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Guest Post: The State Is A Tragedy Of The Commons

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Michael Suede of Fascist Soup

The State Is A Tragedy Of The Commons

Some of you may already be familiar with the economic law called “the
tragedy of the commons,” but for those of you who are not, I shall
explain it to you.

The tragedy of the commons
refers to a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple
individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own
self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even
when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this
to happen.

For example:  If two cattle farmers share a common plot of land
between them, and neither can exclude the other from grazing their
cattle on it, both farmers have a natural incentive to graze their cows
as much as possible on the common land, there by destroying it quickly,
rather than conserving it for future use.

Another example would be hunting deer on common land.  If several
hunters share a common hunting ground, and none can exclude the others
from hunting there, each hunter has an incentive to shoot as many deer
as he can before the stock of deer is depleted by the other hunters.

The clear lesson to be learned from this economic law is that
common resources, which everyone has access to, lead to rapid depletion
and destruction of those resources as the public attempts to horde as
much as they can before the resources are depleted.

I would argue the tragedy of the commons receives far too little
attention as a rational explanation for the cancerous expansion of the
State.  For what is the State other than people looting each others’
private property in a zero sum game of resource redistribution?  The
tragedy of the commons gives us a rational basis for the
consistent and constant expansion of the coercively funded democratic
State and why that expansion always leads to the destruction of society.

Alexander Tytler once wrote, A democracy cannot exist
as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of
voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public
I would argue Tytler had the cause and effect inverted in his statement.  Modern democracies are specifically created for the express purpose of establishing common property across an entire State region.

To be logically consistent, Tytler’s statement should be rewritten as:  The modern democratic State cannot exist without the largess of the public treasury.

It is important to note that common property is not the same as
publicly accessible property.  A rancher can regulate the hunting that
takes place on his own land.  Often ranchers will allow hunters access
to their land for a nominal fee and under certain terms.  It is in the
rancher’s best interest to allow only enough hunting on his property so
as not to deplete the stock of wildlife, and the rancher can regulate
this by varying the rate he charges or the number of people he allows to
hunt his land.

While modern democracies claim eminent domain across all of the land,
labor, and resources in a given region, the most typical form of
private property they assert control over is the trade intermediary that
society uses in barter with each other.

When the money of a society is defined as common property by a State,
nearly EVERYTHING in that society necessarily becomes common property,
since nearly everything in society has a price.

If each individual actor in a society perceives that his own property
(money) is not really his own, but is common property, he will
rationally act to horde as many resources (physical things) for himself,
through the political system, as he possibly can before the common pool
of resources is depleted.   Under a common property money, this drive
by the public to expand State power becomes instinctive and rational.

When the democratic State has the ability to take as much money as it
likes from whomever it choses, it will necessarily and eventually turn
the entirety of society against itself.  It will foster, through the
public trough, a mad rush for each political interest group to acquire
as many resources as they can, as quickly as they can, before those
resources are expropriated by other interest groups. Of course, the
largest and most powerful interest groups will always get the biggest
slice of the pie.

The tragedy of the commons explicitly shows us that modern democratic
States are ALWAYS unsustainable if they are allowed to use violence
against the population in order to make the money supply of the
population common property.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes,
exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did
not commit suicide. –John Adams (1814)

These insights give us a clear picture as to what a truly sustainable democratic government must look like:

1.  A sustainable democratic government must never be allowed to assert control over the money a society choses to use.

2.  A sustainable democratic government must never be allowed to take
property by force, either through taxation or eminent domain.

Any democratic government that is permitted the use of eminent
domain, the forced confiscation of wealth through taxation, or monopoly
control over the issuance of currency, will always result in the
self-destruction of the given society.

It is interesting to note that the same is not true of other types of
State systems!  For example, a monarchy may be able to be to retain a
monopoly over the issuance of currency and act as the final arbiter of
all disputes, along with violently taxing the public, but because the
King is able to prevent the public from “feeding at the public trough,”
that nation State may be able to exist for extremely long periods of
relative stability.

Of course, I’m not arguing in favor of a monarchy.  But it is
important to note, since this explains why some monarchies were able to
exist in relative stability for long periods of time.

The ultimate truth of the matter is that democratic rule does not
require a voting booth and necessarily shouldn’t have one.

If we make
the assumption that no sustainable democratic government can be allowed
to wage violence against the innocent in order to expropriate property,
then we must consider how such a government is to be funded.

If it is to be funded voluntarily, then it is clear that public
voting is automatically accomplished by the consumers of that government
when they purchase its services.

What might such a democratic government look like?

Austrian Economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe  provides us some answers:



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Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:38 | 971800 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

Oh really?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:47 | 971840 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Another example would be hunting deer on common land.  If several hunters share a common hunting ground, and none can exclude the others from hunting there, each hunter has an incentive to shoot as many deer as he can before the stock of deer is depleted by the other hunters.


The imperative does exist no matter what in a competitive environment.

The whole US political fantasy is modelled on Europe which was an area of small sized powers rather equivalent in power, always rebalancing the advances of another through an everlasting game of alliances. This closed universe  led to the fallacious equilibrium theory.

Yet the reality of the US fantasy is imbalances, people looking for weak entities that can not exclude them from performing exactly the same, that is depletion of resources in other to carry out the competitive process.

Common property, private property, it does not matter.

Every time the same story: property rights are not enforced, the State is failing, got corrupted whereas the whole game is oriented to deny property rights, be they collective or private.

The whole US has been built on denying property rights.

The facts are jumping into face but yet, people prefer to build fantasies.

So be it.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:49 | 971848 Misean
Misean's picture


1.  A sustainable democratic government must never be allowed to assert control over the money a society choses to use.

2.  A sustainable democratic government must never be allowed to take property by force, either through taxation or eminent domain."

Yeah...BWAHAHAHAHAHA!...good luck with that. Give power of government to a group of men and watch the 1.5 sigma cluster of humans centered on a 95 IQ follow them right into slavery...oh wait...

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:07 | 972803 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

This is why the dictatorship of Capital - i.e., what exists now globally - cannot allow democracy.

Capital abhors democracy, because it relies upon the exploitation of the very people to whom it grants a voice.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:36 | 972900 Chump
Chump's picture

Your new terms and definitions are just as wrong as the old.  Capital is not "i.e., what exists now globally."  It is also not sentient, and has no preference which political or economic system is in place.

Start over again.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:10 | 972977 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Sorry - Capital relations are social relations.  While Capital isn't sentient, those who deploy it are.

And they care about one thing, and one thing only:  creating more Capital.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:15 | 972992 l1xx3r
l1xx3r's picture

Capital is a good thing to create...

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:24 | 973004 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

All you need is a willingness to rob your neighbor...

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 10:51 | 973917 snowball777
snowball777's picture

I'm guessing you've never created anything of value in your entire life.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 17:10 | 975538 Carl Spackler
Carl Spackler's picture

I second what snowball777 says.

Clearly, people who have never "had skin in the game" of producing something from something else they own are the first ones to be whining incessantly or spewing hyperbole.


Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:57 | 974230 BigJim
BigJim's picture

No... all you need is savings. And before you say: to get savings, you need a willingness to rob your neighbour, again, no, all you need is a willingness to consume less than you produce.

Once you have savings, you can then decide you wish to pay someone else to do the work (using your equipment) while you go do something else. That's Capitalism. Or you and a bunch of other savers might decide to pool your savings, so you can put together something more complicated and resource intensive, or will take a longer period to turn a profit because it had high startup or fixed costs, and then you hire other people to operate the equipment. That's Capitalism. Or you might have a great idea but no money, so you approach a person or group of people with savings and get them to fund it, and you pay people to operate the equipment. That's Capitalism. Or the person with the great idea might go to someone who manages money for other people, etc, etc. That's Capitalism too.

None of that is intrinsically incompatible with Democracy, is it? So what DO you mean?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:00 | 973949 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Capital is a good thing to create...

So, Bernanke is, in fact, doing God's work?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 12:00 | 974256 BigJim
BigJim's picture

C'mon Rocky, tell me you're pulling our tails here. The Bernanke is creating currency, not capital. By creating currency he's extracting value from every other holder of that currency, and (given the USD's reserve status) by extension, pretty much everyone on the planet.

He's no more creating capital than a mugger, counterfeiter, or thief.

Sun, 02/20/2011 - 01:55 | 979059 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Well, yah!   The whole point was to make fun of the goofy bastard.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:35 | 973020 Chump
Chump's picture

Your first mistake was to assume a demonstrably false definition of capital.  Your next mistake follows: you try to justify your ridiculous definition through a vague and loaded statement, "capital relations are social relations."  (And?)  Based on your misunderstanding of capital and capitalism, how am I to trust you even understand the concept of "social relations"?

And to complete your trifecta, you mistakenly assume that capital is managed and used the same by everyone, simply because it's "capital."

Quit while you're way behind.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:58 | 973057 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Capital is used to make more capital which is used to make more capital.  That's the point.  It's what distinguishes Capital from cash-money.

Asserting that you're too dumb to grasp a pretty simple idea (hiring and firing workers, raping and pillaging land, etc. is a social act) while simultaneously asserting how smart you are is a strange approach to argumentation.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:53 | 971870 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Plato pointed out a cycle of government if i remember.correctly that roughly corresponds to anarchy leads to tyranny/dictatorship which leads to monarchy which leads to a republican form of.government which leads to democracy then democracy deteriorates into anarchy and the cycle repeats.

P.s. not the good kind of anarchy either.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:56 | 971876 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

He noted that democracies destroy themselves when people realize they can vote themselves treasure from the early.rendition of the tragedy of the commons.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:59 | 971889 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

You mean he noted that in a period of time when voters had to be bribed to be brought to the fora in order to discuss political matters and vote on them?

They indeed seemed pretty eager of voting themselves advantages as they had to be bribed to perform the act.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:07 | 971916 Bob
Bob's picture

The entire thing is so convoluted that only those who worship at the altar of state-hate can possibly follow it. 

Clearly what we need is another bracing round of Capitalism without restraint by the state.  Don't think so?

Ya just gotta believe

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:50 | 972075 CH1
CH1's picture

LOL... sure, we need hyper-thugs to beat us all into righteousness!

No sale here. I am BETTER than the rulers - ANY rulers. And as much as we quite disagree, I'd bet you are far more righteous than they.

Rulership has NO MAGIC.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:10 | 972154 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Honestly, only a complete idiot believes that what we have today is capitalism, as in a market-based economic system. What we have instead is the complete corruption thereof, whether it's called crony capitalism, corporatism, socialism lite, or better, their amalgamation in the form of "fascialism": 

So whatever you call it, the state is at the bottom of it. And a tragedy of the commons it certainly is, never mind what simple-minded state-worshipers like yourself maintain.


Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:13 | 972821 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Capitalism is a system in which Capital rules and determines the actions of actors living under it.

That's PRECISELY what we have.  The simple fact that you don't like the outcome doesn't negate the reality of things.

Capital decides which politicians rule; Capital decides which businesses succeed; Capital determines the public school curriculums; Capital determines which products come to market; Capital determines what states go to war, and who they kill.

Capital determines everything.  That's called Capitalism.  Ignoring this material reality of our lives is either evasion or ignorance.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:39 | 972909 Chump
Chump's picture

Capital is not sentient.

Never breed.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:12 | 972981 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture


Capital relations are social relations.  Capital is driven by one goal, and one goal only:  to create more Capital.  To ACCUMULATE.  

That's all that matters.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:41 | 973035 Chump
Chump's picture

There it is again: "capital relations are social relations."  I'm sure that means something to you, but it falls short of an actual argument.

Creating capital with capital is inherently good.  Accumulating capital while doing so is inherently good.

Forcing other people to use their capital as you see fit is abject evil.  You attempt to defend evil with your gibberish.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:54 | 973049 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Your inability to understand that Capital moves, operates, and accumulates through social interaction doesn't make it untrue.

Capital isn't created by magic.  It's created by exploitation of people by people.

Your assertion that theft is "inherently" good, without any evidence to the contrary (except for all those landfills and golf courses) demonstrates the outer limits of your argument.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:23 | 973362 CH1
CH1's picture

Troll. You begin with a fraudulent definition and refuse to consider anything but your attached doctrine.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:05 | 973970 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Did you ever watch a fly bump up against a window pane -- until it eventually dies?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:13 | 974007 snowball777
snowball777's picture

You might attempt something beyond your anthropomorphic aping of Marx's work and consider the possibility that exchange of capital for labor is not inherently exploitative.

As an analogy: not all sex is rape.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:12 | 973349 Nootropic
Nootropic's picture

I'm not even sure they that the average ZHer a good grasp on the tradegy of the commons, either.  That explanation was weak.  Here, try the original essay.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 07:47 | 973501 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Public finances is also a commons and now a tragedy. There is no one with a sustainability interest who can stop the rest from destroying it.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 07:49 | 973505 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

That was an early trick to get short sighted poor people to vote, the people who usually dont show up. Once those types started showing up it enhanced certain political careers but doomed the democracy.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:57 | 973338 DFCtomm
DFCtomm's picture

That's a matter of opinion. I guarantee you there are more than a few waiting, and hoping for just this type of anarchy. Lusting at the thought of doing away with the ever increasing restrictions of this over bearing nanny state. I'm actually thinking of buying a horse, just in case.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 07:43 | 973498 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Then the cycle shall repeat, which is probably a.good thing because human systems usually cant reform themselves, but must be replaced in a political version of creative destruction.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:53 | 971871 Steroid
Steroid's picture

It is not a zero sum game thus the tragedy.

Free market: positive some game

Etatism: negative sum game

Mix economies: depends on the ratio of the above.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:59 | 971887 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Some group must be incentivised to maintain good stewardship.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:01 | 971898 Steroid
Steroid's picture

You mean do God's work?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:52 | 972084 CH1
CH1's picture

Maintain good stewardship on your own property. Going beyond that is thuggery, no matter how many purple-robed priests make incantations at your altar.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:17 | 972993 l1xx3r
l1xx3r's picture


Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:24 | 973297 nathandegraaf
nathandegraaf's picture

+ 1 = 2

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:43 | 973324 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

i'll see your two and raise you 4.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:14 | 973353 Nootropic
Nootropic's picture

So I dump the offal from my tannery upriver and poision your land, while my land remains nice and clean.

See, I maintain good stewardship on my land, its all well kept and clean.  See how nicely the cabbage row is?  Would you like to buy some leather?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:25 | 973363 CH1
CH1's picture

You could solve that straw man in 20 seconds if you tried.

But that's the catch - YOUR GOAL IS TO MAKE THE IDEA FAIL.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 04:24 | 973408 DFCtomm
DFCtomm's picture

God save us from the dogooders.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:14 | 972832 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Free market:  "make believe idea that has never existed and will never exist"

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:55 | 971875 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

 It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury



see wisconsin etc


public voting is automatically accomplished by the consumers of that government when they purchase its services....or purchase the government as the case may be


see wisconsin etc

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:02 | 971904 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

LOL - dems found in Illinois

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:15 | 971958 ReallySparky
ReallySparky's picture

Those clowns are at the Best Western In Rockford, IL.  What a circus.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:03 | 971909 mmlevine
mmlevine's picture

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton

Man by nature is a greedy animal.  In fact, I'm sure man is the only animal that takes more than needed to survive.  The tragedy of the commons is a made up "economic law" that has not and will not work.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:54 | 972094 CH1
CH1's picture

The Tragedy of the Commons is not a "law" per se - it is simply WHAT HAPPENS. As in "so close to every time that you can count on it."

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:17 | 972837 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

It isn't "what happens"

The commons were STOLEN from the people who had used them for generations by landlords and merchants.  They couldn't have done so without the state helping them along the way.

At every step, the state has FACILITATED Capital's expropriation of the earth from those who inhabit it.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:30 | 973308 nathandegraaf
nathandegraaf's picture

And unfortunately, that is precisely "what happens."  A good is declared everyone's.  Everyone owns the state in a democracy (theoretically through their representatives).  The state decides it needs the good.  The state takes it from its people through means both covert and overt.  To get the good back the people bitch, moan, vote, protest, riot and attempt to grab the power.  And by that time the good is either devalued or diminished and put to "best use" by the state that "everyone" voted in.  It's just sneaky sovereignty.  A nice long con.  If you can run it (and you can't run it).  

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:13 | 971947 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

as long as we allow anything, human or computer, to gamble with food and the basic requirements agreed to as a reasonable life, we do not yet have a "society"

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:17 | 971963 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Excellent, and that is why socialism/marxism/communism doesn't, and cant' work.  Thomas Sowell: socialism is about politicians getting elected by telling gullible people what they want to hear, which is to promise them they can get something for nothing.

The Federal Reserve banking system promotes socialism and profits from it by making money available for the state to to run chronic debt and deficits. Keynesianism was elevated to deliver the goods to the politicians and interest payments to the bankers (and Krugman) without having to raise taxes by redistribution and theft through debasement and inflation.  

When the promises are broken and the bill finally comes due, there is always the inevitable crackdown by the state to retain power and maintain the status quo.

They'll try to issue another fiat currency (IMF) and do it all over again. History repeats.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:46 | 972057 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Tell me something: how is capitalism going to solve the problem of the polluting of our air and water?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:54 | 972099 Misean
Misean's picture

You go first half-wit. How is your beloved police state going to do it. Please take note at the environmental heavens created in Russia, China...oh and the good ol' USeless of A government dumping grounds.

I can hardly wait for your pearls of central command wisdom...

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:05 | 972792 midtowng
midtowng's picture

It's much easier to assume what I believe and calling me names based on your own assumption, than actually using your brain and answering a simple question.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:56 | 972105 CH1
CH1's picture

You pollute the water that flows on to my property and you are a criminal. Law without state is easy... and better. In fact, it existed, very successfully, in the old days.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:12 | 972384 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture


The way the free market operates is consumers turn their noses up (remove their custom) from companies that do them harm, such as in your example over-polluting. Humans do not put up with things that do more damage to them than bring advantage. So if there was a heavy polluter, they would simply go out of business if the community or customer base saw them as dangerous to their health.

Old London used to suffer from heavy industrial fogs. Peoples alternative was to simply move out of London. But most people stayed simply because tha advantages of staying in a large metropolis and next to the wealth stream of industrialisation INCREASED their wealth and lifespan over and above the pollution.

People aren't stupid. Free markets aren't stupid. Only Govt is dumber than fuking mud  

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:09 | 972807 midtowng
midtowng's picture

There are two things wrong with this statement:

The most obvious one is that London was the most populated city in the world when it was also the most polluted.

The second problem, and the most serious one, is that all economic thought today, including what you just said above, is based on the assumption that the consumer has near perfect information. It obviously isn't true and has no relationship to reality, yet people keep preaching it. Hell, most people don't even know what the politician that represents then believes, much less the environmental and labor abuses of the multinational company that makes their products.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:07 | 973071 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

No there is nothing wrong with my statement as it is a fact. Despite as your say London was the most polluted (and populated) city in the world it retained its population because the benefits of industrialisation (wealth) outweighed the health dangers. Namely industrialised London had a wealthier lifestyle and offered a better quality of life than the agricultural alternative (hard labour reduces your lifespan more than air pollution).

Let me repeat. People are not stupid. People know what's best for them. We instinctively know wether smokey London will be better than clean air countryside. You yourself probably live in a more polluted city than the countryside. Because the City offers many times more benefits in products and services and quality of life.

Regards the consumer making the "perfect decision" they make the best decision for their person.

The free market offers a variety of say cars with different styles, quality, performance and pricing points. that's because there's say 2,000 different consumers. There is no 1 perfect decision because each consumer has different wants and tastes. The consumer is variable, the free market offers products with variety.

This is why the State is a failure. Its central committees hand down a God-like one-size-fits-all policy with 1 pricing point and no variety to 'fit' 2,000 consumers regards say dental treatment.

So the free market is never "perfect" but it does provide huge variety as well as constant innovation and speed of new products. It is in a thousand ways better than the State or State-Big Biz collusion.

To say the free market is not perfect well what is your alternative? It's the very best we've got in fact it's bloody fantastic when you look around. No other system comes remotely close to its performance or value.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:01 | 973273 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Your statement above was:

if there was a heavy polluter, they would simply go out of business if the community or customer base saw them as dangerous to their health

Yet there are huge pollutors in the world that are raking in enormous profits. Why? Because the pollution isn't in the backyards of the primary customers. Why does that make a difference? Because the primary customer isn't anywhere close to being fully informed. It is impossible for the customer to make the "perfect decision" because there is no possible way for he/she to have all the information necessary.

And that is the crux of the problem of economics today. All the models are based on the customer making the "perfect decision".

The current system is NOT bloody fantastic. It's a crying f*cking shame is what it is. There is nothing noble, fair, just, or sustainable in the current system.

Does that mean I support central planning? No. It means that the current system of psuedo-capitalism is just one step in our evolution. It means we'll need to evolve something better eventually.

BTW, thanks for not getting nasty and having an adult conversation with me.

A book you might want to read is "Debunking Economics" by Steve Keen. I very much endorse it.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:28 | 973367 CH1
CH1's picture

Why are you even here? Attempting to keep the sheep dazzled and inside the pen?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:03 | 972787 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Law without state is what they have in Somalia. I don't count that as working too well.

And speaking of polluting water that flows onto your property, people can sue about that right now. So why is the commons still being polluted?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:16 | 973086 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Except that the State in Somalia has been that of the United States, since the Clinton years. We've been funding warlords, and they get along despite the imbalances we create with our money and weapons.

The State is doing such a good job of protecting that water, isn't it. This is a breakdown of the rule of law. None of it Stateless. None of it free market.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 01:35 | 973240 midtowng
midtowng's picture

They get along? I beg to differ. Somalia begs to differ. The real story of Somalia since its government collapsed under Bush Senior is that the people rejected the warlords and embraced the Islamic Courts. The people there actually formed their own government under Islamic Law and defeated the warlords that we supported in open battle in 2006.

Then, because Bush The Younger couldn't stand it, we funded an invasion from Christian Ethiopia and it further brutalized the most brutalized people in the world.

As for their job with water, it's isn't doing nearly as good of job anymore, but that's because the laws aren't being enforced anymore. That isn't a failure of the law, it's a failure based upon groups directly undermining the law. Remember that cholera used to be a big problem in America before the government started regulating water.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:23 | 973091 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

You say Somalia isn't working too well but so what? There is a turf war between two tribes effectively, let them fight/sort it out. Is it any worse than 2 governments with law like say Israel and Palestine? Where has Govt helped resolve that tribal turf war in the past 70 years??? I would argue the State is the reason for the turf war and indeed its escalation and that if the State was removed the people would have sorted this matter out decades ago.

How does "democratic Govt" and "law and judiciary" help America when it is the most warmongering nation on Earth fighting 2 unjust and unlawful wars and lloking for a 3rd in Korea and/or iran by the look of it? 

Meanwhile Wall Street is the most fraudulent and corrupt financial centre in the world. It is also the most heavily regulated with the richest and highest staffed regulators on the planet with a Govt that bullies other countries on having strict rules. How has law, lawyers, regulators and "democratic Govt" helped any?

In a free market the Big Bad bankrupt Wall Street banks would have gone to the wall 3 years ago. Instead these incompetents (at best) have been propped up and have got even bigger. Govt has made the problem (dinosaurs) bigger and the problem of debt bigger. The free market would have sorted this out by killing both stone cold dead.

Regards your last point about water pollution I don't understand your question, can you expand a bit please?

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 01:40 | 973248 midtowng
midtowng's picture

The people of Somalia tried to sort it out in 2006. They gathered together and defeated our CIA-supported warlords in open battle. The warlords fled to waiting American warships. The people had won.

 So what did they do? They set up their own government based on Islamic Law. They had tired of the chaos. Their solution wasn't no government. It was better government.

The fact is that the people of Somalia would know much better than you and I could ever possibly know.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:16 | 973355 Nootropic
Nootropic's picture

You become sick and weak before you can establish any kind of causal link that would work in a court, and are too weak to enforce it through vigilantism. 


You lose for being downriver, upriver man waits until the land clears out, takes over.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:20 | 974047 snowball777
snowball777's picture

"how is capitalism going to solve the problem of the polluting"

Monetize conservation and provide for the technology to remediate?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:34 | 972891 johnnynaps
johnnynaps's picture

And, that is why my intelligent Chinese friend is heading back to communist China after her schooling in NY? Great socialistic speeches are outdated considering they pertain to socialistic societies of 100+ years ago that didn't even have refrigeration.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 09:09 | 973605 A Proud Canadian
A Proud Canadian's picture

For the same reasons that socialism doesn't work, so to Capitalism does not work:  man is greedy, self centered and immoral.  Power and control is always ultimately corrupting.  Outside of a few Trappist Monasteries and more convents, no human system of governing can withstand the tendency to increased control/corruption.  I think of it as political entropy: governing corruption always increases with time. 

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:18 | 974032 snowball777
snowball777's picture

" telling gullible people what they want to hear, which is to promise them they can get something for nothing."

Because this never, ever happens to investors.

Right, Bernie?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:19 | 971966 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

This is a terrible essay. The examples are in conflict with the assumptions. The facts are in conflict with reality.

The state does not control money. A private banking cartel controls the money. There is a world of difference. This allows for the idea that the "democratic society" controls the monetary substitute. They have no control whatsoever.

The state does not have the power of eminent domain over all property. This type of state seizure has definite limits and rules regarding it's use. 

While I can agree with some of the conclusions, the essay does not get us there nor does it justify them. 

There are better solutions. Free gold and mandatory clearinghouse operations for monetary substitutes resolves the problems with money/credit creation.

The end of taxation is also essentially for a free society. I even like the idea of allowing the state to offer it's services through a voting public- but with significant restraints not outlined here. This may alleviate the transition to a more stateless society. However, it will require that the concept of individual sovereignty be explored and accepted in some guaranteed form.


Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:56 | 972109 CH1
CH1's picture

The state upholds the private banking cartel with violence. Look up "e-gold" and see what the state did to them, for the crime of making better money.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:18 | 972177 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

The crime was operating without a license. You could have used better examples that are more egregious or even considered legal tender laws. Employing police power is a far cry from operating the entire financial system as the FED does. To hint at the state as even a partner would be fantasy. 

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:31 | 972881 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

It is easy to turn "licensing" into just another support for crony capitalism.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:32 | 973372 CH1
CH1's picture

LOL... the owner was holding class for the Dept. of Justice! He has letters from them thanking him. They knew precisely what he was doing. Getting a new license would have been no issue at all.

Stop giving the state every benefit of every doubt. They are not a better class of beings - they are your idiot neighbors, empowered to rule over everyone else.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:22 | 972184 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

"The state does not control money. A private banking cartel controls the money."

Yes, and that cartel controls the government, as in twelve private banks that control a board of governors:

You clueless naifs deserve what you get. But you deserve far more for the damage your cluelessness does to the rest of us.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:16 | 972348 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture


The "crime" of e-Gold was "operating without a license". Don't you think the real crime is having to have a Govt license to run a business?

A business license is like a Passport or Human Rights Law. They are the State giving you permission to exist or conduct. You are nothing unless you have the States endorsement. This is the foot print (or marching boots) of marxism/fascism.

The Law, business or driving licenses, passports you name it are all State controls usually for The Parasite Club (Big Govt and Big Biz) to control free society and free markets. They are all totalitarian controls.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:41 | 972485 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

If you read the poster's comment, my response should be pretty clear. I am well aware of the concept of statism and all it's manifestations. You are not the only person here that has an understanding of anarchism. So, please keep your condescension to yourself.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:22 | 972650 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Have you even read the original argument? You might want to understand the context before you begin accusing people of being clueless. Then, you might see that the argument is based on the state having complete control of the monetary system and that the people, as members of a democracy, have input into that system.

Opening your mouth before engaging your brain is dangerous to intelligent speech- unless you weren't trying for that, then keep it up.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:55 | 972755 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

who, at least in your mind, have i said is "clueless" ?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:25 | 972860 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

You need to learn how comments post. That response was to Buttkiss.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:03 | 972784 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

"They are all totalitarian controls."

Of course they are. So why the categorical statement that our monetary system is privately run? If it were, it could not possibly wield the diabolical power that it does, as it is nothing without the monopoly control of the state. And what input, prey tell, do "the people, as members of a democracy, have...into that system"? Surely you don't actually believe that!

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:43 | 972908 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

That quote is not mine, but I will assume you were answering my post, because our monetary system is privately run. It has the diabolical power it has because it controls the money supply, interest rates, capitalization and leverage. It can also purchase the people who are elected to government. However, if someone decides to end their charter, much like Andrew Jackson did, the people's input is a part of that.

More important, it is part of the original argument posted to the site and what I was responding to. If you read my original response, you will see I was referencing the author's statement that the state controlled the monetary system. I was arguing against that. 

The whole concept of who actually runs things was never part of the discussion. For me to make that point, would be to assume the readers can make jumps in logic beyond the author's statements. I try not to do that. 

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:25 | 971983 DosZap
DosZap's picture

I vote we go back to old style Anarchy.

The kind where everyone acted rationally, and no punishments were meted out buy a group,revenge, or vigilantism, unless actual damages had occurred.

IOW, you mind you business, and I mind miner, you screw with any of my stuff, and WE take care of it.

We do not need a Government 500x's the size of LBJ's, to tell us what to do, nor should we pay for it.

Either that or 38 sates call aCon Con, and we get it back the way we want it or ELSE.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:46 | 972061 midtowng
midtowng's picture

You can already find that society in Somalia.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:58 | 972116 CH1
CH1's picture

You're trolling. Why not go back to ancient Israel, which was an anarchy for centuries?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:11 | 972816 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Ancient Israel had a king and a set of draconian laws during the short time it existed.

I gave you a real, modern example. That's not trolling.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:32 | 973374 CH1
CH1's picture

FAIL. Read Judges. Read about Samuel. God warned them NOT to take a king.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:20 | 972852 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

You write as though before Capital began its 500 year gang-rape of the planet that human beings couldn't organize themselves.

They actually could, and quite sustainably with a great deal of success, actually.

For thousands of years.  

To suggest that there is not alternative to a system predicated to theft, greed, war, and the destruction of community is a truly sad commentary...

It reflects a terrific failure of imagination.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:24 | 973103 trav7777
trav7777's picture

ah the halcyon days of parasites and shoveling horseshit.  No thanks.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 05:08 | 973432 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Under capitalism, horseshit doesn't need shoveling!!  That's what makes it so great.

That's because, with such an ample supply projecting from the mouths of those who call themselves "economists", all a capitalist has to do is own one.

AND they also fulfill all your propaganda needs, too!

Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Ludwig von Mises, AynRand/Alan Greenspan, etc. - all professional horseshit hoses.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:28 | 973117 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

+ 2,000,000 years of human evolution without the fuking nonsense called "democratic Govt" 

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:26 | 971988 wcvarones
wcvarones's picture

The Tytler quote is bogus.

That is, it's correct, but it wasn't said by Tytler.  It was presumably written by a modern-day smartass.



Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:11 | 972014 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Michael Suede

Your ' Tragedy Of The Commons' theory is very good, it's close, but it is not correct as it does not explain the mechanism. 

My theory is much simpler, the Competition Mechanism versus Monopoly, explains everything and in particular the distribution of power and human behaviour (and mis-behaviour) itself. The competition mechanism distributes power between 2 parties (in markets the consumer and enterprise or in society man and wife) whereas Monopoly hoards power in society or markets by 1 party.

The only matter you need to add to this mechanism is understanding human nature. But the competition mechanism once again actually explains human nature too, indeed it predicts the outcome of human nature if you remove the competition mechanism and replace it with monopoly power (the outcome is never good and entirely predictable - delusional from society and parasitical).

For example in society we all have similar characteristics but our egos are kept in check by other egos in society if we become too arrogant. Put any one of us in a monopoly situation however and we become divas very quickly, or head of State we turn from an ambitious lawyer into a murdering Crusader (Tony Blair). Why? Simply because he can. Because he is not kept in check by society, he has a position of monopoly (un-checked) power. If Blair had to compete every month for societies approval (like a business) his murderous physcopathic arrogance would never have had a chance to run amuck. 

Competition keeps peoples personalities in check. Monopoly power systems allow peoples egos and delusions to run riot (eg. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Castro, Bush, Blair et al). You mention Royalty actually worked for long periods. That's because competitiors, mainly very powerful landowners who the King needed help/support of kept him in check.

All monopoly power systems display the same human characteristics of un-checked ego, arrogance and delusion. Politics, music, academia, banking and big business. Anyone given authority, detached from the rough and tumble of 'the street' (society) becomes delusional. Only the rough and tumble of the street (society) keeps peoples egos in check. Society self-regulates. Authority, monopoly power structures create monsters, in politics, in business (see Wall Street) and in academia (see Paul 'clueless' Krugman or Ben 'delusional' Bernanke). They become too detached from the street and society at large in ivory towers sorrounded by crones and Yes-Men and become delusional egomaniacs with policies also removed ever more from reality. Competition would keep them in check, monopoly allows ego to run out-of-control, 

The competition mechanism only appears every 4 years during elections. It's not enough to keep politicians in check. It's already corrupted by vested interests (parasite businessmen and interest groups) who bankroll the campaigns. It's corrupt to the core before anyone casts a vote.

Finally you propose other ideas of Government without justifying why you think adults need any other adults to 'help' them get through life. i know I don't and I'm sure the vast majority of us don't and would prefer to run their own lives. The vast majority of us will go cradle to grave without any need of Govt. We are entirely self-supporting and self-sufficient. Everything we need is provided in family, community and free enterprise. We have moved on as a species. Like the internet we are disparate, diverse and self governing. The best structure ever devised like the free market because all big structures, all central structures are slow, ponderous and structurally weak when attacked.

Free societies and free markets are entirely self-regulaing through the competition mechanism that keeps everything in check. Any central or monopoly structure is inept in comparison on every count. Freedom and competition works. Monopoly, authority and Govt/Royalty structures do not because competition is denied. See Darwins 'Evolutionof the Species' which should be called Competition of the Species. Study any animal behaviour in herds, flocks of schooles of fish to understand human behaviour in society. Study any living organisms and spot the competition mechanism at work. It works throughout business, society and explains all life on Earth for that matter and how we behave (and how/why we mis-behave)   

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:37 | 972855 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Funny that the only two options you posit both predicate themselves on competitive, adversarial relationships among people who have no natural tendency to fuck each other over.

There's no alternative but being a selfish fucker in your utopia, eh?

What a shitty utopia you have!

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:39 | 973133 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

competition is the only way to improve the breed, the product, the service, and society.

Your knee-jerk response is we kick seven bells out of each other, the usual extreme nonsense to reach for rather than seriously look at anothers point of view. So look at competition, does it result in Fedderer punching Nadal in the face? Does Manchester United end up gunning Arsenal before a game? Does American Airlines blow up British Airways planes so it cannot compete? Does Sony nobble the executives of Nintendo?

Do you see how extreme and rediculous your argument is? You have competition all around you yet we have social rules that keeps competition in check. If you heard of dirty tactics society quite naturally takes exception to it and removes its custom from such a company (ie. it'll go bankrupt or suffer loss of sales until it makes some kind of amends).

Competition can be tough but without it we'd all turn into fuking soft arsed useless socialist wasters. Now that IS a problem for society. 

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 02:32 | 973312 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Dressing competition with properties it has not.


Oligopoly or monopoly is the final state of competition.

So look at competition, does it result in Fedderer punching Nadal in the face? Does Manchester United end up gunning Arsenal before a game? Does American Airlines blow up British Airways planes so it cannot compete?


The sports competition scene is rigged beyond the point. All societies have their theatrics supposed to deliver an idealized vision of key driving forces they work on.

Still competition is so stripped of some of its elements in the sports arena it has to question. Probably the most rigged scene is the US sports scene and Formula one.

In the examples you mentioned, agents were ordered in level groups to avoid imbalances effects. Manchester United has not other options than facing at least twice a season Arsenal. They can not go and hunt for much, much easier targets.

Arsenal and MU are paid to participate. The sports leagues are selling competition as a process. It is their product. They are less interested in the outcome of competition than in the process of competition itself. Sports leagues value much more having an exciting season/tournament than naming a champion at the end of the competition. It makes a huge, huge difference in terms of competition approach as it weakens once again a key point in competition: eliminating concurrence.

Another big feature competition is stripped off: accumulation. Each season, the capital is reset. Clubs compete to accumulate points as a capital. Yet, at the beginning of each season, this capital is wiped off. This, of course, has big consequences as it keeps maintaining the illusion all stands a chance and thus, should allocate resources to compete in the arena.

And even with much dilution, competition still delivers an oligopoly as a fistful of clubs dominate the scene.

About Sony and Nintendo, checking what happens in terms of poaching players: big clubs like to poach players in order to maintain other teams weaker. Remember AC Milan in 1990 when Berlusconi bought out Ajax team simply to destroy them as a team as the bought players were benched?

In the US, this feature is even more rigged as there are multiple limitations on this competition natural feature: teams do not buy players, they trade players. It is often swapping players for other players.


Competition was characterized in the 1900s. Sports leagues, marketing are sectors that used this knowledge to reap benefits.

The very fact that sports leagues had to disguise competition and remove so many features tells tons.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 05:33 | 973445 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Yes you are detailing how the competition mechanism is nobbled. There is always temptation to cheat, to make it easier to win against your competitors.

In your examples of sport there are indeed many examples. There is some in football but you ignore Man Utd has been pretty dominant in the past 10 years but also spent another 10 years at the bottom of the league. 50 years ago other clubs dominated for decade long periods.

That is like the life cycle of the free market and life itself. Aggressive new entrants emerge, start to dominate (for a period), become the establishment themselves, then start have to begin defending their turf against new entrants (that they once were) themselves. Eventually they get toppled (their death or dinosaur phase).

I think Nascar and Formula 1 does cheat. But the reason it cheats is because sport is 'entertainment'. It wants a constant churn of competitors not the boredom of a dominant one. Note that is like real competition, the governing bodies want 'churn' in the arena so people don't get bored. Because people naturally like their competitions to be a game you cannot predict. Much like life and free markets themselves.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 07:36 | 973492 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

There is always temptation to cheat, to make it easier to win against your competitors.


No. There is no temptation to cheat. There is obligation to cheat. Anyone cheating is given an edge in increasing one's own competitiveness/decreasing others' competiveness.

This feature is inherent to competition, as shown when people compete against themselves. Anytime they succeed in cheating, they perform better than they do when they do not cheat.

Eg: chess game, played against oneself. White can cheat, black can not.

White side wins as cheating is the determining element.


The emergence and stabilization of an oligopoly is dependent on the access to the resources. From 1980s, football went global, opening new pools of resources and thus allowing clubs to secure new pools of resources to mount a challenge to dominant clubs.

The barreer entry is always the resources needed to set up a challenge. Once a pool of resources is saturated, it grows much harder to enter a competition process.

Now that the globalization of football is performed, that new pools of resources are much less likely to become available ( Manchester City is backed up by a State, which signals the end of expansion scheme), the dominance is about to settle.

Another extremely important point is that in PL, money brought by the competition process (one league season) is mutualized. Every participant receives one share for participation to the season and the money generated by the season. It slows down the formation of oligopolies.

If you want more mature competition process, check Liga in Spain. It is a two clubs league, with no mutualization of  revenues. Pretty clear.  

Because people naturally like their competitions to be a game you cannot predict.


Where? At least, on this side of the world, people have shown that in US driven world, they are pretty much determined to fight for their priviledges. What they dont want is resetting their priviledges. They will give much to freeze the current order that bestows on them their priviledges.

Very easy to check through the US history.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 08:52 | 973548 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

the desire to cheat is in all of us (fact). But the competition mechanism 'checks' that desire. This is what Govt, central banking and Big Biz collusion is all about, the cheaters in society propping each other up by ponzi'ing off societies back (parasites or cheaters) and screwing the free market so that Big Biz can stop their inevitable demise from new competitors. They cheat the competition of the free market.

The desire to cheat is there as you say when you play yourself at chess. So you cheat your own honesty to 'win' on your favoured colour be it black or white.

In a free market even where there is competition you still cheat. You might replace a high tensile steal for a lower grade one and sell it at the same price. If the consumer does not notice and suffers no ill effects you've got away with the cheat which should add to your bottom line (profit) and make you more profitable than a competitor. So what?

My Big Mac is a fuking tiny Mac. I only noticed at New Year in a Burger King their burgers were literally twice the size of McDonalds de-contented 'super downsize me' mini-burgers passing themselves off as 'Big'. So here is a consumer that has noticed McDonalds cheating, so I will/may take my custom to the competition which is the power of the free market (consumer choice).

In a free market I'm able to notice cheating because I can compare and have that choice (power) to take my business elsewhere, to competitors. All the problems really begin when my market is monopolised by Big Govt and Big Biz in collusion to screw competitors out of the market. Then I have no choice (power). Then cheating goes beyond a one-off event to a systemic issue you have no choice/power to stop.

That compounds many times over the problem of cheating whereas the free market minimises the problem of cheating. The free market minimises all problems and maxmises all benefits through competition and its magic powers. Monopolies do the exact oppsite, as we see in with the Washngton-Wall Street stink, it makes matters progressively work and the stink progressively bigger.......until it implodes in its own mess and disease, something the free market does not because it cleanses disease much faster 

Competition 'checks' the (inevitable) bad parts of human nature both in free markets and in a free society

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:35 | 972021 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

The Tragedy of the Commons is very real. We see examples of it every day. But, I think there are important economic counters to it that can allow a democracy to sustain and grow  in spite of it. For example, innovation, new ideas, new science and technology, more efficient methods and processes. It could perhaps all be summed up under the heading Creativity. As we exploit resources, even wastefully at times, we can continue to find new ones or make better use of the old ones so that the resource and value pool effectively continues to grow. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. If that were only the case, we would all be at war right now over the last remaining buffalo hide. That’s why creativity and new development are so  important. That’s why my favorite criticism of Wall Street and the banking system was Paul Volker saying something like, “Their greatest innovation in the last 20 years was the ATM”.   

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:56 | 972546 michael.suede
michael.suede's picture

Since the government doesn't actually produce anything, it is always a zero sum game.

The government can not provide some "thing" to one person without first taking it by force from another.

The difference between government and the market is that one uses violence, while the other uses non-violent voluntary enticements.

Anything that is good for someone does not require it to be violently imposed upon them.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:26 | 972867 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

You're right.  The REAL tragedy of the commons was the state stealing land that had been commonly held for generations and giving it to Capitalists to rob, rape, and pillage.

That was called the 16th century.  Steal that land from those uppity peasants!

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:43 | 973140 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Yes and that's precisely what the State has been doing for Centuries. And is still doing today via "commonly held" taxpayers money and giving it to parasite businessmen (Wall Street)

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:38 | 972026 island
island's picture

As long as there is private real property, the will be privilege and injustice...and frequently effective serfdom.   Neither government, nor individuals should be allowed to own private real property.  It belongs to us all...we must figure out a way to share it.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:42 | 972041 island
island's picture

Premptively:  To those who say I am wacked out and nuts, I suppose you are then admitting that the rest of the animal kingdom is smarter and wiser than humans.  Humankind has created a comedy of idiocy.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:00 | 972127 CH1
CH1's picture

You give up your property first!

I prefer to sleep in a bed and to feed my family with the bread I squeeze from the earth. My property is the fruit of my life, intelligence and sweat.

And you think your communism will create a paradise? Puh-leez.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:08 | 972369 island
island's picture

Already gave it up.

If your property is what your life is about, that is one frickin' sad tale.

You are nothing but a serf.

And good luck when it is gone.



Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:37 | 973383 CH1
CH1's picture

You don't sleep in a bed? You don't live in a structure of some kind? You don't eat food?

All are property, and all physical beings need it.

You are playing with a set of definitions that were formed for one purpose: To slander "capitalism."

Capitalism = Voluntary trade. It is what people do, until thugs force them to do otherwise.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:02 | 972965 Chump
Chump's picture

Humans are not unique within the animal kingdom in our respect and use of real property in the form of bounded land.  Where we diverge from our lower animal brethren is in our ability to create and alter boundaries for the purpose of sharing and transferring ownership of our real property.  Most other animals tend to rely on some sort of secretion to mark "property corners," and their accuracy at identifying the connecting line-work varies from species to species but overall tends to be far inferior to human ability.

Really, you're arguing for humans to ignore their innate, rational desire to bound what's theirs and do with it as they see fit.  I don't know why you would do this, but I know that people typically only do so because they are incredibly ignorant or fanatically evil.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:00 | 973342 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture


i'm not sure how well it scales to 7 billion, but my dogs have always pissed on trees (and humped my guests legs). it really doesn't matter if i think they should be that way...

i don't always agree w/ your opinion, but you state it well. props for that.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:43 | 972049 midtowng
midtowng's picture

There already is a solution. It's called the Public Trust Doctrine, and its already part of the law. We just need to enforce it.

"By the law of nature these things are common to all mankind, the air, running water, the sea and consequently the shores of the sea."
 - Codex Justinianus, 529 A.D.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:26 | 972198 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Law does not work. Period.

we have 1,000's of Laws. They do not work.

We have 100's of enforcers. They do not work.

There is no law that can stop a parasite.

Only a free society and free markets work. They keep everything in check through distribution of power. Distribution of power into a disparate and diverse system (like the internet).

Law and the Judiciary centralises power into a structure... an easy hit for parasites to corrupt.  

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:13 | 972830 midtowng
midtowng's picture

No laws work when they are not enforced.

Based on your logic, why bother to outlaw murder?

And free markets aren't stable. There is no equilibrium. Just ask Hyman Minsky.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 00:52 | 973162 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Murder happens anyway, with the laws. See how this works? Laws against murder are useless. There is only natural the right to protect my life and property against your aggro. Sunshine.

Equillibruim? Capital would always remain in the same hands. The weather would be the same all the time. What fun would that be? Nature itself it tumultuous. Deal with it. Equillibrium is for pussies.

"The more laws and order are made prominent, The more thieves and robbers there will be."


Fri, 02/18/2011 - 01:44 | 973254 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Laws against murder are useless? What kind of fool statement is that? Are you honestly saying that we should get rid of all laws? It has been done before. it was called the Dark Ages.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:05 | 973345 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

in the dark ages, or in any 'lawless age', there was simply no reason to assume that someone would protect you, so you protected yourself, sometimes preemptively. at least you knew who to trust (nobody), as opposed to now, where you can trust everybody (not).

i would wager that some  1920s progressive called this age of pure accountability "the dark ages".


Fri, 02/18/2011 - 11:58 | 974239 snowball777
snowball777's picture

And so much human progress was made under these conditions.

Mon, 02/21/2011 - 20:01 | 983409 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

catchy tune

i fear the perception of the 'progress' being made today, when collapsed by the idiots at the wheel, will make the darkest era of the mid-700s BC look like the golden era of humanity, given how prepared the average human is to take care of him/herself in general.

absolutely no progress might be better than turning our recently 'unlearned' population to their own devices.

the stage for that kind of 'progress' has been set. got pop-corn?

btw - the new avatar is pretty trick.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:27 | 972871 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

"Free Markets" are as real and have just about the same historical legacy as does the tooth fairy.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:26 | 972200 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Gee, I wonder why they're all so polluted.

Wait, no I don't.

And here's an excellent history lesson, right from our own shores:

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:53 | 972300 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Yes The Pilgrims is an excellent example how 'the collective' and centralised structures (always) fail. The Pilgrims suffered 3 years of starvation as a collective until forced by failure to change to an individual and disparate based system (free market).

The Pilgrims went from starvation (and being bailed out by native Indians) to excess of agricultural produce the very next year and surplus.

It's a lesson repeated throughout history time after time, free society and free markets work best (by far). We just need to rid ourselves of The Parasite Club

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:28 | 972877 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

They're polluted because the Capitalists who pollute them determined it more cost-effective to buy politicians than clean up after themselves.

Capitalism is one big gang-rape without consequence, and it has been that way for 500 years.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 01:00 | 973178 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Capitalism is not a person, it is an economic system, working best in a free market. 

The "capitalists" you are referring to are parasites, monopolists and Big Biz in collusion with the State.

Competitive businessmen do not rape you and never have. Instead they offer you great cars, nice food, sharp clothes, holidays to Thailand, financial services, medical, insurance, TV's and games consoles. They provide everything you need for a good quality of life and get better every year in terms of quality and price.

The parasites collude with Govt to screw the free competitive market and turn it to a monopoly, for example mortgages. And you've no doubt seen what happened there with the collusion of the Big Boys on Wall Street with the US Govt and US Govt quangos Fanny and Freddie.

Here in Europe we have huge Big Govt Big Corp collusion (via vast regulations which restrict and strangle new young competitors) in the energy sector. Our energy is getting progressively more expensive, the industry is increasingly dated and in Spain with its terrible green energy strategy it's completely bankrupting the country.

So monopolists 'gang rape' citizens because they can. In a free market they can't because there's competition who consumers will choose over any business that gets to arrogant or sloppy. Competition in the market is the key to you having a choice (power) and not getting screwed   


Fri, 02/18/2011 - 05:20 | 973435 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

They "gang rape" people because the government they've put into power gives them the 'legal' right to do so.  But "they" - capitalist businessmen - don't really offer cars.

That cars don't just magically appear.  

To get that car to market, they exploit land used to get the raw materials - probably from some government that has been invaded and their customary, historical relationship between people and land severed.

Then they exploit the labor of workers who, unlike the CAPITALIST, don't have anything to 'offer' on the market other than their own bodies.  That's called wage slavery, because nobody wants to sell themselves.

Then they pay more wage slaves to sell the car.

So finally, when the product has been exploited, AND the labor to fashion it is exploited, AND the actual seller of the good has been exploited, the capitalist - who has performed NO labor - gets the surplus value created in the process.

The capitalists profits from the labor of others, and of nature.

There is no such thing as a 'free market'.  Nobody would agree to work as a wage-slave without being coerced to do so (i.e., the commons on which they lived are stolen from beneath their feet).

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 12:04 | 974267 A Proud Canadian
A Proud Canadian's picture

If you think that the Govt lets you own land....just try not paying your taxes for a while!

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 18:40 | 972035 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Tragedy of the Commons is NOT an economic law. In fact, we as humans are hardwired to a tribal, communal economic lifestyle. Or as I put it on another essay:

Then he makes three mistakes.

#1.  Hardin uses his logic to endorse the "injustice" of the current private property system as opposed to the "total ruin" of The Commons, without defending the assertion.
 From the neolithic period up to the 16th Century, The Commons was the primary mode of economic society. It worked. Hardin uses a Malthusian argument to say that it can no longer work because there are too many people now. He puts his statement out there as if we should just accept it without trying to prove it.

#2.  Hardin defends the infringement on our rights by new enclosures of the commons (aka privatization), without acknowledging the abuse and destruction this has led to in the past.

#3.  Most importantly, Hardin fails to return to the point that air and oceans cannot be anything but The Commons, and thus the solution for the two most important elements of the Earth can not be solved by privatization.

To put it another way, privatization and the free market have no solution to the environmental tragedy occurring in our atmosphere and oceans, and never will.

Private enterprise cannot make a profit on something until there is scarcity. So as long as clean air is available to all, then the free market has no interest in doing anything but polluting it. The reason is because the current free market, capitalist, economic model exists to commodify natural resources and turn it into consumer goods, while externalizing expenses by doing things like trashing the planet.

However, once the atmosphere is polluted to the point that people with money can't breath, then the free market will create a solution - but only for those it can make a profit from. The poor die slowly.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:01 | 972129 Misean
Misean's picture

"To put it another way, privatization and the free market have no solution to the environmental tragedy occurring in our atmosphere and oceans, and never will."

Put it another way, you can't think your way out of a wet paper sack. See, half-wit, the State claims ownership of those things, so the tragedy of the commons is occuring there.

Oh, and shove your pompous drivel up you really don't think as well as you pretend to write.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:54 | 972305 sellstop
sellstop's picture

The tragedy of the commons is used to point out the problems of medieval villages using a common pasture to graze their cattle. Theoretically it leads to over grazing. But the reality is that the people of the village regulated how many cows each could graze. They got together like HUMANS do and solved the problem. They didn't just go out and buy an AK-47 and shoot their way into and out of the commons. They fucking co-operated! That is what HUMANS do. It is apparently something that the Armageddon loving survivalists that populate this free-for-all pissing match don't seem to understand.

Democracy is the people governing themselves. If you love democracy, you will get involved in the process and keep your democracy and your country strong.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:01 | 972569 michael.suede
michael.suede's picture

It's funny that you mention guns.

Without them, modern government couldn't exist.

Democracy is a polite term for mob rule.

The establishement of grazing rights was a form of property rights, and yes, people did work that out for themselves.  They didn't need a violent government to manage those property rights for them.

Your own post argues against the very point you were trying to make Mr. Statist.


Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:25 | 972662 sellstop
sellstop's picture

They were the freakin government you moron.

Violent government? Where in this country is the government violent? Oh, you mean when Reagan unleashed the national guard on the anti-war protesters?

Which mob are you talking about? Democracy is only "mob rule" when it's not your mob.

You my friend sound like a sore loser.

Er, just a loser.....

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:19 | 972846 midtowng
midtowng's picture


Exactly. It's a pretty obvious point, but some people don't want to acknowledge it.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:29 | 972879 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture


Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:17 | 972842 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Really? The state claims ownership of the atmosphere and the oceans?

Are you going to try and tell us that black is white, and the sun rises in the west?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:03 | 972135 CH1
CH1's picture

All abstract arguments and appeals to authority. Abuse the definition of "capitalism" however you like. Go do whatever stupid things you want.

I will trade voluntarily with people I respect. Tell us we can't and you'll deserve the consequences.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:31 | 972883 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

Well said.  The REAL tragedy of the commons is the state-sanctioned theft of the land from the community.

The irony is that they turned it over, free gratis, to the very same people who now blather on about "free markets" and "socialism"!  Who then proceed to destroy it.

Fri, 02/18/2011 - 03:38 | 973387 CH1
CH1's picture

Oh, "communities" are the true owners!! I SEE!!!

And the "community" is organized how?

LOL - meet the new boss, even worse than the old boss.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 23:27 | 973011 ciao
ciao's picture

The commons crap is the narrative of the imperialist who has trashed his own resource base and wants a piece of someone else's commons.

The commons never ended and remains all around you in your sovereign territory.  You want more buy it back with your taxes.  Custodianship is the question.  Private custodianship of productive lands by private individuals / natural citizens that seek to pass it on to other generations or sell it in a sound money economy will always perfrom better than corporate ownership or executive ownership.


Obviously you didn't hang out with any hippies in their communes in the 70's.  A nastier combined bunch of socialist capitalists in the Animal Farm tradition and Capitalists in the Rockefeller tradition than you would ever meet elsewhere.


As for medieval times, it worked because collective self interest was adjudicated locally by the one that took the taxes (that was both the vicar and taxman both of whom needed the so-called collective's income and popular support).  Detached from the land, as held by Jefferson, the citizen is poorer and the abstraction of the commons descends into a redistributionb vehicle within borders, but moreso across them.


The commons is a warmongers project.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:03 | 972137 Straight Forward
Straight Forward's picture

Without eminent domain there would be no electrical grid.  Although I would agree that eminent domain laws are often being abused now, the author needs to get real.  It's in the Constitution for a reason.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 19:31 | 972211 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

The Constitution clearly is not working. That's because it is a piece of paper, like the law itself, and not a self-policing, resolving and evolving system.

The free market is a revolving, self-policing and evolving system. It works exactly like a free society if we let a free society work like the free market (ie. free from monopoly/authority power structures)

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:26 | 972439 Straight Forward
Straight Forward's picture

I agree the Constitution is not working.


However, the second paragraph is non-sense to me.  The markets work within the framework of the law, more so than the other way around, although in due course bad government leads to market breakdown & hardship.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:56 | 972544 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

You do not need the 'framework of Law' for a free market to operate. 90% of business can and often is conducted even without a contract.

The Law adds nothing but complexity and cost. The Legal system is a clown show, in fact a red tape rammed machine to extract fees for the industries (lawyers and judiciaries) benefit.

Check the history of local and international trade, merchentalism etc. Business s conducted by relationships and handshake more often than not. You don't need a contract or Law 

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 22:33 | 972886 downwiththebanks
downwiththebanks's picture

The "free market" is off playing with the Easter Bunny and the Loch Ness monster.

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 20:32 | 972457 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

Constitution not working or is it not being followed?

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:00 | 972559 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Both. And both "not working" and "not being followed" proves The Constitution is a failure. All pieces of paper are a failure because they are not a working relationship. 

Only the free market maintains order. No rules, laws or constitutions can maintain order, as The Constitution proves, as the Law currently proves unequivicably they are both failing to regulate. 

You need a system that works at all times to self-regulate. That is the free market and a free society

Thu, 02/17/2011 - 21:10 | 972599 DosZap
DosZap's picture

The Constitution is not a failure, and did not fail, WE DID.

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