Piketty’s Popular Nonsense

“Young people are exploited!” “Income mobility is down!” “Poor people are locked into poverty!”

Those are samples of popular nonsense peddled today.

Leftist economist Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has been No. 1 on best-seller lists for weeks (with 400 pages of statistics, I assume “Capital” is bought more often than it is read). Piketty argues that investments grow faster than wages and so the rich get richer far faster than everyone else. He says we should impose a wealth tax and 80 percent taxes on rich people’s incomes.

But Piketty’s numbers mislead. It’s true that today the rich are richer than ever. And the wealth gap between rich and poor has grown. Now the top 1 percent own more assets than the bottom 90 percent!

But focusing on this disparity ignores the fact that over time, the rich and poor are not the same people. Oprah Winfrey once was on welfare. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton was a farmhand. When markets are free, poor people can move out of their income group. In America, income mobility, which matters more than income inequality, has not really diminished.

Economists at Harvard and Berkeley crunched the numbers on 40 million tax returns from 1971-2012 and discovered that mobility is pretty much what The Pew Charitable Trusts reported it was 30 years ago.

Today, 64 percent of the people born to the poorest fifth of society rise out of that quintile — 11 percent rise all the way into the top quintile. Meanwhile, 8 percent born to the richest fifth fall all the way to the bottom fifth. Sometimes great wealth makes kids lazy and self-indulgent, and wrecks their lives

Also, the rich don’t get rich at the expense of the poor (unless they steal or collude with government). The poor got richer, too. Yes, over the last 30 years, incomes of rich people grew by more than 200 percent, but according to the Congressional Budget Office, poor people gained 50 percent. That growth should matter more than the disparity. Piketty’s data reveal times in our history when income inequality decreased: during world wars and depression. Do we want more of that?

It’s right to worry about the plight of the poor, but not everything done in their name really helps them — minimum wage laws, for example.

I’ve had hundreds of employees whom I paid nothing: student interns. Unpaid internships were allowed for years, because it was understood that interns learn by working. My interns learned a lot. Many went on to successful careers in journalism. One won a Pulitzer Prize. Many said they learned more working for me than at college (despite $50,000 tuition). They benefited and I benefited. Win-win.

So for years government ignored Labor Department rules that decreed unpaid internships legal only if an employer gets “no immediate advantage” from the intern.

Geez, who wants that? Of course I got an advantage from my interns. That’s why I employed them!

Recently, President Barack Obama’s Labor Department announced it would enforce the internship rules, and some interns sued their former employers, claiming internships were “unfair.” Charlie Rose forked over a quarter of a million dollars. Word spread, so now unpaid internships are vanishing.

Some people say it’s good that unpaid internships are gone, because they are unfair to poor people, who can’t afford volunteer work. But getting rid of opportunities does nothing to help anyone. Employers lose and students lose.

Difficult as it can seem to make your own way in this world without a phony government promise that you’ll be taken care of, or that every job will pay at least $15 an hour, success happens when markets are relatively free. Individual initiative creates new things, companies, job opportunities — whole new ways of life — that make the world better for all of us.

Government “help” ends up doing harm. Leave people free — both as workers and employers — to pursue opportunities they find worthwhile, and we will prosper in ways government planners could never imagine.

  • John Barnes

    how do you explain the waltons increased networth? did they receive government help or steal from the poor?

  • Tim C.

    My ignorant friend, I dare you to show me how the Waltons have in any way stolen from you or any other “poor” individuals. Are there armed men wearing Walmart uniforms roaming your streets picking people up and forcing them to shop?

    As far as their increased net worth is concerned, a large part of the increase is from the increase in asset values, e.g. the physical stores and warehouses.

  • John Barnes

    You really have drunk the koolaid, haven’t you?

    Do tell – What did Christy Walton ever invent? Capitalists aren’t innovators. Capitalists buy innovators.

    If you opened your eyes and thought rationally, you’d soon find that
    virtually all inventions throughout history have been made by working class people. Not wealthy elites like Buffett. Sure, Gates was innovative… When he was working-class.. (Elon Musk comes close, but he is a productive person who happens to be making a lot of money from capitalism. Without capitalism he would still be productive, I’m sure.)

    No, innovation come from:

    – Students and Professors at “liberal universities”

    – State-run organizations like the US military, WWII German military and NASA

    – Productive workers on contract in industry

    – Working-class Inventors in their garage. (You should look in to
    “Crowd Funding” and inventions like the Thing Charger – Very
    “socialist”, getting their capital to develop their invention from
    donations $50 at a time!)

  • DRT

    I actually agree with you that the working class are the ones who tend to invent new things. What you fail to understand though is why that is. It is the incentive of money that they do it. They want to get rich being innovative and coming up with a new product the consumer wants to buy. And once that happens and someone like Gates becomes head of a huge corporation his personal incentive to innovate tends to wane. He now manages the corporation he created rather than actually come up with new ideas. However these corporation have huge R&D departments where now hundreds and thousands are employed for the sole purpose of being innovative and competing with rivals.

    Government funded innovation is extremely hit or miss. When the government and not the private sector decides what should be funded. The government does not operate with that same incentive to make money. So it does not care if it funds things that people don’t want to buy. Electric cars and green technologies come to mind. But there are tons of other examples. I would argue that is a poor use of scarce resources. Capitalism would ensure those funds would be used in the most efficient way possible.

    Why is crowd funding socialist? It involves voluntary donations to people believed to have good ideas that the donators may want to purchase or use in the future. Or may simply want to help someone out who has a good idea. There is nothing about crowd funding that is anathema to capitalism.

  • Threnody

    Investment return had better grow faster than wages and prices. If it didn’t there wouldn’t be any wages or affordable prices.

  • Threnody

    It’s fascinating, in an abhorrent way, to look at. He cites government help or stealing from the poor as the two ways to wealth. Government help is really just theft from the people, so at base, ALL wealth creation is by a form of theft. This is the ape, blinded with rage, gnashing his teeth at a man using his reason to create value for his own life. Or this is the brute, with eyes gleaming, to feed off pitting all against all. The secret is that reasoned right pursuit of true self interest does NOT force men to be enemies, but rather, through division of labor and specialization – to be the best of friends, by seeking their OWN good.

  • writeby

    Re: Christy Walton. Ever hear the phrase “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in two generations”?


    As for academe ever creating a profit, let me know when it does.

    Rockefeller, Hill, Morgan, Vanderbilt and the like did start poor; it’s questionable whether they were ever “workers,” though.

    The rest on the list depend on the likes of them and other entrepreneurs–one group that stands out by their omission from your list.

    Mr. Barnes, you sound like an anachronism, much like the ideas in that copy of Das Kapital from which your reading.

  • writeby

    The one ought to be listening isn’t; he’s too busy extolling the Work Class Hero myth.

    But you’ve nailed it.

  • John Barnes

    workers build the factories. I don’t see why these simple facts keep eluding people?

    Have you ever seen Warren Buffett man a jackhammer, or Carl Icahn working a welding torch?

    Oh, you’ll say, but the worker needed to go to a Capitalist to get the money to buy the jackhammer and the welding torch!

    and by the way “Other people’s money” created by workers, then handed to Capitalists
    who did none of the work themselves by this bizarre artificial system
    many of us have come to take for granted.

  • writeby

    “workers build the factories…”

    Who thought up the factory design?…who drew up the blueprints?…who came up with Bessemer processed steel…or the ARC furnace?…or prestressed concrete?… or the assembly line?… Who engineered the tooling of the factory? … Who bought the land?

    “Other people’s money” is true, the lion’s share of investment comes from either the stock market or from savings accounts, for which the stockholder/broker can gain a profit (if he isn’t arrested for “insider trading” & blackmailed to plead guilty, as was Michael Milken) and the savings account holders receive interest.

    Oh wait, a piddling .08% interest for that last! Talk to the Fed and their policy of “quantitative easing”–and the IRS, which taxes that interest.

    The workers are getting screwed–by the State; and the State is doing its level best to shift the blame onto to “fat cat” capitalists.

    Well, divide and conquer has always worked in the past.

    The workers–legit & hard working–have their best friend in a genuine wealth producing capitalist, whether he’s an investment banker (J. P. Morgan), an entrepreneur (Mary Kay; Jeff Bezos; Ray Kroc; etc.), an inventor (Shockley; Jack Kirby; Robt. Noyce; Mestral) or a brilliant innovator (Frank Lloyd Wright; F. Kenneth Iverson; Steve Jobs; etc.).

    And their biggest enemies in labor union bosses and gov’t bureaucrats.

    I’ve driven the big rigs, cut steel with a torch and worked as a clerk at the 7-11.

    I’ve also worked for a labor econometrics firm, gotten an advanced degree, am a published writer and run my own education consulting company.

    So I’ve been on both sides of the white-blue collar divide; and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: Those who paved the way for the worker–those who first did the work and then showed others how to do it; first invented the device or the system and showed others how to operate it; those who first created all the productive jobs–are the capitalists who create the wealth that provide the worker with work.

    Not the pencil necked looter at city hall, the state capital or D.C. or the union boss moocher forcing workers to pay for their jobs and then using those dues to further shake down the companies for which the rank and file work or to support the political campaigns of grafters and extortionists who further screw the worker, the company and the taxpayer.

    Workers would do well to learn that or one day they’ll look up to find that, instead of the honorable title of ‘worker,’ they’ve been relegated to the ignominious position of slave, with the incentive of the dollar replaced by (take your pick):

    The local corrupt commissar
    The oligarchical gangster
    The fascist fat pig corporatist
    The mercantile slaver of indentured servitude
    The mooching crony of the guild

    Or by the slave driver & his whip.

  • Threnody

    A surgeon pays someone to clean his operating room, even if he himself, could do it better. He trades a portion of the money he received by trading his much more objectively valuable surgical ability to people willing to trade for it with their earned money, and so on.
    The woodworking shop owner does not do the jointing, planing, and sizing of the raw lumber. He pays someone to do it, and is far far more productive by that decision, in that he spends his life (time, thought, effort) doing that which few other can do like he does – design and plan and coordinate and manage and market.
    There are countless examples.
    So long as government does not temporarily suspend reality, capitalists that do not choose endeavors which are objectively valuable (purchased in great volume by many individuals by their own judgment of the value present), go broke very quickly, and soon become an employee at whatever level of labor value they can muster…… or they go become a moocher or a looter in Washington.

  • John Barnes

    . Nothing can be accomplished without workers. The need for investor-class elites is an artificial mechanism of Capitalism.

    The stock market is really only useful as an engine to transfer even more capital from the working class to wealthy elites.

    They’ve even convinced some workers that they should protect and
    glorify Wall Street, because they have “skin in the game” via their
    pension plans or whatever. Until a clear-thinking worker looks a little
    closer, and realises that year after year their pension plan increases less
    than the stock market did, even though it’s supposedly professionally
    invested. Given that a monkey with stocks on a dartboard could get a
    better return from the stock market than your pension fund does… Where did the difference go?

  • John Barnes

    that is all nice but what productive thing did the waltons do to earn that ten billion dollar increase?

  • IKapono

    Economic Mobility is a better measure but this presumes that all can fail equally. Recent history shows this is not true and we all pay the price for this inequity. Hank Paulson, the panickey, bails out the financial sector. Yes ,George,perhaps the sky was falling. Obama bails out the Auto Industry and Unions. We live in a false capitalism of state control bestowing favors and bailouts upon the choosen! Creative Destruction is only for the little people!

  • Threnody

    If the federal government passes a law tomorrow that everyone making less that 30k per year shall henceforth be given a 1 million dollar home in the suburbs, would you then complain that every business employing people voluntarily at less than 30k/year is ‘costing’ America all that money? Don’t be lame headed.
    Further, on a different leftist confusion, let’s say you tax the owners of Walmart more an more. Who exactly do you think actually PAYS those taxes? Think. The people in your camp who really understand what they’re doing, are evil.

  • Threnody

    Millions of people ‘vote’ or objectively state the value of the ‘productive thing the waltons did’ every day. And those millions do so voluntarily. It is astounding to me that you can even ask the question. Do you not think to yourself – “Why do people go and buy things at Walmart?” These are millions of daily objective judgments of quality, availability, and cost that all those people judge to be sufficiently superior to their other options in the context of their own needs. They choose to trade a portion of their life effort for the value they judge in the product the waltons make available using their life effort. The underlying idea that led to the Waltons earning these millions of voluntary judgments was the idea of bring the efficiencies of economy of scale to the general and grocery store. The enormous investment of time, thought, effort, and RISK in making that idea happen in reality is the underlying value for which the waltons are being paid — though it takes the form of each individual voluntarily choosing to trade his earned value for the product that the waltons have figured out the way to put in front of him at the price he deems best. If you wish to argue that this is wrong, then argue with each of those billions of people who chose to trade with the waltons. What an arrogant position — the conceited central planner in action, telling everyone what is best for them regardless what they would choose for themselves. Shoo — go away.

  • John Barnes

    come on thernody, that makes no sense you are making up scenarios what do they call that straw man argument?

    GE earned billions and pays no taxes, but back to waltons, they havent done anything productive they inherited the money from the guy who actually worked , christy has nothing to with walmart but she reaps the benefits on the back of the workers and you tell me of all the billions they earn they cannot pay their workers a living wage of 14 dollars per hour.? and before you say they (walmart) would increase prices to cover cost the CEO’s compensation increased year after year and prices at walmart are dropping? how do you explain that?

    2) walmart also bullies suppliers to keep their prices low if capitalism is about competition why bully suppliers?

  • John Barnes


    how am i ignorant?

    The wealthy pay very little tax, because their wealth increases through
    capital gains rather than income. While they leave it invested they pay
    nothing, and even when they withdraw the gains they pay much less tax
    than you do on your wage income. The game is hugely rigged in their

    But when they aren’t draining away most of the capital you create by
    your productive work, that means you get to keep that capital. With
    all the extra income, paying more taxes would be no problem.

    Your indoctrination will tell you not to believe that, so I’ll detail it with a simple example.

    Option 1) You do enough work to generate $100k of capital. $60k
    goes to idle capitalist parasites (they pay $9k in capital gains tax on
    that income), and from the remaining $40k salary you pay $10k in taxes.

    You are left with $30k takehome, and the country gains $19k in tax revenue to pay down the debt.

    Option 2) You do enough work to generate $100k of capital. The idle
    capitalist parasites have all left the country. From the remaining
    $100k salary you pay $38k in taxes.

    You are left with $60k takehome, and the country gains $38k in tax revenue.

    In option 2 (no capitalists), the end result is you double your income, the country doubles it’s tax revenue. The only losers are the idle capitalist parasites, who are no longer allowed to leech your capital.

    So yes, the middle class would pay more taxes with the idle elites
    out of the way… From their much-higher income! Win for you!

  • Threnody

    It was unclear about what 10 mil you were talking.. I guessed that you were pointing at the ‘cost’ of Walmart workers using tax funded programs like food stamps,,thus the scenario.
    If the heirs don’t deserve it, they will lose it. To suggest the creator of wealth ought not be able to dispose of his life’s work as he sees fit is, frankly, murderous.
    You can’t bully without force and there is no legal force but government, which is wielded amorally. Do you complain when your product carries a great deal of bargaining power?

  • John Barnes

    10 billion i was talking about, their net worth increased by 10 billion not 10 million….

    and i see that youre avoiding my questions, what did the walton heir do as productive work to earn that kind of money?

    taking wealth from the productive workers seems to be the thing capitalism is famous for.

    you talk about productive work, but what does the walton do that is productive? the buffets, soros , koch bros and people like that

  • writeby

    “We live in a false capitalism of state control…”

    Nicely crafted phrase. From what I’ve researched, it’s quite close to Mussolini “corporatism.”


  • writeby

    Give up. Debating such with a secular supernaturalist (society creates reality) is the same as with a religious supernaturalist (a super mind created reality): Your reason cannot penetrate his emotionalism.

    “The primacy of consciousness religious metaphysics of Neo-Platonic Idealism, the emotionalist religious epistemology of faith and the self-hating Judeo-Christian ethics of self-sacrifice make possible the irrational politics of a supernaturalist totalitarian socialism.”

    And one for the road–the Master Planner of all master planners:

    “The best ordered state will be one in which the largest number of persons … most nearly resembles a single person. The first and highest form of the State … is a condition in which the private and the individual is altogether banished from life, and things which are by nature private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, and in some way see and hear and act in common, and all men express praise and blame and feel joy and sorrow on the same occasion, and whatever laws there are unite the city to the utmost …” (Plato’s _Republic_ & _Laws_ c. 370 BCE)

  • Threnody

    They think, plan long range, innovate, manage, and risk. If they fail at these things they become like any other man who has only his labor efforts to trade.
    Only if the force of the gun, of govt, intervenes will worthless men succeed for a time.
    The Walton children will be what they are and should rise or fall on that.
    You avoid the suggestion that the creative Walton should be stripped of his right to his own life’s work at his end. He did not steal. Why do you now think it right to steal his life?

  • Threnody

    I enjoy the sparring.
    And remember, I am a bit of an oddity– a Christian that does not believe in penal substitution, and thus not in self sacrifice as the moral ideal.

  • John Barnes

    so no answer regarding christy walton and heir family, what productive things do theyve done to have their net worth increase on the backs of productive workers

  • writeby

    They’re doing the same thing Sam did: run a profitable enterprise. No profits = no jobs.

  • writeby

    Without the Christ-sacrifice-for-sinners myth, you’re imo a deist, as were the Founders.

  • John Barnes

    you are avoiding my question, writeby, what enterprises are they running? none of them works and they get richer year after year after year

  • Threnody

    The workers need to work because that is what they trade for their living. If they were capable of competing in the market of business creation, product development, marketing, planning, managing, etc., then they would engage and trade that value for their living. So too, the innovation, planning, managing, conception of process, etc. is needed for things like Costco, or steelworks, or the production of a jet engine, or the building of a skyscraper. Face it, workers only, are not going to build a jet liner. It just isn’t going to happen. Have you ever seen a bunch of truly really good folks, in their capacities, be very badly managed and led? It’s a disaster. But we don’t really need to determine what pieces are most crucial. The thing to remember is that trade value is objective – meaning that its value is determined by the personal voluntary judgments of all those acting to choose from the value options available to them. So, if a person is dissatisfied with the monetary trade value his time thought and effort brings him, he has no one to blame but his failure to meet the needs/ wishes of everyone else who is simply choosing by their own honest value judgments. There is and can not be any other more efficient and moral and incorruptible method. Your value in trade is that for which others are willing to voluntarily trade. The only other option is by force, cronyism, sneaking, blackmail, cheating, tricking, stealing, redistributing, subsidizing, franchising, and ultimately, a gun.
    The reason why you don’t understand the proper development of ‘investment elites,’ as you call them, is that you are forgetting or do not understand the disutility of labor. I could make another 100k per year by working night shifts in the ER, but I don’t. Why? Men who have built very successful businesses and amassed a great deal of wealth by any number of productive enterprises often find that judging people and businesses for investment of their wealth is more profitable in full context including the disutility of labor consideration than would be even the greater money they could generate by engaging in larger and larger or more and more business endeavors themselves. If you forcibly prevent the development of ‘investment elites,’ you will still get elites, but they will be elites of force and have about the same success as our pseudo czars. Every last government endeavor becomes more expensive, more wasteful, and less productive at its intended aim over time. If you don’t leave the market free, and let the free market pick the ‘winners’ by way of millions of millions of objective votes; don’t worry – you will still get competition in the controlled market, but now men’s lives will be made or destroyed by competition in pull, and blackmail, and nepotism, and crony deals, and who has the goods on whom, etc., instead of what ideas and services and products best meet individual’s needs by THEIR judgment in the context of THEIR lives.

  • Threnody

    One thing I think you have to remember — We have, in this country, had many unholy government – business relations, and reams of legislation written to favor this or that business interest. The force of government has been for sale for a long time to whoever can leverage the legislators to get it. GE is fornicating with government. Google has a cozy deal so that the irs ignores it’s shifting of profits all over the globe to avoid taxes, and there are countless others. Read the anti-trust laws of the united states. You can still get a copy used. The use of govt force to market ‘advantage,’ has been nauseating for a long time.
    The answer though, is not to create the biggest monopoly of them all (govt control of all means of production), nor de facto control with the appearance of private ownership. This just gets you all the evils of government stupidity controlling the economy but the cyclical stringing up of group after group of private ‘owners’ as the scapegoats when things go wrong. (This is what we are doing now, with auto industry, healthcare, and others.)
    The thing is, those in favor of free markets, free enterprise, and objective law want only that. We condemn any business fornicating with government force. But be aware that it is lie to suggest that capitalism per se includes the unholy relationship between business and government. In full laissez fair capitalism, the directors are not the capitalists The directors, the controllers, the powerful, are the individual consumers. If the investors and producers and sellers do not win the consumers judgments, then they fail. When govt intervenes then you get the messy confusion that we have now where countless crap companies are kept in business at the taxpayer and consumer expense; genius is thwarted; rightfully better products and services are crushed by arbitrary regulation, resources are diverted based on pull rather than merit. Men like Buffet are made unbelievable rich, some by merit, and some by inside knowledge and deals abroad, and prevention of deals at home. As always, don’t confuse the force interventions and the disasters and ugliness they cause, for the mechanism of free enterprise.

  • Threnody

    No. That doesn’t quite take you all the way to deist. The story of Christ, I believe. The common penal substitution theory of the atonement is terribly wrong though, and, sadly, is a very large part of the dominance of altruism as the most commonly held sense or notion of morality.
    I am a theist mainly because of arguments previously mentioned regarding the implications of the differences this metaphysical question makes regarding our own intellectual and volitional and personal status. I am a Christian, partly because of literary and historical reasons regarding the texts, and mostly because of the Christian offer of life ‘in’ the life of the deity (or the deity working ‘in’ the created being) as the solution of the inner human agonizing problem of self failure to follow even the good known. It is not just a knowledge issue as regards enjoying the joy and fulfillment of the righteous life – the life consistent with true good for one’s self. To see the higher and better road and walk the lower is terribly troublesome to someone who cares. The Christian religion is the only one that gives some notion of a solution to this problem, and hints at a possibility of mending the ugliness and pain one has caused by both intent and mistake.
    Reading the founders, it’s often difficult to tell exactly what their true positions were. Like them though, I lean toward the idea that God’s nature and laws are ‘built in’ to the nature of reality much more so than there are countless “supernatural” interventions.

  • John Barnes

    that isnt true and you dont have proof to back that up, you cant leave the markets free as you say because companies will run amok, look at the companies that pollute the environment, wall street causing the financial crises, walmart opening up and businesses shutting down, low paid workers.

    Prior to the 80’s workers kept more of their pay now its going to the ceo’s etc.

  • Threnody

    Objective laws and enforcement John, not anarchy.
    The fundamental principle is the protection of right to life, which by reason must include property.
    The error you and many have made is to look at historical right infringement either by individuals or govt and blamed freedom. The blame is with the individuals using force to infringe on others rights, and should have been dealt with by objective laws and law enforcement. Instead, many blamed freedom and proceeded to embark on a path to do away with property rights altogether.
    Companies that cause objective harm to others by environment damage ought be punished severely by objective law. But we need not set up an enormous fed bureaucracy that is used to stifle certain businesses through political influence or crush industry and human improvement for possible danger to some moth.
    Businesses can’t run amok in a free market under objective law. Consumers will ditch them as soon as there is a better price or quality or even perceived better morality in some cases. Legal punishment would be severely damaging for companies found to be using force methods to market advantage.
    In the last thirty years we have had more and more and more controls and regulation and govt management and intervention and subsidies and bailouts and franchises etc etc. Force in the market is death.
    The financial crises was crafted by exec order lending rules and penalties for not making high risk loans combined with a directed policy of gov backed Fannie Freddie buying up the most toxic instruments, and the butt covering allowed practice of the financial institutions insuring the loans and then wrapping them into derivatives to try to make the whole shadow banking structure depend on them so as to protect themselves. Back this with fed policy of prosperity through credit expansion and there you have it- the same recipe that gave us the Great Depression with minor variations. It wasnt the free market. Forced lower interest rates than the price the market would set pushed far over borrowing for housing monies. Exec order rules penalized lenders for not making iffy loans. And the gov backed Fannie Freddie provided the risk abatement the big lenders needed as a final cya push. Of course it was all freedoms fault– the answer is more controls, more govt intervention. They ain’t f-ing around, John.

  • John Barnes

    so why do you capitalist want unregulated free markets? regulations to the free markets prevents fraud, companies that pollute and things like that.

    why do you want it unregulated

  • John Barnes

    what is the difference between objective laws and regulations ?

    And wouldnt a free market be free of laws and regulations? and that would be anarchy and people would take advantage of people.

  • Threnody

    Ultimately, men and women of talent, ideas, capability, drive, energy, intelligence, planning, personal responsibility, and self reliance want no regulation of markets because they want to make piles of money – huge towering piles of money, and they want that money as payment for the values they produce and provide, and they want that money to trade with other like men and women for the values they desire in their lives. They want their time, thought, and effort — their lives– to produce things and services that other people voluntarily wish to trade their life efforts for. They want secure and comfortable homes, life enriching play, adventure in travel, nourishing and exciting food, security and all good things for their children and loved ones — they want to buy, with the value they produce with their lives, those components of a full and rich and meaningful and enjoyable life that are available through trade. They wish to engage their life production in the endeavors they are best at into the system of specialization and division of labor and economies of scale, to THRIVE, to live and enjoy abundance of good things both materially, and by the leisure time allowed also the mental and spiritual things. They have only their own lives to trade, and they wish to trade it with other voluntary traders seeking these same things. They despise the man who suggests that his or her failure or need or laziness or incompetence is some sort of rightful chain around his neck. They will help their fellow man because they themselves find a value in the thriving of their fellow man, and a pleasure in the success of their neighbor. But they spit at the one who suggests that their life is somehow owed or obligated to others. And, so too, they despise the man that seeks to forcibly, through crook or club (or legislation), take their lives from them, by taking the money markers for the value they produce with their lives.
    Now, wishing for no regulation of a completely free trading market is entirely different than wishing for the absence of objective laws applied to everyone equally. The legalized force of government through the court system must be used to forcibly prevent both government, corporations, and individuals from using force against others to, in essence, steal or forcibly take their lives from them — meaning forcibly take the products of their time, thought and effort from them — meaning take their property from them or destroying or harming it — meaning fraud, stealing, libel, false advertisement, piracy, copyright infringement, intellectual property theft, tax breaks, tax fraud, etc etc., — frankly any forcible attempt to gain market advantage that is not related to quality, efficiency to cut costs, competence at productiveness, etc.
    Unregulated simply means no mucking around with market variables, no, for instance government competing in private markets (post office), no buried regulation in laws that make it more expensive for company B to source its raw materials so that company A (a backer of the committee head) to have a competitive advantage, no ability of cities and counties etc to give huge tax breaks for only some companies to come in – which is a publicly funded, unchosen, forcible market advantage for that company, etc. etc.

  • Threnody

    see above — investigate this difference between arbitrary regulation and objective law and you’ll be moving right along. Objective law is clear, equally applied, and ONLY prevents forced breach of right to life, which is right to product of life effort, which is right to created value, which is personal property and all the logical derivations thereof. No more than that…. If you can make the best company that makes the best product at the best price in the greatest numbers and no one else is able to do it as well as you at the price you do it at the scale you do it- you will make BILLIONS – *if* people WANT what you make at the price you make it. Since this country’s inception there have been countless examples of where the force of govt was used to market advantage — it is THAT which must go, entirely.

  • Tim C.

    Ah, my dear Mr. Barnes, you really are quite the redundant little cliche machine. I’m going to guess that you spend your days watching Chris Mathews, listening to Rachel Maddow and re-reading over and over your favorite passages from Howard Zinn.

    Your fundamental,and false, premise is that “evil” capitalists create nothing and therefore must be scorned. But please tell me Mr. Barnes, at whose direction does the worker work? If the “evil” capitalist had neither the vision for production nor the talent for the coordination of capital and labor your dear worker would be nothing more than a fool swinging a hammer, provided hammers were produced, at any rock in front of him.

  • John Barnes

    labour produces things and without it capitalist wouldnt survive, and this is why you want a unregulated free markets to take advantage of the workers.

    why is there so much greed in capitalism

  • John Barnes

    One of my biggest problems with Capitalism is that for the working class
    it pushes the notion that a worker’s only value is the work they
    perform to profit the Capitalists (who have a completely different
    yardstick for themselves of course.) That is a twisted, horrible
    viewpoint on life.

    Ensuring that people receive food, shelter and healthcare even if
    they don’t want to or aren’t able to work is not “encouraging sloth”.
    Those things are basic human rights, and as a civilized society it
    behooves us to ensure that everyone gets them (if for no other reason
    than the fact that starving people are apt to brain you with a pipe and
    take your food).

    Socialists promote rewarding people according to the amount of work
    they put in. That seems reasonable to me (pending working out the
    details of that calculation.) Doesn’t it seem reasonable to you?

    What Socialists oppose is the Capitalist system of providing the greatest rewards to people who are among the least contributors – Rewarding idle elites with as much as 100,000 workers earn, just because they are wealthy and their wealth snowballs. Seems reasonable to me again! Don’t you think?

  • Threnody

    A worker’s value —- Make sure you keep your context clear. He has a value as a human being, a rightful value to all other human beings if they perceived rationally the full context of that which is truly good for themselves. He is an end in himself. He/she is possibly a father, a mother, and is certainly a son or daughter – he/she is likely loved and valued by someone or perhaps many.
    In the context of his value in society, this issue is not his value to capitalists, the issue is what value can he produce FOR HIMSELF. Left alone, man must support his prime value which is his life. He must use his reason, time, effort, consistently in a way that WORKS in reality in order to survive, let alone thrive. With society, division of labor, specialization, money as means of exchange, and enormous technological advancements in transportation and communication especially, man still must spend his life time, reason, and effort to support his life but now he can leverage that at which he excels without attending to farming, and herding, and mining, and smith work, and fabric production, and sewing, and rudimentary medical care, and logging or bricklaying, etc. etc. etc. Still, his value to HIMSELF is in the value he can produce to trade with others.
    You greatly misunderstand rights. Men have the right to life, and must have it if any are to secure and enjoy ANY values at all by way of REASON rather than just brute force. Derivatives of the right to life are rights to one’s produced values or property because if one can not dispose of one’s produced values then one has no real right to life. You must understand, men do not have a right to life because of some cosmic decree, per se. That may be true, but the reasoning does not require it. The reasoning is as follows: *If* men are to rise above the brute force fight and slash and kill and plunder and cheat and steal and manipulate and war whenever possible to secure and defend any values for themselves — *then* they must all choose to honor their own lives by honoring every other man’s life by choosing to deal with each other via reason by dealing with each other as traders – trading value for value. To accomplish this, men must respect each others *right* to life and thus personal property. Rights are possessions common to all men as revealed by an inspection of reality through reason, which must be acknowledged and honored IF men are to support their lives by their primary method of survival – reason. Else it is nature tooth and claw, kill or be killed.
    With that in mind, it is impossible for there to be an economic right. Economic values such as food, healthcare, etc, must be produced by someone expending their lives to produce those values. If that which is produced by the expenditure of one person’s LIFE is the *right* of another person, then all rights are meaningless. If all men do not own their own lives, there can be no rights in any way. Understanding this is crucial.
    Through reason, men *ought* see that they do have a degree of personal interest in the welfare of those around them, in full context of all aspects of their lives. Men *ought* support each other with an aim toward establishing each of their fellow men in self sufficiency and productiveness toward mutual trade to mutual benefit. But, to force men to spend their lives for other men is to deny them their right to life. To suggest the one man has the ‘right’ or a valid claim to the product of another man’s life is to negate all rights.
    In simpler terms, voluntary charity is good and ought be done as, in context, at a level consistent with the best interests of the individual, is in fact *good* for the individual doing the charity. Forcibly stealing from one man as if another man had a claim to his life simply because of a need, is evil, is institutionalized slavery, and negates the very idea of a ‘right.’
    In full laissez faire capitalism with a government of objective laws, the consumer is king, all men and women must compete in satisfying the consumers’ wants and needs at the best price and in the best way as judged by the consumers. In socialism, competition still occurs, but the consumer is no longer king. Now, the govt, the committees, the central planners, the legislators, the power brokers, are kings, and all, including the consumers must petition or beg or bribe them to influence the direction of production and public monies. Competition in the country moves from the areas of quality and efficiency and innovation, to the areas of pull and political favor and bribery and blackmail. One is virtuous and objective. The other is ugly, evil, and arbitrary.

  • ClearSkys

    “why is there so much greed in capitalism”

    Is it not called “greed” Mr. Barnes that you demand higher wage for yourself? Or is your fight for more money somehow virtuous and subject to a different moral standard?
    In case you did not notice, under Capitalism man exploits man, under Socialism it’s just the opposite.

  • John Barnes

    as interesting as some of the responses were, none of you convinced me that capitalism is the way, you say capitalism has never really existed because of govt regulations but without regulations companies would run amok,

    one fellow said capitalism follows objective laws but regulations are from objective law, there are laws against fraud yet companies still fraud.

    How did walmart grow so big and become a oligarchy somewhat, paying their workers peanuts yet their CEO and executive earns millions.

    how do you justify that? capitalism in my opinion is a unfair system, and yes i read that atlas shrugged my sister gave me the book and its a work of fiction for sure.

    galt gulch? as if real life billionaires would give up and go on strike and live in a place and work for peanuts, that doesnt make sense.

    anyways none of you explained how and why christy walton and her family networth increased by 10 billion dollars on the backs of the employees and sitting in their million dollar homes and doing nothing, im sure sam is rolling in his grave thinking what the hell do i do.

  • Tim C.

    My dear Mr. Barnes you seem very confused as to the meaning of the terms you use. Please, if you could, define, as far as you understand, the meaning of the terms,
    -Produce, just what exactly do you consider production and why do the actions of the “evil capitalist” not qualify?

    -Capitalist, what, to you, is a capitalist or what trait qualifies a person as a capitalist?

    -Workers, who,to you, is a worker and what qualifies them as a worker and just how is it that they are the initiators of production?

    -Greed, if any attempt to seek financial gain is evil greed then are not your precious workers the definition of greed?
    It seems that without an understanding of your grasp, or lack thereof, of these terms any attempt to dilute the ignorance of your positions is futile.

    Also you still, as far as I see,have not answered my initial question to you regarding just how exactly Walmart has stolen from you.

  • John Barnes

    well im a engineer tim c, i work for my pay cheque, what does christy walton do for her pay cheque? nothing.

    capitalist are the greedy elites, that invests earns millions playing around in the market ( another fixed gamed) manipulate things earns huge returns and leaves the little guy holding the bag.

    Wall street bailouts, they caused the crash and tax payers bailed them out.

    what did christy walton steal from me, well for every dollar she earns from the markets or where ever has to come from somewhere , like the workers like me, for every billions of dollars she accumulates comes from the hard working workers tim.c.

    the workers lose and struggle and she benefits.

  • ClearSkys

    It’s ok, you don’t have to understand Capitalism (which you clearly don’t) in order to benefit from it. And don’t worry about walton family, just worry about how on earth are you going to create tens of thousands of jobs instead of criticizing them.

  • ClearSkys

    How many jobs did you create? None.

  • John Barnes

    so you cant answer the question either clearskys, not trying to be rude but it seems those who like capitalism are the rich elites or wanna be rich elites.

  • ClearSkys

    People have answered you “question” but since you don’t get it what I said above stands.

  • John Barnes

    no ive read a lot of ayn rand type of rhetoric , no concrete proof,

  • ClearSkys

    I don’t know ayn rand but I sure know what economic freedom is and the only system where one gets it is in a well run genuine Capitalism.

  • John Barnes

    how can you say its a well run geniune machine when the poor are many the rich elites makes it difficult for people to succeed.

    i asked earlier about waltons and their net worth increased, and some of you said oh they provide jobs but none of the walton work for walmart, what jobs are they providing?
    what boost to the economy are they providing.

    Koch bros are a fine example of douche bags, what productive thing is buffett doing except making his shareholders rich and them hording money

    GE capital paying zero taxes on billions of dollars on their books but main street business people paying through the nose

    is this the fair system of capitalism you talk about

  • ClearSkys

    Firstly, you are confusing America of today with free market capitalism that existed once upon a time in America.
    Even so, Koch brothers and Walmart are the worlds biggest employers and you can take that away from them no matter how much you try to diminish it.
    To the extent that the GE and other “too big to fail” exploit the taxpayer — blame the politicians in power not the capitalists for that one.

  • John Barnes

    huh? what kind of answer is that, we live in today not in george washington era. i dont care what happened 200 years ago, 2014 is what i care about.

    blame the politicians? they are trying to stop the GE from doing what they are doing.

    tell me where has this free market system that is truly free ever worked for the average person, not the elites but average person.

    even the tax system is rigged, low taxes on investments but higher taxes on earned income

    yeppers fair system, and all the elites that pays zero taxes.

  • ClearSkys

    Yes, your government and the socialists running it are to blame for any money big business gets for free. Obama, the socialist, promised to reduce inequalities, people like you voted for him. He did the opposite. Now people like you complain about the results of their own voting. These people did not understand the system then and they don’t understand it now.

    “yeppers fair system”

    did I say what we have now is fair? Socialist interventionism is never fair so why do you want more of it?

  • ClearSkys

    “tell me where has this free market system that is truly free ever worked for the average person”

    It worked in the US between the civil war and the WW1 and elevated millions out of poverty with the minimum of government interference.

  • ClearSkys

    ” i dont care what happened 200 years ago, 2014 is what i care about.”
    armed with ignorance of the past, good luck understanding the present!

  • John Barnes

    oh between the civil war of ww1, okay then since its 2014

    the government is trying its best to reel in wall street, look at elizabeth warren , look at what obama is doing for the veterans

    many things the government has right.

    what has wall street done?

  • ClearSkys

    “look at what obama is doing for the veterans”

    you are kidding right? Obamas faked response to VA scandal is something to praise?

    “what has wall street done”

    need we go any further then the government bailouts to prove that the wall street not the people is who the government really cares about? Millions lost their homes while gov. reworded CEO’s with record bonuses, that’s your government in action. Free market would have punished them with bankruptcy.

  • John Barnes

    he is trying to get to the bottom of the va scandal, and 2) wall street being bailed out was the point.

  • ClearSkys

    “he is trying to get to the bottom of the va scandal”

    it’s a poof that government can’t even provide healthcare for veterans and you trust Obamacare?

    “wall street being bailed out was the point”

    it makes 2 excellent points:
    1. we don’t allow the free market to work and
    2. people are so naive to blame the free market.

  • John Barnes

    if wall street played by the rules they would need to bailed out, is that how free markets supposed to go?

  • ClearSkys

    Oh wall street played by the rules, unwritten rules that is which the politically connected elite knew the government would play by. Remember Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury? He had served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs before he worked as a Secretary of the Treasury and he was “managing” the crises. He was not about to let his bodies go bankrupt, who cares about the taxpayers! Obama is still doing the same. You see, government people and corporate elite are good buddies and often the same people simply moving from the privileged private sector to the privileged public sector position. So don’t blame capitalism, blame the corrupt politicians.

  • Threnody

    Capitalism doesn’t “follow” objective laws. Capitalism is not a someone or entity that can follow anything. I indicated that IN full laissez faire capitalism, objective law remains present to prevent CRIME – to prevent one man using force to breach the natural rights of another man. I pointed out the continued presence of objective law because you had made the illegitimate assumption that a free market meant the total absence of any law whatsoever. An example of objective law is 10 years in prsion for embezzlement. An example of non-objective regulation is the forced splitting of an extremely successful company simply because the bureacrats think it is too ‘big.’ (look up the ALCOA case.)
    You seem right at the point of persuasion. Men often say very silly things in that position — “there are laws against fraud yet companies still (sic) fraud.”
    Well, yes. There are laws against murder and yet men still murder. The solution is NOT to chain everyone to a pole so that no one is free in any way. Yes. There would be no murder, but there would be no living either, by any man from murderer to saint. So too with your complaint about fraud.
    Walmart paid its workers the price the workers were willing to take. The cost of such labor is set by supply and demand, like anything else — unless the force of government messes with it.
    A full free market is the only fair system. There are only two choices — either freedom with objective law to deal with crime, in which men are voluntary traders for all values, or brute force relations through tyrants and no liberty for any. You may have competition in quality and efficiency and merit, or competition in pull and bribery and threats and forcible leverage.
    If the original Walton managed his stores extremely well and recieved billions of objective votes from billions of consumers to amass an enormous fortune, then what is it to you if he passes that to his children? If they are unworthy of it, they will indeed destroy it and lose it all, perhaps in their lifetime, perhpas in several generations. (Should society take the car you gave your child because they did ‘nothing’ for it?) The Waltons force no one to work for them, they force no one to buy from them. Regardless, walmart is public. There are many partial ‘owners’ who have put their own earnings at risk in walmart and done very well. Do you think you ‘deserve’ to be rich simply because you exist? All the consumers in the world are ready to trade their money to you if you offer them what they want at the best price. Do you really complain that everyone does not donate a portion of their lives to you simply because you wish them to? Should everyone hand over some of their life to you in trade for nothing or for something they neither need nor want, or could obtain less dearly elsewhere?

  • ClearSkys

    Elizabeth Warren says she would have supported the TARP bailout of the bankers.
    “Elizabeth Warren’s “high cheekbones” fraud draws back the curtain on the gears and levers of our national race industry. The real story is not that the multimillionaire liberal (and one-percenter) Warren fabricated a Cherokee identity for over a decade (to the delight of her quota-thirsty universities), but rather the notion that if a pink blond at Harvard can get away with faking a career-enhancing minority identity, then anyone, anywhere, can—or rather often has.” –Victor Davis Hanson

  • John Barnes

    The elites and banksters in control is absolutely what this thread is
    about. Take away regulations and you open the door to more Enron scams,
    more sub-prime-mortgage bubbles, and endless other ways they can figure
    out to steal your money. And right-wing minions will say “Hey, it’s
    your own fault! Buyer beware!” as if every working stiff has the time
    to get their masters in economics so they will be able to deal with the
    pros on an even footing.

    The reason there are regulations on the finance industry in the
    first place is that history has proven that left to their own devices
    banksters and capitalist elites will ruthlessly work against society
    whenever it makes them profit… And even when they aren’t actively
    attacking us, they will pay no attention to the harmful side-effects of
    their actions as long as they are profitable.

    Regulations are a reaction to disasters like Enron. Of
    course deregulation didn’t cause it – A lack of appropriate regulations
    allowed it to happen. It was caused by greedy capitalists with a
    disregard for the side-effects of their actions.

    This is how it always works. Speed limits on the highway are there
    because there were many cases of people driving very fast, losing
    control of their car, and killing someone…And it was felt that
    something had to be done about it. It isn’t because the government
    hates speed.

  • John Barnes

    I’m sure Christy Walton paid some tax last year, if only
    sales taxes. Yet she was apparently a net drain of 10 billion from the
    country/world (the amount her net worth increased in exchange for nothing).

    If someone puts no effort in to society and
    takes $10 billion out, that represents a drain of $10 billion from society.

    Sure, her pet investment pros plow most of that capital into the stock market,
    and when they do that causes short-term hiccups up (or down if they are short
    selling). Over the long term that does nothing to help society. Sure, it helps
    the brokers who get to leech off it as it flows through, but that’s as
    irrelevant as claiming Walton is a “job creator” because she hired
    another maid.

    The right-wing argument for the value of idle investor-class elites boils down
    to “But look at their money working!” Here’s the problem.
    Money working is not the wealthy person working. The idle elite is not
    contributing anything in exchange for the money they receive. The money
    would work whether Walton’s investment pros were using it to buy and sell
    stocks, commodities and real estate, or a working-class American was using it
    to buy food, iPads and homes. Having that $10 billion stay with the working
    class is better for everyone… Except Walton and Wall Street of course. And
    you are in the first group, not the second (assuming you don’t work for an idle
    elite of course.)

  • ClearSkys

    “Take away regulations and you open the door to more Enron scams…”

    No-one argues we should take away regulation, the question is: who should do the regulating? Enron happened UNDER GOVERNMENT REGULATION that replaced free-market regulation decades before. Financial industry is one of the most heavily gov. regulated industry — try opening the bank vs the bakery, let say, and you’ll find out.

    When you give regulatory powers to politicians, instead of free-market, the result is abuse of the system by government-favored businesses who gov. grants immunity from bankruptcy (market function) and criminal prosecution (proper gov. function) — a privileged condition unattainable under an impartial free-market regulation — which is why big business loves government regulation.

    That’s why no banker got prosecuted and CEO’s were reworded record bonuses while the working class people lost their homes and jobs — courtesy of government regulation you trust in so much. Under a free-market regulation these banks would have been liquidated, mortgages in default would’ve been reinstated to the benefit of the borrowers, CEO’s would have lost their jobs and be forced to face criminal prosecution by the injured parties (share-holders).

    While people like you fancy themselves as the “protectors of the working class” they supporting policies that hurt those you purport to be caring for. But that’s fine by you so long as you get to “feel good” about yourself, right?

  • ClearSkys

    “Money working is not the wealthy person working.”

    I have an idea that should please you: impose a mandatory labor camps for wealthy — without a doubt this is a solution that fits perfectly with your ideology. The belief that everyone should have to labor equally, when held with any logical consistency, leads to preposterous conclusions.

  • writeby

    Volume Title: Trends in the American Economy in the Nineteenth Century
    Volume Author/Editor: The Conference on Research in Income and Wealth
    Volume Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Volume ISBN: 0-870-14180-5
    Volume URL: http://www.nber.org/books/unkn60-1
    Publication Date: 1960


    Long-term real growth in US GDP per capita 1871-2009

    The Industrial
    Revolution, 1700–1900

    And from the “Workers’ Paradise”:

    An analysis of the Soviet economic growth from the 1950’s to
    the collapse of USSR.

    Harvest of Sorrow

    Now go edumicate yourself.

  • John Barnes

    i will read the stuff youve provided, and i will see if it answers my questions

  • writeby

    Or they’ve invested in profitable enterprises. Just as do millions of Americans. They’re called stockholders, which can include the billionaire Waltons and the thousandaire Smiths & Jones.

    And Mr., Miss & Mrs. Worker.

  • writeby

    Ayn Rand walked the walk in the U.S.S.R.

    In what worker’s paradise have you walked?

    North Korea…East Berlin…the Soviet Union…Maoist Red China…Cuba…Venezuela?

    Go. Walk the walk in NK, Cuba, Venezuela or some other pest hole of socialism; then get back to us.

    In the mean time, all your “concrete proof” consists of is your own rhetoric of anachronistic Marxist assertions, sneering ad hominems and brazen equivocation.

  • writeby

    Precisely. ‘Greed’ is a neutral virtue; depends on the object of one’s greed: justice or power; wealth or money (as an end in itself); honesty or popularity; independence or prestige.

  • Steven Smith

    So, the Nazis didn’t have slave labor, they had “interns” who ” learn t by working.” Not paying interns is theft, pure and simple. This is a case of companies colluding and creating a alternate reality were they can get something for nothing – exploitive, bloodsucking parasites. It’s not permitted in most other countries. As the good book says, “a workman is worthy of his wages.”

  • ClearSkys

    “So, the Nazis didn’t have slave labor, they had “interns”

    False equivalency, nobody forces you to be an intern today.

  • Threnody

    “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
    Sam Walton
    And this is what infuriates the interventionists and statists. Some below complain that the family of Sam Walton get to enjoy the value that he created, and yet 1) they’d be first to object to THEIR children being denied the values they produce with their lives, and 2) the same situation exists – if customers do not want what Walmart is offering at the price they offer it, then Walmart will fail, as with any other company UNLESS the force of government or crime (distinction without a difference) impedes the free market.

  • Steven Smith

    No one forces people to be in abusive relationships either. There are thousands of web sites dedicated to people “trapped” in abusive relationships. Do your homework before you make such naive comments .Internships would not exists if it wasn’t for the informal collusion of abusers, er, I mean thieving employers. This is psycho behavior, throwing people crumbs in exchange for all the benefits of a relationship.

  • ClearSkys

    You don’t have much faith in freedom of choice, do you? I guess a nanny state is the unswear, except that it turns out your all-knowing politicians are the first to use interns. You see, they will pass a law forbidding private businesses from hiring interns but will exempt the Congress from it. Funny huh?

    Besides, who gave you the right to interfere in voluntary arrangements between individuals? What if I prevented you from taking a job because I deem that the pay was just not high enough and even though you like the job, I will ‘protect’ you from the ‘abuse’ by making you unemployed? And yet, that is what you believe to be the just way for the society.

    Let’s face it, you think people are morons that can not properly think for themselves and determine if what they receive in return for their labour is worth their time. Nobody will intern for MacDonald’s, but many will intern for Hollywood or the White House. Why is that? Is it the case of people being stupid or perhaps you fail to understand the fundamentals of voluntary exchange of value?

  • Steven Smith

    You are a wolf in Randian clothing. Internships are not a ” voluntary exchange of value.” The interns are exploited. With 30% real unemployment and youth unemployment being even higher, it’s easy to take advantage of these desperate people in the form of a internship. The “value” these people get does not come from the employers but from “nature” – ie, from learning to use equipment, learning from co workers, learning from dealing with customers. It’s not as if the interns are paid with seminars by the employers. Rich Hollywood and the White house (slavery in the White house – nice example to the world) not even paying the minimum wage to its interns is a disgrace – shame on you.

  • ClearSkys

    Shame on me? I’m not the one trying to take away anybodies freedom of choice but you. You started of condemning Naziism but it turns our you really have a Nazi approach to life. You’d like to dictate the terms of every relationship. Why don’t you do something about your relationship with the idea of individual liberties? I’m sure when it comes to your personal freedoms you demand all of it. How convenient?

  • Steven Smith

    People not being paid for the fruits of their labor is abhorrent to a rights respecting, liberty loving individual. People going to work, coming home exhausted, yet having to live on the handouts of friends and relatives is a disgraceful state to be in. Have you heard of the golden rule ‘do onto others as you you would have them do to you’? Put yourself in their place, and tell me that this is OK. No doubt you approved of all the in “interns” in the South. The North called them slaves – there was a civil war over “internship”.

  • ClearSkys

    “there was a civil war over “internship”

    So this is a second time you exhibit a clear false equivalency, first comparing internships with Naziism and now with slavery, which is an insult to all African Americans. Now I have to ask: is there a distinction in your mind between voluntary and forced labour? Answer that before we proceed.

  • Steven Smith

    You keep using the word voluntary in the dictionary definition of the word, as if no other similar concepts exist. I don’t believe the appropriate word exists in the English language. There are millions of women in abusive marriages who are afraid to leave least they lose custody of the children. There are workers being verbally torn down by their power crazed bosses, but they stay with their employer because they have a family to support. Are these “voluntary” relationships? You seem to deny the reality that peoples unfortunate circumstances can be used to oppress and exploit them. That the powerful can exploit and legally rob the poor is as old as mankind, yet you insist on pretending that this phenomenon doesn’t exist, by hiding behind dictionary definitions.

  • ClearSkys

    Was that a no? There is no difference between forced labour and a free will labour?

  • Steven Smith

    If you add up all forms of taxation, you are taxed 50 cents in the dollar. Is that “forced labour or free will labor”? You are part intern to the Obama administration. How does it feel? How does it feel intern, to have Obama give away half your money to the losers who voted for him? Well, intern??

  • ClearSkys

    If I want to intern, that should be my choice. If you don’t like to intern, then don’t, no one is forcing you. But you trying to take my free choice away is not cool. Can you not see that?

  • Steven Smith

    Go see the recent movie “Night Crawler.” I believe it accurately portrays an example of a ‘internship.’ The poor guy is obviously being used by his employer. Internships are outlawed in every developed country that I’m aware of. Why do you think this is so? If morally challenged economies find internships offensive, what does that tell you?

  • ClearSkys

    No point in arguing with a simpleton who is unable to comprehend the difference between the *forced* and the *voluntary* human relationships. Good luck with your dictator aspirations.

  • Steven Smith

    Using nice sounding labels like *voluntary* (similar to “social justice”, no?) doesn’t change the underlying reality. It’s also concept stealing. Not paying desperate people, or paying them crumbs is morally stealing – in the Obama ‘passing the wealth around’ category. No doubt you are a secret admirer or worshiper of Marxbama – more freebies, yes, more, more!.

  • ClearSkys

    “Using nice sounding labels like *voluntary* (similar to “social justice”, no?)”

    NO! Social justice refers to “collective rights”, a concept which is full of inner contradictions.

    “doesn’t change the underlying reality.”

    The nature of the relationship is the underlying reality. Identifying the nature of relationships is the crucial step in determining the moral aspect. All you have to do to understand this nature is answer the question: is force being used? In case of ‘internships’, the answer is clearly no! In case of taxation, for example, the answer is yes. That’s all one needs to know to determined if the relationship is a violation of personal liberty or not. You mistakenly believe that using force to prevent people from engaging in voluntary relationships is liberating them. In reality you are taking their liberties away! Is that what you wish to do? I’m guessing no.

    Anyway, somehow you assume that if internships are outlawed these same interns will be hired and will be paid. But they will not. Do you realize that these “paid” jobs will go to friends and family members, better qualified applicants or will be outsourced altogether and become unavailable to Americans seeking experience and connections, i.e. the movies will be made in other countries?

    “Not paying desperate people, or paying them crumbs is morally stealing”

    People ARE being paid or they would not volunteer for jobs, would they? They are being paid in benefits which they feel are worth their time and effort, the benefits they wish to receive in exchange for their work that you wish to make illegal. No one is being *forced* to show up for internships, which by the way are very desirable jobs. If you doubt this, then answer this question: Why is it that there are always more applicants for these positions then there are available jobs? You see, obviously people find these jobs very desirable and they disagree with you. So, you and anyone who has the same opinion, is certainly not forced to take up unpaid jobs but you also have no moral right to take this choice away from other people and violate their freedom of choice. You see, people are not idiots, they don’t need you, me or anyone to tell them what choices to make in their lives, so let them be!

    “No doubt you are a secret admirer or worshiper of Marxbama”

    LOL, You could not be further from the truth. When it comes to government, it’s Thomas Jefferson not Obama who I respect.

    I’m sure you are trying to do good in the world, but your philosophy is poorly developed at this stage.

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