For some reason, people have a mental block regarding the Labor Theory of Value. I've received more hate mail for that post than any other. I should have called it "The Free Market Labor Arbitrage Process". Viewed this way, it's a free market concept and not a communist concept.
In a free market, labor is usually the largest cost of manufacturing something.
If labor is underpaid (relative to its fair value), then workers will form competing businesses, arbitraging away the difference.
If labor is overpaid (relative to its fair value), then new workers will enter the industry, again arbitraging away the difference.
Capital is entitled to its fair return. The fair return is the free market interest rate plus a risk premium.
In the present, State restrictions of the market prevent this arbitrage from occurring. Either there are State restrictions preventing people from starting new businesses, or there are State licensing requirements preventing people from entering an industry. For example, I can't say "Lawyers are overpaid! I'll go work as a lawyer!" I can't work as a lawyer unless I have a State lawyer license. I can't easily start my own company, because raising capital is hard due to the Federal Reserve credit monopoly.
Here's a sample calculation. Suppose a worker produces 1 unit per hour, using equipment provided by his employer. The unit sells for 3 ounces of silver. The worker is paid 2 ounces of silver per hour. The employer makes a profit of 1 ounce of silver per hour. Assume 2000 hours worked per year. This is a profit of 2000 ounces of silver per year for the employer. The fair free market interest rate is 2% per year. What is the value of the employer's equipment?
The value of the equipment is 50x the profit. In other words, the equipment is worth 100,000 ounces of silver. If it was worth less than that, it would pay for the worker to raise capital (paying 2%) and start his own business. If it was worth more than that, then the employer should sell his equipment and invest the proceeds elsewhere (earning 2%).
In the present, this arbitrage does not occur, due to State restrictions of the market. The Fed Funds Rate is an artificially negative rate. Only insiders may borrow at a preferred rate. A small business owner must suffer the burden of regulation compliance. A small business owner must pay taxes, and the proceeds of those taxes subsidize his large corporate competitors.
This is the way I understand the Labor Theory of Value, although this isn't the common definition. I should call this by a different name, "The Free Market Labor Arbitrage Process".
You'll never have absolutely perfect competition. Skilled workers will always earn more than unskilled workers. Skilled workers will enter fields with the greatest disparity between price and cost.
The problem is State distortion of the market. In a free market, the trend is for interest rates and return on capital to converge. If returns on capital exceed interest rates, then workers will borrow and start new businesses. In the present, the power of the Federal Reserve credit monopoly and State restrictions of the market is greater than the power of workers to arbitrage away the difference.
You can't cite historic examples of free markets. There aren't any.
You can add the cost of raw materials to the above calculation. I'll leave it to you as an exercise.
It isn't clear how big the gap has to be before workers profitably exploit it. I don't know whether the "edge" required to start a business in a free market is 1%, 2%, or 5%. Right now, the "edge" for starting an agorist business is over 50%, which is the direct savings you get when you avoid taxes. If you include the benefit of avoiding restrictive regulations, then the edge is even higher.
You should reduce the edge by the risk of a State raid. If you're careful, the reward exceeds the risk. The cost of State restrictions is *SO HIGH* that the edge is huge. Suppose I have a legal on-the-books business with profits of $50k. The State demands I keep records and do proper accounting. This is a cost of $2500-$5000, or I must do it myself. Even if my accountant makes a mistake, I am still personally liable for his error. The cost of compliance with accounting regulations costs me a further 5%-10%. If have an agorist business, I don't need compliance with accounting rules; I can merely track my unit profit and approximate units sold.
For example, suppose an agorist risks a 5% chance of 2 years in jail, but makes a profit of 50%. In this case, over 20 years, you'll get caught once. In the remaining 18 years, your productivity is doubled. Therefore, your agorist activity was profitable. If you include the possibility of insuring your risk or dodging conviction via a sui juris "jury nullifcation" defense, then the risk is even more favorable. The State attempts to disrupt this equation with ridiculously high penalties for tax evasion.
In the present, the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates artificially low. This guarantees that capital and tangible assets will always outperform cash/bond investments.
In a free market, the trend is for interest rates and return on capital to converge. If the disparity is too great, then workers will borrow and start new businesses. In a free market, the trends is for workers' salaries to be proportional to the true economic value of their work. If it were different, then workers would enter/leave that industry or start/close businesses. In the present, this arbitrage does not occur, due to the huge State distortion of the credit market and market in general.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
For some reason, people have a mental block regarding the Labor Theory of Value. I've received more hate mail for that post than any other. I should have called it "The Free Market Labor Arbitrage Process". Viewed this way, it's a free market concept and not a communist concept.
Friday, November 28, 2008
TLP has left a new comment on your post "The Federal Reserve Caused the Great Depression":
What would low interest rates signify in a true free market?
In a true free market, interest rates signify what businesses are worth an investment.
Suppose the free market interest rate is 2%. I predict I can earn a 4% rate of return on my business. Therefore, it pays for me to borrow at 2% and invest in my business yielding 4%. Of course, I should include a margin of error in my calculation.
Suppose the free market interest rate is 6%. I predict I can earn a 4% rate of return on my business. Therefore, it does not pay for me to invest in that business. I'm better off doing something else.
Current prices represent the value of goods in the present.
Interest rates represent the value of future work. Interest rates are a price signal that indicates "This is worth an investment".
When the State tampers with fiat money by printing it, it tampers with present prices. People can't make rational decisions about what work to perform right now.
When the State tampers with interest rates, it is tampering with future prices. People can't make rational decisions about what work to perform in the future.
In a true free market, "return on capital" and "interest rates" converge over time. If they diverge, people borrow and start new businesses. The lower the spread between "return on capital" and "interest rates", the more efficient the market.
In the present, the Federal Reserve literally has an infinite budget. It can set interest rates at any arbitrary level, at no economic cost to insiders.
This sends the false signal about what investments are profitable. Suppose that, during the boom, an investment is expected to yield 10% while interest rates are 2%, an artificially low rate. Therefore, you borrow and invest. This causes an asset bubble. When the bubble pops, prices crash. That investment that seemed profitable is not profitable during the bust.
When the State tampers with interest rates, it prevents people from making rational economic decisions about what businesses are worth starting. Large corporations are shielded from competition and are "too big to fail". When they make mistakes, they qualify for a bailout (FRE, FNM, Bear Stearns and JP Morgan Chase). When individuals make mistakes due to false price signals, they lose their home or their business.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
TLP has left a new comment on your post "The Federal Reserve Caused the Great Depression":
How does the Federal Reserve cause a depression?
This is the essence of the Compound Interest Paradox. I'll repeat it again.
With debt-based money, the supply of money is always less than all outstanding loans. In the present, suppose the M2 money supply is $10T and the total outstanding debt is $60T. (I'm using round numbers.)
With interest rates at 2%, people will take out a certain amount of loans. This keeps the money supply up.
Suppose the Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates to 10% or 20% or more. Then, people would stop taking out loans.
Suppose that $5T of loans were repaid, and no new loans were issued. Now, the M2 money supply would be $5T and total outstanding debt would be $55T. Prices would crash in half, but the effect of money supply inflation/deflation is not uniform. Some debtors would have a hard time raising money to repay their loans.
In the Great Depression, some sources indicate the the Federal Reserve crashed the money supply by 50% or even 66%. People had loaded up on debt in the 1920s boom, to expand their businesses and take advantage of the boom. During the crash, they lost their farms, their businesses, and their homes. They were unable to repay their loans.
With fiat debt-based money, the Federal Reserve has the power to create recessions at will.
By the rules of the monetary system, boom/bust cycles are inevitable. If the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates low, then there will be an extended inflationary boom. When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to stop inflation, there is a crash.
In the 1920s, the Federal Reserve insiders knew that their purpose was to loot and pillage the American people. (Some off-the-record comments indicate this.) In the present, I don't know if the Federal Reserve insiders believe their own propaganda, or if they're consciously aware of the scam.
For this reason, someone who plays by the rules of a corrupt system cannot accomplish good. No matter what Ben Bernanke does, he is stuck. If he keeps interest rates low, there will be massive inflation to bail out banks. A lot of wealth will be transferred from the productive sector of the economy to the parasite sector via inflation. If Ben Bernanke jacks up interest rates to stop inflation, then large banks will go bankrupt, and the entire monetary system will unravel. If FRE and FNM and other banks are not bailed out, then there will be a huge economic crisis.
By jacking up interest rates, the Federal Reserve crashes the money supply, causing recessions and depressions. Inflating the money supply to bail out banks is also damaging, because that transfers wealth from the productive sector of the economy to the parasite sector.
Financial industry insiders benefit on each leg of the boom/bust cycle. During the boom, they borrow and load up on assets. During the bust, they don't have to "mark to market" their holdings. During the recession, large banks may stay in business even though they're technically bankrupt, due to "Level 3 Assets" and other accounting tricks. Individuals lose their homes and businesses, but the insiders always profit.
Ben Bernanke is literally playing the no-win game. (Just like in "Wrath of Khan". Fnord!) The only way to win the no-win game is to cheat and break the rules. Ben Bernanke doesn't have the intellectual capacity to do this, but fortunately other people do.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
A very interesting incident occurred at my new job.
I like writing about lots of different things. As usual, don't use the Strawman Fallacy to discredit me if you don't like this post. You should evaluate each idea independently.
I'm pretty sure I have "Asperger's syndrome" or "high functioning autism". There was another girl in another division of the company who seemed to also have "high functioning autism".
I said hello to her in the hallway. The first time I saw her, she was friendly. She told me approximately where her desk was. Eager to see her again, I went over to say hello. She seemed friendly. She was in a different division of the company, so there shouldn't have been any issues with me being friends or even more. I asked her if she wanted to meet for lunch one day.
The next day, I asked her what time she wanted to meet. She said she didn't want to meet. She said she was too busy. She also warned me that something horrible would happen if I came over to talk to her. She said that people can never have more than fleeting moments of intimacy, and true friendship is impossible. That's obviously an insane attitude. Her body language was clear that she was happy to see me.
She had the same disability as me, so I figured I should be persistent.
Since I was receiving contradictory feedback, I figured it's acceptable for me to ignore her verbal request to leave, because her nonverbal feedback was different. I argued with her over her attitude for a minute or two, and then she had to go back to work.
I decided to be persistent and keep trying. Normally, I would have given up, but I decided to try the opposite of my normal pro-State brainwashed strategy and be persistent. In the worst case, I would get fired and find a new job. Finding a new job is easier than finding a good girlfriend, so I'm willing to risk losing the job. It's a straightforward calculation.
One time, her boss was there. Since she was nice, naturally her boss was really abusive and evil. Her boss overheard that she had verbally asked me to leave. I pointed out that her body language didn't match what she was saying verbally. The evil bitch screamed "**THIS IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT!!**" and marched away in a huff to file a complaint with the HR department.
My coworkers all liked me. Obviously, such a complaint would seem frivolous.
It appears that the sexual harassment laws are *DESIGNED* to keep two intelligent people from getting together. The evil person abused the "due process" to file a frivolous complaint against me.
I then was called into a phone meeting with my boss, who's a decent guy, and someone from the HR department. The HR woman was also nearly pure evil. She said "We received a sexual harassment complaint. The names of 10 people were listed on the complaint. We won't tell you who did it. We find you guilty and demand you leave." She pretended to be interested in hearing my side of the story, but she had obviously already concluded that I was good and therefore deserved to be punished.
It was obvious to me that the evil boss had filed a false complaint. Either she fabricated other people's name on the complaint, or bullied them into signing off. The HR woman was also obviously a parasite. Nothing unites parasites in cooperation like an honest person!
The evil boss and evil HR woman were acting as if it would be the end of the world if I got together with that girl, who obviously had the same type of problem as me.
If the HR department ultimately rules against me and fires me, then all my coworkers, who know that I'm a decent guy, would simultaneously have a complete mental breakdown. This would make the Matrix obvious to everyone, and it would literally be the end of the universe.
Currently, the Matrix is now rocking in the vincinity of my current/former? job. Rather than risk ending the scam, the parasites will allow me a tiny victory so they can continue torturing everyone else.
Therefore, to prevent the universe from ending, the complaint must be resolved in favor of me. In the battle of good vs. absolute perfect evil, good sometimes scores some points. Actually, most of good's points so far were technically own goals by an incompetent absolute perfect evil.
For those of you who refer to the "collapse of the State" as "the collapse of the defective Matrix of reality itself", I believe the State has collapsed for me. I should be able to survive.
** I DECIDED TO TAKE DOWN MY ADDRESS **
Can you send someone over to help?
I finally figured out that "Free State Project" refers to *THE* State and not merely government.
Thanks for all the fnords! I've been having some ideas for placing more of my own.
Posted by FSK at 10:11 AM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I looked at the Free State Project (FSP) forum. It wasn't very interesting. There are more correct free market thinkers on mises.org than on the free state project.
The Free State Project appears to actually be a bunch of pro-State trolls. They still have the fantasy that government can magically be reformed by voting. By moving to the same area in a sparsely populated area, they hope to vote for a less intrusive government.
Most people on the Free State Project fall short of the correct conclusion, which is "Who needs a government?" When they change their name to the "No State Project", then I might take them seriously.
"Free" and "State" are opposite words. The "Free State Project" is like the "Vegetarian Slaugherhouse Worker's Association" or the "Anarchist and Statist Association".
If you want to convince me to move to an area for greater freedom, you need to offer me:
- No income taxes.
- No property taxes.
- No taxes at all.
- No enforcement of "victimless crimes".
- A credible plan for protecting yourself from terrorists who want to enforce any of the above.
Unless the "Free State Project" changes its agenda to the "No State Project", then I'm not interested.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I was talking with a guy at work. I tried explaining "Taxation is theft!", "The USA has an unfair monetary system!" and "Who needs a government anyway?" He responded with the usual pro-State troll arguments.
It was hilarious. He thought he had made a logical refutation of my points, but he was obviously spouting incoherent gibberish.
Then, I asked him "Suppose the move 'The Matrix' were nonfiction. Would you take the blue pill or the red pill?" He responded that he would obviously take the red pill. I pointed out that he was lying, but he didn't get it.
If you want to see The Matrix, just ask your statist friends and relatives about "Taxation is theft!", "The USA has an unfair monetary system!" or "Who needs a government anyway?"
Whenever someone starts seeing The Matrix, the shock leads to a panic attack. You then are involuntarily hospitalized with a mental illness and given drugs that dull your senses. By labeling sane behavior as insane, a world where everyone is insane becomes an unstable fixed point.
The antipsychotic drugs are literally blue pills. Abilify 5mg is literally a blue pill!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The opposite of a Boston Red Sox fan is not a Yankees fan; they have more similarities than differences. The opposite of a Boston Red Sox fan is someone who is not interested in baseball at all.
Similarly, the opposite of a Republican is not a Democrat. Both Republicans and Democrats believe "Taxation is not theft." and "There should be small group of people that tell everyone else what to do." The opposite of a Republican is an anarchist/agorist.
This is a common evil fnord. Two similar ideas are falsely touted as opposites. This allows people disgusted with one idea to flee to the false opposite.
As another example, the opposite of "The Federal Reserve should raise interest rates." is not "The Federal Reserve should lower interest rates." The correct opposite is "There should not be a central bank."
Debating false opposites allows true discourse to be suppressed.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I see a lot of websites debunking the arguments for "the income tax is illegal!" The Supreme Court has ruled that all legal arguments against the income tax are invalid. Due to stare decisis, once the Supreme Court makes such a decision it cannot be questioned. (Stare decisis says that once the Supreme Court makes a ruling, it cannot normally be questioned or reversed. The Supreme Court usually makes rulings that increase State power, due to the obvious conflict of interest. Once the Supreme Court makes a ruling that erodes individual freedom, then that ruling has full force of law and is permanently irreversible. In theory, refusing to review past decisions saves time. In practice, stare decisis means that bad precedents cannot be questioned and are almost impossible to overturn. Over time, stare decisis leads to decay of the legal system, because bad practices become institutionalized and legitimized.)
For example, the Supreme Court ruled that the 16th amendment was properly declared ratified, and no court may now consider otherwise. Legally, that issue is considered settled and is not subject to further debate, even if the Supreme Court made a mistake. Most of these "tax resister debunking" websites list a whole bunch of Supreme Court decisions that say the income tax is proper. They also cite a whole bunch of Supreme Court decisions that say that defendants are barred from making "jury nullification" arguments or an appeal to natural law or common law. I saw one tax resister debunker website explaining how wise the Supreme Court was for making sure that jury nullification is never mentioned in courtrooms. If you circulate jury nullification pamphlets outside a courthouse, that is also considered to be a crime.
The President and Congress accept a corrupt taxation system, because that maximizes their own personal power and influence. Similarly, the Supreme Court was corrupted. The same insiders that pick the President and Congress pick Supreme Court justices. Unless you're a thoroughly brainwashed pro-State troll, you won't be chosen as a Federal judge.
If you make an argument saying "the income tax is illegal" in court, you will be found in contempt of court. You're subject to an automatic statutory fine if you make such an argument in court, because they're considered frivolous. If you're represented in court by a lawyer, he can't make such an argument, because he'd lose his law license. If you're representing yourself, I don't see how the judge or prosecutor can prevent you from explaining your viewpoint to the jury. Even if the judge arrests you for contempt, you're going to jail anyway if you're convicted. You shouldn't let a biased judge prevent you from speaking at your own trial. A judge can't hold you indefinitely for contempt of court; after awhile, it seems silly. Is the judge going to bar you from speaking at your own trial? If the judge or prosecutor interrupt you, that makes the trial seem biased against you, and creates sympathy with the jury.
I'm not sure if such statutory fines apply only to people suing the IRS for return of taxes withheld, or also to people defending themselves in a tax evasion trial. For the former, you're taking an aggressive move against the IRS. For the latter, you're merely defending yourself from aggression. If I earn income that is automatically reported to the IRS, I accept the futility of that struggle and pay the tax. The key is to generate wealth that is not automatically reported to the bad guys for taxation and confiscation.
I researched this a bit. The tax law is really incredibly complicated. If something is really incredibly complicated, that's a sure sign that some funny business is occurring. Lawyers made the law complicated on purpose, so the average person needs to hire a lawyer to defend themselves in court. The tax law is incredibly complicated, so that the inherent contradictions are obfuscated.
All the arguments in favor of the legality of the income tax boil down to one point. The argument in favor of the income tax is "It's legal because I said so. I control more guns than you, so if you don't like it that's too bad."
Arguing the legality of the income tax is missing the key point. If you make a legal argument, you're fighting the bad guys on their turf. Who wrote the laws and tax code? It was written by lawyers and bureaucrats. Of course they're going to make it incomprehensible and in their eyes airtight. When the judge tells the jury "You must accept the law as I state it", then the jury has no choice, because the law really is incomprehensible. The jury must rely on the judge's summary, because they cannot read the law themselves.
Lawyers and judges are like a crazy religious cult. It's like that story of Richard Feynman trying to point out to rabbis the inherent contradictions of their faith. For example, it's bad for a Jewish person to press elevator buttons on the sabbath, but it's acceptable to hire a non-Jew to push buttons for you. The rabbis have thought of every possible loophole and come up with a convincing excuse. The excuse doesn't have to convince a non-Jew; the excuse merely needs to convince a rabbi or Jew.
Similarly, lawyers and judges have thought of every possible loophole for why the income tax is legal. Just like a rabbi who can't see the inconsistencies of Judaism, lawyers and judges can't see the inconsistencies of their religious cult. Such brainwashing tricks are sufficient if they convince lawyers and judges. It's irrelevant if the average person is fooled. Besides, the average person won't question a lawyer, judge, bureaucrat, politician, or journalist who speaks in an authoritative-sounding voice using big fancy words. (My parents once complained that I didn't get my money's worth for my education, because I don't use big words when I talk. It isn't hard to obfuscate things. Explaining things clearly is the real challenge.)
Trying to convince a judge that the income tax is illegal is like trying to convince a rabbi that it's acceptable to eat pork if you cook it properly. You can't do it, because you can't overcome their brainwashing. That isn't a perfect analogy. A rabbi is free to not eat pork if he chooses, as long as he doesn't prevent me from eating pork. A judge will use violence to force me to pay income taxes, even if I don't agree with his crazy religious cult.
Based on what I read, the legality or illegality of the income tax is not proven either way. If you read laws and the Constitution, there are obvious contradictions. The contradictions are addressed in the same manner that allows a rabbi to hire someone else to push elevator buttons for him on Saturday. The contradictions aren't really addressed, but plausible-sounding explanations are given. If you're an expert at pretending to think, then those arguments are convincing.
The people who control the most guns say that the income tax is legal, and that's the only convincing argument. Nothing is more persuasive than the barrel of a gun.
The tax protesters and tax protester debunkers are missing the key point. The income tax is immoral. The actual legality of the income tax is irrelevant. If a law is stupid, then people have the right and obligation to ignore it. Civil disobedience is the only way that stupid laws are eliminated. In the case of the income tax, large-scale civil disobedience would lead to the complete collapse of the current economic and political system. If agorists do a good job, then this collapse will be mostly nonviolent. At this point, the collapse is a historic inevitability. The only question is how violent or nonviolent the collapse will be.
How much risk is an agorist really taking? I don't know. If I pursue blatant-in-public agorism, then I'm a tempting target. If I'm a good public speaker, then maybe I could convince a jury to acquit me, even if the judge is biased against me. If I'm the victim in a trial and get acquitted, then that could be good publicity. The bad guys may not choose to make an example of me, if they think I'd be acquitted in a high-profile trial. Even going to jail might be good publicity, if it's only for a few years. Of course, there's plenty of ways to kill someone and make it look like an accident.
An agorist would probably be accused with something like 100 counts of tax evasion, making it effectively a life sentence if convicted. Do juries understand that when they convict someone of multiple counts of a minor crime, they're effectively giving a huge sentence? Usually, sentencing information is withheld from juries. I've heard cases where jurors said "I would have acquitted if I knew the defendant would go to jail for so long." Prosecutors usually explain the maximum sentence before the trial, so that the defendant can be bullied into plea bargaining. I'd tell the jury what the maximum sentence is, even if the judge objects.
For example, "failure to report income" or "failure to withhold taxes" is a single crime with a penalty of a few years in jail. If you do it several years in a row, or if you have multiple trading partners, then you might be faced with multiple criminal charges for doing the exact same thing. This makes the effective penalty for tax evasion a lot bigger than what the law says. The person who wrote the law might have figured "2 years in jail for tax evasion is no big deal", but didn't realize that people would be getting convicted of 30-100 counts of tax evasion all at once. This also is an incentive to plea bargain, because 2 years in jail is preferable to a life sentence.
I don't know if anyone has ever successfully made the correct argument in court, which is "The income tax is immoral." The details of legality or Constitutionality are irrelevant. A judge would probably bar you from making a morality argument in court, because that is essentially a "jury nullification" argument. In a criminal trial, the prosecutor shouldn't just have the burden of proving the facts. The prosecutor should also have the burden of proving that the law is a good law. For individual murder and individual theft, almost everyone agrees on the morality of the law. For victimless crimes like possession of marijuana, prostitution, or tax evasion, the law is immoral.
If you're the victim in a tax resistance trial, your target audience is the jury. The judge and prosecutor will be biased against you, so it's pointless to appeal to them with logic. For this reason, I advocate a sui juris defense for agorists. This way, you may develop a personal connection with the jury, so you can get acquitted. If the jury just sees you sitting there and a lawyer doing the speaking for you, then the jury may not be personally sympathetic towards you. This only works if you're a good public speaker.
You need one vote out of 12 to secure a hung jury. However, then the bad guys get a mulligan and may have a new trial. You really need 12 out of 12 votes to acquit. Biased jury selection procedures make it very unlikely that 12 sensible people will make it onto the jury. Several State employees will normally be on the jury, and they will be biased in favor of the prosecution. State employees are dependent on taxes/theft to pay their own salary! Also remember that an agorist can be prosecuted in multiple jurisdictions. You may be prosecuted for Federal tax evasion and then state tax evasion, for the exact same activity.
The defendant in a criminal case should be allowed to argue that the law being enforced is immoral. A corrupt judge and legal system rule otherwise. For this reason, an agorist in a tax resistance criminal trial should represent themselves. If you use a lawyer, then the lawyer can't present a controversial defense, lest he lose his law license. A lawyer won't risk his career to defend you properly.
There's another important point to remember regarding criminal penalties for tax evasion. If the goal is to collect unpaid taxes, then a civil lawsuit can be filed. It's pointless to send an otherwise productive person to jail. The purpose of criminal charges for tax evasion is punishment and terrorism.
If I were the victim in a tax resistance trial, I would make certain to point out to the jury that a civil trial can be pursued to collect unpaid taxes. I would argue "Do I really deserve to go to jail for working?" I would point out how working off-the-books helps me keep my costs down and provide lower prices to my customers. All my customers were voluntarily trading with me, so how can you argue that I injured anyone? Criminal penalties are excessive, unnecessary, and overly punitive.
The correct argument against the income tax is that the income tax is immoral.
The income tax is immoral because it literally prevents people from working. If you want to discourage people from smoking, you put a tax on cigarettes. If you want to discourage people from drinking, you put a tax on alcohol. If you want to discourage people from driving, you put a tax on gasoline. Similarly, a tax on labor discourages people from working. Useful work is accomplished in spite of huge restrictions, because people need to work to survive.
Federal Reserve Points must be presented to the State in exchange for permission to work. The Federal Reserve can cause recessions by raising interest rates and crashing the money supply. As less money is circulating, people no longer have sufficient permission to work, and people lose their jobs. The Federal Reserve can cause booms by cutting interest rates. With more money circulating, there are more work permission receipts, and therefore more jobs. The people who print and spend the new money may cheaply hire the workers displaced in the last recession.
The income tax prevents people from boycotting the Federal Reserve and using sound money instead. If you use gold or silver as money, and do it completely legally, then you pay more in taxes than if you use Federal Reserve Points legally. Operating a gold or silver warehouse receipt bank is illegal, or impractical if you follow all the taxes and regulations.
The Federal Reserve and income tax cause huge distortions of the market. The proceeds of taxation/theft are used for corporate welfare and enforcing regulations that crush small businesses. The State can't "manage the economy". That's literally communism! The State is entirely responsible for declining real wages and a declining standard of living. A freedom activist can't accomplish good by working harder legally. For every $1 I earn, the State also gets $1 or more! If I legally work harder, that just increases the resources available to the bad guys! (There's the Federal income tax rate of 25%, plus 15% for Social Security and Medicare, plus local taxes (state income tax, sales tax, property taxes), plus the inflation tax.)
Paying taxes is immoral, because the proceeds of taxation are used to hurt other people. If you voluntarily pay taxes, then you're as much a war criminal as the President or soldier who participates in an illegitimate war. If you voluntarily pay taxes, then you're paying for terrorism; enforcement of laws regarding "victimless crimes" are a form of terrorism. If you voluntarily pay taxes, then you're paying for corporate welfare and the enforcement of regulations that crush small businesses. If you voluntarily pay taxes, you're supporting the Federal Reserve and a corrupt monetary system.
Almost all State actions are harmful. Even superficially beneficial welfare programs are bad, because the terms of welfare typically enslave the recipients. For example, welfare recipients lose their benefit if they find a job; this means that welfare recipients have a huge marginal tax rate, maybe more than 100%. More is typically spent on salaries for welfare bureaucrats than on benefits for people. Once you realize that all State actions are wasteful or destructive, then you can't morally support any form of government at all.
Suppose there were a free market with no welfare programs. In that case, a single mother might be able to find a decent job for 20-30 hours per week and spend the rest of her time with her children. In the present, it's more attractive to go on welfare than accept a minimum wage job. Further, welfare laws and child support laws encourage irresponsible behavior. If a woman knows that the State will take care of her child or force someone else to pay, then there is no incentive for her to select a responsible partner.
The IRS says that all work is subject to taxation. The only way that such a law could be fairly enforced is if the State spies on what everyone is doing all the time. Suppose you go into a store and purchase a pizza with cash. How do you know the pizza store owner is reporting all his sales? Food service has thin profit margins. If the store owner underreports sales by 5%-10%, then most of his profits will be tax-free, and it won't look suspicious. If a law can only be fairly enforced by spying on everyone all the time, then it's obviously a bad law.
The "tax protester" websites and "tax protester debunker" websites are almost all missing the key point. The income tax is immoral. The legal or Constitutional argument is irrelevant. If you make a legal argument, you're fighting the bad guys on their turf.
Sometimes, I wonder if the "tax protester" websites are really sponsored by the bad guys. If you focus on legal technicalities, you're missing the true point. By focusing on the legal argument and not the moral argument, the "tax protester" websites distract people from the true issue.
It's pointless debating the bad guys or appealing to their sense of fairness or morality. It's time to stop supporting an illegitimate economic and political system. Agorism is the best resistance strategy that I've seen, although I haven't personally started implementing it yet.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Depressed people can more accurately measure reality than "normal" people. What if the reverse is true? If you're better at sensing reality, then you become depressed?
Also, such scientific studies are usually blown out of proportion. They were writing about a single carefully-controlled experiment. From that, you cannot generalize to all possible circumstances.
Further, the experiment did not indicate if the depressed people were taking antidepressants or not. Taking antidepressants dulls your senses.
Also, there's a feedback cycle. If you're unhappy, you try to figure out what's going on. As you figure out what's going on, the realization is depressing.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. "Grand Theft Auto" is a better management training exercise than most simulations produced as serious businesses.
He also said that he'd like to see more remakes of classic games. A sequel to a game is usually completely different, and often sucks. It would be better to take the original game, update the sound and graphics, make minor enhancements, and add new levels.
The problem is that the team of programmers making the sequel is usually different than the team that made the original. For many older games, it isn't worth the hassle of getting the naming rights.
If I wanted to do a "Donkey Kong" remake, I'd be better off using different characters. I couldn't get Nintendo to give me the right to use the characters. I don't consider trademarks to be a valid form of property. Intellectual property is not property.
I liked this YouTube video, via this post on mises.org. It's a humorous take on the financial industry by British comedians. The video is over a year old, and I remember citing it before.
This article, via Hacker News, is old but still worth reading. Cthulu for President! Why vote for a lesser evil?
Somewhere, I read that Lovecraft's characters are in the public domain, allowing for derivative works.
For example, I could not make a "Mickey Mouse for President!" poster without being sued by Disney.
I really liked this article. The author was skeptical of the housing boom, even though everyone was advising him to buy. Instead, he bought some gold coins and made out very well. Good for him!
I liked this post, via Hacker News. Unemployment rate and graduate school admission rates are highly correlated.
There was this article cited in the comments. If you graduate from college during a recession, your lifetime earnings are less than if you graduate during a boom. You lag behind your peers for your entire career.
That actually makes sense, given the fact that the USA does not have a free market. During a boom, it's easier to get valuable work experience. During the next boom, you'd rather hire someone with 5 years experience including the last boom, rather than someone with 2 years of experience in some lousy job. During the .com boom, anybody could have gotten a job as a web developer. Now, employers demand 5+ years experience as a web developer, which means you had to have been working as a web developer during the last boom.
I liked this article on ArsTechnica, via Hacker News. Someone discovered that the Chinese government was logging all Skype traffic that included certain keywords. The servers that did the monitoring were not securely configured.
In China, censorship is so strict that it leads to self-censorship. Writers are paid a salary directly by the government. If you write something that offends the authorities, you lose your job and are unable to ever find a new job. This leads to overzealous self-censorship.
Ironically, nearly the same process leads to self-censorship in the USA. A mainstream journalist will never publish an article on "The Federal Reserve is immoral!" or "The income tax is immoral!" Any journalist who started writing articles on those subjects would find himself unemployed. The mainstream media corporations are controlled by a small handful of people, which leads to censorship more efficient than State imposed censorship.
This post on Blagnet was amusing. The author says that reading my blog is a better use of time than watching the vice-presidential debate.
Watching political candidates debate has negative value. It provides the illusion that the political system is fair. (I watched some clips of Ron Paul at a debate, where he criticized the Federal Reserve and income tax. Those were interesting.)
This post had an interesting point about JP Morgan Chase's purchase of Washington Mutual. JP Morgan Chase only bought the bank operations, and not the entire company. The employee pension plan was not purchased by JP Morgan Chase. That was left in the shell in bankruptcy court. The workers are SOL.
Also, the bailout/purchase of Washington Mutual was sponsored by the FDIC. JP Morgan Chase made a payment to the FDIC, and the FDIC agreed to cover losses on Washington Mutual's loan portfolio. I'm not sure of the exact details, but if the losses on Washington Mutual's loan portfolio are more than approximately $2 billion, then the FDIC will assume the loss and not JP Morgan Chase.
This was a sweetheart deal exactly like the bailout of Bear Stearns.
I liked this post on the Cato institute, via Hacker News. The Federal Reserve reports "new bank loans each week". There was no sharp decline in new bank loans, despite the urgent cry for a banking bailout. Does this mean the banking bailout was entirely a fabricated crisis?
Even with no explicit Federal banking bailout, the Federal Reserve may bail out banks by inflating the money supply.
I liked this article, via Hacker News, on how to demotivate a good programmer. Occasionally, a manager is burdened with a really good programmer who makes the rest of the team look poorly in comparison. The optimal solution is to fire the good programmer, or make him disgusted so he quits.
The actual tactics in the article were amateurish. My Idiot Manger Tactics post was better. If you want to fire someone who doesn't deserve it, just tell them they're doing a good job while telling your boss they're an incompetent fool. By the time the poor schmuck figures out what's going on, it'll be too late.
I liked this post on "Free Electrons". A "Free Electron" is a programmer who will be super-productive in the right circumstances.
I liked this article, via Hacker News, on Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Most bankers and professional traders underestimate the risk of rare huge losses. These are the "black swan" events.
The point Nassim Nicholas Taleb misses is that the economic system is not a free market. In a severe recession, a large bank always gets a bailout indirectly from the Federal Reserve or directly from the Federal government. Therefore, there is no incentive for large banks to properly account for huge rare risks. If you're "too big to fail", then why bother planning for rare huge losses?
Even without a State bailout, the executives themselves are taking no risk. With limited liability incorporation, they have practically zero downside risk. If a "black swan" disaster occurs, then they merely declare bankruptcy and get a cushy new job at another large bank.
I liked his example of a "black swan". A turkey has a cushy lifestyle. He gets fed every day. Then, all of a sudden, he gets murdered before Thanksgiving. How could the turkey have forseen this?
If you're captive in a turkey farm or cubicle farm, disaster shouldn't be surprising.
Another article said that executives at large banks and large corporations pay themselves as if they're an entrepreneur who created a $1 billion company, while they're actually taking zero personal risk.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Humans aren't really able to multitask. They work on several tasks in serial, with fast context switches.
barry b has left a new comment on your post "The True Purpose of Trial by Jury":
I disagree with your point. The history of the jury is a long and important one. The jury exists as a checks and balances to bad laws.. as well as the opportunity to guarantee a fellow citizen justice. However I'll agree that an honest patriot wouldn't get selected. I believe in jury nullification. If your job as a juror is to only do what the judge or lawyers instruct you to "even if it goes against what you personally believe is moral or ethical" then why have a jury? Our courts have become a joke that are designed to do little more than guarantee the thickness of the lawyers wallets - at least with civil cases. The Pitt Bull is off the leash...
That article was a semi-sarcastic take on trial by jury. The real original purpose of trial by jury has been completely corrupted.
Once you have provisions for excluding jurors for flimsy reasons, such as "I understand jury nullification", that completely perverts the purpose of trial by jury.
That article had a serious error. You said you felt bad about huge "pain and suffering" damages. You're ignoring the proper role of punitive damages.
Going back to a previous example, suppose a construction company saves $1M by not following proper safety procedures. If there's an accident, it causes $20M in damage, and an accident occurs 1% of the time. Without punitive damages, it is optimal to not follow proper safety procedures. 99% of the time, the business saves $1M. 1% of the time, they pay out a claim for $20M. In order to make sure proper safety procedures are followed, punitive damages *MUST* be awarded in the case of an accident, if there's proof proper safety procedures were not followed. In this case, punitive damages must be more than $80M, to make sure that proper safety procedures are followed.
Without punitive damages, it would be cheaper to buy $200k in accident insurance, instead of following proper safety procedures.
The mainstream media falsely says "Huge punitive damage awards are immoral!" That is false and pro-State trolling. Punitive damage awards are needed to prevent flagrantly negligent behavior. Huge punitive damage awards are necessary when the negligent behavior only had a small chance of causing injury or getting caught.
Without the risk of huge punitive damage awards, why would anyone bother to take proper safety precautions?
I liked this article by Seth Goodin. To be successful, you should make steady progress over time. Most people say "I want to go viral right away and get 10M pageviews!"
I'm getting 10%-20% monthly traffic growth, which is decent but not super-awesome. My writing ability appears to be improving, just by the fact that I'm writing a lot.
If I can keep up 10%-20% monthly traffic growth for several years, that would be awesome.
In one sense, I don't have any real competition. There are only a handful of other bloggers that understand true free market economics. Regrettably, there are no great sources for reading about agorism.
Seth Goodin also says "Listen to your *REAL* customers." I don't consider pro-State trolls to be my customers.
I liked this post on out of step. The big Wall Street bailout is lending credibility to "crazy conspiracy theory fruitcakes".
I liked this, via Hacker News. Linus Torvalds has a blog now. He's using Blogger! Why not self-hosted WordPress?
This article about silver market manipulation cited my article on the Hunt Brothers' Silver Corner. (That post was written when the spot price of silver was $11/ounce.) According to Google Analytics, that article drove a lot of traffic to my blog!
The author tried to buy silver. The dealer said "I'll sell for $15/ounce, but I won't sell my inventory at current prices."
Many silver dealers have inventory they bought at $15/ounce or more. The current "official" spot price is $11/ounce. These dealers are unwilling to sell their inventory at $11/ounce, because they *KNOW* that due to inflation, silver will soon be going back up to $15/ounce or more. Plus, these dealers aren't able to buy themselves at the current "official" price.
Perversely, the official price of gold and silver is low, but nobody is willing to part with their inventory at current prices.
Someone could arbitrage this discrepancy. They could buy a gold or silver future and take physical delivery. The "official" price *SHOULD* match the actual market price.
However, you need $100k or more to open a futures trading contract, pay for delivery, and take delivery. A single trading unit for gold is 100 ounces, and 1000-5000 ounces for silver. Only a big dealer could afford to do this.
Low prices and no inventory is a symptom of stagflation/hyperinflation, or of market manipulation.
Most gold and silver buyers appear to be "buy and hold until after the State collapses" investors.
There is a shortage of American Eagle coins because only the US government may mint them. If you're willing to buy generic rounds or bars, you should be able to buy at the "official" price.
This article, via Hacker News, was amusing, although his recommended solution was wrong.
In an election, suppose candidate A is better than candidate B, in the sense that I would be $10,000 better off personally if candidate A wins. With 1M voters, the odds of me personally deciding the election are statistically negligible. My "expected value" for voting is less than $0.01.
His recommended solution is "Only allow a small random sample of people to vote. For these people, it would pay for them to spend time researching the issues." He falls short of the correct answer, which is "Who needs a monopolistic government?"
People always seem to write articles that say "The State sucks, but anarchy isn't a viable option. Hooray for government!"
This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Because the USA has a messed up culture and educational system, girls perform worse than boys in Mathematics.
In a culture that is completely and totally insane, it is impossible to distinguish between biological causes and cultural causes for differences in intelligence. 99% or more of the observed difference may be entirely cultural.
This article, via Hacker News, had some interesting bits.
If you want to publish a paper in economic theory, there is a safe approach: make a conceptually minor but mathematically difficult extension to some familiar model. Because the basic assumptions of the model are already familiar, people will not regard them as strange; because you have done something technically difficult, you will be respected for your demonstration of firepower. Unfortunately, you will not have added much to human knowledge.
Peer review, combined with State funding of science, prevent scientific progress. The above problem applies to *ALL* fields of science, and not just economics. If you're a professional scientist, you can't afford to risk your career doing "radical" things. If you do that, you'll offend your peers and never get past the peer review process. It's much better to do minor enhancements on generally accepted theories.
However, the author is a university economist and pro-State troll. I don't take any economists seriously unless they go around explicitly saying "Taxation is theft!", "Inflation is theft!", or "The USA has an unfair monetary system!" Anybody who considered such ideas would be roundly shouted down by their peers, because he'd be effectively saying "You're all frauds!"
In this manner, peer review plus State funding guarantees that most/all scientists are frauds. Once frauds dominate a field, good people are kept out.
This article, via Hacker News, says that the next version of Windows will be called "Windows 7". It reminded me of an old joke.
Windows NT stands for "Nice Try".
Windows CE stands for "Crappy Edition".
This article, via Hacker News, was disturbing. After lobbying by the entertainment industry, President Bush signed a much stricter anti-piracy law.
The word "piracy" is loaded. How come nobody ever refers to income tax piracy? Copying a song or movie is not the same as breaking into someone's house and stealing stuff.
Intellectual property laws are an excellent example of the evil power of the State.
This article, via Hacker News, was about Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is an abusive monopoly. Ticketmaster has entered into multiyear exclusive contracts with almost everyone in the entertainment industry.
Suppose I start the "FSK Rock Band". I decide to boycott Ticketmaster. I want to hold a concert in Arena XYZ. Arena XYZ has a multiyear exclusive licensing deal with Ticketmaster. Even if I want to boycott Ticketmaster, Arena XYZ has an exclusive deal.
If I want to avoid using Ticketmaster, I am forced to perform in smaller non-corporate venues that don't have an exclusive licensing deal with Ticketmaster. From the point of corporate management, signing a multiyear deal with Ticketmaster is the path of least resistance. The executives who sign the deal probably get kickbacks from Ticketmaster.
If I signed a multiyear exclusive licensing agreement with Ticketmaster, then I am SOL.
Good advice to *ANYONE* is "Never sign a multiyear exclusive agreement." If "at-will" employment is good enough for a software engineer, then it also should be good enough in other areas.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Many mainstream personal nutrition sources say "Fatty foods are bad for you." and "The sun is bad for you." According to that article, that is the exact opposite of correct advice. Fatty foods are important, especially for women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant. The sun is good for you, because it helps your body manufacture vitamin D and other beneficial things.
This article, via Hacker News, was from the Wall Street Journal about the history of banking. The article was interesting because it was exactly wrong. It said that Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were scum for opposing a central bank, and that Alexander Hamilton was a genius for starting one. Government regulation of banking is wonderful.
That article was interesting, because it was an excellent summary of anti-truth.
I saw an interesting comment on Hacker News. If you're running a 3-5 person startup, and you give yourself the title of "CEO", that indicates you have an ego problem. That reminds me of the Rails Advocate, who gave himself the title of "Executive Software Architect".
Whenever I see a job looking for "Software Architect" instead of "Software Engineer", I'm thinking "They want someone who can't write code and makes stupid design decisions." It seems that only someone clueless seeks the title of "Software Architect" instead of "Software Engineer" or "Programmer".
Some startup ads are outright insulting. "We're looking for some to write all the software. We will pay you in equity only, subject to 4 year vesting, of course." If I'm willing to work for free, why would I partner with you? I can just buy some webhosting myself and keep 100% ownership. My favorite startup disaster story is "My options/equity was subject to 4 year vesting with a 1 year cliff. I was fired after 11 months." If that happens, you are SOL.
Paradoxically, you're more likely to be screwed over if you do a brilliant job. Suppose you write great software in those 11 months and the company is now worth $50M+. The incentive is to fire you and cheat you out of your equity.
This thread on Hacker News was entirely missing the point. The author asks "How hard is it to start a stock market?" The primary difficulty is that industry is completely regulated. It would cost several million dollars or more to get approval for a State license. The established market players *LOVE* the fact that licensing is hard.
The second difficulty is users. The value of a market is proportional to the square of the number of users, because that's the number of potential matches between buyers and sellers.
The logistics of an actual market are trivial, if you have customers and you aren't harassed by the State.
I've been considering setting up a gold/silver/FRN barter network, as one of my agorist business ideas. It would be decentralized and completely off-the-books. As an off-the-books business, trust of my customers is #1 priority. They need to know they won't get cheated *AND* that they won't get ratted out to the State. A typical coin store has a bid/ask spread of 5% or more, due to the cost of regulation compliance. As an off-the-books business operating out of my apartment, and no State licensing fees, my overhead would be zero.
Customers would use my network because of lower bid/ask spreads and for privacy.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Excel 2007 has a very weird bug. If you calculate 850*77.1, you get 100,000. The error appears to be in the conversion between integer arithmetic (16 bits) and floating point. If you get an answer near 2^16, then the bug occurs.
It also linked to this article on how to efficiently multiply two large numbers. The algorithm you (hopefully) learned in school is O(n^2), but it's possible to do much better for very large numbers.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Find a number N where entering "N" in Google search yields exactly N results.
Of course, publishing your conclusion affects the answer!
I noticed a flaw. If there are *LOTS* of search results, then Google rounds off the answer.
A good heuristic to solve this is "Enter a number in Google search. Note the number of results and enter that for the next iteration."
I liked this article, via Hacker News. In Europe, 60+ years after WWII, unexploded bombs are still a serious problem.
This also applies in countries where there were minefields. Almost always, the people who lay the mines don't keep track of the exact locations.
According to Google Analytics, someone in this thread on kongregate.com was citing my blog. I couldn't find the specific reference.
The discussion was about the IRS and Federal Reserve. It's nice to see other people discussing them. However, the people were still barking up the wrong tree. They were asking "Are the income tax or Federal Reserve legal or constitutional?" The correct question is "Are they moral?"
The legal arguments are incredibly complicated. When something is incredibly complicated, that's a sure sign that some funny business is going on. The end of the legal arguments boil down to "The people who control the most guns say the income tax and Federal Reserve are legal. Therefore they are." and "The Supreme Court allows them, and their decision is final." When deciding a taxation case, a Federal judge is biased. A Supreme Court justice will almost always make the decision that increases the power of the Federal government. If you don't have the "right" pro-State brainwashing, then you won't be selected as a Supreme Court justice.
There was one interesting quote. Ron Paul said "It's easier to get details about what the CIA is doing than to get details about what the Federal Reserve is doing." Except for Ron Paul, the rest of Congress are clueless pro-State trolls. Even Ron Paul's criticism of the IRS and Federal Reserve is weak. Ron Paul says "They are unconstitutional!", which is not as important as "They are immoral!"
I liked this article. Inflation in Argentina is so bad that people are hoarding coins because the metal value of the coin is much greater than the face amount. I was amused by the statement "Inflation in Argentina is out of control, at an annualized rate of 25%." I estimate that inflation in the USA is 20%-30%, by looking at the price of gold and silver. If the pro-State troll economists in Argentina admit that inflation is 25%, then the actual annual inflation rate is *MUCH* higher, probably 100%-200%.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. When fighting the IRA in Nothern Ireland, they had a great trick for discovering people who made homemade bombs. They opened a laundromat, and all clothing was put through a machine that checked for bomb residue. The bomb residue detector was disguised as a washing machine. They gave out numbered tickets for free/discount laundry service.
They also made sure that each new car imported into Ireland had a bug in it. This made it trivial for them to spy on the leaders of the IRA.
For this reason, it probably is pointless for agorists to 100% escape detection. The bad guys have superior resources. It isn't possible to make a 100% spy-proof living arrangement without huge expense. Blatant-in-public agorism might be less risky than stealth agorism. There's an assumption that concealed behavior is more dangerous. On the other hand, blatant-in-public agorism would be like painting a bullseye on yourself.
I'm undecided if I should pursue stealth-agorism or blatant-in-public agorism. I probably should attempt blatant-in-public agorism for low-risk activities to attract customers. For example, making clothing and selling it in the grey market is low-risk. High-risk activities, such as agorist doctors, would be kept only for trustworthy partners.
In a true free market, trust and reputation are important.
This post on Techcrunch, via Hacker News, is citing a Teddy Roosevelt speech on "The Man in the Arena." If all you do is whine and complain, then you accomplish nothing. The challenge is putting ideas into action.
If I never attempt practical agorism, then I'm a hypocrite. The only real risk of practical agorism is a crackdown by the State. The State won't make "Combating agorism is a priority!" until it's too late. A free market will be the ultimate viral spread, once it gets started.
Sometime in the next few years, I will switch from theoretical agorism to practical agorism. I still am refining my ideas and attracting an audience. I am noticing an improvement in the dialog elsewhere. It's impossible to tell to what extent it's caused by me and to what extent it would have happened anyway. For example, a regular reader of my blog might join a discussion about the Federal Reserve or income tax elsewhere. In that case, I'm having an indirect influence but not a direct influence. If my indirect influence is greater than my direct influence, then it might be harder for the bad guys to track the original source! (That assumes that I write more clearly about real free market economics than any other source.)
Apparently, "Web 2.0" is old news. I'm starting to see references to "Web 3.0". I'm waiting for them to catch up with "Web 3.1", "Web 95", "Web 98", "Web NT", "Web XP", and "Web Vista".
I noticed another weird fnord. A professional football player criticized a referee for making a bad call. The player was then fined by the league.
That seems like a very bizarre policy for the NFL to have. If a journalist says "The referee made a mistake", that's acceptable. Why is it unacceptable for a player to question the referee?
An NFL player has no choice but to accept the decisions of the NFL and the referees. If the NFL players don't like it, that's too bad. State restrictions of the market prevent NFL players from forming their own competing league. (Starting a new football league is logistically difficult, but the real reason is State restrictions of the market.)
The fnord is "Don't question State-imposed authority figures." An NFL player should not question the referees. A worker should not question his boss' decisions. A person should not question the decisions made by Congress and Federal judges.
I liked this YouTube video, cited elsewhere. A college football referee tackled a football player, just like in a beer commercial. The referee was actually trying to get out of someone else's way.
I didn't like this post on Wired, via Hacker News. Blogging is "so 2004" and is now obsolete. I don't see how Twitter makes blogs obsolete. If you're writing anything substantive, blogging still seems best. Especially with RSS, where it's easy for other sites to import your feed.
I am probably going to switch to self-hosting in the next year or two. I'll probably use WordPress, but I'll also include things like a forum and wiki and "agoristbay". Version 1.0 of "agoristbay" will just be raw html, expanding as needed. I may add my own customized forum and wiki engine. The problem with forums and wikis is the spam/trolling problem. On a blog, I can control trolls. On a forum/wiki, there need to be better troll/noise/spam filters.
When writing about agorism and real free markets, I don't see any other sources. The article claimed "Most Technorati top 100 blogs are corporate blogs. Therefore, blogs are obsolete." I doubt my blog will ever make a "top 100" or even "top 1000", because I'm targeting a niche audience.
When you're targeting a narrow niche, other mainstream metrics aren't valuable. I'm measuring my success by "Google Analytics statistics" and "number of interesting comments" and "interesting discussions of agorism elsewhere". All three of those appear to be increasing.
I've benefited from blogging just by writing down my thoughts, even if I don't get a wide audience. At some point, I will switch from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism". There are *SO MANY* ways that the bad guys can spy on what you're doing. For this reason, "blatant in-public agorism" might be the best way to attract an audience and customers. By the time I'm the victim of State violence, agorism may be so widespread that it'll be unstoppable. Further, if I'm acquitted in a high-profile trial, that could work in my favor.
I recently interviewed for a job writing currency trading software. The interviewer bragged about how profitable his business was. I asked him "Do you produce any actual goods and services? Why are you so profitable? What service do you provide to society as a whole?" Of course, he didn't answer, and got a little offended. His attitude was "It's outrageously profitable! Who cares why it works? If you think like that, you'll never have a successful career!"
Currency trading is profitable due to negative real interest rates and central bank manipulation of exchange rates. The currency speculation market and derivative speculation market didn't explode until after the gold standard was completely abandoned.
With a pure international gold standard, there are no obscene unearned profits for currency speculators.
The profits of currency speculators are paid by everyone else as inflation.
The interviewer seemed like a smart guy, but I couldn't make him understand.
The interviewer seemed disappointed that I wasn't 100% eager for the job opportunity and the chance to suck his ****.
Are most people in the financial industry deliberately clueless like him, or are there a handful of insiders that are fully aware of the scam? There is evidence that, in 1913, the insiders were fully aware of the scam. A hundred years later, have the leaders started believing there own lies? Or, is there someone behind the scenes pulling the strings who has full awareness of the scam?
I liked this post, via Hacker News. Google's translator feature parses "Nous parlons français ensemble." as "We speak English together."
I liked this post, via Hacker News. Nike offers a service where you can order a sneaker with an inscription. The author surveyed what words are permitted and which are banned. It was a funny and interesting take on corporate censorship.
I wonder if I could get "Taxation is theft!" shoes? One of my business ideas is to get a T-Shirt burning machine and sell custom T-Shirts.
I see a lot of posts on "How to Recession-proof you Startup". The correct answer is that you have to boycott the Federal Reserve and income tax. Use sound money instead. That would minimize the effect of boom/bust cycles.
Of course, such a business would have to be completely off-the-books and could not attract venture capital.
I liked this post, via Hacker News, on "loadjacking". It was a very clever computer crime.
A group of computer hackers would pretend to be a legitimate trucking company A. They would solicit work and accept bids from XYZ. Then, they outsource to trucking company B, while pretending to be trucking company C. Company C was a real company. The truck driver delivers the goods. XYZ then pays company A. Company B tries to collect from company C, but the response is "Who are you?"
I can't believe the criminals who tried this expected to get away with it. In the US monetary system, almost *ALL* financial transactions with a corporation are tracked and reported to the State.
This article, via Hacker News, was about a stupid policy in the UK. In order to buy a cellphone, you must present a valid passport. WTF? The phone company already asks for a billing address and credit card when you buy the phone.
Sometimes, I'm annoyed by stupid laws. Lately, I think "The more stupid laws get passed, the sooner the State collapses." Hooray for stupid laws!
I liked this article, via Hacker News. The "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast in 1938 caused a mass panic. It was fictional, but many listeners thought it was non-fiction. This broadcast illustrated the power of media as mass mind control and mass population control.
In the present, most "news" broadcasts are essentially fictional! The average person accepts mainstream media lies as truth.
That article says the incident itself was overhyped afterwards.
I liked this headline, via Hacker News. On Hacker News, the headline was "Financial Crisis Hammers Sun". When I saw the headline, I was thinking, "The financial crisis is so bad that the sun is suffering? I didn't think the Federal Reserve had influence over that."
I liked this page, via Hacker News, on illustrated sorting algorithms.
Even though you should learn sorting algorithms in your Computer Science classes, most of the time you'll be using a library.
I liked this article on Freedomain about the stock market. Via 401(k) plans and IRAs, the State is essentially forcing people to invest in the stock market. If you want to buy physical gold in your IRA, then you must hold it with a "certified" custodian. You can buy the GLD ETF, but that won't hold up in a SHTF scenario.
If you invest in physical gold or silver, you get the *SAME* tax-deferred benefit as a stock investment, especially when you consider that a gold investment outperforms a stock investment. If you can find someone willing to trade metal for slave points in an off-the-books transaction, then gains on your gold or silver investment is 100% tax free, exactly as if they were in an IRA or 401(k). The capital gains tax laws for gold and silver are not legitimate, because you are merely being taxed on a gain that is compensation for inflation.
I also liked this quote:
State violence causes "good character" to be undervalued and dishonest behavior to be overvalued. It's entirely Gresham's Law.
The long-term value of "good character" thus goes down, while the short-term value of flashy marketing goes up.
Ambitious executives do not take very long to figure out that they are punished when they tell the truth, and rewarded when they prevaricate. Since "speculation" has largely displaced investment in the stock market, and the constant supply of additional capital is guaranteed through government coercion, an amoral feeding frenzy has taken over.
I'm getting so much traffic now that I'm no longer reading the "google search" and "network location" fields in Google Analtyics. There's just too many! I used to look at "what people are googling" and "where my readers are coming from". It's too much now!
The vast majority of my traffic is from Google search, but if someone googles "fsk reality guide" or variants thereof, then they probably read my blog before.
This article on the Wall Street Journal, via Hacker News, is interesting. Most young workers have a far different attitude than their parents. They are more independent thinking and more quick to challenge illegitimate authority.
This is promising from an agorist point of view. Are younger people more likely to challenge an illegitimate economic and political system?
I think the key difference is exposure to computers and the Internet. In order to properly use a computer, you must have a "figure things out yourself" attitude. When such an attitude is applied to other areas, you realize how bad the situation is.
I liked this post on rec.humor.funny.
Origami Bank folded last night. Apparently Sumo Fund Managers went
belly up and Bonsai Bank, after a period of stunted growth, now plans
to cut back some of its branches.
Kamikaze Bank took a dive and 1,500 staff at Karate Bank got theOn the plus side, now is a good time to buy Karaoke Bank, its shares
chop. Analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi
Bank and staff there fear they may get a raw deal. Onsen Bank has
taken a bath and even Miso Bank is in the soup. The share value of
Samurai Bank has been slashed.
can be had for a song.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. The trend for many careers is that your first job or series of jobs are unpaid internships. That is lousy, because most recent college graduates are facing a crushing debt burden.
"I feel like I've been lied to for the last 10 years," says Matthew Jones, a 22-year-old Cambridge graduate. "You're told to work hard at school, get the GCSEs, get the A-levels, go to the best university, and you can do anything. It's not true".
That certainly is how I feel. I learned how to be an expert programmer. I got a lot of experience in C/C++. I'm considered unqualified for the vast majority of programmer jobs, because I don't have the latest experience in PHP/iPhone/Flash/whatever. At this point, I should be getting some really nice jobs. It's a practical certainty that I'll be overqualified for almost any wage slave job I'd find.
If I don't like it, then I should start my own economic system!
The blame should not lie with employers who offer unpaid internships. If people voluntarily take them, then why not? The problem lies with the corrupt economic system that makes it hard to form new businesses and "create jobs". Pro-State trolls say that "It's the government's role to 'create jobs'." That's false. The free market creates jobs and creates wealth. The State can only steal and destroy.
There is an illusion of the State creating wealth. Suppose the State steals $10B and then "creates jobs" worth $5B. The illusion is "The State created $5B in wealth!", but really $5B was destroyed.
I liked this article on Wired about open source hardware, via Hacker News. Some people are developing hardware, but releasing it into the public domain or a creative commons license, instead of patenting it.
The idea is that they want as many other people to adopt their hardware as possible, so it becomes standardized. Since they invented it, they will be the first with innovations and the ones that others contact for advice. Even though they aren't protected by patents, they still have a viable business. Since their hardware is unencumbered by patents, it is more likely to be adopted as a standard.
Similarly, an agorist is not shielded from competition by the State. If you work as an agorist, other people may open other competing business that do exactly the same thing. An agorist competes on quality, instead of access to State violence. That is exactly what a skilled worker wants! If I'm one of the "market leaders" for agorism, I'll have an advantage once agorism becomes widespread, even though other people can copy what I'm doing. If I'm a successful agorist, I *WANT* other people to follow my example, because that further reduces resources available to the bad guys.
One important feature of agorism is that open source software techniques should be applied to tangible goods and services. Facing a common powerful enemy (the State), agorists should share information on techniques until the State is defeated.
I liked this article on the Fringe. In a corporate wage slave job, you're following the Herd. You are subject to the random whims of others. Most of the creative parts of society occur on the Fringe. An agorist is firmly on the edge of the Fringe. An agorist would probably be met with strong resistance from most members of the Herd!
Milling about in The Herd may be safe, but the safety comes at the cost of controlling your destiny. Yes, you can moo loudly and hope for change, but this is akin to honking your horn while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lashing out in this futile manner may temporarily relieve your frustrations, but it will not serve to improve your position within The Herd. Once you realize that no one heeds your plaintive mooing, you must either give up and settle into a quiet, nondescript life within The Herd or realize that in order to command your destiny; you must depart The Herd and strike out on your own adVenture.
Voting is a form of pointless mooing by Herd members.
Waiting to be anointed a Herd leader is also a high-risk strategy. It generally takes a long time to work your way up to the front of The Herd, just as it takes many years to rise to the top of most large corporations. Throughout this process, the possibility exists that a capricious factor, outside of your control, will preclude your attaining a leadership position. In most cases, by the time you realize that your dream of leading The Herd is a fantasy, the opportunity for you to join The Fringe has come and gone.
I spent many years learning to be an expert C/C++ programmer, only to discover that those skills now have a market value of $0. I would quickly become an expert in other programming languages, but due to a non-free market, I am shut out. Most corporate employers treat software engineers like cattle. For this reason, I find terms like "human resources" annoying.
As Eugene Kleiner suggests, your point of view is better from The Fringe. Even when you are still part of The Herd, the view from its fringes is more expansive than from its bowels. By staying on the periphery of The Herd, you are in optimal position to first see and then take advantage of an upcoming prime grazing ground. The first step in leaving The Herd is to mosey over to its fringes, so you can gain a better point of view of opportunities which are beyond The Herd’s reach.
Begin your departure from The Herd by initially leaving for day trips. You can always come back to the safety of The Herd at night. Such short excursions will allow you to experience the challenges you will face once you depart from The Herd for good. In this way, you will build your confidence, contacts, and experiences incrementally. Each trip can last a little longer until eventually you are confident enough to undertake an overnight excursion. Such mini-ventures (see “Small Ideas, Big Benefits”) will pave the way for your exit.Ideally, you should start as a part-time agorist to experiment. Once you have a profitable business, then you should abandon your wage-slave job. As an agorist, you have none of the overhead that makes it hard to start a State-licensed business. All capital investments that an agorist makes should directly lead to profits.
I liked this article, via Hacker News, about layoffs at Yahoo. When there were rumors of Microsoft buying out Yahoo, the details of the severance package offered was pretty juicy, if Microsoft had layoffs. With Yahoo's current layoffs, the severance package is practically nothing.
Yahoo's management really looks like idiots for not accepting the Microsoft buyout offer. However, they had no way of knowing the recession/depression would be this bad.
I liked this post on StevePavlina.com. He completely removed Google Adsense from his website, even though it was generating a lot of income. He had the same concerns I have about Google Adsense. You don't have editorial control over which ads are presented. Steve Pavlina only sells direct ads that are individually negotiated with him.
One of my "profit from my blog" ideas involves helping people promote their agorist businesses.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. The New York Times is in serious financial trouble. It only stays in business by continuing to borrow and rolling over its debt.
This is a prime example of the massive State subsidy that large corporations receive. Real interest rates are negative. If you have massive borrowing at 6% when inflation is 20%, then you will profit eventually, provided you invest the borrowed money productively. If the NY Times can survive until the next boom phase, then they should be able to repay their debt with now-inflated money.
In the present, the NY Times stays in business as long as they can make the interest payments on their debt. By rolling over the debt, borrowing more and more, disaster is averted. If necessary, the bankers will foreclose and give control of the NY Times to another group of politically connected insiders. The NY Times is already controlled by politically connected insiders, so this step is not necessary.
Similarly, GM and Ford only stay in business because they keep rolling over their debt. Real interest rates are negative, so they should profit eventually if they're allowed to roll over their debt indefinitely. There is no reason to not allow debt to be refinanced forever, except that at some point it looks silly from an accounting perspective.
This illustrates how, during recessions, the bankers can take control of corporations. If you load up on debt, you risk bankruptcy during the next economic bust. If you don't load up on debt, you're at a disadvantage to your competitors who maximize their leverage and inflation subsidy. If you have no debt, then a competitor can profitably borrow and buy out your business.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. As an employee, "who you work for" is the most important decision you can make. There are many books on "How to find a job.", but no advice on "Who to work for?".
I liked his anecdote where he owned a business and had a difficult customer who was a large chunk of his profits. He decided it was in his best interests to drop the customer, instead of dealing with the stress of the customer.
I consider the State to be a difficult customer. I should terminate my relationship, rather than continue to provide the bad guys with goods and services.
The job market is biased against individuals. The incentive is for an individual to accept the first offer. There are many friction costs that make it hard for an employee to find a new job, but the employer can post an advertisement on the Internet and get 200+ resumes immediately.
I was more picky in my current job search. Regrettably, "Work for someone who isn't a pro-State troll" is not a viable option. I'm going to take another corporate wage slave job for now, and work on starting my own businesses in the next 1-2 years.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. A very successful hedge fund manager got disgusted and quit in a high-profile fashion. The financial industry is purely parasitic.
I didn't like this article, via Hacker News. He was writing about the effect of tax rates on startup businesses. If your goal is to start a business and cash out for $1B, then tax rates don't matter much.
However, there's a huge "seen vs. unseen" fallacy here. I'll use taxation rates of 50% as an example. Suppose I can work as a wage slave for $50k, or start my own business for $50k in income. Taking into account taxes, my $50k in small business income is only actually $25k after takes. Some of the $25k I pay in taxes is used to subsidize my large corporate competitors. The large corporation can afford to pay a higher salary, because a large corporation receives more State subsidies than it pays in taxes. (So technically, the wage slave job pays more than $50k to make this a valid comparison, because of the State corporate subsidy. Small business owners subsidize their larger competitors via taxes.)
You only see people starting "hit home run" businesses, because "small steady income" businesses are not as profitable, due to State restrictions of the market.
Taxes and regulations make it much harder for someone to start a business with $25k-$50k in revenue and then bootstrap it to a larger business.
I liked this article. Someone left negative feedback on an Ebay seller. The seller then threatened to sue him for libel.
This could never happen on AgoristBay. If you use State violence to resolve a dispute, or threaten to use State violence, then by definition you get kicked out of AgoristBay.
On AgoristBay, isolated negative feedback would not trash your reputation. The negative feedback would be included, but the person unfairly wronged would have the right to say "This guy is lying!"
On EBay, their seller feedback rating system isn't sophisticated enough to handle false negative feedback, or false positive feedback to boost your rating.
A good "circle of trust" or trust metric is necessary to make an agorist business viable.
I liked this article. Australia's government is attempting to censor all "illegal materials" on the Internet. Will people in Australia still be able to read my blog?
It appears to be primarily aimed at sharing copyrighted content, another illegitimate law. Intellectual property is not property. People can easily get around the ban via proxy servers and encrypting their traffic.
It's impossible to censor the Internet without crippling it. In China, government censorship/spying is so severe that it is common practice for businesses to strong-encrypt all their Internet traffic, lest they be frivolously harassed by the government.
I don't object to "people spying on my traffic". I only object when my content is blocked, or people with guns show up to kidnap me based on what I write. Surprisingly, I have not (yet?) been the victim of violence based on my advocacy of free market economics.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Due to State restrictions, such as Sabarnes-Oxley, it is harder for startups to "go public" in an IPO. In turn, this lowers acquisition offers. If you can go public for $500M, then you may accept a buyout offer for $450M to minimize your risk. If going public for $500M is not a viable option, then why should an acquirer be willing to pay $450M?
As an agorist, you should focus on growing a business via reinvested earnings, and not go with the "startup" business model.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. Someone estimated that, starting from scratch, it would take $10B in labor to reproduce what has already been contributed for Linux.
I liked this article, via Hacker News. It said "Model/Controller/View considered harmful." In object oriented programming, all the code dealing with an object is in the same location. In MVC, the code for an object is spread across multiple files. This creates more work than it saves.
That certainly matches my experience. I prefer to have a single object, but then have some methods for doing view-related work, some methods for model-related work, and some methods for controller-related work. If you have half a clue about writing software, then it's very easy to keep it straight.
I already knew that Ruby on Rails sucks, but it's nice to see other intelligent criticisms.
I liked this post on Blagnet. The author cited Kangaroo Court Fnord, and the point is worth repeating.
“Whenever there is a problem due to ‘too much freedom’, the solution is to restrict freedom, and not to blame the individual that committed the crime. Whenever there is a problem due to a corrupt system, then the individuals are blamed and never the corrupt system.”
This is an important mainstream media bias/fnord tactic. When the goal is to coverup an underlying corrupt system, then the individuals are blamed and never the corrupt system. When the goal is to restrict freedom, then the system that allows freedom is blamed and never the individual.
I was watching the Communism Channel (CNBC). They had a guest saying "We don't need a central bank. Interest rates should be set by the free market." The fnord is that the body language of the hosts was saying "This guy is a jerk! His opinion is wrong!"
However, it's nice to see people at least mentioning "Who needs a central bank anyway?", if only to ridicule them.
By E-Mail, someone writes:
I want to scream every time I hear the mainstream media say "An unregulated free financial market is a disaster".
I don't pay attention to them anymore. The problem was regulation in the first place! The solution is even more regulation!
It's pointless to talk about a free market when you have a central bank, income tax, and extensive regulations.
Sarah Palin reminds me of a crazy Communist girl I hung out with in college. She was saying "The US economic system sucks! Communism would be better! People should just get together and voluntarily cooperate!"
Now, I realize that the USA already is a nearly perfect implementation of Communism! The problem isn't too much free market, it's too little free market! "People get together and voluntarily cooperate" is how a true free market functions!
By E-Mail, someone wrote:
I run the blog firstname.lastname@example.org. Its libertarian themed, anti-state, anti-Fed, etc. I would like to add a link to your blog, as I just stumbled upon it today, and I think it's fantastic. I don't know if you run links to other blogs, if you do, you should check mine out. Also, I just started doing some original video content. I was wondering if you would mind if I used your writing about the compound interest paradox as the basis for a short piece.Thanks for your work, its great.
You don't need to get permission from me to link to my blog. That isn't the way the Internet works. (Occasionally, I get people asking me if they can link to my blog. You'd be surprised how often that happens. That's why I'm extra-rude. Ironically, some mainstream news sites have sued people over linking to their site. I have enough computer literacy to know "You don't need permission from someone to link to their site, if the site owner isn't an idiot.")
I don't claim copyright or trademark on my content. You may copy it exactly or write a summary of your own. I'd appreciate a link back, but that isn't an official legal requirement. (I sometimes see people who copy my content without linking back to it. I don't mention them at all.)
If you think you can present my ideas better than me, go ahead! I'm noticing more intelligent discussions of agorism elsewhere. I'm steadily increasing my audience.
Aseem Prakash has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":
Welcome to deficit financing. Typically the annual revenue of the State is less than the annual expenditure. Suppose in year 2000 the State receives $X revenue. The country's growth for the next year is then estimated by taking several complex factors and the past statistics into account. Expenditure for the next year is then set to an amount higher than the estimated revenue. But the expenditure is only set as much greater than the revenue as the estimated growth of the economy can allow.
So, currency is not printed indiscriminately by the Central Bank as you seem to suggest, it is printed taking into consideration the actual estimated growth of the economy.
BZZT!! Wrong. Money supply inflation is misreported as economic growth. For this reason, "officially reported growth of the economy" and "money supply inflation" are correlated.
However, if there is a serious error in the estimated growth, and the actual growth turns out to be much less, the Central Bank will be forced to print money to meet the expenditure. This leads to inflation.
The State Budget for every fiscal year comes on National Television in January in your country and on February 28 in mine.
I'm starting to regret re-enabling comments on that old post. There appear to be three reactions to my writings on the Compound Interest Paradox.
- "You go FSK! Tell us how unfair the economic system is!"
- "I don't get the Compound Interest Paradox. It's too complicated." "Inflation is theft!" is sufficient argument against the Federal Reserve. The Compound Interest Paradox is a problem with the monetary system that is more evil than simple uniform inflation.
- "FSK has zero understanding of economics. FSK should read an introductory economics textbook." It's not my fault that nearly all mainstream economists are brainwashed pro-State trolls.
You can't even say "I refuse to borrow at all", because then you're just letting others rip you off via inflation and your income taxes partially subsidize financial industry profits.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Facebook vs. XNA?":
I would caution that all of these "Facebooks" and "MySpaces" will soon perish, and one that is searching for a worthwhile application of his talents should keep this in mind.
What is the reason they exist? Enormous amounts of free time, no desire to plan or work for a rainy day, complete superficiality of the people. Just look at Tweeter patrons. Do you not cringe?
It isn't just that. There are practically zero barriers to entry for a Internet/software business. In every other area of the economy, there are too many State-placed obstacles.
I agree that Twitter is pointless. My goal is to write something substantive, making Twitter useless. Also, Twitter is sorely lacking a revenue model.
I never understood why "social networking websites" were cool. My blog is sort of a social networking website, as I've found some other interesting sites via my regular commenters.
All of these activities will soon perish together with a system that has brought them about. People will either find that they have no time to devote to stupidity such as social networking, or they will perish with it.
Even if some rudimentary remains of this superficial social networking engine continue to exist for the benefit of the few either sufficiently rich or sufficiently stupid to still be found within it, it probably wouldn't worth your time.
Now, I don't necessarily imply that you should turn your attention toward blogging or agorism, but only to point out that the social superficiality networking isn't going to be long-lived.
I hear many posts on the Internet about how "FaceBook is doomed". About half the startups I interviewed at are writing Facebook applications. The merit of writing a FaceBook application is that it manages "user authentication" for you, and there's a "share this widget with your friends" feature that encourages viral growth.
I'm going to write a standalone website, rather than a FaceBook application, when I start working on self-hosting.
I've concluded that "promote and implement agorism" is a more productive use of my time than writing a game or simple web application. Writing a game or simple web application, there's a *TON* of competition. With agorism, there's practically no competition. Paradoxically, I'd welcome competition as an agorist, because it'd increase my chance of success!
According to Google Analytics, I set a new traffic record in October, with 6887 Absolute Unique Visitors. This is an increase of more than 20% over the September. The Amero Subterfuge was a surprising SEO hit, generating lots of Google search traffic.
Very frequently, someone writes and says "I added a link to your blog. You should reciprocate and link to me." That isn't an honest way to operate. If you want me to link to your blog, write something interesting! I'm thinking of completely eliminating my "blogroll" at the bottom, since I use Google Reader.
Also, if my PageRank is higher than yours, then "You link to me if I link to you" isn't exactly an even trade.
If you want me to link to your blog, then write something interesting! I already have more feeds in Google Reader than I can follow. Make sure you enable "full RSS feeds" if you want me to follow your blog.
HUNTER/GATHERER has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Facebook vs. XNA?":
I say agorism. Focus on the gray markets.
That seems like the right approach. If I focus on game development or web development, that's a very crowded market.
If I focus on agorism, there's practically no competition. Promoting agorism and starting agorist businesses, I probably can do better than most other people. With agorism, my true competitor is the State. Other agorists are actually helping me. Other agorists indirectly help me, because they reduce the resources available to the State. Other agorists can directly help me, if I purchase things from them or they purchase things from me.
I should write an "agoristbay" engine, that would be generally useful as a web forum engine and also useful for agorists. I'd have to opensource it, because the goal is to create a decentralized free market.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - Facebook vs. XNA?":
Actually, there is a very bad reason these horrible places (facebook, myspace, etc.) Paranoia aside, it is a very cheap way for the State to create a map of who knows whom, and keep an eye on any potential troublemakers. The 'friends' paradigm forces the unsuspecting users to map the connection to their friends who may not even be on facebook or yourspace. Many users post photographs with comments that list their friends' names.
Just because the bad guys are collecting a lot of data, doesn't mean they're capable of using it intelligently. Theoretically, the bad guys could keep track of "everyone who reads FSK's blog" and start monitoring them as potentially subversive people. That's practical when I have just 100 regular readers, but once I get in the 10,000+ range, that becomes infeasible.
If you think I am a paranoid nut, do a little research on where the funding for these corporations comes from and what the VCs involved are invested in.
A lot of Wikipedia's funding comes from "shady" sources. They're "non-profit", but the donors do wield influence. It doesn't have to be direct. A drug company could give to organization X. Organization X could give to Wikipedia, but also make sure that drug pages have approved content only.
Create a VCspace of the connections between the Government and the projects funded, much the same way they are tracking the unsuspecting fools, and you will do something useful.
Almost any high-profile corporation is controlled directly or indirectly by the bankers. If you operate a large on-the-books business, there are so many regulations that you have to follow that you're practically a State business anyway.
That's the entire point of the Federal Reserve. With a central bank credit monopoly, insiders have a veto over which businesses succeed and which businesses fail. If I tried making an online auction website in 1998, and I was self-funded, I would never have been able to compete with Ebay, which accepted lots of VC. Even if I'm successful, at some point I'll want to raise VC or cash out and sell.
If you accept VC, the terms make the VCs the effective owners of the business. All VCs offer practically equal terms. It isn't merely collusion. The rules of the economic system force VCs to behave in a certain manner.
With a central bank credit monopoly, I can't raise money borrowing from friends and relatives. If a relative lends me $10,000, he's going to get a negative inflation-adjusted interest rate. Individuals don't have the magic money-printing power that banks have. The only way to raise money to start a business is to go to the financial industry. The "inflation tax" makes it very hard to raise money through saved salary or reinvested profits.
In a new industry, insiders can choose which businesses will succeed, merely by investing lots of money and hyping it.
How about ParanoidSpace? You can do all kinds of things, such as what multinational food companies own which organic 'health food' brands, how the Sierra Club is connected to the corporate web of Clorox, who really benefits from the 'global warming' scam, etc.
Other websites have already documented the abuses and corrupt relationships in the psychiatry/death industry. That has not led to any reform.
Most "Industry X watchdog groups" are secretly funded by insiders of industry X. For example, mental health patient advocacy groups are usually fronts for drug companies. They give useless advice like "Follow your psychiatrists' orders! Always take your medication!"
It isn't enough to expose the evils of the State. You also have to come up with viable alternatives and put them into practice. Agorism is a viable alternative to the State. The next step is to conduct an experiment.
Actually, there is a very bad reason these horrible places (facebook, myspace, etc.) Paranoia aside, it is a very cheap way for the State to create a map of who knows whom, and keep an eye on any potential troublemakers. The 'friends' paradigm forces the unsuspecting users to map the connection to their friends who may not even be on facebook or yourspace. Many users post photographs with comments that list their friends' names.If you think I am a paranoid nut, do a little research on where the funding for these places comes from and what the VCs involved are invested in. Create a VCspace of the connections between the Government and the projects funded, much the same way they are tracking the unsuspecting fools, and you will do something useful.
Is this a partial duplicate comment?
I'm not as interested in exposing specific corruption. I'm more interested in the corrupt system overall. I'm much more interested in "The Federal Reserve is immoral!" rather than "The State hired a former Goldman Sachs executive to manage the $700B bailout package." The latter criticism is overly focusing on narrow details.
I agree that almost every large on-the-books business/corporation is controlled directly or indirectly by the bad guys. Even if the bad guys don't directly control a business, they can pass new crippling regulations, arrange for a hostile takeover, or fund a competitor. With a literally infinite budget, the bad guys may crush any business that threatens them.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Heroic Incompetent Policemen":
Your comment sadly shows you have very little concept of what police work is and how it these situations unfold in real life - its not like a film - its messy, unpredictable and imperfect. Only Jason Borne would never drop his gun (James Bond does it about 5 times a film).
James Bond is an accurate model for policemen?
You're missing the point. Why did the policemen have their guns drawn in the first place? A policeman can't fire his gun in a crowded subway, because of the risk of hitting a bystander. They only should have done so if the victim was armed and threatening someone. Further, there's digital fingerprinting technology that prevents a gun from being fired by anyone other than its owner. If the policemen hadn't unlocked the safety on their gun, then they could have stopped the criminal before he shot someone.
You're also missing another point. The reason the criminal was afraid of the police was that he'd been previously jailed/deported for the non-crimes of "possession of drugs" and "illegal immigration". Those are not crimes in a true free market. The criminal was afraid he'd be deported again, and resisted arrest.
"Police work is tough." is entirely due to the large number of non-crimes enforced by police.
I'm also trying to correct the mainstream media bias that says "Everything policemen do is noble and heroic." Sometimes, State police actually do great things. Most of the time, they do boring routine things. Other times, they enforce illegitimate laws, such as kicking someone out of their house for not paying their mortgage or property taxes, enforcing laws banning possession/sale of certain drugs, enforcing stupid regulations, and collecting taxes.
In this case, the specific law being enforced was "fare evasion", which is a legitimate law. However, other policemen had previously enforced illegitimate laws on the criminal. "If you wear the colors, you're part of the gang." These policemen are partially responsible for the crimes committed by other policemen.
Your comment makes you seem like you're a policeman yourself.
thinkforyourself has left a new comment on your post "Heroic Incompetent Policemen":
Boy talk about an armchair quarterback. As little trust as you seem to have in government, you put all your faith in the accuracy of the media on this story? These cops nearly lost their lives and you put blame on them?
Take a step back into reality and stop sniping at people who are trying to do the right thing.
Those specific policemen were enforcing a valid law. However, those policemen are indirectly responsible for the real crimes committed by other policemen, which is enforcing laws banning "possession of certain drugs" and "illegal immigration".
That post attracted a surprising amount of hate mail. I conclude that I'm onto something important. Notice that the hate mail came from an Anonymous commenter and someone I'd never seen before. None of my regular commenters objected.
It's important to correct the mainstream media bias, which says "Almost everything policemen do is noble and heroic. Soldiers are heroic for 'defending our freedom'."
Policemen are specifically anti-selected for intelligence. When you apply for a job as a policeman, they give you an intelligence test, and if you score too high, you are rejected.
Policemen and soldiers are the hired thugs of the State. Without police, the State has no power. Judges know they are dependent on policemen to blindly obey their orders, and therefore judges are eager to protect police if they are suspected of misconduct.
If you blindly obey an order to assault or kidnap a complete stranger, then you don't qualify as intelligent life. Contrary to mainstream media bias, policeman *DO* have an obligation to consider whether or not the laws they're enforcing are legitimate. "I was just following orders" is never a valid defense.
Policemen and soldiers are falsely portrayed as heroic, with much fanfare and fnords.
It's wrong to say "FSK doesn't work as a policeman. Therefore, FSK is not qualified to judge policemen." That's like saying "I'm not a serial killer. Therefore, I'm not qualified to say that serial killers are criminals." There is an absolute universal standard of truth and justice. Most people have been so pro-State brainwashed that they can't think clearly.
Similarly, I don't work as a psychiatrist. Based on my personal experience, I'm *VERY* qualified to say "Most/all psychiatrists are murders. The psychiatrists I've dealt with seemed to have no empathy for the suffering of their patients, dismissing their concerns as symptoms of their illness." I have no desire to get a State psychiatrist license to try to "work within the system" to achieve reform. It's wrong to say "FSK is not a psychiatrist. Therefore, FSK is unqualified to say 'The chemical imbalance theory of mental illness is nonsense.'"
For this reason, I doubt I will ever get a mainstream media outlet to carry my content. If I say "Policemen who enforce illegitimate laws are terrorists!", I'm contradicting all the mainstream media bias promoting "Policemen are always heroic!" When I say that, some viewers would complain, advertisers would be pressured to drop my program, and I would get fired. If my goal is "Get a mainstream media outlet to carry my content", then I should self-censor. The Strawman Fallacy is used against most/all mainstream media personalities, who are usually evaluated solely based on the least popular or stupidest thing they ever did.
For example, the spin was "Don Imus said something stupid. Therefore, he should be fired." Instead, more accurate spin would be "Don Imus has a lot of listeners who enjoy his show. He said something stupid. He should be evaluated based on his entire career, and not the single most offensive thing he did." The Strawman Fallacy encourages self-censorship by mainstream media personalities. If you don't toe the Statist party line, then the non-conforming incident will be hyped as an excuse for your firing.
Don Imus does not sell his show directly to his customers. He is employed by a corporation, who has a monopoly/oligopoly of the means of communication. Anybody who is employed by a mainstream media corporation must toe the Statist party line, lest their source of income be revoked. If I can profit by directly selling to customers, then I can avoid the mainstream media censorship process. I can profit indirectly if I use my blog to promote free market businesses.
I'm not going to self-censor, especially when I earn no income from my blog (yet). If my blog does lead to a profitable business, it'll be *BECAUSE* I don't self-censor like mainstream media sources. If I'm afraid of offending people, then I'll never be able to say anything original.
The main point of that post is "Policemen are not uniformly super-heroic. In that instance, the police were enforcing a legitimate law. Other mistakes were made that caused the incident to escalate. The policemen could have been more careful when making the arrest. The criminal was previously the unfair victim of State violence. The criminal had a legitimate reason to be afraid of the police, because he was an 'illegal immigrant', which is not a real crime."
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Identity Theft Problem":
Yes a symptom. Plus:
- A very strong ad campaign to sell useless services to a fool who is scared shi*less, and cannot put together a reasonable "hands-off-me" letter and claim his right to %50 liability.
The problem is that the financial industry and the State have a "guilty until proven innocent" approach for handling identity theft.
That's another fnord, which says "People can't handle things for themselves. They need a professional to help them." There's a difference between "useful skills" and "help navigating a State bureaucracy, because it was designed complicated on purpose".
A lot of those "identity theft" services provide nothing that you can't do for yourself. For example, you can check your own credit history. Surprisingly, the act of requesting a credit check, by yourself or someone else, affects your credit rating!
- A good ad campaign for a more totalitarian state. Danger is lurking everywhere, you know.
Imagine if as much effort were spent promoting "The financial system is completely broken. A complete overhaul is needed." or "Who needs State regulation of the banking industry anyway? A central bank is a price fixing cartel. A true free market can handle anything."
Do you want to pay into my SSI account by working illegally showing my number? Somehow that is considered also a crime of an identity theft!
That's a crime, because if you're an "illegal immigrant", using someone else's Social Security Number is a way to get employment.
Are you suggesting that, if someone else uses my SSN to apply for a job, then *I'M* the criminal, even if it's done without my knowledge? I'd expect the laws to be that messed up.
Mike Gogulski has left a new comment on your post "The Identity Theft Problem":
I've been wondering what would happen if, say, a large number of people just up and POSTED all of their "official ID" on the interwebs.
You would just be subjecting yourself to harassment for no good purpose. You'd waste time and money when you're frivolously charged with identity theft, with nothing to show for it.
One of those "identity theft" services bragged about how great his service was, and he published all his personal information on the Internet. Some people successfully performed identity theft using his ID.
That's like saying "What would happen if a majority of the people voted for a less intrusive government?" That's a nice fantasy.
A better question is "What would happen if a large number of people started boycotting the Federal Reserve and a corrupt financial system?" If you don't like "identity theft" and other stupid aspects of the financial system, then the correct solution is a boycott.
Your "credit rating" only matters if you're borrowing money. Real interest rates are negative, so it makes economic sense to take a mortgage if you're buying a house. This way, you get part of the State subsidy to borrowers. You still don't benefit as much as politically connected insiders. You don't know when the bust will occur. You're not "too big to fail". You have transaction costs if you try to refinance and roll over your mortgage.
Monkt has left a new comment on your post "The Incompleteness Theorem":
This comic is related in a way.
I'd seen that one. The comic xkcd has some good stuff. It's in my "Favorites" folder in Google Reader.
The comic xkcd is a good example of "profitable online business that targets a niche audience". I read that the author does xkcd as a full-time job now, even though it started out as a hobby.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Troll Mathematics is Theft":
Einstein's theory of relativity could be a perfect example also.
Sometimes, I wonder if Einstein's "theory of relativity" is entirely pro-State trolling. Did he set 20th century physics completely in the wrong direction? At that time, "cover up Zero Point Energy technology" was a big priority. At that time, the State engine for funding research was being developed, and private sources of research funding were dried up.
The version of relativity most people read about is actually "special relativity", which only applies in certain instances. I think the distinction is "There's no acceleration in special relativity." When I was in graduate school, I read that in order to fully understand general relativity, you need to understand differentiable manifolds. I took a differentiable manifolds class, and read more than one book. They were all nearly incomprehensible.
If understanding general relativity depends on understanding differentiable manifolds, and differentiable manifolds are nearly incomprehensible, then how can anybody claim to understand general relativity?
Special relativity is useful in calculating the orbits of planets. I read that military-grade GPS devices include a correction for relativity, because the satellite is moving fast enough for it to matter. (The GPS released to the general public has random noise added, on purpose. Due to lobbying by businesses that use GPS, the noise has been reduced, but the Federal government reserves the right to increase the noise or cut the signal at any time.)
Newtonian mechanics contained errors at high velocity that are corrected by relativity. Newtonian mechanics isn't completely invalidated by relativity. Newtonian mechanics is merely a first-order approximation of relativity. Similarly, how can you be sure that relativity doesn't contain subtle errors that haven't been discovered yet? Perhaps relativity as generally understood is merely an approximation of something better.
I read that Einstein noted an experiment that contradicted his theory. That discrepancy has never been resolved. How do you know that mainstream physics doesn't contain a bunch of subtle errors? The State has a monopoly of funding research, and it mostly consists of funding small incremental improvements on what is already known. A physics professor who tries to re-verify old results will find himself out of a job, unable to get research grants.
How do you know that mainstream physics isn't one big fnord, designed to cover up "It is possible to build a Zero Point Energy generator." Once you get the system in place, and most/all the university physicists are brainwashed, then free thinkers are barred from the profession. The scam can be perpetuated even if nobody currently alive is aware of it. Perhaps the people who organized it died mysteriously?
This bit deserves its own separate post.
I don't know how old you are, but years ago I had the same problem as you, I could explain the whole world based on a couple of principles guided mostly by reason. Then I came with the always debate faith vs. reason which gave me another guiding light.
What are you trying to do, convert me to Christianity?
I don't see how you can say "Logic and reason are undesirable."
You can argue that logic and science are religions like any other. Worshiped properly, the God of Science and Logic provides practical benefits for his worshipers. No other religion can validly make that claim.
Am I reaping practical benefit from my new outlook? I've only had it for a year or two. I'm working on improving my interpersonal freedom, which is difficult since everyone around me is a brainwashed pro-State troll. I've made some decent online contacts. I haven't implemented practical agorism yet.
I feel that I've finally discovered a philosophy that isn't inherently contradictory. Anarchy/agorism and real free markets make sense. I feel a lot better now that I've broken my pro-State brainwashing, but I'm restricted by the pro-State trolls around me.
The biggest problem is that 80% of the people are so stupid that can BELIEVE in any stupid thing that makes them feel good. There is nothing more stupid to believe that things like free market, democracy ,equal rights can exist. You always have JP Morgans and Rockfellers to dominate things like this.
"Other people are fools. Therefore, FSK should be a fool." is not valid reasoning.
I can use my logical reasoning ability to better interact with the people around me. Further, I can try to select a wage slave job where I'll be less abused compared to other possibilities. I can use my higher awareness to meet more desirable women. For example, "Able to understand the philosophy of real free markets." is now a requirement for me. In that sense, I'm lucky I'm currently single. I would be in bad shape if I were married to a pro-State troll.
The entire point of agorism is to eliminate the power of the bankers and the State. Will it succeed? The only way to find out is to try. It hasn't been attempted seriously before, so the only way to find out is to perform an experiment.
When I was in graduate school, I was sorely disappointed. However, I always say "If I didn't go to graduate school, I would have regretted not trying. It was a disappointment, but the only way to find out was to do it." Similarly, if I never attempt practical agorism, I will regret not trying. Currently, I am limited, because I have almost no interpersonal freedom and everyone around me is a pro-State troll.
Take the world 20y ago, there wasn't Osama, global terrorism, the principle enemy - the "evil" Soviet empire was just defeated by the "free" and "democratic societies". Most of the people in the western hemisphere were somehow happy and if you try to explain them that the system is fucking corrupted down to it's root everyone will think of you as lunatic.
Some people say that the threat of "terrorism" and "global warming" was invented to replace the US-Soviet "war". The bad guys say "X is a problem. Therefore, the State is needed!"
Most people are clueless pro-State trolls. My target audience isn't the vast majority. My target audience is the Remnant. I only need 5-10 trading partners to get an agorist trading group started, and then things will expand from there.
If I were to use Statist methods of reform, "convince a majority and make them really care" is necessary. That is practically impossible. If I pursue reform via agorism, then I only need to convince a handful of people to get things started.
Democracy and Christianity are the biggest illusions ever created and most of the people believe in them and will always do.
Yes. Being rational is the way to counteract that.
There was a very reasonable guy that explained some 70y ago what really has happened during the GD. Practically the financial moguls created inflation and then deflation and doing so they have robbed the people, then they sponsored some economists, giving them nice titles, Noble prize for economy, etc. to create 10 different mutually exclusive stories about the problem and for the society this is OK, because the society loves the conception of point of views. Point of views nowadays primary exist to create a fog around some crime and because the truth is just 1 pov it doesn't have any power.
I already wrote about how the Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression. Both the Great Depression and the current economic problems were a massive loot and pillage operation by insiders.
Keynesian/mainstream economics is pure propaganda. Most/all mainstream discussions of politics are pure propaganda.
The only way to sort through the noise is to be as rational as possible.
My parents were complaining "Health care is too expensive!" I said "Maybe the restrictive State licensing requirements for doctors should be eliminated." They responded like I was advocating that doctors murder their patients intentionally. They got really offended by my suggestion. If I wasn't so sure I was right, I would have abandoned my position. I couldn't stop laughing, because I understood what was going on.
People think "State licensing requirements for doctors guarantee a minimum standard for quality." Actually, State licensing requirements for doctors guarantees a maximum standard for quality, and an artificially high price. Once a doctor gets a State doctor's license, it takes *EXTREME* misconduct to lose your license. A doctor who challenges orthodox practice may have his license revoked, which is the usual "peer review" problem.
All the values that western people respect are planted for reason inside them for the last 200y. Individualism, tolerance for the "other POV", "free market" conceptions, freedom of speech, etc. is total bullshit. That is what makes the system unbreakable - fighting the system means to fight your own system of values.
I had to come up with a better system of values, and break my pro-State brainwashing. Most people who do this have a psychotic/manic/panic attack, because it's traumatic to realize what has happened. Most such people spend the rest of their life on antipsychotic drugs, with the progress they made suppressed by harmful drugs.
You are making an argument in *FAVOR* of being rational, and not against.
Don't fell in that trap to become to much guided by reason. Reason will always explain you why you can not live well and not how to live well.
I don't see how "guided too much by reason" is a problem. In the original article, my complaint is that mainstream economists are *NOT* following logic. They are blindly applying Mathematical manipulations, without verifying their underlying assumptions/axioms. They are pretending to be rational, while writing nonsense.
For example, "Stealing is always wrong! (when individuals do it)" is a reasonable axiom. From there, it's natural to conclude "Taxation is theft!" My philosophy is rational and logically consistent.
Most other people falsely label irrational behavior as rational. "Be rational! Obama would be a better president than McCain!" It's irrational to believe that voting matters.
Being rational helps me survive in a world where everyone else is completely insane. I'm doing the best I can, given the circumstances. Just because everyone else is a brainwashed pro-State troll doesn't mean I have to be one. I give other people hints occasionally, but most people are too brainwashed and they get offended by information that questions their programming.
My parents were complaining that I've been losing money on my stock investments. I told them I wanted to invest in some physical gold and silver. They are concerned that someone would steal it. I pointed out that the money in my checking account and stock investments account were stolen just as easily, via inflation/deflation and a declining stock market. They didn't get it.
That's one problem with "Recessions are good! You can then buy stocks at a discount!" Most people are unemployed/underemployed during a recession, and aren't able to take advantage of the decline.
I'm seriously considering cashing in my State-sanctioned investments and switching to gold and silver. The problem is "Where to store it?" An agorist gold/silver warehouse receipt banking system is needed. You can't run a warehouse receipt bank as a on-the-books business, due to the cost of regulation compliance. The IRS and FBI bureaucrats explicitly say "We don't like warehouse receipt banks, because they're used by terrorists, drug dealers, money launderers, and people who want to dodge taxes." If you're an agorist and you keep gold or silver in your residence, your State-sanctioned theft insurance probably won't cover it.
Also, a gold/silver/FRN barter network is desperately needed. One risk of buying gold and silver is that the bad guys know you own some. If you buy from a trusted source who protects your privacy, there's less risk if almost nobody knows you own physical gold or silver.
I think you're referring to Howard Katz (One Handed Economist) few latest blog entries...
That is possible. I remember ideas and not the original source. That prevents the "argument from authority" fallacy. For example, on mises.org, some pro-State trolls write "Mises never wrote about the Compound Interest Paradox. Therefore, the Compound Interest Paradox isn't true." If you focus on people and not ideas, then you can make such errors.
I remember reading "Mainstream economics is just a bunch of useless fancy stochastic calculus. The underlying assumptions are wrong, making the calculations meaningless. The fancy calculations give the illusion of meaningful scientific work, while it's really nonsense." The original author was referring to less severe errors. The original source didn't say "Taxation is theft! The USA has an unfair monetary system! Therefore, mainstream economics is nonsense." The article I read made other arguments, such as discussing the "fat tails problem" or "black swan problem" (extreme events happen more often than you expect), which mentioning the underlying reason for the "fat tails problem", which is "The USA does not have a free market."
Systemic has left a new comment on your post "The Amero Subterfuge":
I think the point of controversy with the Amero is not really what it is or who controls it; instead, it seems that the imminent collapse of the US economy and the 'demonetization' (sic) of the US dollar would put everyone into the poorhouse.
The demonetization of the US dollar occurred in 1913, 1933, or 1971, when the default on the gold standard occurred. I predict that there will be a boycott of *ALL* fiat currencies and a return to sound money (gold and silver).
Switching from the US dollar to the Amero or Euro is merely switching from one unbacked fiat paper to another unbacked fiat paper.
Imagine this: The economy collapses. The treasury dept. says it is a force majeure (major force - out of their control), and says that the US dollar is no longer considered money, and that it is time for the U.S. to cut their economic losses. Like magic, the Amero is mentioned as the money messiah, and you will be able to buy 1 Amero with 100 of your US Dollars! However, 1 Amero only buys you a pack of cigarettes, some bread, and a 40 Oz. of Bud Light - but hey, at least we can buy things again.
If the overall goal of (insert mysterious shadow group here) is to force (further) economic enslavement upon the U.S. citizens, this would be a way to do it.
The problem with a complete default on the US dollar is that the State policemen would walk off their jobs when their paychecks bounce. Without police enforcing illegitimate laws, people would become truly free. As the State collapses, people will form free market police associations.
I predict that the final complete collapse won't occur until agorism and the underground economy are far advanced. At that time, the free market will be prepared to completely replace government.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Your Strawman Corporation":
I like your moral argument against taxation but as you know you are unlikely to win any argument regardless of its truth value. I am highly interested in the FSK FSK 'Strawman Corp' slant, I have read this before somewhere.
I don't understand your point.
Do I expect to convince a pro-State troll that "Taxation is theft!"? No, I don't. I'm wasting my time on them. Pro-State trolls are subhuman.
Do I expect to convince regular readers of my blog? Yes, I expect to convince some of them. Will I convince enough to start a free market trading group? Maybe. I'm going to try.
Suppose I am the victim of State violence for practicing agorism. Do I expect to convince a judge? No. Do I expect to convince some out of 12 jurors? Maybe. I'll try, if necessary. Even though jury selection procedures are biased, I don't know if the judge and prosecutor will be able to successfully pick 12/12 rabid pro-State trolls. I may be able to convince some of the jurors if I present a pro se defense.
At any time, the President could declare me an "enemy combatant" and hold me indefinitely without trial. At any time, a psychiatrist could declare me insane and hold me indefinitely without trial. If I become a high-profile advocate for free markets, then I'm placing myself under greater scrutiny by the State, but it also would become harder for the State to treat me unfairly.
This said that if one refuses to carry any ID representing the strawman corp, the State Authorities cannot do anything about it. If taken to court if one denies that the Caps Lock person is I, the State cannot do anything and the case needs to be thrown out, is this true?
A judge wouldn't take the argument seriously. He'd deem it "frivolous" and hold you in contempt just for mentioning it. A judge wouldn't understand the complicated issues.
That's the reason I advocate that, if you're an unfair victim of State violence, you should focus on a "jury nullification" defense and represent yourself. If you argue obscure legal technicalities, you're fighting the bad guys on their turf. The judge could always say "The Supreme Court said this is acceptable, and therefore it is.", and in a strict legal sense, he's correct.
I consider the morality argument to be much more interesting than the legal argument. I mention the legal arguments because they're interesting. Most/all judges and lawyers will say "The income tax and Federal Reserve as currently implemented are 100% legal/constitutional." If the people who control the most guns all believe something, then it's true. A judge or lawyer is not interested in arguing "what is moral". They are only interested in arguing "what is legal".
Federal judges and Supreme Court judges have a natural bias. You don't get chosen as a Federal judge unless you're thoroughly brainwashed as a pro-State troll. When it's a close decision, the Supreme Court usually makes the ruling that increases the power of the State.
The legal system has become nearly completely divorced from "natural law", "common law", or any sense of what is morally acceptable. If a handful of people decide an activity is a crime, then that's good enough according to a Federal judge.
When convincing friends and coworkers, I advise to focus on the moral argument and not the legal argument. Debating pro-State trolls is a waste of time and energy. I only try it occasionally for amusement purposes. It's also amusing to watch the mind control tricks in action, now that I'm immune to them.
If pressed in court, I'd use the moral argument. I'd mention the legal argument briefly, but I'd focus on the moral argument.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "McCain's Stupidest Tax Proposal":
I'm confused. You say the current (tax exempt) situation is a huge market distortion. You say it's a way of forcing wage slaves to keep their jobs. And then you say applying regular tax is a stupid idea. Are you for these distortions or against?
I was being sarcastic.
I'm against *ALL* State regulations of anything. Ideally, there would be no taxes at all, and no tax perks for special groups.
If your goal is "wage slavery for everyone", then the tax break for employer-paid health insurance makes sense. Removing this tax perk for corporations would encourage people to purchase individual policies, decreasing their wage slavery.
Employer-paid health insurance places unemployed workers under a squeeze. It also squeezes small business owners, who pay higher rates per person than a large corporation.
McCain's proposal to remove the tax cut for employer-paid health insurance is "bad" because it decreases people's wage slavery.
Paradoxically, I like bad laws, because they hasten the complete collapse! With "universal State-paid health insurance", the quality will almost definitely be lousy, creating opportunities for agorist doctors.
Avatar has left a new comment on your post "Smoot-Hawley Fnord":
We are getting closer to the Marx definition of communism. We just need to have the revolution and hopefully it is only a political one. The revolution will be against the bourgeoisie whose power comes from employment, education, and wealth. The people want to see the Wall Street bankers strung up to a tree.
I already wrote a post on Communism in the USA.
I looked at your blog and noticed this post on the gold standard.
Today the value of the Gold held is the US is worth $210,585,164,529.42 at today's prices.
I assume that refers to gold owned by the US government (and not privately owned gold)?
I wouldn't trust that figure. You don't know how much of that has been lent out for short sales, or otherwise mysteriously disappeared. I heard Ron Paul say that the total US gold reserves haven't been audited in a long time.
anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Smoot-Hawley Fnord":
I swear, if I run for office, I would love to have you as an adviser.
Not so that I can screw people over, but you would help me begin the process of losing my job.
If all goes well, someday in the future I have this image of the last State employee turning out the light and closing the door.
If your goal is to accelerate the complete collapse of the State, then there's no need to run for Congress or President. The current batch of politicians are doing a fine job of that on their own, without any additional assistance! The Supreme Leader of Humanity has already decided that he wants the State to completely collapse.
George Bush was a great President, in the sense that the US economy shrank substantially and the credibility of the State decreased. Don't worry! Obama will do even better!
The final collapse of the State probably won't be that orderly. The dollar will collapse in hyperinflation. Politicians will be ordering policemen to crack down on agorists, only to have their orders ignored. Some police will be trying to arrest the agorists, and other policemen will be secretly working with the agorists.
I like freedomain's attitude. "Government is evil. Therefore, I should work for the government and make it better!" is stupid. Let's try that in other industries. "The meat industry mistreats animals. I'll go get a job working in a slaughterhouse so I can treat them better!" "I'm an atheist/agnostic. Therefore, I should get a job as a Catholic priest so I can convince everyone else that Christianity is just a bunch of lies!" "I believe in racial equality. I'll go join the KKK!" "I believe proprietary software is wrong. All software should be open source! Therefore, I'll go work for Microsoft and convince everyone they should open source their OS!"
If you extend "Government is evil. Therefore, I should work for the government." as an analogy in other situations, you'll see how silly it is.
If your goal is "The State should collapse under its own incompetence and inefficiency!", then there's no need to go work for the State. The current batch of politicians and bureaucrats are doing a fine job of that already. If you really want to do something useful, go work as an agorist!
eagledove9 has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #68":
What is the 'time lag' when you see fnords? You described them once and said that you actually see an image of bold text standing out from the rest of the words. How long does it take before that image appears? (Does that only apply to reading? If you're watching a TV commercial and see the implied fnords, does it still show you a line of bold text?)
It's almost instantaneously. It can happen two ways. First, I can be actively looking for them. Second, if there's a particularly blatant fnord, it stands out.
It's more of "the idea pops into my head" more than it being visible words.
It applies to TV and newspapers.
It's almost exactly like in "They Live!", which you should watch if you haven't. I have the power of those magic glasses!
I had a very disturbing problem for a while - it hasn't been as bad recently - where I would hear the sound of a whisper pronouncing words I had just glanced at. It made it very difficult to read. (When I'm speedreading, I scan text with my eyes, without whispering the words internally.)
The word was often the wrong word, just like when autocomplete fills in a word after seeing only the first couple letters. It would fill in 'recently used words' or 'commonly used words' instead of 'words most likely to occur in this particular context.' This would often be a totally irrelevant word. I might see the word 'Fortis' and a whisper would say 'Fortified,' or I would see the word 'Rand' and a whisper would say 'random.' It really behaved exactly like autocomplete.
That's a different observation. You read words just by noticing the shape, rather than each individual letter. For example, if I write "Tle Stnle Smcks!", you should be able to figure out what I mean even though I spelled it wrong. If there's a word that fits the context better than what's actually written, you'll see that first.
The time lag on this phenomenon was extremely short. It happened almost instantly after seeing a word. It felt like it came from outside of me, not from within.
That problem started after my own psychiatry-murder experiences, along with lots of other problems. I NEVER had any reading difficulties at any time in my life, until that started happening. I HATED IT. It hasn't happened much recently.
It wears off over time. If you have a manic/panic attack, and *DON'T TAKE ANY ANTIPSYCHOTIC OR ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS*, it wears off in a few days. Some of the more serious side-effects take 3-12 months to wear off.
It's been almost a year since my last hospitalization. Still, I occasionally have "quantum jumps", where I reach a higher level of awareness. I'm able to go through them without being hospitalized now. If you have a panic/manic attack, and *DON'T TAKE DRUGS*, you will recover and achieve a higher level of awareness. It takes 12+ months for the process to fully work out. It may take longer for you than for me, because I'm probably smarter than you.
It's just your body's natural correction/healing process to pro-State brainwashing. It isn't enough to consciously realize "The State is evil!" You have to also correct all the little mind control tricks that you have been programmed to respond to. That can only be done subconsciously, and via stress. If you let time pass and think about what's bothering you, and *DON'T TAKE DRUGS* you'll get better. It'll take 12+ months.
Zargon has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #68":
After I wrote my comment on the Bailout Arithmetic post, I got to thinking that the details of exactly how the insiders screw everybody else in this particular instance aren't really important. The knowledge of how they do it in general and the fact that they'll continue to do it more and more, regardless of the details is what matters.
There are two important points. The State is a massive loot and pillage operation. Second, via mind control tricks like NLP, emotionally abusive people take advantage of productive workers.
I like your posts as a whole on the psychiatry industry. Thankfully, I haven't had any firsthand experience with that, but the knowledge is still very important for obvious reasons. Avoiding the psychiatry industry is a whole lot easier than avoiding the rest of the state.
As you correct your pro-State brainwashing, you risk an encounter with the psychiatry industry. It isn't just about learning "Taxation is theft!" It's also about learning all those subtle mind control tricks that are used on TV and by abusive people in person.
I really liked the post on outsourcing cooking. That seems like a great model for early agorist businesses. I wonder how many "customers" the lady is cooking for? From his account, it seems like she's too well organized for him to be her only customer. If she's cooking for 10 people, she's making ~$30k per year tax free for probably 10-20 hours per week of extra work, depending on how close together they live.
That's why I like agorism. Without any State-induced overhead for operating a business, you can make a decent income without a full 40 hour per week commitment.
I like your breakdown of the "don't talk to police" videos. I didn't watch the second half with the policeman when I watched the first half about a month ago. I thought he was giving the rebuttal for why talking to police is good. I assumed that would just be a bunch of predictable half-truths and outright lies, but it sounds like he (unintentionally) made some good points against talking to police, and plenty of points showing why the current police system is corrupt beyond repair. Maybe I'll give it a watch.
In that video, the police and attorney were mostly talking about enforcing real crimes, such as theft and murder. I'm not sure how such advice applies to agorism. If I'm arrested for practicing agorism, the police probably would already have a good account of the facts. I wouldn't be disputing the facts of what happened. I would be disputing "These activities aren't really crimes." However, I shouldn't volunteer information. I'd probably enjoy actively participating in the interrogation, to see if I could cause the policeman to break his pro-State brainwashing.
I'm not sure that brainwashing techniques can ever be beneficial. Even if you're chanting "taxation is theft", it seems to me you're still a slave unless you understand why. You're still not thinking rationally, even if you reach the right conclusion by chance.
I'm not sure if it would be beneficial or not. The only way to find out is to try. Have you ever seen a large group of people all chanting "Taxation is theft!"?
I like the occasional article on fnords. I think I developed the ability to resist fnords before I developed the ability to see them. Perhaps that's a byproduct of not seeing as many fnords since I watch next to no TV. Oftentimes though, I'll see you point out a fnord and think "oh yeah, I hadn't noticed that". So maybe I'm still filtering most of them out subconsciously. Granted, that may not necessarily be bad. I see plenty of them as is, and as you mentioned previously, seeing too many can be horribly depressing.
I think my fnord-vision was enhanced by a long period of time watching little or not TV. Now, I watch TV specifically to look for fnords.
Remember that there's two types of fnords. First, there's the evil fnords that are part of the human enslavement Matrix. Second, there's good fnords, which are hints that help people figure out what's going on, like the movie/documentary "The Matrix".
David Gross has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #68":
You wrote:In your blog, it wasn't clear when you're writing your own opinion, or quoting someone else.
I always put such quotes either within quotation marks or in tags — both on my blog and in its syndication feeds. Perhaps your feed reader is rendering blockquotes in an ambiguous manner (though as far as I can see both Bloglines and Google Reader render the blockquotes in my feed in a distinct way — though usually just by indenting the right and left margins).
In the future, if there's ambiguity about who is saying what, you might visit the page as hosted on my site where blockquotes are clearly distinguishable (they have a different font, different line-height, and are indented and marked with a yellow bar on the left margin).
It wasn't totally obvious. I usually just use Google Reader, as it's most convenient. Usually, a quote is attributed like this, to make it obvious:
"Psychiatrists are murderers!"
This way, there's less ambiguity.
Lately, I've had a substantial increase in blog comments. I have barely enough time to answer all of them, much less read other things.
Plus, I found a new job. I'm adopting a "no blogging while at work policy", at least while my employer seems like they have a clue. So far, it seems decent. This is the first time I've worked with a proper project manager in awhile, instead of having to do it all myself. The other programmers are working on unrelated projects. I'm the only programmer on this project. Therefore, the other programmers don't have the "Threatened by FSK's competence." issue, because they're working on something completely unrelated. The project managers don't feel threatened by my competence, because they're on a different career track than me.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Philosophy Overview":
I'd like to continue on my point.
The problem with Agorism is getting paid with something that will not leave a trail that can then be used to purchase other things. That is why most agorist workers are unskilled laborers. Paying someone $20 to mow your lawn isn't exactly rewarding high skilled labor.
That's the reason a good agorist uses gold and silver.
Right now, the only off-the-books work opportunities are for unskilled labor. That's because the free market economy is not sophisticated. A free market economy needs to be bootstrapped the same way the slave economy was bootstrapped.
Suppose you got paid $20 cash to mow someone's lawn, and it took you an hour. $20/hour after taxes is more than I make as a slave software engineer!
When you take into account 50%+ taxation rates, plus the cost of regulation compliance, plus all the people leeching off you in a slave job, it's very easy to justify working in the free market. The primary difficulty right now is a way to match buyers and sellers. I should work on writing "agoristbay".
For this reason, destroying the middle class is an important prerequisite for an agorist revolution. If people have a cushy middle-class job, they're less willing to take risks. If you take away the middle class jobs, people are risking less by practicing agorism!
Getting paid in cash for high skill work is preferable but there are not enough outlets for high skill work that will pay enough in untraceable currency to make a living. Most individuals do not have enough cash laying around to pay skilled laborers. Most people pay a plumber or contractor with a check, ansking to be paid in cash may cost you the job. It would be great if I could get paid in gold and silver but how many companies have a stockpile of gold lying around. The situation is even worse for individuals.
The last time I checked, plumber or electrician is a pretty high-paying cash job.
If you told your customer, "I'll charge you 30% less if you pay cash", then most would agree without any further explanation. You'd have to trust your customer. If you accept payment in cash, you avoid taxes, and you should pass some of the savings on to your customer.
In many cities, plumbers or electricians are licensed by the State. If you have no license, but still are skilled, there's a further benefit. You avoid the overhead of purchasing a license.
Most cities have coin stores. You can accept payment in cash and go to a coin store and buy gold or silver with cash. One of my agorist business ideas is a gold/silver/FRN barter network. Most people are reluctant to invest in gold because it's relatively illiquid, due to State regulations. An agorist gold/silver/FRN barter network fixes this problem.
As a computer programmer you may be able to find enough local small business to program a few customer databases and get paid in cash. Could you make a living on that money? Would the total ammount of time invested be worth more than just working at a large corporation?
Right now, no. If the free market were more sophisticated, then I probably could.
Working as an agorist, it would be easier for me to enter careers other than computer programmer. For example, I could work as an unlicensed taxi driver for a few hours a week. I could cook and sell food from my home for a few hours a week.
Ineffabelle works as a computer programmer and gets paid in cash.
One of my first jobs was teaching elderly people how to use a computer. I charged $20 an hour and usually took home $60 in cash from each lesson. I made around $800 a month cash which was good for a 16 year old kid. Far preferable to working at McDonalds.
I have always kept a line of work outside of my core job to generate extra cash. However I could not use my core profession to make $50k a year in cash due to the lack of outlets to sell my services. I have close to 10 individuals that run businesses that pay me in cash or barter for my services. The total worth of the service is maybe $3000-5000 depending on the year. For me to make a real living I would have to expand my circle of trust to a few hundred individuals. At that point can the circle still be trusted? At what point is the circle comprimised by a tax deduction and paper trail.
You can have a trusted network of 1000+ people if computer programs assist you. If you're *VERY* selective about who is allowed into the network, it should work.
Recently I made a trade to design brochures for a hair salon if they would cut and color my wife's hair for free. My normal fee would be $500. She has had her hair dyed and cut 3 times for free so far. The salon would have charged a price of $175 for each service. The total value of work is close to even. I sacrificed $500 in income in order to save myself over $500 paying for my wife to get her hair done. I would prefer to have $500 in my pocket and tell my wife she can't get her hair done but that would cost me in other ways. At least I know that I can keep my wife happy by trading a few hours of work every few months.
According to the IRS, barter transactions are taxable. You can:
- Accept payment in cash, and not report the transaction.
- Accept payment in gold or silver, and not report the transaction.
- Accept payment in barter, and not report the transaction.
I understand the agorist philosophy. I have essentially been working towards it my whole adult life. The taxation system is just too far reaching at this point.
I do not see trading in gold to be preferable. Essentially gold holds no value other than the value the market puts on it. Handing someone a few pieces of gold after they complete a job with you would most likely result in a "what am I supposed to do with that" response. Handing the same person a gold necklace that can be given to his wife, even with less total value than the gold pieces, would go over better.
Gold has kept its purchasing power for 100+ years, when there's a valid apples-to-apples comparison. For this reason, gold is good money. There is no reason to prefer gold to other metals. I'd accept copper, silver, or platinum, at the appropriate ratio.
For example, if you use tobacco as money, you have a problem because not all tobacco has equal quality. Metal coins don't have that problem.
Metal coins are free market money. If you have no centralized issuing authority, money must have tangible value.
To purchase anything the gold will have to be transferred into currency at some point. For that reason federal reserve currency holds more value than gold or other metals. Which is why the central bank holds so much power. The true value of gold is as a market tool used by the very rich to increase or decrease the face value of cntral bank issued currency.
If you use Federal Reserve Notes as money, you are ripped off by inflation over time, at a rate of 20%-30% per year (although there's been a deflationary recession/depression this year).
When you say "paper holds its value better than gold or silver", that's pure pro-State trolling.
Without a gold standard any stockpile of gold is essentially worthless as form of currency. At one time your gold could be worth $900 an ounce. Six months later it could be worth $300. If you traded your feredal reserve currency for gold at $900 an ounce and the value dropped to $300 you lost a lot of money.
If gold went back down to $300/ounce, you can be sure that there would be a lot of buyers at that price!
Suppose you buy gold at $1000/ounce and the price declines to $800/ounce. Have you lost anything? No. You still have an ounce of gold. The problem is that the value of the dollar is changing, and not that the value of gold is changed. For me, this is practically a definition, because I believe "Gold is money!" Suppose gold decreases from $1000/ounce to $800/ounce, you'll notice that other prices have decreased by the same amount or more. For example the price of gold has decreased from its high earlier this year. The S&P 500 decreased by a greater percentage in the same time. The retail price of gasoline has decreased since its peak earlier this year.
Because gold and other precious metals are linked so closely to the manipulated market agorism needs a different type of currency to be succesfull.
If gold is manipulated downward, then buy!
If you buy metal and take physical possession, your savings can't be stolen unless your metal is seized.
Metal coins are free market money. With no centralized issuing authority, the monetary unit must itself have value. The conversion from gold money to paper money required a gold seizure in 1933 and a massive brainwashing campaign to say "Gold is bad money."
When you say "Using gold as money is as arbitrary as paper.", you're pro-State trolling. There are valid free market reasons to use gold as money. However, requiring people to use gold as money is as silly as requiring them to use paper. In a true free market, people are free to use whatever they choose as money. In the present, I'd accept payment in Federal Reserve Notes, but charge more than for gold; I'd go to a coin store and buy gold to protect my savings from inflation.
You haven't made any criticism of agorism that has convinced me. The only thing left to do is to conduct an experiment and start actually trading as an agorist.
Mike has left a new comment on your post "A Halloween Costume Suggestion":
a pair of handcuffs might have a better symbolic resonance.
I was going for offending the Christians.
DixieFlatline has left a new comment on your post "A Halloween Costume Suggestion":
The Paulians have started an anti-tax thing with everyone wearing white armbands.
I don't follow Ron Paul anymore. Unless you're calling for an actual boycott of the Federal Reserve and income tax, you're pro-State trolling.
yakuza90 has left a new comment on your post "A Halloween Costume Suggestion":
What are you two specifically aiming at?
I was just attempting humor.
Still, with all the anti-Christian people, you would think some people would pick a simple "666" tattoo on their forehead.
Monkt has left a new comment on your post "A Halloween Costume Suggestion":
I was going to go as Henry Paulson and beg for money.
I was thinking of making some comedy sketches along that line.
I'd portray the Treasury Secretary as Mike Meyers' "Dr. Evil."
I'd have a bunch of terrorists in suits raiding Congress demanding $700 billion.
I'd have a beggar/lobbyist/banker on the subway demanding $700 billion.
Kristjan Velbri has left a new comment on your post "The Identity Theft Problem":
There's a really good book on the topic, titled No Place To Hide. It tells the story of the PATRIOT Act of 2001 and the consequences of giving companies limitless power as was done following the attacks of September 11th.
I read it and recommend it to everyone. You can have a discount right now, if you hurry ($5.99). I think this is something everyone has to know these days, because it's a danger lurking in the shadows.
I don't see what that has to do with identity theft.
Let's increase the power of the State! That brings the final collapse closer!
Paul M. Peterson has left a new comment on your post "Smoot-Hawley Fnord":
You have a very interesting perspective. I have been telling people for weeks that the bank bailout was a scam. It feels good to be validated
The bailout was a scam.
The entire purpose of the financial industry and government is to loot and pillage productive workers, giving the profits to a handful of insiders.
However, I doubt you will convince many of the people around you. For this reason, I like blogging and the Internet. A handful of people interested in the same topic can get together, which would be practically impossible otherwise. Without the Internet, it would be practically impossible for me to write my ideas about free market economics and get feedback from others.
Richard has left a new comment on your post "Another Problem With Juries":
the root of the problem here is the loss of that personal civic responsibility. employers and employees alike view jury service as something to be avoided, even though it is far and above the most intimate involvement a citizen can have with american government - direct participation. reforming the system would only be addressing an effect. to address the cause would be to reform the american attitude towards civic service, individual responsibility and participation with and (therefore) limitation of government.
Trial by jury is merely one patch on a corrupt system. There isn't anything special about juries. They were one check against monopolistic abuse of power by the State.
Nearly all of the important protections of trial by jury have been repealed.
Suppose I feel strongly "Possession of marijuana is not a crime!" Suppose I am interrogated for a marijuana possession criminal trial. I have to lie to get on the jury. Plus, I have to inconvenience myself and my coworkers by sitting on the trial for a few weeks. Why should I inconvenience myself to help a complete stranger?
If State courts didn't have an absolutely unaccountable monopoly, then juries would be unnecessary. If a judge got a reputation for unfairness, then he would lose his customers. Police forces could choose to not enforce a bad decision, or block the enforcement of a bad decision.
Trial by jury was an important check against abuse of State power. Trial by jury no longer provides any meaningful protection to individuals that are unfarily the victim of State violence.
It is more likely that the State will completely collapse, than that the current jury system will be reformed.
I found a new job, and don't have as much blogging time right now. There were a lot more comments recently. I have a bunch of unanswered comments back to November 1. Don't feel slighted if I didn't answer you yet.