive to people, but adding a third and a sixth and a tenth online broker didn’t create much additional value. (Whereas a tenth automobile has almost as much value as the first.)

And even more basic than that is the fact that the FIRE economy was ultimately based upon debt. You can see this illustrated in this graph:

141010image1

In essence, the US economy from roughly 1980 to 2007 depended upon people (mainly foreigners) buying dollars, even though they were declining in value. Obviously, this is not a viable long-term strategy.

Since 2007, the Federal Reserve has been printing money (wildly) to prop up Wall Street, while Main Street slides toward oblivion. It is supremely clear that the US government—regardless of the smooth words we hear from politicians—has defended the bankers and kicked the productive class to the curb.

So, this is where things stand. The question that faces productive Americans is this: What are we going to do about it?

What Is to Be Done?

The great trap embedded in the democratic ideal is to imagine that complaining will conjure magic; that if you complain enough and in the right ways, some ‘great leader’ will rise up and fix your problems for you. Let me be clear on this: All such thoughts are sucker-bait.

Your politicians—both Blues and Reds—have already sold you out. They’ve picked their sides, and they’re going with Wall Street. You’re on your own. I’m sorry if that’s hard to accept, but it’s true all the same.

So, if you actually work, your first challenge is accepting the fact that you’re on your own. Without succeeding at that, there can be no progress; you’ll remain on the ship while it goes down.

Once past that point, however, a world full of possibilities opens up to you.

The truth is that the American productive class is composed mainly of decent, capable people. They’re not suffering because there’s something wrong with them—they’re every bit as talented as their parents and grandparents were—but because Washington controls their lives and considers them fit only to vote, fight in wars, and to create more debt (aka buy stuff they don’t need).

But once you decide to ditch that script, as terrifying as it may seem, life gets fun. There are dozens of options to consider, and you don’t have to pick just one:

  • Start growing your own food. You’ll get better quality and save money.
  • Start side businesses. Become a part-time entrepreneur, run a business out of your garage, sell things at local markets, become a free-lance welder, etc.
  • Start driving for Uber or Lyft, or start renting out spare rooms on Airbnb. And these three are only the best-known names; there are many others like them, and some of the others may be even better for you.
  • Get into the Bitcoin economy. This is where some of the hottest action is, especially if you have a bit of technical aptitude.
  • Start 3D printing. They call this “a factory on a desktop,” and it’s starting to revolutionize the world. Or join the related “maker” community.
  • Start building drones. It’s actually cheap and fairly easy to do nowadays, and they don’t have to be used for spreading death and slavery, like military and surveillance drones.
  • Start building robots. Technology has advanced to where custom robots are possible and effective.
  • Join or create an intentional community. Intentional communities have a long and fascinating history. It has been a checkered history, but not a dull one. (I covered this in issue #16 of my newsletter.)
  • Offshore your businesses. Most of the big corporations do it, so why not you? Sure, you’ll need some professional help, but it’s probably worth it. The big thing about offshore structures isn’t saving on taxes, nice as that may be, it’s escaping the paperwork that tortures small business owners: tax accounting, dozens of forms, endless reports, etc.
  • Stop wasting your valuable time on the TV habit.
  • And while we’re at it, stop being afraid of everything, including yourself. Consider homeschooling your children. Take your life back into your own hands.

Getting help is easy. There are Casey Summits, offshore conferences, prepper shows, shows with a slice of everything, and more. On top of that, there are dozens of good books, magazines, and websites.

Gathering information is mainly a matter of time; that’s easy enough. The real magic lies in the next step: Breaking your inertia and acting.

Nothing changes until you act. Everyone is uncertain, and everyone is scared, but only those who climb into the lifeboats will make it safely away from danger. Mere thinking and talking will solve nothing. You have to act.

So, Ms. And Mr. Productive American, pick your spots and stop going down with the ship.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

A Report from Middle America

middle americaI was recently involved in a day of meetings with small business owners in the American Midwest. It was both encouraging and sad at the same time.

What I Found First

Overall, I found a large room full of productive human beings. It was uplifting. Most of these people were between thirty and seventy years old, more men than women, and they were all productive people, the kind who get up early every day, make sure that complex systems are producing properly, fix anything that is broken or near breaking, plan for the future, cooperate with large numbers of other people, and then go home at the end of the day and love their families.

If all the world lived like these people, we’d be halfway to a paradise by now. And that was a thought that made me sad.

Why? Because these people – by any standard of decency – should be left alone to create their better world. But instead, they are forcibly tied to wasteful, parasitic, and destructive systems. Half or more of their earnings are taken from them every year. Their actions are restricted by their moral inferiors. They live less than half the rewarding lives they should be enjoying, and for no defensible reason.

The Other Things

Beyond my overall happy/sad impressions, I found quite a few particular things:

  • These people would have preferred to discuss the practical particulars of their businesses – tools, materials, technical obstacles and solutions, and so on. But instead, they were forced to discuss government compliance. Almost every subject discussed from the front of the room dealt with government regulations. Most of the subjects discussed on the sides involved tools, equipment, business strategies and so on.
  • Dealing with employees is a major issue, especially involving the immigration police. These people are justifiably concerned with fines and indictments, just from hiring employees who are clearly long-time Americans. (That is, not Hispanics or other recent immigrants.) A few of the comments I heard:

“Good luck trying to explain that to an ICE agent.”

“Do NOT waive the 72 hour waiting period.”

“Do NOT allow them to enter your facility or inspect anything without authorization from counsel.”

  • Nearly all of these people agreed that government in America is out of control, abusive, and oppositional to their happiness. I think that’s a positive opinion, since it reflects reality, meaning that they have stopped looking at the world through myth-colored glasses. The sad part of that is…
  • These (good) people don’t know what to do about it. The system they grew up believing was their friend has turned against them. They’ve gathered the considerable courage required to face that, but they don’t know what to do next. They are working within the system as they can, trying to avoid its hazards, but don’t see any clear alternative – and no path of escape. They’d like to do other things, but they also need to feed their kids, and don’t know what to do about it all.
  • Bitcoin is spreading everywhere. One of these business owners, in a very rural area, has built a Bitcoin mining operation. And not only Bitcoin, he is also mining for the other cryptocurrencies. And, he’s telling everyone else about it. I was surprised (and pleased) by this, since this meeting had absolutely nothing to do with computers, economics, or anything else that usually connects to cryptocurrencies. This man simply saw a great opportunity and jumped on it.

All In All

All in all, I came away from the day more confident in the future than I had been the day before.

We are exposed to so many horror stories every day. The images thrust upon us show a world filled with danger and discouragement. The reality, however – once you remove yourself from the newsfeed – is that there are a lot of very decent people who are generally doing the right things.

Our job now is to define newer and better ways to live and to spread that information to as many good people as we can. And to remind them they DO have the right to live good, happy, prosperous lives.

Please do everything you can along these lines. Thanks.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Death (and Rebirth) of the Middle Class

american middle classIt’s been well covered, but in this first article of the year, let’s take a look at the collapse of this most important segment of society.

The American middle class is fast disappearing, not because there is anything particularly wrong with the people involved – they are every bit as talented as their parents and grandparents were – but because the ruling class of the United States has pushed them into this position.

This middle class was once composed of proud and productive people… the kind who now exist primarily in advertisements for trucks. These people and their abilities remain, but Washington has taken power over nearly every choice they have and thinks of them only for the purposes of voting, fighting in wars, and creating more debt (aka buying stuff they don’t need).

These people are at a crossroads, facing fundamental choices about who they are and what they will be. The big threat in front of them is that by not stopping, thinking, and choosing (and it’s always easier to do nothing), they’ll stay on the path that has been grinding them into the dirt.

The Fall of the Middle Class in 60 Seconds

The first wave that undercut the American middle class hit roughly one hundred years ago, stripping away their surplus with income taxes, sales taxes, and debt-based money. This continues, transferring wealth from working people to governments and central bankers.

Older members of the American middle class will remember that small, self-employed farmers were once the backbone of the culture. These family businesses are now all but gone. Large farms remain, of course, but they have become, effectively, partners of the government and giant corporations. Gaps and exceptions remain, but the classic American farming family exists mainly on the fringes.

Self-employed people – shop-owners, mechanics, and so on – were another old American staple, and they are vanishing too, as you can see in this graph:

american middle class

The modern refuge for productive Americans was in manufacturing. But even manufacturing is dying in America. In 1977, there were nearly 20 million manufacturing jobs. Today – and with a much higher population – there are less than 12 million manufacturing jobs. (See graph below.)

 american middle class

Service jobs are fine, but there are not enough of them. And because of overwhelming demand, they pay poorly.

The Replacement Bubble

There has been one area in which young Americans could find both employment and lavish praise, and that has been as cogs in the military-industrial complex.

But regardless of the worship services that begin every sporting event, this cultural bubble is starting to deflate. The great surge of 9/11 has subsided and new wars have been difficult to sell. We have passed peak military-industrial complex, and the reflexive worship of intelligence agencies is passing as well. (Thank you again, Edward Snowden.)

In addition, traditional Americans are starting to wonder how their Christianity became a war religion. Red State Christianity is a kingdom divided against itself. War is simply not a Jesus thing, and state worship is definitely not a Jesus thing. So, when these churches encourage Bible reading, they sow the seeds of their own undoing. Young believers will soon be quoting scriptures against the “leaders” and walking away.

Thirdly, thousands of returning soldiers are discouraging their friends and neighbors from running off to “the glories of war.” People who have been in it know that war is horrifying and damaging. They are providing a lot of personal evidence of this, either by their words or by their (sadly common) debilitating injuries and suicides.

The number of jobs available in this replacement bubble are fading, and the glory of them is fading as well.

Go Corporate or Go Rogue

Consider the situation that faces the American middle class: The old ways are almost gone. The replacement that was sold to them kills or damages them and is vanishing anyway. The welfare life beckons, featuring free stuff and permanent dependence, but that’s not really their way – these people were raised on a healthy production ethic.

But what else stands in front of them? As the number of “good jobs” continues to decline, what realistic options do they have?

The approved choice is to go corporate: Take a menial job at Walmart, Starbucks, or McDonalds, take a side-job or two to survive, and slowly work your way up through management.

Or, if you have the appropriate university certificates (which come with crushing debt), you can be hired by a mega-corp – an oil company, or a tech company, or perhaps by government itself. We all know what happens in these places: Human character is warped, and the corporate script takes over all your life. You end up living of the corp, by the corp, and for the corp.

The one remaining choice is to go rogue. By that I mean to separate from the system, stop seeking its approval, and to live the life of an outsider.

Some Americans are already choosing the rogue life, of course. Every time they homeschool their children, grow their own food, trade via barter or Bitcoin, start 3D printing, or join an intentional community and accept people calling them weird, they are resigning from the mass culture and going rogue.

This is the oldest of American traditions, of course – the one chosen by every person who got on a boat between 1600 and 1900 and sailed off to a new continent. But this way of thinking hasn’t been popular in a long time. Conformity with the mass culture reigns, and separating from it requires considerable strength of character.

What Comes Next?

Over the next decade or so, traditional, middle class Americans will have to choose.

Many will go the corporate route and accept its slow self-punishment. Some will eventually drop out of this game and join the rogues, but others will live the corporation’s pre-scripted lives, then die.

Or, they can join the welfare class and explore new opportunities in degradation.

But if they can build their own courage and walk away from game, they will help to rebuild a confident civilization with a bright future.

My guess is that the once-productive American middle class is already starting to wake up. Each new disappointment drives more of them to go rogue and to start building a better future – their kind of future – not the one that is sold to them by Washington, New York, and Hollywood.

And that is the most encouraging thing of all.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

The Beauty and Dignity of the Productive Class

dignityAt one time I lived very close to the Field Museum of Chicago; I had a membership and spent a good deal of time there. One evening, about ten minutes before closing, I noticed that workmen had begun preparing the first floor for an evening event. I had a panoramic view from where I stood at the second floor balcony, and what I saw has stuck with me ever since.

What I saw was a lone man setting up tables and chairs – simple work, the kind that any teenager could do. But what I watched this man do was every bit as beautiful as dance. He moved with integrity, with precision, and with intent. He carefully spaced the tables in a precise geometry, he moved every chair with efficiency. This was more than just work; it was also art. This man knew that he was doing his job well, and, perhaps most importantly, he enjoyed doing it well.

I was transfixed by it all, and I stood there until the guards asked me to leave. And even then, I moved very slowly until I lost sight of him.

There is real beauty in doing a job well, even a simple job. It is our great loss that this form of beauty is never mentioned in public these days – double-sad, because at one time, such beauty was acknowledged.

This brings us to an obvious question: What happened? How did we lose the beauty and dignity of work? I’ll answer that in a moment, but first I want to explain what I mean by “the productive class.”

What Is the Productive Class?

The productive class includes all those people who are engaged in improving life upon Earth: The people who build and repair our cars, our houses, and our computers. The people who provide us with air conditioning, electricity, plumbing, and food. The people who make, clean, and repair our clothing. The people who treat our sicknesses and wounds.

If you can drive around town and point out places where you repaired things, or delivered things, or fed people, or made human life better in any of a thousand ways, you are a producer.

If you survive and persist at the expense of others, on the other hand, you are not a producer.

But if you are a producer, there is an inherent dignity in what you do. You are actively making the world better. You are directly creating benefit for yourself and for other human beings. What you do every day is morally virtuous and worthy of respect. And you should never let anyone tell you otherwise.

And, it’s worth pointing out: Money is not a measure of your worth. In a perfect world, that might be true, but this isn’t a perfect world. In our time, morality and money don’t always travel together.

Money is certainly useful, and getting it should matter to you, but merely having money is no measure of your dignity or your value as a producer. Actively improving the world, however – producing – is a proper measure of dignity.

What Happened?

So, how were the beauty and dignity of work ruined?

The short answer: They were killed by hierarchy and status. I’ll explain briefly:

Humans have been carefully taught to accept, respect, and respond to hierarchy for thousands of years. As a result, we respond emotionally to images of kings, ‘great leaders,’ and so on. But it was the industrial era that finally did in the respect for work. After all, this was a time when millions of people accepted deathly boring jobs simply for better pay. The meaning of their work became a paycheck and nothing more.

And in the industrial setting, there was one clear marker of status: the position of ordering other people around.

The bosses got status and the workers got checks, and both lost meaning and satisfaction from their work. The assumption that was planted in us over the industrial era was this:

Only people who order others around matter. Everyone else should feel shame in their presence.

This, of course, played perfectly into the hands of politicians. This can be seen in the plague of “great leaders” and world wars that erupted at the height of the industrial era, in the first half of the 20th century.

In any event, status is gorilla-level garbage; what matters is what you are, not which position you hold within some kind of hierarchy. By believing in hierarchy and status, we lost the satisfaction of work.

What, Really, Is Work?

It’s important to look at things directly; to focus and see them for what they really are, not just by what other people say about them.

This is what I see when I focus on work itself:

Productive work is the insertion of creativity into the world. It is the birthing of benefit into the world. People who do this should be deeply satisfied by what they do.

Compared to productive work, status is merely ornamental puffery, a shiny coat with the word “Important” emblazoned upon it, and worn by a sad little man.

If you are a member of the productive class, you should re-arrange your mind and stop responding to the demands of hierarchy and status. Instead, pay attention to things that really improve human life in the world.

Creating things, improving things, or making it possible for other people to create… these are noble, beautiful, and important things. We should gain a deep and enduring satisfaction from doing them.

And, indeed, when we put our minds and efforts to it, that’s exactly what we will gain.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

How to Fix Detroit in 6 Easy Steps

detroit
Abandoned automobile factory in Detroit.

The news is full of stories of Detroit, and understandably so. It’s an unmitigated disaster. But I know how to fix it.

Seriously, I do!

I have a plan that would cost the state of Michigan nothing – not a cent. It wouldn’t cost DC anything either, and it would turn Detroit into the most thriving city in North America. As a bonus, it would give the remaining property owners in Detroit a financial windfall.

Here’s the plan:

  • The federal government (in writing) forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • The government of the state of Michigan forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • All municipal government agencies within Detroit are disbanded.
  • All state and federal offices within the city of Detroit are disbanded.
  • The federal government guarantees that entry and exit to/from Detroit will remain unchanged from the current conditions, and that no obligations will be placed upon residents of Detroit in any other place.
  • Federal and state governments immediately cease all payments to residents of Detroit. (They may resume payment to those persons if and when they are no longer resident in Detroit.)

The final legal document would be more complex than this, but those are all  the main points necessary.

What this plan does is to return Detroit to its natural state – to the way it was managed when the first settlers arrived. (In other words, not managed at all.)

And think of the money that will be saved by Michigan and the feds. Billions per year.

And Then…

And then we have a free for all… and a good one. Think of Hong Kong, but easy to get to.

Businesses would begin to relocate the next morning. Hundreds of them, thousands of them. The people who still owned and lived in their homes would be offered lots of money for their properties.

Libertarians and conservatives, disgusted by the gang in DC, would load up and drive to Detroit. Productive former residents would return. Thousands of opportunity-seekers, anarcho-capitalists, and pot-smoking hippies would be gathering their money and buying property.

Detroit would, within only a few years, become the coolest city on the planet – by FAR.

But, But…

“But there won’t be any police!”

“There won’t be any courts!”

“It will be non-stop murder, death, and mayhem!”

You wanna bet? Do ya? (And you don’t think Detroit has non-stop mayhem already?)

The people who come to Detroit would be coming to escape from their chains and to be productive. These are precisely the kinds of people who clean up a town. And with no taxes to pay for a hundred years, they’d have plenty of extra money to spend on whatever services (security or otherwise) that they wanted.

The Truth

The truth, of course, is that the state and fed guvs will never agree to a plan like this one, for a single reason:

Because they fear it would succeed.

They’ll let every last person in Detroit rot before they’ll let a group of producers live free of their chains.

Detroit returned to its natural state would expose the great lie of the government game – that we can’t survive without them.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Featured image courtesy of Albert duce, wikipedia.org

Collapse of Capitalism: The 9 Plagues

collapse of capitalismLet me be blunt: The collapse of capitalism is approaching.

Or, perhaps better said: Our marginally capitalist, partly-free market systems are approaching a massive collapse.

Not because of what capitalism is, mind you, but because the powers that be have bastardized it.

Capitalism can bear many distortions and abuses, but it is not indestructible.

And, make no mistake, the ‘capitalist’ system we have today has been massively corrupted, so much so that it’s sagging under the load… and will continue to do so until the proverbial straw breaks its back.

Collapse of Capitalism: The 9 Plagues

  1. The average producer is being stripped bare. In the US, for example, the total take of taxes has not risen dramatically, but fewer and fewer people actually pay them. There was a big uproar during the last election cycle over the fact that 47% of working-aged Americans paid no income tax. That means that the half who do work (read suckers) are paying the whole. And more than that, they are also paying for the many millions who are on food stamps and disability. Producers are being punished and abused, made into chumps.
  2. Thrift is essentially impossible. I’ve explained this in detail previously, but a hundred years ago, it was possible for an average person to accumulate money. Mechanics, carpenters, and shop owners slowly filled their bank accounts with gold and silver. It was common for them to make business loans and to retire comfortably. But now, all of our surplus is drained away to capital cities, where it is poured down the drains of welfare, warfare, and political lunacy. Money has been removed from the hands that made it, and moved into the hands of non-producers, liars, and destroyers.
  3. In 2008, US federal government regulations cost an estimated $1.75 trillion, an amount equal to 14 percent of US national income. Let me restate: Simply complying with regulations costs American businesses more than $1,750,000,000,000 (that’s $1.75 Trillion) every year. This, again, is money taken out of production and wasted on political lunacy.
  4. Small businesses are being squeezed out. Take a look at the two graphs below, and understand that as small businesses are squeezed out, only the large corporations remain. These days, only the largest and best-connected entities are able to get their concerns dealt with (by the politicians they fund). Small operations are cut off from the redress of their grievances and are crushed by taxes and regulation. And don’t forget the comments of Mussolini:

    Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.

    While there may be no dictator, state/corporate partnerships are taking over commerce in the West.

    The Collapse of Capitalism
    The Collapse of Capitalism

  5. The military industrial complex is out of control. Their lobbying, fear-mongering, and spending can only be characterized as obscene. Dwight Eisenhower was right when he warned us about this in 1960. It is sad beyond measure that so few Americans took him seriously. Trillions of dollars and millions of productive lives are being spent on the war machines of the West. Never forget that wars destroy massively and produce nothing.
  6. All the Western nations now feature large enforcer classes, composed of bureaucrats, law enforcement units, inspectors, and so on. In the US alone this amounts to several million people – none of whom produce anything, and all of whom restrain producers from producing. Millions of people are paid to restrain commerce.
  7. We now have a very large financial class in which blindly aggressive people make millions of dollars. The problem is that finance is not productive. It may allocate money in beneficial ways (though it often allocates mainly to itself), but it doesn’t actually produce anything. At present, the allocators get the big bucks, and the producers get scraps.
  8. The modern business ethic has become about acquisition only. In more enlightened times, it was also about creating benefit in the world, or at least creating newer and better things. Mere grasping is an insufficient philosophy for capitalism; it leads to dark places.
  9. Every nation on the planet is using play money and forcing their inhabitants to use their play money. Moreover, they have super-empowered a small class of Central Banking Elites, who make fortunes on their currency monopolies, and who are entirely unknown to the producers who unwillingly (and unknowingly) purchase jets and yachts for them. Our money systems have brought back aristocracies; a class that is both hidden and immensely powerful.

I think the point about the collapse of capitalism has been made with these nine points: The West has built a hyper-political culture built on lies, misdirection, fear, avarice, envy, and sloth. (Avarice, by the way, is a mindless craving for gain.)

So What’s Next?

That’s up to the producers. Everything hinges upon them. The game, as it is, depends entirely on them being willing to accept abuse.

All that is necessary to fix this is for the producers to stop being willing victims. Simple, I know, but there is a problem with such a sensible idea:

The producers are convinced that their role in life is only to struggle and obey.

Modern producers believe that the ruling classes have a legitimate right to tell them how much of their money they are entitled to keep, which charity causes they’ll be forced to contribute to, which features their car is required to have, and much, much more. Why? Simply because those other people are in “high positions,” and they (the producers) are in “low positions.” An evil assumption has been planted in their minds:

It is right for important people to order me around.

The productive class holds all the real power, but they are nearly devoid of moral confidence. So, they are abused without end.

Right now, a parasitic ethic rules the West and will continue to rule so long as producers play the part of the suckers. If this continues, what remains of capitalism will grind to a halt and will be overrun by a Neo-Fascist arrangement – not the dictator and swastika variety – but one where the state and powerful business interests merge into one unstoppable and insatiable force.

On the other hand, if ever the producers wake up from their moral coma and reject the role of doormat, they will build a society embodying the ethics of production. It almost sounds impossible, I know. But it is has happened before and could happen again.

It’s up to us.

Paul Rosenberg
Collapse of Capitalism: The 9 Plagues
FreemansPerspective.com

The Systemic Abuse of the Productive Class: It Ends When We Say it Ends

productive classThe productive people of this world are being abused. We all know it and we all complain about it. And most of the things we complain about (taxes, stupid laws, politicians and bureaucrats doing ridiculous things) are backed by large, powerful systems. That is why I chose “systemic abuse” for this article’s title.

The idea of a system being abusive by nature often bothers people in a deep and obscure way, but that characterization is true. If we try to blame “one bad actor,” we are lying and we know it.

I’m not going to waste time on the abuses of the current world systems. You must be aware of them, and you can get lists of complaints from many other sources.

Instead, I want to explain how we producers are really the controlling group in the world, even though most of us don’t know it. We as a group can end our abuse whenever we change our minds about it, and we as individuals can do a lot to bring that about.

But in order to face a life without abuse, each producer will have to do some serious soul searching and adjustment. That sounds strange, I know, but it is true. It will become clearer as we proceed.

Knowing Ourselves

Let me begin with this: You don’t have to be a superstar to count yourself among the producers. In fact, you don’t even need to have a job. What matters is that, given a choice, you would rather create than live off of the production of others.

If you feel good coming home from an honest day of work; if you like pointing at something and saying “I made that;” if you care about your work as a carpenter, trucker, housewife, nurse, welder, shopkeeper, clerk, farmer, rancher, engineer, or any of a hundred other professions, you are a producer.

This desire for production is in us from childhood and perhaps from birth. It is natural to beings who have the ability to perceive, to will, and to compare before/after results. Even infants get satisfaction from willing and succeeding. Buckminster Fuller said it well: Every child has an enormous drive to demonstrate competence.

With these being the essential characteristics of producers, it would seem natural for them to generally feel good about themselves and to be generally confident. You would expect them to be proud of being the source of all the products and wealth in the world.

This, however, is not what we see. Rather, we see producers who are morally timid, who shrink when someone accuses them of being offensive, who fear being envied. Most modern producers don’t feel they have full rights over their own lives. They believe it in measure, of course, but they also believe that other people (namely the operators of institutions) have a legitimate right to tell them how to drive, educate their children, spend their money, ingest substances, report their business dealings, and on and on and on.

As we’ve said a lot recently, this comes back to a perverse root assumption:

It is right for other people to order me around.

It is easy to see that so long as producers keep believing this, those who order them around will abuse them without end.

On the other hand, if the producers ever stop believing that their role in life is to be ordered around, the world changes in an instant – radically and dramatically for the better. The values of production, if ever dominant in the world or any section of it, generate not only prosperity, but morality.

The System and the Productive Class

As long as the productive class think it’s right for systems to order them around and siphon off their production, the producers will be abused forever. It is as simple as that. So, let me say something clearly and even with indignation, which I think is warranted:

We build the system’s roads, we build their monuments, we supply their banquets, we build and drive their limousines, we build their governor’s mansions, and we cut their grass and install their air conditioning and repair their roofs. We pay their policemen and their firemen and their tax men. We pay for their cars and their gas and their guns and their bullets and their uniforms.

Without us, they have nothing but words. If we ever decide not to play their game, they are done. It doesn’t matter how many enforcers they have on their payrolls – the moment we stop complying, those enforcers will see the end of their paychecks and will return home at night to face strong questions from us, their neighbors.

We producers are manifestly unhappy about what the systems of the world are doing to us, but most of us don’t think we have any right to dictate to them. The truth, however, is this:

Without us, they are destitute, and we don’t need them.

How This Happened to Us

What has happened is that we’ve been demoralized. We understand quite well that our wealth has been damaged; we understand much less well that our souls have been damaged.

In all of our lifetimes, the inherent dignity of work has been absent. Since the industrial revolution, when people took boring jobs simply for better pay, work has become something that most people try to escape. This has been a mistake.

Work is the insertion of creativity into the world. Creating things, improving things, or making it possible for other people to create is rewarding and important. Work is good, noble, and deserving of respect.

In our times, however, work has been replaced as something to respect by status, a gorilla-level instinct. It was a devolution.

We all learn about status at an early age, hearing stories about the rich, handsome prince and the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. We are told that only the exceptional few count.

All through our lives we are shown images of the unique and the few. For example, fashion models are not chosen merely for beauty, but for exclusivity. There are plenty of short, beautiful women, but they never show up in the ads, for the simple reason that they are many. Only the 1/50th of 1% who are exceptionally tall and good-looking are shown. The rest of us are then provided with products to make us feel we are approaching their exclusive level.

We have been living through a period dominated by hierarchy – where people who order other people around are important, and all others are an undifferentiated mass.

All of this is fraudulent and manipulative. Worse, it has left most of us with an inferiority complex. We are the unnamed peasants, the mundanes, the “workers.”

There are many types of beauty in the world, many types of greatness, many reasons for respect. We can all partake, not just the rarest among us.

The importance of work should be judged by its creativity and by the benefit it brings, not by how much it controls. People should esteem others because of their virtues, not because of their positions. People should do good deeds based on their personal sense of benevolence, and this should not be limited to things that are chosen by ‘leaders’ in high positions.

What the productive class needs most is to have their confidence restored. They need to see status and exclusivity as the barbaric and manipulative ideas that they are.

We can be much more than we have been, and we would enjoy it a great deal. The problem is that we haven’t considered ourselves worthy. After all, we’re not the people in high places who get to order everyone else around.

We need to get over this.

[Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our flagship newsletter Freeman’s Perspective – Issue #14: “The Systemic Abuse of the Productive Class: It Ends when We Say it Ends.” If you liked it, consider taking a risk-free test drive. Not only will you gain immediate access to the rest of the issue (which includes 3 ways in which you can just “opt out”), but you’ll also be able to enjoy the entire archive – more than 520 pages of research on topics of importance and inspiration to those looking for freedom in an unfree world. Plus valuable bonus reports and all new issues as well. Click here to learn more.]

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Don’t Fear The Collapse: The Future Will Be Better

future will be betterYes, we’ve all seen scary post-apocalyptic films like Mad Max, or TV shows like Jericho. A real collapse, however, will be quite different from such dramas. And beyond that, there’s a good chance the future will be better.

From where I now live, you could draw a 25 mile arc which would include competent people of almost any imaginable specialty: The guys who know how to build and repair refrigerators, machines of all types, cars and roads and houses and windows and computers and a thousand other things.

So, I’m not overly worried about the dollar going to zero – as long as these guys have two critical things:

  1. They must be able to communicate with each other.
  2. They must be left alone, with no one telling them “you can’t do that without our permission.”

If either one of these two things are missing, we’re screwed, but as long as we have them, we’ll be okay. Sure, there will be some bad days, a few tragedies, and a surfeit of terror from the fear factories (that is, the mainstream media), but in general, we productive people will be okay.

I knew men who ran a business through the Great Depression, in precisely my specialties (contracting and engineering). We discussed the difficulties they faced and how they coped with them. They worked through the depression end to end, and did some pretty impressive projects – with absolutely no credit available anywhere.

They paid for things creatively – in sections, with barter, and on trust – but they also got the job done, from the beginning of the depression to the end.

Our period of difficulty (which most of us presume will be coming somehow or another) will be different from the Great Depression, but so long as we retain the two items mentioned above – and I will tell you precisely how we can keep them below – we’ll get through it.

The Bad Stuff

Okay, so if we have a complete dollar collapse, what can we expect? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Fear. Scaring the populace will be the first and essential tool of the rulers. Government relies far more on legitimacy than on force, so the rulers will be very keen on using their number one tool to keep people clustering around them for safety. That’s a primary strategy for them.
  • Welfare riots. This is possible, and even probable in some places, presuming that government checks either stop, or no longer matter due to massive inflation. However, we all know which areas are likely to be hit and we can avoid them. (If you’re in one, do something about it now.) And, as horrifying as such a thing may be (and should be!), Americans, Canadians and a serious number of Europeans do have guns, and will eventually shoot rioters as they are beating down their neighbor’s door.
  • Supply chain disruptions. Since the big corporations are so tightly associated with governments, they will not likely adapt as quickly as small companies do. They may lock-up while waiting for instructions. This is why stores of key commodities (like food) and communication will be necessary.
  • War. This is the traditional distraction from disappointments and government failures. Syria seems to be the leading candidate at the moment, or perhaps North Korea or some other distant monster will fit the bill.
  • No credit. As scary as this seems to some people, the reality won’t be nearly as debilitating as imagined (except for the mega-corps); people will adapt and go back to a 19th century way of buying and selling. Adjustment will be required, but farmers will still need to sell their food, and they will find ways for productive people to pay them.
  • Lack of currency. Dollars will fail in this scenario (along with Euros, Pounds, etc.), but there will be not be a debilitating lack of currency, for two reasons:
    • Lots of people have silver and gold, which are always good.
    • We have Bitcoin, which is good currency world-wide.
  • Shuttered fire departments. The rulers won’t close too many police stations, since they want to retain their image as saviors and because they need people to fear them, but fire departments and other things may be let go. (The scarier things first.) But again, so long as we can communicate and adapt, we can just arrange for necessary services in different ways. Remember, most of us are blowing 20-30 hours per week on TV – we have WAY more free time than we think we do.

The Future Will Be Better if We Take Care of THESE TWO BIG RISKS

There are very simple solutions to our two crucial issues. But remember, simple isn’t always easy. Here are the solutions:

They must be able to communicate with each other.

This one is actually easy. The solution is mesh networks. (You can find a nice PDF primer here.) These are local networks, built with simple wifi devices. These, combined with a few longer links, can create a very nice communications network. You won’t be able to use it for videos, but it will work well for basic communications. (Though you really should keep a small electric generator and some gas.)

They must be left alone, with no one telling them “you can’t do that without our permission.”

The solution to this one is very simple: Do it anyway. Whatever you think of your local government, I very much doubt that you think they have a right to starve you – which is what failing to act in your own survival comes out to. If it’s moral, do it. Stop waiting for permission.

So, while the big collapse (assuming that it does come) will be terrifying to inveterate TV watchers, the reality will be far less apocalyptic than promised… assuming that we productive people act like producers.

And as producers, we have so much more choice than the others. Indeed, in one way, we could see the collapse as an opportunity to start fresh. The future will be better if we ultimately say so.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com