VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future VII

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The sixth chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Immigration’. It starts with an attack on Winston Peters’s “twenty year racist dogwhistling campaign”, in which Seymour takes the opportunity to position himself as a crusader against racism and bigotry. This is a wise strategic move on Seymour’s part, considering that his party gets more votes from the foreign-born than any other. The Greens are also accused of racism for wanting to lower immigration levels.

Astonishingly, Seymour makes a passionate appeal to New Zealand’s moral obligation to help displaced refugees – but at no point in this book so far has he made any appeal to New Zealand’s moral obligation to help its own people, especially its poorest and most disadvantaged. Here Seymour comes across as the out-of-touch, highly privileged urban dweller who is horrified by a tennis ball to the head.

Ironically, Seymour pillories those who cry “racist” at everyone who claims that we need some immigration restrictions, despite doing the same thing himself on the previous page. This he does in an attempt to position himself as the supporter of a “smart” immigration policy, pointing out that no-one wants no immigration and no-one wants open borders.

He lists at length what he perceives to be the good things about New Zealand, as a way of explaining why so many people want to come here. He claims that New Zealand has a “generous” welfare system, no doubt by way of comparison to Samoa or India. Noting that New Zealand would be swamped tomorrow if we decided to throw open our borders, he seems to think it’s good enough for New Zealand to be doing better than the global average. No word about our domestic violence, child abuse or teen suicide rates.

He also makes some fair criticisms of the current immigration system, such as the absurdity of getting an investment visa from buying and holding for a few years a couple of million dollars’ worth of Government bonds. He laments the shortage of workers at tech companies and hospitals, but manages to resist the temptation of arguing that we need to attract them through lower tax rates.

New Zealand First comes in for special criticism here, with Seymour going as far as to claim that their “poisonousness” is “intended to hurt those who want to bring their skills and settle in New Zealand”. Seymour might not be aware that Maoris vote New Zealand First much more often than white people, so one wonders what he makes of this. Are Maoris racist for not wanting mass immigration? No-one knows.

There are many contradictions in this essay, many of them glaring. Possibly the most grievous encountered so far is when he complains that previous Governments have failed to make sure that the immigrants coming there are those who will integrate and contribute to economic growth, but in the very next sentence complains that those Governments only “reluctantly and begrudgingly” increase the refugee quota when concern about overseas suffering becomes “overwhelming”.

Anyone with the most passing familiarity with the situation in Europe knows that refugees are precisely the sort of person who are least likely to integrate, and who will offer negative economic growth. This contradiction is so glaringly incredible that it’s unclear if Seymour is being dishonest here or if this essay is simply poorly written.

Hilariously, Seymour is willing to grit his teeth and write that New Zealand doesn’t need “upper middle class foreign citizens flashing their bank accounts at us on their way through customs to get to a beach house” – when those people make up most of ACT’s voters. Also, we don’t need more Pacific Islanders “taking the piss” by using family migration to get their extended family “to come and live and take advantage of our generous welfare system”. Seymour writes this, apparently completely unaware that, earlier in the chapter, he pilloried New Zealand First and called them racist for saying much the same thing.

Seymour concludes this chapter with some virtue signalling about how our refugee quota is an “embarrassment”. He doesn’t appear to understand that keeping the number of Muslims and Africans low is the only way that the New Zealand population will remain favourable to immigration in general – this has been the lesson of the last twenty years in Europe. This contradiction is typical of what has so far been the most poorly written and argued essay in this book so far.

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VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future V

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The fourth chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Education’. Seymour opens this essay with a mention of Vanguard Military School, the establishment of which he credits to ACT. This is an “exceptional” story because New Zealand’s education system is “a mess”. Although he writes that no-one begrudges the $12,000,000,000 yearly cost of educating New Zealand’s 800,000 students, many people have problems with the outcome.

New Zealand has a lot of problems because people aren’t literate enough, Seymour says. This is why employers “prefer a stream of immigrants”. There is a long, rambling passage here where Seymour touches on a variety of themes, including having a go at Hekia Parata. Apparently New Zealand is going backwards in PISA rankings. It’s hard to tell who Seymour is blaming for the mess in question.

Without a hint of irony, Seymour writes that “the outcomes have got worse for kids from poorer backgrounds”. Most Kiwis could tell him that the reason for these worsening outcomes were the policies of the Fifth National Government, which raised GST on those kids from poorer backgrounds while cutting other people’s taxes, and cutting services to those same poor.

What Seymour pushes here is the idea of a variety of schools with different cultures, which he believes will better suit the individual needs of the various students than the current “one size fits all” model. It follows from this that the Government is not the best provider of education services, because they don’t tend to tailor things to the individual needs of the citizens.

Much of this section reveals the specifically Auckland-centric focus that ACT has always had, and which leads it to get very, very few votes outside of that city. The logic behind the school zoning system is dissected at length, but this only really applies to Auckland and, to a small extent, Christchurch and Wellington. Perhaps Seymour is writing more as Epsom representative here.

True to form as a politician, Seymour demands that teachers be better trained and better resourced, but doesn’t explain where this money will come from. Despite this budget hole, it’s hard to deny that Seymour has several good points here. The cultures of individual schools are usually too sclerotic to adjust to the changing needs of pupils, so they could be supplemented by Partnership Schools that more specifically meet the needs of their students.

These Partnership Schools would be run more like private schools and could be easily closed down at any time if they were underperforming. Seymour touts this as a major feature, on account of the difficulty with doing so in the public sector. Students would be best served by flexibility in the educator sector, which is an intelligent way of increasing value without spending more money.

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Why Neoliberals Love Mass Immigration

Mass immigration is often supported by the left, but it happens to also achieve a number of major right-wing goals

Neoliberalism is a right-wing movement in the sense that the ultimate aim of it is to take power away from the poor and give it to the rich. However, it is not a conservative movement, because neoliberals don’t care at all about the disruption that their policies have on people’s lives. So some of their positions are hard to understand at first. This essay seeks to explain why neoliberals love mass immigration so much.

Classical conservatism recognises that the wealthy already have the power, and so the wealthy try to keep things the same to preserve their good position. Change is therefore considered bad. Where this differs from neoliberalism is that the neoliberal tries to entrench the already strong position of the wealthy by further weakening the position of the poor. Accordingly, changes to the social structure are permissible if they make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The basics of labour solidarity work like this. The rate of pay is a function of the supply and demand of labour. As long as labour is not available below a certain level of pay, then the rate of pay must rise above this to meet a higher equilibrium. So if all the workers in a certain area or industry get together and agree to not work for less than, say, $15/hour, this constricts the supply of cheap labour, which presses the price of labour upward.

To counter this, employers like to import cheap labour from outside of the area. The most infamous example of this is the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but the importation of labour doesn’t have to be involuntary. To the contrary – there is a virtually infinite supply of cheap labour in the world that can willingly be brought in to work for less, because there are always impoverished shitholes with high birth rates that people want to escape from in exchange for the McDonalds lifestyle.

Seen in union-busting terms, immigrants who are brought into the country by capitalist interests to work for less money than the locals are effectively scab labour. After all, there’s no real difference between scab labour that breaks a picket line and someone willing to immigrate to another country to do work at a wage lower than the locals would accept: both push wages down.

Not only does this outside labour have the effect of lowering wages through the scab effect, but it also makes future labour organisation more difficult. It’s much harder to conduct the conversations necessary to start a union when the workplace has no common language, and no-one is going to start a union anyway if their work visa is dependent on pleasing their employer.

It can be seen, then, that liberalising immigration through globalising the workforce has the immediate effect of not only driving wages down by increasing the supply of labour, but it also makes it harder to agitate for a higher wage, a double effect.

In other words, mass immigration is simply another example of the same union-busting behaviour that the ruling class has always used. The only difference is that it destroys the bonds of solidarity on the national level, instead of only destroying them in a certain area or industry. With a menagerie of different languages and cultures in the same area, the solidarity necessary to resist the divide and conquer attempts of the ruling class cannot be achieved. If that area is the whole nation so much the better.

Regular conservatives are a bit leery about destroying the working class in quite so brazen and irreparable a manner. The fear seems to be that they might rise up in anger and riot. Neoliberals have to be understood as significantly different to regular conservatives in this manner. They’re not at all shy about rubbing the faces of the Western working class in dogshit, knowing that their complete media domination makes the threat of retaliation essentially nil.

The real beauty of the mass immigration issue, from the neoliberal perspective, is that they can destroy the Western working class in this manner with the kindest of rhetoric. Mass immigration is presented by the mainstream media – almost completely owned by banks – as a compassionate solution to foreign poverty, only opposed by racists, bigots and rednecks.

This means that the already disadvantaged classes tear themselves in half as the globalists feel solidarity with the immigrants and refugees and the nationalists with the indigenous people. The neoliberals laugh all the way to the bank.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future IV

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The third chapter in Own Your Future is ‘Superannuation and the Gold Card’. This essay starts with a dig at Winston Peters, who was once investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Seymour doesn’t like the wasteful spending he sees in the Gold Card, especially as many of the recipients of the largesse of it are already millionaires.

Universal super is set to cost us around $20,000,000,000 per year by 2031, Seymour informs us. Here he makes a play for younger voters by having a go at the Baby Boomers. He references the suspicion of the younger generations that they aren’t going to get the same sweet pension deal that their parents got – after all, we didn’t get the same free tertiary education that they got.

He raises the spectre of a Greece-style economic apocalypse happening as a result of a debt spiral triggered by having to pay these lavish pension funds up to and past 2060. It’s hard to deny Seymour’s maths, as it appears to be true that we will soon reach a point where there are only two workers for every pensioner (as opposed to today’s four).

The options, as he sees it, are: raising taxes by about a quarter or raising the retirement age, neither likely to happen because young people don’t vote. Seymour here criticises both John Key and Bill English for lacking the courage to deal with the issue, and makes an entreaty to the young to not become disengaged from politics.

This seems baldly hypocritical, considering that ACT spent all of the last nine years voting alongside the National Party, who are the party that represents all the Baby Boomers. As Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand, the vast majority of Baby Boomers vote for National, whose efforts to fuck over the young were eagerly supported, for nine years straight, by all ACT MPs including David Seymour.

National closed down rape crisis centres and gutted mental health funding, leading to New Zealand having the developed world’s highest youth suicide rate, and Seymour supported them all the way, despite that many young people voted ACT in 2014. He does not acknowledge that this may have contributed to the low turnout rate among the young.

True to neoliberal form, Seymour’s solution to this looming pension crisis is to squeeze some extra labour out of the working class, by raising the age of retirement to 67, and soon. No means testing, despite that 25% of people claiming the pension are also either claiming a salary or run their own business (as admitted by Seymour himself) and at that point the chapter abruptly ends.

One realises here that Seymour is primarily trying to win votes from people too young to know anything other than neoliberalism. Old people are too conservative to vote anything other than National or sometimes New Zealand first, and it’s the young and well-heeled (who don’t expect to be reliant on a public pension in old age) who are the most amenable to Seymour’s suggestions here.

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The Solution to the Authoritarian Right Wing is Not the Authoritarian Left but Libertarianism

The answer to right-wing authoritarianism is not more authoritarianism only with a softer face

The Western World is still recoiling at, but fascinated by, the horrors of World War II. Consistent with Francis Fukuyama’s Great Pendulum Theory, we have been looking for solutions to the problems of life that led us into World War II and this has pushed us to the far-left. This essay will argue that the solution to the excesses of the authoritarian right is not authoritarian leftism but libertarianism.

The authoritarian left can be found crying crocodile tears over all kinds of suffering that it blames on the right, in the hope that they can gather more power as a result of the ensuing outrage. Characteristic of the authoritarian left is that they make the same critiques of capitalism and verticalised social structures as the libertarian left, but they offer radically different solutions.

Instead of more freedom for good people, the authoritarian left seeks less freedom for bad people. It sounds like it should lead to similar results, but it doesn’t. Less freedom for good people is one obvious side-effect, but this is considered merely a bit of collateral damage. Those who lose out will understand that such measures were necessary for the sake of the greater good – and if they don’t understand this we will force them to.

Another flaw of the authoritarian left is their bloodlust for punishing those who they consider to have transgressed the moral code. In this sense, the authoritarian left is no less vicious than the authoritarian right, only they purport to brutally punish people to further an agenda of horizontalism instead of one of verticalism. Anyone who tries to elevate one person or group above another is to be ripped down.

Right now, the wet dream of all authoritarian leftists is control of public speech, especially on social media. There is nothing that they would like more than to bring in “hate speech” laws governing social media discourse, so that anyone who expressed a politically incorrect sentiment would be harassed by the Police. Their logic is that if the people were forbidden from expressing certain dangerous ideas then those ideas would become less widespread, thereby dispelling the danger.

The real problem with authoritarian leftism is that the people promoting it are also promoting authoritarian solutions, which tend to mutate back into authoritarian rightism before anyone realises it. As mentioned above, the authoritarian leftists tend to make accurate and fair criticisms of right-wing policy – the problem arises when their recommended response to those criticisms is to centralise more power in their own hands.

The real solution to the problems of the authoritarian right is libertarianism, whether of the left or the right variety. That some on the libertarian left are unwilling to concede this point is a real danger. If the libertarian left is unwilling to co-operate with the libertarian right to oppose authoritarian solutions, they will find the authoritarians co-operating to split the libertarians in half.

Currently, there is a large risk that the extreme, authoritarian right will come back to prominence as a consequence of the social unrest brought about by mass Third World immigration into the West, especially Europe.

The authoritarian left’s solution to this problem is to “stop bigotry” by cracking down on what they deem “hate speech”. Because the dogma has it that all human groups are precisely equal in all ways, any economic disparity between one group and another must come from the malicious efforts of the wealthy group to undermine and impoverish the poor one. Therefore, Third Worlders can only be poor and violent because of prejudice, which must then be stamped out.

The problem with this is, if and when the authoritarian right comes back into power, they will have all these hate speech laws already on the books and a population conditioned to accept gross abuses of state power in the service of some spurious link to a greater good. They might even have – worst of all – a population desperate for change, baying for blood and with hate speech laws on the books. Then it’s a simple matter of adjusting the definition of hate to “speech against nation/race/ruler” and we have another genocide on our hands.

Beating the authoritarian right will require that we intelligently encourage avenues of freedom that take people away from the left-authoritarian/right-authoritarian cycle. If we love freedom more than we love our own delusions that we can perfect the world by force, then we can accept that working towards libertarianism is a worthwhile goal, regardless of whether it’s left or right in form.

This will require that the ruling powers guarantee the cognitive liberty of the people. In particular this means to keep the Internet free, to keep artistic expression unrestricted, to keep the press free and to refuse all punitive forms of drug prohibition.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future III

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The second chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Tax’. Seymour opens with a complaint about wasteful government spending, citing the example of Gerry Brownlee flying to San Francisco on the taypayer’s dollar for a photo op. Indeed this was an appalling waste of money for no benefit to the nation, but Seymour leaps from this fact to the tacit assumption that all tax money is likewise wasted.

Seymour is right when he says it’s stupid that the Government is running surpluses while the average New Zealand household is at record levels of debt. The solution is, naturally, lower taxes. Here Seymour makes a sharp distinction between “our own” money, and “another person’s” money. Not for him the interdependence of all things. In Seymour’s world, there are very clear lines over who owns what.

Government takes in taxes equal to 40% of GDP, Seymour notes – “exclusively” another person’s money. Seymour doesn’t agree with the idea that the state is the most efficient provider of many services on account of the economies of scale afforded by its unique size. For him, the Government is merely a parasitic entity that sucks tax money out of hard-working Kiwis and wastes it frivolously.

Breaking step with the usual neoliberal choice of target, Seymour points out that there is a tremendous amount of corporate welfare in New Zealand as well. This only lasts for a few sentences, because he’s soon back to crying about taxation. Bracket creep comes in for particular ire – for Seymour, the wealthy aren’t getting a big enough share of the spoils of economic growth.

True to being a politician, he is dishonest. He claims that bracket creep happens because wages rise (which is true) but he also claims that wages rise to meet the increase in the price of consumer goods. The truth is that wages are not linked to the inflation of consumer goods – they are a function of the relative leverage that the employer has over the employee. When consumer goods become more expensive, this gives the employee absolutely no additional leverage through which they can negotiate a higher wage with their employer. If anything, it gives them less leverage because the lower standard of living makes them more desperate to settle.

In one paragraph, Seymour abandons even the pretense of reasoning and simply lists American libertarian slogans: “High tax rates… drag the economy down”, “people spend their money better than governments do”, “Money goes more good in the private sector than in the public sector.” Again one senses the cold shadow of the millions starved to death by Communism.

Seymour makes some good and fair points when he talks about the bureaucratic waste in the system. The problem is that this waste is the only thing he sees – all Government spending is hip-hop tours and junkets to San Francisco. He will not acknowledge that tax money is used for anything good, or that taxpayers get anything back for their tax money. National are the good guys because they levy less tax; Labour are bad and the Greens are the worst of all.

It’s hard to disagree, however, when he complains about the top tax bracket being $70,000. One doesn’t have to be wealthy to concede that someone earning $70,000 a year is far from loaded.

In all, one feels that Seymour is capable of making some good points but has a dishonest method for selecting and presenting them to the reader. Despite that, it’s easily arguable that Seymour and his party are tasked with playing an important role in New Zealand politics – that of keeping a check on Government waste – even though they are apologists for neoliberalism.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).

VJMP Reads: David Seymour’s Own Your Future II

A Liberal Vision for New Zealand in 2017

This reading carries on from here.

The first real chapter of Own Your Future is titled ‘Housing’. The degree to which Seymour is out of touch comes through again immediately, when he states a belief that an “ordinary” New Zealand family is one that owns 50ha of land. His maths seems fair when he calculates the deficit of new houses, but it is notable where he lays the blame.

Seymour is willing to appeal to “basic economics” when he points out the factors restricting the supply of housing – in particular red tape – but basic economics does not seem to apply to the demand side of the equation. Following the neoliberal playbook closely, Seymour dismisses entirely the idea that migration could make a contribution to the increase in house prices.

His logic here is curious. New Zealand’s waves of migration “have not caused food prices to double, for example”. He is comfortable with concluding therefore that “there is no evidence that immigration has increased the price of commodities”. It’s certainly an unusually high standard for a variable to need to double a second variable before it can be said to have caused it to increase.

This line of reasoning can be explained by a study conducted by Dan McGlashan, in which he found that Asians voted for the ACT Party at higher rates than anyone else. No doubt Seymour is wary of placing any blame on immigration because that’s how most of his voters got here.

Perhaps through some effort of will, Seymour holds off on mentioning the Resource Management Act until the sixth page of the essay. This is invoked to take all the blame for rising house prices. He points out that, 30 years ago, the bottom 20% of the population paid 27% of their income in rent, whereas now they pay 54%. This is a fair comment but it’s not clear that all of the blame for this necessarily lies with the RMA.

Seymour repeats the claim that only 0.8% of the land area of New Zealand is urbanised, but doesn’t mention how this compares to other countries or who benefits from raising this percentage. How does the average Kiwi benefit from urbanising more of the country for the sake of letting in more immigrants? It isn’t said.

He goes further, pillorying the Greens’ proposal to limit immigration to an increase of 1% of the population every year. Even an immigration rate of 1% is enough to double the population of the country before the end of the century. This is very interesting if one considers that the people of New Zealand have never asked for the Government to increase the population at all, much less double it.

The most striking thing about this essay on housing is that Seymour never refers to the experience of overseas countries that have had similar housing crises. Housing in Sydney, Melbourne and London has increased in price much like Auckland – do they have RMAs constricting the supply of housing? Seymour doesn’t say. What has happened in other jurisdictions that have implemented his suggestions? He doesn’t say.

One gets the feeling from this essay that Seymour is a dedicated supporter of neoliberalism, but does not feel the need to back up his assertions with real-world examples, preferring instead to use rhetoric.

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The Key to Generating Wealth is Artificial Scarcity

Artificially restricting the common property of the masses drives up the price of private holdings of capital

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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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis).