Contra Musk: There are Other Futures Besides a Governmental UBI

by Nick Ford

http://abolishwork.com/2017/02/10/contra-musk-futures-besides-ubi/

You’ve likely heard of Elon Musk, he’s a huge venture capitalist who helps run companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. Being such a huge name in the tech industry and especially Silicon Valley the things he has to say about the future of…well anything, is likely to garner some attention.

Back in November, Musk stated that:

“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

Continue reading

The Paradoxes of Plebiscites

by Chris Dillow

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/04/the-paradoxes-of-plebiscites.html

In pointing out that re-joining the EU will be damnably difficult, Simon reminds us of the massive difference between representative democracy and plebiscitary politics.

One great virtue of representative democracy is that it allows for mistakes to be corrected. Wrong’uns can be booted out of office and bad policies can usually be reversed*. Under plebiscites, it is not so. These reveal the “will of the people” which must be obeyed. Whereas representative democracy is a system of checks and balances, plebiscites are battles of wills in which the victor wins permanently. As Mrs Thatcher said, plebiscites are “a device of dictators and demagogues.” Continue reading

Forming an Organic Right-Wing Social Order

by Vincent John

http://www.libertymachinenews.com/forming-an-organic-right-wing-social-order.html

The historic election of Donald Trump has changed the course of American politics for many years to come. There are not many people who predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency against what seemed to be impossible odds. Donald Trump did not just have to campaign against the Clinton Machine and all of her donors. He also had to defeat establishment Republicans, which include political hacks like John McCain and Paul Ryan, the Never Trumpers, a mixed bag of neocons and cuckservative losers like Glenn Beck, the regressive left and the Bernie Bots throwing infantile tantrums in the streets, the corporatist far left media who cover for leftist demagogues like Obama and Crooked Hillary, big business who want cheap labor imported into America who lobby for illegal aliens from the third world to pour across the US border. There were many other individuals and groups of people who were vehemently against the idea of a Trump presidency, a presidency where a right-wing populist agenda would be front and center for the direction of the nation.  But things are seldom what they seem. Even though the corporatist far left media were the ones who gave the false impression that Trump would lose and Crooked Hillary would be the first female president, they underestimated the right wing populist movement sweeping across Europe and America. The corporate shills also covered up all of Hillary’s scandals and lies while painting a false picture of how Middle America would vote in the 2016 election by falsely claiming Democrats and Independents in the Rust Belt would vote for Crooked Hillary. This was of course wrong. Continue reading

Basic Income as a System of Control

“Basic income – in both the north and the south – all depends on how we frame it. Will it be cast as a form of charity by the rich? Or will it be cast as a right for all?”[1]. This quote encapsulates both the promise and potential consequences of a basic income. Much has been made of the radical potential that a universal basic income inculcates in our sclerotic neoliberal societies, supposedly able to end the necessity of work and make wages a tool of social policy rather than simply an economic consequence of the labour market. It is easy to see the potential when labour markets are extremely sticky, with low-pay staying low and wages continuing their decoupling from productivity gains. Technological unemployment presents the dystopia of a world where further productivity that is reaped from machines is controlled by a transnational capitalist class of international investors and corporate megaliths, continuing the monopolisation of the economy and entrenching a precarious form of wage labour relation. Continue reading

The Centralising Axiom

The multiple debates surrounding ideology constantly devolve into simplistic concepts like capitalism and socialism, referring to each other as opposing axiomatic systems that proffer significantly different visions of the world. However, both are fundamentally centralist systems. They understand society, economy and politics as universalisable wholes that need to be integrated into a full structure of production and decision-making. For capitalism, the main axiomatic point is the profit-motive achieved through multiple avenues of capital accumulation. Markets and states are the main entry and exit points through which capital is accumulated and profit is achieved. For socialism, it is the production of value for the meeting of basic needs and necessities, providing a society of equality where political and economic cohesiveness is supposedly developed. Economic planning  and social provisioning through centralised structures (usually the state but forms of global democratic planning have been theorised) are the mechanisms for this accumulation. Continue reading

Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist

by Keith Preston

Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist

Over the last few days, there’s been an interesting discussion going on over at the blog of left-libertarian philosopher Charles Johnson (also known as “Rad Geek“). I’ve avoided posting there, due to the presence of an individual who has declared themself my mortal enemy (a role I’m happy to assume), but the subject matter of the discussion provides a very good illustration of why any sort of libertarian philosophy that demands a rigid universalism cannot work in practice. Continue reading

Basic Income’s Role in a Traditional Society

The idea of basic income is that work is not the centre of one’s life. While laziness is not meant to be encouraged, there is a tacit recognition that under an unconditional system it may well be, leading to a potential system where the productive are subsidising those who choose to be unproductive. While problematic under most understandings of political philosophy, this precedent is particularly problematic in the concept of a traditional society (that shaped by Burke’s little platoons of local and parochial institutions). Without a work obligation, one is receiving a right without reciprocating with duties. They’re receiving something for nothing. Continue reading

‘Pure’ Capitalism is Pure Fantasy

by Richard Wolff

libcom.org/library/pure-capitalism-pure-fantasy-richard-wolff

As the global economic meltdown drags most of us through its sixth year, one kind of explanation is heard often and from several sides, including the libertarian right. The crisis since 2007, we are told, is not capitalism’s fault or flaw. That is because capitalism is not the system we now have; it is not the systemic problem the world now faces. If only we could ‘get back to’ something like ‘pure’ capitalism, our economic woes would disappear. Proponents envision ‘pure ‘or ‘real’ capitalism as a world of perfect competition among enterprises who are all market price takers (none has the power or size to shape markets), where no advertising enables producers to shape the desires of consumers, where all workers bargain individually for their wages, and so on. It is the capitalism of the introductory economics textbook, the one that seamlessly delivers efficiency, prosperity, and optimal growth. Continue reading

On Being a Little Englander

I think this is relatively intelligent way of viewing international conflicts when ignorant of on-the-ground facts. Taking this position at the very least means moving away from the simplistic good-bad dichotomies that both naive pacificts and stupid neoconservatives hold.


by Chris Dillow

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2016/10/on-being-a-little-englander.html Continue reading

Thoughts on Libertarian-Distributism

by Tormod’s Blog

https://tormodsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/thoughts-on-libertarian-distributism/

Not long ago, I came across a blog post by Keir Martland that I think deserves careful consideration. The article, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Proletariat,” points out that libertarians tend to have a blind spot when it comes to cultural and social concerns. He urges his fellow libertarians not to forget that issues of this kind exist and that they are not inconsequential. In asserting that some means of addressing such questions within libertarian parameters must be found, he calls our attention to the work of the Catholic Distrubutists, who have much to say on these matters. Martland observes that many of their insights are compatible with libertarianism and advocates that these be incorporated into libertarian discourse. If that were to happen, I believe it would be to the substantial benefit of our cause. Continue reading