Starving The Three Lions

People today work as hard as their parents did, but they have much less wealth. The reason for their relative poverty is that three mighty lions take a share of every worker’s production before it gets to their bank account. These three lions have always existed, but today they are much more ravenous than ever before.

The first lion is profits.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how productive the average worker is, because their employer takes all their production off them and gives only a fraction back, in the form of wages. This is inescapable given that the employer owns the workplace and everything that gets produced in it, and given that the Police will always take their side (at least initially) in any property or rights dispute.

In America, the labour share (or wage share) has been declining for several decades. Compared to the early 1970s, the labour share has declined some 10%. An OECD report suggests that a similar decline, of about 10%, has been seen in the labour share across a basket of Western countries. Employers take more, and give back less, than ever before.

To put this into perspective, the average American worker produces some USD72 of goods and services per hour of labour. A fall in labour share, from 65% to 55%, represents a $7.20 difference by the time it gets to the worker – and that’s before the other two lions take their share!

The second lion is taxes.

The average tax burden in Anglo countries is about 30%. This is lower than the average of other Western nations, and reflects that Anglo countries are run in accordance with a small-government ideology. However, it’s still a significant amount of the average worker’s productivity. After losing 45% of their productivity to profits, to lose a further 30% to taxes is brutal.

It means that our average worker, having produced $72 of goods and services before the lions took their share, is now down to about $27 after profits and taxes have been accounted for. The tax burdens of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, by contrast, are all less than 15%, despite that their wages and standards of living are similar to those of Anglo countries.

And there’s still the third lion to contend with – perhaps the hungriest of all. This third lion is rents.

The median monthly gross residential rent in the United States is now around $1,100 per month. Median rents in New Zealand are around the same level. Assuming that our average worker works 150 hours a month, dividing their rent by the number of hours worked gives us around $7 an hour. In other words, seven dollars of the income earned for every hour of labour the average worker performs goes to pay the rent.

Subtracting this from the $27 after profits and taxes means that the average American worker ends up with $20 out of every $72 they produce, once profits, taxes and rents have been taken out. If the labour share was still 65%, if the tax rate was 15% like in Far East Asia and if the average rents were at pre-Clown World levels (let’s say $600 per month), the average worker would be left with around $36 for every hour worked – almost twice as much as in reality.

Moreover, out of the $20 per hour the average worker gets in reality, they have to pay for a number of work-related expenses out of that. Transport to and from their job, work clothing, health insurance (if American) and the cost of any psychiatric medicine they might need would account for another $10 at least. They also need to save some of their wage for a house deposit if they aspire to ever be more than a rentcuck.

All of these facts tell us that, if the average Anglo worker in 2021 had the benefit of a pre-1970s labour share, Far East Asian tax levels and pre-Global Financial Crisis rent levels, they would have about three times as much disposable income as they actually do have in reality. Once the three lions have taken their share, there isn’t much left over for the average worker.

In summary, the three lions that take a share out of every worker’s wage, before the worker sees it, are profits, taxes and rents. If we could reduce these expenses to levels that exist elsewhere in space and time, we could triple the prosperity of the average worker.

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Why They Will Never Solve The Homelessness Crisis

Increasing levels of homelessness have been observed all over the Western World. The waiting list of families in need of severe housing in New Zealand has increased sevenfold since 2016, and has nearly quadrupled since the Sixth Labour Government came to power in late 2017. A similar situation exists in America, where “tent cities” of homeless people now surround major metropolitan areas.

A great deal of thought has gone into solving this crisis – or so we’re told. Apparently it’s an issue of great concern to the leaders of the West, who are doing everything they can to get their young people into houses. The reality is that they don’t care about homelessness at all – in fact, they want more of it. Homelessness serves a very important social role.

Like much of human behaviour, whether or not the lower classes rebel is a function of two factors: reward and risk.

The greater the reward for rebelling, the greater the likelihood it will happen. The more oppressed a people are, the greater the reward for rebelling. Anyone who has to endure daily humiliations, especially those of a physical kind, will soon come to feel that it’s worth rolling the dice.

The greater the risk for rebelling, the less the likelihood it will happen. This is why ancient kings used to put every male in rebellious villages to the sword. Others had to learn that the consequences of rebellion were either self-determination or death.

The ruling classes have always had to keep this reward-to-risk balance titled towards not rebelling. A failure to do so could mean that those ruling classes were violently deposed.

Ever since the advent of agriculture, the ruling classes have been preoccupied with one question: how to get people to work. Tilling fields is much less interesting than hunting. Left to their own devices, people would rather hunt and fish, and then lie around the rest of the time, than till fields and accumulate a surplus of grain.

Using violence to force people to work led to rebellion. So the ruling classes had to be subtle about tinkering with the reward-to-risk ratio.

One approach was to increase the reward for working. This was originally how early societies came to have a schedule of festivals, such as harvest festivals in Autumn, fertility festivals in Spring, and festivals for Midsummer and Midwinter. The idea was that people would more readily work a week of tilling fields if they had a festival to look forward to.

The other approach was to increase the risk of not working. As mentioned above, the ruling class couldn’t simply whip people, because they would rebel. The punishment for not working had to be more subtle. The usual solution was ostracisation. Anyone considered to not be working hard enough was deemed a ‘bludger’ or ‘malingerer’ and abused psychologically, instead of physically.

In contrast to physical abuse, psychological abuse can be dished out with very little chance of retaliation. So the ruling classes of today seek to maximise the amount of psychological abuse they inflict upon the lower classes, and that means spreading fear. The ruling class, in the final analysis, are little different to terrorists, and to that end they deliberately cultivate visible homelessness.

Most homelessness has been purposefully created by the ruling class, because they need to have people visibly suffering in public in order to scare the rest of the population into submission. In the terms used above, homelessness has been purposefully cultivated by the ruling class in order to increase the risk of not working.

The presence of homelessness means that the working classes put their heads down and obey orders without complaint, for fear of being made homeless themselves.

Many people have wondered about the logic of doubling the refugee quota, as Labour did in 2017. It seemed especially mysterious, as we were already in the grip of a housing crisis at the time, and each refugee family we housed meant one Kiwi family had to go without.

But that was the precise outcome intended.

The reason why they let the refugees in, and give them housing, while leaving Kiwis to suffer homeless, is because they want Kiwis to suffer. They want the average New Zealander to see his fellows suffering and homeless every day, because this will keep the average New Zealander compliant.

This strategy, which could be summarised as “A boot stamping on a human face, forever,” has reached its apogee in today’s America, where major Californian cities are now surrounded by miles and miles of tents. Los Angeles is believed to contain 60,000 homeless, many of who live in tents in the downtown commercial area.

This need to threaten people into submission is why they will never solve the homelessness crisis.

Much like cannabis prohibition, homelessness serves the purpose of signalling the government’s cruelty, and thereby works to bring the lower classes into a state of compliance. The homeless have to be there, so that the average citizen can be reminded of the consequences of resisting the government’s will. The more tyrannical the government becomes, the more homeless there will be.

The presence of homeless people, then, could be considered a sign of tyranny. Therefore, the homelessness problem won’t be solved until the tyranny one is.

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Is The Fiat Currency System Collapsing?

BitCoin enthusiasts have been overjoyed in recent months to observe the rise of their favourite cryptocurrency against the US Dollar. The price of BitCoin recently touched USD40,000 earlier today, making predictions of an eventual six-figure value seem believable. But the good news for BitCoin holders might herald bad news for everyone else. This could be the collapse of the fiat currency system.

The rise in the price of BitCoin has to be understood in the wider economic context.

Ever since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007, Western governments have taken to what is known as quantitative easing. This involves the widespread printing of fiat currency, a practice that has seen the price of everything go up. New Zealand recently increased the Quantitative Easing limits to $100 billion, up from $60 billion, meaning that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will help to fund the Government through buying bonds.

Almost 24% of all US Dollars in existence have been created over the past 12 months. This money printing has led to a much greater supply of money in circulation, which means one thing: inflation. The fiat currencies of the world are rapidly becoming worthless. This is evident when comparing their value to housing, bullion and BitCoin.

In New Zealand, the average house price has doubled since 2009, but wages have only gone up 40% since then. The average house cost ($330,000/$25) 13,200 hours of labour at the average wage in 2009. By 2020, it cost ($700,000/$34) 20,600 hours. So measured in house-buying terms, the average wage has lost 50% of its power since the Global Financial Crisis.

This is despite that fact that the value of housing stock has served as a kind of heat sink that has taken the steam out of the economy. That sink has now absorbed all the energy that it can. The extra is manifesting as inflation.

The rise in the price of silver bullion is even more striking. Silver bullion has doubled in value since April 2020. The reason for this is mostly uncertainty around fiat currency (the last time silver bullion spiked was in the immediate aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis). Silver has traditionally been seen as an alternative to fiat currency owing to its millennia of trade use.

It’s a similar story with gold bullion, the price of which has tripled since the Global Financial Crisis.

Most striking of all is the price of BitCoin. At the time of writing this article, the price of BitCoin had gone up 30% over the previous week. It had gone up 500% over the previous nine months. BitCoin has gained fame as a digital alternative to fiat currency, owing to the fact that it is not under centralised control.

Many people have predicted that BitCoin will take over once the fiat currency system collapses completely. It will be evident when this is happening, apparently, from a sustained spike in the BitCoin price. Well, there’s a spike in the BitCoin price right now, as well as a spike in the silver price, the gold price and the house price.

All of these trends point unmistakably to one conclusion: the fiat currency system is collapsing. This isn’t surprising to those who were already aware of the life cycle of fiat currencies. Soon, fiat currencies might be worth so little that some people refuse to take them in trade. Then the shit will hit the fan.

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Clown World Chronicles: Class Relations In Clown World

The West is proud of its egalitarian heritage. We derive a sense of moral superiority from being a culture in which even the lowest classes can, through hard work, determination and applied will, reach the highest positions. The example of Abraham Lincoln, born into poverty in a frontier log cabin, is archetypal. But class relations in Clown World are very different to those in the 19th century.

In Clown World, we’ve effectively gone back to feudal times.

It’s so hard to buy a house today that, if you aren’t born into money, you will need to be in the top segment of income earners to do it. In both America and Britain, the house price to income ratio is at highs not seen since the aftermath of World War II. In the case of Britain, things are so extreme that you’d have to go back to the Victorian Era to find a time when it was harder for the average person to own their home.

This has led to large proportions of entire generations becoming resigned to paying rent in perpetuity. Some have even labelled the lower classes Generation Rent. Class relations in Clown World are marked by the great distance between the landowning class and the renting class. Many landowners in Clown World make more profit from capital gains on property than they could working for a wage.

This state of class separation is maintained by a concerted effort on the part of the Establishment to destroy class consciousness, the only thing that could really threaten it. The mainstream media pushes any and all alternatives to class consciousness: race consciousness, gender consciousness, age cohort consciousness, any possible corporate brand consciousness. Anything but class consciousness.

These efforts keep class relations much less antagonistic than would otherwise be the case. There are no workers’ marches in Clown World, because the working class is divided along multiple lines of fracture. These lines of fracture prevent the solidarity that would be necessary for collective action.

These divisions are maintained by the control that the ruling class has over the apparatus of propaganda. This control allows them to set the agenda in every Western country, and this agenda is inevitably fighting racism, fighting sexism, fighting ageism – and never fighting classism.

Class relations in Clown World, then, are characterised by the relentless efforts of the ruling class to keep the lower classes divided and conquered. The masses are bedazzled by the 24/7 circus of flickering images coming through the television. They are demoralised by the relentless bombardment of bigotry accusations. They are disorientated by the contradictions coming from the government.

The net result of these efforts to keep poor people down is greater inequality, and less social mobility, than ever.

Inequality is now at historic levels. The American Gini Index sits at 41.4, meaning that America is even less equal than kleptocracies like Haiti, Iran and Turkmenistan. Even China and Russia – bywords in some circles for autocratic shitholes – have lower Gini Indexes than America.

It’s similar with homeownership. The homeownership rates in supposed poverty-stricken dumps like India and Mexico is higher than in supposed lands of opportunity like America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Yet the Western mainstream media bleats incessantly about how wonderful everything is and how we’ve never had it so good.

In Clown World, wealth equals the ability to suck productivity out of other people by controlling their labour. The commodification of some people means fat profits for others. The poorer a population is, the more readily they can be extorted out of rents. The class system in Clown World, then, is much like a food chain: energy is passed upwards.

Inequality has reached such levels that a person can be significantly wealthier than average and still be a long way from the upper economic strata. The result of this is a widespread absence of sympathy for those in the lower strata. They are so far below that they might as well be animals. In Clown World, your opinion only matters if you’re wealthy enough to buy media time.

The 2020 American Presidential Election was fought between the billionaire Donald Trump and Joe Biden, a man who had already spent 47 years in the upper levels of American governance. The previous election was fought between Trump and Hillary Clinton, who had also spent decades in the upper levels of American governance. The one before that involved Mitt Romney, whose net worth was $250 million, and Barack Obama, the descendant of slave owners.

An Abraham Lincoln is unthinkable today. Someone born into poverty in today’s America is born so far behind that even becoming a homeowner would be a herculean effort. That they might become President is just laughable. Today, the ownership class has a complete lock on positions of power.

Naturally, a situation like this is ripe for revolution.

Democracy is about the easy satisfaction of desires. When those desires can no longer easily be satisfied, dissatisfaction quickly turns into a will to cause chaos. The widespread rioting of 2020 is a foretaste of the inevitable suffering of the next decade. As it becomes harder and harder to meet desires for decent housing and decent pay, people’s willingness to riot will increase.

The real risk of Clown World is that class relations become so bad that a majority of people want to overthrow the system. That could lead to them putting all their energies in behind a tyrannical demagogue. A leader who promised to get revenge on those hoarding property could summon a hurricane of rage behind them.

For class relations to improve, the masses have to have hope again. This doesn’t mean hope of becoming multibillionaires, just hope of meaningfully improving the station into which they were born. It means that they suffer less drudgery and poverty as they get older, and not more. If economic forces or policies push the masses away from hope, they push them into the clutches of fear and hate.

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This article is an excerpt from Clown World Chronicles, a book about the insanity of life in the post-Industrial West. This is being compiled by Vince McLeod for an expected release in January 2021.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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