Work hard, and you’ll get rich. All Westerners have been told this since we were small children – and it used to be true. Back in the days when there was natural scarcity, this made sense, because what was lacking was productive capacity. Now that human productive capacity is effectively infinite (at least when it comes to meeting physical demands), economics works on a different basis – that of artificial scarcity.
The definition of artificial scarcity is “the scarcity of items even though either the technology and production, or sharing capacity, exists to create a theoretically limitless abundance”. Many people have noted that the productive capacity already exists on Planet Earth to create a theoretically limitless abundance of most things, and the reason why we don’t already have it is a matter of politics.
Understanding artificial scarcity is a matter of understanding that every financial transaction is a matter of leverage, and that leverage is a matter of the supply of that good or service, and that the supply of any good or service is a function of its scarcity (or of the scarcity of its basic constituents).
Looked at another way, the more scarce a good or service can be made, the more desperate people will become in order to obtain that good or service, which means the purveyor of it has more leverage, and the price of that good or service will therefore increase. Once your own supply of a particular good or service is ensured, profit can be increased by restricting supply of it to everyone else.
Strangling someone to get them to give up their wallet is an example of inducing artificial scarcity, in this case a scarcity of oxygen to the brain. Understanding this extortionate power is key to understanding the whole point.
In a state of Nature, people are free to hunt and gather from the commons to which all land belongs. There is therefore no such thing as artificial scarcity, because all scarcity is natural. Today, however, because everything has been enclosed, fenced off, walled off, there are no longer any commons, and consequently there is a massive artificial scarcity of food, whether game meat or gathered fruits, nuts, berries, mushrooms etc.
This artificial scarcity of food has created immense scope for profits for the land-owning class. The masses who had their land taken must now serve those who took it in order to get enough of that wealth to live. There is such an immense scarcity of land that anyone with an enforceable claim to own it can become rich by simply charging rent, because there will always be someone with a productive enterprise that needs land on which to operate, and they will pay rent.
In other words, the people continue to work the land for sustenance as they always have done, but now that sustenance passes through an intermediary (the landowner) who takes as big of a cut as they see fit (possibly subject to anti-exploitation laws), and leaves the remainder for the workers. Thus it can be seen that artificial scarcity can arise as a form of gangsterism.
Artificial scarcity is usually defended by those who profit from it, and from the sycophantic dogs who are happy to take a slice of that profit in exchange for enforcing it on the masses. To the extent that these two groups hold power in society, artificial scarcity will exist.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution made it cheap to produce everything, those who wished to gain political and economic control over the masses switched the emphasis from helping those masses overcome natural scarcity to imposing upon them artificial scarcity. George Orwell wrote about this in 1984, when he had Emmanuel Goldstein write about how politicians need to destroy surplus production in order to keep the populace under control.
Speaking as the author of The Theory And Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, Orwell teaches that the main motive for introducing artificial scarcity is political power. If the people have a surplus of goods and services, their standard of living will rise. As their standard of living rises, it becomes increasingly possible for motivated individuals among them to become educated and free-thinking, and, consequently, to become the sort of person who will challenge the control system.
Defending the control system, therefore, requires that the people are impoverished.
An excellent example of artificial scarcity in the modern world relates to housing. The Baby Boomer generation have realised – now that they own all the houses – that by increasing demand for those houses (through mass immigration) while simultaneously decreasing demand for them (such as refusing to build new ones or restricting access to old ones through tricks such as New Zealand’s meth house scam), they can push the younger generations into more desperation and thereby a weaker negotiating position.
Tightening the supply of housing is like tightening the grip around the throat of the young who are desperate for it – which is how the Boomers are now able to extract so much rent.
Cannabis prohibition is another good example. By artificially restricting the people’s access to cannabis, the politicians gave great leverage to their friends in the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries, who had one fewer competitor for monopoly of the recreational drug and medicine markets, respectively. The cannabis laws also have the benefit of primarily destroying black, brown, young, poor and freethinking people, which further entrenches the power hierarchy.
So getting rich isn’t about working hard anymore – it’s about getting your fingers around the throat of someone who does.
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